The Responsible Response to Iraq

In response to all of the emails and Facebook posts telling me to “Tell President Obama” not to Intervene in Iraq, I urge you to to let Obama follow the advice of experts who know a lot more about the situation in Iraq then you, I, or even Bill Mahar.

Going into Iraq now would not be doing the same thing that we did before. It would be the opposite. Instead of toppling a regime and creating a power vacuum, we’d be supporting a government already in place and preventing an overthrow. Instead of lying to justify an invasion, we’d be responding to a request for help.

When America was cheering the removal of troops from Iraq, many conservatives not only endorsed the end of the war, they gave Bush credit for it, which was (I’ll agree with Politifact on this) at least half-true. Now they criticize Obama for leaving.

Whether your an Obama supporter or an Obama hater, crediting Obama for withdrawing or blaming him for it requires you to ignore the Bush timeline, the expectations of the American people, and the attempts to maintain a small force in Iraq against the will of the Iraqi government. Had we not withdrawn, many of the same people who are criticizing Obama for leaving would be criticizing him for staying, and Obama would be in a position of maintaining forces in Iraq against the will of the American and Iraqi people, while fighting a Congress who controls the purse strings and will do anything to make Obama fail. I think we had to withdraw.

Now I think we should return. Sometimes you have to take the training wheels off to see what happens. The American people can plainly see that Iraq isn’t ready to move forward without us. The government we helped put in place is asking for our help in cleaning up the mess that we helped create. Who are we to say “No”?

Even Benghazi Conspiracy Theorists Should Vote Obama

Benghazi conspiracy theories shouldn’t sway you towards Romney. All of the crazy theories are probably wrong and most of them have to be. The Right wing has a bunch of incompatible stories to explain the President’s incompetence or inhumanity or allegiance to Islamic terrorists or to communists or whatever. Even if one these outrageous stories turns out to be true, logic dictates that the others are false. It wasn’t an inattentive response by a president more interested in his campaign than in American lives and also a decision to allow a U.S. ambassador die to cover up a covert operation. It wasn’t an incompetent response by a president who froze like a deer in the headlights and also a frantic decision to let Americans die because allowing the attack to blow out of control made it easier (by some bizarre logic) to distance the attack from terrorism.

The theories aren’t just incompatible, they’re preposterous. But as with global warming denial and Bill Clinton conspiracy theories, the philosophy is quantity rather than quality. Just keep pounding away with accusations because they can’t all be debunked by election day, and the more outlandish the accusations are, the more likely they are to stick in voters’ minds as election day drawers near.

My own conspiracy theory, (well I thought it was my own until I read similar theories) based on the fact that September 11th 2009, 2010, and 2011 went by smoothly, is that somebody must have put in a strong effort into making sure September 11th 2012 would be a serious embarrassment for the president. This has been a convenient October surprise for the Romney campaign. I know it happened in September, but the definition still applies. I believe the plot included feeding misinformation to our intelligence agencies, and I believe that “The Innocence of Muslims” really did play a part.

I urge undecided voters not to let crazy theories sway you toward Romney. Consider this: If you want Obama to burn if any of these nasty theories about him turn out to be true, then reelect him.

If Obama is defeated, then even if these outrageous accusations turn out to be true, this whole story might just get lost when America’s attention is distracted towards something else. But if these accusations turn out to be false, then we will have allowed terrorists, liars, and lunatic conspiracy theorists control our elections.

On the other hand, if Obama wins and these accusations turn out to be true, this story will be a huge scandal likely leading to the impeachment and trial of President Obama, and a mortifying embarrassment to liberal bloggers like me. It would likely lead to a Republican takeover of congress in two years, and a long-term loss of credibility for the DNC. But if Obama is reelected and these crazy stories about him are false, we will have shown the terrorists and conspirators that they do not tell us who to elect as President of the United States.

Obama’s not allowed to talk about Bin Laden

Apparently, if the Obama campaign makes any effort to dispel the ridiculous opinion being spread by the right (though not by the Romney campaign) that Obama was nothing but a bystander in the decision to strike Bin Laden in his Abbottobad compound, that’s “Crowing”, or Doing a Sack Dance.

So apparently, Obama should sit quietly while pundits at CNN suggest that Obama was not in charge and idiots like Ben Shapiro accuse Obama of not even knowing what the mission to get Bin Laden was. Indeed, a dignified response to the accusations would be no response at all. I’m sure if he refused to respond to the lies, the right would show the same respect they did for all those months during which Obama refused to respond to the lies about his birth certificate.

Nor should Obama suggest that anyone else, especially Romney, would not have made the same decision. Romney said, ‘Any thinking American’ would have done the same. Except, Romney would have done things differently, as would many of Obama’s top advisors.

Romney’s level headed response,

“It’s totally appropriate for the president to express to the American people the view that he has that he had an important role in taking out Osama bin Laden,” Romney said after visiting the lower Manhattan fire station with Rudy Giuliani, who was mayor when terrorists flew planes into the World Trade Center’s twin towers and killed nearly 3,000 people.

“I think politicizing it and trying to draw a distinction between himself and myself was an inappropriate use of the very important event that brought America together,” Romney said.

was, at least, not nasty and doesn’t suggest that Obama is taking credit for other people’s work. But considering the barrage of misinformation that Obama is fighting against during this campaign season, it’s appropriate for Obama to take credit for the decisions he has made as well as it is to distinguish himself from his opponent, who is now trying to distance himself from statements he made in the past.

So I don’t agree that Obama should keep quite about Bin Laden just to avoid politicizing his accomplishments when everything he does or doesn’t do is going to be politicized anyway.

Barack Obama is justified to take credit for his role in killing Osama Bin Laden and in pointing out that Romney was against the strategies that Obama used. The president is not suggesting that he was on the ground in Pakistan with a hunting knife or that Romney didn’t care about Bin Laden. He’s only trying to set the record straight, and is under no obligation to sit quietly while right wing pundits spread lies.

Obama’s “Doubled” Death Toll

While I was commenting on a Washington Post article, another commenter wrote something like “… doubled Bushes death toll in Afghanistan”. I wish I could get the exact quote but three thousand comments later, I can’t even find my own comment.

I had to look up that statistic and indeed it’s true, at least according to icasualties.org. This statistic is featured prominently on anti-war sites as well as right wing blogs such as The Blaze, where possibly retarded members of that blog’s readership theorize that the increase in casualties is due to Obama’s allegiance to Islamic forces.

But focusing on the death toll in Afghanistan misses the withdrawal from Iraq. These numbers are based on the tables in icasualties’s home page:

U.S. Death Tolls
Afghanistan Iraq Total
2001 12 0 12
2002 49 0 49
2003 48 486 534
2004 52 849 901
2005 99 846 945
2006 98 822 920
2007 117 904 1021
2008 155 314 469
2009 317 149 466
2010 499 60 559
2011 418 54 472
Total 2002-8 618 4221 4839
Total 2009-11 1234 263 1497
Monthly Avg 2002-8 88 603 691
Monthly Avg 2009-11 411 88 499

Since Obama took office, the U.S. casualty rate dropped significantly due to the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, even as the toll increased in Afghanistan as Obama stepped up operations there.

To ignore the Iraq withdrawal in an effort to suggest that twice as many Americans are dying under Obama’s leadership is miserably dishonest. To speculate that it’s because Obama is a Muslim is stupid.