Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Personal Aside: Notre Dame President to Speak Here but No Interest in Protesting Obamas Foreign-Defense Policies Shifting Left.
Notre Dame President.
Notre Dame President Fr. John I, Jenkins, CSC, who warmly greeted the abortion president of the U. S. as commencement speaker and recipient of an honorary doctorate, will speak at the City Club this Thursday (Sept. 24) at Maggianos Banquets, 111 West Grand (11:30 a.m. reception, 12:00 lunch) but not a peep is heard from authenticist Catholics about protesting his appearance. Thus doth the fires of passion burn low.
As City Club Chairman, I didnt invite him but I welcomed his appearance because I thought it would be healthy for him to experience some old-fashioned robust dissent with placards and civil protests out on the streetwhere I had planned to be.
But all I got when I approached one pro-life leader was a yawn (We did that before at Notre Dame). Oh, all right. The media will say, see? Just a tempest in a teapot! But if thats the way you want it, Catholics, okay. Ill fold up my placard and stay home. If you want to protest, get organizing. Not long until this Thursday. And if any of you want to make a showing, Id like to know so I can join in to make a ruckus in the good old American spirit of dissent. Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sheesh! So much for the hotly burning defense of unborn life. With no protesters, President Jenkins will be thrilled.
Obamas Defense Policies Shifting Left.
Last week I wrote a question-and-answer piece, judging Barack Obamas domestic policies after 250 days of his presidency. Here follows a similar catechism on his foreign and defense policies designed largely to placate his allies on the Left. It means well be lucky to survive by the time his term ends at noon on Jan. 20, 2012.
What are the crucial areas facing this country that Obama has to deal with?
No controversy about this: there are four major ones. First and most dangerous is Iran which is clearly defying the U. S. and is playing kissy face with Venezuelas Hugo Chavez who is a bitter enemy. We now hear that Russia may sell some S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to Iran, a dangerous development. Second, the situation in Afghanistan which during the campaign Obama called the good war is deteriorating and he faces a decision as to whether or not to send in more U. S. forces. On this point, Gen. Stanley McChrystal is calling for at least 40,000 more U. S. troops, warning that if they arent forthcoming we could well lose the war in Afghanistan. Obamas key adviser Rahm Emanuel is telling him dont do it! If you do, youll end up like LBJ who got bogged down in Vietnam and retired from the presidency as one who was engulfed in an un-winnable war. Meaning that domestic politics may well override national security.
Third is missile defense and the worry that Obama is thinking of abandoning plans for third-site missile defense installations in Poland and the Czech Republic. Fourth is the decision by Attorney General Eric Holder to probe the CIA to possibly convict those who used tough tactics to get terrorists like Khalid Sheik Mohammed who planned 9/11 to spit out the truth about future bombings. Holders action is likely to severely chill any future attempt to grill terrorists energetically which means that our first line of defense against attacks on our shores will likely be severely undermined.
On Iran, Obama said that if were nice to our adversaries and we extend a hand well see good results. Is it working?
Well, he said he wants to meet unilaterally with the Iranians which he calls smart diplomacy. Then he kept still when post-election demonstrators were being shot in the streets because he wanted to keep open channels with the Ahmadinejad regime. He apologized in his Cairo speech for what President Eisenhower did fifty years agoan apology which Mahmoud Ahmadinejad himself said would have to happen before the Iranians would resume negotiations with us. Obama meekly complied.
After his craven apology for a 5-star general-presidents who, in retrospect, was one of our most effective, what happened? In July at the G-8 summit in Italy, Iran was given a September deadline to begin negotiations on its nuclear buildup. Last week it bluntly said no. On Obamas plea for a face-to-face meeting with the dictator, Ahmadinejad said I will meet with Obama but it has to be in the full glare of the media and it will be a debate. Incidentally, he adds, the nuclear issue is off the tableand will not be discussed. But global warming will be. To which Obama has said meekly okay.
Its clear that Obamas weakness here means that the task of dealing with Iran will be outsourced to Israel which led an air strike destroying Iraqs reactor in 1981 and Syrias in 1987. If the strike failsor even if it succeedsit could well mean a full-scale Middle East war and oil at $200 a barrel. This is what Obamas fine touch in world affairs has given us.
Also, remember Obamas warm greeting to Hugo Chavez of Venezuela at the London economic summit and the exchange of books including Chavezs which bitterly attacks the United States? What did that do for us? Chavez flew to Iran and concluded an alliance that results in Venezuela supplying Iran with gasoline it sorely needs (Iran has plenty of crude oil but is weak in refined petroleum). The problem here is that Obama has abandoned the policy of the firm hand in diplomacy in return for a limp-wristed gesture that apologizes for our past and shows the world that we are weak for which we not only get nothing but worsens the situation because we look frightened and impotent.
Every day that passes, Iran is getting closer to acquiring nuclear capability. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs says it has already got sufficient uranium to build an atomic bomb. Its also making fast headway on its ballistic missile program. Last May 30 it fired a missile with a 1,200 to 1,500-mile range and the National Air and Space Intelligence Center states that Iran could develop a missile capable of reaching the U. S. by 2015.
Well, what is Obama doing about that?
He seems to be spending all his time making speeches and doing TV interviews to sell his health care program at the rate of one speech a day a program not even a clear-cut majority of congressional Democrats want. These things keep him pretty busy.
What about Afghanistan?
As previously stated, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal is calling for 40,000 more troops, saying that if theyre not forthcoming the war may well be lost. It is important to recall that McChrystal is Obamas man, the one the president named to run the war there. Remember that in the presidential campaign, Obama opposed the Iraq War and said that the war in Afghanistan was the more important onethat we have to win this one. Well now that the surge has worked in Iraq, the question is whether a similar one can work in Afghanistan. But the Left of the Democratic party is pressing for either withdrawal or the setting of a limit on a date-certain when we will withdraw, urging that the Afghanistan military force should be able to handle the Taliban.
One thing wrong with that. There is a total of only 173,000 in the Afghan army which is undermanned and poorly equippedin contrast to 600,000 in the Iraq army (Iraq is a smaller, less populated country). Obama is hugely indebted to the Left for its support politically. If he adopts what the Left wantsa small footprint strategyby reducing U. S. troops and scaling back the goals of the war to focus just on al-Qaeda rather than the Taliban-led insurgents he will alienate the Left. A new strategy urged by Generals McChrystal and Petraeus stresses expanding the number of our troops, improving the Afghan forces and the partnering of Afghan units with American units leading to the strengthening of the Afghan army and police and reducing the need for U. S. troops.
Why doesnt Obama do that? Follow the advice of McChrystal and Petraeus?
Because he fears the Democratic Left will revolt and severely wound him in the congressional elections of 2010 and the all-important presidential in 2012. Believe me, the Left isnt kidding. Just last week the chairman of the Senate Armed Services committee, Carl Levin (D-Mich.) publicly opposed increasing our forces over there. Then an all-important New York Times columnista journalistic mainstay of Obamas support, Frank Rich-- wrote how dissatisfied he is with the president. For Obama the likely loss of Frank Rich and others who may follow him presages a possible revolt from his Left flank which is scary for him. And very scary for this country which has to depend on Obama for its defenses.
What could happen if Obama listens to Emanuel and the Democratic Left?
Reducing U. S. forces precipitately would result in the Taliban building sanctuaries within Afghanistan imperiling the Afghan government and propelling al-Qaeda in that country. This would significantly strengthen the Islamist threat to Pakistan at a time when its making progress in stymieing the Pakistani Taliban. To be fair, the Bush administrations minimalist approach to Afghanistan in 2001 due largely to Illinois Don Rumsfeld to be bipartisan about it allowed Osama bin Laden to flee his mountain hideaway at Tora Bora. When Washington reduced its force to concentrate solely on counter-terrorism in Afghanistan and abandon counterinsurgency tactics freeing up troops for Iraq the Taliban regrouped. The small footprint strategy failed in Iraq and almost lost the war before Petraeus-designed surge turned the tide.
Okay, what about the missile problem?
This has to do largely with Obamas political vanity. He concluded a deal with Russias Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow last July. The Russians said any steps toward nuclear disarmament would have to involve our abandoning missile defense installations in Central Europe including former USSR satellites that are now in NATO and the European Union. But Russia wants to build missile defense sites in Azerbaijan and in the south of the Russian federation, close to the Iranian border. Although there are sea-based alternatives which may block intercontinental ballistic missiles, they have to be tested. Buttoo badmoney for future testing and development is severely under-funded by the Democratic Congress. What the Democrats, including Obama, are doing is scrimping on money that could defense us and lavishing big bucks on Great Society-style mammoth social projects.
How serious is Holders plan to probe the CIA for being so rude as to deprive accused terrorists of sleep, apply water-board and other tough tactics?
Very serious. Far more than when the Cold War existed, the CIA is the first line of our defense domestically against terrorists. Once again, Obama is striving to please the Left of his party who want to employ the Marquis of Queensbury rules in the interrogations heedless of the damage it will cause the United States. By the way, dont get the idea that the CIA is right-wing. Its been historically liberal Democrat since its founding and bitterly opposed Bushs preemptive war in Iraq, its operatives leaking steadily to favored media against Bush and Cheney.
Where do Obamas allies on the Left come from and how strong are they?
His allies on the Left are nationwide but hes been indebted largely to the left-wing Chicago Democratic machine. The mainstream media dont understand his tie-in with the machine, believing that a former University of Chicago law lecturer with a Harvard law degree is independent of a machine which is run by someone perceived oftenand wrongly-- as a relatively conservative neighborhood Democrat, Mayor Richard M. Daley. They dont understand that the machine which I call less of a mechanical organization than a Squid has changed greatly from the days when Daleys father was mayor. Daley, Sr. was anathema to the political Left. The younger Daley, who is not all that young (67) made a Faustian bargain with the Left to go along with everything they want if in return the Left would support him.
The Left agreed and so Daley has been reelected time and again without any serious challenge from them. Rather than being a stabilizing counter-force to the Left, Richard Daley is an enabler for the Left. It was he who got cushy university jobs for Bill Ayres and his wife Bernardine Dohrn who are unrepentant terrorists. All the people who have matriculated to Washington from the Chicago machine (or Squid) have worked for Daley and have extremist credentials with the Left. They include Valerie Jarrett who is one of the presidents top aides. Jarrett was the first one to sign up Van Jones as White House Green Jobs chief and allowed him to skip the vetting process, knowing full well that he is a Communist and a Trutherone who signed up for the organization that charges that George W. Bush knew about the facilitated the attacks on 9/11.
Why do you call the Daley machine the Squid?
Because a giant Squid is a better description of the liberal Democratic organization here in Chicago. The image of a Squid is far more realistic because it is highly complex as the modern, 21st century organization here is. A Squid has eight arms and two tentacles and has the ability to eject an inky substance that permeates the water and hide itself (read: co-opt the media). Its skin has the ability to change color to suit its surroundings, making it effectively invisible. A Squid maintains the highest intelligence among invertebrates. It has the largest eyes in the animal kingdom, looking everywhere. This variant of the Squid can have its head lopped off and can still survive, quickly generating another head that can grow almost immediately.
This Squid is run by Daley but is not dependent on him for its survival. Indeed, there are signs that Daleys era may be coming to a close (although if that happens the Squid will regenerate another head swiftly).
Whats happening to Daley?
For the first time in his mayoral career, his critics outnumber his fans, a Tribune poll announced to this stunned city last week. His approval is at an all-time low of 35%. Many things contribute to this. There has been a parking meter fiasco outsourcing its operation to a private entity, a subsidiary of Morgan-Stanley with which his brother Bill is affiliated which has alienated most resident-users (the details of which are far too complex to explain here).
Theres his failure to explain that city taxpayers will have to cover potential losses from the Olympics. As the Tribunes Dennis Byrne has reported, not only is there a $500 million guarantee from the city (and $250 million from the state which cant pay its bills) but Daley signed an open-ended agreement committing the city to whatever cost overruns will occur. He blusters the games wont cost the city anything since the sponsors took out an insurance policy that will cover any unexpected cost. Who would sell such a policy? How much is the premium to cover a potential of hundreds of millions of dollars of losses? But there is no pool of insured and the city is the only one coveredso likely it would take the hit. Media generally is too subservient to ask these questions.
Then theres the slumping economy that led him to break his 2007 pledge to give generous wage increases to unionized employees: instead there have been layoffs and furloughs without pay.
Too soon for the bugler to sound Taps for Daley and/or the Squid?
Much too soon. Reason: for years Democrats who die here insist on being buried within the limits of Chicago so they can continue to be politically active and theyll be voting the straight Democratic ticket and for Daley and his successors until Judgment Day.