The “polls” have spoken. Iraq and the global war against the jihad movements is but a blip on the electorate radar screen. From WaPo:
In the end, Iraq all but disappeared as an issue in the presidential election –
– to the benefit of Barack Obama.
AS THE COUNTRY votes in an election dominated by economic issues, it is worth pointing out the problem that did not, after all, overshadow the presidential race: the war in Iraq. According to the most recent Washington Post-ABC News tracking poll, just 9 percent of likely voters said Iraq was the most important issue in their choice for president, compared with 51 percent who cited the economy. That’s a dramatic change from the 2006 mid-term election, in which Iraq ranked first among voters’ concerns, with 27 percent in a Pew poll citing it as the biggest issue. Even in 2004, more than 20 percent picked it.
The reason for that shift was encapsulated in a story The Post and other news organizations reported without fanfare over the weekend. In October, 13 American soldiers died in Iraq, a total that tied with August for the lowest monthly toll of the war. The number of Iraqis killed was almost certainly also the lowest in more than five years — 288, by the count of the Web site iCasualties.org. In October 2006, 106 American troops and at least 1,539 Iraqis died. Simply put, the situation in Iraq has been transformed in the past two years, and voters recognize it. While 63 percent said in a November 2006 poll reported in Newsweek that the United States was “losing ground” in Iraq, 53 percent said in a New York Times-CBS poll last week that the war was going “somewhat well” or “very well.”
It’s interesting that in a world that has blamed Dubya for everything from hurricanes and the ineptness of Mayors and Governors to their next door neighbor’s flatulance, they can’t find it in their mentalities to “blame Bush” for the disappearance of Iraq and the conflicts in the Middle East as an election issue as well.
Obama’s entire campaign has banked on linking McCain to Bush failures. Iraq and the standing of the US in the int’l community’s eyes? All the fault of Bush. Yet this –“failed policies of the last 8 years” has not produced another int’l crisis under Dubya’s watch. The US has not been hit with another terrorist assault on our soil under Dubya’s watch… but not for lack of desire or attempts.
The economic crisis? Again Obama and supporters proclaim it’s “a direct result of the Bush administration’s trickle-down, Wall Street first, Main Street last policies that John McCain has embraced for the last eight years and plans to continue for the next four”. This, despite the realities of the perfect storm of housing and lending events that lead to our vunerability today.
A series of events that the DNC has worked overtime to distance themselves from their own involvement.
*And* a POTUS wannabe who, himself, has played an (un?) intentional villainous part by acting as an attorney for perceived “redlining”, and involving himself in ACORN – a quintessential lobbying organization that best represents the “gimme for free, please” mentality that sweeps America today.
So America, buoyed by Obama’s promises of financial relief in the “middle class” America’s household, is voting for “wallet security”. “National security” is but a vague memory, manifested in our worst nightmares seven years ago. A nightmare that, whenever pictured as a reminder, is labeled a “foul” in strategy.
This brings us to Obama’s visions for America. And oddly enough, his domestic visions are intrinsically linked to his foreign policy visions.
By now we’re all familiar with Obama’s plans for Pakistan with his infamous – and heretofore never reversed policy towards Pakistan – that consists mostly of a not-so-slightly veiled threat to go after Bin Laden with, or without Pakistan’s approval if the US had “actionable intelligence”.
This, of course, has been twisted many ways in the wake of Obama’s tongue trip. Some say this is Bush’s current policy. And yes… it is, to a form. Even as the far left The Nation basically says, showing your military hand at “tacit approval” by the Pakistan leadership is really dumb…
The Times reports today that President Bush gave an order in July allowing US Special Forces “to carry out ground assaults inside Pakistan without the prior approval of the Pakistani government, according to senior American officials.” They’ll notify the Pakistani government, but won’t ask permission.
Somewhat buried in the story is the report that “the Pakistani government had privately assented to the general concept of limited ground assaults by Special Operations forces against significant militant targets, but that it did not approve each mission.” In other words, according to the Times, the Pakistani goverment is winking at the idea.
There could hardly be a worse strategy. It risks inflaming Pakistani public opinion against the United States and boost the religious parties. It will make the new Pakistani government look like pawns or puppets of the United States, which won’t exactly make them popular among Pakistanis. And, of course, it won’t be successful in eliminating Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Historians of the Vietnam war might compare the strategy to President Nixon’s ill-fated decision to expand the war across the border into Cambodia in search of alleged Viet Cong “santuaries.” That didn’t work out well.
Some say he has pledged to attack Pakistan…. which, in effect, he actually has. For if we don’t have the “tacit approval” of the Pakistan leadership – which has changed from the more friendly Musharraf in most cases to the more politically correct “democratic supporter” Zardari in the past year – any action inside Pakistan is essentially an act of war.
An example of an Obama foreign policy failing can be had when Zardari visited the US for a UN meeting, and Obama merely made a phone call, while McCain and Palin were there to personally meet and greet with a US ally in the global war on the jihad movement.
There is something distinctively disconcerting about a potential POTUS who is willing to meet with Iran and Venezula leadership, but avoids shaking the hand of our allies.
And today, a new POTUS faces new challenges with Pakistan… integral to the Afghanistan fight that Obama likes to highlight as his “superior” foreign policy and understated war escalation.
Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari told the head of the U.S. Central Command, General David Petraeus, and Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher that attacks on his country by American drone aircraft are “counterproductive” and must stop.
“The focus should be more on enhanced coordination and intelligence-sharing,” Zardari told the U.S. officials today when they met at his residence during a visit to Pakistan, according to a Pakistani government statement. The cross-border raids from Afghanistan have killed Pakistanis and destroyed property, “creating a credibility gap” as members of the public pressure their leaders to explain the U.S. actions, Zardari said.
U.S. forces based in Afghanistan have stepped up attacks on militants, and have been given permission by President George W. Bush to pursue Taliban and al-Qaeda targets in neighboring Pakistan. A missile from a remotely piloted U.S. aircraft killed 27 people in Kari Kot in Pakistan’s South Waziristan district on Oct. 31, the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan said.
What would a President Obama do? Clearly the Pakistanis do not support US drone action. Also just as clear is their latest round of “cuppa tea” diplomacy with the Taliban will fail… just as it’s done for years before.
What is most fearful is that US voters don’t care what a President Obama would do. This is only 9% or so of their “issues” in pulling the lever tomorrow. They don’t care that Obama and the DNC want to cut the military defense budget by 25%. They just plain don’t care that Obama’s tax, welfare, energy and spending plan will more than overwhelm that “95% cut to all Americans” promise.
Worse yet, they either don’t understand… or worse, just plain don’t care… that Obama’s vision of a a welfare “social and economic justice” America will affect our nation’s safety via national defense.
Vietnam era Navy wife, indy/conservative, and an official California escapee now residing as a red speck in the sea of Oregon blue.