Friday, June 13, 2014

Cruising the Web

Paul Mirengoff ponders the three crises that we're facing now in Iraq, on the Southwestern border, and in VA hospitals. These are crises that are not going away.
The three emerging crisis cited above are different. They are not one-off problems from which we can simply “move on.” The Iraq fiasco is ongoing and its consequences might well reverberate for years. The children who swarmed across the Southwestern border must be dealt with, and there don’t appear to be satisfactory options. Veterans will probably continue to receive substandard health care, or none at all, for the foreseeable future.

Moreover, these crises all have a direct connection to administration policy. The fall of western Iraq is the predictable consequence of President Obama’s decision to leave Iraq without a status of forces agreement. Mitt Romney and others warned of the consequences of a full military pull-out, but Obama pooh-poohed the warning. Had we sustained a military presence, Iraqi forces would likely have the will and the means to defeat, or at least hold off, the rebels.

The unlawful influx of Central American children seems to be the predictable consequence of Obama’s support of amnesty for “dreamers” and his move away from deportation. Word has spread to Central America that children who enter this country illegally will receive amnesty. Signals from Obama fueled this view.

The failure of the VA is the failure of those Obama selected to run the VA. As early as the 2008 transition period, Team Obama was warned that numbers were being manipulated to mask serious problems in the provision of care to veterans. The warning went unheeded and the situation worsened.
Jay Nordlinger reminds us of what former ambassador to Iraq said in Iraq.
“Iraq is really, really important. How things go here will transform the region and America’s role in the region, one way or the other. If Iraq is successful in establishing itself as a democracy, where the rule of law is paramount, that will be something remarkable for the region.” America will be judged, as well as Iraq: “Ultimately, how we leave and what we leave behind will be more important than how we got here.”

Crocker continues, “People are tired of Iraq. They say, ‘Let’s get it over and done with. We don’t want to watch the Iraq movie anymore.’ But the Iraq movie will go on for many more reels, with or without us. And it will have a big effect on us, whether we like it or not.”
Exactly. Can anyone buy Obama's claims that his top foreign-policy accomplishments are ending the war in Iraq and decimating al Qaeda?

This is what happens when foreign policy is run so as to provide spin against political opponents rather than out of any concern for eventual outcomes.

Stephen Hayes reviews the hapless testimony of Chuck Hagel's testimony on the Bergdahl's prisoner exchange.

William Mcgurn reminds us of the other Americans being held prisoner around the world. Despite Obama's words in the Rose Garden about bringing home "American citizens who are unjustly detained abroad and deserve to be reunited with their families, just like the Bergdahls.” McGurn reminds us of the American USAID worker who has been held in Cuba since 2009 and the other USAID worker being held by al Qaeda in Pakistan. Then there is the American Marine of dual nationality being held in Iran. Or the FBI agent held in Iran since 2007 or the American Marine being held in Mexico for making a wrong turn at the border. And then the Pakistani doctor who helped us get the information that led to the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Why hasn't Obama acted on his own clearly enunciated principles for these people?
It’s understandable too that a White House might well conclude that the price demanded by an Iran or Cuba or al Qaeda is simply too high, that there are limits on what we will give away even to bring home an American who has served his country.
The problem for President Obama is the bar he’s set: It’s simply hard to imagine any price higher than the release of five commanders in a Taliban still at war with us. Which makes it all but impossible for him to justify not doing the same for any of these other captured men.

Lanny Davis tells us about Hillary Clinton's great infectious laugh. What an alternate universe he lives in? She has this obnoxious titter that seems to be an indication of her insincerity. Is he the only one in the universe who finds that laugh as an expression of joy? Even SNL has made fun of her laugh. Just go to youtube and type in Hillary's laugh. Back in 2007 John Dickerson wrote in Slate to advise Hillary to cut the laughter.
Clinton also needs to ditch the laugh because it has become her tell. Like all poker players, politicians have a sign that they're bluffing. For Newt Gingrich, the tell was when he said "frankly." Dick Cheney uses that same word to dissemble, too. "In all candor" is another signal that a hedge is coming. Nixon had lots of tells—his tense smile, the pod of sweat on his upper lip—it was as if his tiny little truth instinct was trying to break free any way it could.

Hillary's laugh appears during discussions of her vote to authorize force against Iraq and her failed 1993 health-care plan, and during attacks from rivals. All politicians laugh a little to buy time—regular humans do it, too—but the whole point of political evasion is to get voters to focus on something else. In this way, Clinton's laugh backfires. It signals to voters that they should pay attention, because a dodge is coming.
Only someone so in the tank for the Clintons as Lanny Davis or Terry McAuliffe who thought her "great belly laugh" demonstrated her human side would be unaware of how grating Hillary's laugh is. I just hope that the American people decide they don't want to hear that laugh for four or eight years.

Mark Steyn argues that America is "seen as harmless as an enemy, and treacherous as a friend."
if you're in Benghazi or Aleppo or Kandahar - or, come to that, Kiev - why would you believe the Americans over the other fellows? Unlovely and blood-soaked as they are, the other guys mean it; America doesn't.