Monthly Archives: September 2009

The Politics Of War In America

When it comes to military appropriations in the United States Congress there are no liberals or conservatives or Republicans or Democrats, there are simply congressmen out to ensure money flows into their district. Of course, during the past eight years the man in the White House never met a spending bill that he would not increase when it dealt with military equipment and billions for the fat cats of business who water at the mouth when a new jet or ship or tank is under consideration. Congress is angry because the president terminated production on some jet planes and other items that were dear to the hearts of Congressmen who want to deliver the pork to their district.

Oh well, Congress added another $2.5 billion to purchase unwanted C-17 transport planes. It is not strange that during the past half century the only president who severely cut military spending was Dwight Eisenhower, the great military leader during WWII who knew military pork when he saw it.

The Polanski Story-Abused Or Abuser?

There is the world of Hollywood and literary figures who wander the world hailed by many as outstanding figures on display. Roman Polanski has long bee a man of distinction due to his films and the literary heavyweights who regard him as a genius. However, many years ago, Mr. Polanski was in Hollywood and one day he drugged a 13 year old girl and then sodomized her. In fear of being convicted, Polanski fled for his life to the security of Europe and hoped his past was in the past.

Out of the blue while Polanski was in Zurich to receive a film award, the police swooped down and arrested him based on a warrant issued by the US Justice Department. French Foreign Minister denounced the arrest as “sinister” as though there was some plot in America to get the man who, most probably, is unknown to 90% of the population. The Swiss Association of Directors said arresting Polanski was a “grotesque judicial farce and a monstrous cultural scandal.”

But, leave it to Irina Bokova, new head of UNESCO for uttering the coup de grace to this event: She blathered, “even though I am not aware of any details, this is shocking.” What does she say when she knows details?

Death In The Afternoon In Guinea

The people of Guinea have spend decades trying to secure the semblance of democratic rights and thousands decided to peacefully protest in favor of honest elections. Captain Moussa Dadis Camara who had overthrown the previous dictator and promised not to run for president claims actions by members of his military were not of his fault. Hundreds of soldiers confronted the demonstrators in a stadium and began firing point blank into the crowd. As people fled for their lives, dozens encountered troops at the exits who bayoneted many and there are reports of dozens of women being raped by the uncontrolled soldiers.

There are reports over 150 are dead and hundreds wounded as a result of the brutal military attack. Camara claims he had nothing to do with the slaughter, but a major reason thousands gathered was to protest his reversal of a promise not to run for president.

It is just another African tragedy and the world could not care less. Now, as to the wall in Israel,,,

Future–East Asia Community?

In the years leading up to the outbreak of war in the Pacific, a major concern of American leaders was the desire of Japan to create an East Asia Co-Prosperity Alliance which would allow Japan to be the major nation in east Asia. Flash forward sixty years and Japan’s Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada and China’s Foreign Minister, Yang Jiechi, are discussing the possibility of their nations working together to create an “East Asian Community.” Among the goals of such an organization of Asian nations would be cooperative efforts to promote regional agreements on energy and environmental issues.

This may well be a future nightmare for the United States as East Asian nations come together in a potential European Union. It would block out many American interests and possibly damage trade relations. Of course, it could lead to a spark by which Asian nations make giant economic jumps and thus open new markets for the United States.

War Crimes Must Be Punished!

For over fifty years, Jews and Muslims in the Middle East have blamed the other side for any failure to achieve peace. Richard Goldstone, who recently submitted his report on war crimes in Gaza which blamed both Hamas and the Israel government for violating international agreements on how to conduct war, urges both Israel and Palestinian leaders to clean up their own mess. Goldstone argues that a “culture of impunity” has existed in the region for far too long and it is time for each side to vigorously investigate an allegations of misconduct by its forces.

Goldstone blames the climate which allows each side to blame the other and never gaze into the mirror of reality as a major impediment to achieving peace. It would be preferable if Israel and Hamas openly investigated war crimes by its forces because by so doing it opens opportunities for trust to emerge.

Emerging Anti-Turkish EU Coalition?

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has long opposed the entry of Turkey into the European Union since he most probably fears the presence of a large Muslim nation in a European group. Recent elections in Germany have resulted in a possible alliance between Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats with the Free Democrat party. There are reports France wants the European Union on certain factors embodied in an application to join the group. The German Free Democrats are not enthusiastic supporters of Turkey’s admission to the EU and this might enable Sarkozy to form an alliance with Germany and block the application.

Sarkozy prefers if Turkey anchor a new Mediterranean Union which would encompass nations in the region. This would eliminate the prospect of Muslims from Turkey being able to enter other EU nations without worrying about quotas.

Silence Of The Vatican!

The record of the Catholic Church in World War II was rather mixed with examples of great heroism on the part of some priests and indifference on the part of many others. The behavior of Pope Pius XIi during the Holocaust remains a source of dispute, but most evidence suggests he could have done more than he did. Czech Roma groups are shocked at the indifference of Pope Benedict XII to the rampant prejudice against them in the Czech Republic. Roma spokesman, Vaclav Miko of the Roma Realia, commented: “we are witness of a historical moment when Rommanies are being betrayed by the Vatican in the form of silence and no statements, although the head of the Catholic Church is now on a visit to the Czech Republic.”

The movement has attempted to meet with the Pope in order to discuss issues of bigotry and oppression, but they have yet to achieve that form of dialogue. Once more the silence of the Catholic Church damages the lives of innocent people.

HEADLINES FROM THE WORLD PRESS

Each day we offer a sample of headlines that appeared in the world press along with our comments.

Czech Republic, Prague Daily Monitor: ‘Pope More Popular Than Expected”
Is that good or bad news?

Qatar. Gulf Times: “Gorillas Make Pals Online”
Big deal. Our gorillas in congress not only daily make friends, but loads of enemies.

Turkey, Hurriyet: “Disregard Swine Flu Rumors”
The media has created an epidemic where none exists. Just ask people in the hospital.

Japan, Japan Times: “Elevator Decree Take Effect”
From now on the elevator will have to use the stairs.

Israel, Haaretz: “Where Wild Things Are”
At any Tea Party gathering.

Sweden, The Local: “Soldiers Blow Up Wrong House”
Don’t feel bad. In America we blew up thousands of lives in search of non-existent WMD.

Australia, Brisbane Times: “Lunacy Rules At Royal Perth Show”
So what, our lunacy in Congress surpasses anything in the world.

South Africa, Argus: “Clothing Strike Suspended”
From now on, we all work naked.

UK, The Independent: “We Will Change The World-Brown”
I think people in the UK would settle for changing England.

AN AMERICAN SOLDIER SPEAKS

The other day a powerful letter was printed in the Stars & Stripes. We print it as it appeared because this young man speaks, not just for members of the military, but for all Americans.

The valor of the American soldier is reflected brightly in the meritorious deeds of our young men and women serving their country. Who among you stands up against the bullets of tyranny and steps across foreign fields of oppression to pen windows of freedom and opportunity for Third World citizens? Soldiers, airmen and sailors answer the call of duty without hesitation. Brave beyond words, possessing dedication to wear the uniform with pride, Our nation can sleep ever so serenely at night knowing that America is safeguarded by the best.

With that said, I lam still not a huge advocate for war. I think the need for conflict clearly attests to the shortcomings of our civilization. To make war with all its implications, whether it’s economical or moral is puzzling. I’m not so sure that our foreign policy should be eager to drop the symbolic pen of diplomacy and go on the warpath with an M-16 rifle Rarely is there a just, rational reason to use force, maybe to directly uphold national security or to prevent genocide on foreign soil. Ig is always a sad occasion when peace talks fail and he need to pull the trigger arises. It is with many prayers and tears that our young troops are sent into harm’s way.

It is true that war produces casualties and it does not discriminate among victims. All too often, lives of the good and innocent are claimed. Sometimes, our fearless soldiers are cut down before their time by the harsh violence of insurgency. Many of the grieving families begin to wonder and question. However, for those who were lost and to the enemies of freedom: know that no amount of bullets can abbreviate the legacy of the American soldier or the ideals those soldiers stand for.”
Spc. Johnny Hampton. Camp Casey, South Korea

We can not add anything to these words other than if President Obama wants to send more troops it is time to end the situation in which 1% of this nation’s youth fights the battle to protect the other 99%. If more troops are sent, then it is time for President Obama to ask Congress to re-introduce the draft.

Berlusconi- I Decide Who Speaks!

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of Italy not only has a Napoleonic complex, but he makes Roman emperors come across as democratic leaders. The Italian public television service had the audacity to broadcast an interview with a woman who allegedly spent the night with the nation’s leader. Patricia D’Addario made an appearance last Thursday night and her interview drew about 5.6 million viewers. Berlusconi denies ever paying for sex, but the unknown word is what is meant by “paying.”

On Sunday, Berlusconi’s brother, Paolo, began a front page campaign in his newspaper, Il Giornale that urged the public not to pay the TV license fee in protest against allowing anti-Berlusconi comments to appear. According to Paolo, “if RAI is a public service it should be at the service of the public that pays the license fee and not at the service of haughty preachers whose toxic stump speeches twist information.”

Silvio recently made insulting remarks about President Obama, but apparently those comments are no subject to review. The real question is when will the people of Italy elect a person to lead their nation who believes in democracy.