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George F. Will: GOP no longer has upper hand on defense issues

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  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    Feb. 10, 2012 5:05 a.m.

    I don't think that Obama is weak on defense. He said in his election that if US soldiers were being attacked from Pakistan that he would go into Pakistan. That raised eyebrows. But he has kind of done that. Not completely: drones are piloted remotely.

    Osama bin Ladin is dead.

    So far he has kept us from getting sucked into a war in Iran. We aren't really at war but we're putting sanctions on them and their enrichment control computers are getting hacked. If they get desperate and start actually shooting then it will look like they started it.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Feb. 10, 2012 7:02 a.m.

    Wow. I'm completely stunned that I am in agreement with George Will for a change.

    Completely stunned.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Feb. 10, 2012 7:52 a.m.

    It will be interesting to see how many of the regulars other than the usual (libs) jump in here to agree with George. I'll bet by this afternoon the thread is pretty thin.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Feb. 10, 2012 7:54 a.m.

    This is one issue that the Republicans have completely lost. The Obama Administration has been brilliant on defense and foreign affairs.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 10, 2012 8:06 a.m.

    'Few things so embitter a nation as squandered valor, hence Americans, with much valor spent there, want Iraq to master its fissures. But with America in the second decade of its longest war, the probable Republican nominee is promising to extend it indefinitely.' - Article

    Not JUST indefinately.

    But MORE OF, the same:

    **'GOP contenders argue on Iran' - By Kasie Hunt - AP - Published by DSNews - 11/12/11

    "If we re-elect Barack Obama, Iran will have a nuclear weapon. And if you elect Mitt Romney, Iran will not have a nuclear weapon," vowed the former Massachusetts governor." article

    So, war with Iran, based on the claim of 'Nuclear Weapons.'

    Sound familiar?

    Iraq:

    "The Iraqi regime . . . possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons.' - George W. Bush - Ohio Speech 10/7/2002

    Result?

    **'US gives up search for Iraq WMD' - BBC News - 01/12/05

    **'U.S. Military deaths in Iraq war at 4,485 - AP - Published by the DSNews - 12/20/2011

    Oh, yeah and $800 BILLION dollars, just on Iraq. (not including Afghanistan, etc, etc.)

    That we could have put to use, rebuilding American roads.

  • conservative scientist Lindon, UT
    Feb. 10, 2012 8:14 a.m.

    Well said Mr. Will. I lean Republican but this is one issue that George Bush really bungled and the rest of the Republicans (except Ron Paul) seem determined to continue to sink us further in the quagmire. Having served in Iraq, I am happy we are gone and I hope we are soon gone from Afghanistan. I am so glad that we didn't ever have "boots on ground" as so many Republicans thought was necessary in Libya and have a protracted "nation-building" war in that country. This is one area where Obama has done well and Republicans are not going to win the issue by trying to get us engaged in more foreign wars or to act as the world's police force. The general public is war-weary. Time for smarter tactics with less U.S. casualties and no nation building.

  • Emajor Ogden, UT
    Feb. 10, 2012 8:52 a.m.

    "Republicans who think America is being endangered by "appeasement" and military parsimony have worked that pedal on their organ quite enough."

    Wow, it is not often I fully agree with George Will, but that is a good line. It won't stop Santorum and Romney from distorting facts and appealing to conservative voters who instinctually assume Democrats are weak on defense, though.

    The Iraq and Afghanistan wars have lasted through Obama's term. Bin Laden is gone. Drone strikes up. Terrorists killed. Libya's regime toppled largely due to US support. More deportations of illegal immigrants than during the W. years. Airport screening processes still cumbersome. By any traditional measure, Obama is not weak on national defense. But this is an election year, so let's pull out that favorite conservative talking point anyway.

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 10, 2012 9:12 a.m.

    While most conservative pundits sit back in their armchairs and whine about "Obama the appeaser", he is out there quietly and methodically eliminating our enemies. Congratulations to Mr. Will for telling the truth.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Feb. 10, 2012 9:57 a.m.

    A few dozen tomahawk cruise missiles, and a Navy seal team of 6, and everyobody is home, safe and sound -- accomplished more than
    12 years, 1 million deployed, $1.7 TRILLION, and 4,700 American lives lost.

    Bush scored 1 for his rich Oil and Defense contrator buddies.
    Obama scored and finished the game for the American people.

    George Will is right - Bush failed.
    and as previous commentors have said -- not one conservative, GOP, Tea Partier will EVER admit it.

  • David King Layton, UT
    Feb. 10, 2012 10:02 a.m.

    Here's a list of the things that "mainstream" Republicans and President Obama have agreed on:
    -Patriot Act, NDAA
    -TARP
    - the economic stimulus package
    -TSA
    -Gitmo (Obama said he would close it, still waiting three years later)
    -continuing war in Afghanistan
    -keeping troops in places like Japan, Korea, and Europe, with porous borders in the homeland
    -sanctions against Iran (which will hurt civilians, and eventually lead to war)

    The lack of difference between President Obama and most Republicans is bankrupting us and slowly eroding our civil liberties. It would be nice if our politicians would actually offer us an alternative.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 10, 2012 10:32 a.m.

    'Here's a list of the things that "mainstream" Republicans and President Obama have agreed on:' - David King | 10:02 a.m. Feb. 10, 2012

    This, is true.

    And most of this list was CREATED from 2001-2006.

    When Republicans had the majority in the Senate, House and George W. Bush was elected President.

    I will agree, I do not support majority of this list.

    And I work to get RID of them.

    Not obstruct:

    **'Republicans bail on budget talks, blame Democrats' - By David Espo - AP - Published by DSNews - 06/23/11

    **'House GOP REJECTS 2-month payroll tax cut By Andrew Taylor AP Published by DSNews 12/20/11

    And not WORK, to ensure this country...

    fails.

    **'Limbaugh: I Hope Obama Fails - By Faiz Shakir - Think Progress - 01/20/09

    'Limbaugh told his listeners (sic) So Im thinking of replying to the guy, Okay, Ill send you a response, but I dont need 400 words, I need four: I hope he fails.' article

    I try, to put this country...

    before my party.

  • David King Layton, UT
    Feb. 10, 2012 10:39 a.m.

    @LDS Liberal
    "George Will is right - Bush failed.
    ...not one conservative, GOP, Tea Partier will EVER admit it."

    I am a registered Republican, and thought I don't go to Tea Party events, I'm sympathetic to the idea of a smaller government that taxes less and refuses to bailout banks and other industries. I aslo consider myself pretty conservative, relatively speaking, so here it is: George W. Bush failed. In many ways, both home and abroad, his presidency was a disaster. Having said that, wouldn't the next step be to avoid many of the same failures? Has President Obama trimmed the deficit? Did President Obama sign a repeal of the Patriot Act or did he actually sign an extension of it, with the NDAA to boot? Have Obama and the Senate offered a balanced budget, in contrast with their Republican predecessors? Nope. Yes, George W. Bush failed, but what does that say about President Obama continuing his policies on deficits, civil liberties, sanctions on countries like Iran, and prisoners at Gitmo?

    "A few dozen tomahawk cruise missiles, and a Navy seal team of 6, and everybody is home, safe and sound"
    The troops are home from Afghanistan?

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Feb. 10, 2012 10:48 a.m.

    I am indebted to Mr Will at least for the current numbers of US troops: 570.000!
    Also for the factoid, an important one if true, that Romney wants to increase this to 670,000, and that the Defense Secretary at least talks of reducing it to 490,000.

    Since I trust neither Romney, the current administration, or the "god of forces" I am left to bemoan the fact that the nation is mad with "imperial" pride with feet swift to run into the shedding of blood.

    Listen attentively to Ronald Earnest Paul's alternatives and consider what is being done now. The President of the United States is not the President of the Middle East and all the world besides. Let Congress and the Chief Executive (and Supreme Court) concentrate on cleansing the innner vessel of government, and may the people do the same.

    Mr Will's trumpet unfortunately makes an uncertain sound and we are left to wonder if he is serious about containing the military industrial complex, since he says, of Romney's proposals of increasing troop levels to two-thirds of a million men, "Maybe Romney is right." Really??

  • David King Layton, UT
    Feb. 10, 2012 10:55 a.m.

    @Pagan | 10:32 a.m. Feb. 10, 2012

    You do not contest my list of a few similarities between President Obama and many in the Republican party. I'm no fan of Rush Limbaugh, and disagree with him on "hoping for the failure" of the President so I don't think that is relevant to our particular discussion. I've admitted that Republicans have often disappointed me. In fact, I've felt down right betrayed sometimes. If you can admit that President Obama has disappointed you on a few things, and I point out what I believe to be the errors of my fellow Republicans, then I think we've made a good step in putting our country before our party.

  • CLM Draper, UT
    Feb. 10, 2012 11:40 a.m.

    I mostly (and often unhappily) agree with Mr. Will's assessments of the president and his actions. However, I believe Mr. Obama is disingenuous when he talks about avoiding war with Iran. (Unless he means before the election...)

    Support for Obama has shriveled with his miserable record of promising change but giving us a third Bush term. His words about avoiding war are a hook to bring supporters back to the fold as well as disarm domestic opponents of US war plans.

    Unfortunately, indications from Washington point to readiness for war with Iran.

    --Economic sanctions are universally recognized as a prelude to war.

    --Both Israel and the US have indicated that "all options are on the table" unless Iran bows to their demands.

    --The 60 year US commitment to Israel's security. If Iran retaliates to a first strike by the US would assuredly come to Israel's defense.

    --Reports of a steady flow of many thousands of US troops to two strategic islands within reach of Iran.

    --The Saudis have been doing intense preparation for war. American, British and French fighter-bombers have been landing at Saudi airbases to safeguard Riyadh.

    Conclusion: A possible false flag operation to start yet another war.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Feb. 10, 2012 12:38 p.m.

    I think that this was mislabled. The issue is foreign wars and international policy. The fact is the GOP is still promoting ideas to secure the US borders. The GOP wants to put up fences and increase border security, while the Democrats are destroying what little border security we have left.

  • PeanutGallery Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 10, 2012 1:03 p.m.

    I have a lot of respect for George Will, and agree with the majority of his columns, including much of this one. But in some cases I think he's jumping to wrong conclusions. For example, he seems to imply that we shouldn't have troops in Germany, because it's a peaceful country. But the main purpose of those troops isn't to protect or defend against Germany -- it's to give us a vital hub of military presence to prevent or deal with potential threats in the region -- the Middle East, Russia, etc.

    The thing that really undermines this column, though, is that in the final paragraph, as evidence to support his claims, Will uses a statement from Obama himself ("Obama says that ..."). That's laughable, since Obama lies regularly and blatantly, to hide the truth and to convince people that he supports things that he really doesn't. It reminds me of the story of the reporter who asked then-President Clinton, "How do we know this is really going to happen?", and Clinton said, "You have my word on it." The reporter followed up, "No, seriously."

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 10, 2012 1:13 p.m.

    'Support for Obama has shriveled with his miserable record of promising change but giving us a third Bush term.' - CLM | 11:40 a.m. Feb. 10, 2012

    Promise:
    *'Obama to pull combat troops from Iraq by August 2010' - CNN - 02/26/09

    Delivery:
    *'Last U.S. combat brigade leaves Iraq' - By Rebecca Santana - AP - Published by DSNews - 08/19/10

    **'Obama marks Iraq wars end with salute to troops' - by Erica Werner - AP - Published by DSNews - 12/14/11

    **'Osama bin Laden Killed: 'Justice Is Done,' President Says' - By DEAN SCHABNER - ABC News - 05/01/2011

    Was ANY of that done...

    during Bush's two terms?


    No.

    Also:

    **'Obama to promote ways for veterans to find work' - By Ken Thomas - AP - Published by DSNews - 11/07/11

    **US nets 200k more jobs in December, a better-than-expected performance By Jeff Thredgold Deseret News 01/13/12

    Obama's approval rating is around the 50% range.

    The Republcian controled house, who votes 'no' on everything...

    is 10%.

    Want Obama to end Bush and Republican polices?

    Support him, in doing so.

    Don't obstruct him FROM, doing so.

  • Earl Sandy, UT
    Feb. 10, 2012 2:43 p.m.

    @ Pagan: your loyalty to Mr. Obama seems to be blinding you to reality. Mr. Obama has been "persuaded" to continue many of Bush's policies and is in fact doubling down on some of them. He has embraced the concept of bailouts to the banksters and put it on steroids. He seems to be doing his part (and more) in building up the NWO and making the US another European nation (but the leading one, of course). He is every bit as committed to the superiority of Israel over any other middle eastern nation, and the former "peace candidate" seems to relish the idea of commander-in-chief of an imperialistic US as far as military power is concerned (spending on the military continues to grow disproportionately compared to other departments). The fact that combat forces in Iraq have pulled out means nothing when you look at how many contract mercenaries are on the payroll of the DoD. And did I mention drone killings? Nah, Mr. Obama seems to enjoy blowing up people as much as any of the prior White House occupants.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Feb. 10, 2012 3:08 p.m.

    To "Pagan" here is some great irony about your statement about Obama's great troop withdrawl from Iraq. You are wrong, and MediaMatters is the website that proves it.

    See "Memo to media: Bush set a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq" at Mediamatters on June 27, 2010. Seems lime MediaMatters found out that " In fact, Bush signed off on a specific timeline of withdrawal from Iraq, and Obama's timeline has been endorsed by Gen. David Petraeus, Adm. Mike Mullen, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates." For some more fun, read "GOP: Thank Bush, Not Obama, for End of Iraq Combat Mission" at CBS News from Aug 31, 2010.

    So far, we have Obama complying with Bush policy, so he hasn't done anything independantly so far.

    You said that "Obama marks Iraq wars end with salute to troops", but how is that much different than the March 2, 2003 speech by Bush that CNN reported on in "Bush: Iraq is one victory in war on terror"?

    From Fox News on December 14, 2003 we read "Bush Celebrates Saddam Capture" where Bush is quoted as saying that Saddam now faces the "justice he denied to millions".

    You complain about the GOP saying no to everything, when the Democrats are equally guilty, if not more. See the Washington Post article "Democratic-controlled Senate declines to block Obama debt request" from Jan 26, 2012. You can also read the Weekly Standard from Oct 11, 2011, "Senate Democrats Block Obama Jobs Bill". Was it the GOP's fault that the Democrats blocked Obama's requests?

    As for his popularity, lets look closer. From the Washington Post Jan 30, 2012 "Obama: The most polarizing president. Ever." I don't know about you, but I don't think it is good for a President to polarize the nation.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 10, 2012 3:26 p.m.

    'Nah, Mr. Obama seems to enjoy blowing up people as much as any of the prior White House occupants.' - Earl | 2:43 p.m. Feb. 10, 2012

    But..you can't PROVIDE that number and, if you were against the loss of human life...

    where were you when Bush invaded..two countries??

    Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Oh, that's right:

    'See "Memo to media: Bush set a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq" - RedShirt | 3:08 p.m. Feb. 10, 2012

    George W. Bush 'ended' the war in Iraq...

    almost 2 YEARS after he left office. (sarcasm)

    But the REASON for the war...

    wasn't George Bush's 'fault', either:

    **'George W Bush says Iraq intelligence FAILURE is his biggest regret' - By Alex Spillius - 12/01/08 - The UK telegraph

    All I see, are people not taking the repsonsibilty for their ACTIONS...

    **'GOP chairman: Afghan 'war of Obama's choosing' - By Philip Elliott - AP - Published by DSNews - 07/02/10

    Often:

    "On my orders, the United States military has begun strikes against al-Qaeda terrorist training camps and military installations of the Taleban regime in Afghanistan."
    - GEORGE W. BUSH 10/07/2001

    Good day.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Feb. 10, 2012 3:56 p.m.

    To "Pagan" so what you are saying, since you never actually state your position, and it has to be inferred from soundbites that you use to write, is that you believe that Obama, who did nothing more than sit in the Oval office at the right time.

    Tell us, why should Obama get all the credit for the things that Bush set in action. Both MediaMatters and CBS news both agree on this issue?

    How is withdrawing troops from combat "ending the war"? You could say the the war was ended in 2003 when Saddam was captured.

    Who supplied the faulty intelligence to Bush? Was that his fault for believing faulty intelligence collected by Clinton? What about the info that Clinton left that stated that Iraq was a threat that should be taken out?

  • CLM Draper, UT
    Feb. 10, 2012 5:33 p.m.

    @Earl 2:43: Thank you for telling it exactly as it is.

    You put the word "persuaded" in quotes, hopefully as a euphemism for "coerced". I am convinced this is the case, opting not to take the cynical view that what he is doing is what he intended all along.

    This intelligent, well-spoken, apparently sincere but inexperienced senator ascended the presidency at a time when our nation was war-torn, financially bankrupt and morally exhausted. A public majority weary of the "imperial Presidency" eagerly anticipated the promised changes. Yet Obama either did nothing (or worse, a 180 opposite) to fulfill those promises or take advantage of the fertile ground that all the support and enthusiasm afforded him. Why?

    Obama discovered quickly that he could change nothing, was irrelevant, and had better do as he was told. The Fed and central banks have their entrenched economic agenda. The military/security lobby has war and a domestic police state (FISA, Patriot Act, TSA) on its agenda. The military/industrial complex has its war-for-profit agenda. No mere president can fly in the face of such power.

    Obama could have tried harder. But all he'd have gained would have been my respect.

  • Brother Chuck Schroeder A Tropical Paradise USA, FL
    Feb. 10, 2012 5:38 p.m.

    With the past 7 years of nothing getting done in Congress, we cannot wait for Congress to act, we need to enact a series of executive orders to accomplish legislative goals. The poor and middleclass will just have to get things done with the use of executive orders. This is 2012, our Constitution was written in the 1700's, today there use to be three branches of government, now there's 2, the White House and US Senate. The legislative power rests with Congress in their do nothing chairs. The President's legislative overreach is not a problem. It's a cure. Obama's "We Can't Wait" is a good thing. The Grand Old Party has been going against the Constitution since the ReaganBushClintonBush-villes economics started with Reagan, with deregulated for kickbacks for the Koch Brothers and Grover Norquist, in their "Field Of Dreams," (of corn and sugar cane), with more corruption, and "crony capitalism." I guess us consumers like being forced to use this garbage ethanol fuel and live with all the damage and problems. It's time to tax the 1 percent and shut down all off shore tax safe-havens. Let Bush Celebrate Saddam Capture. The GOP are done in 2012.