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SATURDAY, JANUARY 2, 2010
THE BITTER PILL – AT 8:12 P.M. ET: The latest on the attack in Afghanistan that killed CIA operatives. From ABC News:
The suicide bomber who killed at least six Central Intelligence Agency officers in a base along the Afghan-Pakistan border on Wednesday was a regular CIA informant who had visited the same base multiple times in the past, according to someone close to the base's security director.
The informant was a Pakistani and a member of the Wazir tribe from the Pakistani tribal area North Waziristan, according to the same source. The base security director, an Afghan named Arghawan, would pick up the informant at the Ghulam Khan border crossing and drive him about two hours into Forward Operating Base Chapman, from where the CIA operates.
Because he was with Arghawan, the informant was not searched, the source says. Arghawan also died in the attack.
This is a very bitter situation. The senior CIA officer killed was a married woman with three children.
The story seems to corroborate a claim by the Taliban on the Pakistani side of the border that they had turned a CIA asset into a double agent and sent him to kill the officers in the base, located in the eastern Afghan province of Khost.
The infiltration into the heart of the CIA's operation in eastern Afghanistan deals a strong blow to the agency's ability to fight Taliban and al Qaeda, former intelligence officials say, and will make the agency reconsider how it recruits Pakistani and Afghan informants.
COMMENT: We are again reminded of how hard this is. The war against Islamic extremism will go on for decades. As we noted here twice in the last two days, the enemy gets a great deal of help from leftist groups in the West, who are trying to undermine our side in the battle, as they did during Vietnam.
The Bush administration can properly be faulted for letting the situation in Afghanistan drag on without direction for too long, but it is now Obama's war. It's interesting that Afghanistan is the one area where the president's poll ratings have gone up, something that happened after he announced his decision to send more troops to the conflict. That doesn't mean Americans are ready to write a blank check, but it does mean that enough of us are willing to give Obama a chance if he starts to show backbone and tries to pursue a winning strategy.
The end result, though, is far from guaranteed, and I wish the president would finally explain to the American people that they must be prepared for decades of opposition to a hateful ideology. It would mean opposing the left wing of his party, but that, in my view, doesn't carry much risk.
January 2, 2010 Permalink
IT DOESN'T MATTER – THINK WARM, THINK HOT, DON'T THINK! – AT 7:08 P.M. ET: The global warming "consensus" can't seem to catch a break. Will someone please make up some figures and help them? From London's Telegraph:
Britain is bracing itself for one of the coldest winters for a century with temperatures hitting minus 16 degrees Celsius, forecasters have warned.
Insignificant! It's a trick. These people all work for Exxon!
They predicted no let up in the freezing snap until at least mid-January, with snow, ice and severe frosts dominating.
And the likelihood is that the second half of the month will be even colder.
Paul Michaelwaite, forecaster for NetWeather.tv, said: “It is looking like this winter could be in the top 20 cold winters in the last 100 years.
“It’s going to be very cold the for the next 10 days and although there could be a milder spell at some stage the indications are that the second half of the month will be even colder.”
Obviously, a man with investments in coal.
Matt Dobson, forecaster for MeteoGroup, the Press Association's weather division, said last month had been the coldest December for 13 years. "It has been the coldest December on average since 1996," he said. "The second half of the month was very cold indeed but the first half was relatively mild. If it had been colder in the first few weeks we would have seen more records broken."
COMMENT: It has been reported that Al Gore read this story and was given sedatives. We wish him well.
Oh, by the way, the headline now running at Drudge is: COLD, COLD, COLDER.
This wasn't in the script, was it?
January 2, 2010 Permalink
IT HAD TO HAPPEN – AT 6:53 P.M. ET: Liberals are on the attack against... Al Qaeda? The Taliban? The Iranian mullahs? Drug dealers?
No, the target is Scott Rasmussen, whose polls are often quoted here. It seems that the liberal left doesn't like his numbers, which don't reflect the approved line that America has elected a messiah. From The Politico:
Democrats are turning their fire on Scott Rasmussen, the prolific independent pollster whose surveys on elections, President Obama’s popularity and a host of other issues are surfacing in the media with increasing frequency.
The pointed attacks reflect a hardening conventional wisdom among prominent liberal bloggers and many Democrats that Rasmussen Reports polls are, at best, the result of a flawed polling model and, at worst, designed to undermine Democratic politicians and the party’s national agenda.
On progressive-oriented websites, anti-Rasmussen sentiment is an article of faith. “Rasmussen Caught With Their Thumb on the Scale,” blared the Daily Kos this summer. “Rasmussen Reports, You Decide,” the blog Swing State Project recently headlined in a play on the Fox News motto.
The ranting goes on and on. At times, we almost feel for these people, in their suffering and disillusionment.
The charge is that Rasmussen rigs his polls by rigging the questions, by manipulating respondents, maybe even by changing the weather. Rasmussen, in his scholarly gentleness, has a rather convincing answer:
Rasmussen is quick to point out the accuracy of his surveys — noting how close his firm was to predicting the final outcome in this fall’s New Jersey governor’s race. (Rasmussen’s final survey in the race showed Republican Chris Christie edging out Gov. Jon Corzine 46 percent to 43 percent. Christie beat Corzine 48 percent to 45 percent on Election Day.) And he argues that he was among the first pollsters to show Obama narrowing the gap with Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary.
Last year, the progressive website FiveThirtyEight.com’s pollster ratings, based on the 2008 presidential primaries, awarded Rasmussen the third-highest mark for its accuracy in predicting the outcome of the contests. And Rasmussen’s final poll of the 2008 general election — showing Obama defeating Arizona Sen. John McCain 52 percent to 46 percent — closely mirrored the election’s outcome.
Take that, lefties!
Rasmussen, for his part, explained that his numbers are trending Republican simply because he is screening for only those voters most likely to head to the polls — a pool of respondents, he argues, that just so happens to bend more conservative this election cycle.
Which is why we quote Scott Rasmussen. His approach, in our view, is the most solid, and his track record, which is easily determined, backs him up.
January 2, 2010 Permalink
THE BOYS IN TEHRAN ARE GETTING ROUGH – AT 11:57 A.M. ET: Obama's deadline for Iran to make progress in its nuclear negotiations with the west has passed. We now get the Iranian response, and it is blunt. From AFP:
TEHRAN, Iran - Iran on Saturday gave the West a one-month "ultimatum" to accept a uranium swap, warning that if there is no deal it will produce its own nuclear fuel for a Tehran reactor, state television reported.
"The international community has just one month left to decide" whether or not it will accept Iran's conditions, otherwise "Tehran will enrich uranium to a higher level," Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki was quoted as saying.
"This is an ultimatum," he said.
Pretty direct stuff from a regime that's being threatened in its own streets.
Iran, which rejected a December 31 deadline to accept a UN-brokered deal, said on Tuesday it is ready to swap abroad its low-enriched uranium for nuclear fuel, insisting however that the exchange should happen in stages.
Tehran has rejected a proposal by UN nuclear watchdog the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to ship out most of its stockpile of low-enriched uranium for further processing by Russia and France into fuel for a research reactor.
Absurd. When done in stages, it's a slow-motion process, allowing Iran to replace whatever enriched uranium gets shipped out.
COMMENT: It's clearly crunch time. We await the president's return from his seemingly endless vacation to see what he'll actually do. Not say, but do.
January 2, 2010 Permalink
HE SPEAKS – AND HE TAKES OFF...A GLOVE – AT 11:08 A.M. ET: President Obama has spoken out about the Christmas day attempt on an airliner over Detroit. A C+ statement, but at least it's something. From The New York Times:
HONOLULU, Hawaii — President Obama declared for the first time on Saturday that a branch of Al Qaeda based in Yemen sponsored the attempted Christmas Day bombing of an American passenger jet, and he vowed that those behind the failed attack “will be held to account.”
We knew about the Al Qaeda link a week ago.
"Held to account?" I want that spelled out. Does it mean a summons? A lawsuit? An air attack? Being made to stand in a corner?
“We’re learning more about the suspect,” Mr. Obama said in the Saturday address.
I love "suspect." Okay, Obama probably uses the term for legal reasons. But just once, only once, I'd like to hear him slip and say "jihadist." There, was that difficult?
Mr. Abdulmutallab had studied Arabic in Yemen in 2004-05 before going to school in London and becoming increasingly devout in his Muslim views. He returned to Yemen in early August, according to the Yemeni government, and reenrolled in an Arabic school there, remaining in the country until early December. Some officials in the United States and Yemen suspect the school enrollment was a cover to train with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
As we said, jihadist.
Mr. Obama defended his policies as tough but reasonable, and called for an end to the sniping that both parties have engaged in since the Christmas episode. “As we go forward, let us remember this — our adversaries are those who would attack our country, not our fellow Americans, not each other,” Mr. Obama said.
I wish he'd send a note to that effect to some of his supporters, with their merciless attacks on President Bush and Vice President Cheney.
He added: “Instead of succumbing to partisanship and division, let’s summon the unity that this moment demands. Let’s work together, with a seriousness of purpose, to do what must be done to keep our country safe.”
Fine, Mr. President, but a whole branch of your party doesn't believe we're at war, believes terrorism is our fault, and is threatening to try to block funds for your surge in Afghanistan. It's not your enemies who are a threat to this country, sir, it's your friends.
January 2, 2010 Permalink
PAYBACK – AT 10:53 A.M. ET: Has Barack Obama thrown the wrong people under the bus? Britain's Daily Mail reports on a backlash from officials in the intelligence community:
Barack Obama was accused of double standards yesterday in his treatment of the CIA.
The President paid tribute to secret agents after seven of them were killed by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan.
In a statement, he said the CIA had been ‘tested as never before’ and that agents had ‘served on the front lines in directly confronting the dangers of the 21st century’.
He lauded the victims as ‘part of a long line of patriots who have made great sacrifices for their fellow citizens and for our way of life’.
Yet the previous day he had blasted ‘systemic failures’ in the CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies for failing to prevent the Christmas Day syringe bomb attack.
The president is probably right about the "systemic failures." But his long history of blaming anybody but himself has prompted a backlash.
‘One day the President is pointing the finger and blaming the intelligence services, saying there is a systemic failure,’ said one agency official. ‘Now we are heroes. The fact is that we are doing everything humanly possible to stay on top of the security situation. The deaths of our operatives shows just how involved we are on the ground.’
The agents – including the chief of the base, a mother-of-three - were collecting information about militants when the suicide bomber struck on Wednesday.
The attack was the deadliest single day for the agency since eight CIA officers were killed in the 1983 bombing of the US Embassy in Beirut.
And let us not forget that Attorney General Eric Holder, who thinks this is one big law-enforcement problem, wants to investigate the actions of CIA agents under the BUSH (!!) administration.
Do you see chickens coming home to roost? There's an army of them across the road...and these chickens vote.
January 2, 2010 Permalink
MORE HOLY TERROR – AT 10:14 A.M. ET: Through careful planning and good luck, a life was saved in Denmark in the midst of a terror attack. The life belonged to Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, famous for drawing the cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed that caused all that uproar in the Muslim world in 2005. Our superb contributor, Renee Nielsen, who is visiting Denmark, has alerted us to some of the best reports of the incident.
COPENHAGEN (AP) -- A Somali man was charged Saturday with two counts of attempted murder for an attack on a Danish artist whose 2005 cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad ignited riots and outrage across the Muslim world, authorities said.
The 28-year-old Somali -- who had ties to al-Qaida -- broke into Kurt Westergaard's home in Aarhus on Friday night armed with an ax and a knife, said Jakob Scharf, head of Denmark's PET intelligence agency.
The 75-year-old artist, who has been the target of several death threats since depicting the Prophet Muhammad with a bomb-shaped turban, pressed an alarm and fled with his 5-year-old granddaughter to a specially made safe room.
Officers arrived two minutes later and tried to arrest the assailant, but then shot him in the hand and knee when he threatened them with the ax, said Preben Nielsen of the Aarhus police.
Can you imagine the result if Mr. Westergaard hadn't planned his security?
Another act of terror. How many have there been recently? I've lost count. And how many months has it been since the Obama administration banned the word "terror," replacing it with "man-caused disasters"? Lost count of that, too. That change has apparently been reversed.
Britain's Sun reports:
Jakob Scharf, who heads Denmark's intelligence service says the attack was "terror related," adding the suspected assailant has close contacts to the Somali terrorist group, al-Shabaab.
COMMENT: A life was saved, but how many are now threatened? And how many authors, journalists and filmmakers will now think twice, or three times, before writing or filming anything that could "offend" certain sensitivities?
Notice the silence of "civil liberties" groups. Notice the equal silence of the "multiculturalist" crowd. We quoted a piece just yesterday - see it just below - on the way in which some of these groups aid terror. We don't take back a word.
January 2, 2010 Permalink
FRIDAY, JANUARY 1, 2010
"PEACE" GROUPS AND TERRORISM – AT 7:15 P.M. ET: This, inevitably, will be a recurring theme among conservatives – at least those conservatives who can make it into the press. It's about the help given by Western "peace" groups to terrorist movements. London's Telegraph sums it up superbly. Don't look for stuff like this in The New York Times. But it is vital to understand the significance of what is said here:
A major problem in fighting terrorism and insurgency today is the active support certain so-called “peace groups” provide to terrorist and anti-democratic movements, just as they did in the 1970s and 80s.
This problem was highlighted in December, when a former officer of Colombia’s FARC rebels, one of the most vicious and murderous terrorist groups in the world, accused the Peace Brigades International, a human rights group monitoring Colombia’s decades-long civil war, of actively supporting the FARC terrorists. Mary O’Grady tells the story in an article in the Wall Street Journal.
That's the great Mary Anastasia O'Grady, one of the best reporters around.
This behaviour of Western peace groups follows a familiar pattern. During the 1970s and 1980s, Soviet bloc intelligence agencies were heavily involved in organising and directing the Western European peace movement. After the collapse of the East German regime in 1989, Western scholars were able to examine the files of the Stasi, the East German Intelligence Service, which provided a window into the thinking of many major Western Peace groups and the eagerness with which the peace groups accepted Soviet Bloc support and espoused the Soviet line. Many of the peace groups only protested about NATO policies while ignoring Soviet actions.
That states it superbly. We saw the reality when European "peace" groups, utterly silent about the placement of Soviet medium-range missiles in Eastern Europe, erupted in protest when President Reagan countered with new missile systems for Western Europe. Reagan was the "warmonger."
Today, many European and American peace groups are again eager to denounce Western nations while giving a free pass to assorted terrorist groups and dictatorships. They are assisted by a Left-oriented and largely uncritical Western media. The Hamas and Hezbollah campaign against Israel is a good example. When the Israelis respond militarily to rockets fired at Israeli towns, a perfectly appropriate action under international law, many Western and Middle Eastern “peace groups” act as Hamas and Hezbollah mouthpieces and dutifully repeat every claim against Israel without question or verification.
The "uncritical Western media" is the key here. I recall, vividly, visiting "peace" rallies in New York during the Vietnam War. The chants were often openly pro-Communist. Marchers would storm down Fifth Avenue chanting "Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh!" Yet, the press would mechanically report these displays as "anti-war" demonstrations. They weren't anti-war. They were only anti- our side of the war.
As in the 1980s, at a time when Western and democratic nations face a threat from terrorists and dictatorships a large part of the “peace community” clearly favours the other side. In our free societies these groups have the right to espouse views inimical to democracy. However, when speech becomes material support for terrorist and insurgent groups, the line has been crossed.
Don't tell that to the ACLU. During the Vietnam War, Jane Fonda and others clearly crossed a line, but were never prosecuted, a terrible mistake in my view.
Western nations need to consider much stronger laws to allow seizure of group assets and to allow victims of terrorism to bring civil suits against so-called “peace groups” that promote violence.
That would be tough to do, but at the very least we should demand honest reporting about what some of these groups are up to. One of the reasons for the success of Fox News is that the audience does get a more accurate picture of these groups, and their supporters, than one would get in the fashion-plate media.
One problem, of course, is the presence of a man who has hovered above the role of the press for more than a half century. That man is Senator Joe McCarthy. Describe any group, accurately, as Marxist, or pro-terrorist, and immediately the charge of "McCarthyism" is hurled, which can essentially end a journalistic career. It is, of course, not "McCarthyism" to describe a Marxist as a Marxist, but there is still a built-in, Pavlovian response to Marxism by too many reporters. The subject is simply avoided. And that is the crime.
January 1, 2010 Permalink
INCREDIBLE – AT 5:58 P.M. ET: Here we are, in the midst of a crisis involving airline security, and the Obamans stumble again, nominating a guy to head the Transportation Security Administration who has more baggage than a fully loaded 757. Fox News reports on the latest personnel blunder, in a White House famous for them already:
HONOLULU -- President Obama's pick to lead the Transportation Security Administration has provided Congress inconsistent reports about -- and regrets for -- running background checks on his then-estranged wife's boyfriend two decades ago.
Erroll Southers, a former FBI agent whose nomination has been delayed by Republicans for unrelated concerns, wrote to senators in November to correct what he called a distortion of his record. The delayed nomination has received renewed attention since the failed Christmas Day attack on an airliner bound from Amsterdam to Detroit.
"I am distressed by the inconsistencies between my recollection and the contemporaneous documents, but I assure you that the mistake was inadvertent, and that I have at all times taken full responsibility for what I know to have been a grave error in judgment," he wrote in a letter to Sens. Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins.
In an October affidavit for the Senate committee, he initially said he asked a San Diego police employee to run a background check on his then-estranged wife's boyfriend and was censured by his FBI superiors 20 years ago for what he said was an isolated instance.
But a day after the committee approved his nomination and sent it to the full Senate, he wrote to the senators and told them that he was incorrect; he said he twice ran background checks himself.
In the letter correcting the record, Southers also said he downloaded law enforcement records and shared them. He said he forgot the incident in 1987 or 1988.
There is also his dodging of questions about his feelings on unionization of TSA employees, something that could put national security at the mercy of labor unions and their decisions.
At this time in particular, the choice for this sensitive position should be above reproach. True, the incident in question did occur 20 years ago, but the candidate's deception about it occurred just recently. I would find it hard to believe that he didn't recall downloading law-enforcement records.
Nomination should be withdrawn, with the president saying that there must be no question about the integrity and competence of the person in charge of transportation security. Or, Southers should be sent the message that he might withdraw himself, and save the president some embarrassment.
January 1, 2010 Permalink
PAKISTAN'S NEW YEAR – AT 5:35 P.M. ET: The terrorists never sleep. Now Pakistan feels the brunt of a holiday bombing, underlying the fact that terror has increased in the last year. From the Washington Post:
KARACHI, PAKISTAN -- A suicide bomber blew up his sport-utility vehicle in the middle of a village volleyball game in northwestern Pakistan on Friday afternoon, killing 75 people and injuring more than 100 in a community that has repeatedly defied Taliban extremists.
Police speculated that the horrific bombing in the village of Shah Hassan Khel, in the Lakki Marwat district, was an act of reprisal against area leaders who last year formed private militias to oppose the Taliban and recently turned in a group of extremist fighters to the authorities.
The message, of course, is clear: This is what happens to you if you defy us. The fact that the victims were Muslims give the lie to "experts" who tell us that if only we would be nicer, all would be okay.
Several previous attacks were clearly carried out in retaliation against communities and leaders who resisted the Taliban. In November, a bombing in a rural market killed a local mayor who had openly defied the extremists. As more communities begin fighting back, there is concern that reprisal attacks will also increase.
The question is whether the will to resist will be broken by the reprisals.
The stability of Pakistan is critical to us, especially as Pakistan has a ready stockpile of nuclear weapons. Pakistan is joined with Iran as a major foreign policy issue for the Obama administration in this new year.
January 1, 2010 Permalink
IRAN IN CRISIS – 12:56 P.M. ET: Iran will probably be Obama's first major foreign-policy crisis of 2010. The place is erupting. The latest, from AP:
Iran's opposition leader on Friday pledged to remain defiant in the face of new threats - including calls by hard-liners for his execution - and said he would sacrifice his life in defense of the people's right to protest peacefully against the government.
Mir Hossein Mousavi's remarks come after the worst unrest since the immediate aftermath of the disputed June presidential election. At least eight people died during anti-government protests on Sunday, including Mousavi's nephew.
In one of his strongest statements to date, Mousavi said he was "ready for martyrdom" - the sacrifice of one's life for a higher cause - and lashed out at the bloody crackdown the authorities are waging against the opposition.
He said the government was making more mistakes by resorting to violence and killings, and that it must accept the people's rights to hold peaceful demonstrations.
COMMENT: With the exception of the bare minimum of pro-democracy statements, the Obamans have greeted the new uprisings with marked indifference, reflecting the general lack of interest in human rights of the "change" agent at the top.
The Iranian pro-democracy movement will probably try to force the hand of the president, pressuring him through its own sacrifice to come down hard on the mullah regime. It is in our interest that the mullahs be overthrown. The replacement government will probably be far from perfect, but it's likely to be much, much better than what Iran has now.
The president has been out to lunch, and dinner, and a nice breakfast. It's time for someone to read him the job description.
January 1, 2010 Permalink
REALLY? – AT 11:15 A.M. ET: The North Koreans have begun 2010 by asking for better relations with the United States. That's like the Mafia asking for better relations with the FBI. The New York Times reports:
SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea called on Friday for an end to “the hostile relationship” with the United States, issuing a New Year’s message that highlighted the reclusive country’s attempt to readjust the focus of six-party nuclear disarmament talks.
In an editorial carried by its major state media outlets, North Korea said that its consistent stand was “to establish a lasting peace system on the Korean Peninsula and make it nuclear-free through dialogue and negotiations.” The editorial added that “the fundamental task for ensuring peace and stability” was “to put an end to the hostile relationship” with the United States.
The sequence of easing tension with Washington, establishing a peace regime and then denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula has been shaping up as the North’s policy approach before it re-engages in talks about giving up its nuclear weapons, according to officials and analysts in Seoul.
If peace talks begin, North Korea will likely demand normalized ties, significant food and energy aid and even the pullout of American troops from South Korea as a precondition for a nuclear-free Korean peninsula, according to analysts in Seoul.
COMMENT: What a joke, although it will probably impress the left fringe of the president's party. The North Koreans are essentially saying that they want to remake the Korean peninsula before engaging in the kind of serious nuclear negotiations that would actually make the remake possible.
This New Year's message was softer than previous ones, but the basic line remained the same. We have made virtually no progress in our "outreach" to the North Koreans. Ditto Iran.
January 1, 2010 Permalink
A GOP STRATEGY? – AT 10:54 A.M. ET: It's only the first of the year, but already the politicians are talking election strategy. The Politico reports on one possible GOP strategy that looks a little dicey at best:
Republicans hope a push to repeal the Democrats' health care bill will inspire voters to turn out for them in the 2010 elections — even though some of them admit that it has no realistic chance of working.
“We have to repeal very substantial parts of it and that’s not going to be easy,” said Republican Pat Toomey, who's running for the Senate in Pennsylvania. “I’m not sitting here predicting that a president who signs this into law in 2010 is likely to sign a repeal in 2011.”
The repeal-or-bust strategy is designed to give Republican candidates a powerful talking point for the midterms — a way to tap into deep anxiety about the health care plan among the GOP base and independent voters.
Even before a final version of the bill has reached President Barack Obama's desk, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and several House members have promised to introduce legislation repealing it if it resembles the bill that passed the Senate last week.
“The legislation would serve as a rallying call for Americans to once again express their opposition,” said Rep. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), who supports a full repeal.
COMMENT: That strikes me as a semi-good strategy. As a campaign slogan, it's fine to shout REPEAL! But Republicans must be conscious of the fact that, despite the administration's plunge in approval ratings, the GOP remains unpopular. One reason is that it's seen as purely a negative force. If Republicans want to argue for repeal, a political pipe dream, they have to present an attractive health reform package that will make them the party of optimism and progress – which is exactly how Ronald Reagan ran for president.
January 1, 2010 Permalink
GOOD MORNING, WELCOME TO 2010 – AT 10:25 A.M. ET: We do hope you have the happiest of new years, and we do appreciate the support our readers have given us as we approach our second anniversary, on January 8th. We forge ahead, as 2010 will probably be one of the most important years of our time, both politically and internationally.
Question one: Where is Hillary Clinton? Nile Gardiner, at Britain's Telegraph, asks that musical question.
The White House should send a search party to track down Hillary Clinton. America’s foreign policy chief has been missing from the world stage for several days, and has become as elusive as the Scarlet Pimpernel at the height of the French Revolution. I wrote earlier in the year that Clinton had become the invisible Secretary of State, and her current absence certainly reinforces that impression.
One would have thought that with a potential revolution on the streets of Tehran, and with scenes of horrific and savage brutality against protesters by the Iranian regime, that Washington’s official voice on international affairs might at least have expressed an opinion.
As far as I can tell there is no foreign policy leadership at all in Washington at the moment, at a time when the United States is faced with a grave nuclear threat on the horizon from the Iranian dictatorship, and the world is anxiously watching as pro-democracy protesters are being beaten to a pulp and in some cases killed...
...It’s also significant that several of Hillary Clinton’s counterparts in Europe have already been vocal in condemning the actions of the Iranian government, and that includes even the usually meek David Miliband, hardly known for picking a fight with the Mullahs.
It’s time for Hillary Clinton to make an appearance and project a strong US voice on the Iranian issue, condemning the sickening violence meted out by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s jackbooted thugs against Iranian protesters, and sending a clear signal that the United States is on the side of those fighting for freedom in Iran. Her striking absence from the world stage is a damning indictment of the lack of American leadership at a time of tremendous upheaval on the streets of Tehran, and when the United States is facing a mounting threat from an increasingly dangerous and hostile Islamist regime.
COMMENT: It is a bit odd, until one considers Hillary's ambitions. If she appears in public, she'd have to answer questions about the State Department's role in the airline terror attack. The US Embassy in Nigeria, which received two visits from the attacker's father warning of his son's radicalism, probably dropped the ball rather badly.
Also, and this must be labeled as speculation, I'm not so sure that Hillary wants to be identified with the administration right now. She may well see things unraveling. She may even be planned her exit. If Obama winds up as a one-term president, deciding not to run again in 2012 rather than face a humiliating defeat, the party almost has to hand the nomination to Hillary on an environmentally safe platter.
January 1, 2010 Permalink