The Morning Briefing for January 12, 2009

Obama Begins Undermining War on Terror

Knowing the commander-in-chief might not back up a necessary, rough decision might just cause hesitation leading to loss of American lives.

Barack Obama took the unusual step this weekend to say he would not rule out investigating members of the Bush administration for possible crimes, including war crimes relating to the war on terror. This is confounded by two issues:

  1. Barack Obama’s Attorney General pick, Eric Holder, has already made up his mind that Bush administration officials sanctioned and engaged in torture and other war crimes.
  2. Low level agents inside the CIA are already picking up on signals that the incoming President might not stand behind them should they do something necessary for the security of the United States in private that does not look good in public light. By ditching John Brennan for CIA Chief in favor of Leon Panetta and shutting careerist Michael Hayden out of government simply by being connected to the Bush administration, Obama is already starting to undermine the war on terror and efforts to keep the United States secure.

President Bush should issue blanket pardons to stifle any momentum toward second guessing necessary actions in the war on terror.

Barack Obama is doing nothing but aiding the enemy by allowing out statements that his policy in the War on Terror will be to “uphold high ideals.

Obama’s Fiscal Stimulus Plan is Bovine Excrement

Christine Romer, co-author of the plan, is a very serious and sophisticated economist. Much of her own published research over many years refutes both the assumptions and the findings of the Obama report.

Bottom line: the Obama team is far overestimating the effect of income growth on consumption, far overestimating the effect of stimulus on GDP growth, and far overestimating the impact of GDP growth on job creation. And they’re smart people so they have to know that they’re doing this.

They’re walking way far out onto some very thin ice. This stimulus is going to have very disappointing effects. Republicans would be well advised not to block the plan, which is politically unstoppable, but in no way to support it. It should pass in Congress with no Republican votes.

Ending the War in Gaza

What should happen is that the international community cooperates in the removal of the Hamas regime. It is an illegal government, brought to power by an unprovoked war against the Palestinian Authority (PA) which was the internationally recognized regime in the Gaza Strip. Hamas may have won the elections but it then seized total power, suspended representative government, and destroyed the opposition.

There are at least six major things Israel can obtain realistically:

  1. The practical weakening of Hamas. Granted it will continue to be aggressive in future, its losses will reduce Hamas’s ability to hurt Israeli citizens.
  2. Deterrence, while retaining its longer-term goals, Hamas will be more reluctant to attack Israel lest it produce another such Israeli response.
  3. Border control, a change from the situation in which Hamas can import weapons fairly freely to a stricter order in which humanitarian aid but not arms can come in.
  4. The return of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, seized in a Hamas attack on Israeli soil and held hostage, lacking any contact with international humanitarian groups.
  5. A reduction of Hamas’s standing among Palestinians. Despite macho and religious rhetoric about Hamas’s strength, Gaza Palestinians are more eager for a return of the PA; West Bank citizens, living under more moderate PA rule, realize that extremism is disastrous.
  6. Regional perception of Hamas’s defeat, lowering support for the Iran-Syria alliance and encouraging more moderate Arab forces to resist radical Islamism and Tehran’s power.

About the author

Erick Erickson

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