By Mark Esposito, Weekend Contributor
One of the ways we decide how sincere a witness is down at the courthouse is seeing what he said about a topic before there was anything really at stake and comparing that to what he’s saying now. Watching the scandalous political corruption trial here in Richmond for the past few days, I’ve seen plenty of “I said one thing then, but I’m saying something else now” from the various witnesses taking the stand. Take Governor Bob McDonnell’s friend and stockbroker, John Piscitelli, who upon being asked about a particular sleazy scheme to avoid the state’s gift disclosure laws –cooked up apparently by Virginia’s First Lady — answered that he was not “uncomfortable” with the deal. When his prior grand jury testimony was pushed in his face, the securities peddler cleared his throat, straightened his tie, looked around, and then remembered that , lo and behold, the aborted deal to dump stock right before the disclosure deadline and then buy it back did indeed make him feel ” uncomfortable.” Wonderful thing, a trial.
Pity we can’t put politicians on trial simply for being politicians — especially those who are simply flitting around the flame of geopolitical power hoping to catch it for themselves. Take House Speaker and Republican Party leader John Boehner, for example. The burgeoning crisis in northern Iraq caused by the jihadist crazed theocrats of ISIS has come front and center to the world stage. Crashing in from Syria, the fundamentalists, dedicated to establishing a new world order based on a universal muslim caliphate governed by sharia law, have rounded up non-muslim Iraqis, forced them to convert to Islam, and then quite ceremoniously beheaded them or when the swords got too dull, simply stolen their possessions and run the “infidels” into to the mountains. A direct by-product of the unnecessary War in Iraq II by Bush II, the teetering country is now firmly ensconced in civil war with some added religious crusaders to spice the mix.
Seeing American interests and service personnel directly at risk from the full-out crisis and fearing a genocide of ethnic groups as well as Christian Iraqis, President Obama ordered a humanitarian airlift in conjunction with the British, and authorized American air power to perform limited bombing runs to dissuade ISIS from consolidating gains and advancing on even more Iraq cities and infrastructure. In a rare show of something approaching solidarity, most Republican lawmakers expressed satisfaction with the President’s moves though predictably it was “too little to late” in the minds of some GOP Svengalis who pulled the “told you so” card from the bottom of the deck.
Chief among the critics was Speaker John Boehner who loves him some bombing calling it “appropriate,” but hates him some Obama policy saying in a prepared statement that he is quite dismayed there isn’t one:
I am dismayed by the ongoing absence of a strategy for countering the grave threat ISIS poses to the region.Vital national interests are at stake, yet the White House has remained disengaged despite warnings from Iraqi leaders, Congress, and even members of its own administration. Such parochial thinking only emboldens the enemy and squanders the sacrifices Americans have made. The president needs a long-term strategy — one that defines success as completing our mission, not keeping political promises — and he needs to build the support to sustain it. If the president is willing to put forward such a strategy, I am ready to listen and work with him.
Well, “work(ing) with him” apparently doesn’t include attending a White House meeting last week on what the Speaker claims is a “grave threat.” No word on what was discussed at that meeting, but at a prior meeting on the topic in June attended by Republican hawks Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and John McCain (R-Arizona), Graham told reporters that the briefing “scared the hell out of him.” (You think Hell would have a better place to be anyway). McCain was no less “measured” in his commentary calling on the President to replace the entire national security brain trust.
No mention from these three prized elephants about what destabilized this seething caldron of a country in the first place (the late, great War on Weapons of Mass Destruction) or the lack of “exit strategy” from Bush II for this lark of a war that was plopped down on Obama’s desk on his first day in office, and nary a bit of grandfatherly advice for the man many Republicans consider “in over his head” to handle world affairs about how to manage the crisis without a full-scale ground and air assault on the tinder box constructed by the Bush-Cheney team.
But Speaker Boehner and his cronies were not always so critical of the President’s plans in Iraq. In fact, when it suited him, the man with the perpetual tan seemed downright laudatory. In a carefully worded statement on Iraq released on February 27, 2009, Boehner praised the President’s policy to extricate American forces from the quagmire even agreeing with the timeline approach to disengagement and saying the plan provided ultimate flexibility to handle future crises caused by the likes of ISIS.
The plan put forward by President Obama continues our strategy of bringing troops home from Iraq as they succeed in stabilizing the country. I believe he has outlined a responsible approach that retains maximum flexibility to reconsider troop levels and to respond to changes in the security environment should circumstances on the ground warrant.
A far cry from the sentiments of a man who recently said that Obama was “taking a nap” on Iraq.
So what are we to make of the hue and cry about incompetence and inattentiveness of Obama in dealing with Iraq from the man who praised him for the strategy in the first place? Maybe Speaker Boehner should clear his throat,straighten his tie, look around the room and tell us how he really feels. Now it’s your turn to tell us:
Source: The Hill
~Mark Esposito Weekend Contributor
By the way and for better or worse, the views expressed in this posting are the author’s alone and not necessarily those of the blog, the host, or other weekend bloggers. As an open forum, weekend bloggers post independently without pre-approval or review. Content and any displays of art are solely the author’s decision and responsibility. No infringement of intellectual property rights is intended and will be remedied upon notice from the owner. Fair use is however asserted for such inclusions of quotes, excerpts, photos, art, and the like.