McCain, Graham support Obama on Gitmo

FYI, I just got this release from Lindsey Graham's office:


Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and John McCain (R-Arizona) today issued the following statement regarding the executive order put forth by President Obama calling for the closure of the prison at Guantanamo:  

“We support President Obama’s decision to close the prison at Guantanamo, reaffirm America’s adherence to the Geneva Conventions, and begin a process that will, we hope, lead to the resolution of all cases of Guantanamo detainees,” said Senator Lindsey Graham and Senator John McCain.  “The executive orders issued today constitute an important step in the right direction but leave several major issues unaddressed.”
“Numerous difficult issues remain,” Senator Graham and Senator McCain continued.  “Present at Guantanamo are a number of detainees who have been cleared for release but have found no foreign country willing to accept them.  Other detainees have been deemed too dangerous for release, but the sensitive nature of the evidence makes prosecution difficult.  The military’s proper role in processing detainees held on the battlefield at Bagram, Afghanistan, and other military prisons around the world must be defended, but that is left unresolved.  Also unresolved is the type of judicial process that would replace the military commissions. We believe the military commissions should have been allowed to continue their work.  We look forward to working with the President and his administration on these issues, keeping in mind that the first priority of the U.S. government is to guarantee the security of the American people.”


… which seems to me an appropriate stance for the loyal opposition. They support their commander in chief because they share his concerns that our nation live up to its highest ideals — which is completely consistent with their advocacy during the Bush administration. (And remember, McCain said that he, too, would have closed the Gitmo facility if elected.) At the same time, they make sure they get on the record the unresolved problems inherent in this move. Smart, principled and appropriate.

45 thoughts on “McCain, Graham support Obama on Gitmo

  1. Doug Ross

    I guess the Obama’s don’t have to worry about what type of dog to get their daughters. Seems like there will be plenty of lapdogs sniffing around the White House to choose from.
    File this one under “Reasons Republicans Didn’t Vote For McCain”.
    (note: I agree with the decision to close the prison at Guantanomo… I just don’t agree with Senators who call Obama a threat to national security in October and reverse course in January).

  2. Doug Ross

    And maybe Senators McCain and Graham could prove they are fiscal conservatives by combining their PR’s staffs.

  3. Bill C.

    Are you surprised that Graham sucks up to whoever is in power? He’s been doing it since he got to Washington. He was Bush’s biggest “yes man/woman” on Capitol Hill, it looks like he’s working for that same title under Obama. If “anybody” would run against him, (Republican, Democrat, Communist, Baptist) they’d get my vote… I’d vote to leave the slot open if it were a choice.

  4. Lee Muller

    This Executive Order does nothing for now.
    * It says to close GITMO in January 2010, so they can figure out where to jail these dangerous prisoners.
    * It does suspend the trials until they figure out which alternative court to use
    * It retains the option of remaining at GITMO or even re-opening GITMO, if they have no place to put these prisoners or future prisoners.
    1. Go back to what Clinton was doing: sending the prisoners to Saudi Arabia and Egypt for torture. Clinton sent 150 prisoners there that have disappeared.
    2. Send them to the European countries which have criticized GITMO, but the Red Cross says GITMO is far more humane than most European prisons.
    3. Send prisoners to local jails in the home Congressional districts of B. Hussein Obama, John Murtha, Dennis Kucinich, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and the others who want to shut down GITMO.

  5. blue bunny

    I find it disgusting that one of the Obamanation’s first acts is to pander to our enemies.
    I’m sending Graham a windsock.

  6. Brad Warthen

    Lee mentions rendition…
    You know, while I don’t advocate it, I’ve never really sat up nights worrying about folks who want to blow us up being sent to Saudi and other such places to be handled according to local custom, for this reason: There seems to me a certain poetic justice in folks who are so hot to trot for Sharia and the like to be sent to a place that actually is run along repressive Islamist lines. You want it? You got it.
    Yes, I’m opposed to torture. And yes, there is a chance that some detainees might actually be innocent. I’m just saying that of all the things that one might worry about, rendition would be low on my list of things to condemn. I’m much more concerned about making sure our OWN people don’t waterboard or hook batteries up to or sic dogs on those in our custody, or otherwise go all Abu Ghaib on them.
    If I’m in charge and I’m asked whether to subject a prisoner to rendition, I’ll say don’t do it. Absolutely not. And I’ll follow up to make sure no one misunderstands me the way Henry II’s thugs did. I don’t hold with the Jack Bauer approach in any way, shape or form. I’m just saying that the idea of rendition, as nasty as it can be, isn’t quite as awful to me as some other things are. I’m saying there’s a hierarchy of moral outrages, and rendition isn’t at the top of it for me.

  7. Lee Muller

    So, if Hussein Obama makes good on his campaign promise to hand over G.W. Bush and Dick Cheney to The Hague for trial, shouldn’t Bill Clinton, Eric Holder, and Janet Reno also be tried for the 150 prisoners they sent to Saudi Arabia and Egypt?
    That’s where Bill Clinton got some of his information about the Iraq WMD.

  8. Brad Warthen

    Actually… and others correct me if I’m wrong here… Obama has been pretty clear that he wants to look forward, not back, and has left all that “prosecute Bush” stuff to the more extreme, and marginalized, elements of his party.
    In other words, while may not want to move on, Obama does. And I think he’d be very happy for Lee to move on with him…

  9. bud

    Indeed. Here’s an interesting little article I found on the web. I’m glad to see we’re moving on from the stuffy dress code of the previous administration:
    A photo of President Obama in the Oval Office this morning is especially interesting because it’s clear he’s instituted a new dress code: The new president is not wearing a suit jacket. This from
    It was a rule during the Bush administration that no one ever enter the Oval Office without a jacket.

  10. blue bunny

    i agree, i’ve heard the same, and i don’t think the prosecute Bush agenda is going anywhere.
    i agree with your points on rendition as well, but a better course may be for the military to adhere to the Geneva Convention and do summary executions in the field. Combatants out of uniform should be treated as spies until the jihadists sign on to the Geneva Convention, put on uniforms and quit hiding among civilians.

  11. Doug Ross

    > And yes, there is a chance that some >detainees might actually be innocent.
    Another “nuance” in Brad’s views on the sanctity of human life. Fetus = human; possible terrorist = not

  12. Lee Muller

    Brad, I thought journalists looked for facts, not their feelings. When did Obama ever reverse his campaign promise to turn Bush and Cheney over for prosecution outside the US? He specifically mentioned The Hague as being acceptable to him.
    Don’t worry about getting information out of the terrorists. If Obama and the Democrats want to protect them here, the military just won’t send any of them here.

  13. Birch Barlow

    Good for Graham and McCain for supporting the closing of GTMO.
    Not because they are supporting their President — that isn’t their job. Not because it is good for the security of the nation.
    But because it is the right thing to do. GTMO is a nightmare that should never have existed in this country.

  14. KP

    Time for everybody to accept the facts of life: elections are about getting elected, and that’s about partisan politics. People say things. Those things aren’t necessarily true, and if they might have some element of truth, they definitely don’t give the whole nuanced picture. We could wish it were different. But we’re grown-ups.
    Doug, if you agree that Guantanamo should be closed, then get over the campaign rhetoric (because that’s all it was) and applaud the progress. Be glad people are willing to work together to do what you think should be done.

  15. Bart

    If so many Americans disagree with the tactics used on “24”, then why is it one of the highest rated shows on television, year after year after year? Next to American Idol, “24” is one of the most successful shows ever on television.
    bud, its not about being stuffy, its about respect for the office. Nothing wrong with expecting anyone who comes into the Oval Room to be wearing a coat and tie.
    When I worked in the ME, the last place you ever wanted to end up was inside their penal system for any reason whatsoever. After 3 days, either you have family or friends provide you with food and necessities or be prepared to live on the minimal nourishment necessary to stay alive. Don’t expect to have a roomy exercise yard either. Their version of an exercise yard is a 4 to 6 inch round post buried deep in the ground and a 6 to 8 foot long leather strap or chain tied or locked around your neck and then tethered to the post – in the sun – for up to 10 hours a day. And those are the good jails. The mediocre ones located in outlying regions are the ones where prisoners are lead up a ladder to the top of a cone shaped stone tower with a parapet, let down with a rope ladder and then left alone with whatever else is in their with you. Food and water is handed to you through a long, narrow slit in the stone wall. I can only be thankful we never had to get anyone out of the really bad ones. We had one of our employees disappear for several days until he was located in the local jail. After that experience, he walked the straight and narrow without questions or hesitation. What he went through made Abu Gharib or Gitmo look like a Sunday School picnic and we had no recourse or no one to lodge a complaint with. When we tried the American Counsulate, we were told plainly, it is their country, their laws, live with it.
    Doug, a fetus was not responsible for 9/11, terrorists were. A fetus has no choice in the matter of life or death, the terrorist does. Terrorists target innocent children, women, and men when they set off bombs in public places, fly airplanes into high rise office buildings at 9:00 am, or detonate a bomb at a government building in Oklahoma City. A fetus who has done nothing to deserve death is thrown into a trash container or incinerator at 9:00 am after extraction from the mother’s womb. What was the point you were trying to make? Terrorists are humans? I go along with that but only to the degree they are biological creatures who resemble human beings.

  16. Heidi Peacock

    I pipe in for Bart: “Terrorists are humans?”
    Pansies, all, if you buy that line of bubble gum propaganda.
    [I hereby end my war with Brad Warthen…I am moving on to the REAL enemy.]

  17. Brad Warthen

    bud and I might find a lot of stuff to agree on, but we’re going to butt head on the dress code thing. I like my president, and the guys around him, to dress the part — something that I think Obama does quite well, by the way. He projects a kind of early-60s Best and Brightest look; I can’t really put my finger on it (my wife says it’s because he’s so slender, and so clothes look on him the way they looked back in the skinny tie days). I expressed concern back during the campaign that he — and Biden and McCain, too — went tieless a little more than I wanted to see. But so did Bobby Kennedy, and he knew when to wear a tie. So does Obama.

    Long live proper neckwear. A president without a tie is just relaxing a little too much for my taste. As long as I’ve gotta wear a tie (and if I don’t, I’m not showing proper respect to people who meet with the editorial board), so should the POTUS.

  18. Birch Barlow

    If so many Americans disagree with the tactics used on “24”, then why is it one of the highest rated shows on television, year after year after year? Next to American Idol, “24” is one of the most successful shows ever on television.
    Are you being serious here? If so, this is horrible logic. Most people in this country realize the difference between fiction and non-fiction when they are watching TV. By the same standard, people who watch the Sopranos do not support the criminal activity on that show.
    If the point of your paragraph about Middle Eastern prisons was to show that they are inhumane, then good job. If the point of that paragraph was to justify the existence of GTMO by pointing out a less humane place somewhere else in the world, then you failed to make a logical argument. If your point was something else, I apologize for misunderstanding.
    Finally, I don’t think Doug was comparing the sanctity of life of fetuses with terrorists, but instead with possible terrorists — some of which are innocent.

  19. Brad Warthen

    I didn’t mind that Sarah Palin didn’t wear a tie. A double standard, yes, but what are you gonna do? Women have it tough enough. At occasions where our solution is to wear a suit, they have this infinite variety of decisions to make. And best of all, if the affair is formal, WE GET TO WEAR THE VERY SAME SUIT EVERY TIME. I don’t know who made that rule, but I’m pretty sure he was one of us.
    I have a tux that didn’t cost me a dime. Robert Ariail gave it to me second-hand about a decade ago when he bought a new one, and I still wear it when occasion demands. I’m dead serious. (I had to have it taken in a little, by the way.) What a deal. Sometimes when I’m putting it on I worry that maybe I look like Mel Gibson in “The Year of Living Dangerously,” when he went to the reception in a tux he’d dug off the closet floor or something, and in the scene where he’s trying to make time with Sigourney Weaver at the party, you can see the back of the coat is dirty. But hey, they let him into the party, and Ms. Weaver didn’t seem to mind.

  20. Karen McLeod

    Birch, my fear is precisely that all too many people don’t understand the difference between the likes of “24” and reality. I’m not sure that most people understand that that things are seldom as black/white as TV shows make them out to be, nor that solutions always work out for the ‘heroes’ as well in real life as they do on TV. That leads people to take a more “cowboy” approach to diplomacy. I think Mr. Obama, in fact, has a more sophisticated grip on reality.
    Brad, I think Mr. Obama should be allowed to set his own reasonably neat dress standard when he is working in his own office. You know, while watching the opening to the Olympics last summer, I was struck with how many countries had managed to dress in comfortable clothes and still look good. I would recommend fighting the “coat and tie” code next summer, on the grounds of creating a greener thermostat setting for your company. And terrorist wear whatever they must to blend in. Perhaps we should force arrested terrorists to wear suits and ties.

  21. Doug Ross

    Thanks for clarifying what I meant. My point was that Brad seems to think that if we kill 99 terrorists and 1 non-terrorist by mistake, then we’re still ahead.
    The taking of any innocent life is unacceptable. Or it’s not. It can’t be okay in one circumstance and not the other in my view.
    We (the United States) have killed thousands of innocent men, women, and children in Iraq and Afghanistan in the name of the “war on terror”.

  22. Rich

    I am starting to have reason to hope that responsible Republicans who are willing to work with Obama are coming to forefront and are willing to work with the administration on a bipartisan basis. It is not good for either the Democrats or the Republicans to enjoy a smug hegemony over the government. There needs to be dialogue, compromise, and consensus. This cannot happen if everyone is intransigently opposed to everyone else or uses rhetoric that precludes a meeting of the minds.
    As for Gitmo, it needs to be closed with all deliberate speed. Read the Bill of Rights if you need a refresher on the rights of people, not just the American people. If we have to torture somebody and hold them for months without trial in an Orwellian prison so appropriately located in totalitarian Cuba, what does that say about what we really believe?
    The USA is a nation based on an idea of freedom enshrined in our constitution, not in blood and soil. We have to keep reminding ourselves of that when we deal with fanatics who mean to do us harm everywhere in the world.
    Yes, we will defend ourselves against those who commit aggression against the homeland, but we should not stoop to their level by jettisoning our fundamental beliefs about freedom, democracy, republicanism, and human rights.
    It does not surprise me that McCain and Graham would support Obama on Gitmo. They may disagree with Obama on specific policy issues, but they understand our core values as democratic republicans (small r, small d).
    In two days of Obama’s administration, I already sense a hopeful start. After eight long years, it’s great to have a president with a brain.

  23. Bart

    Birch, I was being serious about “24”. Think about it this way. We as a people generally watch what appeals to us and if a program is really popular with the audience, it says a lot about our psyche. The fact that “24” has such a following is is highly anticipated each season tells me that in our collective attitude, what Jack does to terrorists is something deeply rooted in our psychological makeup and through vicarious means, we live out our fantasies which for the most part depict what we as individuals would do if given the opportunity. In our PC world where torture is not acceptable, when we see truth extracted from the villain, whether it be a terrorist or serial killer, by any means possible, we secretly cheer for the success of Jack or other fantasy heroes. Admittedly, I don’t watch the show but do read up on it at times. My friends and family keep me informed of his exploits.
    As for the Sopranos, I don’t think the parallel is the same. Two of the most successful movies of all time are “The Godfather” and “Godfather II”. I thoroughly enjoyed both but never did I imagine being a member of the Mafia or living the gangster life.
    American Idol is another example of living life vicariously through others. How many will honestly admit to having a secret desire to be able to perform brilliantly as a singer, musician, or an entertainer of some kind but don’t have the talent. How successful were the sales of the Air Guitar this Christmas season?
    I hope you understand the point I am trying to make. You may not agree but at least think about what I posted in response.
    As far as the reply to Doug, if I misunderstood the point Doug was trying to make, I owe him an apology. Hopefully Doug will clarify. But, I will stand by my words about how I feel when it comes to terrorists and what they do.

  24. Rebel Rebel

    Brad, and anyone else, if you had an opportunity to hold Mohammed Atta’s head undr water for 20 seconds on September 10th 2001 because you knew he was part of a terrorist cell, but you didn’t know their mission, would you do it? Would you have listened to his phone calls?

  25. Lee Muller

    Another Ex-Gitmo detainee joins al-Qaida in Yemen
    Published: 1/23/09, 7:05 AM EDT
    AT&T World News
    CAIRO, Egypt (AP) – An Internet posting purportedly by al-Qaida in Yemen says the group’s No. 2 is a Saudi national who is a former Guantanamo detainee.
    The Yemeni group – known as “al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula” – posted the statement this week on a militant Web site that regularly carries al-Qaida messages.
    It says the man returned to his home in Saudi Arabia after his release from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba about a year ago and from there went to Yemen to join the terror group.
    The Internet statement identified the man as Said Ali al-Shihri and says his prisoner number at Guantanamo was 372.
    This is the 63rd known prisoner to be released and to rejoin the fighting in the last 3 years.

  26. bud

    Actually Brad Obama was wearing a tie. What was missing was a jacket. But I’d be ok had he not worn a tie either. In my office fewer than 10% of the folks wear ties now. When I started 30 years ago it was probably 90%. The only folks not wearing ties were the blue collar folks. Even the mailroom guys wore ties then. In the 21st century ties are becoming more and more outdated. It’s time to move on. In another 30 years ties will look absolutely ludicrous.

  27. bud

    Actually Brad Obama was wearing a tie. What was missing was a jacket. But I’d be ok had he not worn a tie either. In my office fewer than 10% of the folks wear ties now. When I started 30 years ago it was probably 90%. The only folks not wearing ties were the blue collar folks. Even the mailroom guys wore ties then. In the 21st century ties are becoming more and more outdated. It’s time to move on. In another 30 years ties will look absolutely ludicrous.

  28. Brad Warthen

    Rebel, you betcha. I’d have held his head under for a lot longer than 20 seconds, assuming I had a little more info than you suggest — such as the general outline of what was up. And if by doing so I KNEW I could have prevented the plot from happening, I would have shot him right in the head without hesitation (I hope).
    Thing is, nobody DID know. The maddening thing is that some people in our security apparatus knew Fact A, and some others knew Fact B, and the two were never put together.
    Doug says, “My point was that Brad seems to think that if we kill 99 terrorists and 1 non-terrorist by mistake, then we’re still ahead.” If we kill one innocent person, it’s a terrible tragedy, a great injustice, and completely unacceptable. And if we let any of the 99 get away, that’s also immoral and unacceptable, if we have the means to stop them.
    That’s the thing, folks. There is NO way to do the right thing in fighting terrorism (or fascism or communism or imperialism or take your pick) 100 percent of the time. That’s what I was talking about on another post when I said there will always be tension between protecting national security and living up to our highest values.
    There was no way for Israel to suppress Hamas in Gaza without also killing civilians, so the question becomes: Should Israel have done nothing, and let Hamas keep firing rockets into Israel with the INTENT of killing civilians (even though they are so bad at it they seldom hit anyone)? Israel DID take that position for three years. Then, when the pace of the rockets stepped up in recent weeks, they decided to take action. I think that was a supportable decision, while at the same time I think each and every person killed who was NOT a Hamas terrorist (and that included the few Israeli soldiers killed in addition to the women and children) is a horrific tragedy.
    Things were different, of course, in WWII. We lacked the ability to take out munitions plants without also hitting cities (never mind the cities we INTENTIONALLY bombed). French commandos on those ships ready to land on Sword beach on June 6, 1944, knew that the naval artillery bombarding the Normandy coast would necessarily kill some innocent French people, but they saw that as the price of liberating France from the Nazis.
    Today, we have the ability to strike with precision unimagined back then. The great and tragic irony is that today, we’re not fighting armies in uniforms on battlefields, but irregulars who deliberately shield themselves with noncombatants. To our enemies in this war, civilian deaths — among their own people as well as among ours — further their cause, because they put liberal democracies that have a culture of valuing each human life at a great disadvantage.
    This makes the “Just War” equation tougher than ever — particularly the proportionality and noncombatant considerations. There’s also the problem — and this one was big in looking at what Israel did in Gaza — of whether goals are achievable.
    Of course, some folks don’t believe in Just War. Some believe you shouldn’t shoot at the 99 for fear of hitting the one. That’s a simpler, clearer way of looking at the world, but I can’t accept it. If you have the means, and there is a reasonable chance that you can stop the bad guy from killing without harming others around him, you need to try.
    But there are no easy answers in this realm. That’s why I said what I did about the essential untruth of Obama’s statement in his speech (the only weak part of the speech to me) that “As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals…” He’s right that there is no either-or, but he’s wrong that you can guarantee our safety without ever compromising ideals. Nor can you GUARANTEE safety. You can just do your best to ensure our security while adhering as closely as you can to your ideals. Or to say it the other way, you cling closely to your ideals while ensuring security as well at you can. You won’t achieve either 100 percent, not all the time, not in the real world. The challenge for the leader is not to abandon either the ideals or the security, but to protect both as much as possible.

  29. Brad Warthen

    And oh, yeah: “24” is lame. I had heard about it for years, that it was so good and all, and when I ordered the first season (and the second; I gave it that much of a chance) from Netflix, I was really disappointed. Not because Jack Bauer is a ruthless meanie or anything, but because it’s so damned contrived. That many plot twists cannot occur in the space of an hour. My favorite absurdity was the one when, in the space of an hour, Jack came out of exile from his agency, made contact with a terrorist group, infiltrated it, and was on his way with the terrorists to attack his own HQ. All within an hour.
    But the very WORST thing about it is the way it manufactures plot twists by having a character be completely good and trustworthy one moment, then turn about and be an arch-villain the next. Completely ridiculous, and I hate being manipulated like that.
    Compared to “24,” “The Sopranos” and the first two seasons of “House” — just to name two REALLY good shows — are masterpieces.

  30. Lee Muller

    If you don’t like being manipulated by having your hero turn out to be a villain, you aren’t going to like Obama.

  31. bud

    The Sopranos is just about the worst show I’ve ever seen on television. It’s nothing but pure, unadulterated, gratuitous violence. Terrible piece of crap. And yet my very pacifist wife watches. Go figure. 24 is far superior. It’s fun and fast paced. Sure it’s contrived but so is the Sopranos.

  32. Brad Warthen

    Right after I wrote that, I remembered that the terrorist who was at the center of the story in LeCarre’s “The Little Drummer Girl” wore a nicely tailored red blazer that played an important part in the plot…
    But that was fiction.
    bud, it shocked me that my wife got into watching “The Sopranos” with me — although she walked out of the room in some episodes (and whenever she did, I felt bad that she had been subjected to seeing the thing that shocked her). The thing about it, I think, was that she identified with Carmela — I guess because I’m so much like Tony. Seriously, though, the FAMILY stuff — raising kids, anxiety about money, everyday stuff that most families deal with (without being in the Mob) was so realistically and insightfully done, the characters made so real, that the Sopranos appealed to people who would never get into another Mob show or movie. Yes, there was a lot of offensive sex and violence in it — and sometimes that was necessary to let you know that being a crime boss isn’t the moral equivalent of Father Knows Best, and some of it went too far.
    But the nuanced stuff about everyday relationships was so well done, it was in a much higher category than “24.” Consider the relationship between President Palmer and his wife — with her constant little betrayals and manipulations. None of that was in any way convincing; the things she did (and sometimes the way he reacted) were purely to advance the plot and undermined any believability in the characters. But when Carmela found Tony’s cash stash and invested 50 grand so that she and her kids wouldn’t starve when it all came crashing down, it was real and believable. The writing, the acting and the direction were just SO much better. I don’t know how else to explain it.
    But was that the best thing that was ever made for television? No. The best thing ever made for television was another HBO series, “Band of Brothers.” Which I saw was recently in reruns on the History Channel — which happens to be Tony Soprano’s favorite thing to watch…

  33. Rich

    Obama to the Republican leadership: “I won.”
    Get used to it.
    And given the fact that the Bush administration conducted massive domestic spying in the name of stopping terrorism, I am looking forward to bringing Cheney, Bush, et al. to the dock to answer for their crimes against the constitution of the United States.
    Folks, there is no argument with the Republicans worth having. They trashed the constitution, destroyed the economy, enriched the rich and impoverished the poor. We have never been more insecure after eight years of studied Republican incompetence.
    I am becoming angry. . .

  34. bud

    Rich is right. Bush/Cheney came down on the side of security over the ideals of the bill of rights. In the end we were far worse off on both accounts.
    I would maintain that all this fuss about security is way overblown to begin with. Terrorist acts against Americans are very rare. Even counting those incidents that occurred abroad Islamic terrorist have probably claimed fewer than 5,000 American lives over the last 35 years. That many have died in military operations trying to prevent these incidents. We focus all this time, money and energy on military style security measures against threats that just aren’t all that significant to begin with. Heck when we accept 40,000 traffic deaths a year without so much as a passing thought it seems silly to become concerned about the infrequent terrorist attack that may or may not ever occur. Our priorities are just plain wacky.

  35. Rich

    Bud, I agree with you. The so-called “War on Terror” is nothing more than a decade-long paranoid alert. The threat has been hyped to the point where it is virtually unpatriotic to acknowledge that rag-tag terrorists from the Middle East are not really capable of doing much harm either to us or to the West in general.
    This does not mean that we should not manage the threat to our national security emanating from the Middle East. The Israeli-Palestinian Question will probably be resolved eventually by a two-state solution with both peoples having their capitals in a redivided Jerusalem. Already a wall cordons off much of the West Bank from Israel proper, thereby providing some protection to that country. Whatever solution is ultimately agreed to could be guaranteed by an international force on the ground with the authority to shoot to kill.
    Iran remains antagonistic to the US, but we provide its deeply unpopular government with much grist for its propaganda mill. It is time for direct bilateral talks to mend fences and work out a modus vivendi.
    Iraq may indeed descend into civil war after we leave, but that will be their problem, not ours. Granted, it would potentially stanch the flow of oil from that country to the west, but not if we properly support whoever emerges as victor in the power struggle. Let’s hope it will be an elected government in Baghdad holding the country together as a loose confederation of peoples who finally see that descending into the chaos that is Somalia would not be a good thing.
    Whether or not we should have gone into Iraq in the first place (thereby creating a wonderful power vacuum into which Iran gladly stepped) is now an academic question. The real issue today is how to leave responsibly and to convince the Iraqi people that we truly want to leave as soon as possible and would like nothing better than to see them on their feet again.
    The best thing that we could do economically and politically for ourselves is to keep the price of oil low. Now I know people worry about greenhouse gases, polution, and global warming. These issues can and should be tackled now if we find ourselves again with interrupted supplies from the Middle East due to whatever international crisis may emerge from that superstitious, intolerant region. (We can give them democracy, but we can’t make them love one another!)
    Keeping the price of oil lower than $50 a barrel provides our consumer economy with a needed breather and keep billions from being unnecessarily transferred to the Middle East potentates who fund with profits derived extortionately from us their corrupt dictatorships and their pet terrorist organizations. If it weren’t for the fact that our domestic oil industry would be unduly harmed, I would advocate a total collapse in oil prices, but it is not in our national interest to see our domestic fossil fuels sector collapse into bankruptcy and unemployment.
    Far better it would be if the Obama administration were to concentrate on mending fences with a still-powerful Russia that is now more nationalistic than ever and seeking its place in the sun, as well as with China, one of our largest trading partners that holds so much of our debt (Mao would be spinning in his grave).
    We need to recreate and reinforce a classic balance of power scenario at the international level in which the four major power centers–China/Japan, the European Union, Russia and its Near Abroad, and the USA/Americas would work more or less harmoniously to assure the flow of trade, resources, and capital within a balanced state system capable of maintaining the peace and not collapsing over minor disputes.
    Minor disputes? Yes, like Georgia, Kosovo, Taiwan, the petty hatreds between the states of the Middle East, etc. The four major power centers would have spheres of influence that the other centers would respect and which they would regulate unofficially.
    Thus, when international crises break out in the spheres of influence, it would be up to the dominant power in the region to deal with the matter–to smooth the rough edges and deal with them as they saw fit, while the other power centers turned a blind eye and offered nothing but blandishments.
    Here’s a fact: the USA must not be the world’s policeman. Arguably, our two wars in the Middle East are the proximate cause of our possibly impending bankruptcy or depression. Why? Because the government turned a blind eye while to financial chicanery in this country to buy support and cooperation for its Middle Eastern adventures.
    This country needs a peace dividend. Fortunately, we now have an intelligent president with a good education, rather than a stupid, simple-minded frat boy such as George Bush was.
    As information comes out about his government’s massive wiretapping and mining of our personal data, I hope that he and Cheney are brought to book for civil rights violations that must never be allowed to transpire again.

  36. Lee Muller

    Jimmy Carter and JFK conducted much more illegal domestic spying.
    President Bush, with the overwhelming vote by CONGRESS, permitted a speedy warrant process for people (mostly non-Americans) on U.S. soil who were corresponding by voice or e-mail with FOREIGN terrorist suspects who were being monitored OUTSIDE the U.S.

  37. Bart

    OMG!!! We sent the wrong people to Washington. Rich and bud should be our President and Vice-President. They have all the answers, the solutions to all of our problems, insight into what makes the world go round, the acumen to understand, comprehend, and solve all of the worlds difficulties. They have the answers to peace, poverty, disease, hunger, and everything that ails us.
    The realization hit me after reading this last long discourse by Rich. It made me realize that after all, losing 3,000 of our citizen on 9/11 was a minor distraction and nothing more than an annoyance at best and a police problem at worst. How confused I have been all this time. It is just so simple isn’t it? We have been engaged in Trivial Pursuit for the past 7 years and didn’t know it. How naive of us. Rasputin Bush had cast a hypnotic spell over the entire country and we walked around in a stupor like zombies. Its the Bob Newhart show all over again. The past 7 years have been a dream and we are awake again. The truth of that statement is evidenced by the people back in power in DC. The Clintons and their people.
    Now, al we have to do to solve our terrorist/image problem is just hold hands, kiss their collective asses, and they will love us for eternity. Just ask Rich and bud. We will never have to worry about Islamic terrorists ever thinking about bombing us again. We have these two plus Obama to keep us safe from all harm.
    All of the problems of the past 50 years are to be placed at the feet of George Bush and ALL Republicans according to the holy trinity of bud, Rich, and Obama. Where is the alter so I can bow in deference to these three wise men? Sorry, I didn’t intend to invoke any religious symbolism here because after all, God has no place in our lives or government. Again, just ask bud and Rich. God is bad, Christians are bad, send them to rehab centers for indoctrination in Obama worship.
    Now that Obama has rescinded the ban on using our money for abortions overseas, we can successfully export funding for death of the unborn once again along with the message of peace and the sacred value of human life – as long as it’s not a fetus. Now that Obama has effectively rescinded all legal opinions relating to the now defunct “War on Terror”, we can go back to pre-9/11 and live in harmony and peace once again. We can now release all of those innocents at Gitmo and send them home to spread the work of Obama magnificence and magnanimous nature. Lord Chamberlain Obama can now declare once again, “Peace in our lifetime”. How wonderful and marvelous life will be.
    In case you missed the edicts from on high, here they are:
    “. . . And for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.” –I feel better already.
    “…..And in a broad swipe at the Bush administration’s lawyers, Obama nullified every legal order and opinion on interrogations issued by any lawyer in the executive branch after Sept. 11, 2001….” —-There, take that Bush criminal!!
    “…..With the stroke of his pen, he effectively declared an end to the “war on terror,” as President George W. Bush had defined it, signaling to the world that the reach of the U.S. government in battling its enemies will not be limitless….” Kumbaya here Lord, Kumbaya here!
    Can’t you just feel the endless vibes of goodwill coming from Europe, Asia, and the Middle East? It’s just too damn bad that those pesky little guys with bombs for civilians and knives for beheadings don’t know the words to the song. Maybe we send bud and Rich to teach them. Think either one would have the balls to go?

  38. Rich

    I don’t think you answered anything I had to say in my post. I have studied international relations in college and did not invent anything I suggested in my post. I defer to much greater minds than my own who have influenced my thinking–Morgenthau, Kissinger, and Kennan.
    Rather than posting ad hominem nonsense, it might be better for you to provide a reasoned response. Footnotes from sources other than Fox News or fundamentalist pastors would be appreciated.

  39. Lee Muller

    Some people will never admit that Obama was a mistake.
    Others are racists and haters of Americanism just like Obama is. They eat up his retribution against people of ability and morals.

  40. Bart

    First of all, I don’t watch Fox News but I may start watching after reading your comments. Nor do I use fundamentalist pastors as my source of information although I respect their right to their freedom to worship as they please. Apparently that is something you don’t do. And, my foray into international relations went far beyond a college classroom which I seriously doubt you have done. As I have said before, it has been my good fortune to have travelled a lot of the world and extensively in this country. I spent time in each location and learned as much as I could from the local residents about their hopes, beliefs, religion, and political opinions. I spent time in Muslim homes while in the ME and garnered some useful information about their views. Have you? I spent time with people from India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Korea, and China while working abroad. Have you? We ate together, spent holidays together, talked to each other. Have you? When you do, get back to me on international relations information not gathered from a book but from practical, useful, honest sources.
    As far as my comments being “ad hominem nonsense”, maybe you should take a step back and read some of the drivel you post “ad hominem” and bore the hell out of sensible people.
    As far as answering your comments, that was never my intent anyway. My comments were an observation of the far leftist views of two of the more verbose leftists on this blog, you and bud.
    I don’t listen to Limbaugh, Hannity, and other right wingers, but it has occurred to me that if they are constantly stepping on your toes and evoking such emotional outrage, they might be on to something. Maybe I will change my reading habits from a well balanced range of authors, columnists, and other writers to one of a more radical nature.
    Reasoned response? Hell, you haven’t posted a reasoned response since I have been reading this blog. It is constantly left, far left, further left and then radical left.


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