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Posts Tagged ‘George Bush’

Obama in Afghanistan: US Military “Does Not Quit Once It Starts On Something”

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

President Barack Obama made a surprise trip to Afghanistan to visit with American troops and Afghan President Hamid Karzai

President Barack Obama did an excellent job of firing up the troops and praising the American mission to crush Al-Queda in Afghanistan and elsewhere during his speech today at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan.   It is indeed a pleasant experience to see the President articulate a strong American will to fight and win the war on terror.  Obama did repeat four or five times that he would “never” put American troops in “harm’s way” unless it was “absolutely necessary”, which appeared to be an unnecessary slap at former President George W. Bush and the now-successful mission in Iraq, which of course Obama did not consider “absolutely necessary.”

Obama also properly pointed toward the 9/11 attacks as the motivating force behind the American mission in Afghanistan, and the President deserves credit for strongly stating these pro-American positions in front of our nation’s troops in Afghanistan and for saying “thank you” on behalf of Americans to our troops.

However, the President made a curious comment, starting at about the 11:20 mark on the this video of his speech today, about how the America “does not quit once it starts on something“:

“We face a determined enemy, but we also know this. The United States of America does not quit once it starts on something. You don’t quit, the American armed services does not quit, we keep at it, we persevere, and together with our partners, we will prevail, I am absolutely confident of that.”

Obama here sounds an awful lot like President George W. Bush in 2006, 2007 and 2008 when discussing the need to “stay the course” and win the war in Iraq. Indeed, Obama’s comment about how America “does not quit” once the country engages in a battle overseas is quite jarring when compared to candidate Obama’s campaigning throughout America for two years calling for a quick withdrawal from Iraq without a military victory there over Al-Queda and the insurgents.   Here is a portion of Obama’s January 2007 speech, which kicked off his campaign for President, advocating a military withdrawal from Iraq by March 2008, which of course did not occur:

But all of this cannot come to pass until we bring an end to this war in Iraq. Most of you know I opposed this war from the start. I thought it was a tragic mistake. Today we grieve for the families who have lost loved ones, the hearts that have been broken, and the young lives that could have been. America, it’s time to start bringing our troops home. It’s time to admit that no amount of American lives can resolve the political disagreement that lies at the heart of someone else’s civil war. That’s why I have a plan that will bring our combat troops home by March of 2008. Letting the Iraqis know that we will not be there forever is our last, best hope to pressure the Sunni and Shia to come to the table and find peace.

Obama also famously stated in 2007 that the Bush surge would not work and would instead by counterproductive, which, of course, was a mistaken view that Obama pushed for years across the country campaigning for President:

I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there. In fact, I think it will do the reverse.

Ironically, despite his above-referenced political attacks in 2007-8 upon President Bush for ordering the surge and his active opposition to then-President Bush’s surge plan, today Obama stated that while “politics at home may look a little messy” there is “no daylight [between Democrats and Republicans] when it comes to support of all of you” and “no daylight when it comes to supporting our troops“. While these sentiments are indeed correct, the GOP strongly supports the Afghanistani mission to eliminate the Al-Queda threat, his comments today are quite jarring when compared to the President’s own actions and statements in 2007 where he created a giant shaft of daylight between himself and President Bush regarding the American troops in the field in Iraq at the time.

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Obama Administration FOIA Exemption Claims Rise 50% Over Bush

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

The Obama Administration has increased the use of so-called "exemptions" to the Freedom of Information Act about 50% over the Bush Administration

In a startling review issued today by the Associated Press regarding Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) requests, it was revealed that the Obama Administration substantially increased the  use of so-called “exemptions” to disclosure under FOIA, effectively undermining the many  rhetorical claims by President Barack Obama that his administration will be the “most open and transparent in history.” The AP explains the findings of its review:

WASHINGTON — The government’s use of legal exemptions to keep records secret rose during President Barack Obama’s first year in office, despite promises of increased openness, an Associated Press review found.

The review of annual Freedom of Information Act reports filed by 17 major agencies found that overall, the use of nearly every one of the open-records law’s nine exemptions to withhold information rose in fiscal year 2009, which ended last October.

Among the most frequently used exemptions: one that lets the government hold back records that detail its internal decision-making. Obama had directed agencies to stop using that exemption so frequently, but that directive appears to have been widely ignored.

Major agencies cited that exemption to refuse records at least 70,779 times during the 2009 budget year, compared with 47,395 times during President George W. Bush’s final full budget year, according to annual FOIA reports filed by federal agencies.

An increase of 23,384, a nearly 50% (49.34%) increase, in the amount of FOIA exemption claims in the first fiscal year of the Obama Administration versus the final fiscal year of the Bush Administration clearly demonstrates that President Obama has failed in his asserted quest to create an “unprecedented level of openness in Government.” Indeed, most of the establishment media coverage of the Obama Administration regarding transparency has focused on praising the Administration based on such rhetorical pronouncements by Obama.  Now, with the actual FOIA exemption claim numbers for Obama’s first year as rising by 50% over Bush’s final full year, one can only hope that such misleading reporting is corrected by the establishment media.

Amazingly, the brazen Obama managed to issue a statement today crowing about how his Administration is the most transparent in history, despite the indisputable facts regarding the massive rise in FOIA exemption usage:

As Sunshine Week begins, I want to applaud everyone who has worked to increase transparency in government and recommit my administration to be the most open and transparent ever, an effort that will strengthen our democracy and ensure the public’s trust in their government.

We are proud of these accomplishments, but our work is not done. We will continue to work toward an unmatched level of transparency, participation and accountability across the entire Administration.

Perhaps the establishment media will report upon this clearly misleading Obama statement, especially in relation to the unmentioned 50% increase in FOIA exemption claims by his Administration, in the days to come and bring some level of honesty to the media’s reporting on the transparency issue. Obama’s statement, on his first full day in office as President, claiming that broadly granted FOIA requests are the key to an open government is a timely reminder of how far removed the first year of Obama’s government has been from the rhetoric used by President Obama on the issue of open and transparent government:

The prolific use of FOIA exemptions is one measure of how far the federal government has yet to go to carry out Obama’s promise of openness. His first full day in office, Obama told agencies the Freedom of Information Act, “which encourages accountability through transparency, is the most prominent expression of a profound national commitment to ensuring an open government.”

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Chance to Avoid Depression Spiral Expires Sunday Night – McCain, Obama and Bush Struggle to Cope with Historical Moment

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

Obama, Bush and McCain meet

Obama, Bush and McCain meet

The presidential campaign hit overdrive yesterday as the candidates grappled over McCain’s surprise suspension of his campaign in the face of iffy prospects for a deal on the bailout this week. President Bush also weighed in with a primetime speech last night which warned of a deep recession without quick action on his request for authority to borrow $700 Billion to purchase “toxic” mortgage-related assets. Up in the air is whether the the bailout package that now appears inevitable will be sufficient to meet market expectations in the short term and, more importantly, a resolution of the housing crisis.

Should the bailout be watered down too much or not pass, America could see a historical market meltdown Monday morning and serious recession, if not depression. Worldwide, banks are hoarding cash and not making loans, even inter-bank loans, as the world waits for Washington to act.

McCain shook up the presidential election Wednesday afternoon by suspending campaign operations and planning a return to Washington to push a quick bailout package. McCain also stated he would not debate Friday night unless a deal is in place. On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other Democrats called upon McCain to produce GOP votes for bailout package. Sources from both parties stated that McCain’s support for a bailout package is the only way Congress will act.

Reid immediately condemned McCain for “injecting presidential politics” into the bailout debate after McCain’s suspension annoucement. Obama and the Democrats aggressively pushed their message last night and today that McCain’s move was a sign of desperation and McCain should be able to “multitask” by both showing up at the debate and dealing with the bailout.

Congressional Democrats and Senate Republicans have announced a deal in “principle” has been reached, however, House Republicans disagree and are circulating their own proposal, which would only insure the purchase of the “toxic” securities by private companies. Democrats are presently feverishly pushing the idea that a deal is in place across cable media, while Republicans are stating that a resolution has not yet been reached.

After initial reluctance to come back to Washington after McCain’s request, Obama answered President Bush’s request to return to Washington for a meeting on the bailout today at 4PM. Team Obama has reportedly landed in Washington and the meeting will include congressional leaders, McCain, Obama and Bush.

The drama set to unfold today is unmatched in any recent presidential election and the stakes are high as centrists and independent voters are watching the candidates carefully. If McCain can deliver the House GOP votes, he may get credit from undecided voters who were concerned about the bailout stalling on Capitol Hill. Obama also could share in that credit if the final deal is made between the leaders at today’s meeting in the White House. Alternatively, if a bailout deal passes and the stock market again crashes before the election, both candidates will have little room to maneuver.

The early announcements by Democrats appear aimed to douse any positive reflection upon McCain’s intervention. Obama apparently plans to have a 90 minute town hall meeting if McCain does not appear for the debate. Whether the public sees McCain more positively as working to push the bailout package or negatively as skipping out on a debate is the open question which will surely impact the race. A flash poll done today shows a huge majority believes the debate should go forward. Tonight and tomorrow may well decide both the likely winner of the presidential election and whether the economy will continue to spiral downwards or pull out of the continuing liquidity crisis and inch towards recovery.

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