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05 June 2008

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Robert Colbert

Col.,

Senator Obama's speech to AIPAC was disgraceful. Within minutes hearing the speech I went from a probable donor to a questionable supporter. He may have lost my vote.
His speech was almost belligerant.

It is amazing how the pro-Israel/hawk/Military industrial complex/ MSM/ corporate nexus controls what we hear and think. The debate is NOT about wether Iran is a military threat to the US or Isreal. This debate never happened. Iran is a de facto threat...a "grave" threat. Yet we never hear that they have no navy or air force to speak of, are surrounded by the US Military, and are a second world country. To hear people speak (neocons etc) one would think they are a superpower.

And Isreal's security is "sacrosanct"? The US lived with MAD for decades, detante. But, Isreal cannnot? Why is that country so special.

Sadly, with the power of the AIPAC/military industrial complex/MSM/corporate nexus when it comes to US Middle East foreign policy it is "meet the new boss, same as the old boss'.

JT Davis

Colonel,

Today I was rereading what Keiran wrote about his visit with the Assads:

The best case scenario was a US president committed to seeking peace accords with Syria and the Palestinians ("a genuine commitment, not like Annapolis"). I got the impression from this (and later from a sly 'yes we can' from his wife) that they saw a significant difference between Obama and McCain. Nonetheless, when explicitly asked about this, he replied that his country had learned to be skeptical of US campaign rhetoric.

Lately I am tuning campaign rhetoric out almost completely. Differences in policy are crucial but more and more I tend to view the pre-election game as the requisite feints, parries and thrusts of a fencing match. Turning Clausewitz on his head, politics is war carried on by other means and the goal is to deny McCain a victory in November. We can't really be sure what is in Obama's head or heart but he is no more in the bag than Hillary was and probably a bit less than McCain. A shrewd politician will now be walking that fine line between sensible statecraft (otherwise known as "appeasement") and strength (punch them in the mouth and then see if they can or will talk to you). He's got to please as many people as possible to deny McCain that victory. I could be wrong.

jr786

I'm terribly disappointed in this, even if I'm not surprised - the power of this infernal Aipac is something to behold.

It'll get lots of play in Northern Virginia where the Muslim-American vote might have made a difference for him. He doesn't deserve it.

Jose

Far less than the nuclear exchange HRC promised in the Philadelphia debate but Obama needs New Jersey because Florida is gone.

Sadly, any American Presidential-candidate must placate certain (Jewish, Cuban et all) domestic foreign-policy interest above America's general interest in order to get elected but it is the reality we live under.

Good thing that it was a political show because no other President or Presidential candidate has ever carried out anything promised at AIPAC other than "Dumbya".

By the way, in LOTR, Tolkien defines evil as imposing your will against people who wish to be left alone and live in their own ways and beliefs.

Maybe we should apply that view to Arabs, Muslims and Persian instead of Elves, Dwarves and Hobbits by focusing to deliver the Ring (AQ) to Mount Doom. lol
.

Montag

What got me was Hillary's vote to continue to allow the use of cluster bombs in civilian areas by U.S. forces. Obama voted to discontinue the policy of using them anywhere. Hillary was demagogueing not against the "Mad Mullahs," but against innocent, helpless people whom she'd never met. Does she even THINK before she casts these votes? Oh yes, gotta look tough.

We're constantly told that the U.S. and Israel have "shared values," yet they regard our principle of Separation of Church and State with contempt--disparaging the concept as "uniquely Franco-American." They lump us in with the French? Perhaps we should start behaving like them then and never pass up an opportunity to spit in the soup.

JBV

One can argue persuasively that Israel is far more unsafe due to Ziocon madness (with ample assistance from christian evangelicals and big spender cold warrior types.)

Has anybody even heard a peep about a Palestinian State lately?

Many innocent Palestinians die daily due to present blockade. It is a disgrace by any definition and USA should be condemning it with enthusiasm.

One word aptly describes obama's hollow supplication - oi.


Lewis

You act as if he's won the presidency. He's not president yet.

There's also a lot that's wrong with Bush, that makes it hard to believe Obama is merely a few steps away from being a Bush clone in terms of foreign policy. Bush's administration made several blunders, in addition to getting all the details wrong as well. It's the details that will make the difference.

Bush is an idiot. That was the overriding factor in his presidency.

K Kramer

Does someone understand why he did this? He has plenty of campaign money, certainly more than McCain. The Jewish vote is complicated and not that large. Christians who are hardline for Israel are going to vote for McCain no matter what. Is he worried about what AIPAC will do to him in the press? Is congress worried about losing their AIPAC money? Does he really think that an undivided Jerusalem is something he believes in?

zanzibar

I agree with Pat that Obama was able to win the nomination in large part because of Hillary's Iraq vote and her refusal to walk that back. For the Democratic party base the judgment on Iraq has been a central issue and Obama has taken advantage of that in this campaign using his opposition as a key test.

In his triangulation of the Jewish vote he has taken a position on Iran not very different from the neo-cons. So if he believes what he said yesterday at the AIPAC conference how would it be possible for him play an even-handed role in trying settle the Israel-Palestine conflict and surrounding conflicts? It seems he can't.

Obama's speech to AIPAC, IMO, gives Bush and Cheney the cover to attack Iran. He is boxed in now and will be unable to oppose it. Such an attack will split the Democratic party and would lead to a McCain presidency.

As Kieran gathered from the Levant that the parties all prepared for a major escalation it seems the powder keg is ready for ignition. Bush and Cheney will I'm sure be happy to oblige the neo-cons one last conflagration.

Cloned_Poster

Magis idem eadem idem.

For that is the US corporate policy, Coca-Cola, has aircraft-carriers.

lina

Just because the mainstream media positioned Barack Obama to the left of Hillary Clinton, it did not make it true. Sen. Obama's stance on Israel has been available on his web site for a year:

http://www.barackobama.com/pdf/IsraelFactSheet.pdf

Furthermore, here's what he said to AIPAC in March:

“Our job is to renew the United States' efforts to help Israel achieve peace with its neighbors while remaining vigilant against those who do not share this vision. That effort begins with a clear and strong commitment to the security of Israel: our strongest ally in the region and its only established democracy. . That will always be my starting point. And when we see all of the growing threats in the region: from Iran to Iraq to the resurgence of al-Qaeda to the reinvigoration of Hamas and Hezbollah, that loyalty and that friendship will guide me as we begin to lay the stones that will build the road that takes us from the current instability to lasting peace and security.” [Speech at AIPAC Policy Forum in Chicago, 3/2/07]

Obama opposed Kyl-Lieberman because it opened the door to another Bush-Cheney war.

There's nothing new, different or changed with Barack Obama's point of view on Israel or foreign policy in general.

Read "Dreams From My Father" if you want to know who Obama is and how his world view was forged.

JT Davis

Colonel,


BREAKING NEWS
Air Force Chief Moseley Resigns; Wynne May be Next
DefenseAlert, June 5, 2008 -- Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley has resigned, Inside the Air Force has learned.
Top-level Pentagon officials gave Moseley the option to resign or be fired during a meeting this morning, according to a military official. Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne also could resign later today, this official said.

http://www.insidedefense.com/

Any thoughts on what this may be about would be welcome.


William R. Cumming

Given that neither McCain nor Obama is likely to break th 50% mark in popular vote, every vote counts. Wilson and FDR promised peace in 1916 and 1940 and Obama promises war in 2008, but so does McCain. So go figure that who ever gets 45% of the vote probably the winner. Then time will tell real policies.

JohnH

We're definitely well past the point where we can believe anything Obama or McCain say. Pandering 24/7.

Realistically, the choices come Jan. 2009 are stark. 1) Continue funding the bloated, profligate defense budget along with the adventure in Iraq at the expense of the economy, healthcare reform and social security, or 2)
Fight a tough political battle to prioritize defense spending, cut waste in order to make some progress on domestic priorities.

If Obama is going to win the election and show any results on the domestic front, he needs to begin lulling his potential enemies now.

All we can do now is see what the candidates do, not what they say.

b

A completely unneeded sell-out by Obama.

Especially on Jerusalem. He exceeded the official position of the U.S. by a large marging and defied international law.

Bush III.

Mike

Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.....

arbogast

Obama realizes one thing more clearly than perhaps anyone else.

If he doesn't sound, right now, before the election, like a lunatic Likudnic, well...well, what do you think happens?

Cheney goes around to Henry Kissinger and Elliott Abrams and says, "We've got to do something before this jerk gets elected."

Give Obama credit for brains. He's doing the best he can to prevent an airstrike against Iran right now. He's trying to chip away at the constituency for that strike. God bless him.

Cieran

I'd classify Obama's AIPAC speech as some very smart politics. He used the opportunity to weaken one of McCain's criticisms of him (namely, the idea of being soft on protecting Israel), while stealing one of HRC's signature issues, and thus he worked to inoculate himself against a potential political vulnerability in the general election.

But he did something much more interesting in his speech, and the news media buried that aspect of the story, even though I'd suggest it's the most important part of his message. Obama spoke of the need to revitalize the relationship between the Jewish-American and African-American communities, and this passage of his speech is what I found especially important:

They took buses down South together. They marched together. They bled together. And Jewish Americans like Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner were willing to die alongside a black man -- James Chaney -- on behalf of freedom of equality

That's the money quote from Obama's AIPAC appearance. Yes, he gave the obligatory AIPAC pandering speech, but he also brought up memories of when these two important minority communities worked together to build a better America. Nice move, that...

And I find the subtext of his example even more interesting, because those brave young men were murdered in Philadelphia, Mississippi, a town of little worth remembering save for two events, namely:

(1) that loathsome murder in 1964, and
(2) it's where Ronald Reagan declared his candidacy in 1980, and thus where the GOP finally came out of the closet as a fundamentally racist and even anti-semitic party.

Obama's choice of AIPAC speech content is a lot more interesting than Milbank noticed. He not only told the AIPAC crowd what they wanted to hear, but he reminded the rest of us that there is a stark difference between the political parties, and that he's someone who can undermine the GOP's southern strategy by reminding us (among other things) that the GOP's beloved Gipper chose to use a murder site for his party's political gain.

Too bad Milbank missed that part...

Trent

Sad. Why are self-professed American Christians so intent on keeping Jewish and Israeli control of Palestinian Christian Jerusalem? Are they all drunk with Revelation?

Walrus

Col. Lang,

Ever done a course on neurolinguistics? I have.

One of the things they teach you is called "Framing", which is about thinking of the context of what you are saying as you say it.

This skill I found very valuable in business, for example it saved my bacon at a meeting about some venture capital funding with a pack of Six Investement/Merchant Bankers and five lawyers.

They asked me "Don't you trust us?" Because of my training, I was able to immediately answer with a dead straight face, from the bottom of my heart, "Of course I trust you". Thank God for neurolinguistics.

I have read Obama's remarks to AIPAC and it is quite obvious to me that he has been to the same course.

To put it another way, when Obama says he will do "Anything" to protect Israel, you interpret that as a reference to military action. With my neurolinguistic hat on I see negotiations with Iran, treaties, pacts, developmental aid and perhaps even "appeasement".

Furthermore, even this goy knows that his AIPAC hosts know the same thing, since when it comes to verbal gymnastics and splitting hairs, they wrote the book.

FB Ali

Is this speech a sign of Obama's "pandering", or a reflection of the stranglehold that the AIPAC lobby has on US policy and the US political process? If the latter, as is likely, it shows that Obama also understands practical politics.

The sad fact seems to be that no politician (or senior official) can win, or survive in, office in the USA if he or she is (or is perceived to be) anything but a 100%+ supporter of Israel and its policies. And those policies, unfortunately for us all, are formed and executed by the religious and extremist right-wingers in that country.

Anon

Mr. Lang:

How much of this do suspect is kowtowing to a powerful lobby per se, versus simply appealing to a demographic that is disproportionately concentrated in key states?

Anon

rick

I am guessing that the revelation that someone seeking the highest political office in the land would be a politician like any other will not be news to many who read this blog.

I'd have to say that it is a point that still elludes the majority of the electorate, and it is doubful that it will ever sink in. After all, OUR guy is DIFFERENT.

As for our beloved junior senator from NY(I am from Albany), yes, the war vote did cost her some from the left wing of the party, but the fanatical following she had among some women, in my opinion, more than made up for that. I am not particularly progressive(too cynical) but I do hold her war vote to be the most important decision that she ever made in her life(and the lives of about a million other people) and considered her vote of yes(after listening to her speech before she cast it) to be an utterly cynical ploy to garner support on the right for her presidential bid. While I am not saying that politicians do not routinely make that type of decision on that basis all the time, but she was "my fool", and I expected better.(Even I am a fool sometimes.)

As for what finally doomed her, Pat fricking Schroeder did not help, the rabid chants of "it's our turn" didn't help, and for those fools who said that if she didn't win they would support McCain didn't help either.(I am certain that there are plenty of Obama supporters who felt the same way and early on they made news, but he seemed to be able to muzzle them)

And to those who want to support McCain because Hillary lost, GO FOR IT. I am sure he will be better on your issues than Obama.

What doomed the Hilldog(a name she used herself shen she appeared on WWF wrestling) campaign was their sense of enetilement, and the way she ran it.

ps-as a NYer, I find it amusing to note that the farther away you get from NY, the more people like her. Familiarity breeds contempt I guess, or in this case loathing.

srv

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24988491/

Navy and Air Force are now onboard over Iran.

jr786

I think you were a bit unfair here Colonel. The transcript reads:

We will also use all elements of American power to pressure Iran. I will do
everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. That
starts with aggressive, principled diplomacy without self-defeating
preconditions, but with a clear-eyed understanding of our interests.

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