Monthly Archives: August 2009

Wrong Then, Wrong Now

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Remember when the clowns from Code Pink would stand up during congressional meetings and shout nonsense about the Iraq War?

“Bush lied, people died!”

“No War for oil!”

and all the rest of those tired, played out slogans…

Well, I feel the same way about the people ranting and raving during the townhall meetings being conducted to explain President Obama’s health care proposals. Regular readers know I am no fan of the current president and am not incredibly positive about the sorts of reforms he wants to see in our country.

Nevertheless, people who do support these reforms should be given the opportunity to explain themselves and the policies they think will make America a better place to live in. If you disagree, feel free to express yourself. But don’t act like a bunch of crazy right-wing loons and disrupt these meetings. It makes you appear just as unhinged as the loony left.

Pakistan Taliban Leader Eliminated?

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baitullah-mehsud-mahsud

Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of Pakistani Taliban (Tehreek-e-Taliban) responsible for a wave of suicide attacks across Pakistan, was killed in a missile strike fired by a CIA Predator drone according to Pakistani officials. Mehsud, one of Pakistan’s most wanted terrorists, was widely regarded the mastermind of the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

The U.S. considered Mehsud less of a priority than Taliban operatives active in Afghanistan but nevertheless placed a $5 million bounty on his head back in March. CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies increased their efforts against Mehsud because they were concerned of the increasing brazenness of his attacks and the possibility that the Pakistani Taliban could destabilize Pakistan, a country considered integral to the U.S. war against Islamist extremists.

The U.S. has not confirmed that Mehsud was killed. American officials are conducting an investigation, including DNA tests, to see if the individual killed in the missile strike was indeed Mehsud. Pakistan and U.S. officials have confirmed that Mehsud’s second wife was killed in the blast.

Added (08/07):

U.S. counterintelligence official claims it is increasingly likely that Mehsud was killed

Pakistan Taliban confirm Mehsud is dead

[Drone airstrike video]

Big Bill Clinton Still Has It

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South Korea Journalists Held

When former president Bill Clinton went overseas to convince North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il to release two American journalists I thought to myself, “good luck on that one, buddy.”

Euna Lee and Laura Ling were facing twelve years in a North Korean labor camp for supposedly “committing hostilities against the Korean nation and illegal entry.” Lee and Ling were conducting research for a report on women and human trafficking. The situation looked increasingly grim as each day passed. But Big Bill flies over to Pyongyang on a private mission and whamo, Jong-Il gives the two a full pardon and they are on their way home back to the U.S.

The Telegraph (UK) reports that North Korean state media claims Jong-Il pardoned both reporters after Clinton “expressed words of sincere apology” for their “hostile acts.” However, Clinton said he issued no apology.

The families of the two journalists realeased the following statement:

The families of Laura Ling and Euna Lee are overjoyed by the news of their pardon. We are so grateful to our government: President Obama, Secretary Clinton and the U.S. State Department for their dedication to and hard work on behalf of American citizens.

We especially want to thank President Bill Clinton for taking on such an arduous mission and Vice President Al Gore for his tireless efforts to bring Laura and Euna home. We must also thank all the people who have supported our families through this ordeal, it has meant the world to us. We are counting the seconds to hold Laura and Euna in our arms.

Only the most hardened partisans are unable to find joy in this occasion. Say what you will about Big Bill, the dude still has the power of persuasion. Which, as Richard Neustadt argued, is necessary for any successful U.S. president.

But questions remain. For example, what exactly is Kim Jong-Il going to get in return for this? A softer U.S. stance towards North Korea’s nuclear weapon program? As John Bolton notes, “If you wanted to divorce the kidnapping, abduction issue of the two reporters from the nuclear issue, you couldn’t have picked a less likely envoy than president Clinton.”

Read more here.