Monday, May 7, 2012

Quick Hits - May 7, 2012

Signed in the early hours of September 30, 1938, the Munich Pact was an agreement between France, Italy, Britain, and Nazi Germany that permitted the German annexation of the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia - and ultimately, all of Czechoslovakia.  For British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, his primary goal was to do all he could to avoid another major conflict on the European continent.  To achieve his goal, he agreed to appease Adolf Hitler and show the Nazi dictator that he would not go to war to stop Hitler.

With this historical context, think about the report in today's Washington Post quoting unnamed US officials (but who sound as clueless as James Clapper and John Brennan) who are reporting that the Obama Administration is secretly releasing high-level detainees as a part of trying to bring insurgent / terrorist groups to peace negotiations.

The article has the officials admitting that this is a 'high-risk endeavor' to try to achieve the goal for the region announced by President Obama - a negotiated peace.  [Q - has it occurred to anyone that whomever is most active trying to achieve a negotiated peace is the one who is losing - or going to lose the war? Ed.] 

The writers of the article appear to be trying to imply that this predates the Obama Administration, noting that it has been 'going on for several years'.  But the tell in this is when it's acknowledged that the strategy that justifies these actions (a negotiated peace) is a 'central feature of the Obama Administration strategy for leaving Afghanistan'.  The paragraph from the article is also telling:
- And although official negotiations with top insurgent leaders are seen by many as an endgame for the war, which has claimed nearly 2,000 U.S. lives, the strategic release program has a less ambitious goal: to quell violence in concentrated areas where NATO is unable to ensure security, particularly as troops continue to withdraw. The releases are intended to produce tactical gains but are not considered part of a grand bargain with the Taliban.

Is this a 'central feature of the Obama Administration strategy' - or is it tactical (non-strategic) in nature since its also 'intended to produce tactical gains but are not considered part of a grand bargain with the Taliban? Seems to be full of obfuscation around the real intent and goals - beyond bringing Islamic jihadist groups to the table for peace talks around the US and NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan.

To me, the concept of releasing high level detainees who we know were active participants - and remain very likely to return to their terrorist roots, is extremely short sighted. It demonstrates a fundamental weakness of the Administration and their approach. That they are looking to work from a position of appeasement as opposed to bringing on talks from a position of strength.

In our history lessons from Munich - Hitler walked away from the meetings with the British Prime Minister holding Chamberlain in utter and complete contempt. When we act in a very similar manner regarding all or part of Afghanistan, how is it our leadership thinks that those on the other side of the table will not hold them in the same utter contempt - seeing the Administration as weak, unprincipled, and the paper tiger that Osama Bin Laden always saw the US as.

Many in the and behind this Administration have always opposed the concept and the fighting of the War on Terror. They are charter members of the 'Blame America First' crowd, subscribing to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright viewpoint that 9/11 was 'our chickens coming home to roost'. But given the nature of the American people in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, for political relevancy, they still had to fight the War on Terror - particularly towards it's primary face - Osama Bin Laden, founder and leader of al-Qaeda. Now that Bin Laden is dead - their mindset (and now words) is that the War on Terror is 'won' and the war is over.

We're being asked to ignore that the progressives called Afghanistan from 2006 - 2010 was called the 'good war' and that George W. Bush took his eyes off of this war to pursue Iraq. Let's ignore that we are in Afghanistan because of the direct protection and assistance that the Islamic fundamentalist Taliban provided for al-Qaeda, an alliance, to the point that they would not displace AQ in the wake of the 9/11 terror attack.

One of the apparent goals of this Administration is to segregate the fight that Islamic fundamentalists have been taking to us for decades to being just a fight centered around 9/11 and al-Qaeda. With the leader of al-Qaeda dead - and many other leaders dead or in hiding, we can declare the war won - and then do whatever is needed to negotiate a 'peace with honor' with the Taliban, the Haqqani network, and the other Pakistani supported and fostered Islamic fundamentalist jihadi groups. We can declare victory and ignore the elephant in the room - just as Neville Chamberlain did.

The war isn't over - or won - but for political purposes, the progressive left will try to sell it as such...and keep their fingers crossed that when it explodes - it will be there (like in SE Asia in 1975) and not in the American streets like on 9/11. Then they can take the 'peace dividend' and spend it on more 'fundamental change'.

It's a loser's bet - made by naive political ideologues who can only see the world as they want to see it - not as it is.

Politics and ideology are far more important than principles or values....
A spokesman for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, a left-wing anti-gun group based in Washington, D.C., told The Daily Caller his organization doesn’t believe firearms trafficked to Mexico in Operation Fast and Furious have killed hundreds of civilians in that country. That those guns have been used often to kill Mexicans is a position articulated by both Attorney General Eric Holder and Mexican authorities.

Coalition spokesman Ladd Everitt argued that there was no evidence for The Daily Caller to report that “[t]here are hundreds of Mexican citizens who were murdered with weapons the Obama administration gave to cartels through Fast and Furious and two American law enforcement officers — Brian Terry and Jaime Zapata — were killed with Fast and Furious guns.”

Everitt argued that he didn’t think there is “actual trace and ballistics evidence to prove that conclusively.”

Operation Fast and Furious was the program devised and run by the Holder Department of Justice (ATF lead agency) to create the case to prove the meme that weapons sourced in the US are the primary tools for the murderous Mexican drug cartels - and the solution to this are more draconian gun control measures within the United States that are favored / promoted by progressives.

Vladimir Putin took the oath of office for his third six-year term as Russian President earlier today. He is the first to serve a third term. His inauguration as the Russian President has been marked with bloody clashes between police and protesters throughout Moscow - with protesters claiming that Putin's election, and that of the Russian Parliament before, was the result of wide-spread voter fraud by Putin's party.

One of the key planks of French President-elect Francois Hollande's platform was for a reworking of the EU fiscal pact, aka 'Merkozy', which not only provided more power for the EU centralized bureaucracy to combat the Eurocrisis, but also mandated severe austerity steps (reduced government entitlements, reduced government spending) as a key point to battle the crisis as well as being a step that countries needed to implement if they were to get an EU bailout.

Germany has announced today that any reworking of the EU's fiscal pact is 'impossible' - setting the stage for a major fiscal and policy standoff between the 2 major EU powers.

There are a few interesting examples of the mainstream media at work trying to influence as opposed to reporting on news.

The Washington Post is demonstrating their fundamental bias in a front page article today touting 'Fauxcahontas', Massachusetts Democrat Senatorial candidate Elizabeth Warren, a 'liberal hero' looking to retake the 'Ted Kennedy seat' in the US Senate.  The article hypes the hard left progressive who has claimed that she is the inspiration behind the OccupyWallStreet movement - and leaves until the 20th paragraph (buried deep in the paper) any mention of the kerfuffle over Warren's still unsubstantiated claim to be 3% Native American - and justified in her use of claiming this minority status throughout her career in academia.

On the other side, we have a columnist, appearing on ABC News 'This Week' openly challenging the meme promoted by many that Barack Obama is a great orator. Centrist Washington Post columnist George Will offered his theory - noting that without Obama's use of first-person pronouns, 'he would fall silent'.
On Sunday’s “This Week” on ABC, Washington Post columnist George Will offered his theory on why Obama might be struggling this go-around.

“Look, self-absorption is part of the occupational hazard of politics, and it’s also part of the job description of being president,” Will said. “All that said, try to imagine Dwight Eisenhower talking about D-Day saying, ‘I did this. I decided this. I did this and then I did that.’ It’s inconceivable.”

That comparison between Obama and Eisenhower illustrated the problem for the president, Will said.

“If you struck from Barack Obama’s vocabulary the first-person singular pronoun, he would fall silent, which would be a mercy to us and a service to him, actually,” Will continued. “Because he was been so incontinent for the last three years that you wind up with, as you said, [an] Ohio State University with empty seats.”

This Day in History

1864 - After 2 days of intense fighting in Virginia's Wilderness forest, Union General Ulysses S. Grant shifts the Army of the Potomac south to continue to press and engage the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia.  This marked a major change in strategy for the Union as past leaders would withdraw to regroup when stalled by Confederate forces.  Grant was set on keeping the pressure on the Confederates - despite the high cost in lives.  The cost would be high for both armies - and the shift would result in the Union besieging Petersburg, Virginia in the middle of June.

1915 - The Cunard Lines ocean liner, Lusitania, is torpedoed without warning by a German U-boat off the south coast of Ireland.  Carrying 1,959 passengers and crew, the liner sank in 20 minutes killing 1,198, including 128 Americans.  The sinking raised tensions between the US and Germany over the latter's unrestricted submarine warfare.

1940 - Winston Churchill becomes Prime Minister of Britain.

1942 - US and Japanese carrier aircraft exchange strikes during the Battle of the Coral Sea. The US strike sinks the Japanese light carrier Shoho, while the Japanese sink a destroyer and fleet oiler - which they mistakenly thought were a cruiser and aircraft carrier.

1945 - Germany unconditionally surrenders to the Allies at Reims, France - to take effect on May 8th.  This marks the end of World War 2 in Europe.

1954 - After 57 days of being under siege, 13,000 French defenders at Dien Bien Phu were overrun and defeated by the Viet Minh forces of Ho Chi Minh. The defeat ended the French colonial position in Indochina.

1999 - In Belgrade, Yugoslavia, three Chinese citizens were killed, 20 wounded, when a NATO aircraft mistakenly bombed the Chinese embassy.

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