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War Blog By: FrontPage Magazine
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, September 12, 2008


THE PANIC SPREADS...

By John Hinderaker

...to Capitol Hill:

Democratic jitters about the US presidential race have spread to Capitol Hill, where some members of Congress are worried that Barack Obama’s faltering campaign could hurt their chances of re-election. ...

“There is a growing sense of doom among Democrats I have spoken to?.?.?.?People are going crazy, telling the campaign ‘you’ve got to do something’.”

The generic Congressional ballot is, indeed, getting closer. Likewise, the gap in party identification is narrowing. In general, the tide is flowing in the Republicans' direction. Of course, the Republicans are starting from a very bad point. Still, it appears that by November the Republican Party will be in better shape, broadly speaking, than has been the case for the last few years.  Thursday, September 11, 2008

www.powerlineblog.com

*

BILL CLINTON TO THE RESCUE?

By Ed Morrissey

Barack Obama met with Bill Clinton this afternoon after his joint visit to Ground Zero with John McCain in a first response to his post-convention deflation.  The two men managed to put a brave face on their mutual distrust after Obama’s hat-in-hand pilgrimage to South Harlem.  In the end, Clinton agreed to rescue campaign for Obama in Florida and perhaps elsewhere … but he didn’t seem particularly enthusiastic about it:

Clinton kept his answers short when he was asked about his involvement with Obama’s campaign this fall. The former president noted an already-announced trip Sept. 29 to Florida.

Obama said, “We’re putting him to work.”

Asked if he would be doing more, Clinton said, “I’ve agreed to do a substantial number of things, whatever I’m asked to do.”

Before reporters were ushered out, Clinton was asked where he sees the race between Obama and Republican John McCain.

“I predict that Sen. Obama will win and win pretty handily,” he said.

Clinton kept his answers short?  Bill Clinton?  This is the man who could answer “Good morning” with a two-minute dissertation on politics.  If he emerged from the meeting in a quiet mood, that doesn’t exactly scream enthusiasm.

Obama liked the prediction, too, but he’d do well to remember that Clinton predicted a large Gore win, and an easy victory for Kerry as well.

At least this shows that Obama knows his campaign is in trouble.  He needs the Clintons more than he would admit before.  Bill still has some gas left in the tank, although he got in Hillary’s way more often than he helped her.  Eugene Robinson wrote about it for the Washington Post in December:

Bill Clinton has always had a way of making himself the story, and he’s at it again.

When the Clintons made a campaign stop at an Iowa grocery store Tuesday, Hillary’s face said it all. She realized that Bill had departed from the script and wandered off to another part of the store, and cameras caught her scanning the aisles with a look of sheer terror. Bill was supposed to be at Hillary’s side; instead, he was way over yonder, giving an interview to “Entertainment Tonight.” What was supposed to be a controlled photo op had suddenly turned into a happening.

Spontaneity gives ulcers to campaign staffers, but the supermarket stop got much more coverage than it would have if Bill had followed the script. He ended up drawing more attention to himself than the candidate — which is in keeping with his formal campaign speeches. On the stump, he draws big crowds and comes off as charming, eloquent and persuasive. But reporters who have tallied his words say that he talks more about himself than about his wife — at a ratio of about 9 to 1.

Obama really doesn’t have any other choice but to get Bill involved at this point — he’s made a mess of the campaign over the summer and has lost the “New Politics” edge altogether.  He has to hope that Bill will feel motivated to play kingmaker and will make the Obama case, rather than remind people what they could have had with a Hillary Clinton nomination.  Given Bill’s inability to stay on message for his own wife’s benefit, though, how much can Obama rely on Bill sublimating his own ego-stroking to boost Obama?  Thursday, September 11, 2008

http://hotair.com

*

TWO DEDICATED AGENTS OF 'CHANGE'

By Dana Summers

Political Cartoons by Dana Summers

www.townhall.com/funnies  

*

THE PRESS: MAD AS HELL, AND NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANY MORE

By John Hinderaker

Howard Kurtz's column in the Washington Post is surprisingly blunt and surprisingly revealing. The mainstream media, Kurtz says, are mad. Their anger, though, is oddly unidirectional:

The media are getting mad.

Whether it's the latest back-and-forth over attack ads, the silly lipstick flap or the continuing debate over Sarah and sexism, you can just feel the tension level rising several notches.

Maybe it's a sense that this is crunch time, that the election is on the line, that the press is being manipulated (not that there's anything new about that).

There certainly isn't. Barack Obama has been manipulating the press for years. His manipulation didn't make the media mad, though, because reporters were willing accomplices who have been trying to get Obama elected. It's the thought that John McCain could be manipulating them that has the media seeing red:

News outlets are increasingly challenging false or questionable claims by the McCain campaign, whether it's the ad accusing Obama of supporting sex-ed for kindergartners (the Illinois legislation clearly describes "age-appropriate" programs) or Palin's repeated boast that she stopped the Bridge to Nowhere (after she had supported it, and after Congress had effectively killed the specific earmark).

But the two examples Kurtz cites are ads that are indisputably true. Obama did support sex education down to kindergarten. Kurtz thinks that's OK, because the sex education for five-year-olds would be "age appropriate." He's entitled to that opinion, but my opinion, and that of most voters, is that any sex education for kindergartners is a terrible idea. In any event, whether you think teaching five-year-olds about sex is a good idea or a bad idea, the ad is true.

Likewise with the ad that says Governor Palin killed the Bridge to Nowhere: it's a simple fact that no one, including the Democratic Party in Alaska, thought to deny until Palin was selected to run for Vice-President. We wrote about it here. As the Anchorage Daily News reported on March 12, 2008:

Palin ruffled feathers when she announced - without giving the delegation advance notice - that the state was killing the Ketchikan bridge to Gravina Island, site of the airport and a few dozen residents.

If Kurtz or other members of the media want to criticize some other aspect of Palin's record they are welcome to do so, but the suggestion that she didn't kill the famous bridge is ridiculous.

That's not to say that there is no false advertising in the air this campaign season. We wrote here that Barack Obama's oft-repeated claim, in a television ad and elsewhere, that he "reach[ed] out to Senator Lugar...to help lock down loose nuclear weapons" is flatly untrue. It was Sam Nunn who "reached out to Senator Lugar" in 1991. Obama's minor amendment to the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Act in 2006 had nothing to do with "locking down loose nuclear weapons;" on the contrary, it specifically excluded them. Obama's amendment has turned out to be a bad idea, too. But these and other falsehoods by Obama aren't what the press is "getting mad" about, and reporters have no intention of reporting on them.

While noting that the media in general are "getting mad," Kurtz himself is mad about the "lipstick on a pig" flap:

The lipstick imbroglio is evidence that the Drudge/Fox/New York Post axis can drive just about any story into mainstream land. Does anyone seriously believe that Barack Obama was calling Sarah Palin a pig?

I'm not sure what Obama had in mind, but I find it odd that in pages of outrage devoted to the supposed excesses of the McCain campaign, Kurtz finds no room to mention the fact that prominent Democrats (not anonymous emailers, who are much worse) have said that Governor Palin is Pontius Pilate and that her primary qualification seems to be that she hasn’t had an abortion.

The truth is that Sarah Palin has been the object of the most vicious and concerted smear campaign in modern American history. But that fact doesn't cause the media (or Howard Kurtz) to get mad.

It's not too hard to diagnose why, as Kurtz correctly says, "the media are getting mad." They're getting mad because their candidate is losing. They've spent years building him up and covering for his mistakes and shortcomings, and he is such a stiff that he can't coast across the finish line. I'd be mad too, I guess, but I think I'd have the decency not to take it out on Sarah Palin.

JOE BIDEN TALKS TOUGH

Donald Lambro and David Frum report the return of a national security gap between the Democrats and Republicans according to a Democratic focus group study by pollster Stan Greenberg. "Old doubts about Democrats on security, after diminishing during 2006-2007, have begun to re-emerge," says a memo on the study, conducted for Third Way, a centrist Democratic advocacy group.

Among the study's chief findings, quoted by Lambro: "Voters see Democrats as indecisive in the face of threats and afraid to use force to protect the nation; they see Democrats insufficiently supportive of the military; and they see Democrats following public opinion, rather than adhering to a consistent principled view of the country's best interests." Lambro also notes the study's findings that Republicans now lead by 14 points on which party will better handle national security issues, and by 15 points on who would better combat terrorism.

Perhaps these findings explain Joe Biden's uncharacteristic commitment to the use of force yesterday. In the same appearance at which Biden paid tribute to Hillary Clinton's possibly superior qualifications to be vice president, Biden discussed Republican attack ads. Referring to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign against John Kerry in 2004, Biden declared he’s not going to let that happen again: “Swiftboating is not going to work this time, and the reason it’s not is No. 1, I’m going to smack ‘em right square in the chops.”

And all this time I had thought that Biden was just an extreme example of senatorial gasbaggery. But the man can also issue a threat that might scare off Pee-wee Herman.

PAUL adds: The revival of the national security gap between Democrats and Republicans, which had diminished in 2006-2007, reflects the difference between doing poorly in a war and doing well.  Thursday, September 11, 2008

www.powerlineblog.com

*

EXPERIENCE

By Chuck Asay


Political Cartoons by Chuck Asay

www.townhall.com/funnies  

*

THE GRAY LADY EXPERIENCE

By Ed Morrissey

The New York Times editorial board scoffs at Sarah Palin and her qualifications to be Vice President.  In its lead editorial, the Gray Lady states that Palin has no “national or foreign policy experience” and is therefore unqualified to be “standy president”.  For some reason, they don’t seem troubled at all about Barack Obama’s complete lack of foreign-policy experience or his short three years in the Senate, two of which he’s spent running for the top job:

It is well past time for Sarah Palin, Republican running mate, governor of Alaska and self-proclaimed reformer, to fill in for the voting public the gaping blanks about her record and qualifications to be vice president. …

Voters have a right to hear Ms. Palin explain in detail her qualifications to be standby president with no national or foreign policy experience. More is required of any serious candidate for such a high office than one interview with questions put by one selected source.

They also include this Obama Campaign snipe:

She could explain, as well, why she was for the Bridge to Nowhere when it was first proposed and reversed field once it became a symbol of legislative abuse.

Have they asked Barack Obama and Joe Biden to explain their votes in support of this “symbol of legislative abuse”?  After all, they were the legislators who helped it pass Congress in the first place.  She “reversed field” to stop the abuse, something neither Biden nor Obama bothered to do.  So who needs to provide the explanation more, and why isn’t the Times demanding it?

And on experience, the Newsbusters note that the Paper of Record doesn’t bother checking its own.  In a July 1984 editorial, the New York Times wrote a stirring defense of finding running mates from outside the established political class, especially to find a woman to join the ticket — and wondered why mayors didn’t get more interest from presidential nominees, emphases mine:

Yet to be shrill is no worse than to be righteous, like the people who insist that the women Vice Presidential candidates so far proposed lack the requisite standing and experience. Why, it is said, none of them is even a senator.

Where is it written that only senators are qualified to become President? Surely Ronald Reagan does not subscribe to that maxim. Or where is it written that mere representatives aren’t qualified, like Geraldine Ferraro of Queens?

It should be noted that Geraldine Ferraro at this time had five years in Congress, and no other experience in political office.  She had spent the previous five years as an assistant DA in Queens County.  She was head of the Special Victims Unit, but otherwise had no executive experience at all.

Representative Morris Udall, who lost New Hampshire to Jimmy Carter by a hair in 1976, must surely disagree. So must a longtime Michigan Congressman named Gerald Ford. Where is it written that governors and mayors, like Dianne Feinstein of San Francisco, are too local, too provincial?

Dianne Feinstein had six years experience as mayor of San Francisco at this writing.  Prior to that, she was on the Board of Supervisors for eight years, serving as its president for a time.  Otherwise, Feinstein also lacked national and foreign-policy experience.

That didn’t stop Richard Nixon from picking Spiro Agnew, a suburban politician who became Governor of Maryland.

And look how well that worked out for Nixon.

Remember the main foreign affairs credential of Georgia’s Governor Carter: He was a member of the Trilateral Commission.

See above.

Presidential candidates have always chosen their running mates for reasons of practical demography, not idealized democracy. One might even say demography is destiny: this candidate was chosen because he could deliver Texas, that one because he personified rectitude, that one because he appealed to the other wing of the party. On occasion, Americans find it necessary to rationalize this rough-and-ready process. What a splendid system, we say to ourselves, that takes little-known men, tests them in high office and permits them to grow into statesmen. This rationale may even be right, but then let it also be fair. Why shouldn’t a little-known woman have the same opportunity to grow? We may even be gradually elevating our standards for choosing Vice Presidential candidates. But that should be done fairly, also. Meanwhile, the indispensable credential for a Woman Who is the same as for a Man Who - one who helps the ticket.

I guess they must have neglected to put the caveat at the bottom in 1984: “This only applies to Democrats.”  Thursday, September 11, 2008

http://hotair.com

*

THE INTERPRETER


By Jerry Holbert


Political Cartoons by Jerry Holbert

www.townhall.com/funnies  

*

Al Qaeda in Iraq's sanctuaries have virtually disappeared from December 2006 to August 2008. Light red areas are where al Qaeda can operate, dark red areas are controlled by al Qaeda.

Al Qaeda's senior leadership has lost confidence in its commander in Iraq and views the situation in the country as dire, according to a series of letters intercepted by Multinational Forces Iraq earlier this year.

The letters, which have been sent exclusively to The Long War Journal by Multinational Forces Iraq, are a series of communications between Ayman al Zawahiri, al Qaeda's second in command, Abu Ayyub al Masri, al Qaeda in Iraq's leader, and Abu Omar al Baghdadi, the leader of al Qaeda's Islamic State of Iraq. These letters were intercepted by Coalition forces in Baghdad on April 24, 2008. One of the letters written by Zawahiri is dated March 6, 2008.

Coalition forces found the letters in the possession of a senior al Qaeda in Iraq leader called Abu Nizar, whose real name is Ali Hamid Ardeny al Essawi. He was killed after he stopped at a checkpoint in Baghdad and later identified by al Qaeda operatives in custody.

Abu Nizar.

At the time of his death, Nizar served as al Qaeda in Iraq's information minister. His responsibilities included running al Qaeda in Iraq's propaganda network as well as the primary link to the regional terror group and al Qaeda's senior leadership.

These communications with al Qaeda in Iraq leaders matched the US military's view that the terror group suffered a major setback in Iraq.

"The letters confirmed our assessment that Al Qaeda has suffered significant damage and serious reverses in Iraq, including widespread rejection of [al Qaeda in Iraq's] indiscriminate violence, extremist ideology, and oppressive practices," General David Petraeus, the Commander of Multinational Forces Iraq told The Long War Journal. "Even Zawahiri recognized that [al Qaeda in Iraq] has lost credibility in Iraq."

Letters show al Qaeda in Iraq's leadership is in disarray

The series of letters highlights the divisions within al Qaeda in Iraq and highlights al Qaeda's senior leadership's questions about the leadership in Iraq. Al Masri is portrayed as an ineffective leader who is refusing to respond to questions by al Qaeda's senior leadership based in Pakistan. Leaders also criticize al Qaeda in Iraq's propaganda campaign, stating the group has intentionally deceived followers by releasing old footage and inflating enemy casualties.

A rash and incompetent leader

Much of the criticism of al Masri comes from a senior al Qaeda in Iraq leader known as Abu Suleiman al Otaibi, a Saudi national who served as a senior leader in al Qaeda's Islamic State of Iraq. Otaibi "migrated" to Afghanistan at the end of 2007, where he then reported to al Qaeda's leadership on al Masri's leadership flaws. Otaibi was killed by US forces during a strike in Paktia province in the spring of 2008.

Otaibi's concerns about al Masri are expressed in Zawahiri's letter to Baghdadi, where al Masri is portrayed as an ineffective, rash leader who has cut himself off from al Qaeda in Iraq's field commanders. Al Masri, according to Otaibi, only communicates through a tight circle of "very leading personalities" in order to avoid being targeted by US forces. He bristles at criticism of his actions or those of his appointed commanders and refuses to accept bad news.

Otaibi's harshest criticism of al Masri is leveled at the latter's decision to send a force of al Qaeda fighters into Ramadi in late June 2007. Al Masri is said to have ordered the al Qaeda fighters to attack Ramadi "in a moment of anger against the brothers ... despite of the great danger." At that time, the Awakening and Iraqi and US security forces consolidated control over much of Anbar province, and al Qaeda’s network was seriously degraded in the region.

The Iraqi police in the Ramadi region received word of al Qaeda in Iraq's plan, and US forces ambushed the group as it gathered in an island on the Euphrates River. The engagement, called the Battle of Donkey Island, resulted in at least 23 al Qaeda fighters killed and dozens captured. Otaibi said only a handful of al Qaeda fighters escaped from the battle.

Failure to communicate

In one letter from Zawahiri to al Masri, Zawahiri implores al Masri to defend himself from criticism from other al Qaeda in Iraq's leadership. Zawahiri then asks for a status update and chides al Masri for failing to respond to prior inquiries.

"We also want to repeat to you our request to write to us full detailed reports about your current conditions," Zawahiri stated. "Also, the brothers request to know about your experiences … and I have asked you about this many times."

Al Qaeda in Iraq's propaganda failures

Otaibi savages al Qaeda in Iraq's propaganda efforts. The group is guilty of recycling old footage from the archives of al Tawhid wal Jihad, the predecessor of al Qaeda in Iraq, and rerunning the footage as new attacks, Otaibi told Zawahiri.

"[The videos] are all old from the archives and were presented as if they were new operations, and this is fraudulent and concealment of the truth," Otaibi was paraphrased as saying in one of the letters. He also states that the group stole video footage from other Sunni insurgent groups and rebranded the content as their own.

Al Qaeda’s handling of its propaganda has been a sore spot among jihadi and insurgent groups for years, said Nick Grace, who tracks al Qaeda's propaganda efforts.

Al Furqan's output in 2007 and 2008. Graph by Nick Grace.

"It's openly known on the al Qaeda forums that the Islamic State of Iraq and al Furqan Media Center churn out archival footage, including years-old attacks by Zarqawi's group al Tawhid wal Jihad," Grace said. "They have also been caught posting videos of attacks conducted by other groups in Iraq with their media logo. Sunni insurgents complained publicly about al Furqan's methods in September 2007."

Al Qaeda in Iraq's propaganda output has been significantly degraded, Grace said. Al Furqan released 111 videos in 2007, according to Grace. Only 34 videos have been release since January 2008.

"On the brink of extinction"

Information from recently captured al Qaeda operatives supports the letters from senior al Qaeda leaders that portray the jihad in Iraq being in disarray, according to a Multinational Forces Iraq document obtained by The Long War Journal.

An operative captured on Aug. 21 said the group has "lost the overall fight" and suffers from "extreme financial difficulties." Al Qaeda in Iraq and the Islamic State of Iraq do "not presently have any long time plan and are only focused on short time fighting," the operative told US forces.

Another operative, also captured on Aug. 21, said "foreign fighters in Iraq are on the brink of extinction and the group's "biggest concern right now is where to sleep at night without being arrested."

Recent estimates of foreign al Qaeda fighters entering Iraq backs up this assertion. From February to June 2007, an estimated 80 to 110 foreign fighters were entering Iraq according to Multinational Forces Iraq. From January to August 2008, the estimate is 12 to 15 foreign fighters entering the country. Senior al Qaeda leaders, including al Masri, were reported to have fled Iraq to Pakistan’s tribal areas earlier this summer.

Al Qaeda in Iraq is also suffering from serious logistical and recruiting problems. Communications have been disrupted and al Qaeda cannot pay its fighters, other captured al Qaeda leaders said. In Baghdad, al Qaeda lost 75 percent of its strength. In Mosul, al Qaeda operations are assessed as being in a "state of irreparable deterioration" and survival is the measure of success.

Throughout Iraq, recruiting is difficult if not impossible. "The main problem is that al Qaeda in Iraq has lost support of the people in Iraq," one captured operative said.

Petraeus advises caution

While the news of al Qaeda's setbacks in Iraq is encouraging, General Petraeus advises caution in moving forward and is hesitant to declare victory prematurely.

"No one here is doing victory dances in the end zone, as AQI [al Qaeda in Iraq] remains lethal and dangerous," he told The Long War Journal. "In fact, though there has been substantial progress, AQI has demonstrated resilience, adaptability, and a continuing capability to carry out barbaric attacks, albeit in much smaller numbers. So we and our Iraqi partners clearly have much work still to do -- and that's what we're endeavoring to do."  Thursday, September 11, 2008

www.longwarjournal.org

*

YOUTUBE CRACKING DOWN ON JIHAD VIDEOS?


By Charles Johnson

Joe Lieberman has apparently gotten some results in his attempt to persuade YouTube to do the right thing: YouTube Yanks Radical Islamist Videos After Lieberman’s Complaint.

YouTube has heeded the call to stop featuring radical Islamists’ video clips.

“Google’s community guidelines for YouTube will now bar videos that incite violence, in addition to videos that contain hate speech and gratuitous violence,” Sen. Joe Lieberman said in Washington on Thursday.

“YouTube was being used by Islamist terrorist organizations to recruit and train followers via the Internet and to incite terrorist attacks around the world, including right here in the United States, and Google should be commended for recognizing that,” he said. “I expect these stronger community guidelines to decrease the number of videos on YouTube produced by Al Qaeda and affiliated Islamist terrorist organizations.”  Thursday, September 11, 2008

http://littlegreenfootballs.com

*

GAZING ON THE GORGON

By Richard Fernandez


Hi gorgeous

Johnathan Freedland of the Guardian claims that the “world” will come to understand the fundamental sickness of America if it doesn’t elect the man the planet “yearns for” in November. He writes these words on behalf of the world:

If Americans choose McCain, they will be turning their back on the rest of the world, choosing to show us four more years of the Bush-Cheney finger. And I predict a deeply unpleasant shift. Until now, anti-Americanism has been exaggerated and much misunderstood: outside a leftist hardcore, it has mostly been anti-Bushism, opposition to this specific administration. But if McCain wins in November, that might well change. Suddenly Europeans and others will conclude that their dispute is with not only one ruling clique, but Americans themselves. For it will have been the American people, not the politicians, who will have passed up a once-in-a-generation chance for a fresh start - a fresh start the world is yearning for.

One of the conceits of the Left is that it is in the automatic majority, if not always in actual numbers then by virtue of inevitable numbers.  Whenever the arithmetical majority doesn’t share its views the assumption is that they soon will. By definition the “vanguard” is always where the majority goes because they will lead it by the nose. Although one would think that the collapse of the Soviet Union might shake this certitude, it has not. John Podhoretz at Commentary thinks this kind of thinking is arises from living in an echo-chamber, a circumstance which sometimes gives rise to an alternate perception of reality. Podhoretez thinks that “the reason Barack Obama seems so rattled by the McCain surge is that he’s never actually faced a competent and agile competitor to his Right, and has never really been called upon to broaden his appeal to voters who live in a different ideological frame.”  The term “flyover country” conveys the idea that the ideological other isn’t just someone you don’t agree with, he’s a person from another universe.

Perhaps the problem has to do as well with his campaign consultant, David Axelrod. … Axelrod comes out of leftist Democratic politics … and he has specialized in helping his candidates  prevail in primary races when winning the Democratic primary is tantamount to winning the entire election. … the general-election contest was a slow-motion coronation. … So this is new for Axelrod, as it is for Obama. They are not running in a mostly liberal, mostly Democratic state. They are running in a 50-50 country, in which far more people describe themselves as “conservative” than say they are “liberal.” For them, it is probably difficult to imagine that Sarah Palin has appeal, but she does.

Johnathan Freeland’s amazement at how anyone could take McCain and Palin seriously recalls the famous remark of Pauline Kael, who upon learning that Richard Nixon beat George McGovern by a landslide in 1972 said, “how could that be? I don’t know a single person who voted for Nixon.” Kael probably traveled in a self-selected and heremetic social circle whose gatekeepers applied unstated but effective political filters.  “All those who don’t belong, keep out.” But it is not just the Left which is cloistered.  A glance at my social networking list would show precious few voters for Obama. If Obama were to win by a landslide I wouldn’t know anyone who liked him either. But while in the past the privilege of belonging to a circle was the province of the elite, today anyone can join his own ghetto. The Internet has made it easy for anyone to restrict his gaze to only what he wants to see. And from there it is but a single step to living in a self-referential world which could be shattered by exposure to contrary information.

Beholding information that will shatter your world view is not unlike looking on a Gorgon. But as the myths remind us, it is sometimes necessary. The Gorgon was a source of both death and renewal. “In Greek mythology, blood taken from the right side of a Gorgon could bring the dead back to life, yet blood taken from the left side was an instantly fatal poison.” When George W. Bush began to have misgivings about the strategy his commanders were pursuing in Iraq, he forced himself to look upon Medusa, as it were, and re-think his position.  The result was the Surge. One of the weaknesses of Barack Obama, which John Podhoretz failed to note, is that it took him an unconscionably long time to admit the effectiveness of the Surge. He could not look upon Medusa and was the worse for it.

Faced with a choice between believing the judgment of a large number of voters who must live with their political choices and his own sophisticated, progressive and correct world view, it is easier for Freeland to imagine that Americans are collectively mad. It is the disappointment that ‘they’ are not going to be like him that cuts so deeply. When Freeland says that “suddenly Europeans and others will conclude” that America is hopeless, he doesn’t really mean that the USA will suddenly stop becoming successful, powerful, influential or rich. What he probably means is that America has lost the inestimable chance of becoming like Europe. Freeland ruefully writes:

Of course I know that even to mention Obama’s support around the world is to hurt him. Incredibly, that large Berlin crowd damaged Obama at home, branding him the “candidate of Europe” and making him seem less of a patriotic American. But what does that say about today’s America, that the world’s esteem is now unwanted? If Americans reject Obama, they will be sending the clearest possible message to the rest of us - and, make no mistake, we shall hear it.

There’s that “we” again.  Wednesday, September 10, 2008

http://pajamasmedia.com/richardfernandez




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