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Republicans salute Obama's military tack


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like Bush did.


face it - they were both right in listening to our military commanders.




logo_print.gif Sunday, May 17, 2009

Republicans salute Obama's military tack

Stephen Dinan


Even as congressional Democrats feuded last week with the CIA in what at times seemed to be a throwback to the 1970s, President Obama was headed in the other direction in what may have been his most active week yet as commander in chief. He pushed through the House a spending bill to finance the war in Afghanistan and reversed himself, deciding to fight the release of photos purportedly showing humiliating treatment of detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan.


Mr. Obama also announced he would have some detainees at the U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, tried by military commissions, putting him at odds with much of his liberal political base, but winning striking praise from Republicans who contrasted his sober decisions against the accusations of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that the CIA has lied to her and Congress continually.


"I think you see the difference between a man who understands the war and the threat and a politician who is bent on political revenge," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican.




"What's driving Nancy Pelosi is this hatred of [former President George W.] Bush, and being in bed with the hard left," Mr. Graham said. "Contrast that with the president of the United States, who's making some pretty intelligent, well-reasoned decisions about trying to clean up the old system but not throwing it out."


Congressional Democrats took a wait-and-see approach toward Mr. Obama's Friday decision to allow some military commissions to try terrorism suspects, but that and his other actions last week earned the president the ire of part of his political base.


A leader of the antiwar group Code Pink said she now wonders at what point her organization should begin to refer to Mr. Obama as a "war criminal."


"To see all of these turnarounds is very disappointing," said Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Code Pink. "I think he's afraid of alienating a lot of these military and their families and the right-wing media that has just attacked him viciously."


For the Democratic Party, which has spent the decades since the Vietnam War worried about alienating voters concerned about national security, Mrs. Pelosi arguing with the CIA while Mr. Obama was pursuing difficult decisions on military tactics was stark.


Among his moves was to reverse his decision from last month and tell his lawyers now to fight the release of photos showing U.S. troops purportedly humiliating and possibly abusing detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan; to push through a war-funding bill that would finance his plans for troop-deployment levels in Iraq and expanding the war in Afghanistan; and to announce that he will, in fact, allow some detainees being held at a the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay to be tried by military commissions, with some added legal protections granted.


Faced with charges of flip-flopping on the commissions, the White House said any confusion was on the part of others.


Press secretary Robert Gibbs, asked about Mr. Obama's statements during the campaign on detainees, instead pointed reporters back to Mr. Obama's stance as a senator in 2006, when military commissions were being debated in the Senate and before Mr. Obama announced his presidential campaign.


"I don't think there's been in any way, shape or form a migration on where he stood on the issue of military commissions from 2006 to today, 2009," Mr. Gibbs told reporters.


Still, when it came to decisions such as the one to fight the release of the photos - reversing a White House decision last month - Mr. Gibbs said sometimes there are adjustments, and said that's normal for a president.


"I think anybody that doesn't take into account facts as they are, facts as they change, in making a decision - I think the president would believe that of course one would make a decision based on the most up-to-date, readily available information. I think to do otherwise would be to short-change, in many ways, the importance of the decision that you make," he said.


Outside the White House, the Obama administration continued to advance its plan to expand the war in Afghanistan - something Mr. Obama clearly campaigned on during the campaign, but which many in his own party are wary of.


House Democrats who were wavering on the vote last week on a spending bill to fund the expanded war received gentle pressure from the White House, and some Democrats told activists they were willing to give Mr. Obama some leeway now on the issue.


The bill passed 368-60, with 51 of the "no" votes coming from liberal Democrats.


Requests for interviews made to nearly a dozen liberal Democratic leaders were turned down or not answered Friday, but in statements, some of those Democrats said the administration should be cautious about its goals and urged more money to go to political development rather than to military funding.


The White House bristled at the charge Mr. Obama was ending up with the same policies as Mr. Bush.


Addressing reporters at his daily briefing, Mr. Gibbs said: "You started out on Monday questioning why we were being so opposite of George Bush in all these questions. And on Friday I'm answering questions about why are we so much like George Bush on all these questions. I'll let you guys discern what period of day that all changed."


Congressional Republicans resisted the comparisons to Mr. Bush, and instead praised Mr. Obama for the way he's handled national security questions.


"What I see here is the difference between being a candidate for office and being commander in chief is unfolding before your eyes," Mr. Graham said. "In the first 100 days, the president has learned more about the nature of our enemy than he did as a candidate. He's consulted with our commanders. I think he appreciates the way the enemy operates and the threats we face."


He said the next test will be how Mr. Obama handles the question of indefinite detention for the few detainees who cannot be put on trial but who the military deems a sufficient threat that they must be held.



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I heard an interesting take on one of those CNN Roundtable discussion shows. A chubby Black guy is the moderator. Don't know his name. Seems to be pretty good from what I could tell.


Any way, the take was that Obama 'gave one for the team' this time as he didn't want to come across as 100% anti-military. The way things are set up now, if he is overruled, he is kind of 'off the hook' with the military types - at least for a while.


In short, the thought is that this was/is purely a political move, not something that should be considered to be siding with the evil empire - Bush and Cheney.


Maybe correct. Maybe 100% wrong. I don't know.


I will take the 'right thing', regardless if Obama really means it or not.

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Obama does the right thing, yet he's secretly training the nations boy scouts to take over the country in a hitler-esque take over... Inspecta



I think that anyone can see that you didn't contribute to the subject of the thread,


you just tried to bring another subject up that you could diss.


I didn't start the other thread.


Obama did the right thing. To not do the right thing, would have been a very


dangerous anti-Bush mistake.


But your bringing up a hitler reference in this thread is uncalled for.


Take your comment to the right thread, perhaps?


You've just taken a postive thread, and turned it into a negative one.


Like a negative post you made that I saw over on the Browns' board, that I guess was


deleted. You seem to want to make rules as long as you don't have to follow them.









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Obama needs to rely on what the pentagon is telling him, and act accordingly.


As a country we need a leader who will stand by and support the troops, otherwise you will have chaos within the ranks.

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he's mentioning the conflict between 2 articles Cal.....which you seemed to miss despite posting in it.


here, you're commending bamy for doing the right thing....while at the same time accusing him of using children in much the same way as hitler......



its a bit of a contradiction.....not that you think so though....

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I did NOT post that other article. T did. I even mentioned it was a good bit over the top....


what are you talking about ?


With this article, I am saying Obama is using children like hitler?


Where on earth do you get that?



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