Don’t ever complain to me about the money spent on Iraq, again

September 1, 2010

For years -years!- under George W. Bush, the Democrats and their Leftist allies cried rivers of crocodile tears over the money being spent to first liberate, then stabilize that land. They claimed so often and so loudly to be worried about the debts incurred and the deficits run, that they convinced the electorate that they would actually be better stewards of the public’s money, and partly for that were given control of Congress in 2006.

Well, have a look at this:

In less than two years, the Democrats have made spending on the war in Iraq look like pocket change:

As President Obama prepares to tie a bow on U.S. combat operations in Iraq, Congressional Budget Office numbers show that the total cost of the eight-year war was less than the stimulus bill passed by the Democratic-led Congress in 2009.

According to CBO numbers in its Budget and Economic Outlook published this month, the cost of Operation Iraqi Freedom was $709 billion for military and related activities, including training of Iraqi forces and diplomatic operations.

The projected cost of the stimulus, which passed in February 2009, and is expected to have a shelf life of two years, was $862 billion.

The U.S. deficit for fiscal year 2010 is expected to be $1.3 trillion, according to CBO. That compares to a 2007 deficit of $160.7 billion and a 2008 deficit of $458.6 billion, according to data provided by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.

In 2007 and 2008, the deficit as a percentage of gross domestic product was 1.2 percent and 3.2 percent, respectively.

That’s $709 billion spread over seven years, compared to $862 billion in one-third the time.

In return for our money*, in Iraq we overthrew a brutal, murderous dictator and helped establish what has a good chance to become the first stable Arab democracy ever in the heart of the Middle East, a nation that could, with luck, patience, and skill, become a strong ally against terrorism and the plans of the religious fascists in Tehran. We also crushed al Qaeda in Iraq, forcing it to waste lives and resources there, and exposing its brutality for all the Arab world to see.

In return for the stimulus package, we got… unemployment higher than promised and that may turn structural, a feeble economic “recovery” that threatens to go into another recession, mind-boggling deficits and debt to foreign powers, and, by admission from the President’s own economic adviser, a failure.

You tell me which money was better spent.

And I don’t ever again want to hear a (Social) Democrat complain about the costs of “Bush’s war,” or about fiscal responsibility in general.

*(No, I am not discounting or monetizing the lives lost in Iraq. Any casualties in war are tragedies, however necessary. But this discussion is strictly about the money spent and the Democrats’ rank hypocrisy when they posed as champions of fiscal responsibility.)

via Fausta.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Did DHS hang ABC’s Brian Ross out to dry?

September 1, 2010

Following up on this story, Annie Jacobsen wonders just what is going on with the tale of the two perhaps-terrorists arrested in Amsterdam, and why ABC’s Brian Ross was made to look like a fool:

Sometime on Monday afternoon, a “law enforcement official” (which is now how DHS asks press to refer to them) gave ABC’s Brain Ross a breaking news story with an attention-grabbing quote. The two men taken off the Chicago-to-Amsterdam United Airlines flight had been charged by Dutch police with “preparation of a terrorist attack.”

As far as the DHS national security machine is concerned, it doesn’t get any more serious than that. And that quote is certainly not something a veteran newsman like Brain Ross is going to get wrong.

FBI agents were sent to Detroit to search al Soofi’s apartment. One neighbor told reporters that the front door of an apartment al Soofi once lived in appeared to have been kicked down.

All throughout the following morning, DHS and TSA officials at headquarters refused to answer questions on the record. I spoke to three TSA agents and two DHS agents, none of whom would provide me with any on-record information other than a previously released official statement describing the investigation as “ongoing.”

Suddenly, around 11:00 a.m. PST, the Department of Homeland Security provided a New York Times reporter with utterly contradictory news.

This reporter then was interviewed on National Public Radio, providing the world with an exclusive, totally different version of events. ABC’s Brian Ross had rushed to judgment, the Times reporter said, explaining that news is a competitive business and insinuating that the desire to make money had gotten in the way of good judgment (nevermind what the unnamed DHS official originally said). According to the Times, what had happened was a just a mistake, a mix-up, a confusion of sorts. It was United Airlines who had changed the mens’ itineraries in the first place — after they missed their flight to Yemen via Washington, D.C. It was United Airlines who instead re-booked the two men to Amsterdam. It was all one big misunderstanding.

Wait a minute.

The Times reporter appears to have forgotten to ask his unnamed law enforcement official, aka DHS, the most important question of all: is that really how it works over at the Department of Homeland Security these days? They make good old-fashioned mistakes, and then hang ABC’s Brian Ross out to dry?

Jacobsen then goes on to list several reasons why DHS’ story is either implausible, or it reveals gross incompetence. To name one, are we really to believe that, if the second story is correct and United caused the mix up itself, that DHS didn’t think to contact United first to find out if there was a real problem, before issuing an intercontinental alert? It’s not as if baggage errors are something new. Does the FBI always kick down doors in lost-luggage cases? (Mind you, I’ve sometimes felt like doing that myself while stuck in a baggage-claim area…)

Regardless, a good reporter was left with substantial egg on his face by a DHS pushing two different stories, and it makes one wonder even more just what was going on with the two travelers and their suspicious luggage.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


About Obama’s speech on Iraq

September 1, 2010

I didn’t watch, but I read it. There isn’t much to say about this singularly unimpressive speech, but here are a few observations.

  • A lack of grace and courtesy: Sure, he mentioned Bush, but gave him no credit for the strategy change -the “surge”- that enabled Obama to take credit for leaving a relatively stable Iraq on schedule. No admission that he, Barack Obama, was wrong in his opposition to the surge. And once again he treats our volunteer citizen-soldiers primarily as victims, while nearly ignoring their successes. Our President has no class.
  • Perfunctory: When you look at the speech, it’s clear Iraq and the accomplishments of our military and diplomats merely were the framework for his real goal – another sell-job for his economic program.
  • Boring. Come on, we were sold a “golden orator” in 2007-08, the greatest speaker since Pericles delivered his funeral oration. This flat thing is the best he can do for an address from the Oval Office?

LINKS: For more thorough analysis, have a look at Hot Air; Roger Kimball wonders why they didn’t call for a rewrite; Jim Hanson says Obama has learned nothing about being Commander in Chief; Moe Lane demands Obama be held accountable; Power Line called it limp and boring. Sarah Palin offered some advice Obama would have been wise to take.


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