Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Can You Vote Against a Muslim?

There has been a lot of conversation recently in different news sources (talk radio, newspapers, TV, etc) regarding Senator Obama’s possible Muslim upbringing. On one message board I read, one of the users was afraid of being called racist for pointing the story out. This led me to a question: Is it acceptable for a voter to vote against a candidate because they are Muslim?

Mitt Romney is probably going to run for the Republican nomination. He is a Mormon and I have heard people say they can not vote for him because he is a Mormon. I have heard many people say they can’t vote for certain candidates because they are Christian, or in some cases, simply believe in God. There is even a book now that argues that anyone of faith should not be allowed in politics. In my eyes, many in the media are more sensitive of offending Muslims than of offending Christians. Without naming any candidates, I want to look at a made up example.

“Candidate X” is running for the Presidential nomination in his party. This candidate has an assortment of platforms. Some of them are in line with his party, some of them are not. He is a Muslim. He also doesn’t hide the fact. In many of his public appearances he thanks Allah for guiding him to this point in time. For the sake of argument, let’s say that you agree with many of Candidate X’s positions. With all else being equal, would you vote for someone else simply because this candidate is Muslim? What if your neighbor encouraged you to vote against this Muslim Candidate?

At the end of the day, you can vote for or against someone for any reason (right or wrong) that you want. One of the beauties of our system is that your vote is between you and the voting machine. No one else knows what it is unless you want them to know. However, in your opinion is it acceptable for someone to vote against a candidate because they are Muslim?

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Does the Senate really “Support the Troops”?

Early this past week, the Senate Foerign Relations Committee voted 12-9 to send a message to President Bush. With 140,000 plus troops in Iraq and 21,000 more expected to be on the way, the Committee wants the full Senate to tell the President he is doing the wrong thing. This news comes the same week the Senate unanimously approved the Presidents pick to command all forces in Iraq, Lt. General David Petraeus.

During questioning by both Republicans and Democrats this week, General Petraeus predicted that a move by the Senate to send a non-binding resolution to the President would not help US forces and would help the enemy. The vote to send the measure to the full Senate was along party lines with one exception. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska also voted to give help to the enemy.

I have heard many Conservative commentators accuse the Democratic Party of being actively invested in the defeat of America. It is weeks like this that make me believe they are right. How can anyone “Support the Troops” but also vote to send a clear vote of no-confidence to them. A “non-binding” resolution telling the President he is doing the wrong thing would do just that. It will be a clear message that our Senate doesn’t support the President, doesn’t support the war, and doesn’t support our troops.

The Constitution gives President Bush the ability to conduct a war. The Congress does not get to vote on the Presidents strategy and tactics. The President has respectfully asked the Congress for their support for his change in policy. He is not required to do this. The only power Congress has in this is budgetary. None of the Senators or Representatives in Congress get a vote on his policy in Iraq. If the Congress truly believes President Bush is doing the wrong thing, then they need to stop asking for autographs at the State of the Union, and start trying to change the budget.

I have argued time and time again that our enemies in the Middle East are very aware of how our national politics are going. Admiral Fallon has argued that our enemies know how to use the internet as a weapon against our troops. It would appear that the Senate knows how to use weapons against our troops and the President. I cannot understand how the Congress can believe that our enemies won’t use this to their fullest advantage. What does the Congress expect our troops to think as they hear this news? Besides the message that our troops are failing and shouldn’t be there, the Congress is going to tell them, “We don’t think you need any help.” Is that really what Congress means when they claim to support the troops?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Book Review: Londonistan

Towards the end of October, I came across an op-ed piece by Melanie Phillips. Mrs. Phillips is a columnist for London’s Daily Mail. I was intrigued by her article, so I looked for anything else she had written. I came across Londonistan. Mrs. Phillips makes an argument in the book that Britain may already have lost its own “War on Terror”. I don’t get to read much from the other side of the ocean, so I thought this might be interesting.

Mrs. Phillips argues that while America and the UK focus on battlegrounds in the Middle East and elsewhere, the UK is losing the war at home, and is in danger of loosing it for good. She backs up her arguments with straight forward logic, and some very startling facts. She quotes British sources as saying, “…up to sixteen thousand British Muslims either are actively engaged in or support terrorist activity…with several hundred thought to be primed to attack the United Kingdom.” From here she traces how the UK has been loosing the war at home for years.

On July 7th, 2005, suicide bombers blew up three London trains and one bus. Even more startling, the bombers in this case were from middle class London. A tape from one of the bombers showed a terrorist like those in tapes from Al-Jazeera, but with a definite British accent. Britain had been loosing a war it wasn’t even aware it was fighting for some time. Mrs. Phillips traces how the UK placed the interest of United Nations and the interest of the world community ahead of the security of its own citizens. Because of that, terrorist turned London into their own recruiting ground.

As Mrs. Phillips points out, we are engaged in a war with a particular brand of Islam, and not in a war with Islam. However, the Muslim community must look inward and recognize that there are Muslims trying to kill Christians, Jews, and other Muslims in the name of their interpretation of Islam. At the same time, British judges and lawmakers must realize that in order for the UK to survive, British common law must come before UN resolutions. While reading this book, I couldn’t get over how eerily certain passages echoed in today’s political world.

I recommend this book to anyone who wishes to protect the West from those who would have us give up our freedoms. This book should be a required read for anyone who ever admired what the UK once was, or wishes to keep America from following a similar path.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I'm Back !

If you haven’t read the comments to my last post, you may be wondering why I haven’t posted in some time. I try to post every three days or so. My last post was 11 days ago.

On January 13th, I received an email from Blogger (the company that host this site) saying that my account resembled a spam site. There was a link in the email I could click to request a human review of the site. I did that. Then I waited.

By the 18th, I was getting a little annoyed. I found a section on the Blogger site that would allow me to request a review, so I did that as well. When nothing happened, I made another request on the 20th, and a final one on the 21st. Rose at Blogger Talk (which is in my list of links) suggested that I post on the Google Blogger Help board. I did this a few times.

Finally, today I received an email from Blogger saying that my site was found to be a legitimate site, and they unlocked it. I was overjoyed. I was beginning to fear a vast left wing conspiracy was trying to prevent me from posting.

Since I haven’t been on in a while, I will try to make up for my absence over the next couple of weeks. The President will be speaking tonight and I hope to post my thoughts on the State of the Union tomorrow. I also finished reading Londonistan by Melanie Phillips. I wrote a book review on Mrs. Phillips book and will post it in the coming days.

Thanks for checking in, and to those of you who continued to check my blog while I couldn’t post, a very heartfelt thanks.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Why We Need Superman

In the 2006 movie Superman Returns, Lois Lane is working on an article titled “Why we need Superman”. This article is as important in Metropolis as it is in our world. We need a leader who is above criticism, reproach, and who no one would accuse of having anything less than the most honorable of intentions. Unfortunately, Superman doesn’t live in our world.

George Bush unveiled his way forward this week. In addition to containing an increase of approximately 21,000 troops, and an aircraft group with Iran and Syria’s name written all over it, the plan also contained many points the Democrats claimed they wanted. President Bush took ownership of any mistakes that may have been made in Iraq. President Bush incorporated some of the points contained in the Iraq Study Group. The President set benchmarks that the Iraqi government must meet. Many Democrats said that a purely military solution could not work. The Presidents plan contains military, diplomatic, economic, and political points. After hearing the Presidents plan, I thought the Democrats would be quite happy. However, I underestimated just how much the Democrats no longer understand reality.

The Democrats began criticizing the Presidents plan as soon as he stopped talking. The Democrats haven’t offered any real plans of their own. They also haven’t tried to explain how their “redeployment” option will keep us safe. The Democrats have said time and time again that the President is wrong because….well, he is George Bush. That is the only reason they have come up with.

If the Democrats truly believe that the President’s plan won’t work (after actually reviewing the plan) they have a duty to point out the problems with the plan. They then have a duty to submit a plan that will work. And they must show why they believe their plan will protect us, our children, and our children’s children.

The Democrats don’t realize we face an enemy more evil than Lex Luthor ever was. They think if we pack up and head home, the terrorist will leave us alone. Bin Laden won’t leave us alone, and the terrorist that are getting money from Iran won’t leave us alone either.

There is no Superman that can save us at the last minute. The Democrats must realize we are in a fight for our existence. If the Democrats are going to continue to be a legitimate political party, they have to realize what the world looks like. They have to start contributing to the solution and stop being part of the problem.

Monday, January 08, 2007

What the President Must Do

President Bush is set to announce a new policy on Iraq on Wednesday. The Democrats have been worried that Bush is going to announce a troop increase in Iraq. Reid has said he would support a troop increase if it would get our troops out of Iraq in 2008. Reid and Pelosi on Friday told the President he couldn’t increase troops at all in Iraq.

Only the President has the power to decide how many troops are or are not in Iraq. The Democrats have been threatening to withhold funding for additional troops if the President does anything they don’t like. I think this is an empty threat. Nobody wants to tell American families that their troops are fighting in Iraq, but we aren’t going to give them what they need to win. Should the Democrats carry through on this threat, you can probably forget a Democratic President in 2008.

More importantly, something does need to change in Iraq. I believe the President is doing what he thinks is best for the long term survival of the country. But he has been too hands off, and has not communicated with the public enough. The Presidents polling numbers increase every time he gives a speech on Iraq. If the President is going to unify America behind the war effort Iraq is going to take, he is going to need to communicate more to the American public.

I don’t believe he should be giving out tactical information. However, regular speeches on the progress in the war would help his effort. The Islamic Fanaticals want us dead. They are only willing to accept one of three outcomes: the death of America, their death, or an Islamic America. To win a fight against these terrorist is going to take along time, and will span more than one President. President Bush has got to communicate that more with Americans, and he is going to have to do it for the next two years if he wants to continue this fight.

Friday, January 05, 2007

The Ried / Pelosi Doctrine

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sent a letter to President Bush today. There has been a lot of speculation lately that Bush is ready to increase troop levels to coincide with a change in policy in Iraq. Pelosi and Reid sent a letter to Bush today begging him not to do it. Instead, Reid and Pelosi want to see a “…phased redeployment of our forces in the next four to six months…” In case some might misconstrue the Reid / Pelosi doctrine, they sum it up in the letter, “In short, it is time to begin to move our forces out of Iraq…”

Since a victory in Iraq does not figure into the Reid / Pelosi first 100 hours of power, they are not willing to put any commitment into Iraq, and are ready to see us abandon Iraq. President Bush has been taking time to review the Iraq Study Group report, and other assorted reports from his different departments. The AP reported today that Bush’s strategy, “…is expected to entail new political, military and economic steps to win the war.” The Reid / Pelosi doctrine does not talk about victory or winning in Iraq. Instead, this doctrine wants to find an “end to the war in Iraq” or “[a] way forward”, maybe a “sustainable political settlement”, or at best, to “bring the war to a close.” The reports indicate that Bush has much grander things in mind: winning.

According to the AP, Bush is replacing the top two military leaders in Iraq. General Abizaid is to be replaced with Admiral William Fallon while General George Casey is to be replaced by Lt. General David Petraeus. Both of these military leaders have been pursuing the war on terror. Admiral Fallon has been the top US commander in the Pacific. He has gone on the record arguing that we are in a different type of fight. Admiral Fallon argues that our enemies will never defeat us in a “force versus force” type of fight. Instead, our enemies are currently using suicide bombers, IED’s, and the internet to try and sap our will to fight. Lt. Gen Petraeus was in charge of rebuilding Mosul with the 101st Airborne and in charge of rebuilding the Iraqi Army and police forces. His actions in Mosul and with the Iraqi Army and police have received a lot of praise.

In addition to the military shakeup, the AP reports the Bush is changing the make up of the ambassadors to Iraq and the UN, and will be putting Vice Admiral Mike McConnell in charge of Intelligence. These may or may not be the right moves to make. However, Bush is trying to put our troops in a position to win the war in Iraq. The Reid / Pelosi doctrine would have them come home in defeat, and give a victory to our enemies.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Book Review: Team of Rivals

I recently finished reading Team of Rivals, The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin. This is a very interesting book, but it is definitely not for everyone. Team of Rivals is not a generic Civil War book; It is a focus on the Politics of President Lincoln and how he was viewed by those around him. I thought this might be an interesting book because I haven’t read many books on President Lincoln, and because I have heard a lot about the author.

Team of Rivals focuses on the politics of President Lincoln from his start in politics in the early 1850’s through the end of his life. During the Civil War, Mrs. Goodwin spends very little time discussing the battles and campaigns of the war, and much more time discussing Lincoln’s relationship with his staff. She tries to use how his contemporaries viewed him to paint a picture of the President and the First Lady that hasn’t been seen before. There are an incredible number of books on the Civil War available, and more are released every year, but this is the first I have seen that attempts to view President Lincoln in this light.

Reading Team of Rivals gave me a much stronger understanding of President Lincoln, Mary Todd Lincoln, and the politics of the time. I had always assumed that politics during the civil war were much more noble and clean than they are today. I found that politics before and during the civil war were as decisive if not more so than they are today. In this time of political upheaval, most Presidents would have filled their staff with like minded individuals or people they owed political favors too. Lincoln brought his political rivals for the Republican ticket into his cabinet. He wanted the best and the brightest to advise him, and he felt that some of his rivals were exactly what the country needed to get through those tough times.

I would strongly recommend this book for anyone who is a Lincoln, Civil War, or Political junkie. However, at 753 pages plus index and notes, it is not a good introduction to the Civil War. It is also not a very light read. Mrs. Goodwin drags a few of her points out. It also takes a real commitment to make it through the first 80 pages. However, there is a wealth of information in the book, and Team of Rivals really gives an intimate picture of President Lincoln and his politics during the Civil War.