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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Saluting America's Veterans

They're a symbol of bravery, strength, and unyielding resolve to defend liberty at home and abroad.

Watch CBN's exclusive interview with ex-POW Jessica Lynch as she details "The Deadliest Day"

America's all-volunteer fighting force embodies what's best about the United States. And every citizen and freedom lover should appreciate the sacrifices that were made for America to become the beacon of hope and opportunity she is today.

We owe a debt of gratitude to all who served, and we should show it unceasingly.

Yet Veterans Day gives us all a chance to say thank you to America's 22-million vets.

Here are some ways to honor a veteran and thank them for their service:

  • A simple "thank you" goes a long way
  • Pay for their meal at a restaurant
  • Proudly display the American flag
  • Volunteer at a VA hospital or with veterans support organizations
  • Send care packages
  • Donate your old wireless phone

There are many more things you could do to show your thanks. But perhaps most important is to keep an attitude of support and appreciation all year round.

posted @ Tuesday, November 11, 2014 12:30 PM | Feedback (0)

Thursday, November 06, 2014

President Honors Civil War Union Officer

In July of 1863, the Battle of Gettysburg became a turning point in the Civil War and one Union Army officer who died in that battle has now received the nation's highest military honor more than 150 years after his death.

President Barack Obama awarded 1st Lt. Alonzo H. Cushing, the Medal of Honor Thursday for acts of personal bravery above and beyond the call of duty.

Lt. Cushing commanded six cannons and more than 100 men, defending the Union position on Cemetery Ridge against Pickett's Charge, a major Confederate campaign. On the third day of battle, Cushing's small force stood its ground under severe artillery bombardment and an assault by nearly 13,000 Confederate infantrymen.

Cushing was wounded in the stomach and right shoulder, but despite his wounds he refused to move to the rear. Instead, he ordered his guns to the front lines.

As Confederate forces closed in on his position Cushing was shot and killed. He was 22 years old.

Recommendations for the Medal of Honor typically must be made within two years of an act of heroism and the medal must be presented within three years, but Congress made an exception for Cushing.

The Army officer was born in Delafield, Wisconsin, raised in Fredonia, New York, and buried at his alma mater, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

A monument to Cushing and two of his brothers, Naval Cmdr. William Cushing and Army 1st Lt. Howard Cushing, stands at Cushing Memorial Park in Delafield, Wisconsin.

posted @ Thursday, November 06, 2014 12:50 PM | Feedback (0)

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Republican Wave: What Comes Next?

Conventional wisdom tells us to expect constant partisan bickering and gridlock. And, there probably will be plenty of shining examples in the next two years in the Beltway.

But there are some indications Washington just may wind up getting a few things done in the concluding era of a divided Congress and the dawning of a legislative branch completely controlled by Republicans.

At a post-election news conference, Pres. Obama said he remains “optimistic” about the future.

And Sen. Mitch McConnell, the presumptive Senate majority leader in the 114th Congress, told reporters on the day after his Election Day win he had already spoken with several Democrats about his intent to get the Senate "working like normal."

"I've been called by three prominent Democrats," McConnell recounted. "They're anxious to be relevant again."

McConnell also extended what appeared to be an olive branch of sorts to Pres. Obama during his Tuesday night victory speech.

"We do have an obligation to work together on issues where we can agree," McConnell told the crowd of supporters in Louisville, Ky. "I think we have a duty to do that."

Talk of working together with the president is monumental, especially since the two don't have much of a relationship. Sen. McConnell's initial unavailability to accept a White House congratulatory call is emblematic of that relationship, or lack thereof. They did ultimately connect before McConnell's press conference Wednesday.

The Kentucky lawmaker ticked off some of his legislative goals, which include passing a budget, restoring the appropriations process, and reining in an "overactive bureaucracy" that he says is strangling the country's economic recovery. He also mentioned energy (read Keystone Pipeline), trade agreements, and tax reform.

Those are all substantive and could resonate with the American electorate.

But first McConnell, a proficient politician, must master the art of compromise in his new role as majority leader - a tool he'll need to employ first with his own conference and with Pres. Obama, who still wields the power of the veto pen.

Many will be watching to see how the GOP will govern with their new majorities in the House and Senate. Will Republicans battle with the Tea Party once the dust and afterglow settle? And if so, will they spend their time on symbolic measures, like repealing Obamacare, which the president would certainly veto?

Republicans need to be cautious not to spend too much time on symbolism and possibly squander the goodwill and hard-fought gains they've made in this wave election.

It appears, at least for now, that McConnell is looking at the more meaningful route. He has already ruled out a wholesale repeal of the president's signature health care law. He also rejected the notion of shutting down the government and risk potential default on the nation's debt.

For now, it's wait and see.

posted @ Wednesday, November 05, 2014 3:10 PM | Feedback (1)

Monday, November 03, 2014

An Under-the-Radar Campaign Race

Let's face it. Come Election Day, most political and news junkies will be watching the scorecard on races for the U.S. Senate -- and rightly so. Those contests could dramatically alter the balance of power in Washington and offer some clues about what to expect over the next couple of years in terms of political storylines and who's potentially best positioned to run for the White House in 2016.

On the other hand, one race outcome you almost certainly won't see on the networks will be for the candidates on the Board of Commissioners in Carroll County, Maryland.

Updated with elections results below.

Beltway Buzz brings it to your attention because a few months back we featured a story about the board of directors' prayer policy that resulted in a lawsuit over public prayer and put the county in the national spotlight.

It also earned headlines for one of the commissioners, Robin B. Frazier, after she initially claimed she was willing to go to jail for her right to conclude the commission's prayers in Jesus' name.

Last June, Frazier wound up losing her re-election bid to a fellow Republican, Steve Wantz. And now she's running as a write-in candidate, hoping to prevail over the man who beat her in the primary. To be successful, she will also need to defeat Jackie Jones, who's running as a Democrat.

On Frazier's campaign website, she describes her write-in candidacy as a challenge to the influence of unions and outside money -- and what she calls "unwelcome invaders" trying to undermine local elections.

"I wanted to raise awareness on government union strategy that's not only happening in Carroll County, but it's happening all across the United States," Frazier told the Carroll County Times. "What occurred [in the primary] was a collaboration between government unions… [to target] candidates that are in favor of privatization, deregulation and tax cutting. That would describe me."

Frazier sees Wantz as a candidate beholden to his union backers as opposed to voters. Wantz, who won the endorsement of the county newspaper over Frazier, is a retired Baltimore County firefighter and has also won the support of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) and the Maryland State Education Association.

On his website, Wantz pledges to bring a change of pace and leadership style to the board of commissioners and offers a thinly-veiled rebuke of his would-be predecessor:

"I have no personal agenda, and don't believe in grandstanding or time wasted on distractions."

In her interview with CBN News last July, the two-term incumbent conceded her primary loss was, at least in part, possibly the result of voter backlash over the commission's prayers. During that interview, she answered critics who charged her stand on prayer was a political stunt to sway public support in her favor.

"That was the furtherest [sic] thing from my mind," she explained. "I even tried hard not to politicize it, which is one of the reasons why I'm having this interview now and not before the election -- because I didn't want to even give the impression that I was trying to do that, because this wasn't about that at all."

Frazier now says she has re-entered the race to defend the hard-won victories she has championed to help preserve Carroll County's agricultural heritage and political conservatism.

"If unions are needed to win elections, the candidates will be catering to the unions," Frazier said. "Then they can deal with the unions in order to get elected instead of listening to the people. That totally undermines our Constitution and the whole idea of America."

She's running a long-shot campaign.

Write-in candidates typically perform poorly at the ballot box. But it won't be over until the last vote is counted.

--- ELECTION UPDATE ---

According to the county's unofficial results, Steve Wantz (R) won the race for county commissioner with 79.7%. Jackie Jones (D) garnered 11.3% and 9% of the ballots was classified under "write-in votes."

(Current as of Nov. 5, 2014)

posted @ Monday, November 03, 2014 2:30 PM | Feedback (0)

Friday, October 31, 2014

March to the Midterm Elections

His name won't be on any ballots this election cycle. But the political baggage attached to President Barack Obama is weighing heavily on Democratic candidates, particularly in some of the most competitive races across the country.

Watch Jennifer Wishon's report: Liability-in-Chief: Obama the 'Invisible Man'

Virtually every poll has ruled out the possibility of Democrats picking up enough seats to win back the gavel from Republicans, who control the U.S. House. What's really at stake this time around is a potential shift in control of the Senate.

And that's where the real battle has been taking place.

After all the issues, campaigning, stumping, fundraising, debating, door-knocking, and getting out the vote -- elections ultimately boil down to a question of simple arithmetic: which candidate gets the most votes?

But in the battle over the Senate, there is a magic number at play -- and that number is six.

If Republicans gain six additional seats on Tuesday, they will have a majority in the Senate and wrest leadership from Sen. Harry Reid and the Democrats who won control of the upper chamber in 2006.

That would also result in upsetting the balance of power in Washington, with a Democrat in the White House and a Republican-controlled House and Senate.

If you've complained about partisan gridlock in the last six years, imagine what it will be like for the next two.

Click here to watch the one race that could swap Senate control.

Should the GOP win control of the Senate, which it appears poised to do, most will pin the blame on the sagging popularity of the president and his policies -- an "invisible man" on the congressional campaign trail but whose presence and political liability are undoubtedly felt.

posted @ Friday, October 31, 2014 2:45 PM | Feedback (0)

Friday, October 24, 2014

The One Thing Washington's Good At?

Washington has an image problem.

It's a city filled with fat-cat bureaucrats, bogged down by partisan gridlock, and boundlessly broken beyond repair.

But the one thing Washington is good at is spending taxpayer money -- often unwisely.

The release of the fifth annual "Wastebook" by the office of Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., makes the image even worse - if it's even possible.

  • $200,000 to study why Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia, is sexist
  • $80 million to build a real-life "Iron Man" suit
  • $5 million for college students to dress up as their favorite fruits and vegetables to promote healthy eating

These are just a few examples.

For a more exhaustive list, watch this story on CBN News

At a time when there's still plenty of uncertainty about the economy and when many Americans are still struggling, the nation's leaders seem to have no problem needlessly spending taxpayer money on wasteful projects. It's nothing short of outrageous.

In fact, the absurdity of it all caught the attention of some of the biggest pranksters in Hollywood. (Really, this is the stuff comics dream about.)

Late-night comedian Jimmy Kimmel quizzed his audience whether some of the "Wastebook" projects were real expenditures or ideas from someone stoned on drugs?

While Beltway Buzz doesn't condone or advocate the use of drugs, it 's really funny and provides a good laugh.

Coburn's Senate staff produced a clip reminiscent of Jay Leno's "JayWalking," asking passersby on Capitol Hill what they thought about spending $380,000 on Swedish massages for rabbits.

Off the cuff, people came up with better alternatives, like using the money on schools or medical research.

These two clips show how preposterous Washington's wasteful spending has become. It'd be even funnier if it weren't your hard-earned money at work.

posted @ Friday, October 24, 2014 1:46 PM | Feedback (0)

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Plight of Christians in Iraq

Christian fathers told to convert to Islam or watch their children lose their heads.

Christians fleeing their communities shot, their dead bodies lined up on the ground, then rolled over by a bulldozer as their loved ones watch.

These are just some of the stories Canon Andrew White and Dr. Sarah Ahmed shared at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. Monday.

Ahmed is a Muslim woman who's organizing aid for Christian and other religious minorities fleeing for their lives in northern Iraq through the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East.

Canon White is president of the foundation. He's lived in Baghdad for 15 years serving as vicar of the only Anglican church in Iraq, and as chaplain to the U.S. Embassy.

"Now when I want to see my people I go to Chicago," he says in his British accent, referring to the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians who have fled and are fleeing barbarian ISIS terrorists.

White recalled a recent phone call from one of his friends in northern Iraq. The man was hysterical. He told White ISIS fighters came to his house. They told him if he didn't recite the words to convert to Islam they would behead his children immediately.

He converted to save his children, and asked Canon White through sobs, "I'm a Christian, I live for Yeshua, does Yeshua still love me?"

When Dr. Ahmed visits Christians in refugee camps she asks what the ISIS fighters look like. They tell her they have long beards, intense eyes, and no hearts.

"I have no idea how the country (Iraq) will heal or how we will come out after this," she says.

Now the foundation is doing something unheard of. Ahmed and others are working to buy Iraqi Christian girls that ISIS has captured and is now selling as sex slaves.

"So many girls are being raped and sold everyday," she says, "and nobody is doing anything about it."

Their goal is to buy the women and reunite them with their families, but Ahmed says it's difficult because few people will talk.

How did this happen? Both White and Ahmed blame, in part, the U.S. and its allies for pulling out of Iraq before Iraq was ready. White also says Sunni Muslims were treated so poorly by Iraq's government he's not surprised so many turned to terrorism.

And as long as the religion of Islam is tied to the government of Iraq, Ahmed says her country will never enjoy a thriving pluralistic society.

posted @ Monday, September 15, 2014 3:31 PM | Feedback (0)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Remembering 9/11: A Time to Heal

For those of us alive and old enough to remember, the world we knew would forever change 13 years ago today.

Nearly 3,000 people died in the September 11, 2001 attacks at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a Pennsylvania field where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed after brave passengers tried to regain control of the hijacked plane.

Those tragic events are the spark that launched America's longest war (Afghanistan) and its intractable campaign to defeat al Qaeda terrorists and thwart future acts of terrorism.

But 13 years later, nearly half of all Americans say they feel less safe now than they did before the Sept. 11 attacks.

Why? Because although more than a decade has passed, so much uncertainty remains.

The U.S. is still engaged in anti-terrorism operations, more complex and widespread than when President Bush announced the global war on terror.

A day before participating in remembrance ceremonies in Washington, President Obama announced his strategy to combat ISIS terrorists wreaking havoc in the Middle East, especially in Syria and Iraq.

"Our objective is clear: we will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL," Obama explained in his address to the nation. "We will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are. If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven."

Clearly, the campaign to root out terrorism (and the intolerance that justifies the barbaric atrocities committed against innocents) is a long way from being declared victorious. But we hope and pray that day will come.

Until then, it serves as a reminder to never forget.

Most of us will never forget where we were on that fateful day. And many cannot forget the searing pain of loss they experienced when their loved ones' lives were cut short.

As we reflect and remember "those who died, those who served, and those who carry on" may we be encouraged by the wisdom of the Old Testament passage in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.

There is a time for everything,

and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance

...

a time for war and a time for peace.

May we also grow stronger in our resolve to seek justice, liberty, and peace on earth, good will toward men.

Click here to watch CBN News video remembrances

 

posted @ Thursday, September 11, 2014 11:05 AM | Feedback (0)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

President Obama's ISIS Speech

Here are President Obama's full remarks as prepared for delivery.

My fellow Americans – tonight, I want to speak to you about what the United States will do with our friends and allies to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group known as ISIL.

As Commander-in-Chief, my highest priority is the security of the American people. Over the last several years, we have consistently taken the fight to terrorists who threaten our country. We took out Osama bin Laden and much of al Qaeda’s leadership in Afghanistan and Pakistan. We’ve targeted al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen, and recently eliminated the top commander of its affiliate in Somalia. We’ve done so while bringing more than 140,000 American troops home from Iraq, and drawing down our forces in Afghanistan, where our combat mission will end later this year. Thanks to our military and counterterrorism professionals, America is safer.

Still, we continue to face a terrorist threat. We cannot erase every trace of evil from the world, and small groups of killers have the capacity to do great harm. That was the case before 9/11, and that remains true today. That’s why we must remain vigilant as threats emerge. At this moment, the greatest threats come from the Middle East and North Africa, where radical groups exploit grievances for their own gain. And one of those groups is ISIL – which calls itself the “Islamic State.”

Now let’s make two things clear: ISIL is not “Islamic.” No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim. And ISIL is certainly not a state. It was formerly al Qaeda’s affiliate in Iraq, and has taken advantage of sectarian strife and Syria’s civil war to gain territory on both sides of the Iraq-Syrian border. It is recognized by no government, nor the people it subjugates. ISIL is a terrorist organization, pure and simple. And it has no vision other than the slaughter of all who stand in its way.

In a region that has known so much bloodshed, these terrorists are unique in their brutality. They execute captured prisoners. They kill children. They enslave, rape, and force women into marriage. They threatened a religious minority with genocide. In acts of barbarism, they took the lives of two American journalists – Jim Foley and Steven Sotloff.

So ISIL poses a threat to the people of Iraq and Syria, and the broader Middle East – including American citizens, personnel and facilities. If left unchecked, these terrorists could pose a growing threat beyond that region – including to the United States. While we have not yet detected specific plotting against our homeland, ISIL leaders have threatened America and our allies. Our intelligence community believes that thousands of foreigners – including Europeans and some Americans – have joined them in Syria and Iraq. Trained and battle-hardened, these fighters could try to return to their home countries and carry out deadly attacks.

I know many Americans are concerned about these threats. Tonight, I want you to know that the United States of America is meeting them with strength and resolve. Last month, I ordered our military to take targeted action against ISIL to stop its advances. Since then, we have conducted more than 150 successful airstrikes in Iraq. These strikes have protected American personnel and facilities, killed ISIL fighters, destroyed weapons, and given space for Iraqi and Kurdish forces to reclaim key territory. These strikes have helped save the lives of thousands of innocent men, women and children. 

But this is not our fight alone. American power can make a decisive difference, but we cannot do for Iraqis what they must do for themselves, nor can we take the place of Arab partners in securing their region. That’s why I’ve insisted that additional U.S. action depended upon Iraqis forming an inclusive government, which they have now done in recent days. So tonight, with a new Iraqi government in place, and following consultations with allies abroad and Congress at home, I can announce that America will lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat.

Our objective is clear: we will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy.

First, we will conduct a systematic campaign of airstrikes against these terrorists. Working with the Iraqi government, we will expand our efforts beyond protecting our own people and humanitarian missions, so that we’re hitting ISIL targets as Iraqi forces go on offense. Moreover, I have made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are. That means I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq. This is a core principle of my presidency: if you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.

Second, we will increase our support to forces fighting these terrorists on the ground. In June, I deployed several hundred American service members to Iraq to assess how we can best support Iraqi Security Forces. Now that those teams have completed their work – and Iraq has formed a government – we will send an additional 475 service members to Iraq. As I have said before, these American forces will not have a combat mission – we will not get dragged into another ground war in Iraq. But they are needed to support Iraqi and Kurdish forces with training, intelligence and equipment. We will also support Iraq’s efforts to stand up National Guard Units to help Sunni communities secure their own freedom from ISIL control.

Across the border, in Syria, we have ramped up our military assistance to the Syrian opposition. Tonight, I again call on Congress to give us additional authorities and resources to train and equip these fighters. In the fight against ISIL, we cannot rely on an Assad regime that terrorizes its people; a regime that will never regain the legitimacy it has lost. Instead, we must strengthen the opposition as the best counterweight to extremists like ISIL, while pursuing the political solution necessary to solve Syria’s crisis once and for all. 

Third, we will continue to draw on our substantial counterterrorism capabilities to prevent ISIL attacks. Working with our partners, we will redouble our efforts to cut off its funding; improve our intelligence; strengthen our defenses; counter its warped ideology; and stem the flow of foreign fighters into – and out of – the Middle East. And in two weeks, I will chair a meeting of the UN Security Council to further mobilize the international community around this effort.

Fourth, we will continue providing humanitarian assistance to innocent civilians who have been displaced by this terrorist organization. This includes Sunni and Shia Muslims who are at grave risk, as well as tens of thousands of Christians and other religious minorities. We cannot allow these communities to be driven from their ancient homelands. 

This is our strategy. And in each of these four parts of our strategy, America will be joined by a broad coalition of partners. Already, allies are flying planes with us over Iraq; sending arms and assistance to Iraqi Security Forces and the Syrian opposition; sharing intelligence; and providing billions of dollars in humanitarian aid. Secretary Kerry was in Iraq today meeting with the new government and supporting their efforts to promote unity, and in the coming days he will travel across the Middle East and Europe to enlist more partners in this fight, especially Arab nations who can help mobilize Sunni communities in Iraq and Syria to drive these terrorists from their lands. This is American leadership at its best: we stand with people who fight for their own freedom; and we rally other nations on behalf of our common security and common humanity. 

My Administration has also secured bipartisan support for this approach here at home. I have the authority to address the threat from ISIL. But I believe we are strongest as a nation when the President and Congress work together. So I welcome congressional support for this effort in order to show the world that Americans are united in confronting this danger.

Now, it will take time to eradicate a cancer like ISIL. And any time we take military action, there are risks involved – especially to the servicemen and women who carry out these missions. But I want the American people to understand how this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil. This counter-terrorism campaign will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out ISIL wherever they exist, using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground. This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years. And it is consistent with the approach I outlined earlier this year: to use force against anyone who threatens America’s core interests, but to mobilize partners wherever possible to address broader challenges to international order. 

My fellow Americans, we live in a time of great change. Tomorrow marks 13 years since our country was attacked.  Next week marks 6 years since our economy suffered its worst setback since the Great Depression. Yet despite these shocks; through the pain we have felt and the grueling work required to bounce back – America is better positioned today to seize the future than any other nation on Earth.

Our technology companies and universities are unmatched; our manufacturing and auto industries are thriving. Energy independence is closer than it’s been in decades.  For all the work that remains, our businesses are in the longest uninterrupted stretch of job creation in our history.  Despite all the divisions and discord within our democracy, I see the grit and determination and common goodness of the American people every single day – and that makes me more confident than ever about our country’s future.

Abroad, American leadership is the one constant in an uncertain world. It is America that has the capacity and the will to mobilize the world against terrorists. It is America that has rallied the world against Russian aggression, and in support of the Ukrainian peoples’ right to determine their own destiny. It is America – our scientists, our doctors, our know-how – that can help contain and cure the outbreak of Ebola. It is America that helped remove and destroy Syria’s declared chemical weapons so they cannot pose a threat to the Syrian people – or the world – again. And it is America that is helping Muslim communities around the world not just in the fight against terrorism, but in the fight for opportunity, tolerance, and a more hopeful future.

America, our endless blessings bestow an enduring burden. But as Americans, we welcome our responsibility to lead. From Europe to Asia – from the far reaches of Africa to war-torn capitals of the Middle East – we stand for freedom, for justice, for dignity. These are values that have guided our nation since its founding.  Tonight, I ask for your support in carrying that leadership forward. I do so as a Commander-in-Chief who could not be prouder of our men and women in uniform – pilots who bravely fly in the face of danger above the Middle East, and service-members who support our partners on the ground.

When we helped prevent the massacre of civilians trapped on a distant mountain, here’s what one of them said. “We owe our American friends our lives. Our children will always remember that there was someone who felt our struggle and made a long journey to protect innocent people.”

That is the difference we make in the world. And our own safety – our own security – depends upon our willingness to do what it takes to defend this nation, and uphold the values that we stand for – timeless ideals that will endure long after those who offer only hate and destruction have been vanquished from the Earth.

May God bless our troops, and may God bless the United States of America.

###

posted @ Wednesday, September 10, 2014 9:05 PM | Feedback (1)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Public Push for Pres. Bush

One of Congress's most ardent defenders of human rights is on the "war path," so to speak.

The fight is over a potential humanitarian crisis. And the weapon he's choosing to do battle is the art of diplomacy.

Longtime Virginia Rep. Frank Wolf publicly released a letter he penned to former President George W. Bush earlier this month. Wolf is trying to prod President Bush to get involved in South Sudan, where there's a food crisis the United Nations described as the "worst in the world."

"The situation on the ground has grown more dire," Wolf explained in his letter. "Three-point-nine million people in South Sudan face 'dangerous levels of food insecurity' ... [and] UNICEF estimates 50,000 could die from malnutrition and a million children will require treatment for malnutrition."

Warring factions in South Sudan have been fighting since last December, resulting in tens of thousands of people being killed and more than a million displaced in the three years since the country was formed.

Tensions will presumably flare after a South Sudanese state governor accused a rebel commander of shooting down a U.N. cargo helicopter today. The incident comes one day after the two sides agreed to a ceasefire and to form a unity government, and it could thwart any attempt to find a path to peace.

Wolf acknowledged President Bush's preference to keep a low public profile. (Since leaving office, Bush has been extremely reluctant to weigh in on hot button issues or to criticize his successor, President Obama.)

However, Wolf believes Bush's connection to South Sudan is, in his words, "unique."

"He helped give birth to the nation and is probably the only person who can get the two sides to come together," Wolf said.

He concludes his plea for help by suggesting that the Texan's voice will serve as a bullhorn for those who have no voice, comparing his potential involvement to that of Esther in the Bible.

You can read the text of Rep. Wolf's letter here.

posted @ Tuesday, August 26, 2014 1:55 PM | Feedback (1)