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Published: Friday, Feb. 10 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

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Tekakaromatagi
Dammam, Saudi Arabia

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

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

Completely stunned.

pragmatistferlife
salt lake city, utah

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

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

'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

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

"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

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

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

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

'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

@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

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

@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

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

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

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

'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

@ 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

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.

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