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« Reason

What was this election for, anyway?

By Tyler S. Clark (Contact)


Published May 19, 2009

I understand pragmatism and am a devotee. I understand when decisions have to be made for expediency and for the sake of progress. I have, therefore, viewed Obama's campaign and presidency--as he is taken to task for compromise--with an understanding eye. Some decisions are not what you want them to be, but it's not hard to understand why they were necessary.

But there is a limit to permissiveness, especially when it comes to the core issues behind the last election: America's image around the world, specifically having to do with war, torture and detainees.

I haven't seen changes to our policy with the wars. We're still spending exorbitant sums there and haven't brought anybody home that I can tell. Am I looking for results too quickly?

We're still censoring torture pictures that are going to illuminate the issue and help us have more informed decisions about military contractors and military interrogations. Is only the opposition party ever in favor of transparency?

Finally, the funds for closing Guantanamo have been withdrawn from the proposed budget and military tribunals are being reinstated.

I never thought I'd find myself longing for idealism and orthodoxy. 


Comments

1epicfail(217 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

Amen brother.

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2cambridge(2949 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

Tyler, I agree with what you are saying except for the torture pictures. That's a hard one. We have about 200,000 troops in the region and probable as many civilian contractors. That 's my only consideration in not pursuing the torture issue at this time.

After World War II trials were held and the guilty were punished. I'm for the same thing happening when we leave Iraq and succeed in Afganastan and Pakistan. At that time anybody that looked the other way on the torture issue should resign and anyone who broke the law should go to jail.

Otherwise I agree with what you've pointed out.

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3cityguy(109 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

I agree as well and will take it another direction. Last night I watched an interview with a decorated 18 year veteran of the air force, who was awarded among other things, the medal of heroism for his brave service. He is being discharged because he is gay, despite Obama's promise to repeal the "Don't ask Don't tell," policy. During the campaign Obama assured us he was capable of tackling more than one issue at a time, yet it seems the economy is his excuse for lack of political courage.

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4Erplane(473 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

He Tyler -

On this one I will have to respectfully disagree with you. While I would also love to be out of Iraq and Afghanistan, we cant simply pull out. I heard a Warren Buffet quote at a conference today "dont try to make money the same way you lost it." Essentially, if America pulls out now, we are leaving 2 countries essentially more devastated than when we came in. Is our gift to Iraq controlled anarchy? Obama is following the Petreaus timetable of drawing down in Iraq. Already there have been mini-vacuums in the country where terrorists are testing the waters to see if the Iraq forces are up to snuff.

As for Afghanistan, its a different beast and Patreaus is going to bring in a new team to work on an effective strategy there. We need not to simply pull out, but to be effective in pulling out. We need Marshall Plans for both countries (adopted for their specific situations).

As for Gitmo, it will close. But lets make sure the legit terrorists detained there dont just have the ability to walk away. Transperency will occur under Obama. But he has to walk a fine line in balancing the needs of national security and American fundamentals. That is very hard to do.

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5epicfail(217 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

Tyler,

I'm kind of grumpy myself in regards to this recent backpedaling. However, I really liked Frank Rich's take on it:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/17/opi...

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6Erplane(473 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

I will see your Frank Rich and raise you one David Brooks. I dont know if I agree with Brooks, but he argues that there were 2 Bush/Cheney waves. The first created all these problems, and in the second term alot of people in Bush's admin resisted the carte blanche attitude of Darth Cheney.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/22/opi...

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7Erplane(473 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

Clark, I'm a Republican, so the DNC talking points part is slightly misguided. Plus Brooks is a conservative, so I wouldnt say his are DNC talking points.

One: the creation of prisons on foreign territory like Poland where alot of brutal stuff most likely occurred. During the second term, many of them were transferred to Gitmo to create some assemblance of control.

Two: Since I cant prove anything that occurred, I can prove that Abu Garib was created in Iraq during B/C's first term. We knowingly conducted actions specifically against the Geneva Code and against fundamental decency that the US should hold itself too. And for what?

Three: How about going into Iraq with no plan on how to govern the country after we became an occupier? How about Rummy disbanding the Iraqi army (regular not Republican Guard), and thus starving grown men who are trained to kill by denying them a paycheck? I would bet many members of that army joined the army not b/c they were loyal to Saddam, but b/c they wanted to feed their kids. In Bush's second term, they established an army, Petreaus created a sense of workability for the US plan, and order has been (partially) restored. Oh, canning Rummy and bringing in Gates was a clear sign moderate change was needed.

I do believe that after 9/11, our priority was to safeguard this country as fast as possible. And so we had to do things that were questionable. But we went too far. When private contractors are torturing Iraqis and sending a bill for it to you and I, then I think a fundamental relook at ourselves is in order.

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8valleyred(1093 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

Thank God Obama is becoming Bush #2 on National Security..... I still am willing to bet GITMO does not close.

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9AXLE69(181 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

Obama needs to tell Cheney to shut his mouth or maybe a full scale investigation of his 8 yrs of illegal activities will be in order.Oh what the heck,investigate the imbecilic moron Dick anyway

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10epicfail(217 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

"Frank Rich has been proved over and over to be a rectum orfice. The only torture going on is watching this slum lawyer of a president screw things up even more. Every day is another event on the side show."

These are banal rants that serve no purpose than to be spiteful. Unfortunately, I don't care that an anonymous white guy from y-town doesn't like my precious little opinions. The reality is that Obama is doing everything he can to heal the scars of the previous administration. I wish him well and hope he restores us to safety and prosperity.

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11valleyred(1093 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

How about this!

CNN/Opinion Dynamics Poll Out
Bush Approval in Jan: 35%
Bush Approval in May: 41%
Bush: +6

Cheney Approval in Jan: 29%
Cheney Approval in May: 37%
Cheney: +8

I wonder what this could be attributed to? Perhaps Americans fearing the socialized auto-health-bank industry under Obama or people finally waking up and realizing Bush/Cheney did a hell of a job keeping this nation safe after 9/11.

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12Erplane(473 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

Valleyred -

Preventing the economy from spinning into a possible depression IS as much about national security as Bush's actions post 9/11. Obama's economic plan is not that much different than Hank Paulsons blueprint. Those big debts you are inferring to under Obama would not have been as grand had they not had layers of wasteful spending underneath them, thanks to Karl Rove and Tom "hey its okay to blow ethics for votes" Delay. And yes Rove is to blame, because he cared more about getting the elderly to vote GOP than to think that the US cant afford the big medicare spending bill Bush Jr enacted.

My big question is this: If Dick Cheney wanted a referendum on the Bush years, why didnt HE run in 2008?

Interestingly during Obama's transition post-November, he seemed to take more advice on foreign policy from Bush Sr, a moderate internationalist Republican, then Bush Jr did.

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13cambridge(2949 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

It would pretty amazing for Cheney to have a 37% approval rating when only 20% of registered voters will admit to being Republican. I'm guessing 37 people would be more accurate.

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14valleyred(1093 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

Once again you liberals BUY EVERYTHING the mainstream media feeds you.

Read up on my column here: http://mvred.com/2009/05/20/the-media...

That should open your eyes a bit!

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15VINDYAK(1799 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

Liberalism is being overly concerned for all people at all times, despite the outcome. It is an idea which has great merit, but lacks the ability to complete, as others will always be negatively impacted on the opposite side. There is no solution, only compromise, thus liberalism cannot be fulfilled.

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16tylersclark(182 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

@clarkkent: you're pretty liberal with the insults and character assassinations, while asking everyone else for facts. what's up with that?

@valleyred: liberals are a big tent party, so you'll have to be more specific about whom you're calling out. here's a pro tip for you: the plural of "voice" is "voices", not "voice's"; you'll want to update the graphic on your blog

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17valleyred(1093 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

Haha I missed that. Thanks for the heads up... I didn't have that problem in my writing classes at YSU...

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