Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Obama's Speech, Cheney's Pre-Reaction, Here's Another Shoe For You

David Brooks
Dana Milbank
Ahmed Rashid

“I hate war, as only a soldier who has lived it can, as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.” - Dwight Eisenhower
"It’s not the troop levels that matter. What matters is how this war will be fought." - David Brooks
"The speech – the most important of Mr. Obama's presidency – will also be avidly listened to by the Taliban and al-Qaeda so they can figure out how to counter the future U.S. military strategy." - Ahmed Rashid

All three links above have different and interesting takes on Obama's speech, to be given tonight. Instead of predicting the reactions people will have, I think I'll wait and actually witness the reactions. Then it will be easier to analyze as a success or failure. Like all test scores, you eliminate the fervent yes men as the top of the curve, and also eliminate the whining bastards who complain no matter what he does or says as the bottom dwellers... which leaves us more balanced and saner arguments to sample. The only problem from my perspective is that the bottom dwellers are the most fun to talk about because they are they easiest targets for ridicule.

Of course, we don't have to ask Dick Cheney what he will think, as he already stated his opinions in an interview: "Vice President Dick Cheney slammed President Barack Obama for projecting “weakness” to adversaries and warned that more workaday Afghans will side with the Taliban if they think the United States is heading for the exits.

In a 90-minute interview at his suburban Washington house, Cheney said the president’s “agonizing” about Afghanistan strategy “has consequences for your forces in the field.”

“I begin to get nervous when I see the commander in chief making decisions apparently for what I would describe as small ‘p’ political reasons, where he’s trying to balance off different competing groups in society,” Cheney said.“Every time he delays, defers, debates, changes his position, it begins to raise questions: Is the commander in chief really behind what they’ve been asked to do?

Cheney was asked if he thinks the Bush administration bears any responsibility for the disintegration of Afghanistan because of the attention and resources that were diverted to Iraq. “I basically don’t,” he replied without elaborating." In fact, this could make a great campaign bumper sticker for his next run at office:
 Cheney in 20012 
"I Basically Don't"

Not-So-Tricky Dick is hard at work on his memoirs, to be published this Spring. Most historians spend years doing research for their books, he has his daughter Liz taking months to Google it in. Do you think he will sell more than Sarah Palin's book has? Will the publisher regret giving him his multi-million dollar advance?

The BBC reports that pre-reaction in Afghanistan hasn't been very favorable so far: "The BBC's Martin Patience in Kabul says that while the speech will probably receive a cautious welcome from the Afghan government, many people in the country do not want any more foreign forces.

They say every time America sends more troops the security situation gets worse, and some question why the US is spending billions of dollars on the military - and not on aid and reconstruction."

A few people in Afghanistan were asked if they thought increasing American troop levels would help: "One resident of Kandahar said: "The situation in Afghanistan will not be resolved by the military. We have to learn the lesson which the Russians learned - they could not win and they were defeated." 

Another pointed out that: "If they increase troop numbers they will bomb the houses of innocent people, they will kill more innocent Muslims, they will search more homes and this is going to be a bad disaster for the country."

A third said: "I only left my village in Gerish district because of the fighting. The reality is whenever there was a single attack on the Americans they were destroying the all the village." That's always been the problem when a military force responds with drones and bombs, there is always collateral damage, and the people not involved in the war eat it... Boy, I hope Obama's speech won't interfere with my favorite shows on the Food Network...

sock and awe...

The Iraqi journalist who threw a shoe at George Bush has been out of jail for a few months now. He hasn't spent much time in Iraq, preferring to travel abroad while looking for work. But in Paris, karma struck back: "An Arabic-speaking man on Tuesday hurled a shoe at the Iraqi journalist who one year earlier had thrown shoes at former U.S. president George W. Bush.

Introducing himself in Arabic as an Iraqi journalist-in-exile at a Paris news conference, the attacker made a brief speech accusing Muntazer al-Zaidi of working for dictatorship and then shouted "here's another shoe for you." The shoe was thrown hard, but Zaidi dodged it and it hit a curtain behind the speakers.

"When I used this method it was against the occupation. I did not use it against a compatriot," said Zaidi.

The man was set upon by Zaidi's brother who slapped him and there was a brief struggle." See, no arrests, just an exchange of words and good leather before leading to bitch-slapping and a wimpy fight...

And Iran is now collecting more political prisoners. Along with the American hikers who knowingly strayed into Iran from Iraq, a boat and its British crew ha been confiscated by the mighty Iranian Navy for mistakenly straying into their waters. Not only are they vowing to prosecute these hapless guys, but they are also going for a trifecta: "We are now looking for either German or French prisoners to complete the set" said an imaginary spokesman. It's thought that diplomatic overtures won't have a lot of effect on the stubborn and hardline Revolutionary Guard, who see this as an act glorifying Iran...

some late night political jokes:

"Did you hear about that uninvited couple who crashed the state dinner at the White House? Unbelievable. They even had their picture taken with Vice President Joe Biden, which is kind of radical because Biden was also an uninvited guest." –Jay Leno

"The man who crashed the White House state dinner, his name is Tareq Salahi. You know, just with that name alone, you think they would have strip-searched the guy." –Jay Leno

"Kind of an awkward Thanksgiving for John Edwards. I guess his relatives asked him to bring his favorite side dish and he showed up with a cocktail waitress." –Jay Leno

"And at the White House state dinner the other night, Nancy Pelosi rolled her eyes and blew off a reporter when they asked her who made her gown. It was a huge deal. Not the question, the fact that Nancy Pelosi changed her facial expression." –Jay Leno

"Hey, this is absolutely true. There's an organization now called 'Draft Dick Cheney for President, 2012.' Yeah. Good luck with that. They tried to draft Dick Cheney five times during Vietnam. That didn't work." –Jay Leno

"Hey, congratulations. Chelsea Clinton just got engaged to her longtime boyfriend. That's very exciting. And I understand Bill is already planning the bachelor party." –Jay Leno

"The official White House Christmas tree was unveiled today on the South Lawn. Actually, it turned out to be a regular tree, but it snuck in through the White House security." –Craig Ferguson

"The Secret Service is in a lot of hot water after what happened. But I think give the Secret Service a break. When the Secret Service heard there was a crazy couple in White House, they just assumed it was the Bidens." –Craig Ferguson

"This Friday, the official Christmas tree was delivered to the White House. Unfortunately, the Secret Service had already let in three other trees that claimed they were on the list." –Conan O'Brien

"Of course you've been hearing about them, the couple who crashed the White House state dinner. They were supposed to be on 'Larry King Live' tonight, but they canceled their appearance. Apparently, they didn't feel right showing up to a place where they were actually invited." –Conan O'Brien

"There's a new children's book that's coming out that features Sarah Palin as a hero. I don't want to give away the ending, but we finally find out who shot Bambi's mother." –Conan O'Brien

"A top Iranian official says Iran had no intention of building new nuclear facilities until they were recently criticized by the U.N. It's all a part of the country's official motto, 'Iran, we're 5 years old!'" –Conan O'Brien

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