Obama’s Public Option for Gitmo

November 13th, 2009 Jena McNeill

The Obama Administration announced this morning that it intends to ship five Guantanamo Bay detainees to New York to be tried in civilian federal court. One of those men is the September 11th mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammad.

This decision will be seen by many liberals as paving the way for closing the Guantanamo Bay facility. It is also an olive branch by an Administration facing growing criticism from its own party for its failure to move forward on closing the facility by its January 22nd deadline. In fact, the President has been battered lately by the left for staying too close to Bush Administration terrorism policies. So close in fact, that the Obama Administration had announced its intent to continue to use military tribunals despite Obama’s feverish opposition to such an idea during the Presidential campaigns.

Obama tried to make his case today for this decision by stating that Khalid Sheik Mohammad, one of the four set to be tried, would be subject to “the most exacting demands of justice.” But this move would be anything but justice.

Civilian courts are horribly situated to handle the prosecution of these types of detainees. Not only there potential security concerns associated with transporting such high-value detainees thousands of miles away, but these five men, charged with crimes related to the attacks of 9/11 would be tried in New York City, the very same location of the attacks. Defense lawyers are sure to argue that the venue is prejudicial paving the way for multiple due process challenges.

While this decision will certainly appease those seeking to erode America’s ability to prosecute war criminals under a military tribunal, there is no reason to believe a military tribunal isn’t capable of exacting justice on these four suspects. Placing these detainees in a domestic criminal proceeding creates evidentiary, security, and procedural issues. These detainees are not common criminals—but individuals that committed an act of war against the United States. Not only does the law sufficiently provide for use of military tribunals, common sense demands it.

The Obama Administration’s scattered counterterrorism policies, littered with efforts to placate the left while recognizing the legitimacy of some Bush era policies, are an invitation for terrorists to take advantage of America’s divisions. Obama needs to be clear, forceful, and direct, sending the message that America won’t stand for terrorism.

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Iran’s Latest American Hostages

November 11th, 2009 James Phillips

Iran’s list of hostages is steadily growing despite the Obama Administration’s zealous efforts to engage Iran’s brutal dictatorship. Three young American hikers who accidentally strayed across the Iranian border last summer now face charges of espionage, which is punishable by the death penalty in Iran. Yesterday an Iranian prosecutor indicated that the three hikers, Shane Bauer, 27, Sarah Shourd, 30, and Joshua Fattal, 27, were being investigated as spies after they were arrested, allegedly on the Iranian side of the poorly-marked Iraq-Iran border on July 31. Today Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad piled on by stressing Iran’s right to punish people who illegally crossed its border and suggesting that the United States was responsible for the kidnapping of an Iranian pilgrim in Saudi Arabia.

Last month an Iranian-American scholar, Kian Tajbakhsh, was sentenced to fifteen years in prison because of alleged subversive activity. Tajbakhsh was arrested during the unrest that broke out after Iran’s sham elections last June and he never received a fair trial, which is par for the course in Iran.

Iran also still has failed to satisfactorily explain the disappearance of Robert Levinson, a retired FBI investigator who disappeared in Iran in 2007 after meeting with David Belfield, an American convert to Islam who fled to Iran after he assassinated an exiled Iranian opposition leader, Ali Akbar Tabatabai, in 1980 in Bethesda, Maryland. Levinson is believed to be held in a secret prison in Iran. Clearly, President Obama’s engagement policy has done little to help hostage Americans, let alone the millions of Iranians who are being held hostage by Iran’s criminal regime.

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“War on Climate Change” Will Not Advance Security or Freedom

November 9th, 2009 Katie Brown

In his speech to the UN on climate change, President Obama warned that the “security and stability of each nation and all peoples—our prosperity, our health, our safety—are in jeopardy” and that “we must seize the opportunity to make Copenhagen a significant step forward in the global fight against climate change.”

This message of fighting climate change in order to ensure national security has become a major element of mainstream environmental rhetoric, so much so that many have likened the battle to a full-scale “war.” While examples of this are numerous, a few stand out: in a speech given at Oxford this summer, Al Gore said that the fight against climate change can be compared to the way in which “Winston Churchill aroused this nation in heroic fashion to save civilisation in World War II.” Likewise, Britain’s Environment Agency Chief Executive, Lady Young, has said that the fight against climate change is “World War Three…We need the sorts of concerted, fast, integrated and above all huge efforts that went into many actions in times of war.”

The Obama Administration has emphasized many times that the fight against climate change has two goals: to reduce carbon emissions on the one hand and to strengthen national security on the other. The problem is that this legislation cannot achieve both goals together but can only achieve a reduction of emissions at the expense of national security and the economy. According to James Carafano, a leading expert in defense and homeland security at the Heritage Foundation,

“A sharp decline in economic productivity would likely have a deleterious impact on U.S. security. For example, a collapse in U.S. economic growth would result in even more draconian cuts to the defense budget, leaving America with a military much less prepared to deal with future threats. Indeed, if Americas military power declines, there would probably be more wars, not fewer. Likewise, a steep drop in American economic growth would lengthen and deepen the global recession. That in turn will make other states poorer, undermining their ability to protect themselves and recover from natural disasters.”

If the Obama Administration decides to fight this war on climate change, the United States will ultimately lose, coming out of the battle with a weaker economy, weaker security, and weaker personal freedoms. Unlike World War II or the Cold War, when America sought to advance the security of nations and the cause of freedom, this war on climate change will do much to weaken national security and shackle the freedoms of Americans. In its wake, the government will have unprecedented control over the energy industry: the development of fossil fuels will no longer be an option for Americans and the government will decide what kinds of energy can be produced or purchased.

As the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference draws near, the words of President Reagan again become relevant. In his famous “tear down this wall” speech towards the end of the Cold War, Reagan argued that freedom is an essential ingredient for the security of nations:

We believe that freedom and security go together, that the advance of human liberty can only strengthen the cause of world peace.”

Reagan’s words remind us that policies that weaken defense, the economy and personal liberties are not the answer in our efforts to keep America safe and free.

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Rising Debt, Sinking Security

November 9th, 2009 Philip Reboli

It turns out that neither nuclear weapons nor terrorism may be the greatest threat to American prosperity and security. Instead, it may be something we hear very little about in the mainstream media: our burgeoning national debt. Runaway spending on entitlements, bailouts, and stimulus bills are driving the budget deficit upward. As an article in The Washington Times explains, massive government debt may be the force that ultimately overcomes the nation’s ability to be the “master of its own destiny.” Publicly-held debt now stands at $7 trillion, or about $22,000 per person. And it could double in the next ten years, leaving less and less for spending on defense.

In an interview with Politico, Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) remarked that the defense budget is getting “sufficiently squeezed,” and he thought the solution may well be cutting back on big-ticket defense items or lengthening their development time. The article also cites a Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments analyst who believes there’s no room for the defense budget to grow; in fact, he warns, the interest on the debt may exceed the annual defense budget—for the first time in U.S. history—by fiscal year 2018. The government should focus its spending on those areas which are vital to our national security and slow the pace at which it is increasing the national debt. Let’s hope someone hears and heeds this shot across the bow.

Phillip Reboli currently is a member of the Young Leaders Program at the Heritage Foundation. His views do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit: http://www.heritage.org/about/departments/ylp.cfm

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Urban Conservative Officially Relaunches

October 29th, 2009 Billy Hallowell

Hello, America!  I am extremely excited to be writing to you this evening, as I officially begin my journey as editor-in-chief of UrbanConservative.com.  My name is Billy Hallowell and I am honored to introduce myself to you all.  

I have been a contributor to this site for the past two years.  I am a journalist and commentator who has been working in media for nearly 11 years (Im 26, so I started fairly young).  In 2003, I founded Pathufind Media and I am currently the host of RENEWtv, a web show devoted to renewing American conservatism.  And now, Im officially a member of the Urban Conservative family!

But enough about me.  You can surely read more on my Web site, but Im guessing youre most interested in what will be happening here on UrbanConservative.com!  Tomorrow, we will become a daily publication.  Many of you have been actively reading UC for years.  This new change will afford you even more access to valuable news and information!

Youll notice weve launched a plethora of new topics.  While these subjects are of great importance to American politics, please be patient as we build our content around them (i.e. there may be a lag before all topics have streaming content).  But, we will be branching into new and uncharted news categories, as you can see.

Also, in November, my show RENEWtv will officially join forces with Urban Conservative.  

These are just some of the changes in store as we move forward!  Please be patient as we transition, add new blogs to the CONLIST and forge our path moving forward.  I thank you for your support and readership and I look forward to serving you!

Billy Hallowell, Editor-in-Chief

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Novel Idea: Let’s let the homeless in America decide who will be the next President

October 7th, 2008 Urban Conservative

In Cleveland, Ohio a volunteer group supporting Obama picked up hundreds of homeless people at shelters, soup kitchens and drug-rehab centers and drove them to a polling house yesterday on the last day that folks in Ohio could register and vote on the same day, with almost no questions asked.

One convicted felon noted, I never voted before, without this service, I would have had no way to get here.”

Every decent law abiding citizen in this country democrat or republican should be angry and ashamed of this vile attempt to gain votes, however insignificant the number really is. The law against registering and voting the same day was on the books in Ohio, yet the democratic controlled court made this determination because they are of course in bed with their political party. Yet another example of how democrats put their party before their country.

Sure, these people can vote for their candidate when they are in the booth, but theres nothing preventing the fraud of voting in multiple locations. Is one homeless guy whos bought off for a box of smokes or a six pack of beer worth 3 or 4 of your informed votes?

Lets not only exploit the children in this country but also the homeless. Whos next, the mentally disabled?

Tags: convicted felons voting for Obama, homeless people voting for Obama, Obama supporters in Ohio


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General Wesley Clark’s absurd comments about McCain’s heroism and military record

June 30th, 2008 Urban Conservative

So Obama is finally planning to make a visit the Middle East in an apparent effort to brush up on his foreign policy credentials, or lack thereof. Now, perhaps he can begin to speak intelligently about the improvements in Iraq.  But this post is not about Obama and his minimal political experience. It’s about retired General Wesley Clark, who many believe to be Obama’s running mate in the 2008 Presidential Election. 

No disrespect to the Army of course.  I got much love for you and respect you all tremendously.  In fact, while on active duty I spent considerable time in Fort Carson, Colorado and Fort Lewis, Washington training with several Infantry units. 

But this punk, General Clark has the nerve to attack McCain’s military record.  Here are some of his comments he made yesterday while interviewed by Bob Schieffer from CBS Face the Nation (video):

McCain had not held executive responsibility and had not commanded troops in wartime.…I dont think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president … He hasnt been there and ordered the bombs to fall as a wartime commander.

It was a weak interview indeed but what would you expect from the soft Bob Schieffer.  Nonetheless, this is a clear example of another Democrat putting their party before their country.  Don’t get me wrong, both parties do it; hence, one reason I am no longer a Republican.  But Clark’s comments are way off base; and if I were in uniform walking by the decorated General, I would look the other way before I raised my hand to salute. Of course, Obama rejected Clark’s comments; and also praised McCain’s military service:

For those like John McCain who have endured physical torment in service to our country—no further proof of such sacrifice is necessary …And let me also add that no one should ever devalue that service, especially for the sake of a political campaign, and that goes for supporters on both sides.

Wesley Clark spent a gruelling six months in Vietnam and has the nerve to attack McCain? Now, I am no McCain apologist, nor do I think he is the perfect republican candidate, but this man has done what very few have ever done or will ever do. This man served his country in a time of war.  He was almost killed on July 29, 2023 after an assault on the USS Forrestal. He tried to help another pilot when a bomb exploded and he was struck in the legs and chest by fragments.

He then volunteered for assignment with the USS Oriskany where he continued to fly combat missions until being shot down over Hanoi on Oct. 26, 1967.  His crash injuries included both legs and one arm broken, and when he regained consciousness a crowd attacked him, crushing his shoulder with a rifle butt and stabbing him with bayonets. He was then taken to Hanois main Hoa La prison also known as the Hanoi Hilton.

His captors refused to treat his wounds, and instead beat him and interrogated him for days and weeks. When they found out his father was an Admiral, they announced his capture and attempted to use him for propaganda. McCain never broke; no information and no recorded statements.

He was then transferred to a different camp on the outskirts of Hanoi where he spent six weeks in the hospital. He had lost 50 pounds and was in a body cast and his hair had turned white during this time.  In March 1968, McCain was placed in solitary confinement, where he remained for two years. Two years all by himself somewhere in the middle of the jungle. Still, McCain never broke.

Then, in mid-1968, McCains father was named commander of all U.S. forces, and McCain was offered early release. The North Vietnamese wanted to appear merciful for propaganda reasons, and also wanted to show other POWs that what they called elites like McCain were willing to be treated preferentially. McCain turned down the offer; he would only accept the offer if every man taken in before him was released as well. He wouldnt play their mind games, wouldnt harm his country even if it meant more torture and possibly death for himself. Still, McCain never broke.

In August of 1968, it got worse for McCain. He was subjected to repeated beatings, rope bindings and various other torture techniques; and at the same time as he was suffering from dysentery (an infection of the digestive system that results in severe diarrhea containing mucus and blood in the feces and is typically the result of unsanitary water containing micro-organisms which damage the intestinal lining).

After several days of torture and the denial of food and water, McCain made an anti-American propaganda confession. To date, he feels that his statement was dishonorable, but as he would later write, I had learned what we all learned over there: Every man has his breaking point. I had reached mine. His injuries left him permanently incapable of raising his arms above his head. He subsequently received two to three beatings per week because of his continued refusal to sign additional statements.

Altogether, McCain was held as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam for five and a half years. He was released on March 14, 1973; six months before I was born. (read the full account here).

I dont agree with all of McCains policies. I dont take the same position as he has in the past based on his voting record. Yes, he is boring to watch, hes old and he really doesnt inspire me. But Ill tell you what.  Ill take his experience, dedication, conviction, patriotism, decades of honorable service, courage, stamina and optimistic vision for the future of this country any time, any day over the alternative.

Tags: General Clarks comments about McCain, Wesley Clark, John McCain, military record, military service, Bob Schieffer, Face the Nation, CBS, gen wesley clark military service record, recent article about general wesley clark, what were wesley clarks military injuries

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Breaking News: Israeli Military exercise seems directed at Iran

June 19th, 2008 Urban Conservative

Watch out Ahmadinejad. The heat is coming; but the Iran Military is waiting. It’s been reported that Israel has facilitated a major military exercise earlier this month as a rehearsal for a potential bombing attack on Irans nuclear facilities.

According to the International Herald Tribune (the global edition of the NY Times), several American officials said the Israeli exercise appeared to be an effort to develop the militarys capacity to carry out long-range strikes and to demonstrate the seriousness with which Israel views Irans nuclear program.

According to these officials, more than 100 Israeli F-16 and F-15 fighter jets participated in air maneuvers, which were carried out over the eastern Mediterranean and over Greece during the first week of June; which also included helicopter exercises.

In the past, Israel has carried out two preemptive strikes against nuclear sites in the Middle East. In 1981, Israeli jets leveled Iraqs nuclear plant at Osirak after it was confirmed that it was part of Saddam Husseins nuclear weapons program.   And more recently, Israel aft bombed a structure in Syria that housed a nuclear reactor built with the aid of North Korea.

Can you really blame Israel for taking a proactive approach in dealing with this issue? Or, maybe they should take a more diplomatic approach. Yeah, that should work. Long live Israel!

Tags: Israel, Iran, Nuclear site, weapons programs, syria, Osirak, military, air strikes, israeli military exercise, israel military exercise, iran comments on israeli air maneuvers, iran military, israel greece military exercise, israel june 19th and military exercise, israel military exercises iran,

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US Marine in Haditha might sue John Murtha over smear campaign

June 19th, 2008 Urban Conservative

John Murtha will soon be eating his own words and forking out some cash, hopefully.

If you remember, back in 2005, there was an investigation into the tragic death of civilians in the Iraqi city of Haditha.  Apparently, there was supposed to be compelling evidence that proved that U.S. Marines killed innocent civilians in cold blood, according to former Marine and Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa. He even claimed that there was a Military cover up; and was extremely vocal with his blasphemous statements.

He was wrong according to the video presented as evidence at a hearing for Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani who was charged; and on Tuesday, a U.S. Military Judge tossed out the charges against him. 

In an interview with nationally syndicated conservative radio talk host Michael Savage, the attorney for Lt. Col. Chessani said he and his client are looking into suing Murtha and the Time magazine reporter, Tim McGuirk, who first published the accusations by Iraqi insurgents.

We will see what happens.

Tags: haditha, iraq, marines, killed innocent civilians in cold blood, Rep. John Murtha, charges dismissed, US Marines, Time magazine, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessan, Tim McGuirk

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Video: Obama on National Security and Defense Spending, or lack thereof

June 9th, 2008 Urban Conservative

Mark my words, friends. If Obama gets elected as President, we are pretty much screwed on all ends. It’s no wonder why terrorist organizations across the Middle East are pulling for him. I am surprised that this video hasn’t received any media coverage at all; and I am wondering why my conservative brethren in the blogosphere haven’t picked up on this. In a nutshell, Obama says and I quote:

  • I will not develop new nuclear weapons
  • I will cut investments in missile defense systems
  • I will slow our development of future combat systems

I understand he is a pacifist and all, but does he really think we can negotiate with terrorists. Consider this quote from the CNBC Democratic Debates last year:

And what we should be doing is reaching out aggressively to our allies, but also talking to our enemies and focusing on those areas where we do not accept their actions, whether it be terrorism or developing nuclear weapons, but also talking to Iran directly about the potential carrots that we can provide in terms of them being involved in the World Trade Organization, or beginning to look at the possibilities of diplomatic relations being normalized.

My jaw hit the ground when he made his comment about cutting investments in missile defense systems. These are DEFENSE systems we are talking about. In the video, he talks about protecting the American people; yet he wants to cut missile defense systems. I dont get it.

Now it all sounds good the ban on nuclear weapons vision and all; but its highly unlikely that Russia, China, India and Pakistan, and whoever else is seeking nuclear superiority will agree to this. And even if they did, I would be highly skeptical of them to actually follow through with it. I dont think he even believes he can accomplish this. He is doing what all politicians do best tell constituents exactly what they want to hear.

Many of you truly believe that I am a warmonger because I supported the Iraq War; and still do. I am not. I hate war and the devastation it brings to innocent men, woman and children. But I believe that in order for there to be peace, there HAS to be war. It is a necessary evil that has proven itself throughout history time and time again. And the last I checked, we cant fight nuclear weapons with muskets and gunpowder; and we cant protect ourselves with out state of the art missile defense systems.

Watch the video and then ask yourself, Will my family and I be safe from terrorism and war if Obama is our next President?

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