Category Archives: Iraq War

As long as the war in Iraq continues, we shall present voices of American soldiers and discuss issues of concern to those compelled to risk their lives.

Banality Of Evil

A half century ago the state of Israel placed Adolf Eichmann, the notorious Nazi who helped organize and carry out the Holocaust on trial for genocide. At that time Hannah Arendt, a famous historian, wrote a book in which she argued that Eichmann was a bureaucrat who carried out orders because they were orders and it was his task as a bureaucrat to carry out orders given by superiors. Arendt was harshly criticized because she employed words such as “banality of evil” as to transform the Holocaust into a process carried out by bureaucrats rather than a systematic murder of millions. Alas, we continue to live in a world in which whoever is in charge employs the bureaucracy that exists to enforce laws because it is the duty of bureaucrats to enforce laws. Barack Obama twice ran for the presidency arguing that he would end the disabuse of rights by the Bush administration and restore basic Constitutional laws that guarantee the rights of individual American citizens. Instead, Obama has become the defender to spying and surveillance because since he is the president then he must do what presidents do-catch the spy and enforce whatever technology has been used in the past to catch the spy.

If tomorrow, someone else became president- Chris Christie or Ted Cruz or even Rand Paul, we could expect that president would continue a campaign of surveillance and disregard of human rights. The power of bureaucracy is even more powerful than the power of common sense and respect for the Constitution. Military leaders, bureaucrats, technicians always argue that in the name of “our national security” certain actions must occur. Edward Snowden, in one sense, was the anti-bureaucrat because he chose to pose questions concerning which comes first, Constitutional rights or “national security.” In so doing, Snowden made clear the choice was NEVER between “national security” and the Constitution.

The evidence is overwhelming. For over a decade we have allowed bureaucrats in the armed forces or the NSA or the CIA to decide what constitutes “national security” and in so doing, have allowed nameless bureaucrats who simply are “doing their job” to continue doing a job that has failed for over a decade to protect “national security.” What is unusual about Edward Snowden is that a nameless bureaucrat who was just doing his job, began to question the nature of his job, and set in motion the concept that those who run the machine of death can always stop and question why this program of death?

It Is Time To Leave Afghanistan

Anyone who has performed on the stage of life realizes there arrives a moment when one must depart and allow the audience to go home. Those who linger for more applause eventually realize the audience seeks to retire from the theater and retire to their homes. President Hamid Karzai simply will not depart with grace and care for his people. After a dozen years of violence, he has yet to come to grips that it was his performance, or, should one say, his lack of leadership, his corruption, that hampered his nation to defeat the Taliban. Instead, he insists problems in Afghanistan were, and remain, bombing by NATO planes of the innocent. Yes, there have been terrible, no, horrible, incidents in which innocent Afghans have died due to actions of American and NATO forces. But, an Afghan army in which at least 15% each year throw off their uniforms and head home in disgust at the ineffective leaders under whom they serve is a major reason for the survival of the Taliban.

Karzai refuses to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement(BSA) with the United States until the United States agrees to engage in peace talks with the Taliban. But, last year when American officials made contact with the Taliban, Karzai denounced this effort!! But, now, he demands, “in exchange for this agreement(meeting with Taliban) we want peace for the people of Afghanistan. Otherwise, it is better for them to leave.”

It is Hamid Karzai and his crooked buddies, including brothers in corruption who are responsible for the rise of the Taliban. It is they who must depart.

Anything For National Security!

It has now become an accepted aspect of American foreign policy whether a Democrat or a Republican or Tea Party or a Vegetarian is in the office of president that one can do anything as long as the action is accompanied by those two very powerful words–NATIONAL SECURITY. If an American president is charged with violating the Constitution, simply whisper NATIONAL SECURITY– and any and all charges disappear. In a recent television interview, Edward Snowden claimed the National Security Agency is not only engaged in seeking out “terrorists,” but it is engaged in the act of industrial espionage. He noted that an important industrial giant such as Siemens in Germany has also been the object of NSA snooping. “If there’s information at Siemens that’s beneficial to the US national interests-even if it doesn’t have anything to do with national security–then they’ll get that information.”

The National Security Agency has spied on German Chancellor Angela Merkel as well as upon dozens of leaders in nations throughout the world because it they had information that was of interest to our NATIONAL SECURITY. President Obama argues that he is possession of information which justifies this spying and since he cannot provide it to citizens, we must trust that the NSA is acting in the interests of NATIONAL SECURITY.

Chuck Schumer Finally Speaks Reality!!

Since day one of the current administration, this blog has argued focus in the initial days of Obama’s presidency should have been on one topic: Jobs, Jobs, Jobs. Some advisers did urge the newly elected president to study Franklin Roosevelt’s initial days in office. FDR blasted the wealthy as the cause of our Depression. He did not appoint those from the banking and Wall Street world to lead the fight for dealing with a Depression. His key advisor was Harry Hopkins, a former Social Worker! Franklin Roosevelt understood that people wanted work, that people had to eat –TODAY — not tomorrow. Barack Obama’s model was Ronald Reagan! This Republican president busted unions and catered to the wishes of the wealthy.

Senator Chuck Schumer finally spoke reality as to why the Democratic party today is in trouble with voters. In 2009, when Democrats controlled Congress, they could have passed laws dealing with creating jobs, but instead of jobs, President Obama turned “our attention towards healthcare reform instead of the growing problem of income inequality. (Health care) “was a worthy goal, but it wasn’t at the top of the to-do list of most Americans.” Most had some form of health care insurance.

Today, it is not too late to focus on what Americans want–JOBS, JOBS, JOBS.

What can Obama do?

1. Fight for job creation.

2. Fight for higher minimum wages.

3. Require that any program receiving federal money must pay a $15 an hour minimum wage.

4. But, first Barack Obama must understand the importance of weekly press conferences where he discusses these issues. Then, he must recognize going around America speaking specifically how jobs can be created.

Step Down Or Step Up?

Among the ongoing myths of the Republican party is that President Obama is not behaving in the same manner as prior presidents who stood tall for America and refused to back down in the face of tyranny. The assumption is that if a president goes to war, they are standing “tall for democracy.” Secretary of State John Kerry made clear to the Davos World Economic Forum that his role is to further the goal of democracy without employing force. He is upset at claims “that somehow America is disengaging from the world, the myth that America is pulling back or giving up or standing down.” Those assumptions are based on a theory the only was to stand up is to employ military force. Kerry noted that to many,the absence of military forces means the US is “somehow absent from the arena.”

Let’s look at the record:

1. The attack on South Korea was met with troops, not only from America, but from dozens of nations of the world. The independence of South Korea was preserved.

2. We all know how use of the military failed in Vietnam at a cost of over 50,000 American lives.

3. The Gulf War was fought, not only by American soldiers, but those from over twenty nations. It concluded successfully.

4. We all know what happened and continues to happen in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Use of military force in Syria would only lead to another civil war and emergence of more and more Muslim terrorists.

World War II Lives On In American Schools

I am aware there are several wars raging in the world and thousands have died and will continue to die, but it is time to move away from this minor issues of life, and focus on a new conflict that is emerging in the state of Virginia. Japan’s Ambassador to the United States, Kenichiro Sasae has rushed to the state capital of Virginia and held important meetings with newly elected Governor Terry McCauliffe. His country is greatly concerned about potential legislation which is working its way through the Virginia legislature which impacts the lives and fortunes of the people of Japan. In reality, if these bills are not prevented from becoming laws, the future of America and Japan is threatened.

The body of water that separates Japan from Korea is termed, the Sea of Japan, on most maps. But, voters in several Virginia districts are of Korean background and they do not want their children, or any child in the state of Virginia to learn in school that body of water is the “Sea of Japan.” They want maps which term this body of water, the “East Sea.” If this change is not made, who knows what type of violence will break out in the state of Virginia?

Another Civil War Goes On And On

It becomes increasingly difficult these days to pick up a newspaper or wander through the Internet without encountering images and stories about civil wars. I doubt if anyone at this moment could compile a list of existing civil wars. One is led to conclude that the process of establishing modern nations entails throwing together those who differ either in political views, religious beliefs, how one dresses or which sport team does one root for. The nation of South Sudan was recently created when the more Christian southern regions of the country of Sudan decided to end its relationship with the country of Sudan, which is mainly Muslim. So, they divided and are currently arguing as to which one controls oil fields. Naturally, if Christians could separate from Muslims it stands to reason that people of one tribe can separate from people of another tribe.

Vice President Riek Machar who is of the Nuer tribe decided that his folk did not wish to be part of the South Sudan government which is led by a Christian ethnic Dinka. Fighting has broken out. Uganda sent a few thousand troops to aid President Salva in his fight against the other tribe leader. The town of Bor, which was held by Machar forces is now a complete wreck of destroyed cars, bodies lying on the ground and stores empty. I assume they will talk, they will argue, and, just maybe, they will decide to hold off on further fighting.

It sort of reminds we Americans of fighting between Republicans and Democrats.

NOBODY ASKED ME BUT

We offer observations on the human condition from a 23 year old mind trapped in an 83 year old body.

NOBODY ASKED ME BUT

We place in the prison of our soul, love.

God is a whisperer.

Some are detail folk.

To contemplate who I am is to be who I am.

The child lives in today, the adult in yesterday.

Bear a grudge, bear witness to hate.

I so wish to have known my grandparents.

We feed wealthy money and the poor anger.

To know how others think is to think everyday.

My first allegiance is to the poor.

At age 83 I nod to elderly people.

Some believe believing in nonsense.

Some prefer the company of fools.

Pay attention to your words in all situations.

Injustice overwhelms my soul and leads to anger.

Humans possess an infinite capacity to hurt one another.

I place hand on chin when angry.

Times to rise and times to sit.

Robert Gates Is Lost In Past

Robert Gates who served both George Bush and Barack Obama believed it was his duty to publish book entitled, “Duty” which revealed it was people like him who were the problem in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Gates pounded away at mistakes allegedly made by President Obama in Afghanistan because, although he DID approve increasing the number of troops in Afghanistan, he really did not believe more troops would succeed. In other words, if only Obama “believed strongly” then success would have resulted in Afghanistan. The central issue for Robert Gates is how a president “feels” and whether or not a president “believes.” And, according to Gates the belief and the feeling must entail a commitment to MORE TROOPS ON THE GROUND!” At no point does Mr.Gates question the strategy of “more.”

Perhaps, Robert Gates might benefit from reading history. The United States of America in 1967 had nearly 500,000 troops in Vietnam, and our military leaders were demanding “more troops.” The theory of “more troops”failed in Vietnam, and it failed in Iraq. Al-Qaeda was temporarily “defeated” in Fallujah because Awakening Councils of Sunni tribesmen clashed with al-Qaeda, it was NOT because of the famous “surge” of General Petraeus. Unless there is a government in place that is competent and working on economic development, more troops, will not succeed.

Sorry, Mr. Gates, who cares what Barack Obama “felt” or “believed.” In the end, a local population determines success or failure in an insurgency.

A Program For Twenty First Century America!

This blog will focus this year upon describing how the United States of America must dramatically change its institutions in order to create an effective government for the twenty first century. We begin by discussing the need for governmental changes in our Constitution.

PRESIDENT: It is time to switch from an electoral system which might have been necessary during early years of the American Republic. It is time to end the Electoral College and shift to the winner of a presidential election being the candidate who won the most votes.

Congress:

Congressional Districts. It is time to end gerrymandering of congressional districts which currently ensure that either a Democrat or a Republican will always win the specific district seat. Two choices are available- a National Commission for Congressional District that is appointed by the Supreme Court or:
In each state the American Bar Association appoints a bipartisan commission to carve out congressional districts.

US Senate:
The top three states with the largest populations would be allocated three additional US Senators
The following seven would be allocated anywhere from one to two additional US Senate seats.
The House of Representatives would be doubled in size-based on population.

US Supreme Court

After twenty five years of service on the Court or reaching the age of 85, a justice must then retire.
The recommendation for service on the US Supreme Court or any Court shall be by a majority vote in the US Senate.
No sitting president can nominate more than four justices during their service as president. A vacancy would be held over to the following president.

Attorney General: The office of Attorney General shall not be held by anyone who is of the same political party as the President of the United States of America.The President has the right to nominate officers in the Justice Department who are subordinate to the Attorney General.

The Right to Vote shall not be abridged by any State law.

In future pieces we will discuss other necessary changes for a 21st century America.