Thursday, April 7, 2011

Terrorism in Iraq

Strategy Page gives us an update on the terrorist situation in Iraq:
While the terrorist violence is still down 90 percent from its 2007 peaks, there has not been much additional reduction. Each month, 200-300 people die from terrorist activity. Most of this mayhem is from Sunni Arab nationalists (both secular and religious), who are determined to return Sunni Arabs to power, or die trying. So the dying will continue until these fanatics are all dead. This could take years.

It's mainly a generational thing. The few older terrorists left have access to enough money, and younger sons and nephews (who tend to be uneducated and unemployed) that they can get bombs made and placed. Suicide bombers are harder to come by, which is the main reason there are fewer attacks. There is also less and less cash for this stuff. Corrupt terrorist leaders stole a lot of that money (part of the billions Saddam and his cronies stole from Iraq's oil revenue over the years) and there's simply been less and less of it each year.

What there has been more and more of each year are trials, convictions and executions of senior terrorist leaders. There are also more incidents of terrorist leaders being found, refusing to surrender, and dying in the ensuing gun battle. All this sends a message, that this is the end. According to police interrogations, this had been bad for terrorist morale.
All of which means, I guess, that when Arab Muslims no longer have Americans and Israelis to kill they'll fall to killing each other. It's a way of life, so to speak.

What Will His Message Be?

Mr. Obama's announcement the other day that he will seek re-election in 2012 induces a number of perplexities.

For example, I don't know whether he'll be re-elected in 2012, but if the GOP can't find a compelling candidate to run against him he probably will be, given that the media will campaign for him. Even so, I can't imagine what accomplishments he will be able to boast of on the campaign trail, nor what his message will be during the coming campaign.

His foreign policy has been either an extension of the Bush policies (Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantanamo) or, when he has struck out on his own, he has made a complete mess of things. He bumbled and fumbled the Hondurans' decision to legally unseat their far-left president Manuel Zelaya who sought to arrogate to himself dictatorial powers. He has alienated our allies in Britain, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. He launched a feckless war against Libya, killed and maimed a couple of hundred Libyans, and then quit, leaving Col. Qaddafi in place to wreak further mischief on his people and the world.

The President's economic policies have put us on a curve that'll ruin the nation within the next two decades. Unemployment hovers at around 9%, despite his promise that it wouldn't go above 8%, and to subsidize his massive spending he has borrowed so heavily from China that we dare not criticize them for their atrocious human rights record lest they demand that we cash in their bonds. In order to service the debt we've had to print more money which is reducing the value of the dollar and spurring inflation.

To make it all worse, the President has been largely absent from the debate on the major economic issues confronting the nation and has left a real leadership vacuum in Washington.

His most touted accomplishment, Health Care Reform, has already been ruled unconstitutional, is widely believed to be completely unaffordable, and will probably be defunded if Republicans regain the Senate in 2012.

We are approaching $4.00 per gallon for gas, largely because inflation is forcing oil producers to raise the price of crude to keep pace with our diminishing dollar and also because the Obama administration refuses to allow drilling in many of our own oil reserves. If gas prices continue to go up, as Mr. Obama has assured us they will, inflation will accelerate, and unemployment will grow even more severe.

Speaking of oil, his handling of the BP oil spill, once he decided to involve himself in it, gave the impression of ineptitude, as did his handling of the Louis Gates incident in Massachusetts, the New York Mosque incident, and the attempt to try Kalid Sheik Muhammed in New York City.

Speaking of KSM, despite Mr. Obama's campaign vow to shut down Guantanamo, it is still operating and will continue to operate until long after Mr. Obama is gone.

The President appointed a man to be Attorney General who gives every indication of being a racist. Eric Holder is unwilling to prosecute minorities for crimes for which whites would be relentlessly pursued by the Justice Department. He also appointed a man to be Secretary of the Treasury who was found to be in default of paying his taxes.

Despite having been awarded prizes for "openness in government" his tenure has been highly secretive, and despite being awarded a Nobel Peace Prize he has involved us in armed conflict in at least four different countries (Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Libya).

He refuses to clear up the easily settled matter of his eligibility for the presidency by allowing Hawaii to release his birth certificate. Indeed, he spent several million dollars in legal fees to prevent them from having to do so, thus allowing doubt to fester throughout the country that he's a legal occupant of the office he holds.

Through it all, he has spent millions of taxpayers' dollars jetting his family around the world and has spent more time golfing than any president in history.

The message of Hope and Change has become the punch line to a multitude of jokes, and the idea of winning the future is absurd given that our current trajectory will yield a national debt exceeding 800% of GDP within twenty five years.

This is not a record that makes one confident of the wisdom of casting one's vote for the man, so what reason can Mr. Obama give the American people to vote for him in 2012? It'll be interesting to see what he comes up with.