Quick Hits: Should GOP Embrace Weed? Russia Trolls UK Waters. Gates On Obama
I’m going to try something new…a couple of times a day or as often as reasonable, I’ll take 3 topics and do something that’s not quite a regular blog post length but longer than Twitter allows.
Number 1: Should the GOP embrace legalization/decriminalization of Marijuana?
It’s the sexy new topic on the right. Personally I’m indifferent to ok with it. I’ve never done pot or any other illegal drug so it’s not my thing. Mostly, I’m libertarian on this sort of stuff. If people want to do it and take the chance of screwing up their lives through addiction, not my problem. Just don’t ask me to pay for it.
National Review has an editorial that makes a strong case for legalization based on the cost of turning so many otherwise law abiding and upstanding citizens into criminals.
Make a less than impressive case is GOP consultant Rick Wilson. His argument is that the country is going in this direction and the GOP might as well get ahead of this and see the rewards of more young voters. This strikes me as nonsense along the lines that if the GOP just does amnesty then Hispanic voters will ditch their liberal beliefs and embrace conservatism.
What Wilson’s politics based approach ignores is that the last thing the GOP needs is another self-inflicted wedge issue fight. He offers no evidence that young voters will be drawn to the GOP or that the Democrats won’t simply follow along maintaining the rest of the issues status quo between the parties.
National Review is honest about making this decision on the basis of policy, not some phony unsupported political argument.
2. Russia parks warship off coast of Scotland, shrunken UK Navy scrambles to respond.
A lack of patrol craft to spot the visitor and a 24 hour response time to get a UK warship on the scene has highlighted a glaring problem…the Royal Navy, once the Rulers of the Waves, is a mere shadow of its former self and the resurgent Russian bear has noticed.
This provocation comes as Scotland contemplates an independence vote.
I guess Putin is trying to keep the UK together or something. Who ever knows with this guy.
Either way, it’s clear that weakness breads aggression. It’s a lesson we seem intent on ignoring again.
H/T and links via the invaluable Navy Lookout Twitter feed.
3. Former Secretary of Defense Bob Gates has a memoir coming out and excerpts are starting to leak.
Early focus from the book is on Obama and his approach to Afghanistan.
At a pivotal meeting in the situation room in March 2011, Mr. Gates said, Mr. Obama opened with a blast of frustration over his Afghan policy — expressing doubts about Gen. David H. Petraeus, the commander he had chosen, and questioning whether he could do business with the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai.
“As I sat there, I thought: The president doesn’t trust his commander, can’t stand Karzai, doesn’t believe in his own strategy and doesn’t consider the war to be his,” Mr. Gates writes. “For him, it’s all about getting out.”
As I wrote in December of 2009, the day after Obama’s speech at West Point announcing his troop surge plan.
So why is Obama doing this? To save face. I don’t think there’s any real doubt that if he could pull out today without paying to steep a price politically he would. Instead he is trying to have it both ways…be tough but not too tough. Committed by not endlessly so.
Obama’s speech last night laid out a strategy, but it was a political not a military one. He had to walk the line between the Olbermanns and Sullivan’s of the world on one hand and the independent voters who are tired of the war but don’t want to give up on the other. This ‘strategy’ has something for everyone. Everyone that is but people who are serious about fighting the war.
The country would have been better off had Obama trusted his instincts and just exited Afghanistan as we did Iraq. By 2010-2011 our troops had done all they could. Asking them to do more was just political cover.
Our troops did all they could and we should never let anyone say they didn’t do all that any group of men and women could have done.