Vice President Dick Cheney Defines Fallen Soldiers; Volunteers For Death

Cheney the man who cares

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

In a “glowing” statement, perhaps meant to glorify the horrific deaths of the soldiers slain in Iraq, Vice President Dick Cheney offered, “I think it’s a reminder of the extent to which we are blessed with families who’ve sacrificed as they have.”  The man who, in his youth sought five deferments in order to avoid service during the Vietnam War, went on to state, “A lot of men and women sign up because sometimes they will see developments.” Richard B. Cheney helps us to recall the terror Americans felt as they witnessed the Twin Towers fall on September 11, 2001.  He explains, this event and the thought of a terrorist threat “stimulated a lot of folks to volunteer for the military because they wanted to be involved in defending the country.”  “The thing that comes through loud and clear is how much they are committed to the cause, to doing what needs to be done to defend the nation,” Cheney proclaimed.  Yet, citizens cognizant of the reasons for a possible rise in recruitment remember more than a moment that changed the course of life for many young men and women.

Promises made by this Administration were ample.  The pledge to protect and defend was the battle cry in the States.  Those whose parents sacrificed to secure a life in America believed, to serve in the Armed Forces would be an honor.  Jesus Suarez was one of many immigrants who felt a need to fulfill a commitment to his homeland, past and present.

Yo Soy el Army

If you’re an immigrant, at least Uncle Sam wants you

By Deborah Davis

Metro Active

September 19, 2007

JESUS was an easy mark for the recruiter.  He was a boy who fantasized that by joining the powerful, heroic U.S. Marines, he could help his own country fight drug lords.  He gave the recruiter his address and phone number in Mexico, and the recruiter called him twice a week for the next two years until he had talked Jesus into convincing his parents to move to California.

Fernando and Rose Suarez sold their home and their laundry business and immigrated with their children.  Jesus enrolled at a high school known for academic achievement.  But the recruiter wanted him to transfer to a school for problem teenagers, since its requirements for graduation were lower, and Jesus would be able to finish sooner.  He was 17 1/2 when he graduated from that school, still too young to enlist on his own, so his father co-signed the enlistment form, as the military requires for underage recruits.

Three years later, at the age of 20, his body was torn apart in Iraq by an American-made fragmentation grenade during the first week of the invasion.  In the Pentagon’s official Iraq casualty database, his death is number 74.  Now Jesus is in a cemetery, and his parents, who blame each other for his death, are painfully and bitterly divorced.

We might inquire, was Jesus a volunteer or a victim of rabid recruiters?  Are émigrés dedicated to a cause, devoted to a country, or obligated to enlist.  Perhaps, fantasy fashioned Jesus’ faith in a military system gone awry.

In the Iraq war, citizenship is being used as a recruiting tool aimed specifically at young immigrants, who are told that by enlisting they will be able to quickly get citizenship for themselves (sometimes true: it depends on what the Immigration and Customs Enforcement branch of the Department of Homeland Security finds) and their entire families (not true: each family member has to go through a separate application process).  Nevertheless, with the political pressures on Latino families growing daily under this administration, many young Latinos are unable to resist the offer, which immigrants’ rights activists see as blatant exploitation of a vulnerable population.

The number of immigrants who fight or fought for personal freedom is high.  The statistics suggests those who were not born in this country do battle for the United States.  Some are invited to come to the States, as Jesus Suarez was.  Others, with Green Card in hand, realize the rights of citizenship are easily acquired if or when an individual joins the Armed Forces.

About 70,000 foreign-born men and women serve in the U.S. armed forces, or about 5 percent of the total active-duty force, according to the Pentagon.  Of those, nearly 30,000 — or about 43 percent — are not U.S. citizens.

Aware of the toll the war takes on recruitment, many Americans ponder the possibilities.  Might the United States government allow persons in America without papers to join?  If people will not volunteer, bribe them.  Millions in this country and across the borders are victims of need.  

The Bush Administration thought an Army of recruited refugees a fine idea.  Thus, they encouraged Congress to pass an immigration Bill that would provide citizenship for those in need.  The contingency, people without official papers must serve this country in order to receive vital documents.

Immigration bill offers a military path to US dream

By Bryan Bender

Boston Globe Staff

June 16, 2007

Washington — A little-noticed provision in the proposed immigration bill would grant instant legal status and ultimately full citizenship to illegal immigrants if they enlist in the US military, an idea the Pentagon and military analysts say would boost the Pentagon’s flagging efforts to find and recruit qualified soldiers.

The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, or DREAM Act, is part of the stalled package of proposals that many in Congress are seeking to resurrect.  The proposal, applicable to an estimated 750,000 undocumented residents of military age, stipulates that those who arrived in the United States before age 16, graduated from high school, and meet other qualifications could immediately enter the path to citizenship in exchange for at least two years’ service in the armed forces.

Though the overall immigration bill was sidetracked earlier this month amid bitter infighting, the prospect of using military service as one pathway to citizenship appeals both to lawmakers who side with immigration rights advocates and those who want tougher immigration laws and tighter borders.

Military service for undocumented did not disturb those in the House or the Senate.  Other issues were of great concern.  There seems to be agreement; those from abroad could serve this country well.  Immigrants want to come to our shores; so let them travel to America, conditionally.  If a non-native is killed in battle, so be it.  The Administration will say, the fallen foreign-born volunteered.  The rationale is all the Armed Forces are free to join, liberated to die.  The question is, “Are those who sign up volunteers or people paid to perform at the pleasure of the President and Vice President Cheney?”  Immigrants who fight for America may be fatalities of faith.

Children, born and raised in this country, also trust.  They are understandably convinced the cost of living in America is great.  Education is expensive.  Many young lads and lasses are lured by promises of “money for college.”  In an era when the cost of education accounts for countless debts, any assurance can calm the nerves of those anxious to create a better life for themselves.  Consider the plight of the young and poor who know, only a college degree can take them away from a world filled with woe.  This was true during the first Persian Gulf War and remains valid today.  Many military “sign ups” are casualties of the sum charged to attend college.

GI Blues

Military recruiters promise ‘money for college,’ but recent veterans find that tuition benefits fall short

By Elizabeth F. Farell

The Chronicle of Higher Education

May 13, 2005

Cheyne Worley graduated from high school at age 16 in 1985 and spent about a year and a half pumping gas and bagging groceries before deciding it was time to get on with his life.  Signing up for the Army seemed like the best option — not only would he keep his family’s tradition of military service alive (his grandfather, father, and uncle had all served), but a recruiter’s promise of money for college made enlistment a no-brainer. . . .

The promise of easing the financial burden of higher education is a recruiter’s most effective selling point.  According to a 2004 survey conducted by GfK Custom Research, an independent research firm, “money for college” is the leading reason civilians enlist, even as the war in Iraq makes more young people skittish about committing to military service.

The tuition perk offered as part of the Montgomery GI Bill, passed in 1984, has become even more important during the past year, as the military has attempted to reverse declining enlistment numbers by increasing its recruiting staff and its efforts to sign up high-school students.  The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 has also given recruiters more opportunities to reach young people, allowing them access to home phone numbers and addresses of high-school students and the same visiting privileges at secondary schools as college or job recruiters.

And the pitch military representatives make on those campuses sounds good.  In exchange for having $1,200 withheld from their first-year military salaries, active-duty soldiers become eligible after completing their enlistment term (three years, on average) for up to $36,144 toward their education expenses.  (Those who pay in an additional $600 receive $5,400 more toward their education.)

But the benefit covers only about 60 percent of the average cost of college, according to the College Board’s estimates.

If a potential enlistee learns of the promises not kept, there is another appeal to be made.  For those adventurous at heart, the military may seem a free ride to travel.  The opportunity to flee from a life filled with trouble.  For a few, those who volunteer for tour after tour, the trauma evident on the field was not part of their truth initially.  When it is, they conclude it is time to return home.  Yet, when faced with a reality that is far from the fantasy of wedded bliss, or a better job, they retreat to what is familiar.  Please ruminate over the role the military plays in the life of Jake Holland.

Iraq Diary: Why Jake Volunteered for a Third Tour

Signing back up for Iraq was a way to deal with the boredom, and the pain.  Yeah, he had met a woman on Yahoo personals.  And things were starting to look serious.  But Holland needed to go.  “It allowed me to get away from home for a while, kinda wrap my head around sh*t.  I know it sounds funny, but that’s the way it was,” he says.  “I needed to do this.”

The money was nice, too.  “Another factor – I’ m not going to lie to you – as was $50,000 tax-free dollars.  Lump sum.  Here you go.  Have it,” Holland says.  For a former Indiana farm boy, whose favorite meal growing up was “fried squirrel and milk gravy,” that was a serious haul.  “It took care of all my bills inherited from the divorce.  An F-250 pickup, paid for.  And quite a bit of savings.”

Plus, a good chunk of Holland’s first tour had been spent behind a desk, playing dispatcher to bomb disposal teams.  “I’d take a nine-line [form for describing a bomb site], hand it to the guys, who would go get shot at.  That wore on me worse than anything.  Worse than going out the gate,” he says, using military slang for the base’s walls.

But there was action waiting for him, back in Baghdad, with the 754th EOD company.  Snipers took shots at his head.  Bombs went off around his armored vehicle, crushing the windows.  One day, he got rid of eight improvised bombs and three unused explosives.  On another, a soldier’s head pretty much crumbled in front of him.  “They’re blowing stuff up like it’s cool,” he IM’ed me.  The worst was the bomb that went off at a West Baghdad power station: a rigged-up dump truck that disintegrated four Humvees, charred the earth, and threw up a blast that could be seen for ten miles around.

It was “overwhelming” enough to make Holland think about giving Iraq a rest.

However, while not committed to the cause Vice President Cheney cited, Jake Holland seems devoted to finding a deliverance from the “evil” that he experiences is his life back home.  Holland volunteered to fight for freedom; his own.  Jake suffered.  Unlike many of the troops who feel the Administration let them down or deceived them, for Jake, a potential peace in his personal life can be more attractive that the supposed tranquility of the streets of America.  Jake Holland did not feel a sense of harmony when at home.  For him the fight in Iraq was a flight to freedom.  In the Armed Forces, he had friends he felt more loyal to than those in the States.  Another serviceman may speak for more than the few.  

One soldier, speaking under condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, said, “I don’t think that the American public realizes just how many soldiers and service members in general really do have reservations about what is going on over there … “

Tis true.  Those who serve this country have much to say of the realities that threaten their lives.  The truth is, in the minds of many a soldier, the Bush Administration may be considered a greater menace than the combatants in the Middle East.  Poor plans and promises not kept aside, a total disregard for necessary training endangers the troops more so than an improvised explosive device might.  A bomb can only do you in once; the  lack of instruction can destroy a military man or woman daily.

Schreck, a soldier from CT, January 23, 2005: “If there is one thing that has always stood out in my head during my deployment it was when we were told ‘The Army will never put you in a losing situation.’  At this point of my deployment, that statement could not be further from the truth.  Not only were our vehicles in an unserviceable condition, we were also putting the unit whom we were escorting at risk.”

Awbalth, a soldier from CA, October 20, 2004: “The thing we needed most in Iraq wasn’t bullets, body armor, cash, air conditioning, hot chow, or armored vehicles, although we were short on all of these things; the thing we really needed the most was training and preparation.

We had no or very little training on urban combat tactics, raids to detain or kill targeted individuals, collecting, reporting, analyzing, and using human intelligence, developing sources of information, using interpreters, bomb/unexploded ordinance detection and disposal, handling of detainees, questioning detainees, use of non-lethal force, cordon and search operations, and riot control.  This lack of training has caused the deaths of untold numbers of soldiers and Iraqis.”

While some servicemen and women may speak of what they needed publicly, most will not voice their deepest concerns.  Soldiers share stresses with each other, and on occasion with family.  At times, Mom’s and Dad’s are the voice of volunteers who are no longer in awe of the Armed Forces they willingly joined.  Nancy Lessin addresses concerns common among the troops.  She mourns for what her stepson Joe, a Marine, did not realize.  Joe was deployed in 2002.

“Our loved ones took an oath to defend this country and our Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic.  But there is a commitment our government makes to our troops in return: that it will not send our young men and women in uniform into reckless misadventures that put them at risk needlessly.

This is the part of the bargain that has been broken.

Yes, war is hell; but this is something else, and our loved ones and all our troops have been betrayed. We were all betrayed by this administration when it cited a litany of reasons for invading Iraq that shifted like desert sands and seemed to be based upon quicksand . . .

We were betrayed by a lack of planning-active military and their families are now dealing with back-to-back two-year deployments, announced a few weeks ago. And today National Guard and reservists and their families are reeling from the news about their tours of duty being extended. And yes, there is a problem with troops being short on water, short on food, short on supplies and short on equipment. This morning we received an email from a mother whose son is in Iraq. The email read:

“Our soldiers have been killed because there were not enough Kevlar vests to go around. One of my son’s friends was shot in the back in Fallujah and two of his platoon members were killed in an ambush in May because they only had 30 vests for 120 men. No one at his checkpoint had a vest, thus nine people were injured.”

Sad as all this seems, apparently, what the soldiers and their families experience is nothing in comparison to the weight the President of the United States carries, according to Vice President, Dick Cheney.  In the now illustrious interview with Martha Raddatz, Dick Cheney reminded Americans, the truest victim of this fateful war is George W. Bush.  The Commander-In-Chief did not volunteer for the onerous path he has been forced to travel.

“The president carries the biggest burden, obviously,” Cheney said. “He’s the one who has to make the decision to commit young Americans. . . .”

One can only wonder, did George W. Bush act voluntarily or was he too, in truth, a victim of circumstances.  Did George W. Bush expect to fulfill a fantasy, as Jesus Suarez did.  Might the President have presumed war would be the answer to what ailed him? Could the Chief Officer have been bored as Jake Holland was.  What drove the man in the Oval Office to make such a seriously flawed determination.  Was a need satisfied when the President sent troops to their death, or was fate the cause for his charitable engagement?  Pray tell Dick Cheney.  Certainly, your worldview is most definitive.

“Soldiers Speak Out” Trailer

Volunteer Forces and Resources . . .

Hillary Clinton; Executive Experience Explained

Hillary Clinton puts McCain above Obama – Complete

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

Presidential aspirant Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks of her ample experience.  The Senator from New York reminds us in advertisements and advisements that she, the former First Lady is abundantly qualified to serve as President of the world’s superpower, the United States of America.  For decades, Clinton gave to her country and the community.  She would like to continue to work for the people; perhaps, in a more profound manner.  As Hillary Clinton affirmed of herself, “I have crossed the Commander-In-Chief threshold.”  However, some question her qualifications.

We agree; Senator Clinton has already walked within the private quarters of the White House.  She was privileged enough to inhabit the residence. She, and her spouse, were selected by the people, not once, but twice to represent this nation.  In her position as First Lady, the Presidential hopeful gained much wisdom.  As Senator, she expanded her knowledge.

Hillary and husband Bill Clinton are deeply connected.  The pair has been through trying times.  Yet, repeatedly, they triumph.  Nearly a score ago, William Jefferson Clinton coined the term “comeback kid” about him.  From his first Presidential bid to has last, and then again after he left office, the boy from Hope, Arkansas never lost his.  This extraordinary man married a woman who mirrored his amazing ability, Hillary Rodham.  On March 4, 2008, Presidential hopeful, the wondrous Hillary Clinton did as her husband had done well over a decade ago.  She too can now be called the quintessential candidate who will not be kept down.  Despite a mass of primary and caucus wins, Barack Obama, learned as many before him had, the experienced candidate, Hillary Clinton will carry on with greater vigor until she realized substantial victories.  

As near newlyweds, Bill and Hillary governed in Arkansas.  Against all probability, the fresh young couple, from a small Southern state, entered the national scene.  Together, they engaged in many difficult and persistent disputes with the privileged political notables.  Hillary argued against all claims cast against the couple.  She spoke of a vast “Right-Winged Conspiracy.”  Ultimately, the Clintons prevailed and came to occupy the Oval Office.  

They endured when others lost faith.  Bill’s hometown, Hope, provided him with extraordinary will.  Apparently, Hillary had the same ability to dream and create the impossible.  The two are practiced.  They have been beaten down, and just as the Phoenix, they rise from the ashes.  

Many Americans recall when the Governor of Arkansas and his bride first appeared on the national scene.  people recognized Hillary was not and would not be the woman behind the man; the two were as one.  The First Lady of  the Natural State was as articulate, erudite, experienced, and eloquent, just as her Rhodes Scholar husband Bill was and is.  The couple met in college.  Each attended and graduated form Yale Law School.  Each was and is a professional in his or her own right.  In 1991, the thought was elect one and the nation would have two esteemed and eligible individuals working in the White House for “us,” the citizens of the United States.

Thus, Americans were convinced.  The Clinton’s, as they are often called, moved into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  Bill Clinton and Hillary shared a bed.  They exchanged secrets.  The two lawyers understood the complexity of their given roles.  They were familiar with the particulars in each other’s lives.  Couples communicate.  Americans saw evidence of what the Clintons could do.  The deficit was reduced.  A surplus produced.  The people prospered.  Many would say, ‘life was good under the Clinton’s.’

Hence, there is reason to believe as Louis Murray of Barry, Vermont declared, on a cold day in March 2008, as he emerge from the polls.  Mister Murray told a National Public Radio reporter, “She is truthful, truthful.”  We can only wonder of the rest of his statement,  “[T]his Obama, I don’t know.  I don’t know.  I just don’t trust him.  I am not prejudiced or anything.  I just don’t trust him.”  

Perhaps Louis Murray mirrors his mentor.  Hillary Clinton, only days before the March primary vote expressed her reticence.  She was questioned about her faith in Barack Obama, or at least she cast doubt on his.  In a 60 Minutes interview with Steve Kroft, Senator Clinton was asked of a concern expressed by many constituents.  ‘Is Barack Obama a Christian?’

“You don’t believe that Senator Obama’s a Muslim?” Kroft asked Sen. Clinton.

“Of course not. I mean, that, you know, there is no basis for that. I take him on the basis of what he says. And, you know, there isn’t any reason to doubt that,” she replied.

“You said you’d take Senator Obama at his word that he’s not…a Muslim. You don’t believe that he’s…,” Kroft said.

“No. No, there is nothing to base that on. As far as I know,” she said.

“It’s just scurrilous…?” Kroft inquired.

“Look, I have been the target of so many ridiculous rumors, that I have a great deal of sympathy for anybody who gets, you know, smeared with the kind of rumors that go on all the time,” Clinton said.

This terse and tentative dismissive of the rumors that Barack Obama may be Muslim, hence a threat to the Jewish population, or pro-Israel policy, is but one of many stealthy, subliminal actions in an ample arsenal of Clinton agendas.  The experienced campaigner and her cohorts have been up to much mischief.  However, they deny,  or refuse to comment, on claims and confirmations.

The comment seemed like a casual aside. Ann Lewis, a senior adviser to Hillary Clinton, was touting the New York senator’s strong support for Israel during a conference call in January with leaders of major American Jewish organizations. During the call, Lewis energetically contrasted Clinton’s pro-Israel credentials with those of Barack Obama.  To make her point, she said that Obama’s “chief foreign-policy adviser” is Zbigniew Brzezinski, says one participant who would talk about the call only if he were not identified.

Brzezinski-the former national-security adviser to Jimmy Carter-is not Obama’s “chief foreign-policy adviser.”  That is the job of a triumvirate who once worked for Bill Clinton: Anthony Lake, Susan Rice and Greg Craig. But Brzezinski, who tells Newsweek he has advised Obama “only on occasion,” has a reputation that is close to toxic in the American Jewish community.  “When Brzezinski’s name appears on an advisory list, that’s a red flag right away,” says an influential American Jewish leader who did not want to sour relations with the Obama campaign.  Many American Jews mistrust Brzezinski because he endorsed a 2006 article, later a book, called “The Israel Lobby,” which blames many U.S. foreign-policy problems on Washington’s ties to Israel.

Lewis’s aside is not an isolated incident. (She did not respond to a request for comment.)  As the race between Clinton and Obama has sharpened in recent months, other Clinton campaign operatives have sent around negative material about Obama’s relations with Israel, according to e-mails obtained by Newsweek.  In addition to Brzezinski, the e-mails attack Obama advisers such as Rob Malley, a former Clinton negotiator at the 2000 Camp David talks who has since written articles sympathetic to the Palestinian point of view, and they raise questions about Obama’s relationship with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the former pastor at Obama’s Trinity Church in Chicago.  Wright has criticized Israel, and Trumpet, a publication run by his daughter, gave an award for “greatness” to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who once called Judaism a “bloodsucking religion.”  (Obama disagreed with bestowing the award.)

Yet, regardless of Barack Obama’s denouncement, and rejection of talk or actions against Israel, irrespective of his support from and for the Jewish people, the Clinton Camp rages on.  Repeated assaults, similar to those the Clinton’s “experienced” when they first entered the political fray are not being used against the man they consider the enemy, presumed Presidential nominee, Barack Obama.

In an e-mail sent Feb. 4-a day before Super Tuesday-Clinton finance official Annie Totah passed along a critical essay by Ed Lasky, a conservative blogger whose own anti-Obama e-mails have circulated in the U.S. Jewish community. Totah wrote: “Please read the attached important and very disturbing article on Barack Obama.  Please vote wisely in the Primaries.”  (She didn’t respond to a request for comment.)

While no definitive evidence exists, there seems to be a direct correlation.  A region is flooded with electronic mails that claim the devout Christian Barack Obama is Muslim, just before a primary or caucus in that given territory takes place.  Search after search proves the gossip is false.  Barack Obama is not and was not Muslim; nor was he educated in a radical Muslim school known as a “madrassa.” Yet, a fearful public reacts to rumors with venom.  Possibly, probably, an experienced and educated Clinton has read the research.

In an August poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, 45 percent of respondents said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate for any office who is Muslim.

Fueled with more fire, and fiercely familiar with what it takes to command a lead a country, Hillary will do what she feels she must to triumph.  As the former First Lady asserted, for Hillary Clinton, this campaign “is personal.”  Hence, her campaign avowed, they would ‘throw the “kitchen sink” at Barack Obama.  The Obama momentum, 11 straight wins, would be derailed.  The New York Senator would to be regain her title.  After all, she, and her husband, are the Comeback Clinton’s.

The infinitely experienced and esteemed Hillary Clinton is able to evaluate a situation and a person perfectly.  She has done so for thirty-five years.  When Senator Clinton states Barack Obama is not prepared to be Commander-In-Chief, those who trust her as Louis Murray does, look and listen.  Most forget; for years, Senator Clinton prepared for her coronation and cultivated military connections.

Mama Warbucks

Hillary Clinton brings home the dollars for New York’s defense contractors

by Kristen Lombardi

Village Voice

April 26th, 2005 12:00 AM

When someone like Newt Gingrich commends a Democrat’s service on the Senate Armed Services Committee, you know, you’re looking at a serious hawk. That hawk is Hillary Clinton, junior senator from blue-state New York and possible presidential candidate in 2008.

Gingrich, with an eye on his White House bid, told a group of newspaper editors last month that she’d make a formidable opponent.  “Senator Clinton is very competent, very professional, very intelligently moving toward the center, very shrewdly and effectively serving on the Armed Services Committee,” the GOP hard-liner said.  Gringrich should know: He sits with her on a star-studded Pentagon advisory group.

When not fending off terrorists or bucking up the troops in Iraq, Clinton has been equally fierce about defending defense dollars for her home state.

Just ask Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, who got the back-off sign from her at an April 19 budget meeting of a Senate Armed Services subcommittee. Clinton isn’t assigned to this smaller group, but she showed up anyway. And we know what she said, because her aides sent out a press release and video snippet of their Democratic boss fighting the good fight on Capitol Hill.

Lieberman, a fellow committee member, had sought a coveted $1.7 billion contract to build the presidential Marine One helicopter in his home state. The deal was awarded January 28 to Lockheed Martin-in upstate New York. Now Clinton feared he would try to block its funding.

She spoke briefly, telling the subcommittee: “Now that the contract has been awarded, we think it is important we proceed expeditiously.” Cut this money, in other words, and you’re crossing me.

As countless knew long before the March 4, 2008 primaries,, and as Barack Obama now understands more than he hoped to imagine, do not threaten Hillary Rodham Clinton or her desired rise to power.  The wrath is far greater than a woman’s scorn.

Contempt from the Clinton Camp is intended to crush any member of Congress or rival candidate.  The experienced Senator Clinton is skilled in her craft.  She is clever and deftly able to avoid confrontation as she did a week prior to the Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont primary elections, during a Democratic Debate, the honorable former First Lady was asked of her position on the North American Free Trade Agreement.  There was much controversy surrounding her stance.

In 1997, Hillary Rodham Clinton expressed her support for the action.  “The simple fact is, nations with free-market systems do better,” she said in a 1997 speech to the Corporate Council on Africa. “Look around the globe: Those nations, which have lowered trade barriers, are prospering more than those that have not.”

At the 1998 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, she praised corporations for mounting “a very effective business effort in the U.S. on behalf of Nafta.” She added: “It is certainly clear that we have not by any means finished the job that has begun.”

She continued to endorse the accord for quite some time.  Once in the Senate, Clinton voted inconsistently on trade policy.  Hence, the issue was [and is] of great import.  Specifically, in Ohio, where the most recent debate was held, workers struggle to survive.  Jobs once held by American laborers are ‘outsourced.’  Since the North American Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA] was initiated, employment is fragile. Yet, when given the opportunity to discuss what Senator Clinton would do about trade agreements as President of the United States, Clinton deviated from the subject and instead voiced her objection.  She did not speak to how the economy was hurt by NAFTA.  She addressed her own distress.

Before focusing on the topic, she said she found it “curious” . . . that, according to her, at the “last several debates” she seemed to be targeted for the first question.

We can’t recall if she’s right about that.  But we’re pretty sure the matter will have been thoroughly vetted by morning. It also will be interesting to see if Clinton will be seen as standing up for herself or acting a bit petulant.

It all might have been mainly a ruse to work in that reference to the SNL spoof that showed Obama being fawned over by media types.  Here was the entire Clinton remark, when the NAFTA query was kicked her way:

“Well, could I just point out that, in the last several debates, I seem to get the first question all the time.  And I don’t mind.  You know, I’ll be happy to field them, but I do find it curious. And if anybody saw ‘Saturday Night Live,’ you know, maybe we should ask Barack if he’s comfortable and needs another pillow.”

Hillary Clinton, as was obvious through her numerous odious remarks did not care whether her adversary was cozy.  Indeed, she intended to ensure he was not.  Behind the scenes and far off in Canada, the Clinton campaign worked to establish that Barack Obama or one of his advisers might be insincere.  Early on, there was no mention of the mendaciousness within the Clinton Camp.  Hillary and all those who help her focused on what presumed was her manifest destiny.  However, as time marches on, Americans have a truer picture.  Will Louis Murray have reason to pause?

Clinton campaign denies Canadian report on NAFTA comments

(CNN) – Hillary Clinton’s campaign is denying a Canadian report Thursday that suggests her campaign called representatives of that nation’s government to re-assure them that despite campaign rhetoric, they would not seek changes to NAFTA – an allegation they used against Barack Obama’s campaign in the days leading up to Tuesday’s critical primary votes.

“Unlike the Obama campaign, we can and do flatly deny this report and urge the Canadian government to reveal the name of anyone they think they heard from,” Clinton spokesman Phil Singer said in a statement. . . .

The Canadian government has said it is investigating the source of the leak. The Canadian Press reported Thursday that the comment that sparked the original story may have come from Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper’s chief of staff, Ian Brodie – and that his remark had implicated Clinton’s campaign, not Obama’s.

The Thursday story also said CTV’s Washington bureau had initially decided to report on Clinton.  The New York senator was mentioned in the final report, but it focused on Obama’s aide. . .

Earlier this week, the Obama campaign admitted Goolsbee and consulate officials had spoken, but not under the direction of the campaign, and said that a leaked Canadian government memo implying otherwise had mischaracterized the substance of the discussion.

Substance is a shaky matter.  The experienced candidate comprehends this.  Hillary Clinton who has achieved an image of strength understands the weight of her words.  When the Senator from the Empire State chided rival Barack Obama, she set a tone and advanced an agenda that would be the impetus for further insinuations.

Apparently it pays for a presidential candidate to inject “Saturday Night Live” into a serious political dialogue, as Hillary Clinton did during her most recent debate with Barack Obama.

Clinton’s gambit may have struck some of those critiquing the debate as woeful, but SNL opened its latest show with another skit depicting Obama as the media’s darling — and her as its victim.  More to the point, the coda to the sketch was an “Editorial Response” — delivered by the candidate herself.

Hillary Clinton learned her lesson well, when her husband’s affaire de coeur was revealed.  Clinton realized if the public feels her pain, she garners admiration, appreciation, and awe.  The Presidential hopeful was reminded of this recently.  In New Hampshire, tired and distressed, the forlorn former First Lady tearfully spoke of her despair.  The people responded.  In that race as well, Hillary Clinton snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.  

This experienced elected official, knows how to play the game, and even make the rules.  Hillary Clinton rants; she rages.  She is a self-proclaimed “fighter.”  The soon to be coronated Commander-In-Chief, if she has her way chuckles when a coy response is required.  She croons and catches America off guard.  Hillary Clinton cries, and many weep with her.  People relate to the rhetoric of Hillary Rodham Clinton, and why would they not.

Clinton loaded her speeches with a laundry list of policy promises . . . She boasted of the endorsements she has received from retired admirals and generals, including two former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (both of whom, as it happens, served under her husband). “I’ve been very specific in this election,” she said in a serious understatement.

And she’s been equally specific in her blistering critiques of Obama of late. On Monday, after the Associated Press reported that Obama’s senior economic adviser had indeed privately told Canadian consular officials not to take the candidate’s anti-NAFTA rhetoric all that seriously, Clinton lit into both Obama and the media. She said the alleged communication, which the senior adviser claimed had been misinterpreted, shows the Obama campaign has “done the old wink-wink.  Don’t pay any attention.  This is just political rhetoric.”  She also suggested the media would be treating this more seriously if she had done it. “With this story, substitute my name for Senator Obama’s and just ask yourself.

Oooops.  It seems of late we might have to, for as noted earlier in this essay, the tale may be as true if not truer for the Clinton folks than it ever was for the Obama campaign.  The circumstances of this conundrum are yet to fully be realized.  However, the situation does not look good for the Clintons.  Yet, that “truth” does not deter Hillary “Comeback” Clinton.  She continues.

At times, it seemed Clinton was all but accusing Obama of being an empty suit. She warned voters not to be swayed by speeches that left them thinking, “That was beautiful, but what did it mean?”  Defending her provocative television ad suggesting he was not up to the challenge of answering the White House phone at 3 a.m. in a crisis, she told reporters at a news conference Monday in Toledo: “I have a lifetime of experience I will bring to the White House.  

I know Senator McCain [the presumptive Republican nominee] has a lifetime of experience he will bring to the White House. And Senator Obama has a speech he made in 2002″ – a reference to the address in which Obama, before being elected to the Senate, had publicly opposed the Iraq invasion that she and McCain had voted to authorize.

While the clamor increases, few are able to focus on the more quiet and calm candidate, the Presidential hopeful who displays calm in a storm, Barack Obama. On the defensive as he has been forced to be in the first week of March, the candidate remains cool.  The Senator from Illinois does not squeak and therefore, may not receive the oil.  Nor must reporters toil in order to gain access or information from Barack Obama.  While this subtle nuance is rarely discussed, it may be quite significant.  At least it is to the Assistant Managing Editor, of “Newsweek”.

Evan Thomas spoke of his bewilderment on Hardball, with Chris Matthews.  As a group of pundits bandied about the details of the March 4 election results and all the doings that led to the conclusion, a sweeping Clinton win, the conversation turned to talk of who would be the best Commander-In-Chief.  The 3 Ante Meridian red phone call commercial crept into the dialogue.

Evan Thomas, Assistant Managing Editor, “Newsweek”: One thing I don’t get about the ad, the whole idea of 3:00 a.m. is, you want coolness and detachment, right?

She is not cool and detached.  She is really either hot and angry or she’s icy cold and tough.  But I don’t think of her as being cool.  I think of Obama as being the cool, detached guy.  Now, maybe he doesn’t have the experience, but I think, if you peel this onion, there is something about it that just doesn’t make sense to me.

I mean, she doesn’t strike me as the person who is the cool, detached, steady person at the other end of the phone.

Barack Obama however, is steady.  The potential President said of himself in an interview with Time Correspondent, Joe Klein.  “It’s just not my style to go out of my way to offend people or be controversial just for the sake of being controversial.  That’s offensive and counterproductive.  It makes people feel defensive and more resistant to changes.”  Barack Obama does invite inquiry; however, in a mild tone.  Frequently, the less ferrous candidate asks Americans, might we fully examine Hillary Clinton’s experience? Perhaps, we, the people, should.  If we are to truly trust Hillary Clinton as Louis Murray does, it is important that we know why we have faith in this future leader.

The Long Run

The Résumé Factor: Those 2 Terms as First Lady

By Patrick Healy

The New York Times

December 26, 2007

As first lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton jaw-boned the authoritarian president of Uzbekistan to leave his car and shake hands with people. She argued with the Czech prime minister about democracy. She cajoled Roman Catholic and Protestant women to talk to one another in Northern Ireland. She traveled to 79 countries in total, little of it leisure; one meeting with mutilated Rwandan refugees so unsettled her that she threw up afterward.

But during those two terms in the White House, Mrs. Clinton did not hold a security clearance. She did not attend National Security Council meetings. She was not given a copy of the president’s daily intelligence briefing. She did not assert herself on the crises in Somalia, Haiti and Rwanda.

And during one of President Bill Clinton’s major tests on terrorism, whether to bomb Afghanistan and Sudan in 1998, Mrs. Clinton was barely speaking to her husband, let alone advising him, as the Lewinsky scandal sizzled.

Perhaps, pillow talk was not always pleasant in the Clinton household.  Granted we know the two stayed together.  We can assume they worked through the problems that presented themselves in those earlier troubled times.  Bill was there for Hillary when she decided to run for her Senate seat.  The former President is his wife’s chief cheerleader.  Bill, just as Hillary boast of her record and the résumé.

In seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, Mrs. Clinton lays claim to two traits nearly every day: strength and experience.  But as the junior senator from New York, she has few significant legislative accomplishments to her name. She has cast herself, instead, as a first lady like no other: a full partner to her husband in his administration, and, she says, all the stronger and more experienced for her “eight years with a front-row seat on history.” . . .

And late last week, Mr. Obama suggested that more foreign policy experts from the Clinton administration were supporting his candidacy than hers; his campaign released a list naming about 45 of them, and said that others were not ready to go public.  Mrs. Clinton quickly put out a list of 80 who were supporting her, and plans to release another 75 names on Wednesday.

The competitive, confrontation, conduct of Hillary Clinton is consistently clear.  Possibly, her character traits are the qualities she thinks define her as a Commander-In-Chief.  The experience the former First Lady speaks of may entail more than her thirty-five years with Bill.  Certainly, her persona has been with her for a lifetime.  It seems her duties as the First Spouse were negligible.

Mrs. Clinton’s role in her most high-profile assignment as first lady, the failed health care initiative of the early 1990s, has been well documented. Yet, little has been made public about her involvement in foreign policy and national security as first lady. Documents about her work remain classified at the National Archives. Mrs. Clinton has declined to divulge the private advice she gave her husband.

An interview with Mrs. Clinton, conversations with 35 Clinton administration officials and a review of books about her White House years suggest that she was more of a sounding board than a policy maker, who learned through osmosis rather than decision-making, and who grew gradually more comfortable with the use of military power.

Her time in the White House was a period of transition in foreign policy and national security, with the cold war over and the threat of Islamic terrorism still emerging . . .

She did not wrestle directly with many of the other challenges the next president will face, including managing a large-scale deployment – or withdrawal – of troops abroad, an overhaul of the intelligence agencies or the effort to halt the spread of nuclear weapons technology.  Most of her exposure to the military has come since she left the White House through her seat on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

My personal experience may serve to enlighten.  Each morning I awaken and we talk.  He tells me tales.  Barry details his dreams, those he experienced in his sleep and those he aspires to achieve throughout the day.  We reflect on what was the day before.  Barry and I discuss as we did before bed, what occurred in the office.  His suite is not oval is shape.  The walls in his workplace are angular.  

When my significant other, my partner, thought to “stay the course,” an associate advised him that might be best.  Business decisions can be brutal.  As an authority figure within the corporate structure Barry, must be sensitive to his base, the people who support him in his struggle to succeed.  I questioned that truth, or did I comfort Barry, assure him that he must accomplish the mission.  Whatever I said, most definitely, I shared his burden.

I have helped my closest friend and confidant through many a corporate crisis.  I listened and offered opinions.  Yet, his experiences in his work were not mine.  I am capable; yet, I could not do what Barry does daily.  Barry and I are a couple.  We are extremely close, intimate, and united.  However, we are not one.  Who he is, what he thinks, says, does, and feels, is distinctly unique to him.  I have never been his eyes, his ears, and certainly, I do not have his heart.  I may know Barry better than any other human could.  Couples have told us they have never met two people that speak more openly or often than the two of us.

Nonetheless, after all these decades, I could not walk into his executive suite and do his job as though I had done it forever.  Indeed, Barry commands with finesse.  Perchance, I could be as eloquent.  However, I will never be Barry.  Nor was his experience my own.  I stand alone, as me, myself, and I.

Yet, in this election season, I and all other Democratic voters are asked to suspend disbelief and forget Hillary Clinton’s own account.

Mrs. Clinton said in the interview that she was careful not to overstep her bounds on national security, relying instead on informal access.  . . .

She said she did not attend National Security Council meetings, nor did she have a security clearance.

When osmosis, access, right of entry, and contact defines experience, we need not wonder why the State of the Union is dismal.  If a person who we sometimes share a bed with qualifies as our alter-ego, then perhaps we have had many women Presidents.  

Hillary Clinton is exceptional in that her experience encompasses manipulation, exploitation, and ethics a peacemaker who not value.  The depth and breath Clinton alludes to is arguably, illusive.  Her excellent management style leaves a staff, as the Washington Post notes, even in victory, battling itself.  Yet, these qualities have impressed voters such as John Murray.  What does this say of us, a people so ready to attack another country, that before we bombed innocent men, women, and children, we did not verify the “intelligence?”

While not cool, calm, or collected, Hillary Clinton exudes a strength that leads many Americans to believe she has been and will continue to be Commander-In-Chief.  Congratulations Senator, former First Lady, and possibly President Hillary Rodham Clinton.  You have convinced citizens to suspend disbelief and many do.

Sources and Secrets . . .

The GOP has their man

To view the original art, please travel to The GOP has their man

copyright © 2008.  Andrew Wahl.  Off The Wahl Perspective.

I was planning on doing another Democratic primary toon this week, but, with John McCain officially wrapping up his party’s nomination, it seemed like an appropriate time to return fire on the GOP. This is my second published caricature of McCain; it’s better, but still a work in progress.

Check out “I’m John McCain …” above and let me know what you think.

GOP spin sounding tired already

To view the original art, please travel to GOP spin sounding tired already

copyright © 2007.  Andrew Wahl.  Off The Wahl Perspective.

[Posted 02/19/08]

With the Republican nomination all but wrapped up, John McCain used his TV time following the latest primaries to try out attack lines on Barack Obama. Somehow, I don’t think “The GOP’s Best Argument” is going to hold up against Obama’s youth-driven change tsunami. But November is a long way off, and Obama still has work to do in the Democratic primaries before he can worry too much about McCain.

Now I, We, You May Believe It’s Time for a Change ©

I do not believe in war, I never did.  For me, combat is not an option. 

However, I recognize that many trust we can and will fight the “war to end all wars.”  They have faith in our “intelligence.” They depend on our Commander-in-Chief to protect US [the United Sates of America.]

Some felt genuinely threatened as they watched the Twin Towers fall.  Numerous citizens thought a unilateral attack would be the solution.  Our shores would be safe if we fought our “enemy” abroad.  Now . . .

Please, “Call For Change!”

The Facts. The Fiction.  What America once believed . . .
The Great War: 80 years on. BBC News
Fact Sheet: Strengthening Intelligence to Better Protect America. The White House
Eyewitness: The twin towers fall. BBC News.Tuesday, 11 September, 2001
President Delivers “State of the Union” Office of the Press Secretary. January 28, 2003
Pre-War intelligence.   Media Matters
President George W. Bush