The judgement to lead

I liveblogged the Democrat debate in Ohio two weeks ago, but several statements from the previous debate in Austin, especially some comments by Sen. Obama, have stuck in my mind, kind of like an annoying jingle that just won’t go away. This is from the transcript, (source CNN)

…the question is, on the critical issues that we face right now, who’s going to show the judgment to lead? And I think that on every critical issue that we’ve seen in foreign policy over the last several years — going into Iraq originally, I didn’t just oppose it for the sake of opposing it.

I said this is going to distract us from Afghanistan; this is going to fan the flames of anti-American sentiment; it’s going to cost us billions of dollars and thousands of lives and overstretch our military. And I was right.

Obama went on to say, I was right several more times, especially regarding the war in Iraq, which he called “the most important foreign policy issue of our generation.

In March of 2003, Operation Iraqi Freedom was begun after a year of military buildup, and many UN speeches and Security Council resolutions, all of which was met with defiance by Saddam H.

Shortly thereafter, Libya initiated a dialog when it requested Britain to broker talks with the US on WMDs. A US-led naval operation in October 2003 interdicted a shipment of uranium-enrichment components bound for Libya, resulting in the seizure of thousands of uranium centrifuge parts. This seizure prompted Libya to make its pledge to dismantle weapons of mass destruction. Libya allowed US inspectors to visit weapons sites, which were more advanced than Washington previously thought.

Without the aggressive use of force in Iraq in 2003, we would now be facing a nuclear armed Libya.

afghanistan2.jpgOn Afghanistan and Pakistan, Obama said… “I’ve said very clearly that we have put all our eggs in the Musharraf basket. That was a mistake. We should be going after al Qaeda and making sure that Pakistan is serious about hunting down terrorists, as well as expanding democracy.

And I was right about that.

On the issues that have come up that a commander in chief is going to have to make decisions on, I have shown the judgment to lead.

I’m not sure where Obama would have staged the military buildup for an Afghan campaign. Pakistan was not our ally at the time. Musharraf was the only player in the theater. After the naval seizure of the Libyan nuclear shipment, and responding to mounting US pressure, Musharraf began two months of investigations which concluded that two of Pakistan’s top nuclear scientists, A.Q. Khan and Mohammed Farooq had supplied sensitive technology to Iran and Libya and North Korea through a black market based in Dubai.

Without the aggressive use of force in Iraq in 2003, the A.Q. Khan network would have continued supplying nuclear weapons technology to our enemies.

And, without the aggressive use of force in 2003, Saddam H. would have continued to defy UN sanctions, continued to pursue WMDs, continued to reward Palestinian suicide bombers, continued to fire on coalition aircraft which were patrolling the “no-fly” zone, etc, etc, etc.

And yet, Senator Obama claims to be “right” on the most important foreign policy issue of this generation.

I know it is unrealistic to expect the media to draw him out this, but if the Republicans fail to do so, then they deserve to lose this election.

++++

(thank you to the excellent resource globalsecurity.org )

More Americans See Progress In Iraq! Pew Research Poll Finds!

chart-progress-in-iraq.gif

If you have some time to read this extensive survey, it is very informative. I recommend taking a latrine break, pouring a fresh cup of…whatever, and getting comfortable, as it is highly detailed, if you click on each and every line of the report titled, “Obama Has The Lead, But Potential Problems Too (Increasing Optimism About Iraq).” The graph above is from Section 5: Iraq, Afghanistan and Terrorism, and was the page that really focused in on the gains in the American perception of positive gains.
Briefly, here are some numbers.
Most Americans now believe the war in Iraq will succeed, that Republicans, Democrats and Independents all see signs of progress in the effort, and that only 14 percent of those polled want an immediate withdrawal from Iraq.
The number of Americans who say the military effort is going very or fairly well is much higher now than a year ago, 48 percent versus 30 percent in February 2007.
The poll shows those who believe the military effort is going well and those who don’t is tied at 48-48. In February 07, two-thirds of poll respondents said the effort was not going well, 67-30.
In this poll, 49 percent now say the United States is making progress in defeating insurgents, while just 35 percent say it is losing ground. And for the first time since fall 2006, a majority, 49 percent, believe the MNF coalition is making advances in the key objective of establishing democracy in Iraq, while 40 percent disagree.

It isn’t entirely rosy, but is an indicator from a year ago how much attitudes have shifted, when the surge had just begun,  U.S. casualties were very high,  the Chicken-Hearts in Congress were claiming the war in Iraq is lost, and the surge won’t work. This is also despite the persistent negative coverage of the conflict by the Lame Stream media, and it’s ignoring any positive news.

Like I said, it is very informative, it even includes it’s sample size and methodology, and is well worth a look see.

R.I.P., Jeff Healey!

The music world is waking up this morning, to the tragic loss of one it’s greats Sunday night.

Guitar wizard Norman Jeff Healey of Toronto died Sunday of cancer. He was 41.
Healey was considered a prodigy and earned numerous Juno and Grammy nominations in the course of his career.
He lost both his eyes to retinoblastoma before he was eight-months-old, but never let that slow him down.

Early last year, Healey underwent surgery to remove cancerous tissue from his legs, and later from both lungs; aggressive radiation treatments and chemotherapy failed to halt the spread of the disease.
Healey – who was adopted as an infant and didn’t have any information about his birth parents – said in an interview with the Citizen in July 2005 that he didn’t know if he inherited the illness or developed it due to external factors.
“I do not regret the situation I am in at all,” he said.
While his daughter, Rachel, didn’t inherit the form of retinoblastoma Healey had, his son wasn’t so lucky. Amniotic fluid showed that the now three-year-old Derek carried the mutation.
It also wasn’t until 2005 that Healey learned that he and his son were at risk for secondary cancers.
“I used to believe that once they had removed my eyes, that was the end of the story,” Healey said. “I understand now that having this (mutation) in my blood, this won’t be my last encounter with cancer.”

Healey is survived by his children, Rachel and Derek, as well as his wife, Cristie, father and stepmother, Bud and Rose Healey, and sisters Laura and Linda. Funeral arrangements are still being made.

His website said Sunday that he died with his wife, Cristie, at his bedside in Toronto’s St. Joseph’s Hospital.

Source.

Jeff Healey, died far too soon, and he will be missed.
A tribute video, “I See The Light” for this occasion seems fitting in more than one way, as this album title earned him a Grammy nomination in 1988.

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