Tuesday, January 27, 2009

On the Issue Of Afghanistan I Intend To Be Dog Looking At Red Meat Because I’m Getting The Feeling I Will Be Telling You: “I Told You So!”

On the Issue Of Afghanistan I Intend To Be Dog Looking At Red Meat Because I’m Getting The Feeling I Will Be Telling You: “I Told You So!”



"The action I am taking is no more than a radical measure to hasten the explosion of truth and justice. I have but one passion: to enlighten those who have been kept in the dark, in the name of humanity which has suffered so much and is entitled to happiness. My fiery protest is simply the cry of my very soul. Let them dare, then, to bring me before a court of law and let the enquiry take place in broad daylight!"

- Emile Zola, J'accuse! (1898) –



The Doctrine Of Blind Obedience And Unqualified Submission To Any Human Power, Whether Civil Or Ecclesiastical, Is The Doctrine Of Despotism, And Ought To Have No Place Among Republicans And Christians." 

Angelica Grimke - (1805-1879)

Source: Anti-Slavery Examiner, September 1836


Should Obama Prosecute Bush And Cheney Pt.1

Swanson: Reversing The Policies Does Not Provide A Deterrent


McConnell: GOP free of Bush 'burden' - Andy Barr - Politico.com
It would have been great if McConnell had had the guts to stand up to Bush/Cheney and the Republican congress when they were in power. He was a pork-loving spendthrift just like the rest of them. The Republican party has become the ...
Politico Top Stories - http://www.politico.com/



On the Issue Of Afghanistan I Intend To Be Dog Looking At Red Meat Because I’m Getting The Feeling I Will Be Telling You: “I Told You So!”





Calling a Time Out | By George McGovern | Thursday, January 22, 2009


Gates: U.S. lacks strategic plan to win in Afghanistan

Narcotics trade, corruption are impeding efforts, he told Senate committee

By David Wood | david.wood@baltsun.com

12:11 PM EST, January 27, 2009


WASHINGTON - After more than seven years of combat, the United States still does not have a unified strategic plan for winning the war against radical Islamic insurgents in Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Robert Gates acknowledged today.

"This will undoubtedly be a long and difficult fight,'' said Gates, adding that the narcotics trade and official corruption "at the high levels'' of the Afghan government are impeding the fight.

"Our greatest military challenge right now is Afghanistan,'' he told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

With the fighting in Iraq largely subsided, Gates said, "the extremists have largely returned their attention to that region.''

He acknowledged that the coordination of military and political efforts against the Taliban "has been less than stellar.''

The search for a new Afghanistan strategy has been under way in Washington for months, with a thorough 
White House review completed in the final weeks of the Bush administration and parallel studies by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, by Gen. David Petraeus, the top commander in the region, and by the incoming Obama administration.

President Obama has vowed to send additional troops, and the top commander in Afghanistan, U.S. Army Gen. David McKiernan, has asked for about 30,000 more troops, almost double the number currently deployed there.

But with no overall guiding strategy, top military commanders and civilian officials are in disagreement over what missions the additional troops should be assigned, and how those missions should be coordinated into an overall strategy, officials said.

Among those uncomfortable with sending more troops without a clear strategy was 
Sen. John McCain, the Arizona Republican who lost his campaign for president last year to Obama.

"We need to develop and articulate a clear strategy with measurable performance goals'' in Afghanistan, McCain said at today's hearing.

"More troops are just a piece of what is required. And we need to address the corruption and narcotics problems much more forthrightly than we have so far,'' McCain said.

Explaining the lack of a strategy, Gates argued that Afghanistan is more complex than Iraq, where Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker forged a unified campaign plan that coordinated military action with political pressure and civilian development work. That effort is widely credited with helping quell the violence in Iraq.

But in Afghanistan, Gates said, the United States is partnering with some 40 countries along with the 
United NationsNATO, the European Union and hundreds of private development agencies.

"Figuring out how to coordinate all that, and then how to coordinate that work with military operations, is a very complex business," he said.

Under sharp questioning, Gates also acknowledged that the narcotics trade, which provides some $400 million a year to finance the Taliban, must be brought under control before the war can be won.

In recent weeks, he has changed the combat engagement rules to enable U.S. forces to attack drug lords and drug labs if there is evidence they are financing the Taliban. He asked for patience to see whether this has an effect.

Previously, U.S. combat forces were directed not to engage the drug trade. Instead, NATO and the Afghan government were supposed to handle the narcotics trade, but senior U.S. officials say that approach has not worked.

Last week Gen. James T. Conway, commandant of the Marine Corps, said that the U.S. military role is to support Afghan forces in counter-drug operations and not to take the lead in such attacks. The Afghan government's weak military and police forces, and its own corruption with drug profits, raised some skepticism about whether it would begin now to act aggressively against drug lords.

Gates, asked today if he thought the Afghan government would move against the drug trade in the near future, replied: "Probably not.''

The Pentagon chief, who was appointed in late 2006 by then- 
President Bush and retained by President Obama, also acknowledged that U.S. air strikes that have killed hundreds of Afghan civilians each year are "doing us enormous harm.

"We have got to do better in terms of avoiding casualties -- and I say that knowing full well the Taliban mingle among the people, use them as barriers," Gates told the committee. "But when we go ahead and attack, we play right into their hands.

"My worry is that the Afghans come to see us as part of the problem rather than as part of their solution -- and then we are lost," Gates said.


My compliments to Mr. Bacon for being tack on. No good political consultant could have done a better analysis.


Controversial Senate Appointments Pose Problem for Democrats

 Perry Bacon Jr. | Washington Post Staff Writer | Tuesday, January 27, 2009; 5:46 PM


The confusion and controversy surrounding the recent appointments of four Democratic senators has come with a potential twist -- they could complicate the party's efforts to solidify its majority in the Senate.


New York's  Kirsten Gillibrand, who was sworn in yesterday to fill the seat vacated by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, became the third person named to the Senate in the past month who could face difficulty winning reelection next year.


Republicans are already plotting challenges to Sens. Roland W. Burris (Ill.) and Michael Bennet (Colo.), both selected by their states' governors over others seen as stronger contenders for statewide office.  (These will become targeted races)


New York political consultant Dan Gerstein said the appointments were made for a variety of reasons, but political appeal "was not the central consideration with three of the four."


He argues that Gillibrand could be a strong candidate to retain the seat in 2010, but he was not sure if that were true of Burris or Bennet. Sen. Edward E. "Ted" Kaufman, named to replace Vice President Biden in the Delaware seat, has said he will not run for election and is generally viewed as a placeholder until Biden's son, Beau, can run.


New York, Illinois, Colorado and Delaware all supported Barack Obama in the presidential election, but Brian Walsh, spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, said, "There is no question that these recent appointments have created unexpected opportunities in Illinois and New York, where Democratic chaos undoubtedly alienated independent voters."


The appointments followed the election of Obama and Biden and the departures of Clinton and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, and the decisions drew various levels of criticism and prompted a backlash against laws giving governors sole power to fill Senate vacancies.


 Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.) vowed to introduce a CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT this week requiring vacant Senate seats to be filled by special elections, as the House requires.


Feingold, who chairs the Judiciary Committee's subcommittee on the constitution, said he will hold hearings on the issue.


"The vacancies in Illinois and New York have made for riveting political theater, but lost in the seemingly endless string of press conferences and surprise revelations is the basic fact that the citizens of these states have had no say in who should represent them in the Senate," Feingold wrote as he touted the proposal on the liberal blog Daily Kos. "The same is true of the recent selections in Delaware and Colorado."


Passage of a constitutional amendment requires the backing of two-thirds of the members of each house of Congress and third-fourths of the states, and it is unclear whether the measure would gain enough popular support. Only Massachusetts, Oregon and Wisconsin currently require elections after senators step down, according to Feingold's office.


Feingold said his proposal "is not simply a response to these latest cases," but said they "have simply confirmed my long-standing view that Senate appointments by state governors are an unfortunate relic of the time when state legislatures elected U.S. senators."


Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) joined Feingold's push for the bill, but a number of senators, including Burris and Bennet, said they were unsure if they would support it.


In making the appointments, the governors largely ignored the advice of Senate Democratic leaders, whose recommendations came with an eye on who could win next year.


While  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) praised the selection of Gillibrand, he had previously raved about Caroline Kennedy, who withdrew her name from consideration for the post last week.  (The man is an idiot and manipulator)


Many of New York's political figures, including Clinton, have expressed support for Gillibrand's selection. But the former congresswoman, who represented a Upstate New York district and has opposed some gun-control measures, could face a serious primary challenge from New York City-based politicians.  Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), a strong gun-control advocate, has already said she may challenge Gillibrand in 2010.  (In New York the balance on this issue has not taken place and pro-control advocates are in the majority...Albeit a shrinking majority.)


For Salazar's replacement, party leaders had floated the names of Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper and  Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), but Gov. Bill Ritter (D) selected Denver schools chief Bennet. He was so unknown outside Denver that, immediately after his selection, he and Ritter began touring the state together to introduce him to voters.  (Bad move Here.)


In Illinois, Burris has not yet said if he will stand for reelection in 2010. Party strategists think he could win the seat if he performs well in his first few months in office, but noted he has lost several statewide Democratic primaries for governor.


Kaufman's seat is the safest for Democrats. When he steps down next year, it is widely expected that Beau Biden, who is currently Delaware's attorney general and serving a National Guard tour, will run for the seat.


The governors have each defended their choices, saying they selected people they believed would be strong senators. Ritter described Bennett as a "next-generation" thinker who would bring innovation to the office.


New York political observers noted that Gov. David A. Paterson (D) made a wise political choice because Gillibrand's upstate appeal could help the Harlem-bred Paterson win his own reelection next year. (If Andrew Cuomo runs Patterson is done!)


"If [Paterson] had done this before all of the drama, it would have been a very good choice," said Steve Elmendorf, a Democratic strategist.


Pelosi Is Seeking More Control
Wheeling Intelligencer - Wheeling,WV,USA
House Speaker 
Nancy Pelosi has made her priority for the next four years abundantly clear. She wants to use it to expand the size of government - as well as ...
See all stories on this topic  (The Comments To This Article are worth the read)


Camus Cafe Political Coffee House: Holy Cow: Top Dems Are Serious ...
By Ed. Dickau 
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