Tag Archives: Afghanistan

CPAC: Veterans Against Trump

Conservative opposition to Donald Trump was strong at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Brian Hawkins, a U.S. Army veteran, was representative of that opposition.

In an exclusive interview, Brian told me, “I am opposed to Donald Trump because he does not represent any of the values of conservatism, of the Republican Party, or of American values in general.”

CPAC2016-01

Holding a “Veterans Against Trump” sign, Brian explained that he had “spent four years in the United States Army, most of which was in the United States Cavalry, hence the cavalry Stetson.”

Holding a “Veterans Against Trump” sign, Brian explained, “I am opposed to Donald Trump because he does not represent any of the values of conservatism, of the Republican Party, or of American values in general.”

Echoing the widespread criticism of Trump’s rhetoric during his campaign, Brian said, “A lot of the language that is coming out of Donald Trump is very nativist and very xenophobic and certainly not [in agreement with] American principles.” He urged, “We need to stop this divisive rhetoric, inflaming hatred toward other people of other groups.”

Brian’s own experiences radically conflict with Trump’s message. Brian hails from Los Angeles, “from a community that’s 80% Hispanic.” He said, “A lot of my friends, their parents came to America illegally and they only really stayed because Ronald Reagan granted amnesty in 1986.”

Moreover, Brian’s experience in the military refutes Trump’s nativist perspective. Brian said, “I spent six months in Afghanistan where I worked with Afghan linguists who put their lives on the line to work with the United States Army and help free the country of the Taliban. They applied to get residency here in the U.S.”

Hence, Brian’s disdain for Trump’s hostile language. Brian clarified, “So, for me, it’s very insulting for Donald Trump to say that these people want to come to America to rape, kill, and do drugs. That’s simply not true.”

Brian’s life experiences offer a counter-Trump narrative:

“Every immigrant I’ve ever run in to, growing up in life or in my experience in the United States Army, they want to come to America to work hard and contribute to the American economy. They understand America as the land of hope and opportunity better than a lot of us Americans do. We really take it for granted being able to live here and all the opportunities that we have. immigrants don’t take that for granted. They understand that America is a land of freedom and economic opportunity for all people. They just want to come here and help contribute to the American Dream. We need to welcome them.”

Brian concluded, “That’s why I oppose Donald Trump, because he does not represent those principles of inclusiveness and economic growth that the Republican Party stands for.”

Is Baghdad Burning? Obama’s Leadership Vacuum

President Obama has exchanged Ronald Reagan’s “peace through strength” for “victory through weakness” and he has transformed Theodore Roosevelt’s “Talk softly and carry a big stick” into “Talk boldly and give away your stick.”

Image

America’s blood and treasure have been squandered by a president who seemingly values neither. As a consequence, the threat from Islamic jihadists has never been greater and America’s prestige in the world has never been lower.

Nevertheless, as Iraq was crumbling, Obama claimed: “The world is less violent than it has ever been. It is healthier than it has ever been. It is more tolerant than it has ever been. It is better fed then it’s ever been. It is more educated than it’s ever been.”

In Obama’s world, America is stronger when it is weaker and the world is safer when America is disengaged.

Power Vacuum Endangers America and the World

Obama campaigned on ending two wars and he has been dedicated to achieving that goal, regardless of real world consequences. He foolishly insists upon proclaiming timetables for withdrawal based upon political criteria and not military exigencies. As Brit Hume put it, the Obama administration “believes leaving is winning.”[i]

In his rush to exit Iraq and Afghanistan in order to create is legacy as the president who ended two wars, Obama has forfeited the fight and is giving as spoil all of the gains made in the war on terror – a war he contends is already over.

Author Charles Krauthammer noted: “What Obama doesn’t seem to understand is that American inaction creates a vacuum. His evacuation from Iraq consigned that country to Iranian hegemony, just as Obama’s writing off Syria invited in Russia, Iran and Hezbollah to reverse the tide of battle.”

Every time America retreats from the world stage, the good that America could do diminishes and the evil which could be thwarted advances.

A New York Daily News editorial[ii] explained in stark terms the result of Obama’s policy of disengagement: “The world is reaping what Obama helped sow.”

It continued, “But he left no residual force to combat terrorism, having failed to reach a troop agreement with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. In our absence, ISIS grew quickly into a malignant force.”

Also: “When civil war broke out across the border in Syria, Obama proved impotent.”

“Overeager to leave Iraq, gun-shy about intervening in Syria and insufficiently vigilant about the rising threat of ISIS, the President opened the way to an Islamist force of unprecedented power.”

“The toll wreaked by his disengagement from the world and retreat from the use of American influence is severe. While ISIS expands its reach with summary executions possibly running into the thousands, Obama is left to offload onto Maliki all responsibility for the chaos that’s happened and all that’s to come. That’s the easy way for Obama to escape admitting that he blew it.”

Image

Who’s to Blame?

Craig Crawford is typical of those defending Obama. But his argument actually indicts his conclusion. Crawford said, “Obama has disowned Iraq. … He’s not the face of that.”[iii] Oh, but he is. His precipitous and complete withdrawal precipitated the chaos which ensued.

It is precisely because Obama disowned Iraq that Obama owns it. Obama forfeited the peace which his predecessor had won. America’s absence from the arena gave free reign to terrorists to wreak havoc to their hearts’ content.

Richard Cohen, hardly a neo-conservative, recently noted the obvious.[iv] Cohen asked, “Whose fault is the current debacle in Iraq? … The one person who is not at fault, we are told over and over again, is the current President of the United States.”

Cohen added, “Other than avoiding war, it’s hard to know what Obama wants.”

Cohen’s conclusion? “He now must deal with a region that is so much worse than anyone imagined. Where does the fault lie? Where it always has – where the buck stops.”

Photo: 1) Daniel Borchers; 2) The Clarion Project.

Endnotes:

[i]               Brit Hume, Kelly File, FNC, 6/17/14.

[ii]               Editorial, “What Obama Wrought,” New York Daily News, 6/17/14, http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/obama-wrought-article-1.1832083.

[iii]              Craig Crawford, Media Buzz, FNC, 6/22/14

[iv]              Richard Cohen, “Obama and the wages of inaction,” New York Daily News, 6/17/14, http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/obama-wages-inaction-article-1.1831994.