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By Gary Starr For The Neville Awards
Posted Jan 8, 2009
George W. Bush's signature achievement during his administration was that, since Sept. 11, 2001, there have been no Islamic terrorist attacks on
U.S. soil. He will never get credit for it, the Left won't admit it, or they will say we were lucky, or that's proof there is no threat from the jihadists.
But there is no getting around that success.
This is due in large part to the policies put in place by this administration. They include:
- An aggressive offensive stance against terrorism which succeeded in damaging Al Qaeda's ability to launch large scale attacks
- Coerced interrogation that included waterboarding
- A continuation of the rendition program begun during the Clinton administration
- International wiretapping under the FISA program
- A certain willingness to ignore the rest of the world when it came to our own defense
- Warehousing the terrorists at Gitmo
Neville Update: Feb 21, 2009 -- The One Month Obama Report Card on Foreign Policy
- His first call to any head of state as president was to Mahmoud Abbas, leader of Fatah party in the Palestinian territory.
- His first one on one interview with any news organization was with Al Arabia television.
- He ordered Guantanamo Bay closed and all military trials of detainees halted.
- He ordered all overseas CIA interrogation centers closed.
- He withdrew all charges against the masterminds behind the USS Cole and 9/11.
- He appointed an Attorney General and Justice Department officials on record as opposed to the use of "enhanced" interrogation techniques in terror investigations.
- By executive order Obama has allocated $20.3 million in "post-conflict humanitarian aid" to "Palestinian refugees and conflict victims in Hamas-controlled Gaza. The additional funds bring to $60 million U.S. aid commitments in Gaza.
- Obama has signed an executive order presidential determination which allows hundreds of thousands of Palestinians with ties to Hamas to resettle in the United States
- Responding to signs of Obama's weakness on Terror Enforcement The Associated Press reported, on February 8th, that Yemen, which boasts of having a "truce" with al Qaeda, "released 170 men it had arrested on suspicion of having ties to al Qaeda." The announcement came "two weeks after al Qaeda announced that Yemen had become the base of its activities for the whole Arabian Peninsula."
- Responding to signs of Obama's weakness on Terror Enforcement Pakistan, a supposed ally, has just concluded a deal with the Taliban ceding to its control an area on the Afghan/Paki border which its troops had, unsuccessfully, tried to capture. The Taliban now has the same deal it had in Afghanistan - a protected sanctuary from which to launch raids on the West.
- By executive order Obama has decided to end sanctions against Iran in the face of Iran's continued development of nuclear technology and Iran's
continued support of Hamas and Hezbollah.
- Iran has launched it's first satellite nicknamed "Hope". Where's the change? Iran can now easily launch nuclear-tipped missles into Europe and Asia.
- Obama has decided on a new U.S. ambassador to Syria and is expected to lift sanctions on it's military and energy programs. Syria is charged with aiding Al Qaida in Iraq and secretly building a nuclear reactor with North Korean assistance.
- Canada and Brussels have bristled over the protectionist "Buy American" slant of the new Stimulus package.
- Kyrgestan is kicking the United States Air Force out of our main re-supply base to Aghanistan. The Russians are kicking in $200 million in aid and have expressssed interest re-engaging in Afghanistan so they need the base now.
- After Obama offered to help India in it's "negotiations" with Pakistan over Kashmir Obama was told he was "barking up the wrong tree."
- California Senator Diane Feinstein recently blew the cover on a secret CIA program, revealing that Predator attack drones, which we use to attack Taliban and al-Qeada safe havens, and recently killed 27 al-Qaeda terrorists in Pakistan originated in that country, stating , "as I understand it..[the flights] are flown out of a Pakistani base." This policy that Pakistan
has publically protested, provided Pakistan with plausible deniability. Feinstein sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee. Way to go Dianne!!
- Obama is ready to look at re-modeling our missile defense plans to include Moscow in a concession to Russian opposition. The Kremlin has been pressing Washington to give ground on the proposed missile shield in exchange for Russia helping supply the U.S.-led military campaign in Afghanistan.
As of January 20th, 2009 all of that will change. We will be losing the War on Terror. Obama has appointed (yet to be confirmed) Leon Panetta as head of the CIA. Previously a former congressman and chief of staff in the White House under President Clinton,
he is a true blue believer in leftist policy with absolutely no experience in the intelligence field. Like Obama he opposes all of the policies put into place by
the Bush administration, particlularly waterboarding.
Neville Update: Jan. 9, 2008 -- Obama camp 'prepared to talk to Hamas'
The incoming Obama administration is prepared to abandon George Bush's doctrine of isolating Hamas by establishing a channel to the Islamist organisation, sources close to the transition team say.
The move to open contacts with Hamas, which could be initiated through the US intelligence services, would represent a definitive break with the Bush presidency's ostracising of the group. The state department has designated Hamas a terrorist organisation, and in 2006 Congress passed a law banning US financial aid to the group.
The Guardian has spoken to three people with knowledge of the discussions in the Obama camp. There is no talk of Obama approving direct diplomatic negotiations with Hamas early on, but he is being urged by advisers to initiate low-level or clandestine approaches, and there is growing recognition in Washington that the policy of ostracising Hamas is counter-productive.
Another potential contender for a foreign policy role in the Obama administration suggested that the president-elect would not be bound by the Bush doctrine of isolating Hamas.
"This is going to be an administration that is committed to negotiating with critical parties on critical issues," the source said.
There are a number of options that would avoid a politically toxic scenario for Obama of seeming to give legitimacy to Hamas.
"Secret envoys, multilateral six-party talk-like approaches. The total isolation of Hamas that we promulgated under Bush is going to end," said Steve Clemons, the director of the American Strategy Programme at the New America Foundation. "You could do something through the Europeans. You could invent a structure that is multilateral. It is going to be hard for the neocons to swallow," he said. "I think it is going to happen."
But one Middle East expert close to the transition team said: "It is highly unlikely that they will be public about it."
Obama has defined himself in part by his willingness to talk to America's enemies. But the president-elect would be wary of being seen to give legitimacy to Hamas as a consequence of the war in Gaza.
Bruce Hoffman, a counterterrorism expert at Georgetown University's school of foreign service, said it was unlikely that Obama would move to initiate contacts with Hamas unless the radical faction in Damascus was crippled by the conflict in Gaza. "This would really be dependent on Hamas's military wing having suffered a real, almost decisive, drubbing."
Although she later recanted Sen. Diane Feinstien (D. CA) was unhappy with the pick. Most of the military and intelligence community is astonished. Head of the CIA Bin Laden unit during the Clinton administration, Michael Scheuer,
predicted on O'Reilly that the U.S. would probably be attacked within the first year of a defenseless, toothless, peace at any price Obama administration.
Why did Obama pick some one so lacking in intelligence experience? He has caved into the left's demand that no one in the job be remotely associated with the policies of the last eight years. Panetta is also,
we fear, a reflection of obama's true feelings about the terrorism.
From Powerline (http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2009/01/022476.php):
Obama preferred someone with intelligence experience, like John Brennan. The problem is that just about everyone who fits that description had, like Brennan, some involvement in devising the intelligence strategies of the last seven years. Those strategies, including but not limited to the interrogation of terrorists, have been spectacularly successful. Normally, participation in them would be a major plus in a candidate for CIA director.
But the Democrats have committed themselves, for political reasons, to harsh criticisms of these and other aspects of the Bush administration's anti-terror campaign. So Obama had to abandon Brennan's nomination, and he is now stuck with someone who not only had nothing to do with the Bush administration's highly successful policies, but was adamantly opposed to them. Panetta fits the necessary political profile, so he will be CIA Director even though he has no experience in intelligence.
From Dick Morris Published in the New York Post on January 8, 2009
GUTTING SECURITY: O'S DANGEROUS ANTI-TERROR PICKS
President-elect Barack Obama's appointments to Homeland Security, the Justice Department and now the CIA indicate a virtual abandonment of the War on Terror.
As Homeland Security chief, he's named a governor whose only experience has been with the US-Mexican border. His attorney general pick, meanwhile, took the lead in pardoning FALN terrorists. Now he has rounded out his national-security and Justice Department teams by naming ultraliberals.
Leon Panetta, his choice for CIA chief, is as liberal as they come. Though originally a pro-Nixon congressman, he long ago embraced the left with the fervor of a convert and brings these values to the CIA.
As President Bill Clinton's chief of staff (a tenure that coincided with my own work with Clinton), he was a dedicated liberal, opposing accommodation with the Republicans who ran Congress and battling hard against a balanced-budget deal. After winning re-election, Clinton jettisoned Panetta for the more moderate Erskine Bowles in order to reach a deal with the GOP.
Plus, Panetta was a prime mover in the 1995 appointment of John Deutch to head CIA, replacing hardliner Jim Woolsey. Deutch eventually needed a presidential pardon after being caught committing a massive security breach by taking home his laptop, laden with secret files.
Choosing Panetta to head the CIA culminates liberals' 35-year crusade to take over the agency, humble its operatives and rein in its operations. In 1977, President Jimmy Carter named liberal JFK adviser Ted Sorenson to head CIA, only to have the nomination killed. In 1997, Clinton tried to name his ultraleftist National Security Adviser Tony Lake (who had quit Secretary of State Henry Kissinger's staff over Vietnam), only to have that nomination rejected as well.
Each time, the intelligence community acted to protect its own and curbed the liberal president's inclinations. But now, under Obama, the Democrats will finally have their way and appoint a liberal zealot to head the agency.
Panetta will, presumably, curb such practices as waterboarding, rendition and warrantless wiretapping. So we won't gather much intelligence - but our spies will dot all the i's and cross all the t's.
Over at Justice, Obama is naming four liberals to staff the agency, each determined to rein in effective intelligence-gathering.
Professor Dawn Johnsen of Indiana University Law School is to head the Office of Legal Counsel. She distinguished herself by writing a law-review article taking issue with President Bush's efforts to keep us safe. It was titled, "What's a President To Do: Interpreting the Constitution in the Wake of the Bush Administration Abuses." Presumably, she'll bring back the days of the wall between criminal and intelligence investigations, which led to our failure to examine the computer of "20th hijacker" Zacharias Moussaoui, which contained wire-fund-transfer information on the other hijackers.
No less an authority than Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe, who taught Elena Kagan, the new solicitor general, predicted that she and Johnsen would "freshly re-examine some of the positions the previous administration has taken."
Obama's other Justice appointments, David Ogden as deputy attorney general and Thomas Perrelli as associate AG, bring back Clinton/Reno Justice Department retreads. Both participated eagerly in the constraints on intelligence-gathering that left us so vulnerable on 9/11.
Bush's legacy shows one clear achievement: He kept us safe after 9/11. Now his successor's policies are about to eradicate that singular achievement. The liberals will, of course, all cheer these appointments and the policies they'll pursue once in office, but these appointments make it frighteningly more likely that we will, indeed, be hit again.
And from Bill O'Reilly (http://www.billoreilly.com/newslettercolumn;
Obama's Big Gamble
Who knew Leon Panetta was really James Bond? The 70-year-old former Congressman is considered a very nice guy in the political world, a world that is anything but nice. But now Mr. Panetta is being taped by President-elect Obama to be a tough guy spy, the head of the CIA.
The choice is perplexing. Mr. Panetta is very smart but has absolutely no intel experience unless you count his days as Bill Clinton's Chief of Staff. Some old hands inside the CIA are reportedly aghast at the choice. Former CIA guy Michael Scheuer, who headed up the agency's Bin Laden unit, put it succinctly: "I think they pulled his name out of a hat."
Besides his lack of experience, Panetta opposes many of the CIA's anti-terror measures. He's against any kind of coerced interrogation, wants the FISA overseas wiretap law repealed and would completely disband the rendition program whereby the CIA sends captured terror suspects to be held and interrogated in other countries.
Without those tools, which former CIA Chief George Tenet and others say have been very effective in uncovering terror plots, the agency's ability to disrupt potential attacks would be gravely damaged. In fact, it was just last February when 68 senators, some of them Democrats, voted the FISA wiretap strategy into law. For the record, Barack Obama declined to vote on the issue.
But now Obama can't sit these things out. He must decide how to wage the war on terror, and by selecting Panetta as his point man, he's taking a huge gamble. If the United States is attacked again by terrorists, Obama's soft intelligence-gathering approach will also come under attack. Simply put: a successful terror mission could bring President Obama down.
So why is Obama putting himself in this position? Well, the media has convinced many people that the Bush administration degenerated into a bunch of criminal torturers—people who persecuted innocent Muslims worldwide. Now, the committed left-wing media are demanding Obama reject any experienced intelligence people who have supported President Bush's terror initiatives. That's why Leon Panetta was chosen—to appease the left wing zealots.
It seems to me that common sense, not ideology, is vital in preventing terrorists from killing us. Could Panetta learn on the job to run the CIA? Certainly. Should he be in charge when we are fighting two wars and terrorist bombs are going off all over the world? No way.
As for tapping calls to suspected terrorists overseas, come on. Judges still have to see the data after the fact and federal law still applies to any abuse. A private detective named Anthony Pellicano just got a harsh prison sentence for violating the wiretap law.
It's the same thing with coerced interrogation. The president should have the power to order it when lives are in imminent danger from a terror threat. However, Leon Panetta recently told a newspaper that all interrogations should abide by the Army Field Manual which prohibits making any captured person "uncomfortable."
Well, that kind of restriction should make you uncomfortable. Because in the war on terror, a lack of quick intelligence could make you dead.
So as of January 20th, 2009 we are back to the pre-9/11 mindset. Obama is appointing to people to his administration who really don't believe terrorism is much of a problem. They share the European and John Kerry view that the occasional attack is no big deal. Terrorism is merely a nuisance, something to be tolerated like a rash. It's the cost
of doing business in today's world. It's not worth turning the Constitution on it's head. Just lob a few missles into a deserted aspirin factory or terrorist camp and make them think you are actually concerned.
Never mind the dead bodies and the lack of national pride. And the result is that we will be vastly more vulnerable and have a good chance of being hit again soon.
As long as folks who can't afford mortgages continue to get them, as long as illegal immigration goes unchecked, as long as Muslims aren't offended and can build separate prayer rooms and bathrooms in public facilities, so long as we continue to cater to every perceived grievance by every perceived minority,
everything will be just fine...until this little liberal social engineering experiment that was just voted into office comes crashing down like the house of cards that it is.
The biggest problem with the idiot left is this: they don't believe the terrorists want to kill us when they say they want to kill us and they don't believe the appeasers when the appeasers say they want to talk without pre-conditions to the enemy.