Filed under: Economy, Foreign Policy, National Security, Politics
(Source: ABC News)
ABC’S “THIS WEEK WITH GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS”
STEPHANOPOULOS: Major milestone this week here in Iraq with the American troops pulling out of the cities. And I wonder if you can put the broader American mission in context. Are we in the process of securing victory or cutting our losses to come home?
BIDEN: Securing victory. Look, the president and I laid out a plan in the campaign which was twofold. One, withdraw our troops from Iraq in a rational timetable consistent with what the Iraqis want. And the same time, leave behind a stable and secure country.
And one of the reasons I’m here, George, is to push the last end of that, which is the need for political settlement on some important issues between Arabs and Kurds and among the confessional groups. And I think we’re well on our way.
Does anyone else think it’s troubling that more than half of Americans think that an extra-judicial, unconstitutional prison camp run by the U.S. government is O.K.?
Jeffrey Dahmer killed man-boys, butchered them, stored their choice cuts in the freezer and made stew with the rest. We put that sick fuck in a U.S. prison. The analysis of this should say, ” 75% of Americans aren’t even thinking this one through …”
(Source: Office of Sen. John McCain)
(Editor’s Note: This speech was given on the floor of the U.S. Senate June 3, 2009)
Mr. President, today we celebrate the unveiling in the Capitol of a statue of Ronald Reagan, one of our country’s great presidents and a personal hero to me throughout my political life. While there are many aspects of President Reagan’s legacy we might reflect on today, I’d like to take the opportunity to discuss just one of them: his dream of a world free of nuclear weapons.
Speaking before the Japanese Diet on November 11, 1983, President Ronald Reagan said, “The only value in possessing nuclear weapons is to make sure they can’t be used ever. I know I speak for people everywhere when I say our dream is to see the day when nuclear weapons will be banished from the face of the Earth.” That is my dream, too, and it is one shared by many of our most distinguished national security practitioners. In 2007, former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Shultz, along with former Secretary of Defense William Perry and Senator Sam Nunn, authored an article titled “A World Free of Nuclear Weapons,” in which they laid out their vision of the globe free of the most dangerous weapons ever known.
Filed under: Barack Obama, Foreign Policy, National Security, Politics
(Source: White House Press Office) 4:02 P.M. EDT
Q Mr. President, welcome to the program.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you so much.
Q Mr. President, thank you for joining us — that we could join you, in this case. If you want to improve relations with the Muslim world, do you have to change or alter in some way the strong U.S. support for Israel?
THE PRESIDENT: No, I don’t think that we have to change strong U.S. support for Israel. I think that we do have to retain a constant belief in the possibilities of negotiations that will lead to peace, and that that’s going to require, from my view, a two-state solution; that it’s going to require that each side — Israelis and Palestinians — meet their obligations.
I’ve said very clearly to the Israelis both privately and publicly that a freeze on settlements including natural growth is part of those obligations. I’ve said to the Palestinians that their continued progress on security and ending the incitement that I think understandably makes Israelis so concerned — that that has to be — those obligations have to be met.
(Source: White House Press Office)
11:08 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Everybody, please be seated. We meet today at a transformational moment — a moment in history when our interconnected world presents us, at once, with great promise but also great peril.
Now, over the past four months my administration has taken decisive steps to seize the promise and confront these perils. We’re working to recover from a global recession while laying a new foundation for lasting prosperity. We’re strengthening our armed forces as they fight two wars, at the same time we’re renewing American leadership to confront unconventional challenges, from nuclear proliferation to terrorism, from climate change to pandemic disease. And we’re bringing to government — and to this White House — unprecedented transparency and accountability and new ways for Americans to participate in their democracy.
In February President Barack Obama directed the National Security Council and the Dept. of Homeland security to assess the nation’s stance in cyberspace with special attention to cybersecurity. The NSC and DHS have recommended:
- The establishment of a national cybersecurity official and office which would review laws and practices and provide leadership tying national, state and local efforts more closely together.
- National focus on a technologically advanced workforce – similar to the nation’s efforts at greater math and science proficiency during the 1960s.
- Calls for expanding the federal government’s own IT workforce and capabilities especially with regard to security and implementing best practices across the government enterprise.
- Expanded partnering among government, private sector and U.S. allies.
- Greater federal incident response focus and better communication and integration of incident response efforts across the federal enterprise.
- Harness the benefits of innovation to address cybersecurity concerns, including work with the private sector to define performance and security objectives for future infrastructure, linking research and development to infrastructure development and expanding coordination of government, industry, and academic research efforts.
- More focus on supply chain and TCOM security.
A person who calls themself Ishmael Jones and is a 25-year veteran of the CIA’s writes in a blog at National Review Online that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has used the interrogation issue as a political tool for years, but says that the Agency’s Hill briefings are ambiguous and essentially unorganized:
In Mrs. Pelosi’s defense, CIA managers do not give fist-pounding briefings. They mumble, they dissemble, and there’s a lot of “on the one hand . . .” Its enormous numbers of employees have led to briefings being handled by groups, with vague chains of command, so that it may have been difficult to pin down what was said, when it was said, and who was in charge.
In recent years, CIA bureaucracy has appeared to favor the Left, while in the early decades of its existence it was perceived as a group of right-wingers dedicated to toppling communist dictators. In reality the CIA is loyal only to itself. As long as Mrs. Pelosi supported its bureaucratic lifestyle, it supported her, but when she attacked it, it fought back. The CIA may not be able to conduct efficient intelligence operations, but it knows how to survive.
It’s still the humble opinion of this blog that it sounds like Pelosi knew about waterboarding and other “harsh interrogation techniques” at a time when she could have sounded off and perhaps hastened their demise. Any investigation or truth commission into the executive excesses of the Bush Administration on these counts should include looking at the so-called watchdogs in Congress who didn’t have the stones to speak up.
Read the 9/11 Commission report or any of a dozen or more reputable books about the intelligence community before and even after the Twin Towers went down and there is ample evidence that the CIA, FBI and NSA dropped several balls that may have prevented 9/11. Congress’ utility as overseer is only as good as the information it collects. It’s incumbent upon Congress to organize its dealings with the CIA or any other federal agency in ways that get at the truth and do not merely serve as CYA for all involved.
North Korea fired two additional short-range missiles Monday in an apparent move to threaten U.S. spy planes monitoring a site where the regime is believed to have conducted its second nuclear test, a South Korean official said.
“The launches took place at around 5:03 p.m.,” the official said, speaking on customary condition of anonymity. North Korea had earlier launched a surface-to-air missile around noon, hours after it said it detonated a nuclear device in an underground bunker.
- Scale of N. Korean Test Unclear – New York Times
- N. Korea conducts ‘successful’ nuclear test – Washington Post
- World leaders condemn North Korea, Urge Action – Reuters
- In Quotes: World Leaders React – BBC
- China “resolutely opposes” N. Korean test – Xinhua
“The Korean Central News Agency released the following report on Monday in connection with one more successful underground nuclear test in the DPRK.
“The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea successfully conducted one more underground nuclear test on May 25 as part of the measures to bolster up its nuclear deterrent for self-defence in every way as requested by its scientists and technicians.
“The current nuclear test was safely conducted on a new higher level in terms of its explosive power and technology of its control and the results of the test helped satisfactorily settle the scientific and technological problems arising in further increasing the power of nuclear weapons and steadily developing nuclear technology.
“The successful nuclear test is greatly inspiring the army and people of the DPRK all out in the 150-day campaign, intensifying the drive for effecting a new revolutionary surge to open the gate to a thriving nation.
“The test will contribute to defending the sovereignty of the country and the nation and socialism and ensuring peace and security on the Korean Peninsula and the region around it with the might of (the military first policy) Songun.”
“Today, North Korea said that it has conducted a nuclear test in violation of international law. It appears to also have attempted a short range missile launch.
These actions, while not a surprise given its statements and actions to date, are a matter of grave concern to all nations.
North Korea’s attempts to develop nuclear weapons, as well as its ballistic missile program, constitute a threat to international peace and security.
By acting in blatant defiance of the United Nations Security Council, North Korea is directly and recklessly challenging the international community.
North Korea’s behavior increases tensions and undermines stability in Northeast Asia. Such provocations will only serve to deepen North Korea’s isolation. It will not find international acceptance unless it abandons its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery.
The danger posed by North Korea’s threatening activities warrants action by the international community. We have been and will continue working with our allies and partners in the Six-Party Talks as well as other members of the U.N. Security Council in the days ahead.”
Zardari – Mr. 10% available anywhere, anytime except in his own country which is in a state of veritable civil war — how much time has he spent away from the levers of power since the Swat campaign began? Guess who’s in charge in Pakistan: Still the Army.
Ahmadinejad – He’s saying, “Look at me Bibi! Here’s my brother who already has nukes … Suck It.”
(Source: NBC’s Meet the Press)
MR. DAVID GREGORY: Our issues today: America’s fight against terrorism, a debate about the past…
PRES. BARACK OBAMA: All too often our government trims facts and evidence to fit ideological predispositions.
Filed under: Barack Obama, Foreign Policy, National Security, Politics
As prepared for delivery
Vice President Cheney Remarks at the American Enterprise Institute Thursday, May 21, 2009
Thank you all very much, and Arthur, thank you for that introduction. It’s good to be back at AEI, where we have many friends. Lynne is one of your longtime scholars, and I’m looking forward to spending more time here myself as a returning trustee. What happened was, they were looking for a new member of the board of trustees, and they asked me to head up the search committee.
I first came to AEI after serving at the Pentagon, and departed only after a very interesting job offer came along. I had no expectation of returning to public life, but my career worked out a little differently. Those eight years as vice president were quite a journey, and during a time of big events and great decisions, I don’t think I missed much.
Being the first vice president who had also served as secretary of defense, naturally my duties tended toward national security. I focused on those challenges day to day, mostly free from the usual political distractions. I had the advantage of being a vice president content with the responsibilities I had, and going about my work with no higher ambition. Today, I’m an even freer man. Your kind invitation brings me here as a private citizen – a career in politics behind me, no elections to win or lose, and no favor to seek.
Full Text: President Barack Obama on National Security, Torture, Guantanamo – National Archives – May 21
These are extraordinary times for our country. We are confronting an historic economic crisis. We are fighting two wars. We face a range of challenges that will define the way that Americans will live in the 21st century. There is no shortage of work to be done, or responsibilities to bear.
And we have begun to make progress. Just this week, we have taken steps to protect American consumers and homeowners, and to reform our system of government contracting so that we better protect our people while spending our money more wisely. The engines of our economy are slowly beginning to turn, and we are working toward historic reform of health care and energy. I welcome the hard work that has been done by the Congress on these and other issues.
In the midst of all these challenges, however, my single most important responsibility as President is to keep the American people safe. That is the first thing that I think about when I wake up in the morning. It is the last thing that I think about when I go to sleep at night.
The Politico is reporting that on Thursday, a day former Veep Dick Cheney is scheduled to give a speech titled, “Keeping America Safe,” President Barack Obama will give a major speech outlining the “political and intellectual” framework behind his anti-terror stance and all things related to detainee treatment.
Mr. Cheney, meet Mr. Obama – you might want to talk to Mr. McCain about bringin’ the scary hype against the man who seems to have re-invented hope.
I can see it now. Cheney, talking like Burgess Meredith’s Penguin character from the old Batman TV series, spitting all the worn out Bush era lines about fighting “them” over there so we don’t have to fight “them” here. Through teeth clenched around a cigarette holder he might even throw in a few nasal, conspiratorial giggles as he derides Democrats as soft.
On the other side of the split screen is the man who is steady, unafraid. Barack Obama will use his moment to teach, to inspire. Cheney will undoubtedly use his moment, in front of a partisan crowd at the American Enterprise Institute to stoke the flames that divide us.
America will once again be reminded what a great choice she made in November.
I’ll be the first to say that as an Obama voter, I’m not down with the whole cult of personality thing. I’ve criticized the Administration’s policies of feeding corporate America while middle America is hungry for work. I criticized recently the flip-flop on the release of detainee abuse photos.
But of one thing I’m fairly certain. When President Obama speaks on big issues, he speaks from a carefully considered, thoughtful point of view. His values – some may label them “Left” – go into his positions, but I do believe that all sides of the issues are considered. This pragmatism, something entirely missing from U.S. national politics since Bush 41, leads to decisions like that of using military tribunals to adjudicate some of the Guantanamo detainee cases. When you’re pragmatic and you compromise you rankle the extremes. Since most of us inhabit the space more near the center, that’s O.K.
I’m looking forward to this speech from President Obama on Thursday like no other public appearance he’s made since the address to the Joint Session of Congress. I’ll take in the coverage of Cheney also. I just won’t expect anything of value.