April 6, 2010
WAR/POLITICS: Quick Links 4/6/10
*Streiff looks at the disingenuous uproar over a cameraman and reporter affiliated with Reuters who were embedded with insurgents during a firefight in Bagdad in 2007 and got killed in an American helicopter attack on the insurgents
Bill Roggio has more here. I've written frequently about the idiocy of the left-wing "chicken hawk" argument - i.e., that only people who have served in the military can advocate for war, while anybody can advocate against it - but on stories like this, that involve not the security of the nation writ large but rather the nitty-gritty of how rules of engagement are put into practice during combat - it really is a very bad idea to have people with no military background jumping to conclusions just from watching a video and adding in a huge presumption that the U.S. military is always in the wrong.
Left-wingers have attempted to spin the belated release of the video as some sort of "cover-up," but as you can see from the Washington Post report at the time that streiff quotes, the basic facts were never concealed, and if the video - taken out of context - would be propaganda for the enemy, I see no reason why the military ought to have an obligation to publicize it. We don't have real-time reporting of all military and intelligence activities on C-SPAN (yet) for a reason.
UPDATE: Rusty at the Jawa Report examines the evidence showing, unsurprisingly, that left-wing blogs are flatly misrepresenting the evidence by claiming that the Apache attack at issue did not target armed men.
SECOND UPDATE: The WaPo reporter on hand sees nothing the military could have done differently:
"An operation took place. And it was an operation with merit because it was preceded by soldiers just getting banged up all over the place and they had to do something about it. ... The operation was planned thoroughly for days and days and out they went. ...
"Here came some guys walking down the street -- one with a (rocket) launcher; one, at least one, with an AK(-47). And in the middle of them were two guys, one of whom had something long (a camera) hanging around his neck. And there was no word to the soldiers that journalists were going to be there.
*Rudy Giuliani on the insanity of Obama's adherence to nuclear freeze movement thinking circa 1983 (which, if you'll recall, is Obama's longstanding posture, going all the way back to a 1983 college newspaper piece he wrote in which he viewed the Nuclear Freeze movement as insufficiently ambitious). Here's Rudy:
"The president doesn't understand the concept of leverage," Giuliani continues. "He's taken away our military option and it looks like he would prevent Israel from using a military option. He also hasn’t gotten Russia or China to agree. With Russia, he should have made them put their cards on the table. Instead, like with the missile shield, he gave up and got nothing for it. He negotiated against himself. That is like reducing the price of your house before you get an offer."
"Leverage means the other guy has to be afraid of you," says Giuliani, a former associate attorney general. "I worked for a president, Ronald Reagan, who understood that brilliantly, and that’s how he won the Cold War. You need to appear to be unpredictable. [Reagan's] State Department understood that you need to create pressure, to create something they're afraid of. Tell me where Obama has done that."
Conservatives like to joke that Obama would be tougher on our enemies if he'd pretend they were Republicans, but of course this equally describes one reason why he's been unsuccessful in getting Republicans to support his domestic initiatives: he's given the GOP no downside to opposing him. Meanwhile, Charles Krauthammer looks at some (but not all; he doesn't even get to Israel) of Obama's mistreatment of U.S. allies. An open question is whether Obama thinks we shouldn't have allies, or just have the wrong ones.
*The Cinderella story of Butler's basketball team brings back thoughts of Mitch Daniels' Butler commencement speech in 2009, reflecting among other things on his youth as a Butler hoops fan and "the Butler Way"; it's one of the best political speeches of recent years, all the moreso because at the time he wasn't expecting to run for office again (as of now, Daniels appears to be at least thinking of running for President in 2012). Tony Lee at the Atlantic expands on the "Butler Way" theme and how it fits with Daniels.
*Mark Bowden's profile of General Petraeus is compelling and a must-read.
*Jim Geraghty catches a hilarious example of pop culture/historical ignorance from Katrina vanden Heuvel.
When most of your commenters are polite, I am called a leftist (usually with several adjectives). The "uproar" over the helicopter incident is ridiculous; if one were to research the context in which the incident occurred, it was at worst a tragic mistake.
But, you totally mischaracterize the "'chicken hawk' argument." The chicken hawks -- Dick "hang 'em high" Cheney being perhaps the worst -- are those who express bellicose rhetoric but are wholly unwilling and completely lacking in phyiscal courage to put themselves on the line.
What a shock though. No comments about the utter moral depravity of the Vatican and its hierarchy. Keeping everything under the covers and avoiding embarassment is more important than protecting innocent children -- talk about a religious doctrine. If anything like this was associated with Islam, your head would be exploding. in your own way, you are a moral chicken hawk.
Giuliani's critique of Obama's new nuclear weapons policy is moronic. Under prior Bush doctrine the US reserves the right to nuke any state, nuclear or not, and even to do so without being attacked first on a "preemptive war" theory. Thus all countries have incentive under that doctrine to get nukes of their own to protect themselves from attack. Obama on the other hand says no we wont nuke you unless you (1) have nukes or (2) are in violation of the nonproliferation treaty (meaning Iran, who refuses inspection). This gives the incentive to not develop nukes. Giuliani's "leverage" argument is absolutely laughable given that under Bush everybody might as well develop nukes of their own since we wont commit to not attacking them if they lack nukes. Ironic too considering he gave up all his "leverage" by conceding Iowa, New Hampshire, and other early primaries and banked on a win in Florida...and by so doing blew his leverage to get votes and Florida endorsements since he was so behind in the delegate count already.
Noun, verb, 9-11.
Yes that evil Bush policy on nukes that somehow resulted in nuclear programs starting in North Korea, Iran, Pakistan and India years before Bush was ever President. Your understanding of why countries start these programs is very limited. In case you haven't noticed we have had nuclear weapons for 65 years-since WWII how many times have we used these weapons -Zero. The notion that countries start programs based on the US policies alone is ridiculous. These countries have all sorts of reasons that have nothing to do with us at all in most cases. The notion that these countries start programs that will result in a small number of bombs with limited delivery systems against a country with thousands of bombs, who still would be able to launch a pre-emptive strike is likewise not reasonable.
I always wonder what industrial strength crack lefties are smoking when they talk about Giuliani's record. Especially in light of the fact that these are the same people who voted for Obama, Biden, Kerry and Edwards. Giuliani was an incredible Mayor for the 8 years before 9/11-a transformative leader that took on problems everyone else was afraid of. He easily would have won a 3rd term if allowed to run at the time. The city did a 180 under his leadership. Close to 2300 people were being murdered yearly in NYV when he came in, 1.2 people on welfare, declining population, business leaving in the city in droves, etc,etc.
"The notion that countries start programs based on the US policies alone is ridiculous. These countries have all sorts of reasons that have nothing to do with us at all in most cases."
I'm going to somewhat defend Obama here. What he is doing is increasing his leverage against those who violate or refuse to participate in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, by giving "safe harbor" (this is a promise with no requirement to be kept - any future President or even this one can rescind it at any time, and given Obama's track record in keeping promises I doubt this will work) to those who do adhear to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. As a practical matter it is almost unimaginable who would be part of the treaty and not in violation who would provoke a Nuclear attack from the US.
So yes, the US gives an unenforceable commitment to not nuke someone who uses chemical or biological weapons against us if they are part of the NPT and haven't violated it.
I could see giving that up for the sake of extra leverage to get a nation to cooperate with the NPT.
Streiff says the uproar is disingenuous.
I'm sure he'd say the same thing if a foreign military invaded the US, shot our journalists and then killed citizens who stopped by to help the wounded.
Of course that would never happen, because the US doesn't have journalists.