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Does Today's Leftwing Have Any Foreign Policy Gravitas?

I just watched the Bill Whittle video that Kim linked to last night. If you haven't seen this rebuttal to John Stewart's assertion that President Truman was a war criminal please take the time to view it because it is an excellent piece of work. To his credit, Stewart admitted after his show that he had stuck his foot in his mouth:


The other night we had on Cliff May. He was on, we were discussing torture, back and forth, very spirited discussion, very enjoyable. And I may have mentioned during the discussion we were having that Harry Truman was a war criminal. And right after saying it, I thought to myself that was dumb. And it was dumb. Stupid in fact. So I shouldn't have said that, and I did. So I say right now, no, I don't believe that to be the case. The atomic bomb, a very complicated decision in the context of a horrific war, and I walk that back because it was in my estimation a stupid thing to say. (emphasis mine)

Well, that's a start. But Stewart's limited modified mea culpa brings to mind the lack of any pretense of honesty on the Left. I don't think I've witnessed such a mindless, self destructive, witless campaign against US national security interests and public safety since the 1970's. As the comment threads on this blog have demonstrated there is no common ground on the matter of enhanced interrogation (or whatever else you want to call it). On one side is the position for using any means within the law to obtain information that might protect the American people from harm. On the other side there appears to be a singular goal of imprisoning Bush administration officials for violating the human rights of individuals suspected of terrorist activities against the US.

It has to be asked if the Obama administration is serious about (and up to) the task of protecting American lives. Given the craven political calculus behind its decisions to release OLC "torture memos", hint at prosecution of Bush administration officials, criticize previous foreign policy on trips abroad and waffle on military tribunals it's easy to see that this administration can not clearly formulate or execute a national security policy. The entire debate about detainees and waterboarding surely has our enemies howling in laughter (as they plan to exploit our weaknesses). It is inconceivable that any person with a basic knowledge of how this country has conducted warfare and defended itself for centuries could seriously argue that the national discussion about "torture" and OLC memos is benefiting our security.

In light of the Stewart comment about Truman it's interesting to wonder what Curtis Lemay would have made of that comment. Commenter Mac Lorry has noted that if waterboarding is considered torture then what do we make of stealthily launching Predator missiles into homes occupied by not just suspected terrorists but also innocent women and children? General Lemay surely considered that type of question when he fire bombed hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians while destroying the enemy's industrial infrastructure that was situated among their homes. Does President Obama, and the Left that supports him, have the gravitas to weigh these types of situations? I'm beginning to think not.


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Comments (33)

You're just "beginning" to ... (Below threshold)
MPR:

You're just "beginning" to think not? If you look into Obamalala's handling of the piracy of an American merchant ship and capture of the captain, a picture emerges of a CIC. And it ain't a confidence builder. Thank God the Navy Captain "acted".

The Obama Administration ha... (Below threshold)
Paul Hooson:

The Obama Administration had pretty good foreign policy success just last week recruiting the government of Pakistan to take a strong military stand against the Taliban and their Al Qaeda allies after they broke a promise to retreat from the Buner District just 60 miles from the capital city of Islamabad. That was far better success than the Bush Administration had with this government that gave a peace treaty to the Taliban, allowing them to occupy land near the Afghanistan border and to give both the Taliban and Al Qaeda forces a safe haven to attack NATO troops in Afghanistan.

Getting this weak Pakistan government from the point of freely giving up territory to the Taliban and Al Qaeda to actively fighting them with troops and warplanes is a pretty good improvement in just one week's time compared to the old policy during Bush to allow the Taliban to occupy more territory and impose strict Islamic law, close education for women, and close the courts and normal justice system.

Obamalala was duped by Paki... (Below threshold)
MPR:

Obamalala was duped by Pakistan to get more money out of the U.S. They have his number and it won't be the last time. This is what happens when the President goes around the world saying we have been wrong and we want "Peace" at any cost.

Well at least Stewart state... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Well at least Stewart stated that his statement was dumb and wrong.

Bruce Henry has yet to apologize to Kim for his statement which was also dumb and wrong.

MPK, dropping bombs on Tali... (Below threshold)
Paul Hooson:

MPK, dropping bombs on Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters costs some money. The Obama Administration is willing to provide more warplanes, bombs, and military gear to Pakistan if they continue to contain the Taliban and Al Qaeda. The success of the mission in Afghanistan depends on this. How is this a wrong policy?

Obama has no gravitas (if b... (Below threshold)
kathie:

Obama has no gravitas (if by gravitas you mean depth of thinking). He is hoping the DOD and Homeland Security do. He walks around smiling, speechifing, and apologizing. He lets the others do the work. Come on folks, what's new? No wonder he is having so much fun.

I'm not sure I'm following ... (Below threshold)
Jake:

I'm not sure I'm following the logic - Stewart said something stupid, apologized in depth (not just saying something like Virginia Foxx's "I'm sorry if the families were offended", instead saying it was dumb and that he was walking it back), but because Obama hasn't apologized for things you disagree with, then the Democrats overall don't understand foreign policy?

Huh?

"Does Today's Leftwing Have... (Below threshold)
retired military:

"Does Today's Leftwing Have Any Foreign Policy Gravitas?"

WEll considering that the left thinks that Gravitas means kissing the ass of every 2 bit dictator in the world and blaming America for everyone's problems than in their minds they have gravitas.

MPR is correct. One thing o... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

MPR is correct. One thing our enemies know is how to get money out of us. Pakistan will look like they are complying and then in a month, right back to the way it was. Paul, I thought better of your intellect then what you commented. ww

the world, specifically our... (Below threshold)

the world, specifically our enemies, will answer the question "Does Today's Leftwing Have Any Foreign Policy Gravitas?" very very soon, I'm afraid.

On September 1, 1939 Hitler showed what he thought of Chamberlain's "gravitas"...he invaded Poland

On August 12, 1961 Krushchev showed what he thought of Kennedy's "gravitas"...he ordered the construction of the Berlin Wall

On November 4, 1979 the Ayatollah Khomeini showed what he thought of Carter's "gravitas"...he ordered our embassy stormed and the hostages taken

Chamberlain, Kennedy, and Carter FAILED their "test" (Kennedy later redeemed himself during the missile crisis)

Obama's "test" is coming...I have ZERO faith he will "pass", I just hope he doesn't FAIL miserably. A lot of Americans will pay a terrible price if he does.

hooson - "The Obama Adm... (Below threshold)
marc:

hooson - "The Obama Administration is willing to provide more warplanes, bombs, and military gear to Pakistan if they continue to contain the Taliban and Al Qaeda. The success of the mission in Afghanistan depends on this. How is this a wrong policy?"

How about it's a waste of money?

Last August Pakistan received the last 4 of 14 U.S built F16's. That brings the total to 32 F-16's.

In January PAF received two IL-78 tanker aircraft from Ukraine for the refueling of the fighter A/C.

They also have dozens of Mirage fighters purchased from the french.

Just how much air power does Pakistan need against the Taliban hooson? Last time I checked they didn't have an air force.

It's a waste of money, period.

Paul,Pakistan just... (Below threshold)
hcddbz:

Paul,

Pakistan just gave SWAT to the Taliban.

Taliban showed how progressive they are.

http://news.ncmonline.com/news/view_article.html?article_id=af4e6848bf659018472c4c2576c2d70a

So Pakistan cannot contain the Taliban and moderate Taliban has responded to the White house.


hooson - "The Obam... (Below threshold)
Brett:
hooson - "The Obama Administration is willing to provide more warplanes, bombs, and military gear to Pakistan if they continue to contain the Taliban and Al Qaeda. The success of the mission in Afghanistan depends on this. How is this a wrong policy?"

How about it's a waste of money?

It's far worse that a simple waste of money. At the rate Obama is wasting money it's a drop in the bucket. The real problem is that there's virtually no chance that the money will end up fighting the Taliban - given that the Taliban, for all intents and purposes, runs the government of Pakistan. So instead of fighting them, we are FINANCING THEM.

I would not consider that a foreign policy coup. Unless of course you support the principles of terrorists... oops, I stand corrected, now I see Paul H's (and Obama's) point.

@marc - I'm not arguing for... (Below threshold)
Jake:

@marc - I'm not arguing for or against the PAF having more or less planes in their inventory. Now, you said: "Just how much air power does Pakistan need against the Taliban hooson? Last time I checked they didn't have an air force."

As you certainly would recognize from American usage of aircraft, the usage of airpower isn't and hasn't really ever been solely about air-to-air actions. Even WWI biplanes were dropping bombs on ground targets in addition to air-to-air fighting.

Whether the PAF or any other AF worldwide, airpower allows a range of options far beyond what ground forces alone can provide. What's that saying... "Own the air, own the ground" or something?

Again, I've not studied the PAF enough to know whether they're at the right or wrong level; instead I'm simply pointing out that air power is valuable in a ground offensive.

John Stewart made the dumb ... (Below threshold)
glenn:

John Stewart made the dumb statement because he's dumb. He just thinks (as do a lot of showbiz folks his age) he's smart. That's why he's on the list of dumb boomers who don't get to pollute the air in my house. All the shouters left and right are gone.

Does the left want this cou... (Below threshold)

Does the left want this country to be safe? If so, how high is safety on their list of priorities? Rigtht now, it's hard for me to understand where the left is coming from. Hey, leftists...Bush is gone! You can go back to having a rational approach to self-preservation. Yeah, I know the tea bag crowd is really scary, but you might want to think about some of the other threats in this world.

www.rightklik.net

This is a gem @ #6: Obam... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

This is a gem @ #6: Obama has no gravitas (if by gravitas you mean depth of thinking).

No, by gravitas, he meant gravitas. If only there were some source of definitions of English words freely available on the internet...

Hey Willie, Pakistan was an American ally when Bush was President, but now they're the enemy? Your word, not mine.

Justrand: you could add September 11, 2001 to a list of dates where presidents failed to show "gravitas"--as though gravitas is some magical force field against evil.

And Hugh, I don't think the issue over the OLC memos is whether it makes your country safer, but whether it makes your country better. If the issue was purely safety, then the government could reconfigure as a totalitarian police state and revoke everyone's civil liberties. You can't simply measure every political decision in terms of how it affects national security. Upholding the Constitution and international law are more important. And, as everybody beyond the Beltway media and wingnutosphere understands, respecting human rights, international law, and the Constitution does not mean that terrorists are being given a huge advantage that they didn't already have--namely, a monstrous disregard for human rights.

John Stewart made ... (Below threshold)
Brett:
John Stewart made the dumb statement because he's dumb. He just thinks (as do a lot of showbiz folks his age) he's smart.

I can see why, running in his circles, he might think that. The bar has not been set very high.

You can't simply m... (Below threshold)
Brett:
You can't simply measure every political decision in terms of how it affects national security. Upholding the Constitution and international law are more important.

So, to summarize your position - the Constitution IS a Suicide pact. Got it.

hyper, it's Obama's word. ... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:

hyper, it's Obama's word. He's wanted to strike inside of Pakistan for a couple of years now. He even said so during his campaign. The CFR has a leash on him, so he'll be more decisive about this stance when they say so. Currently, he has his media in other pies, such as SCOTUS and GM.

@LaMedusa said: "He's wante... (Below threshold)
Jake:

@LaMedusa said: "He's wanted to strike inside of Pakistan for a couple of years now. "

Two things: Bush started striking inside Pakistan before he left office.

Obama said during the campaign (when asked) if there was actionable intel, would he go in. He said yes. There is a difference between desiring the conditions to be true to allow for an action and agreeing that if those conditions suddenly came true that you would act in a certain way. I can *want* child molesters to die but not go on a child molester killing spree.

hyperbolist: "Justrand: ... (Below threshold)

hyperbolist: "Justrand: you could add September 11, 2001 to a list of dates where presidents failed to show "gravitas"--as though gravitas is some magical force field against evil."

absolutely WRONG! Bush, for all his other faults, DID display excellent "gravitas" after 9/11. He set in motion the liberation of Afghanistan, and set alQueda back on its heels. AND he did keep us safe right up to this point. Now Obama has undone all the mechanisms Bush set in place...and whatever happens now Obama OWNS!

hyperThe very existe... (Below threshold)

hyper
The very existence of the OLC memos is evidence that our country is better. They memos were carefully and deliberately written. Even Bush's defenders have concede that they were written so that a specific result was deemed legal and defensible, and they succeeded in that effort.

That they were written at all is historic and notable because, as you state,terrorists already enjoy a tremendous advantage in assymetrical warfare.

I thought Pakistan was a pr... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

I thought Pakistan was a problem even during GW's tenure. He did what had to be done to contain the fighting and he said what needed to be said. Obama is trying to champion this move of his as a cure and a great foreign policy decision. Only the uninformed would think it is. ww

one last add to hyperbolist... (Below threshold)

one last add to hyperbolist on his claiming September 11, 2001 was an exammple of Bush NOT having "gravitas".

I never said that having "gravitas" was somehow an innoculation against people challenging you...though it can be. But the apparent LACK of it definately IS an open invitation to a "test" of some kind.

Osama Bin Laden believed ALL American Presidents lacked "gravitas"...because he had seen how Clinton responded to the various attacks, and ASSUMED that Bush would respond the same. Bin Laden assumed that after 9/11/01 there would be SOME retaliation...but he and his Talibunnies NEVER expected what they got!

JakeI was respondi... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:

Jake

I was responding to what hyper said to willie, and within context, Obama was including strikes against Pakistan in his campaign. Hyper was saying it was "Willie's words, not his". Pakistan has been an habitual target off and on, even before Bush was in office. If you want to throw in a "he did it, too", fine, but that's not what we were talking about.

Also, Obama is current POTUS, no? His perceptions and motives should be the primary concern, not a comparison.

And Jake, I don't know wher... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:

And Jake, I don't know where you got that child molester example, but intentions and well meanings aside, Obama's ideas about Pakistan haven't changed much since his election. Practice makes perfect:
President Obama 'orders Pakistan drone attacks'

"Missiles fired from suspected US drones killed at least 15 people inside Pakistan today, the first such strikes since Barack Obama became president and a clear sign that the controversial military policy begun by George W Bush has not changed."

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article5575883.ece

Regarding #14, it's good to... (Below threshold)
max:

Regarding #14, it's good to see marc getting an education. We all know how badly it's needed.

Because he is dumber than a post.

BTW, you guys do know that ... (Below threshold)
max:

BTW, you guys do know that Stewart is a comedian, and in no way represents this amorphous "Left" that is so scary around here, don't you?

If "the left" is the portio... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

If "the left" is the portion of the population that supports the fascist President Obama, then these folks are the righteous minority. Have fun with that...

Because he is dumb... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:
Because he is dumber than a post.

max, that is really scraping the barrel when you have to "mention" something that everyone already knows, and call someone else stupid to try to sound "smart". You don't really know what Stewart represents, otherwise you would be able to tell us. I am not a big fan of Stewart, but there are some things he says that are pretty much on the mark. That is particularly sad if you think Jake is able to provide an education without completely assessing what another commenter has said. It just proves you don't really understand marc's point, which was about cost.

@LaMedusa - ah, OK cool, my... (Below threshold)
Jake:

@LaMedusa - ah, OK cool, my mistake. I missed the context.

But just to continue clarifying, you said: "Obama was including strikes against Pakistan in his campaign."

No, he wasn't. When asked questions about what he would do in hypothetical situations regarding Pakistan, he gave an answer. Then he was asked this same hypothetical again and answered the same answer.

That is a much different thing than "including" the issue as a campaign platform as you seem to be implying.

Jake, you can google this s... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:

Jake, you can google this stuff. Obama's campaign included discussing issues and foreign policy. Where do you not see him discussing strikes in this article posted during his campaign?

Obama warns Pakistan on al-Qaeda

US presidential candidate Barack Obama has said he would use military force if necessary against al-Qaeda in Pakistan even without Pakistan's consent.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6926663.stm

A campaign platform is what a candidate uses to sell himself. That is what the platform is for. He is not just answering questions and debating issues hoping no one will notice...On second thought, that's exactly what he did when he started lying during the debate. But to say his stance on Pakistan and Iraq were not part of his platform, along with "ending the war in Iraq", is just amnesia or denial on your part.




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