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May 20, 2008

Talking is not ‘appeasement’

On Thursday in Israel President Bush described those (read Sen. Obama) who propose talking to Iran about Iraq as delusional. But on the very same day Bush’s own Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, said in The Washington Post that the U.S. should construct a combination of incentives and pressure to engage Iran, and may have missed earlier opportunities to begin a useful dialogue with Tehran: “We need to figure out a way to develop some leverage … and then sit down and talk with them.”

Of course, any reasonable person, even members of Bush’s cabinet such as Gates and probably Condoleezza Rice, understands that engaging Iraq and Syria in discussions could be productive. Talking is not appeasement.

We have tens of thousands of our finest young people coming home physically and mentally maimed from this nonsense. We need to find a way to extricate ourselves in a way that protects our interest. Of the three candidates left, only Sen. Obama seems to proffering sensible ideas to accomplish this.

Talking to Iran and Syria flat makes sense.

Greg Cenac
Weatherby Lake

Comments

Jim

The dishonesty of Kate, Chris40 and Engineer knows no bounds.

CRD

Let's look at the transcript instead of the YouTube clip -- it puts things in better context so we can see that, once again, you guys are bloviating:

First, the Oregon remarks from Sunday:

"Strong countries and strong Presidents talk to their adversaries. That's what Kennedy did with Khrushchev. That's what Reagan did with Gorbachev. That's what Nixon did with Mao. I mean think about it. Iran, Cuba, Venezuela – these countries are tiny compared to the Soviet Union. They don't pose a serious threat to us the way the Soviet Union posed a threat to us. And yet we were willing to talk to the Soviet Union at the time when they were saying we're going to wipe you off the planet. And ultimately that direct engagement led to a series of measures that helped prevent nuclear war, and over time allowed the kind of opening that brought down the Berlin Wall. Now, that has to be the kind of approach that we take.

"You know, Iran, they spend one-one hundredth of what we spend on the military. If Iran ever tried to pose a serious threat to us, they wouldn't stand a chance. And we should use that position of strength that we have to be bold enough to go ahead and listen. That doesn't mean we agree with them on everything. We might not compromise on any issues, but at least we should find out other areas of potential common interest, and we can reduce some of the tensions that has caused us so many problems around the world."

(Sen. Barack Obama, Remarks, Pendelton, OR, 5/19/08)

Did he say Iran isn't a serious threat? Of course not. He merely said that countries like Iran and Cuba aren't as much of a threat to us as was the Soviet Union, and then pointedly noted that we were willing to engage in talks with the Soviets. Let me repost that snippet for you:

"They don't pose a serious threat to us the way the Soviet Union posed a threat to us. And yet we were willing to talk to the Soviet Union at the time when they were saying we're going to wipe you off the planet."

Duh. Don't you hate it when facts contradict your spin?

There's absolutely nothing in what he said in Oregon on Sunday that conflicted his statement on Monday, from your link, Kate:

"Here's the truth: the Soviet Union had thousands of nuclear weapons and Iran doesn't have a single one. But when the world was on the brink of nuclear Holocaust, Kennedy talked to Khrushchev and he got those missiles out of Cuba. Why shouldn't we have the same courage and confidence to talk to our enemies? That's what strong countries do. That's what strong presidents do."

Obama said he fully realizes the danger posed by Iran, but that it is nothing compared to those presented by the former Soviet Union.

"The Soviet Union had the ability to destroy the world several times over, had satellites spanning the globe, had huge masses of conventional military power, all directed at destroying us," he said. "So, I've made it clear for years that the threat from Iran is grave. But what I've said is that we should not just talk to our friends. We should be willing to engage our enemies as well. That's what diplomacy is all about."

Obama repeatedly stressed the risk posed by Iran, as he suggested that danger has grown because of policies supported by McCain.

"Iran is a grave threat. It has an illicit nuclear program. It supports terrorism across the region and militias in Iraq. It threatens Israel's existence. It denies the Holocaust," he said. "The reason Iran is so much more powerful than it was a few years ago is because of the Bush-McCain policy of fighting in Iraq and refusing to pursue direct diplomacy with Iran. They're the ones who have not dealt with Iran wisely."

Obama also called Iran the "single biggest beneficiary" of Iraq war and pledged to secure all lose nuclear materials during first term, if he is elected president.

__________

You've got to be willfully retarded or overdosing on the kool-aid if you're seriously trying to spin some sort of contradiction from Obama's perfectly consistent statements, in which he says:

(1) Iran's a threat;
(2) The Soviet Union was a much bigger threat, and we talked with them, lessening the threat via diplomacy;
(3) It makes sense to use our position of power to actually engage Iran in diplomacy to prevent it from becoming a bigger threat than it is.

Kate

Here ya go, Google Boy.

Sunday: Obama says Iran is not a serious threat.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ew5qP2oPdtQ

Monday: Obama says Iran is a grave threat.
http://weblogs.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/blog/2008/05/obama_counters_mccain_on_appea.html

And here is a compilation, sort of an Obama Doctrine Greatest Hits.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vaG6s05MKeM

CRD

Engineer, give us links to the actual Obama quotes on Iran, and we'll discuss once we can all view them in context.

Engineer

Jim
And what about Obama's conflicting statements on Iran? They were cited in The Star as well as in Fogue's link. And that link presents actual boners by Obama.

Engineer

Jim
And the revelance of this to CNN's veracity is?

Jim

Eng,

As a rule, I avoid the rantings of insane racist bloviators. That precludes me from reading Michelle Malkin (and Rogue).

I suppose CNN should have taken a page from Fox "News" and broadcast White House propaganda about grave and gathering threats from Saddam's huge mass of WMD stockpiles, Iraq/Al Qaeda operational relationships, smoking guns as mushroom clouds, and other fantasies and fairy tales. Maybe they should just wave more flags and have more screeching eagle graphics to get back into your good graces.

Jim

Marctnts,

You're becoming quite adept at looking past my point and seeing something else entirely. I can't believe that this small point of the larger issue has consumed the whole day.

To state my position again, as clearly as possible:

1. I'm not citing anything as "fact" because I don't know Ed Henry and I don't work at the White House. Neither do you, as far as I know.

2. I believe it's entirely possible, even likely, that Henry got this background information from a trusted source who was not officially authorized to release it. Realizing that he had been told something from this source that broke with what the White House's official line was, he reported it. This is what journalists refer to as a "scoop."

3. You are missing my point by seeing Henry's reporting and everyone else's as mutually exclusive. I read your position as being that if one is true, the other one can't be. I don't see why that would be the case. If Henry got his information from an unofficial source who he trusted, and the other reporters got their information from official sources who had been briefed on what to say, then it's entirely possible that both sets of reporters reported what they'd been told. That leads me to...

4. For all this back-and-forth, I still see no evidence that Henry had the story wrong. He's not been under fire to retract (except for rightwing sites like Newsbusters, who have an agenda), he's not had to clarify. From what I can tell, he's a good journalist who's integrity hasn't been called into question before. If other outlets got the story that was given to them, then they're right to report it. That's all Ed Henry did, in my opinion.

CRD

"Except that the President said, “Some people suggest if the United States would just break ties with Israel, all our problems in the Middle East would go away” and no one running for president has suggested cutting ties to Israel."

That logic would seem to undercut the "he's obviously referring to Carter" argument advanced by Chrissy below.

However, logic (and background sources) tells us that it's a dig at Obama, only worsened by imputing to him a position that he doesn't even hold, a common Swift Boat "strategery" of the Bush camp -- just state this straw man position and attribute it to "some people," and let people draw mistaken inferences.

It's pure bullsh*t, is what it is.

Engineer

Jim
I assume you didn't read Rogue's link on another thread. I'll repost it here for convenience: http://townhall.com/columnists/MichelleMalkin/2008/05/21/barack_
The link presents a whole crop of boners with which the MSM would have had great fun if they had been made by anyone other than the anointed. But perhaps the most pertinent one was the one illustrating that he doesn't know just exactly what he does think about Iran: Obama on Iran in Portland "They don't pose a serious threat". Later, in Billings "I've made it clear for years that the threat from Iran is grave".

Engineer

Jim
And why should we suddenly believe in the veracity of a network that willingly broadcast Iraqi propaganda they knew to be false but without comment even as our troops were moving into Baghdad?

Marctnts

Jim,

A couple of things:

1. The charge of dishonesty came from the fact that you suggested that I found it inconceivable and/or imposible that the white house initially said they were targeting Obama. I have never said this. If you can provide any evidence that I have, I will gladly take the charge back.

2. Since you have no reason to doubt Ed Henry's column, are you claiming his reporting as "fact", or simply saying "more than likely". If it is the former, please provide the PROOF for this fact (he said/she said is not proof). It is the later, I think you have made my point for me.

Kate

“Iran should be much easier to talk to than the Soviet Union was”

Jim, of course Iran would be easier to talk to than the Soviet Union was. We talked to the Soviet Union because they had nuclear weapons, for the purpose of avoiding a war, not to disarm them. The Obama Doctrine would give credibility to a madman by granting him a presidential summit. Any rogue regime would be foolish to pass up the opportunity to wring concessions out of America’s president for what will most likely be false promises.

And what would Obama do if he struck a deal and then discovered that Iran was cheating, as it was cheating by concealing its nuclear program in the first place, and which it is most likely to do to buy time for its nuclear program.

Jim

Marctnts,

People on here are always so quick to charge dishonesty when they have nothing new to say on the matter. You act as if the two points are mutually exclusive. I'm saying that it's likely that they aren't.

At the end of day 2 of this conversation, I still see no reason to doubt that the White House gave an official line that was more "presidential" than the one they had behind closed doors, and that's where the difference comes from. Someone leaked it to Henry (probably on the condition that they not be quoted) that this was a political attack on Obama.

The fact that it breaks a longstanding protocol that these kinds of attacks do not cross the border is reason enough for them to walk it back and play innocent.

Marctnts

Jim,

Your debate has turned dishonest. I never said that it was inconceivable or impossible for the white house to have changed their story. To suggest that I did is a cheap attempt to deflect what I'm saying.

One more time since it seems to be hard for you to grasp. I am NOT saying that is is inconceivable or impossible that the white house changed their story. All that I am saying is that you cannot claim Ed Henry's report as "fact", since there are two conflicting sides to the story and no corroberation.

Jim

Marctnts,

Why is it simply inconceivable to you that someone in the White House told the truth to Ed Henry initially, and the White House changed its story early on? Not all reporters talk to the same people or get the same information ever single time. This White House is known for discouraging leaks of any kind that depart from the established line.

Did you notice that the official quotes and background after the fact all toed the same line? I'm more inclined to believe that once the story got out, they got their act together and all got on the same page. Why you seem to think that's just impossible, when there's no real reason to doubt it, is beyond me.

Jim

Kate,

If you read Obama's speeches, and not just Powerline's distortion of them, you'd notice that Obama has never denied a threat from Iran.

He's said that we negotiated with the Soviet Union during the Cold War during a time when they had the power to destroy the world many times over. Iran has no such power now, nor is it even close to achieving it. He's saying that, by your neandercon standard, Iran should be much easier to talk to than the Soviet Union was.

His point is correct, and it drives you crazy. I don't expect you to stop lying about his positions, because it's all you have left. You certainly have shown no interest in defending your crooked and ignorant nominee.

Kate

“except, as noted below, that no other explanation makes sense”

Except that the President said, “Some people suggest if the United States would just break ties with Israel, all our problems in the Middle East would go away” and no one running for president has suggested cutting ties to Israel. Instead of getting defensive, it would have been better for Obama to use the opportunity to say that he understands appeasement’s failures, and tell us why his approach wouldn’t be appeasement.

Not that any of that matters, because Sunday Obama declared “tiny” Iran was not a serious threat because they only spend “1/100th “ of what we spend on military. (Although on Monday he declared Iran to be a grave threat. . . maybe he’s just tired from all that campaigning.)

Marctnts

"It makes sense" and "facts" are two different things.

I'm not arguing that what Ed Henry claims doesn't make sense. What I'm arguing is that what Ed Henry claims cannot be considered "fact" since there are two conflicting sides to the story without corroborating evidence on either side.

CRD

"it's simply one man's word against anothers."

except, as noted below, that no other explanation makes sense. It's obviously not Carter, since he's in no position to "appease" anyone, even if that were his intent.

 
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