Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
June 17, 2008
WAR/POLITICS: No, We Can't Beat The Terrorists?

Another Day, Another Obama Aide. Not The Richard Danzig Obama Knew?

pooh_tigger_catching_bee.jpgNo day is complete without an Obama aide doing something that Barack Obama will sooner or later have to disavow, and this time it's an old favorite variety: the foreign press quoting a national security adviser speaking the counsel of defeatism:

Richard Danzig, who served as Navy Secretary under President Clinton and is tipped to become National Security Adviser in an Obama White House, told a major foreign policy conference in Washington that the future of US strategy in the war on terrorism should follow a lesson from the pages of Winnie the Pooh, which can be shortened to: if it is causing you too much pain, try something else.

Mr Danzig told the Centre for New American Security: "Winnie the Pooh seems to me to be a fundamental text on national security."

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In a subtle break from Mr Bush's belief that the war on terror can be won, Mr Danzig, who is a Pentagon adviser on bioterrorism, warned that while the West can defeat individual terrorist groups and plots, it can never entirely remove the threat posed by nuclear proliferation or the prospect of bioterrorism.

Pooh Bear is a justly beloved children's character, but of course the Hundred Acre Wood is never inhabited by by anything more menacing than bees and bad dreams (either of which is more than a match for the gentle-hearted Pooh). Not exactly the mental image most folks need at a time when you have Obama supporters lauding him as the antidote to tough guys and action heroes. It seems so long ago, does it not, that the Democrats would nominate a man who could say (and mean) things like this:

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

This much we pledge - and more.

To those old allies whose cultural and spiritual origins we share, we pledge the loyalty of faithful friends. United, there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided, there is little we can do - for we dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder.

Barack Obama would say to John F. Kennedy: No, we can't.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:18 PM | Politics 2008 • | War 2007-12 | Comments (13) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

What a dumb thread. It's all about the costs of war versus the benefits, not whether we can dominate terrorist militias with bigger bombs and the like. You can debate that cost-benefit analysis legitimately but this idea that Obama opposes continuing the war because he doesnt believe in U.S. military capability is absolute , pure, unadulterated horsesheet.

Posted by: robert at June 17, 2008 11:13 PM

What you are reading Robert is panic. Like the law, with the old adage, "If you have the law, pound the law; if you have the truth, pound the truth; if you have neither, pound the table." It's table pounding time for the right.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at June 18, 2008 8:33 AM

OK, so I read this article. My observation is “So what’s new here?” Of course some people have a desire to transcend their normal lives to become involved in something bigger themselves. Nothing new about this. Some people get off on violent behavior-nothing new here either. When these two concepts are focused by evil men, bad things happen to good people. That is why we need to proactive in combating terrorism instead of being reactive. Bush’s approach since 9/11 is go after the terrorists and not wait for them to hit us.

What’s Danzig’s point? By stating “In a subtle break from Mr Bush’s belief that the war on terror can be won, Mr Danzig … warned that while the West can defeat individual terrorist groups and plots, it can never entirely remove the threat posed by nuclear proliferation or the prospect of bioterrorism.” Does he imply that we should give up? What actual “rethink(ing) its approach to the Middle East” is he suggesting? I see no ideas here, just criticism. Is he going to the left’s usual “it’s society’s fault” or ”US Foreign policy has caused this” or “If we all sat by a campfire and just talked, we would love each other” argument?

Explain to me what he is suggesting could be done differently? Make the terrorists read Winnie the Pooh?

Posted by: Lee at June 18, 2008 10:20 AM

It's a little tough to fit this speech into Crank's narrative that Obama is a defeatist on terror. Frankly, I found the Pooh analogy a little weird, but nothing there suggested that Obama was somehow going to give up the fight on terror.

From an election strategy perspective, I don't see why Republicans would want to focus on that particular narrative. This "yes we can" stuff is going to come across as slick propaganda.

Why not just consistently push Obama to provide a policy on terror? The Republican message should be: "Obama has no plan for terror." Force him to be specific, -then- maybe you can have some basis for calling him a defeatist, depending on what he wants to do.

Posted by: MVH at June 18, 2008 10:32 AM

MVH,

Sounds like a plan to me. Who can successfully push Obama except his supporters or the Media? The Republicans and the right can ask him all they want, but if these requests are not echoed by the mainstream media then Obama can ignore them.

Posted by: Lee at June 18, 2008 11:05 AM

McCain has to do it - he's the opposing candidate. He's really going to have to go on the attack. I don't know what would be most effective - some sort of big speech or press conference or maybe a series of speeches where he consistently hammers away at it. Call Obama's foreign policy an "empty shell". Something really in-his-face that is bound to attract media attention.


Posted by: MVH at June 18, 2008 11:21 AM

Why is Tigger giving Pooh a rabbit punch?

Posted by: jim at June 18, 2008 1:48 PM

"Why is Tigger giving Pooh a rabbit punch?"

It's a metaphor for the war in Iraq. George Bush (Tigger) is striking Iraq (Pooh) instead of pursuing a small terrorist organization (the bee). :)

Posted by: MVH at June 18, 2008 2:04 PM

"Why is Tigger giving Pooh a rabbit punch?"

It's a metaphor for the war in Iraq. George Bush (Tigger) is striking Iraq (Pooh) instead of pursuing a small terrorist organization (the bee). :)

Posted by: MVH at June 18, 2008 2:04 PM

What repels me about Danzig's musings is not so much the Pooh reference. But it is probably what makes Obama's supporters all jiggly-legged.

if it is causing you too much pain, try something else

That has to be music to the ears of the pacifist Left, as well as those who just want Bush's war to go away before Bush has a chance to win it. It hurts too much! Run away!

Posted by: spongeworthy at June 18, 2008 3:35 PM

That (above) is the craziest thing I have read in a long, long time. Sorry, that's plain nuts.

Posted by: jim at June 18, 2008 4:45 PM

I think any sane person would agree the Iraq War hurt a lot -- thousands of American soldiers dead, even more seriously wounded, a trillion dollar price tag, alienation of our allies, and so on.

Is there anything wrong with trying another approach to saving the world from terrorism?

I think Richard's Danzig's approach - getting inside the minds of the terrorists - would work alot better then President Bush's approach: declaring them evil and invading random countries populated by people that look like 'terrorists.'

Crank -- I expect your next post will be titled 'Obama's View on Kitchen Sinks and Why He is all Wrong," because you've already thrown just about everything else at him (none too convincingly I might add).

Posted by: Patrick at June 18, 2008 8:54 PM

"Is there anything wrong with trying another approach to saving the world from terrorism? "

What, pray tell, would you suggest? The straight law enforcement approach failed - spectacularly.

This also presupposes that our current approach is failing. The facts on the ground both abroad and at home, suggest otherwise.

Posted by: Rory at June 18, 2008 10:01 PM
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