Legal Muse

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Liberal Bias? Just Maybe?

with 10 comments

Since the New York Times refused to publish McCain’s response to Obama’s “Plan for Iraq”, I’m posting it here. Yeah, there’s no vast liberal bias in the media at all… Could you imagine if the NYT refused to publish Obama’s letter to the editor? There would be claims of racism, and some sort of “vast right wing conspiracy”. Oh yeah, the editor of the times is a former Clinton administration staffer. It amazes and disgusts me that all three major network anchors are in the Middle East right now suckling from the teat of the Obama campaign. It’s like he’s the only candidate. In the past 4 months, McCain has been all over the world, including the Middle East. Some networks didn’t even send reporters.

The Rejected Editorial

In January 2007, when General David Petraeus took command in Iraq, he called the situation “hard” but not “hopeless.” Today, 18 months later, violence has fallen by up to 80% to the lowest levels in four years, and Sunni and Shiite terrorists are reeling from a string of defeats. The situation now is full of hope, but considerable hard work remains to consolidate our fragile gains.

Progress has been due primarily to an increase in the number of troops and a change in their strategy. I was an early advocate of the surge at a time when it had few supporters in Washington. Senator Barack Obama was an equally vocal opponent. “I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there,” he said on January 10, 2007. “In fact, I think it will do the reverse.”

Now Senator Obama has been forced to acknowledge that “our troops have performed brilliantly in lowering the level of violence.” But he still denies that any political progress has resulted.

Perhaps he is unaware that the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad has recently certified that, as one news article put it, “Iraq has met all but three of 18 original benchmarks set by Congress last year to measure security, political and economic progress.” Even more heartening has been progress that’s not measured by the benchmarks. More than 90,000 Iraqis, many of them Sunnis who once fought against the government, have signed up as Sons of Iraq to fight against the terrorists. Nor do they measure Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki’s new-found willingness to crack down on Shiite extremists in Basra and Sadr City?actions that have done much to dispel suspicions of sectarianism.

The success of the surge has not changed Senator Obama’s determination to pull out all of our combat troops. All that has changed is his rationale. In a New York Times op-ed and a speech this week, he offered his “plan for Iraq” in advance of his first “fact finding” trip to that country in more than three years. It consisted of the same old proposal to pull all of our troops out within 16 months. In 2007 he wanted to withdraw because he thought the war was lost. If we had taken his advice, it would have been. Now he wants to withdraw because he thinks Iraqis no longer need our assistance.

To make this point, he mangles the evidence. He makes it sound as if Prime Minister Maliki has endorsed the Obama timetable, when all he has said is that he would like a plan for the eventual withdrawal of U.S. troops at some unspecified point in the future.

Senator Obama is also misleading on the Iraqi military’s readiness. The Iraqi Army will be equipped and trained by the middle of next year, but this does not, as Senator Obama suggests, mean that they will then be ready to secure their country without a good deal of help. The Iraqi Air Force, for one, still lags behind, and no modern army can operate without air cover. The Iraqis are also still learning how to conduct planning, logistics, command and control, communications, and other complicated functions needed to support frontline troops.

No one favors a permanent U.S. presence, as Senator Obama charges. A partial withdrawal has already occurred with the departure of five “surge” brigades, and more withdrawals can take place as the security situation improves. As we draw down in Iraq, we can beef up our presence on other battlefields, such as Afghanistan, without fear of leaving a failed state behind. I have said that I expect to welcome home most of our troops from Iraq by the end of my first term in office, in 2013.

But I have also said that any draw-downs must be based on a realistic assessment of conditions on the ground, not on an artificial timetable crafted for domestic political reasons. This is the crux of my disagreement with Senator Obama.

Senator Obama has said that he would consult our commanders on the ground and Iraqi leaders, but he did no such thing before releasing his “plan for Iraq.” Perhaps that’s because he doesn’t want to hear what they have to say. During the course of eight visits to Iraq, I have heard many times from our troops what Major General Jeffrey Hammond, commander of coalition forces in Baghdad, recently said: that leaving based on a timetable would be “very dangerous.”

The danger is that extremists supported by Al Qaeda and Iran could stage a comeback, as they have in the past when we’ve had too few troops in Iraq. Senator Obama seems to have learned nothing from recent history. I find it ironic that he is emulating the worst mistake of the Bush administration by waving the “Mission Accomplished” banner prematurely.

I am also dismayed that he never talks about winning the war?only of ending it. But if we don’t win the war, our enemies will. A triumph for the terrorists would be a disaster for us. That is something I will not allow to happen as president. Instead I will continue implementing a proven counterinsurgency strategy not only in Iraq but also in Afghanistan with the goal of creating stable, secure, self-sustaining democratic allies.

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Written by DMN

July 22, 2008 at 7:46 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , ,

10 Responses

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  1. I really don’t have anything to add… You’re spot on.

    There is one irony – the New York Times just helped energize the Republican base.

    – T. Ohhe

    T. Ohhe

    July 22, 2008 at 12:45 pm

  2. The conservatives began their long march through the institutions about a decade ago, mirroring what the liberals did in the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s to take control of the primary shapers of the American mind – media, schools, and courts. Our long march is beginning to bear visible fruit. This rulling, Ave Maria and George Mason colleges/buisness schools/law schools, the media’s still a mess though. I predict that the media will be the last bastion of liberal thoughtlessness.

    It will take a long time, but each of us does our little piece. We aren’t all destined to be corporate rock stars – someone has to fight the legal battles, raise good kids, teach history, and coach Little League. All of life fits together, without all the pieces society is not whole. I suspect that we will reap vast benefits from this War on Terror in a decade, when all the 18 to 22 year olds who are on the ground have families of their own and influence in their communities. Men and women who have the moral compass to know a false idea when they hear it, the courage to call it a bad idea, and the strength to see the fight through.

    – T. Ohhe

    T. Ohhe

    July 22, 2008 at 2:30 pm

  3. For you right-wing bloggers, it should be obvious by now that the liberal media outlets are more likely to execute controversial decisions like rejecting McCain’s Op-ed. The News Corp does its best to counterbalance the “rock star” liberal material, but it is hardly a respectable media network.

    Do not fret over such futile matters my opposing conservative thumpers. The majority of Americans do not vote based on issues, but simply, who they like as a person. The issues are merely used to support the personal feelings about a candidate. If this statement (from studies) did not have any element of truth to it, a Washington Post reader would dedicate an equal amount of attention scanning the Washington Times. It is also important to note that voters typically pass down voting traits like genes. So, we can conclude that the media, whether liberal or conservative, has little affect on the majority of the public or its viewers today because opinions were already hardening like concrete that was poured yesterday. You could say that the media outlets are venues for overpaid political cheerleaders. What are you in the eyes of the public?

    Ianthekorean

    July 22, 2008 at 6:55 pm

  4. Ian – In some ways I agree. Look at the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. On most major news organizations, it was independently found that 75 percent of all news reported on the liberal candidate was “positive”, while only something like 25 percent was positive for Bush. Yet, somehow, he still won the election.

    From this example, I can conclude that the media doesn’t have the end say in who is elected, which supports your conclusion.

    However, if you take that thought a step further, you’ll find that there are still extremely dangerous repercussions from a biased and agenda driven media.

    If the media had been unbiased, and had not jumped on the bandwagon of the liberal candidate (as always), would Bush have won by a similar amount that he had been discriminated against by? 75-25, instead of 51-49? The fact that media discrimination made the election essentially a coin toss makes all your arguments about it being perfectly fine to have a biased media groundless.

    Can you honestly say that the media’s fawning over Obama doesn’t alter his image, as you put it, “in the eyes of the public”? Furthermore, I know several people (yes this is only anecdotal evidence, but it’s still convincing to me), who are now voting for him who have always been more conservative then me. It’s because they are caught up in the hype that the media has given him. I’ll give you that the far right will never vote for Obama (the concrete hardened yesterday), but the swing votes who win elections (the undecided moderates) are the ones who will be swayed by this biased and vile media.

    openfire06

    July 23, 2008 at 12:43 am

  5. The NY Times backfired. They gave more publicity to McCain than if they had simply published the oped.

    It is amazing how much media coverage Obama gets. You would not even know there was a candidate running against him.

    topofthethread

    July 23, 2008 at 2:33 am

  6. Just saw this- interesting! I’m not surprised that the NYT didn’t publish it, though: I read them for entertainment, not necessarily for news. Grossly liberal paper.

    Did the Washington Post publish it? I know that paper tends to be liberal too, but I would think that it wouldn’t hesistate to publish an article from a Senator and Presidential Candidate.

    Excellent point about how often McCain has visited the troops compared to Obama’s recent magical rainbow tour- it amazed me that people are still nodding in sheep-like agreement at his 16-month withdrawal plan.

    Melissa

    July 23, 2008 at 9:13 pm

  7. “Obama’s recent magical rainbow tour”

    Classic! I love it, hehe.

    openfire06

    July 24, 2008 at 7:32 am

  8. The former ensign is as predictable as a customer who farts after eating at Dominics. Bill was dressed like a part-time hotel concierge this morning, but I must admit that he turned me on. The former ensign’s delightful bragging about how he crushed me on this debate was so cutes – I imagined him as a baby penguin wobbling in joy as an attempt to mock a doberman pinscher. Obviously, he was unaware that I could have taken the CAC (common access card or an unsuspecting ninja star) to end his miserable short life with a single flick of my wrist.

    Bill, you’ve contradicted yourself and strengthened my argument. The massive liberal media support for Al Gore and John Kerry in the past did not result in the Democrat’s favor (you wrote this). And what is this fear that you have against an imbalanced media? I believe Bush won both times primarily due to the brilliant execution by his campaign staff. Of course, I agree with you that the media can have a certain level of influence on the voters, possibly in the swing states, but I believe that it was more beneficial to speak in Español to the Latino voters like Bush did. If we didn’t have some idiots, who are easily swayed by the “evil” media or something else, how could you and I capitalize on their stupidity?

    Here’s a question about swing states: Do candidates focus too much on the swing states? It might be better to focus on the overall strategy of the campaign. Take for example like when coaches admit that we didn’t lose the game because we failed to convert the field goal at the last play of the game, we could have won if we had played a better on every play. I think this example fits perfectly for all the loser presidential candidates like Al Gore who complained about Florida.

    On an important note, have a good weekend.

    Ianthekorean

    July 24, 2008 at 3:43 pm

  9. Oh Ian… I’m not even sure where to start. First of all, I didn’t contradict myself. I said that “the media doesn’t have the end say” in the election, then proceeded how the media having the powerful ability to INFLUENCE elections is dangerous.

    Bush won because people voted for him, plain and simple. Yes, Karl Rove is a twisted God, but the end story is that the country isn’t as liberal as the media would have us believe (since all the media coverage is liberal based, it would follow that it’s because that’s how the public sways). Apparently (at least back in 2000 and 2004), that really isn’t the case.

    As for swing states – only if the candidate doesn’t win the states he thought he had in the bag should he be faulted for not playing the whole game. McCain is going to win the South. Obama is going to win New England. But what about FL? What about Ohio? It’s like there are a finite amount of free election points, and the game is tied. Who can get the most points from the remaining undecided states? Hence, the priority is put there.

    Yes I edited your post.

    And you wish you could rock the suit like me. Everyone else complimented me, but what does my one Korean friend do? Jealousy doesn’t look good on you, my friend.

    openfire06

    July 24, 2008 at 5:04 pm

  10. Bill, it’s cool to be able to argue with you on one of the possibly the riskiest argument venture (politics & religion) that people can take. My apologies for the crude comments that you had to edit. I won’t take an offense to your editing this time, since my last comment was fairly irrelevant to our discussion (I thought it was funny).

    Your statement about the dangers of the media and its potential influence over the public has merit. You may also want to consider having an open society is far less dangerous than the politicians implementing a state controlled media. As far as the influence factor on the voters go, we have to let people choose how they obtain their information – It is the essence of our wonderful nation. And you are right that our country is far more conservative than the blaring of the liberal media that might suggest otherwise. My short tour in the military has taken me across the globe to more places than I had imagined, and my final thought from those travels have led me to solidify my faith in our nation. May the best candidate win in November.

    By the way, where was your hotel concierge hat this morning?

    ITK

    July 24, 2008 at 11:55 pm


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