Daily Archives: November 28, 2010

Scowcroft on START: ‘Partisan’ GOP Doesn’t Want To Give Obama ‘A Foreign Policy Victory’

Gen. Brent Scowcroft, the former National Security Advisor to then President George H. W. Bush, is just one of the “old guard” from the “Washington Establishment” speaking out over the current partisan GOP actions toward any legislation brought forth by President Obama…

Think Progress

Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) has been the leading Senate Republican urging the upper chamber of Congress to ratify the New START arms control treaty with Russia. However, the Republican obstructionism that has become so routine throughout the past two years of President Obama’s tenure is standing in the way. Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) has been the face of the GOP hamstringing and despite the fact that this non-controversial treaty — one that closely mirrors the one President Reagan signed with the Soviet Union — has been thoroughly debated in the Senate for nearly a year, Kyl told the New York Times, “If they try to jam us [in the lame-duck session], if they try to bring this up the week before Christmas, it’ll be defeated.”

Lugar has been reluctant to criticize his colleagues’ obstruction. When asked last week if they were just playing politics, Lugar said, “I am not ascribing motivations to anybody.” But other Republicans don’t seem to be holding back. Brent Scowcroft served as national security adviser to two Republican presidents and has been pleading with Congress to ratify New START. Profiling Lugar’s awkward position vis-a-vis other Senate Republicans on this issue, Politico reports today that Scrowcroft isn’t being as diplomatic as Lugar on the GOP’s incentive for holding up START:

In an attempt to rally bipartisan support for the treaty, the White House has enlisted the kind of GOP foreign policy wise men that Lugar exemplifies – among them former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and James A. Baker. But they have had no success with members of their own party, and it has left them scratching their heads over the source of the GOP opposition.

“It’s not clear to me what it is,” said Brent Scowcroft, a former national security adviser to President George H.W. Bush who noted that this START treaty is not very different from previous ones negotiated and ratified under Republican presidents. “I’ve got to think that it’s the increasingly partisan nature and the desire for the president not to have a foreign policy victory.”

The GOP opposition to START has become so laughable that even some are invoking Reagan. Indiana state senator Mike Delph, who may challenge Lugar in a primary, criticized Lugar’s support for START, saying last week that Obama and Lugar “need to remember Reagan’s philosophy of Peace through Strength.”

Outside of Scowcroft, the obvious partisanship surrounding the Kyl-led obstruction hasn’t gone unnoticed. The Wonk Room’s Max Bergmann notes that “the nation’s major newspapers, members of the military and even many Republicans have publicly denounced Kyl and Senate Republicans for their START objection.”

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Filed under GOP, GOP Agenda, GOP Obstructionism, GOP Political Attacks

McCain Dismisses Gates’ Letter On DADT, Attacks Obama As ‘Inexperienced’ For Promising Repeal

Once again John McCain moves the goal post to keep his position “alive”…

Think Progress

Several weeks ago, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) refused to accept the findings of the Pentagon’s Working Group review of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy and insisted that the Department of Defense conduct an entirely new study on “the effects on morale and battle effectiveness.” This morning, CNN’s Candy Crowley asked McCain to respond to a letter he received from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates — first obtained and published by the Wonk Room — in which Gates defended the soon-to-be released study and argued that it would provide the military sufficient information into the effect of lifting the ban on gays serving openly. “I do not believe that military policy decisions — on this or any other subject — should be made through a referendum of Servicemembers,” Gates wrote, adding, “The Chairman and I fully support the approach and the efforts of the working group, as do the Service Chiefs.”

But McCain remained undeterred. He agreed that decisions about integration should not be held hostage to the opinions of servicemembers, but then insisted that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell doesn’t pose a problem for gay soldiers or the military. He also reiterated that the Service Chiefs — three of whom publicly endorsed the study last week — are still concerned about repeal:

CROWLEY: Doesn’t [Gates] have a point?

MCCAIN: Well, I think he certainly has a point. I would also certainly say that we should remember where this all started. There was no uprising in the military, there was no problems with Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. [...]

It wasn’t a problem because you didn’t have. It’s called ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ Okay? If you don’t ask somebody and they don’t tell and it’s an all volunteer force. [...] The fact is, this was a political promise made by an inexperienced President or candidate for Presidency of the United States. [...]

The fact is, that this system is working and I believe we need to assess the effect on the morale and battle effectiveness of those people, those young Marines and Army people I met.           

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Filed under John McCain, President Barack Obama

WikiLeaks U.S. Embassy Cables: New Documents Released

This doesn’t look good for the U.S. and its allies… 

Huffington Post

 The New York Times and The Guardian have published a selection of the 250,000 classified State Department documents provided to them by the online website WikiLeaks. The WikiLeaks website appeared to be inaccessible, and WikiLeaks said in its Twitter feed that it was experiencing a denial of service attack. WikiLeaks also provided the documents to Spain’s El Pais, France’s Le Monde, and Germany’s Der Spiegel.

According to The New York Times, the cables reveal how foreign leaders, including Israel’s defense minister Ehud Barak and Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, urged the U.S. to confront Iran over its nuclear program.

“The cables also contain a fresh American intelligence assessment of Iran’s missile program,” The Times reports. “They reveal for the first time that the United States believes that Iran has obtained advanced missiles from North Korea that could let it strike at Western European capitals and Moscow and help it develop more formidable long-range ballistic missiles.”

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Filed under Julian Assange, National Security, Wikileaks

Senators, Liz Cheney want WikiLeaks leakers prosecuted

Raw Story

WikiLeaks hasn’t even released the latest round of US government documents and already politicians and pundits are calling for prosecutions.

The latest release from the WikiLeaks website is expected to include as many as 250,000 secret diplomatic cables.

The Obama administration warned Wednesday that the documents could damage US relations with friends and allies.

“Leaking the material is deplorable,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told Fox News’ Chris Wallace Sunday. “I agree with the Pentagon’s assessment that the people at WikiLeaks could have blood on their hands.”

“I don’t know what the cables may say but it’s just a — we’re at war. I mean the world is getting dangerous by the day and the people who do this are really low on the food chain as far as I’m concerned. If you can prosecute them, let’s try.”

Sen. Clair McCaskill (D-MO) agreed. “Lindsey’s right,” she said. “The people who are leaking these documents need a gut check about their patriotism and I think they’re enjoying the attention they’re getting but, frankly, it’s coming at a very high price in terms of protecting our men and women in uniform.”

“I hope that we can figure out where this is coming from and go after them with the force of law,” McCaskill said.

Also appearing on Fox News Sunday, former State Department official Liz Cheney called for the government to go after the leakers.

“I think, once again, the government of Iceland ought to shut down that [WikiLeaks] website,” Cheney said. “I think they ought to stop allowing the stuff to come out of the website in Iceland. I think that the administration ought to be focused very much on prosecuting those responsible.”

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Filed under Fox News, Liz Cheney, National Security, Uncategorized