Four years ago, Barack Obama pledged to get our troops out of Iraq, close Guantanamo Bay, and re-focus our efforts in Afghanistan. Obama was very critical of the Bush Administration's use of "enhanced interrogation", claiming the tactics created more enemies, resulted in unreliable intelligence, and was morally repugnant. He also vowed to dump the Patriot Act, describing it as "shoddy and dangerous."
The President has withdrawn troops form Iraq, yet Guantanamo Bay remains open, and the Patriot Act was renewed. While Obama signed an Executive Order outlawing enhanced interrogation tactics, he greatly increased the use of drone attacks. When Obama took office, we were carrying out a drone attack every 40 days. By mid 2011, drone strikes were occurring once every 4 days on average. In Pakistan alone, Obama has carried out 294 drone strikes. Between 2,500 and 3,300 people have been killed in the strikes, among them 474-880 innocents, and 176 children. Obama apparently believes killing a man with a hell-fire missile, along with innocent by-standers, is morally superior to water-boarding.
In Afghanistan, more than 1,400 Americans have been killed, and 15,000 wounded since Obama took office. By comparison, 575 were killed in Afghanistan under Bush, and 3,000 wounded. In other words, deaths have more than doubled and the number wounded has increased five-fold in roughly half the time. Yet, we see virtually no press coverage of the significant increase in casualties. Similarly, the anti-war protesters have virtually disappeared since Obama took office. Something tells me they'll find their way back to the White House if Mitt Romney is sworn into office.
In addition to expanding the war in Afghanistan, the President saw fit to intervene in the Libyan civil war. While his own Secretary of Defense acknowledged we had no vital national interest at stake, that didn't stop us from dropping bombs on the country for several months. Obama didn't bother going to Congress to ask for approval, nor did he comply with the War Powers Act. This was just another example of the President's utter disregard for the rule of law.
So where does Romney stand on these issues? It seems he largely agrees with much of it. His criticisms largely deal with the President's rhetoric. Beyond that, he plans to increase defense spending, suggesting that the cuts agreed to under the sequestration plan would hamper our national security. In 2011, we spent more on defense than the next ten highest spending countries combined; five times more than the next highest-China.
Romney even argued that we should continue spending nearly half of the world's defense dollars to save jobs. Apparently, the defense industry has become yet another jobs program.
Tonight's debate will be interesting to see what differences the two major contenders manage to conjure up.
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10:36- Time for the fake laugh and hand shake.
10:30- Obama wants to "build on our strengths"- i.e. gov't. More the better.
10:28- Nice to hear Romney saying localities should be paying for their own teachers. It's not the role of the federal gov't to be paying for teachers.
10:26- Obama says Romney wants to cut education spending. What a joke! Nobody in Washington ever proposes actual cuts. Just cuts in rates of growth.
10:22- The best laugh line of the night- Obama says the private sector has never invested enough in education and research.
10:15- Sorry, site was bogged down, so I wasn't updating. We're now an hour and 15 mins into this debate, and I really don't see significant differences beyond rhetoric. One will spend lots on defense. The other will spend a little less. Neither have a problem intervening in countries like Libya, where we have no national interest.
9:20- Obama says foreign leaders have to be clear where we stand. This picture pretty much sums it up.
9:13- Wasn't Obama against the surge in Iraq? He would have never been able to pull the troops out of Iraq had we followed his advice.
9:04- Benghazi right out of the shoot.
9:00- Here we go!
8:53- In an issue sure to come up tonight, the A.P. has prepared a timeline concerning the embassy raid in Benghazi. The account of the events sounds like a Bond movie. The key point here is the following: "The CIA station chief in Libya reports to Washington within 24 hours of the attack that there was evidence it was carried out by militants, not a spontaneous mob upset about the anti-Islam video."
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