Macho, macho man

Every time Obama goes down to Devon Avenue he seems to raise a ruckus (see previous post). This afternoon in Chicago:

A small group of protesters assembled this afternoon across the street from an Indian restaurant in Chicago where Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama was holding a fundraiser.

The mostly Pakistani group chanted anti-Obama slogans in response to a threat the Illinois Democrat made last week about his willingness, if elected president, to launch unilateral American military strikes against Al Qaeda havens in a remote border region of Pakistan.

“Obama, hypocrite,” the group repeatedly chanted, as some of the 25 or so assembled held signs that read “Sen. Obama, Good speaker. But no clue what to speak” and “Obama equal Osama,” a reference to Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. [Link]

To recap, the main reason this small group of Pakistani Americans were protesting Osama Obama was covered here recently by Amardeep.

“Barack Obama is advocating bombing an entire nation. This man is not our friend,” said Andy Thayer, a spokesman for the Chicago Coalition Against War. “Hillary Clinton is also not our friend. She called for not taking the nuclear option off the table…” [Link]

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Hold up there Andy. He might have advocated a little bombing but at least he swore it would not be nuclear! Stop painting things with such a wide brush. Presidential candidate Joe Biden recently pointed out the obvious by the way. We already routinely violate Pakistani sovereignty (probably with SEAL Teams). We just got to be hush hush about it so that the Pakistani population doesn’t give Mushie a hard time because of it.

“… in order to look tough, he’s undermined his ability to be tough, were he president. Because if you’re going to go into Pakistan — which is already our policy by the way, if there’s actionable intelligence — you need actionable intelligence from moderates within Pakistan working with you. Now if you’re already going to say I’m going to disregard whatever the country thinks and going to invade, the likelihood you’re getting the cooperation you need evaporates. It’s a well intended notion he has, but it’s a very naïve way of figuring out how you’re going to conduct foreign policy…” [Link]

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p>At least Obama was willing to talk things over with the Pakistanis gathered outside:

Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt said Obama offered to meet privately with a small group of the protesters following the fundraising lunch, but they declined the offer. [Link]

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p>The problem is that Obama has fallen into the classic liberal trap. He is trying too hard to prove he is not “soft” on terror and thereby undermining his greatest strength: His ability to intelligently see the nuance in major policy.

“His image was that he is not a macho guy, so he wanted to prove that he’s a macho, macho man,” said Ifti Nasim, one of the organizers. [Link]

Maybe, but another thought is that Obama is simply trying to bring new ideas to the table. Not all of them will turn out to be the right ideas but those that support him do so for the very reason that he is not afraid to bring new thoughts to old problems. Incidentally, Obama was set to raise ~$75,000 at the Indian restaurant mentioned above (hosted by Tariq Siddiqi, a Chicago real estate developer). Since Indian Americans donate more money to campaigns than Pakistani Americans, maybe all this bad publicity won’t be too hard on the war chest.

111 thoughts on “Macho, macho man

  1. Gujudude, you’re totally correct in saying that this wasn’t the major selling point; however, it was one of the most-repeated selling points (and was certainly an egregious lie) across the political left in the U.S.. Perhaps that’s part of where Sarah’s critique is coming from.

    A lie? I don’t think so, because getting girls in schools as on the agenda. Maybe an overestimation of the abilities ‘freedom’ would have or getting caught up in the hype themselves as politicians like to do. Here is another point – if you need to sell ‘women will be free’ to group in order to invade (especially when the political capital already exists for one to attack the Taliban/AQ), it’s hard to take that group seriously from a mainstream perspective. Said group would have pulled its support back because liberalizing womens rights wasn’t on the table?

    Tony Blair and the Brits were genuinely scared we’d nuke Afghanistan, which we didn’t. I think our path to Afghanistan was pretty clear domestically and internationally, and maybe to score some brownie points all the other stuff was added on. They really didn’t need to, but they did. It’s like a car salesman promising extras when the party has already agreed in principle to purchase the car. When the salesman didn’t deliver, the buyer becomes upset for not getting the extras, without evaluating the fact that they were already sold on buying the car without it in the first place.

    Rajesh:

    Interesting observation GujuDude, but has has the better marketing strategy and dominate the news. It is not mainstream Muslims,the silent majority.

    I’m not clear in exactly what you’re asking, my bad. Can you rephrase it?

  2. It wasn’t a selling point for the US public, any politician would have been able to sell the Afghan invasion even as pure retribution. A lie? I don’t think so, because getting girls in schools as on the agenda.

    Ok, I was clearly way too fast & loose with my words. First, let me clarify what I mean by “political left.” I don’t mean Dems or whatnot, I mean voraciously anti-war advocates in the Bay Area. I’m definitely not talking mainstream in any way, shape, or form. Also, with respect to calling it a “lie,” I guess I meant that it was ridiculous to sell invading Afghanistan as “women’s lib” when really that wasn’t a primary objective. In the messaging put out by groups like Feminist Majority (FMLA), they completely downplayed/ignored the violence women face before/during/after war, and they tried to pitch this as a “war for women’s freedom” instead of a war in which women may or may not benefit. It was, in my opinion, an unqualified and irrelevant argument for war.

  3. Ok, I was clearly way too fast & loose with my words. First, let me clarify what I mean by “political left.” I don’t mean Dems or whatnot, I mean voraciously anti-war advocates in the Bay Area. I’m definitely not talking mainstream in any way, shape, or form. Also, with respect to calling it a “lie,” I guess I meant that it was ridiculous to sell invading Afghanistan as “women’s lib” when really that wasn’t a primary objective. In the messaging put out by groups like Feminist Majority (FMLA), they completely downplayed/ignored the violence women face before/during/after war, and they tried to pitch this as a “war for women’s freedom” instead of a war in which women may or may not benefit. It was, in my opinion, an unqualified and irrelevant argument for war.

    Thanks for the clarification, what you were saying now makes sense to me. If we fought wars for women’s freedom specifically, we’d be lining up quite a bucket load of nations.

  4. In the messaging put out by groups like Feminist Majority (FMLA), they completely downplayed/ignored the violence women face before/during/after war, and they tried to pitch this as a “war for women’s freedom” instead of a war in which women may or may not benefit. It was, in my opinion, an unqualified and irrelevant argument for war.

    Right, exactly. It was a marketing effort, a way to sell a war to a group that otherwise would oppose it, and quiet what could have been a vocal anti-war minority. As I mentioned, I think Bush’s real aims had nothing to do with women and everything to do with asserting American dominance, but the ‘liberating women’ argument was pushed down our throats at every turn. (I was also attending a women’s college at the time, so you can imagine how often I heard it.) We used to hear the ‘humanitarian’ justifications for war a lot more often, although with Iraq they’re not even bothering anymore.

  5. GujuDude, Sorry I needed coffee, I mistyped. What I meant to say was: Doesn’t the extreemists or Islamists have the better marketing strategy as they are allways grabbing headlines, recruiting, and convering ? Hasn’t this resulted in mainstream Muslims (silent majority) being almost invisible to most Americans ?

  6. GujuDude, Sorry I needed coffee, I mistyped. What I meant to say was: Doesn’t the extreemists or Islamists have the better marketing strategy as they are allways grabbing headlines, recruiting, and convering ? Hasn’t this resulted in mainstream Muslims (silent majority) being almost invisible to most Americans ?

    Yes, it does become hard for majority of law abiding peaceful muslims to put for their views, due to the sensationalist nature of Salafist Jihadis (and terrorist groups in general). Not only do terrorist acts that catch attention show ‘strength’, but they also serve to drown out any voice of reason that the moderate/liberal community may have. The way Jihadis conduct their information/psychological warfare is their biggest strength (and acts like a force multiplier, IMHO).

    As I mentioned, I think Bush’s real aims had nothing to do with women and everything to do with asserting American dominance

    Sarah: There was very little resistance for the US to go into Afghanistan – it wasn’t just Bush’s decision made against very vocal opposition like the Iraq war, but a far more united one with the majority of government in agreement. Everything isn’t a grand scheme, rather in this case, other opportunities open up but the simplest answer holds true in my analysis; we went there for payback.

  7. Sarah: There was very little resistance for the US to go into Afghanistan – it wasn’t just Bush’s decision made against very vocal opposition like the Iraq war, but a far more united one with the majority of government in agreement.

    Believe me, I know. I was part of the tiny, tiny minority that opposed it– we’d wear buttons saying ‘don’t turn tragedy into war’ and people would threaten us physically on the streets. It was scary. But I still believe that it was the right thing to do. When I referred to “what could have been a vocal anti-war minority,” my intent was to underscore the fact that there was almost no anti-war movement whatsoever, partially because people on the radical left who might otherwise have questioned the war bought into the ‘but we’re liberating women’ justification.

    Everything isn’t a grand scheme, rather in this case, other opportunities open up but the simplest answer holds true in my analysis; we went there for payback.

    Then shouldn’t we have gone to Saudi Arabia?

  8. Then shouldn’t we have gone to Saudi Arabia?

    This argument doesn’t hold water because the Saudi government, unlike the Taliban were not sheltering the organization that coordinated the attacks. Remember, we asked the Taliban to withdraw their support for AQ before we went there. They said “No”. Taliban and AQ knew exactly what they were doing (as evidenced by AQ helping Taliban out by assinating Ahmed Shah Massoud days before 9-11). The foot soliders of AQ were Arab recruits, but the ‘headquarters’ were in Afghanistan with their government’s [Afghan] active support.

  9. because people on the radical left who might otherwise have questioned the war bought into the ‘but we’re liberating women’ justification.

    Hope springs eternal

  10. Hope springs eternal

    On a gaudy neon street? Not that I care at all. :)

    This argument doesn’t hold water because the Saudi government, unlike the Taliban were not sheltering the organization that coordinated the attacks.

    No, they just helped train them?!