Must Read: Desert Storm Vet Hammers Obama Administration For Abandoning Iraq

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The approach of Veteran’s Day got Desert Storm vet Michael Banzet to ruminating about his decision to retire from the Air Force after the elections of 2008. He wrote a powerful oped, Why I quit… Desert Storm vet explains decision to leave Air Force after 22 years that was published in his hometown newspaper in Montana, The Daily Inter-Lake in November of 2010.

Four years later, he says, “the thing that prompted me to attempt to put thought to electrons was, oddly enough, the recent massacre of 770 young men around Camp Speicher, Iraq.”

Via The Daily Inter-Lake:

I served 22 years in the Air Force, and without a doubt, the most rewarding year in my career was the year that I spent on the ground in Iraq. I was able to witness the results of the sacrifice made by so many young Americans, young and old, men and women, of all colors. I was humbled by what I found. The desperately courageous Iraqis, who had to operate in the most dangerous of circumstances, depended on the steady presence of the American armed forces. And of course, the numerous allies.

I noticed that the news coverage didn’t match what I saw with my own eyes and heard with my own ears. Everything was negative. Every setback was trumpeted, every advance muffled or ignored. There were “grim milestones” for casualties updated daily. Even an esteemed senator from Nevada claimed, while young Americans were engaged in active combat, that they were losers. I was in Baghdad for some of that. Awesome. That used to be unheard of. But it gets you re-elected today.

And eventually, with the “heads it’s negative, tails it’s not positive” coverage, people began to believe that we should leave. And why not? It was the “wrong war,” it was going badly, at least until we needed a justification to leave, and then it was “strong and stable.” So the United States elected a man who promised that he would declare victory and leave. And for those of you who are sputtering, “But BUSH!” consider this:

So completely wrong was the “declare victory and leave” position that the current administration is not only using Bush’s 2001/2 Authorizations for Use of Force for legal justification, they are also embracing the Bush Doctrine of pre-emption. For gosh’ sake, the carrier that launched some of the first airstrikes is the USS George H.W. Bush. Talk about complete reversal.

Of course, anyone with the ability to think deeply about the subject would realize that changing a culture is a long proposition. Far longer than merely the end of combat. And that really should be the end game of any war that the U.S. gets involved in. The end game of war, for us, is supposed to be a free, potentially prosperous people emerging from the carnage of war. Someone who will make a good ally in the future. And that’s what was happening in Iraq. 

Iraqis, for the first time in their lives, were able to trust. That may be a small thing for you. You, who have never feared for your life from your government. You, who have never wondered if something you say is going to get you killed at the hands of your government. You, who have been able to trust your friends, neighbors and associates; if you haven’t, it wasn’t because you thought they were a government informant, ready to turn you in at the slightest misstep, perhaps to be fed into a paper shredder.

But as the year of my duty in dusty Baghdad wore on, they were starting to trust. They were starting to timidly reach out to report IED emplacements, rocket set-ups, and bad guys in the neighborhood. The thing that moved me to write my book, “A Flowershop in Baghdad,” was this simple fact. The Iraqis who had been bombed, shot at, and we had tried to kill (in one case, actually being shot down by us), all referred to us the same way: 

“The Friendly Side.”

I wrote 341 pages about the exceptionalism of this country, and how much we were changing the young men and women who were clever enough to avoid being killed for the audacity to sign up for service in the Iraqi Air Force. The 20-somethings were great at absorbing the moral compass that guides our military operations. But I also wrote about the challenge of the older officers. It’s pretty hard to change from a life of selfishness, self-preservation and fear to one of selflessness and courage. But it’s do-able; just takes some time to reinforce the goodness in the ones who can change, and supervise the transition out of power of the ones who cannot. All the while nurturing the new generation, keeping them from harm until they can take over. It’s not an easy process.

I know that it would be pretty hard for me to completely change my world view at my age. I can certainly take in new facts, but to change a significant part of my belief system would take constant reinforcement, both in issues big and small. That requires “presence.” The simple act of being around influences behavior. That’s why the police don’t all just sit at the station, waiting for a call to come in. They actively patrol; for presence. It doesn’t cost them any more to patrol; you’ve already hired them. It’s common sense. Constant reinforcement and influence until good behavior is the norm.

Due to the type of reporting from Iraq, you never knew the progress that was being made; the connections that were being completed, the goodness that exposure to the U.S. military brings. Trust. Selflessness. Leadership. Followership. Courage. And yet you voted all that away; leaves blowing in a dishonest wind. Which brings us back to the 770 young men massacred around Camp Spiecher.

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I knew those faces. Those confused, terrified young faces. About 175 of them were Iraqi Air Force recruits; the others, Army. This was precisely the process that I helped set up. Did I know personally this group? No. But they were the same young men, full of promise and hope. Capable of immense good, ready to be molded by whatever of our influence remained. But I wondered, as I looked at some of the pictures, why were they captured without uniforms? Without weapons? Why no resistance? It wasn’t until there were a couple of witness testimonies that it all snapped into place.

They were abandoned. First by us, then by the leaders, no longer influenced by “the friendly side,” that had fallen into their old habits.

One survivor talked of the young military recruits being told to change into civilian clothes, take no weapons: they would be loaded into trucks and sent to Baghdad. Another talked of their senior officers just disappearing. In both cases, the next organization that they met was ISIS. And then, they were taken out into the desert, and as an inevitable consequence of U.S. policy, slaughtered. Did ISIS pull the triggers, draw the knives across young throats? Absolutely. Did the rush to leave, for no reason other than it was Bush’s war enable them to do it? Absolutely.

If the police patrolling your neighborhood let it be known that they would no longer be patrolling your neighborhood, but that the neighborhood watch would be taking over, do you think bad behavior would go up or down? Is that because new people moved in? And in the absence of a strong presence for good, what will happen to evil?

 Read the rest, here.

Jonathan Gruber and His Defenders Think Their Audience Is Stupid

“Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really really critical for the thing to pass… Look, I wish Mark was right that we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not.” Jonathan “Grubby” Gruber, University of Pennsylvania in October, 2013.

As the media circles the wagons around Jonathan Gruber, Obama and ObamaCare, it’s really important to remember one key thing. They – like the people they’re trying to protect – think their audience is stupid. Media Matters, MSNBC, the New York Times, and the Washington Post, think that their readers’ confirmation bias makes them easy to fool, aka- stupid.

That line in the WaPo article has since disappeared – and has been replaced with:

Gruber’s comments were part of a broader public conversation between him and economist Mark Pauly on the economics of health care reform. Gruber was responding to a remark by Pauly about financing transparency in the law and the politics surrounding the ACA’s individual mandate. The political process, he said, striking a critical tone, resulted in inefficiencies in the law which should be corrected.

“In terms of risk-rated subsidies, if you had a law which explicitly said that healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed,” he said. “You can’t do it politically, you just literally cannot do it. It’s not only transparent financing but also transparent spending.”

 Gruber went to the Regime’s propaganda arm MSNBC to explain his comments  and apologize for the confusion on Tuesday afternoon during an on-air interview with Ronan Farrow.

“The comments in the video were made at an academic conference,” Gruber said. “I was speaking off the cuff and I basically spoke inappropriately and I regret having made those comments.”

Although Gruber apologized for the language he used, Gruber said that the larger point he was trying to make centered on the political pressures that shaped the law. He added that those pressures “led to an incomplete law with some typos.”

The typos would later lead to “speak-os” as evidenced in the American Commitment video Gruber vs Gruber. (Watch with the words, “Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really really critical for the thing to pass”…in mind.)

Note, that Gruber had chosen again to appear on the Regime’s propaganda arm to peddle this howler: “It is unambiguous this is a typo. Literally every single person involved in the crafting of this law has said that it’s a typo, that they had no intention of excluding the federal states.”

What Gruber said in January of 2012 was specific, detailed and in direct conflict with his later typo and speak-o claims.

And what he says is exactly what challengers to the administration’s implementation of the law have been arguing—that if a state chooses not to establish its own exchange, then residents of those states will not be able to access Obamacare’s health insurance tax credits. He says this in response to a question asking whether the federal government will step in if a state chooses not to build its own exchange. Gruber describes the possibility that states won’t enact their own exchanges as one of the potential “threats” to the law. He says this with confidence and certainty, and at no other point in the presentation does he contradict the statement in question.

Remember what I said yesterday, about the low opinion elites like Gruber have of the “American people” – not us, of course. Not conservatives because we were never fooled – but the lofos and liberals like those in the dwindling MSNBC audience . The guy peddles his BS where the Obama dead-enders congregate. They will apparently believe anything.

Linked by Liberty’s Torch in The Anti-Transparent Administration, thanks Francis!

 

Sharyl Attkisson on the Mark Levin Show: There Is Now a Consensus That Obama Treats Journalists Badly

Sharyl Attkisson was on the Mark Levin Show, Monday night to talk about her to new book, Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington…which Levin described as “stunningly disturbing.”

Levin, remarking on the amount of government harassment she endured for having the temerity to investigate the Obama administration, said, “I’m sure that so many journalists are coming to your defense, right?”

Attkisson gave a little laugh and said that there are two answers to that: “the usual suspects which are defending the administration and powers that be at all costs and  furthering their propaganda – no they have not come to my defense. But I have been warmly welcomed and supported – much of it behind the scenes – by a lot of journalists who have made similar observations – I mean this is now a consensus – it’s not going on a limb to say that this administration has treated journalists badly.” She added, “some of the anecdotes of other journalists are in the book – so I wasn’t exactly all by myself.”

Anyone who watched Obama’s post-shellacking press conference could see that most journalists are not only no longer on the Obama bandwagon – they have become positively hostile towards him. That is a refreshing change from the “slobbering love affair” we had to endure for the first few years.

The video is 22 minutes long – but worth listening in full. Attkisson has quite a story to tell…the government pushback to her investigations into Fast and Furious, Benghazi and the Regime’s surveillance of her computer are covered.

According to the former CBS reported, Senator Coburn sent a letter to Holder over a year ago asking questions about the government surveillance of journalists – specifically citing Attkisson’s case, but of course Holder hasn’t responded. She expressed hope that the new Republican majority in both houses will now wield more influence to do something about it.

“If the enforcer in the law is potentially  involved in breaking the law, and if the media isn’t going to hold their feet to the fire, who is really  going to be the one who does that?” Attkisson asked.

Levin noted that in the past – it didn’t matter what party you were in – if something like this was happening – there was a huge outcry  among the politicians and media. “None of these things are happening!” Levin exclaimed.

“We have slowly come to expect this infringement on our rights,” Attkisson lamented. “And the idea that we may be surveillance  and the government gets to call the shots and may withhold access to things we want if we don’t behave a certain way — I step back and look at it like an outsider and sometimes it seems so Russian.”

Weasel Of The Week Nominations!

weasel of the week

Hello and welcome to the Watcher’s Council’s ‘Weasel Of The Week’ nominations, where we award the famed golden plastic Weasel to a public figure who particularly deserves to be slimed and mocked for his or her dastardly deeds during the week. Every Tuesday morning, tune in for the Weasel of the Week nominations and check back Thursday to see which Weasel gets the votes and walks off with the statuette of shame!

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Here are this weeks’ nominees…

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 America’s Mainline Pollsters !!

Virginia Right! : I am going to nominate the Pollsters who badly misled America either intentionally out of a desire to make the election appear more favorable to Democrats, or out of utter incompetence.

I wrote several posts on the horrible skew going on in the polls this election. Some pollsters were sampling Democrats in larger numbers than the 2012 elections showed. And at the same time, voter enthusiasm for the Democrat candidates was low and the sale question for Republicans was high.

And while it did no good in the end, a Republican slaughter was in the cards, the close races probably helped Democrats raise money and get out the vote.

Something is rotten in Poll-land.

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Obama Campaign Stooge Turned State Department Spokesmouth Jen Psaki!!

JoshuaPundit: There are weasels and then there are WEASELS. To my mind Jen Psaki deserves special singling out for being a willing spear point in what is increasingly becoming the Obama regime’s campaign to demonize and discredit Israel.

Last Week, U.S Chief of Staff General Martin Donovan made a speech that went pretty far off the Obama Regime’s reservation. He not only praised the IDF for their efforts to avoid civilian casualties,saying that Israel had gone to “extraordinary lengths” in Gaza, but revealed that the U.S. Armed Forces had sent a delegation to learn about the IDF’s policies to help Americans to improve their own record in wartime.

This directly contradicted the State Department and the White House, whose stated position was to attack Israel at every opportunity for not doing enough to avoid civilian casualties.

Aside from discounting what General Dempsey had to say, Psaki doubled down on the State department and White House views that Israel was guilty of failing to prevent civilian casualties in Gaza.Her exchange with the AP’s Matt Lee has to be read to be believed.

She then described two terrorist assaults that murdered two Israelis  as “unfortunately a couple of events” and believe it or not, that “both parties take every possible measure to protect civilians and de-escalate tensions. ”

‘Protect civilians???’

“And of course, we urge all parties to exercise restraint.”

A reporter asked her, “If you’re standing at a bus stop or something and someone runs a car into you or comes up and stabs you, I don’t know how – I mean, those people aren’t – don’t need to exercise restraint, do they?”

Her reply? “I think I’m referring to the fact that we know that there have been – there’s been rising tensions in the region that has led to some of these incidents. I think we all are aware of that.”

Yes, it’s her job. But there are limits in what most people with any decency will do for money …unless they’re true believers. Ms. Psaki obviously is one, and is thus enabling what I’d call more than the usual level of evil.

 Health Care Overhaul

GOP Senate Majority Leader  Mitch McConnell!!

The Noisy Room :Mitch McConnell for first saying before the election last week that he would use the power of the purse to stop Amnesty if Republicans won the Senate. Then one day after the election, handing the power of the purse to Obama by saying there would be no government shutdowns on the table.

Before:

Asked about the prospect of the president granting work permits via an executive order, he said “I think it’s a bad mistake…if the American people do change the Senate and give the Republicans control of the Congress, we certainly are, through the spending process, going to try to restrain the overactive bureaucracy that’s been attacking virtually every business in America and is the reason for this slow growth, and we intend to push back against executive orders that we think aren’t warranted by trying to control the amount of money that is allocated.” And “we’re going to do what we can in Congress to try to restrain activities that we think are a mistake, and I certainly think a whole lot of unilateral executive branch-only actions in the immigration field is a mistake.”

And after:

“Mitch McConnell held a press conference today, at the University of Louisville, and he said, gratuitously, almost, we’re not going to shut down the government. We’re not going to endanger the national debt situation.”

McConnell is indeed an uber-weasel who has betrayed the Tea Party by vowing to crush them and by claiming Ted Cruz is a one man army. He also betrayed the American people by compromising with the Marxist Left. He’s earned the weasel award for being for Amnesty before being conveniently against Amnesty at election time.

Biden

Vice President Joe Biden!!

Nice Deb :I’m going to nominate our Vice President Joey “Choo Choo” Biden for attempting to smooth over the Obama administration’s shocking and insulting treatment of the Israeli Prime Minister by insulting his great buddy, “Bibi”, anew with a ridiculous backhanded “compliment.”

“You better damn well report to Bibi that we’re still buddies,” Biden said at the top of his remarks, speaking specifically to Israeli ambassador Ron Dermer, who was in the audience. (“Bibi” is a nickname for Netanyahu.)

“I signed a picture for Bibi a long time ago—I have a bad habit of, no one ever doubts I mean what I say, sometimes I say all that I mean, though—and I signed a picture a long time for Bibi,” Biden continued. “He’s been a friend for over 30 years. I said ‘Bibi I don’t agree with a damn thing you say but I love you.’”

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Obamacare Architect (they had an architect???) Jonathan Gruber!!

 The Right Planet: Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber, who bragged about deceiving the American people in order to get Obamacare passed. According to Mr. Gruber, Americans are just too stupid to know what’s good for them. Fortunately, for us, we have “experts” like Mr. Gruber to help save us from ourselves. That’s why the ends justifies the means, according to Mr. Gruber, et al. I guess the “most transparent administration in history” ain’t so transparent after all. Huh. Imagine that. Go figure. ALL HAIL THE EXPERT!

The Independent Sentinel :My choice for Weasel of the Week for lying about Obamacare and counting on a lack of transparency and the stupidity of the American people to pass it.

“This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. Okay, so it’s written to do that. In terms of risk rated subsidies, if you had a law which said that healthy people are going to pay in – you made explicit healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed… Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really really critical for the thing to pass… Look, I wish Mark was right that we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not.”

Well, there it is! Are these worthy weasels or what? Check back Thursday to see which Weasel walks off with the statuette of shame!

Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum.

And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council, and the results are posted onFriday morning.

It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere, and you won’t want to miss it...or any of the other fantabulous Watcher’s Council content.

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Marc Thiessen: Gruber tape is “Biggest Self Indictment this Administration Has Ever Had” (Video)

Marc Thiessen, former speechwriter for George W. Bush, was on “The Kelly File” to discuss the newly released bombshell video where ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber smugly revealed that a “lack of transparency” was necessary to fool the stupid American people in order to get the unpopular law passed.

Via Fox News Insider:

“If it takes lying to us to get what they want done, they’re willing to do it,” Thiessen said.

Thiessen described Gruber as so condescending that “he actually wrote a comic book to explain ObamaCare because of course we’re not smart enough to read chapter books.” Thiessen noted that the book describes the individual mandate as “the spinach we have to eat in order to get the dessert that is fairly priced health insurance. “

“This is the liberal view of America, Thiessen elaborated.  “That we are all to stupid to know what’s good for us – that we need experts like Jonathan Gruber to feed us our spinach and if they have to hide it from us – if they have to lie about it – hide it in our food, that’s okay as long as they get what they want.”

Megyn Kelly noted that she invited Gruber back on the show to defend himself tonight, but  he wasn’t interested in coming on.

“You know what? We’re no longer interested in you, Mr. Gruber, and 28 Democrats who voted for that health care law just got fired by the American people because eventually they realized they had been lied to,” Kelly said.  “One by one, the misrepresentations have come out and the American people have had their say.”

Thiessen concluded that the Gruber tape represented “the biggest self-indictment this administration has ever had.”