Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Leadership at last

Drunken practical jokers
pour cologne on friend’s
crotch, set it on fire.

Obama’s trip to the Middle East so far has been a resounding success, and he is emerging much stronger than when he left. But, of course, he is under non-stop criticism from McCain and the Brafia. McCain harps on his theme that Obama made up his strategy even before he visited the Middle East and consulted with people on the ground – namely General Petraeus. Obama’s response was absolutely breathtaking in its “truthiness:” I did listen to General Petraeus. But I also listened to many other people. On the basis of the information I received I made a judgment. That judgement is that my idea of a 16 month period to withdraw our troops is both reasonable and in our best interest. I said, if I were General Petraeus I might feel as he does. But as the potential Commander-in–Chief I have to look beyond just the position of the Generals, at the broader world picture. And I am confident in my judgement on this matter. He is, of course, being accused of arrogance, even though he is speaking the absolute truth. What he is really saying, besides the obvious truth, is that he is not going to hide behind the skirts of General Petraeus as Bush/Cheney have been trying to do. Remember, Petraeus is their boy, having replaced all the other Generals and officers who disagreed with them. Petraeus is simply reflecting what Bush/Cheney want him to do (he could also truly believe in his position, which is basically irrelevant). Obama has consulted with other Generals, with troops on the ground, with the leaders of other countries, and who knows who all else. He has weighed this information and made a decision about the situation. He is confident in his own judgment. This does not make him arrogant. But it does indicate that he intends to be a leader and not just try to pass the buck off to one or more Generals as Bush/Cheney have tried to do. Obviously, it is not up to General Petraeus to decide American Foreign Policy. It is true that Obama is not yet President, but it is also true that the world is looking at him as if he is, and wishing that he will be. He is being given what is basically Presidential treatment (apparently al-Maliki even literally rolled out the red carpet for him). He was almost mobbed when he spoke to our people in Bagdad.

McCain says that Obama was against the “surge” and now refused to admit that it worked. Obama says he would vote against it again if he had the chance. McCain insists it worked and that we have won a great victory (the New York Times just turned down an article by McCain on Iraq because there was no definition of victory). Obama says it is impossible to tell whether the surge actually worked or not, because the Sunnis decided to turn against al Quaida and al Sadr ordered his militia to stop their activities, and it may well have been this that made it look like it was the surge that reduced the violence. McCain insists the so-called “Sunni awakening” was a result of the surge. In fact, it occurred at least six months before the surge. McCain is either lying or unaware of the actual facts of history. There is an interesting, if confusing, situation here with respect to the surge. If the goal of the surge was to give the Iraqis time to get their political act together (which it supposedly was), you cannot use the reduction in the amount of violence as a measure of success (that was not the purpose of the surge). On the other hand, if the Sunnis have now agreed to rejoin the al Maliki government, and that government is now confident enough to insist we leave their country, you might well argue that the surge did, in fact, work. However, if it worked in this sense, and if we have thus achieved our objective, why do Bush/Cheney and McCain insist we have to remain there? Could it possibly be that the real aim of the surge was not what they claimed in the first place (giving them time to form a viable government), but, rather, just a further attempt to gain and maintain control over all that oil? Oh, I forgot, oil had nothing to do with our invasion of Iraq. So, either the surge didn’t work, so we have to stay in Iraq, or the surge did work, so we have to stay in Iraq. Heads we win, tails the Iraqis lose. It’s the Brafia way. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn they are having the mint make some two- headed coins.

In any case, I am proud of Obama. So far he has lived up to my expectations. He is now in Israel where things will perhaps not run so smoothly for him. He is on record as saying he wants to re-establish the U.S. as an honest broker between Israel and the Palestinians. The Israelis will not like that. They have to have it all their way all the time, and if you dare to question anything they do, you are automatically labeled an anti-Semite. Of course they can’t come right out and admit they don’t want an honest broker – but they don’t). When Obama speaks in Berlin it is estimated there may be 100,000 in attendance. The Brafia will no doubt use this to brand Obama as a secret Nazi, or some such absurdity. I think we should be prepared for absurdities about Obama that will set a record for fantasy and science fiction. The Brafia record is so criminal and abysmal what else can they do?

The idea of an incarnation of God is absurd: why should the human race think itself so superior to bees, ants, and elephants as to be put in this unique relation to its maker? Christians are like a council of frogs in a marsh or a synod of worms on a dung-hill croaking and squeaking "for our sakes was the world created."
Julian the Apostate

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