Obama will close Gitmo

President Obama continues the clean break from the policies of the Bush administration. Today he signed new executive orders regarding the closure of the Guantanamo detention facility within a year, the review of military trials of terror suspects and a ban of the harshest interrogation techniques. Obama made his intentions clear:

The message we are sending around the world is that the US intends to prosecute the ongoing struggle against violence and terrorism and we are going to do so vigilantly, we are going to do so effectively, and we are going to do so in a manner that is consistent with our values and our ideals … We intend to win this fight, and we intend to win it on our terms.

I find it interesting that he did not use the phrase “war on terror.” I have no idea if that was intentional, but as I’ve said in the past that phrase was always overly broad and misleading. Hopefully we can move beyond simple slogans to a more sophisticated policy that effectively fights those who wish to do us harm and rebuilds our bonds with moderate and peace-seeking peoples around the world.

  

Fighting terrorists as we leave Iraq

Newsweek’s Christpher Dickey has been one of the nest reporters covering the Iraq War from the beginning. If you read his columns, you knew that the chest-thumping and rosy scenarios coming from the Bush administration were not to be believed.

As we look for an exit strategy from this mess, Dickey explains how our withdrawel is playing around the world. The facts are grim – the terrorists will be emboldened.

Terrorists will indeed believe that all this is a triumph for their God, their vision, His design. But the United States and its friends would be repeating one of the egregious mistakes that got us into this sorry mess if we allowed the bad-guys’ opinions to dictate our strategy and tactics.

The signal error of the Bush administration was to embrace the terrorist rhetoric of war, and then to militarize a conflict that should have been handled all along as a matter for the police, the intelligence services and public diplomacy. The struggle ought to have been focused as a fight against malicious individuals, not their aberrant ideologies, against small criminal groups, not the vast civilizations they claim to represent. (A report from the James A. Baker III Institute and the Council on Foreign Relations in 2002 tried to make this point before we went into Iraq, but alas …)

Dickey again presents a powerful argument. We have to be smart about our counter-terrorism techniques.

  

John Ashcroft is an idiot

John Ashcroft has plenty to answer for regarding his failures leading up to 9/11, so he decides to attack the 9/11 Commission in a pathetic attempt to avoid scrutiny of his own shortcomings.

  

Bin Laden not a top priority for Bush

This is amazing. Osama Bin Laden is responsible for nearly 3,000 American deaths on 9/11, yet catching or killing him is “not a high priority” for George W. Bush in the war on terror? Bush also said “Bin Laden doesn’t fit with the administration’s strategy for combating terrorism.”

  

Great new ad

VoteVets.org has a powerful new ad targeting George Allen and his failure to vote for improved body armor for our troops in Iraq. The ad is very simple yet very effective.

The organization is raising money so they can continue to show the ad and to create similar ads targeting other Senators who voted against this important protection.

The bottom line is this – when our government sent these troops to Iraq, many of them were not given the ncessary body armor to protect them. Many soldiers had to purchase this body armor on their own because the government would not foot the bill. Many units also did not have armored humvees.

This is a disgrace, and it undermines the chest-thumping claims of patriotism by the Bush Administration and the GOP cheering section. It’s time to hold them accountable.

Jim Webb has closed the gap in Virginia. This ad might help him score a huge upset and help the Democrats take over the Senate.

  

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