Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Supporting the Troops

It's not enough to say you support the troops

They need more than lip-service support. Hagel, Kerry, Clinton and their ilk are working against the interests of our country and its fighting men and women.

Monday, January 29, 2007


I have spent some time in the last few days thinking about Iraq. A few things have come together, and while hardly groundbreaking, I wanted to share them here.

The Troop Surge:

When we invaded Iraq there were questions about the appropriate size of the invasion force. Clearly the numbers were sufficient for Iraq's capture. The big debate since then has been the size of the occupying force. Many of the President's critics touted the numbers argument as a key reason why we were having so much difficulty subduing the insurgency. Now that a surge has been proposed, many of those critics are bowing to political expedience and opposing any addition of troops. Opposing the surge without offering any alternatives is to accept and work for defeat. Bret Stephens concurs in his Wall Street Journal column:

These are our options in Iraq: We can withdraw troops and equipment as fast as our Galaxys and Globemasters can carry them home (or to Okinawa). This is the Murtha Way. We can cap troop levels at 140,000 and withdraw them no later than Inauguration Day, 2009. This is Hillary's Way. We can redeploy our forces outside of Iraqi cities, conduct limited training and counterterrorism missions, urge reconciliation among the various political factions and seek diplomatic openings with Syria and Iran. This is the way of Sens. Chuck Hagel and Joe Biden. We can advocate and facilitate the partition of Iraq. This is the (Peter) Galbraith Way. Or we can surge troops into the toughest neighborhoods of Baghdad, Ramadi and Najaf and keep them there indefinitely.

That is the President's Way. It is going to mean many more American casualties -- perhaps as many in the months ahead as we've seen over the past four years. It may fail for lack of troops, or insufficient cooperation from the Iraqi government. It could be defeated in the field, or it could succeed -- only to be undermined in Washington, much as Gen. Creighton Abrams's 1972 battlefield victories in Vietnam were. It lacks an endgame. It's a political loser. But it is the only strategy on the table that aims at victory and has a chance of succeeding.

I agree. No one who opposes it has proposed an option that has as much chance for success. The political mess frustrates me to no end.

Poor reporting by the media:

Our best bet to find the great and important stories from the War on Terror are from citizen journalists like Michael Yon. They usually pay their own way, are not affiliated with any major media outlet, and they provide the most in-depth coverage of our soldiers.

Yon has a long dispatch but it is well worth reading. Please read it and see what our soldiers go through. Yon is not a Pollyanna, but there is an optimism to his writing that is born of his faith in our fighting men and women.

Bill Indolino has some very interesting photos from Iraq, providing a glimpse of our troops in some rare moments.

The American Iraq

Finally, this piece explores the state of Iraq in its historical and present context. Iraq is still worth fighting for.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Barone on the Union

Michael Barone has an excellent commentary of The State of the Union on his blog. It is excellent as usual.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

State of Disunion

I was listening to the radio today and they highlighted this column from Boston Herald Editor Jules Crittenden. An excerpt of his proposed State of the Union:

So what is the best thing I can do tonight? I can tell you the truth. What none of you want to hear. What you’ve been stopping your ears to. The ugly truth. The State of the Union is a disaster. I did my best, but I made mistakes, and my best wasn’t good enough.
We went to war without building up our army, and now, I am trying to make up for that.
But that is not the disaster. The disaster is that you, Congress and the American people, do not care to fight.

Too bad that no one will ever say that. I find all the politeness and ceremony associated with the State of the Union to be tiresome. I think the event is an important one, and the President deserves a forum with as broad an audience as this provides, but it rankles me to know that he will give this speech and many of those who smiled and clapped and shook his hand will look for the fastest way to stab him in the back.

The President is not perfect. He has made some significant mistakes. But he has also been hamstrung by a gutless Congress and an ideological media. The war he is fighting here at home is almost as hard as the one in Iraq.

I may write more on the speech tomorrow. Instapundit would be a great place to find speech reaction and commentaty.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Debating the Surge

I haven't written much lately about politics, and I think it's because the scene is a pretty depressing one:
  • Republicans failed to rally support for key initiatives proposed by the President, such as Estate Tax Reform and Social Security Private Accounts. This left Republicans with Medicare Part D, a massive entitlement that conservatives are uncomfortable with. Now that the Republicans are out of power those plans are as good as dead.
  • Republicans have not shown that they've learned any lessons from their losses in the 2006 mid-terms. I got a fundraising plea from the GOP and I threw it away, not on a money issue but a principle one. I don't want to give money to a party that tried to re-elect faux Republican Lincoln Chafee but that won't get unified on budget reform.
  • Republicans are jumping like rats from the Iraq War, at a time when solutions are needed and grandstanding is most detrimental.

It all is crystalized by the President's speech on Wednesday night and the subsequent uproar. Michael Barone has two excellent posts, and if you didn't hear the speech this one will give you an idea of some of the President's main points.

His second post goes into greater depth on the partisan response to the speech and the president's plan to bolster security with a "troop surge." The Republicans that are now striking at the President on the war are being irresponsible and are in dereliction of their duty to the nation. The Democrats that are doing so are less irksome because they aren't doing anything I wouldn't expect them to.

It's a sorry situation, and there's more to say but I don't feel like saying it right now.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Romney Watch '08 Part IX

Mitt Romney has officially announced his interest in pursuing the Republican candidacy for President. In a recent podcast with blogger Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit) he discussed a variety of issues, including a YouTube video that uses old campaign footage to criticize Romney's positions (past and present) on some social issues.

I like Mitt Romney. I hope he is successful, which doesn't necessarily mean winning the nomination though I wouldn't mind that at all.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Quick Hits

It has been a very long time since I've written anything here, so I wanted to post some quick hits on stuff happening right now:
  • The biggest news, if correct, is being reported by Drudge. According to his website, President Bush will outline specific military, political, and economic benchmarks for the Iraqi government to meet. He also reports that they have agreed to the benchmarks. To me this is the key. Iraqi leadership must be a part of the process. We will learn the benchmarks somtime after the presidential speech due this week.
  • I was saddened to see that the new Archbishop of Warsaw, Stanislaw Wielgus, stepped down after confirming his role as an agent of Poland's feared communist-era secret police. While in College I wrote a paper that discussed the role of the Catholic Church as change agent during communist rule in Poland. The strength of the Polish Church contrasted with the weakness of the Cuban Church. It's sad to see the Church tarnished in this way, especially because it was such an effective bulwark against godless Communism.
  • I have been following the Duke Lacrosse Rape case for a while and I am appalled with the way the prosecutor has handled things. A history professor named K.C. Johnson has been a close observer of the proceedings and offers an update on his blog. If the case interests you it is worth reviewing. Newsweek has an interview with one of the accused, Reade Selgimann, and it is a postive piece. The Durham D.A. declined to comment.
  • Iraq's oil wells may soon open to foreign investment. Good. Some will decry the terms that are more favorable than the norm, but given the security situation it makes sense to provide incentives to invest. Iraq must integrate with the global marketplace if it is to go from security threat to strength.
  • This is only available to subscribers of the WSJ, but it is a moving article about survivor's guilt for one Iraq War vet. His friend and superior saved his life by jumping on an insurgent grenade, and for that bit of heroism, Cpl. Jason Dunham has been posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.