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What Is Samantha Power Thinking? The charismatic Obama adviser believes that stopping “genocide”...
NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE ^ | March 29, 2011 | Matthew Shaffer

Posted on 03/31/2011 1:26:17 PM PDT by neverdem

What Is Samantha Power Thinking?
The charismatic Obama adviser believes that stopping "genocide" is the United States' top foreign-policy priority.

On March 18, President Obama explained his decision to mobilize the United States military for international intervention in Libya. “Left unchecked,” he said, “we have every reason to believe that Qaddafi would commit atrocities against his people. Many thousands could die. A humanitarian crisis would ensue. The entire region could be destabilized, endangering many of our allies and partners.” (As if it hasn’t been already?)

That last sentence was a Realpolitik, national-interest justification for the U.S. intervention. But it rang hollow. Regional destabilization would be likelier to center on Egypt, where a nascent and fragile democracy’s first vote reflected growing power for the Muslim Brotherhood and marginalization for young secularists; or on Yemen, where an important ally in U.S. counterterrorism efforts is following a script uncannily similar to Egypt’s, but with greater sectarianism; or on the tiny kingdom of Bahrain, where all the elements of a perfect Middle East storm — Sunni vs. Shia, Arab vs. Persian, and American-backed vs. anti-American — are cooling America’s relations with Saudi Arabia, and threatening the cold peace between the latter and Iran; or even on Syria, where a regime that kept Israel’s northeastern border relatively quiet for 40 years is endangered. The citizens of Benghazi, on the other hand, are hardly essential U.S. allies or linchpins of geopolitical stability.

The real motivation animating the intervention was humanitarian. At a private conference with foreign-policy experts last week, President Obama’s advisers reportedly admitted as much. In justifying a “limited humanitarian intervention,” White House Middle East strategist Dennis Ross explained to the conference that “We were looking at ‘Srebrenica on steroids’ — the real or imminent possibility that up to a 100,000 people could be massacred, and everyone would blame us for it.” That allusion has been common (a Wall Street Journal op-ed was subtitled, “Benghazi would have been the president’s Srebrenica”). And it is especially apt for one reason: Samantha Power.

Power, who is the senior director of multilateral affairs for the National Security Council, says a formative experience in her life was her attempt in early July 1995 to file a report with the Washington Post about Gen. Ratko Mladic’s approach toward the Bosnian town of Srebrenica. She had gone to Bosnia fresh out of Yale, and now wanted to sound the alarm in order to inspire international intervention. Her report was rejected, and the next day Mladic ordered the systematic executions that would send more than 8,000 Muslim boys and men to mass graves.

Power later rose to intellectual prominence with a book inspired by that experience. A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide is a sustained examination of America’s and the international community’s responses to the Armenian genocide, the Holocaust, the Khmer Rouge massacres, Saddam’s chemical warfare against the Kurds, Hutu versus Tutsi violence in Rwanda, and ethnic cleansing in Bosnia. She describes herself in public appearances as “an old-fashioned human-rights person,” or “a genocide chick.” The ironic inflection conveys that she is (1) conscious that her ideas might seem basic, simple, even clichéd, and (2) no less committed to their fundamental goodness and truth. And she’s no provincial liberal: She has extensively praised American evangelicals’ international charity and takes shots at the lit-department Left’s apologists for human-rights abusers in Third World countries.

On a wave of critical acclaim, Power went on to prestigious appointments in human-rights advocacy groups and academe, eventually becoming the executive director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Kennedy School at Harvard. Power became well ensconced within the halls of influence. While at Harvard, she invited her students to dinner with Marty Peretz, Niall Ferguson, and other heavy hitters of public intellectual life. She’s also charismatic. She towers vertically, with a looming brow and a booming voice. Men’s Vogue profiled her as “a rare Harvard brainiac who can boast both a Pulitzer Prize and a mean jump shot.”

So it was only natural that, in early 2005, Power got a call from then-senator Obama. He had just read A Problem from Hell. The two met up in Washington, and by the end of a four-hour conversation, she was completely taken with him. She joked later, “I said, Why don’t I leave my job at Harvard and come work as an intern for you?”

She got her chance a couple of years later as a foreign-policy adviser to Obama’s presidential campaign. On the trail, she met Cass Sunstein, the law-and-economics guru who later became an Obama regulatory czar. Soon, the serendipitously named adviser became half of the ultimate Ivory Tower–Beltway power marriage: Sunstein had Obama’s ear on domestic policy, she on foreign. On the campaign trail, Power took some flak from the Right for too much moral equivalence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And she took more flak from rival candidate Hillary Clinton, who, Power claimed, caricatured her and Obama’s contentious view that it is advantageous to sit down and talk even with evil regimes (Ahmadinejad’s in particular). Power responded with a Kinsley gaffe, calling Clinton “a monster,” and was forced to resign from the campaign.

But the next time she seized the spotlight, it was in cooperation with Clinton. Right after Obama announced his intention to engage the U.S. military in Libya, a story line emerged: Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Adm. Mike Mullen both opposed military action in Libya, but they were outmaneuvered by three women: Clinton, Power, and Amb. Susan Rice.

For some, Obama’s decision proved what they had long suspected: The charismatic Power had special influence with the president. The things that made her controversial on the campaign trail — Israel and Iran — aren’t a factor in Libya, and the ideas on which she founded her career suddenly were paramount. Samantha Power’s focus on genocide — which she defines to include mass murders that are not inter-ethnic, such as the Khmer Rouge slaughters — as a particular and unique evil, and the modern geopolitical problem for which international institutions exist, seems to be the intellectual basis on which intervention in Libya was justified within the administration.

The evidence here is circumstantial, but there is a lot of it. Conservatives have spent the last week teasing Obama over his reversals. Appealing to an America that was tired of W.’s wars, Senator Obama told the Boston Globe in 2007, “The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.” So whence last week’s sudden reversal, this return to Responsibility to Protect norms for the United States? Meanwhile, liberals have contested the moral basis of humanitarian warfare. If the goal is to save lives, the argument goes, couldn’t we do so more effectively, sans collateral damage, by fighting malaria? Maybe. And, if so, what’s the moral basis for saving Benghazi instead of sub-Sahara unless we think, as Power does, that genocide (as she defines it) is a unique and particular moral evil, and the fundamental geopolitical problem?

Power is obviously an impressive intellect, and her ideas cannot be easily dismissed. Her philosophical point — that beyond national interest, foreign policy should comprehend a moral imperative to stop mass murders — and her historical archaeology — which shows how the U.S. could have done more to stop genocides past — are difficult to contest. But there are some patterns of her thought which may be inapplicable to current policy regarding Libya. For example, in A Problem from Hell Power argues that there is a set of ideas that get repeated in, and hence enable, each genocide. The first is the belief that there is an ambiguous and morally complex conflict between rival groups where there is in fact a simple relationship of victimizer and victimized (policymakers, she complains, “render the bloodshed two-sided and inevitable, not genocidal”). In some cases — like the Holocaust — her view is obviously correct. But it is less obvious in Libya. Observers from security expert George Friedman to New YorkTimesman Thomas Friedman have pointed out that Libya’s sectarian conflict has been painted over by media-savvy Libyans and intoxicated Western journalists to portray a unified democratic uprising against Qaddafi, where there are in fact strong elements of tribal power rivalries.

Samantha Power also condemns those who argue that humanitarian interventions can have unpredictable consequences that could eventually add to the harm. Policymakers, she writes, “insist that any proposed U.S. response will be futile. Indeed, it may even do more harm than good, bringing perverse consequences to the victims and jeopardizing other precious American moral or strategic interests.” This, she implies, is an excuse for moral cowardice. Maybe so. But maybe it’s also true.

Whether right or wrong, Samantha Power’s ideas seem to be the animating spirit behind U.S. policy in Libya. Our assessments of the two must rise and fall together.

— Matthew Shaffer is a William F. Buckley fellow at the National Review Institute.  



TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 201103; 20110318; ahmadinejad; armenian; benghazi; carr; carrcenter; casssunstein; cchr; dennisross; e2p; fakehumanitarians; foreignpolicy; genocide; harvard; hillaryclinton; holocaust; humanitarianism; iran; iranlobby; laftwingnuts; libya; martyperetz; mikemullen; mladic; monster; muslimbrotherhood; negotiatingwterror; niallferguson; nsc; obama; obamaswar; palestinianlobby; plo; power; protectiondoctrine; r2p; ratkomladic; robertgates; ross; samanthapower; srebrenica; sunstein; susanrice; theroadtohell; valkyrie; whitehouseintern
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1 posted on 03/31/2011 1:26:20 PM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem

Of course, “genocide” means whatever she wants to mean.


2 posted on 03/31/2011 1:27:52 PM PDT by Steely Tom (Obama goes on long after the thrill of Obama is gone)
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To: neverdem

Charismatic? Other than having written a book that the libtard liked and having married the metrosexual Cass Sunstein, there isn’t much else there. Charisma? I saw her do an interview once - it looked like she was talking to her shoes.


3 posted on 03/31/2011 1:29:26 PM PDT by achilles2000 ("I'll agree to save the whales as long as we can deport the liberals")
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To: neverdem

Nitwit


4 posted on 03/31/2011 1:30:15 PM PDT by screaminsunshine (Obama Sucks)
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To: neverdem

Of equal importance to the Obama eligibility issue.


5 posted on 03/31/2011 1:30:40 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin! (look it up))
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To: neverdem
Hippy Samantha wastes America's military strength and squanders billions

6 posted on 03/31/2011 1:33:22 PM PDT by y6162
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To: neverdem

She is a Obama Supporter and a idiot,who should be dropped off with her dears in Libya with a plate of cookies. We are dealing with Savages Period and Genocide is good in this case!


7 posted on 03/31/2011 1:33:50 PM PDT by Cheetahcat ( November 4 2008 ,A date which will live in Infamy.)
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To: neverdem
The phrase “testosterone fueled war” (or similar) was used countless times in reference to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Would it be fair to call Libya, and other “humanitarian” interventions “estrogen fueled wars”?

(Sauce ... gander ... goose)

8 posted on 03/31/2011 1:35:22 PM PDT by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: neverdem
What is she thinking? Just peruse her infantile book. She is as whacked out as any Code Pink dyke.

The better question is why the Rats always slip in to there diatribes that she is attractive. This broad couldn't get picked up at a convention for Blind Sexaholics.


9 posted on 03/31/2011 1:37:30 PM PDT by Lazlo in PA (Now living in a newly minted Red State.)
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To: USFRIENDINVICTORIA

The Labian Campaign.


10 posted on 03/31/2011 1:39:08 PM PDT by swarthyguy (KIDS! Deficit, Debt,Taxes! Pfft Lookit the bright side of our legacy -America is almost SmokFrei!)
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To: neverdem
Power is obviously an impressive intellect, and her ideas cannot be easily dismissed.

There are probably several hundred thousand FReepers who would have no trouble easily dismissing her ideas.

11 posted on 03/31/2011 1:41:29 PM PDT by freespirited (Truth is the new hate speech. -- Pamela Geller)
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To: neverdem

Typical Limo Lib.

I’m sure she bashed Bush for things she’s now endorsing.


12 posted on 03/31/2011 1:42:43 PM PDT by Tzimisce (Never forget that the American Revolution began when the British tried to disarm the colonists.)
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To: Steely Tom

She’s also said she would like to see a “massive protection force” invade Israel to protect the poor palestinians.


13 posted on 03/31/2011 1:43:01 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin! (look it up))
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To: neverdem

Where is the evidence that a genocide was about to occur in Libya? I keep hearing the claim but what was it based on?


14 posted on 03/31/2011 1:44:30 PM PDT by Old North State (Don't blame me, I voted for Pedro)
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To: y6162

Maybe if someone bought her a bra she could think more logically. Her boobs are pulling down her brain cells.


15 posted on 03/31/2011 1:44:57 PM PDT by Yaelle
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To: freespirited

The question is not what is Samantha Powers thinking, but what is the leader of the greatest nation in the world thinking when he listens to three dipstick broads and goes to war while on vacation.

Obama isn’t a fool , he is a damned fool and he is saving the Titanic by going below decks with a hole saw.


16 posted on 03/31/2011 1:46:14 PM PDT by Venturer
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To: Old North State
Where is the evidence that a genocide was about to occur in Libya? I keep hearing the claim but what was it based on?

Just a personal guess here, but I think it was based on the fact that Obama wanted to wag the dog, and the word "genocide" might be accepted a a casus belli by the U.N. Ipso facto, genocide is happening in Libya.

17 posted on 03/31/2011 1:47:42 PM PDT by Steely Tom (Obama goes on long after the thrill of Obama is gone)
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To: Old North State

None. Wishful thinking on our part that when Daffy beat the rebels he’d do something like in 1996 when he executed 1200 jihadis in prisons after some jihadis tried to kill him.

Something akin to what Mubarak did after a failed assasination by AQ in AddisAbaba in 1995.

BTW, the Egyptians just released Zawahiri’s brother from jail on terror charges as part of a political prisoner amnesty.

Genocide - Use the word and peoples programmed response kicks in.

A slaughter, a massacre, a bloody victory - the viciousness that accompanies a losing failed rebellion, but a genocide....


18 posted on 03/31/2011 1:52:26 PM PDT by swarthyguy (KIDS! Deficit, Debt,Taxes! Pfft Lookit the bright side of our legacy -America is almost SmokFrei!)
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To: neverdem

Liberals have their own lexicon-”genocide” just means “lots and lots of people”. It’s like when they say “racist” (meaning, we don’t like what they’re saying) or “redistribution” (meaning, stealing money to buy votes), or “freedom” (also stealing money to buy votes.)


19 posted on 03/31/2011 1:54:20 PM PDT by Spok
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To: neverdem
So Sa-Mahn-thu wants to stop massacres wherever they happen?

Stopping bloodbaths was one of the reasons the United States went to war against a variety of Communist insurgencies and regimes around the world for 70 years. How did she feel about that?

I recall quite clearly that Hanoi Jane REFUSED to condemn either the North Vietnamese with their "re-education" camps and the Khmer Rouge with their insane Year Zero massacres of 2 million people. Is Ms. Sunstein of the same opinion?

Funny how I think she might be in the "Yes, but..." camp on that.

20 posted on 03/31/2011 1:57:00 PM PDT by Regulator (Watch Out! Americans are on the March! America Forever, Mexico Never!)
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To: neverdem

Saddam Hussein was responsible for the deaths of 1.3 million human beings. Those on the left didn’t think it was a good idea to capture and hang him.


21 posted on 03/31/2011 1:58:23 PM PDT by doug from upland (website reserved just in case: TheBitchIsBack2012.com)
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CASS SUNSTEIN AND SAMANTHA POWER 1

CASS SUNSTEIN AND SAMANTHA POWER 2
22 posted on 03/31/2011 2:04:32 PM PDT by JACKRUSSELL
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To: screaminsunshine

agreed. A dangerous one.


23 posted on 03/31/2011 2:12:22 PM PDT by SueRae (I can see November 2012 from my HOUSE!!!!!!!!)
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To: doug from upland
Saddam Hussein was responsible for the deaths of 1.3 million human beings. Those on the left didn’t think it was a good idea to capture and hang him.

Those on the left don’t think about foreign affairs. It's OK to just feel. It's OK if the intentions were good.

24 posted on 03/31/2011 2:13:12 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: neverdem

Where is she now that reports out today say the Rebels are on a rampage killing blacks?

Seems the CIA didn’t get to Labya fast enough to find out who the rebels are.


25 posted on 03/31/2011 2:22:19 PM PDT by plangent
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To: swarthyguy

Libyan War, Lesbian War. Whatever.


26 posted on 03/31/2011 2:23:39 PM PDT by forgotten man (forgotten man)
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To: achilles2000

LOL


27 posted on 03/31/2011 2:28:49 PM PDT by org.whodat
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To: forgotten man

Whatever is right.

Obama’s certainly picked a nice distraction to the the budget battles.

And led to war by a bunch of harpies with no plan, no endgame, no strategy for victory (wazzat, too male centric a concept)an open ended bombing campaign with CIA boots on the ground for weeks now (Obama LIED the other night) technically not “troops” and a rebel force consisting of jihadis!

Brilliance, thy name is Obama’s “strategery”.

The War of Penile Envy, brought to you by Powers, Rice, Slaughter and Clinton.

Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, Obama, How many Civilians did you kill today!

All to support an oil grab by France and Britain.


28 posted on 03/31/2011 2:32:07 PM PDT by swarthyguy (KIDS! Deficit, Debt,Taxes! Pfft Lookit the bright side of our legacy -America is almost SmokFrei!)
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To: neverdem

It seems she left out Stalin, Mao, Castro & similar.


29 posted on 03/31/2011 3:07:04 PM PDT by Western Phil
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To: neverdem

She is a very dangerous woman. She also wants the UN to intervene militarily in the arab-Israeli dispute.


30 posted on 03/31/2011 3:21:58 PM PDT by blasater1960 (Deut 30, Psalm 111...the Torah and the Law, is attainable past, present and forever.)
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To: JACKRUSSELL

So that is the ditsy bitch. She is female james carvel in the looks department.


31 posted on 03/31/2011 3:29:01 PM PDT by org.whodat
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To: neverdem
Power is going to learn that anti-genocide campaigns conducted with air strikes and cruise missiles often break more eggs than they rescue. There is always a butcher's bill. If Qaddafi and his loyalists burrow in and hold out in Tripoli for an indefinite period NATO (the U.S.) might be faced with sending in ground troops or conducting a more brutal air campaign with collateral casualties. If fighting turns into urban warfare civilians are sure to be the first victims.
32 posted on 03/31/2011 3:36:42 PM PDT by Brad from Tennessee (A politician can't give you anything he hasn't first stolen from you.)
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To: cripplecreek

BINGO!

Libya is already a “success” whether it fails or not.

That is because Libya is the precedent.

Israel and ‘ Da Jooz ‘ are the REAL TARGET !


33 posted on 03/31/2011 3:37:56 PM PDT by Para-Ord.45
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To: neverdem

You mean Samantha “we should invade Israel” Powers?


34 posted on 03/31/2011 3:43:28 PM PDT by allmendream (Tea Party did not send the GOP to D.C. to negotiate the terms of our surrender to socialism.)
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To: allmendream

LOL!


35 posted on 03/31/2011 4:09:28 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: blasater1960

“She is a very dangerous woman. She also wants the UN to intervene militarily in the arab-Israeli dispute.”

To expand and clarify your remarks - she wants the US military to invade Israel to stop the “ongoing genocide” of Palestinians.


36 posted on 03/31/2011 4:20:15 PM PDT by allmendream (Tea Party did not send the GOP to D.C. to negotiate the terms of our surrender to socialism.)
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To: org.whodat

And that’s her husband...Cass Sunstein.


37 posted on 03/31/2011 4:52:35 PM PDT by JACKRUSSELL
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To: neverdem

And there haven’t been other “atrocities” committeed against the people in other African countries, right? HUH??

Well evidently not. Obama would never allow that!!


38 posted on 03/31/2011 6:17:13 PM PDT by jch10 (Cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of war...)
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To: blasater1960
>>>>>>>She is a very dangerous woman. She also wants the UN to intervene militarily in the arab-Israeli dispute.<<<<<<<

Dangerous woman working for George Soros. That's what make her dangerous. She would be nobody without his support.

You are right, their R2P is a blueprint for attack on Israel.

I've been told by somebody who knew her that she actually used to be a nice person. Something happened at Harvard that took her soul away.

39 posted on 03/31/2011 6:58:37 PM PDT by DTA (CENTCOM vs. AFRICOM)
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To: Cheetahcat
She is a Obama Supporter and a idiot...

You repeated yourself.

If you can't appreciate the pure beauty of the violin after hearing this, something's wrong with your ears.

40 posted on 03/31/2011 10:48:08 PM PDT by rdb3 (The mouth is the exhaust pipe of the heart.)
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To: rdb3

“You repeated yourself.”

You are right LOL.


41 posted on 03/31/2011 11:02:11 PM PDT by Cheetahcat ( November 4 2008 ,A date which will live in Infamy.)
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To: Lazlo in PA
The better question is why the Rats always slip in to there diatribes that she is attractive. This broad couldn't get picked up at a convention for Blind Sexaholics.

Well, compared to most Democrat women...

42 posted on 03/31/2011 11:02:18 PM PDT by okie01 (THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA: Ignorance On Parade)
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To: neverdem
Those on the left don’t think about foreign affairs. It's OK to just feel. It's OK if the intentions were good. According to the left, war is a good thing only if there is no national interest to be served. And we don't try to win.
43 posted on 03/31/2011 11:07:28 PM PDT by okie01 (THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA: Ignorance On Parade)
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To: neverdem

“The charismatic Obama adviser believes that stopping “genocide” is the United States’ top foreign-policy priority.”

Actually, I think this foreign born socialist hag believes that undermining US sovereignty in favor of the UN is the top priority.


44 posted on 03/31/2011 11:29:06 PM PDT by jospehm20
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To: wardaddy; Joe Brower; Cannoneer No. 4; Criminal Number 18F; Dan from Michigan; Eaker; Jeff Head; ...
Obama’s Amazing Achievements: His military intervention prompted some stunning reversals. (Victor Davis Hanson)

Obama's Good War

The Shores of Tripoli: Our Latest Wilsonian War (Good Read from Walter Russell Mead)

Issa demands info on ATF "gunwalking" scandal from State Dept. Will this have any results? Who knows?

Some noteworthy articles about politics, foreign or military affairs, IMHO, FReepmail me if you want on or off my list.

45 posted on 04/01/2011 12:20:52 AM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: neverdem
The charismatic Obama adviser believes that stopping "genocide" is the United States' top foreign-policy priority.

Any bets as to whether she believes in stopping abortion????????

46 posted on 04/01/2011 3:06:44 AM PDT by raybbr (People who still support Obama are either a Marxist or a moron.)
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To: neverdem

Thanks Neverdem...Matthew Shaffer is a very good writer.


47 posted on 04/01/2011 3:07:54 AM PDT by Tainan (Cogito Ergo Conservitus.)
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To: Lazlo in PA
The better question is why the Rats always slip in to there diatribes that she is attractive. This broad couldn't get picked up at a convention for Blind Sexaholics.

Because Lefties care FAR more about looking good and feeling good, rather than doing good and and utilizing rational thought processes.

48 posted on 04/01/2011 3:38:41 AM PDT by Teacher317 (really?)
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To: Lazlo in PA
*** The better question is why the Rats always slip in to there diatribes that she is attractive. ***

Because she shaves her armpits.

49 posted on 04/01/2011 4:26:16 AM PDT by Condor51 (Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a Congressman. But I repeat myself. [Mark Twain])
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To: neverdem

Thanks for the ping!


50 posted on 04/01/2011 8:27:28 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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