National Security Network

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iraq

Diplomacy

Misleading from South Carolina

Report 14 November 2011
As Republican candidates for president debated foreign policy in Spartanburg, South Carolina, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) laid down lines of attack in the conservative National Review. Many of his attacks were echoed on Saturday by the candidates, who used the piece as a sort of playbook to fill in for a lack of experience and ideas in the field. Missing, in the debate and the article, was strategic thinking - China, for example, is mentioned only once in the piece, in relation to sanctions on Iran - as well as an understanding of the connection between the foundations of our strength at home and our power abroad. Also missing was awareness of how extreme conservative views clash with the advice of military leaders and nonpartisan national security experts. When Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN), for example, was asked about her support for torture techniques that our military opposes, she said: "I'm on the same side as Vice President Cheney on this issue" and against Colin Powell and John McCain. Below, NSN explores how the topics covered in Graham's article stack up against expert advice. Graham's words are in italics.
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Military

U.S. To Hand Over Iraq Bases, Equipment Worth Billions

News The Huffington Post 26 September 2011
Diplomacy

Hurlburt: Ask One for The Gipper

News Washington Monthly 7 September 2011
Iraq

An End in Iraq, and a Beginning

Report 31 August 2010
Tonight President Obama will commemorate the close of America's combat mission in Iraq and the redeployment of nearly 90,000 U.S. troops, marking the culmination of years of effort to replace the failed invasion strategy with one that better serves core American interests. America's mission in Iraq is changing to a civilian-led partnership, though thousands of troops will remain to advise and assist Iraqi forces. Challenges remain - the stalled government formation process, as well as persistent acts of violence - but these are problems that demand Iraqi-led solutions. These challenges will not be helped by heavy-handed intrusion on Iraq's political scene. And they certainly will not be helped by keeping American troops in the country indefinitely. The new effort underway in Iraq points toward a more effective focus for US policy:  a genuine partnership with Iraqis built around diplomacy, trade, and development, as well as security. This approach stands the best chance of building an enduring strategic relationship that aligns core U.S. interests with our resources and values
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Iraq

A New Era in Iraq -- and U.S. Foreign Policy

Report 19 August 2010

"Today is a marking point in the long process of responsiblytransitioning ownership of Iraq back to Iraqis -- a shift that has been madepossible by the sacrifices of America's fighting men and women, along withthose brave Iraqis who have stood up to rebuild their country. While the U.S.continues to provide training and support, the future of Iraq belongs to theIraqis." - NSN Senior Advisor Major General Paul D. Eaton (Retired) 

 

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Diplomacy

A 21st Century Approach to Foreign Policy

Report 28 January 2010

With renewed focus on the nation's economic agenda, many commentators have concluded that last night's State of the Union signaled a downplaying of national security.  But the speech , as well as the actions of his administration, underscore the point that affairs abroad are intertwined with the issues confronting Americans at home. In sum, the President's words were an affirmation of his administration's strategy for the 21st century, one that brings together both foreign and domestic instruments to project American power.

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Terrorism & National Security

Concrete Progress on America’s Core Security Priorities

Report 25 January 2010
2009 began with wars in strategic drift in Iraq and Afghanistan and a counterterrorism strategy badly in need of an overhaul.
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President Bush

Past Bush Administration Failures in Iraq and Afghanistan Still Having Repercussions Today

Report 26 October 2009
Iraq just experienced its worst bombing in two years and today was the deadliest day in Afghanistan in four years. While conservatives want to pretend that the history of America’s involvement in these wars started only when President Obama was sworn-in to office, the reality is that the new Administration is dealing with the fallout of eight years of incompetent war time management by the past Administration. Contrary to statements by his critics, President Obama has moved aggressively to clean up previous messes made in both theaters. In Iraq, he set a timetable for the extrication of American forces, pushed Iraqis to take control of their own future, and has been intensely engaged in resolving political disputes. In Afghanistan, the President has increased our resources and manpower while focusing on developing a strategy for a war that had been without one.
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