Category Archives: Foreign policy

No. 1 on YouTube for a reason

Obamagirl is prettier, but if I were an undecided voter this weekend, this video would put even her out of my mind. Make absolutely sure you watch past the spoken part.

I saw this video some time back (it’s was uploaded two months ago), but according to the BBC it’s become “the most-viewed election-related video on the YouTube website” since then, racking up over 11.3 million hits as of this posting.

The most striking part about it (outside of its content) is that while the McCain campaign did make a decision early on to spend less money on TV and more on YouTube advertising, the campaign never even had a hand in this. It’s entirely homemade; filmed, edited, and uploaded by volunteers, and starring an Iraq veteran who remains nameless throughout. McCain’s most effective Internet ad didn’t cost him a dime.

UPDATE: Fox News’s Shep Smith interviewed the no-longer-unnamed soldier, Sgt. Joe Cook, during his hour-long show. It was actually a fairly good interview, with Smith pressing Sgt. Cook to explain his assertion in the video that Sen. Obama has been “disrespectful” to the troops, but doing so respectfully himself, and in a manner that evokes a civil and enlightening exchange.

As with Joe Wurzelbacher and Tito Muñoz, I hope Sgt. Cook has a minimum of skeletons in his closet, or he can expect a lot of unwanted attention in the next few days. Fortunately, this late in the game, and with the race this close, I doubt that even the most bloodthirsty oppo professional on Obama’s staff, or the most starry-eyed Obama cheerleader in the media, will be so stupid as to go through the garbage cans of a wounded Iraq veteran who served honorably.

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Making the business tax argument funny

The Tax Foundation held a video submission contest for amateur YouTube videos explaining, quickly and simply, how the business tax works, what effects it has on the economy, and why American business taxes are too high. The winners range from the edgy, fast-paced crash-course:

…to the funny, kitschy period piece:

(That second one reminds me of the hysterical employee orientation video from “Harvey Birdman” [Part 1 and Part 2 on YouTube], except way shorter.)

The videos are imaginative, fascinating, and surprisingly instructive given the necessary limits on breadth and depth. The upshot of the argument, as the common thread running through these videos, is that virtually the only country in the world that is not benefitting from high American corporate tax rates is…well, America.

If only this contest had been held weeks ago, McCain might have saved himself a lot of grief, not to mention gained himself a few awesome ads…

(H/T the Corner.)

Sarah Palin plays a forbidden game…in public!

Well, this is new. Sarah Palin has asked the unthinkable question directly to a journalist: “Can you imagine if I woulda said such a thing?” CNN’s Drew Griffin has been asked on the air to play “Media Party Switch.”

Gov. Palin brought to the cable news networks (outside of Fox News) something that we in the blogosphere do on a regular basis.  She examined Joe Biden’s recent statement warning that an international crisis would test Barack Obama’s mettle as president before his first six months in the White House are up, and wondered aloud what might have happened if instead she had been the one to say something so bizarre (and manifestly unhelpful to the top of her ticket).

During this entire presidential campaign — and frankly, this pattern is not at all limited to presidential elections — bloggers like me have indulged in a time-honored thought experiment. I’ll call it “Media Party Switch.” Put briefly, it considers any given gaffe, smear, flub, reckless accusation, or other similarly outrageous or boneheaded statement by a Democrat that has gone unnoticed or unreported by the journalistic community, and poses the rhetorical question of what would have happened if the same type of statement had been made by a Republican under the same circumstances.

Readers of WitSnapper have seen me dabble in “Media Party Switch” here from time to time. It’s become a pseudo-regular feature of the Biden Gaffe Watch, in which I wonder more than once when the sum total of instances of Biden’s frothing mouth galloping away from him (also lovingly recapped here by Miz Michelle) might equal, for example, former Vice President Dan Quayle’s infamous misspelling of “potato.”  However, as widespread a practice as this thought experiment is among bloggers, it rarely, if ever, makes it to network or cable news, given how embarrassing such a look in the mirror could be (after all, it’s not the blogosphere that puts the “Media” in “Media Party Switch”).

In Griffin’s CNN interview with Gov. Palin, Griffin doesn’t go so far as to break the omerta among his colleagues and producers by openly musing what the media reaction might have been if Palin had said something like what Biden did. However, he must be given credit (I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt that he might have been able to see this coming) for opening the door by asking the more general question of whether Palin thinks Joe Biden has been “given a pass” by the media.  Palin strides right through that door, answering that he’d have to ask his own colleagues and bosses as to why Biden’s been given a pass, but she does wonder aloud (video here):

Can you imagine if I would’ve said such a thing?  No, I think we would be hounded and held accountable: “What in the world did you mean by that, VP/presidential candidate?  Why would you say that, ‘Mark my words, this nation will undergo an international crisis if you elect Barack Obama?'” If I would have said something like that you guys would clobber me!

Again, to his credit, Griffin doesn’t waste airtime trying to argue the point:

You’re right! [Both laugh.] You’re right.

Excellent.  Good to hear it.  In that spirit, I look forward to seeing Griffin call Sen. Biden on this statement, or whatever other bizarre statement he’ll inevitably let loose by the time CNN gets him to sit down with them, or for that matter any of the embarrassing wealth of past statements on which the senator has been “given a pass.”  How’s your game of “Media Party Switch,” Senator?

Biden Gaffe Watch: Experience, anyone?

Senator Joe Biden made the strongest case Monday against an inexperienced president since he slammed Barack Obama as overly green during a Democratic primary debate (links via Captain Ed and Miz Michelle).  Oddly enough, this time he meant to argue in favor of Obama’s election, or at least I think that’s what he meant:

“Mark my words,” the Democratic vice presidential nominee warned at the second of his two Seattle fundraisers Sunday. “It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking. We’re about to elect a brilliant 47-year-old senator president of the United States of America. Remember I said it standing here if you don’t remember anything else I said. Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.”

“I can give you at least four or five scenarios from where it might originate,” Biden said to Emerald City supporters, mentioning the Middle East and Russia as possibilities. “And he’s gonna need help. And the kind of help he’s gonna need is, he’s gonna need you – not financially to help him – we’re gonna need you to use your influence, your influence within the community, to stand with him. Because it’s not gonna be apparent initially, it’s not gonna be apparent that we’re right.”

Biden doesn’t mention that the “test” to which John Kennedy’s “mettle” was put when he attended a summit with Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev in Vienna was one that Kennedy failed miserably, by both his own and Khrushchev’s accounts.  The Soviet delegation left Vienna with a poor estimation of Kennedy’s talent and character, and a soaring estimation of their capacity to push him around on the world stage.  Khrushchev was sufficiently emboldened that he ordered the construction of the Berlin Wall, turning East Berlin into a prison in fact as well as in effect, and went prancing around Cuba planting nuclear missiles hither and yon, bringing us closer to an honest-to-God nuclear exchange than at any time in history.  The former offense stayed in place for more than a quarter of a century (many were shot trying to escape to the West), and de-escalation of the latter was brought about only when Kennedy agreed to hand over strategic intelligence to the Soviets and withdraw valuable missile assets from Turkey, weakening the front line of NATO’s deterrent.

Kennedy came into office after six years in the House and eight years in the Senate.  How prepared can Obama be after an unremarkable four years in the Senate, two of which have been all but pre-empted by his presidential campaign?

I dunno.  Ask Joe Biden.

(In the meantime, Gateway Pundit is floating along on marshmallow “Dear Leader” dreams.)

UPDATE:  GP also has video of Rudy Giuliani demanding an explanation.

Murtha grasps at petty little straws UPDATE: “Oh, hey, sorry, just kidding. But not about the murder.”

Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), America’s newest “ex-Marine,” is still living in his own big fat bloated bubble of denial.

The congressman accused eight Marines in 2006 of the murder of Iraqi civilians after a firefight in Haditha, without any evidence to back it up except a sensational story in TIME Magazine.  Today, now that six of the eight have had their charges dropped, one other acquitted of all charges, the last still awaiting court-martial on reduced charges, and two of the Marines filing or preparing to file lawsuits against him for slander and defamation, he is repeating his smear to the Pittsburgh Tribune Review:

U.S. Rep. John Murtha stands by a controversial remark he made previously that U.S. Marines killed women and children “in cold blood” in Haditha, Iraq, in November 2005.

The blunt description changed how American troops engaged Iraqis and improved overall conditions in the war, Murtha, an 18-term Democrat from Johnstown, said today during a wide-ranging interview with Tribune-Review reporters and editors.

“There are all kinds of things that have happened that have made a difference, but one of the big differences is that we are not bullying our way through like we used to,” said Murtha, a former Marine and decorated Vietnam combat veteran. “The rules of engagement are clear — and it’s changed. One of the things that has made it better in Iraq is we are no longer just breaking down doors.”

“It’s my obligation to speak out. I try everything I can to get things done,” Murtha said.

Right.  He’s a real prince, that Jack Murtha.  See you in court, pal.  Here’s hoping you graduate to Citizen Murtha real quick, courtesy of the targets of your other bizarre smear:  your own constituents, whom you tarred today as racists for not uniformly supporting Barack Obama (Allahpundit and Miz Michelle have more).

Tool.

UPDATE: Murtha apologizes a day later in a media release for calling Western Pennsylvanians racists.  No apology to be found about sliming the Haditha Marines (twice now).  And Murtha’s Iraq vet opponent Bill Russell gets a neat new campaign ad out of it.

Too bad he can’t get in Murtha’s face about it now, because Murtha has suddenly cancelled their debate tonight. Reminds me of that video of Murtha running for the elevator, no?  Hopefully Russell can put together a nice little ad slamming him for that.

Jesse Jackson, always eager to help

Rev. Jesse Jackson is now exulting that the impending Obama presidency would mean an end to “decades of putting Israel’s interests first,” according to reports from the World Economic Forum in France. (Link via Hot Air. Gateway Pundit has more.)

Jackson, last heard from in July when a live mike caught him voicing fantasies about performing genital mutilation on Barack Obama, has always been tough to pin down with regard to whether he actually wants Obama elected; he consistently says he does, though his actions result in — ahem! — mixed signals.  When Obama says that as president he’d be Israel’s best friend, it doesn’t help his case when Jackson proclaims to an audience of international VIPs at a global conference that “Zionists who have controlled American policy for decades” would in fact see their influence in the White House diminish.

The Obama campaign scrambled away from these radioactive comments:

“Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. is not an adviser to the Obama campaign and is therefore in no position to interpret or share Barack Obama’s views on Israel and foreign policy,” Obama national security spokeswoman Wendy Morigi said in a statement. “As he has made clear throughout his career and throughout this campaign, Barack Obama has a fundamental commitment to a strong U.S.-Israel relationship … As president, he will ensure that Israel can defend itself from every threat it faces, stand with Israel in its quest for a secure peace with its neighbors, and use all elements of American power to end Iran’s illicit nuclear program.”

The outcome in more than one swing state depends very much on which candidate comes off as more appealing and more comfortable for Jewish and pro-Israel voters.  Major retirement havens like Florida and Nevada have above-average concentrations of Jewish voters; many of those are senior citizens, who turn out to vote in greater numbers than any other age group.  Even Pennsylvania has a greater-than-average concentration of Jewish voters, and considerable business and industrial ties to Israel.

Obama’s courting of the Jewish and pro-Israel vote has been a bit clumsy.  In a June speech to AIPAC he declared flatly that “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided,” only to backtrack the very next day.  He has a history of associations with such anti-Israel figures as the late professor Edward Said, former PLO operative Rashid Khalidi, and of course Rev. Jeremiah Wright.  Combine that with his stated willingness to sit down face to face with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad without preconditions (his running mate, Joe Biden, has also been criticized as weak on Iran), and the historical tendency of American Jewish voters to vote with liberal Democrats will meet with a serious test.

Army: 2nd-ranking AQI man killed in Mosul

The Associated Press reports that the Army has offed a major al Qaeda operative in Mosul:

The U.S. military says the No. 2 leader of al-Qaida in Iraq has been killed during an operation in the northern city of Mosul.

The military has identified the insurgent leader as a Moroccan known as Abu Qaswarah or Abu Sara.

Wednesday’s statement says he became the senior al-Qaida in Iraq emir of northern Iraq in June 2007 and had ties to senior al-Qaida leaders in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

It also says “he was al-Qaida in Iraq’s second-in-command” behind Abu Ayyub al-Masri, who also is known as Abu Hamza al-Muhajir.

Nice to hear.

UPDATE: Captain Ed has the story, and links to a more detailed account. He points out that Abu Sara had a habit of summarily executing anyone he smuggled into Iraq for suicide bombings who had the temerity to try to go back where they came from.  Two likelihoods:  one, that whoever tipped us off about Abu Sara’s location was probably one of those would-be deserters; and two, this will probably trigger a spate of al Qaeda runaways before the number one AQI, al-Masri, has a chance to replace him.