December 17, 2007

Huckasmears of Yesteryear...

Hatched by Dafydd

I'm almost tempted to start a whole new catagory just for bizarre, liberal conspiracy theories that Mike Huckabee buys into; we'll see.

I've been reading Huckabee's article in Foreign Affairs from the January/February 2008 issue. I'm stunned by how many liberal shibboleths the governor would easily pass. (As I type this, Hugh Hewitt is on the same topic.)

Although the article is current, in fact each of these nutroot smears were originally delivered by Huckabee back in September, when he gave a condensed version of this article as a speech at a conference organized by the magazine; so he's been passing these canards for some time. (In that same speech, by the way, he said he was the only candidate with a Theology degree... which, of course, he does not actually have.)

Let's take a look at a couple.

President Bush took "retribution" against Gen. Eric Shinseki

Here's one that no one has mentioned so far:

In the former Yugoslavia, we sent 20 peacekeeping soldiers for every thousand civilians. In Iraq, an equivalent ratio would have meant sending a force of 450,000 U.S. troops. Unlike President George W. Bush, who marginalized General Eric Shinseki, the former army chief of staff, when he recommended sending several hundred thousand troops to Iraq, I would have met with Shinseki privately and carefully weighed his advice. Our generals must be independent advisers, always free to speak without fear of retribution or dismissal.

Mike Huckabee thinks that Gen. Eric Shinseki was dismissed? This is straight out the Democratic talking points. In fact, Shinseki was sworn in for his fixed, 4-year term as Army Chief of Staff in 1999, and he left office in 2003 -- four years later. Huckabee tries to weasel a bit by saying Bush "marginalized" Shinseki; but rejecting a general's advice is not marginalizing him.

Some Democrats make a big deal out of the fact that the Washington Post had an article in April, 2002, claiming that the Bush admininistration had just announced Shinseki's successor... Jack Keane. This, claim Democrats and liberals (such as Mike Huckabee), "undercut" Shinseki and turned him into a "lame duck," or "marginalized" him, as Huckabee says... and all as an act of "retribution" for Shinseki saying that we would need "several hundred thousand" troops to win in Iraq.

There are a two major problems with this Huckasmear:

  1. Eric Shinseki's successor as Army Chief of Staff was not Jack Keane; it was Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker;
  2. The Post published its article in April, 2002... but Shinseki made his comment about needing "several hundred thousand troops" in congressional testimony in February 2003, ten months after the supposed "retribution." (I've heard of preemptive war, but preemptive retribution?)

Here is a clip from CNN, where Wolf Blitzer does a little fact-checking on Paul Begala, who appears to be Huckabee's main source:

BLITZER: As promised yesterday, we want to do a follow-up now on something Paul Begala said in an exchange with Torie Clarke yesterday in our strategy session. Paul charged that General Eric Shinseki was effectively relieved of duty as Army chief of staff for testifying under oath that the U.S. needed lots more troops to secure Iraq.

We promised to check the facts on that. And here's what we've come up with. This is what we know. General Shinseki served out his full four-year term as the Army chief of staff. But the defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld tapped a successor for Shinseki back in April of 2002, more than a year before his retirement.

That person didn't wind up taking the job, but such an early announcement was indeed embarrassing to Shinseki, and some say it wound up undercutting his clout inside the Pentagon.

Here's a critical point on the timing. The Pentagon was planning for Shinseki's retirement nearly a year before the general testified that several hundred thousand soldiers might be need in post-war Iraq. That testimony got a very quick response from the secretary, that would be Donald Rumsfeld, who charged that Shinseki's assessment was flat out wrong.

Rumsfeld says that suggestions, though, that Shinseki was fired are a myth. Our senior Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre, who's done a lot of reporting on this story, says that Shinseki was certainly ostracized and criticized for his testimony about troop levels in Iraq. But Jamie says Shinseki was not fired. He wound up retiring after serving his full four-year term.

This show aired on March 21, 2006... a year and eight months ago. Yet Mike Huckabee still believes, today, that the "arrogant" President Bush, probably acting from his "bunker mentality," took "retribution" on Gen. Shinseki by "marginaliz[ing]" or "dismiss[ing]" him for saying we would need more troops than Rumsfeld was planning at the time. Gov. Huckabee is way behind even the MSM on correcting a Democrat smear of George W. Bush.

Bush "let bin Laden escape at Tora Bora" by outsourcing the battle to the Afghans

Just one more; the rest must wait for another day, another Huckapost:

When we let bin Laden escape at Tora Bora, a region along the Afghan-Pakistani border, in December 2001, we played Brer Fox to his Brer Rabbit.

This is another Democratic talking point against Bush; it was first reported in 2002, starting with the Washington Post, I believe, and then all over the elite media. Every so often, the meme bubbles up again: A 2004 document surfaces that allegedly charges a prisoner with "assist[ing] in the escape of Usama Bin Laden from Tora Bora;" Fox News reports that some Afghan warlord claims he was the one who helped Bin Laden escape Tora Bora, and so forth.

But the fact is that no Army document has ever been presented, and nobody in charge of that battle has ever come forward to say, that we knew then or know today whether Osama bin Laden was personally present at Tora Bora. Jed Babbin did what none of these other news agencies did: He actually interviewed those involved and asked them:

I asked [Lt. Gen. Michael DeLong, deputy commander of CENTCOM during the Afghan conflict] to bottom line it: Had the Bush administration concluded that OBL was present in Tora Bora? Was it the gravest error of the war to not commit enough U.S. ground troops? "Rifle" DeLong said, "Somebody could have made that statement, but it sure as hell wasn't the people who fought the war." No one in the military chain of command -- or in the Pentagon in any position of authority -- has reached this phantom "conclusion" that we blew it at Tora Bora....

After the north fell and then Kabul, "...we got word that Osama bin Laden with his leadership -- what was left of it -- could possibly be up in the Tora Bora mountains. We also got word the same day that he could be in Egypt." Reports poured in, some appeared reliable, that OBL could also be in Dubai or in Pakistan. Franks and DeLong concluded, based on the preponderance of the intelligence that OBL was in Tora Bora. U.S. forces couldn't invade Egypt, Pakistan, or Dubai, but they could take a shot at Tora Bora where a substantial number of al Qaeda -- with or without bin Laden -- were hiding. Once again, the Afghanis were integrated with the American and Coalition forces. Nobody "outsourced" the job to them.

Babbin's piece was published on November 1st, 2004. Considering this Huckasmear along with the one above, and his statement that "If I ever have to undertake a large invasion, I will follow the Powell Doctrine and use overwhelming force," and his unattainable demand that we must raise our Defense budget up to what it was during Reagan's term, during the Cold War (that is, add $240 billion annually to bring it up to 6% of the GDP)... I have to wonder whether Huckabee is simply living in the past. Did he stop following the War on Global Hirabah in 2003, or has he read or learned anything more recent than that? (What next... will he demand we bring back the Crusader program?)

And who is is actual advisor on this? We already know he would have believed Eric Shinseki over Tommy Franks; does he also pine for advice from Madeleine Albright, Paul Begala, and Sen. John Kerry (D-MA, 95%)?

The more I read about him -- in his own words! -- the more I believe that Huckabee is the wrong man for the wrong job at the wrong time. If I may quote Friend Lee (notwithstanding Huckabee apologist Michael Medved), "it can't be hush-a-bye time soon enough for Mike Huckabee."

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 17, 2007, at the time of 6:12 PM

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The following hissed in response by: Geoman

Agreed. No more hucksters from Arkansas in the White House.

The above hissed in response by: Geoman [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 18, 2007 10:46 AM

The following hissed in response by: hunter

Geoman, you summed it extremely well and in few words.
No more hucksters from Arkansas.

The above hissed in response by: hunter [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 18, 2007 11:12 AM

The following hissed in response by: Beldar

A brilliant pair of posts, Dafydd.

The above hissed in response by: Beldar [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 20, 2007 2:07 AM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh


Praise from the meister! Thanks.

The more I hear from Huckabee, the more I think he is our Bill Clinton: Even if he wins, we'll live to regret it.


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 20, 2007 2:44 AM

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