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Posts Tagged ‘war’

This is probably familiar to anyone who has been following the civil war — now declared over by the government — in Sri Lanka, but I missed it till today. It is an oped by Lasantha Wickramatunge, former editor of the Sunday Leader newspaper of Sri Lanka. It was published posthumously and is a chilling piece of writing — not just because it eloquently defends civil liberties — but because Wikramatunge was murdered in January this year, exactly as he predicted in the linked essay. Do read it if you haven’t already.

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If true, this exchange between Sarkozy and Putin is astounding. Click here for the link.

With Russian tanks only 30 miles from Tbilisi on Aug. 12, Sarkozy told Putin that the world would not accept the overthrow of Georgia, Levitte said.

“I am going to hang Saakashvili by the balls,” Putin replied.

Sarkozy responded: “Hang him?”

“Why not? The Americans hanged Saddam Hussein,” Putin said.

Sarkozy replied, using the familiar “tu”: “Yes but do you want to end up like (President) Bush?”

Putin was briefly lost for words, then said: “Ah, you have scored a point there.”

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“We will succeed, we have succeeded and we will win the war in Iraq. And we are winning.”

John McCain

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John McCain gave a speech today where he said:

We both knew the politically safe choice was to support some form of retreat. All the polls said the “surge” was unpopular. Many pundits, experts and policymakers opposed it and advocated withdrawing our troops and accepting the consequences. I chose to support the new counterinsurgency strategy backed by additional troops − which I had advocated since 2003, after my first trip to Iraq. Many observers said my position would end my hopes of becoming president. I said I would rather lose a campaign than see America lose a war. My choice was not smart politics. It didn’t test well in focus groups. It ignored all the polls. It also didn’t matter. The country I love had one final chance to succeed in Iraq. The new strategy was it. So I supported it. […]

Senator Obama made a different choice. He not only opposed the new strategy, but actually tried to prevent us from implementing it. He didn’t just advocate defeat, he tried to legislate it. When his efforts failed, he continued to predict the failure of our troops. As our soldiers and Marines prepared to move into Baghdad neighborhoods and Anbari villages, Senator Obama predicted that their efforts would make the sectarian violence in Iraq worse, not better.

And as our troops took the fight to the enemy, Senator Obama tried to cut off funding for them. He was one of only 14 senators to vote against the emergency funding in May 2007 that supported our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. He would choose to lose in Iraq in hopes of winning in Afghanistan. But had his position been adopted, we would have lost both wars.

Reacting to this, Matt Welch (editor of Reason Magazine) says:

What interests me here is McCain’s classic trait of personalizing all policy debates. If you disagree with him, it must be because you are dishonorable, and placing politics ahead of country. He, on the other hand, continues to be motivated by a love of country more pure than Karen Carpenter’s singing voice, at a severe political cost that only a torture-surviving stoic would be willing to bear.

I think that is an accurate depiction of McCain, and one of the reason I sincerely hope he never becomes president. As Welch adds:

I don’t know about Obama (literally), but I can tell you this: The next time we face what McCain hyperbolically described as “a crisis as profound as any in our history,” President McCain will argue − stoically, and with patriotic sadness more than nationalistic anger − that the only thing he hates more than war is anyone daring to suggest that escalating troop levels yet again isn’t the answer to the transcendental crisis du jour. Will such sentiments work politically in 2008? I don’t know. But it’s likely his only hope.

Read the whole thing.

And incidentally, I am a HUGE fan of Karen Carpenter’s voice and the songs she sang.

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I have always feared that if elected, John McCain would be an even more authoritarian chief executive than George W. Bush. Particularly worrying is his disregard for privacy and free speech, especially when it conflicts (in his world-view) with national security.

The latest statement issued by McCain’s campaign proves that these fears are justified. Here’s an excerpt:

N]either the Administration nor the telecoms need apologize for actions that most people, except for the ACLU and the trial lawyers, understand were Constitutional and appropriate in the wake of the attacks on September 11, 2001. […]

We do not know what lies ahead in our nation’s fight against radical Islamic extremists, but John McCain will do everything he can to protect Americans from such threats, including asking the telecoms for appropriate assistance to collect intelligence against foreign threats to the United States as authorized by Article II of the Constitution.

(Link via Boing Boing)

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