Posts Tagged ‘national security’

Is Obama a militarist, a peacenik, or a political waffler and difference-splitter?

June 25, 2011

Distrust of the President, and of the government in general, divides our society, emboldens our enemies, and diminishes the effectiveness of our Armed Forces. We owe our elected leaders more respect than that.

President Obama’s Afghanistan drawdown announcement has drawn fire from the left and from the right. He was pilloried on Fox News, on MSNBC, and on CNN, and even ridiculed on The Daily Show after he announced that the U.S. would withdraw 10,000 troops by the end of 2011, another 23,000 by “next summer,” with continuing reductions through 2014.

To the right, the President is recklessly ignoring the advice of his military professionals who know what’s needed. To the left, he’s mindlessly sticking to a hopeless and pointless strategy. To both sides he’s sacrificed principle for politics.

But has he? Is there any chance that his decision was based on what he thought best? If we Americans trusted him we’d give him that much. But we don’t, at least not much: the latest Gallup poll says that just 35% of Americans say they have a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the Presidency; 36% have very little confidence or none at all.

But we do trust the military: 78% of us say they have a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence. I’d guess the numbers are even higher on the right. But what happens when the military supports the President? Ah, then it’s a different story. (more…)

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The Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara wasn’t Gaza-bound, and the Israelis knew it. Or did they? Needed: Israeli cooperation with an independent investigation

October 25, 2010

 


The Turkish newspaper
Hurriyet reports that the Mavi Marmara, the Turkish ship carrying supplies for blockaded Gaza, had altered their course to avert a diplomatic crisis.

“During our departure, we said we were going to Gaza, but the coordinates that we gave were to Egyptian territorial waters. Everyone was aware of our course to [the Egyptian port] El-Arish,” Bülent Yıldırım, the head of the Humanitarian Relief Foundation, or İHH, said today. “The situation required us to go there.” He added that the U.S. ambassador in Ankara was notified, and told Israeli authorities.

Hurriyet is a credible source, not a mouthpiece for the Turkish government—far from it: it has been so critical of the government and so set on exposing corruption that the Erdogan government, in its most anti-democratic action, is trying to put Hurriyet and its sister publications out of business.

In the same edition the paper reports that the Israeli military chief of staff testified before the Israeli commission investigating the incident that Israeli commandoes fired live ammunition only after the Turks fired first, an account in stark opposition to a recent U.N.-commissioned report into the raid, which said there was “no evidence to suggest that any of the passengers used firearms or that any firearms were taken on board the ship.” (more…)

Fareed Zakaria says build the Ground Zero mosque

August 11, 2010

I’ve been writing in favor of Park 51, the so-called Ground Zero mosque, because ethics demands that we treat others as we would be treated, and because religious freedom is a precious American birthright.

But sometimes the ethical thing is also the best strategy. Fareed Zakaria, one of America’s most insightful political commentators (and an Indian-born, Yale- and Harvard-educated Muslim) writes in this week’s Newsweek that encouraging groups like the one behind Park 51 is part of a “lasting solution to the problem of Islamic terror.”

Zakaria has been tagged by New York Magazine as a possibility to be the first Muslim Secretary of State. All his columns are worth reading, but this one is a must for understanding the national security reason for supporting Park 51 and other efforts by moderate American Muslims.

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