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Author Topic: Obama: Bin Laden still free because of GOP tactics  (Read 1380 times)
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Monkey Junky
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« on: June 17, 2008, 07:58:11 PM »

Obama rebukes McCain camp on terrorism criticism

By NEDRA PICKLER and BETH FOUHY, Associated Press Writer 19 minutes ago

A defiant Barack Obama said Tuesday he would take no lectures from Republicans on which candidate would keep the U.S. safer, a sharp rebuke to John McCain's aides who said the Democrat had a naive, Sept. 10 mind-set toward terrorism.

"These are the same guys who helped to engineer the distraction of the war in Iraq at a time when we could have pinned down the people who actually committed 9/11," the presumed nominee told reporters aboard his campaign plane. "This is the same kind of fear-mongering that got us into Iraq ... and it's exactly that failed foreign policy I want to reverse."

The rival camps engaged in a war of words Tuesday that echoed the 2004 presidential campaign in which President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and other Republicans argued that Democratic nominee John Kerry was soft on terror, a claim that resonated with voters and helped propel Bush to re-election. Democrats complained that the GOP was using the politics of fear.

The Republican argument proved less effective in 2006 when then Bush adviser Karl Rove said the Democrats had a pre-Sept. 11 view of the world and Republicans had a post-Sept. 11 terror attacks perspective. In November of that year, Democrats captured enough congressional seats to seize control of the House and Senate.

On his campaign plane, Obama told reporters that Osama bin Laden is still at large in part because President Bush's strategy toward fighting terror has not succeeded.

At issue were comments Obama made in an interview with ABC News Monday in which he spoke approvingly of the successful prosecution and imprisonment of those responsible for the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. Obama was asked how he could be sure the Bush administration's anti-terrorism policies are not crucial to protecting U.S. citizens.

Obama said the government can crack down on terrorists "within the constraints of our Constitution." He mentioned the indefinite detention of Guantanamo Bay detainees, contrasting their treatment with the prosecution of the 1993 World Trade Center bombings.

"And, you know, let's take the example of Guantanamo," Obama said. "What we know is that, in previous terrorist attacks for example, the first attack against the World Trade Center we were able to arrest those responsible, put them on trial. They are currently in U.S. prisons, incapacitated.

"And the fact that the administration has not tried to do that has created a situation where not only have we never actually put many of these folks on trial, but we have destroyed our credibility when it comes to rule of law all around the world, and given a huge boost to terrorist recruitment in countries that say, 'Look, this is how the United States treats Muslims. ...

"We could have done the exact same thing, but done it in a way that was consistent with our laws," Obama said.

Obama agreed with the Supreme Court ruling last week that detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have a constitutional right to challenge their indefinite imprisonment in U.S. civilian cou
rts. McCain derided the ruling as "one of the worst decisions in the history of this country."

McCain aides criticized Obama for talking about using the criminal justice system to prosecute terrorists.

"Senator Obama is a perfect manifestation a September 10th mind-set ... He does not understand the nature of the enemies we face," McCain national security director Randy Scheunemann told reporters on a conference call.

Former CIA director James Woolsey, who is advising the McCain campaign, concurred, saying Obama has "an extremely dangerous and extremely naive approach toward terrorism ... and toward dealing with prisoners captured overseas who have been engaged in terrorist attacks against the United States."

The Obama campaign countered with its own conference call in which Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Richard Clarke, a counterterrorism official in Republican and Democratic administrations, argued the McCain campaign was emulating Rove.

"I'm a little disgusted by the attempts of some of my friends on the McCain campaign to use the same old, tired tactics ... to drive a wedge between Americans for partisan advantage and to frankly frighten Americans," Clarke said.

Kerry accused McCain of "defending a policy that is indefensible" by siding with Bush's policies, particularly with respect to the Iraq war.

Obama said Republicans could be counted on to do "what they've done every election cycle, which is to use terrorism as club to make the American people afraid to win elections." He said he didn't think it would work this time.


Beth Fouhy reported from New York.

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« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2008, 12:49:37 AM »

 WASHINGTON -- Last Sunday, Sen. John McCain met in Washington with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari. After their closed-door session, the two men took questions from waiting reporters. The following day, Sen. Barack Obama told reporters that he, too, had found time for a conversation with Zebari. The way in which the two events apparently took place and how they were reported reflect the profound differences between McCain and Obama.

The McCain-Zebari Father's Day meeting at the candidate's presidential campaign headquarters in Virginia showed that the two men know and respect each other, share a common perspective on success in Iraq, and are thinking realistically about the future. Both officials fielded tough questions from reporters about American troop levels, security, economic recovery, and ongoing negotiations for a U.S.-Iraqi Status of Forces Agreement. Zebari observed, "Thanks to the surge strategy and to the growth of Iraqi military security capabilities, Iraq has the lowest level of violence since the last four years." He added that we "have the right policies, we have the right personnel now, and we are working together, in fact, to realize a democratic Iraq, a stable and peaceful Iraq, and to be a partner to the United States." The face-to-face meeting and the foreign minister's statement were all but ignored by the mainstream media.

By contrast, all it took was a perfunctory phone call with Iraq's leading diplomat for Sen. Barack Obama to make headlines. According to Obama, he phoned the foreign minister Monday morning while on his way from his home to Chicago's Midway Airport. Later, when the Democrats' standard-bearer landed in Flint, Mich., he told his press gaggle about the conversation with Zebari and said, "I told him that I look forward to seeing him in Baghdad." Then he announced, "I'm interested in visiting Iraq and Afghanistan before the election." The report that Obama would be making a trip to both theaters in the war against radical Islam led news broadcasts and made it above the fold in newspapers across the country.

Set aside the casual nature of Obama's contact with the Iraqi foreign minister and the fact that the Illinois senator has spent less than two full days on the ground in Iraq since the campaign in Mesopotamia began in March 2003. And ignore McCain's eight trips to the region and his role in constructing the successful surge strategy. What's really remarkable is how the Obama-for-president campaign has downplayed the promised trip to the war zones. And as usual, the press has let him get away with it.

At this writing, the campaign Web site makes no mention of a trip to Iraq. But under the headings "Barack Obama's Plan" and "Bringing Our Troops Home," it continues to stress that "Obama will immediately begin to remove our troops from Iraq. He will remove one to two combat brigades each month, and have all of our combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months." That statement and the promised trip would be problematic for candidates getting more scrutiny than Obama has received. It might be called "show-and-tell trouble."

When our kids were in elementary school, they would have to bring something to school occasionally to show their classmates and then tell them all about it. That also meant the youngsters had to know real facts about the objects they were displaying. For a person with Obama's position on Iraq, a trip to the war zone would create a dilemma far greater than telling about a pet frog. It would be more like a pet skunk.

If Obama really does go to Iraq and listens carefully to the Americans and Iraqis who have been fighting and winning the campaign against al-Qaida and the Shiite militias, he will have to admit that McCain's surge strategy was right. He also would have to acknowledge that the campaign in Iraq is being won. And that, in turn, would require him to backtrack on the get-out-now plank of his foreign policy platform.

For most candidates, reversing course on a major campaign issue would be a significant problem. But Obama has proved that changing his mind (some would call it flip-flopping) is no obstacle to success. Just this week, he did an about-face on accepting federal funds for the general election. Though he has long insisted that public financing is essential to avoid becoming a pawn of special interests and lobbyists, Obama now claims that the public financing system is "broken." He's the first general election candidate to opt out of the system since it was established in 1976.

This change of heart hasn't hurt Barack Obama's standing with the media a bit. Count on him getting the same kind of free pass on an equally shameless show and tell in Iraq.

There is always one more imbecile than you counted on
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