Andrea Bottner: 2012 Winner — The 45 Most Admired Republican Women Under 45

Andrea Bottner

Andrea (“Andi”) Bottner, 41, is an attorney and former Deputy Chief of Staff at the Republican National Committee. She also served as a legislative assistant to two GOP Members of Congress. From 2006 to 2009 she was Director of the Office of International Women’s Issues at the State Department, where she was best known for her efforts to promote women’s rights issues in the Middle East and South America.
Prior to her recruitment by the State Department, Bottner served as Acting Director of the Office on Violence Against Women at the Justice Department during the Bush Administration. She managed a budget of $400 million and a staff of 30 attorneys, grant specialists, and policy experts. Bottner’s work is featured in the documentary “Silent Veil: Voices From The Heart of Islam,” which emphasizes what happens to many girls and young women in the Middle East.
Bottner says “The motives of the relatives of the husbands vary: revenge, obsession, jealousy, suspected infidelity, sexual non-cooperation, or simply being told ‘no’. The women are often ostracized by their families after the attacks and are unable to find jobs. They are confined to their homes in social isolation. Gender based violence and horrific examples like honor-killing are common in too many societies that still accept discrimination, exploitation and violence against women. In too many parts of the world women still do not have full protection under the law or equal access to justice. This is unacceptable”.
Bottner’s most powerful speech topic is “Courageous Women in Iraq, Afghanistan and Beyond: A Record of Success in Democratic Transition.” Her law degree is from Boston University and she is mother of one child.
You can read more about the contest rules and background at: The 45 Most Admired Republican Women Under 45

Why is Hollywood Ignoring the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?

The Academy Awards were held earlier tonight, and another year has passed without a single great major movie about America’s role in Iraq and Afghanistan. “The Hurt Locker” did win awards but it was panned by numerous veterans and did little to increase respect for the military. Continue reading

Will Afghanistan be a Major Issue in the 2012 Campaign?

The Iraq war was a major political issue in the 2004, 2006 and 2008 campaigns, and it was the key difference which catapulted Barack Obama to victory in the Democratic primaries. The situation last November was far different.  Despite almost a decade of conflict, Afghanistan was hardly mentioned in the 2010 campaign. That could change in 2012.
Democrats will definitely renominate President Obama, but he could receive a significant challenge from his party’s left wing if he backs down on his promise to begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan in July. In 2009, Obama hosted a meeting of the House Progressive Caucus at the White House, and heard vigorous opposition to his Afghan surge. The tone of the lawmakers had completely changed from a year earlier.
When Bush was in office, the Progressive Caucus said the real war was in Afghanistan, not Iraq. As soon as the U.S. combat role ended in Iraq, they shifted their opposition to the Afghan war and Obama’s troop surge. The President told the House liberals, Afghanistan is “a war of necessity, not of choice.”
Liberals had the power to derail Obama’s troop increase in the last Congress, but they did not do it because he promised them withdrawals would begin in July of 2011. Former Sen. Russell Feingold’s (D-WI) bill to set a withdrawal deadline was not even considered, and the ferocious and highly vocal antiwar movement disappeared in 2009.

There are now signs from Democrats and libertarian liberals that the antiwar advocates could be coming back:

  • Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), the outgoing Co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus, says the war is “an epic failure, a national embarrassment and a moral blight on our nation.” 
  • Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) says the President has to reassess his strategy.
  • has been contacting its five million members to demand troop withdrawals stay on schedule. They do not want any hesitancy regarding Obama’s exit strategy.
  • Liberal activist Michael Moore says the President needs to “stop the madness. . . A hundred thousand troops trying to crush a hundred al-Qaeda guys living in caves? Are you serious? Have you drunk Bush’s Kool-Aid? I refuse to believe it.”
  • Arianna Huffington calls Afghanistan “the gold standard of a dumb war, immoral and unnecessary.”
  • Former Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) says the President has to recognize “the immorality of war and foreign occupation. . . The right direction is not in. It’s out.” He says Obama has not delivered for anti-war voters, “If you want people to support you, then you have to support them. You have to think long about what you did for people who voted for you.”
  • Isolationist Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) calls Afghanistan “A totally failed policy.”

Troop levels have now reached 97,000. Democrats bitterly opposed Bush’s successful 2007 Iraq surge, which turned the tide in that conflict. Except for Ron Paul and his few allies, the GOP has supported Obama’s Afghan surge.  The major backers of the surge are Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The leading opponents are Vice President Joe Biden and National Security Adviser Tom Donilon. Biden says the US will be out of Afghanistan by 2014, “come hell or high water.”
There have been positive developments, and roadside bombings are down. The surge and the new resources have made a difference. Major sections of the country are peaceful. British troops are stationed in Helmand, and Prime Minister David Cameron says so much progress has been made that his forces should ready to pull out this year.
The war however is far from over, and 2011 is expected to be a major year of combat. The situation is going to get worse before it gets better. U.S. casualties have already increased significantly. No one is claiming victory is a year away, but we are moving in the right direction.
Afghanistan is usually quite in the winter, but when the snow melts, the Taliban and al Qaeda forces will once again cross the border from Pakistan. Progress in the war has always been difficult because Pakistan continues to give the Taliban and al Qaeda sanctuary in North Wiziristan. Most of the U.S. troops are being deployed to Helmand Province and the neighboring city of Kandahar, where the Taliban was born.
The Afghan security forces are scheduled to take over at the end of 2014, but the coming year will be crucial.  American forces will be on the offensive and casualties will certainly increase. The GOP is not going to abandon the Afghan mission, but the coming months could well see a reawakening of the liberal activists.
The Afghan security forces are scheduled to take over at the end of 2014, but the coming year will be crucial.  American forces will be on the offensive and casualties will certainly increase. The GOP is not going to abandon the Afghan mission, but the coming months could well see a reawakening of the liberal activists.

Key Democrats Starting to Abandon Obama on Afghanistan

President Obama’s Afghanistan troop surge had a 96% support score among Republicans in both the House and Senate, but major Democratic leaders are now pulling back from Operation Enduring Freedom. On ABC’s “This Week” yesterday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was repeatedly asked if the Afghanistan mission “was worth it,” and refused to answer the question. Continue reading

The Return of the Conservative Isolationists: Right Wing Pundits Denounce "Obama's War"

Several high profile conservative pundits have recently turned against the U.S. mission in Afghanistan. The group includes columnists Ann Coulter, George Will, Tony Blankley and MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough. These pundits support RNC Chairman Michael Steele and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) who now refer to Afghanistan as “Obama’s war.” Continue reading

Debate: Oil and the Iraq War – Reed Clifton vs. Gregg Hilton

Reed Clifton of Portland, Maine is a professional musician concentrating on folk, country and blues. He was born in northern New Jersey. He describes his hometown as a “New York City suburb/inner city ghetto, and spent much of his early life as a product of his environment. After cleaning up his life he attended college in California’s San Joaquin Valley. In college he began frequenting country music clubs such as Trouts in the Oildale section of Bakersfield, and his love and appreciation of country music grew.” He describes his philosophy of life by saying: “Some folks journey’s take them on sidewalks, mine goes over Everest. Wouldn’t have it any other way.” Continue reading