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.

Caliph Of Doom Now In Mosul

I have a hunch there have been numerous meeting at headquarters of the CIA, NSA, and God knows which other agencies in our government that safe guard the nation with their phone taping and Internet surveillance in order to prevent Muslim terrorists to grow more powerful. I do not recall a single statement from guardian of the Internet or phones which referred to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria as a powerful threat to national security– at least not until the past two months. Yesterday, openly, in the city of Mosul a new Caliph was proclaimed who demanded obedience from all Muslims in the world. A spokesman for the Brookings Center sarcastically described what happened. “One of the most wanted men on earth was able to travel into the center of Mosul, give a 30 minute sermon in the most venerated mosque in the largest Arab center under control of the most notorious jihadist group of our time.” And, we Americans must be snooped on by agencies that spend untold billions on gathering “data.”

Ironically, Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi demanded that al-Qaeda obey him from this moment on. He told leaders of al-Qaeda they now were under his control. Naturally, leaders of al-Qaeda told him to go to hell. In other words,al-Qaeda now seeks new allies. How about President Obama meeting with al-Qaeda leader Zawahiri and forming a new alliance? We can now all unite to fight the latest terror group– ISIS!

I guess George Bush was right: FINALLY-MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! We finally took down al-Qaeda by becoming its ally!!

US Downgrades Obama

Recent polls indicate that most Americans are not impressed by the presidency of Barack Obama.In some polls he now ranks as the least competent American president since the end of World War II. Naturally, the Republican party and Fox News and those who hate the very thought of someone with dark skin as our president will applaud this view. This blog has frequently been critical of the performance of our president, but is he the worst since 1945 is an interesting question? If he is, we should examine what he did or did not do.

1. A president is the national spokesperson of the nation. Every great president was able to communicate ideas to the public. On this point, He has never explained anything that he does. Even today, most Americans still do not know the meaning of his Affordable Care Act. Ironically, when Americans are polled on specific pieces of the act, they agree with it. Given this discrepancy, the rating must be–D.

2. He inherited a mess in Iraq. In fairness he did what had to be done in Iraq–leaving. However, again, there was no clear statement about why we did not sign any agreement with the Iraq government. To this day, few Americans know it was refusal on the part of the Iraq government to allow American soldiers to be tried in military courts that ended our presence. Why the secret? Tell it to the American people. If America was leaving Iraq, then what was to be our policy in the Middle East? He never offered one. Rating: D-

3. Israel under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu constantly refused to compromise with Palestinian leader President Abbas. After the victory in 2008, the new president had about one year to compel Netanyahu to engage in peace talks. He hesitated, he refused to get tough. Sending former President Bill Clinton to the Middle East with the power to get tough with Netanyahu and President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority might have gotten results. Perhaps not, but it was worth a try. Rating: C

4. Republicans were out to get him from day one of his administration. In 2009, he had a majority in both houses of Congress. He never learned the lesson of Franklin Roosevelt that the initial 100 days was the time to push through laws. He never learned the importance of co-opting Republicans. For example, asking Senator John McCain to be his representative in Afghanistan by heading a study group to come up with future policy. Meeting each and every member of Congress in a private session by the end of 2009. Would it have changed Republicans? Most probably not, but it was worth a gamble. Rating C-.

5. Obama remains the most aloof president in recent times. He has the worst record for press conferences of any American president since WWII. He never learned the importance of the press conference. Each press conference means that day, the president controls the news. He did not reach out to reporters, he stood away from them. He did not use the press conference to speak with Americans in clear terms. Rating: D.

So, how do we rate Obama? Definitely, not among the top presidents since WWII. Most probably a C one.

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

In my youth, fast food was hot dogs in the deli on Thursday when mom worked in our store.

My mother never once took me out to lunch–or dinner!

Some slumber through life.

Children enjoy a pretended punch.

There is judo of the mind as well as of the body.

At some point in time, we all have to depart.

Some were born to think in different ways.

All Earth folk are colored.

Some stand still to talk, others hop around.

In the universe there is never an end nor a beginning.

3 employees, 3 customers, not a profitable day.

Some gaze at iPad when ordering food.

I wonder if there is a hierarchy among Gods.

Two coffee spills in a day-blame it on old fingers.

Some clutch notebook close to heart.

Since serving in the army never had a clear identity.

Being able to tower over a shorter person gives one a sense of power.

Flight From Or Toward Mosul??

The American media is filled with horror stories from Iraq and Republican congressmen are daily reciting their outrage on Fox News how Barack Obama “lost Iraq to Muslim terrorists.” A new mantra is emerging within the Republican party that things were going great in Iraq until the dude from Africa took office, and began a campaign to transform peaceful Iraq into a divided nation. However, on the road leading from or to Mosul which is now under control of the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq,(ISIS) a different story is emerging. Those traveling the road leading to or from Mosul now encounter Kurdish troops–”Last Peshmerga Checkpoint” which are manned by Kurdish troops ready and able to handle the ISIS. A driver told a reporter that he was headed back to Mosul. “Everything is normal there. The ISIS people do not interfere. Hospitals, municipal services, it’s business as usual. In other words, a city of nearly two million people was taken over without any opposition by a few thousand men.

A police officer who was headed back to Mosul explained to a reporter why he was going home. He bitterly discussed his Shiite superiors. “They don’t even consider we Sunnis to be human beings. Only Shiites got promoted to become officers. We were second class citizens.” Now he wants to return to a city run by Sunnis who intend to make Shiites second class citizens. So, those in cars headed south from Mosul are Shiites or any of the remaining Christians who fear death in a city run by Sunnis. In Baghdad, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has rejected any idea of forming a coalition government that includes Sunni and Shiites. That is why people are headed north to Mosul or south away from Mosul.

On July 4th! A Day For Immigrants To Affirm!

This year marks my 83rd July 4th since I arrived in August of 1930 and thus missed July 4th of that year. July 4th always had meaning during my early years of life since I was a fanatic baseball fan and so loved having a double header(for the price of one game) played by all major league baseball teams. I could listen on my radio to the exploits of the New York Yankees in an era when they won world series after world series. Baseball players were giants in my life, they represented the end result of my dreams. Of course, my initial eleven July 4th came at a time when we had poverty, but no war. Then came World War II and July 4th was a day when we honored those who fought against Nazism and the Japanese. At least we knew very clearly who were the good and who were the bad guys in our lives. On July 4th we stood as a nation united, we felt as one in the struggle against evil. There was no ambiguity, the Nazis and “Japs” were the enemies.

As the child of immigrants, in those days no one differentiated between “illegal” and “legal” immigrants, we were simply immigrants blessed to be in a land where we all worked to defeat evil doers. I always felt a certain moment of patriotism standing at Yankee Stadium as the sang our nation’s song. Years later when I served in the armed forces, July 4th made me feel part of America. I was not the son of “foreigners,” I was an American. We understood that if one lived and worked in America it was simply a matter of time before they began to think and behave as an American. Who cared from whence you came, who cared if you were a recent arrival, the only important thing was–did you want to become an American!

I once wrote a history of America. I felt proud in so doing. It enabled me to bring together all memories of July 4th into one story. We Americans are ALL IMMIGRANTS! The issue for Americans has never been –how did you get here! No, the issue for Americans has always been–do you love America and will you fight for its continued existence!!

The Forgotten Iraq People

Among the most under reported stories about the Bush/Cheny/Rumsfeld invasion of Iraq is how this blunder impacted the lives of Christians. Iraq Christians are among the oldest branch of this religion since they descend from Arabs who converted to the new religion hundreds of years prior to the arrival of the Muslim religion. Iraq Christians lived in peace under the regime of Saddam Hussein who regarded this group as loyal to him since they feared that if he left power, militant Islamics would seize power. Of course, this is exactly what happened due to the Bush invasion of Iraq. No one in his administration gave a single thought to the impact of ending Saddam and bringing in Islamic militants like Shiite Nouri Maliki. Of the estimated 1,000,000 Christians who were in Iraq when American troops entered in 2003, about 500,000 are still in the country. Most have fled to avoid persecution from the Islamic government installed by the “born again Christian” George Bush!

As Islamic terrorists head for Mosul and other areas in north Iraq, Christians are terrified. The city of Qaraqosh lies about forty miles from Mosul which is now controlled by ISIS. Fortunately, a Kurdish force of about 1,500 Peshmerga soldiers are now in the town and ready to defend Christians from slaughter by Muslim terrorists. I wonder how Fox News will report how the invasion they supported led to the deaths of thousands of Christians?

American Conservatism That Once Was And Can Be

I currently am in the process of writing the history of America in the year, 1953 so my mind each day returns to olden days when life was somewhat different in this blessed land. The year begins with the election of the first Republican president in twenty years –Dwight Eisenhower. Ike, as he was affectionally known, had been a great general during World War II, and decided that he was a Republican. Believe it or not in those days the Republican Party had a conservative, a moderate, and a liberal wing. Conservative Henry Luce, owner of Time, Life and Fortune magazines wrote an editorial boasting that the Republican party was the champion of workers and the middle class. He believed that capitalism was based on the principle of redistribution of wealth in order to ensure the middle class and workers had good jobs and incomes so they could purchase goods and keep the economy vibrant. For modern Republicans, a somewhat novel concept of “conservatism.” The essence of moderate, liberal, and many conservative Republicans was the importance of free enterprise as personified with rising income for both the wealthy and middle class.

President Eisenhower also had the weird conservative notion that national debts were best handled by imposing high taxes on the wealthy. He continued the Franklin Roosevelt World War II top tax level of 90%. When challenged by head of U.S. Steel corporation who insisted on lower taxes for the wealthy, he informed the rich man that as an American he was responsible for paying a higher tax. Most Republicans in Congress, supported the president. Would you believe that CONSERVATIVES regarded paying off the national debt as important and the responsibility of the wealthy?? Henry Luce urged in a Life editorial the goal of conservatives in America was to ensure that the top 5% of wealthy controlled only 17% of our national income, not the 42% currently supported by Republicans! Such was the state of CONSERVATIVES.

Oh, Eisenhower ended segregation in Washington D.C., he ended it in Navy shipyards, he continued the desegregation of the armed forces, and his Attorney General strongly backed the Brown vs Board of Education law suit to end segregation in our nation’s schools. That was CONSERVATIVE thinking in 1953. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Republican conservatives returned to the old true conservatism of their predecessors?

Barack Obama Just Can’t Communicate

I voted for Barack Obama twice, it was my assumption this was a man who would be able to uphold the rights of individual citizens, this was a man who would be able to curb the growing power of government, and this was a man who would be able to communicate issues to the American people. Boy, was I wrong. As of today, most probably, 80% of the American people still do not understand the Affordable Care Act and its provisions! On no occasion has our president clearly spoken to the American people about this law. For example:

The Affordable Care Act guarantees every American: (1) the right to affordable health insurance, (2) the right to select one’s doctor,(3) the right not to be denied health insurance due to pre-existing conditions, (4) the right of young people to remain covered by parent health plans,(5) financial aid from the government for health insurance. Every American should have been sent a one sheet statement from the government with this information. Then, let Republicans blast away.

The same failure to communicate is obvious today. President Obama should be on national television with this statement: “The United States protected the people of Iraq at the cost of thousands of our young men and women. We provided billions of dollars in aid to develop their economy and create a modern armed force. Prime Minister Nouri Maliki ignored our advice to work with all Iraqi groups in order to create a modern society. Instead, he persecuted Sunni minorities and rid the armed forces of effective officers. The Iraq government created this current problem. We are ready to assist Iraq, but only after its government is committed to equal rights for all, and its armed forces are led by the best available leaders. No American will be placed at risk until Iraq has a unified government. Period.”

All Americans would then understand the situation. That is the role of a President of the United States of America.

Grand Ayatollah Has Grand Idea

I confess that like most Americans encountering another tale about the nation of Iraq is the last thing on my mind. I am a New York Knickerbocker fan and the last time my team won the NBA title I was forty years younger so I do understand the meaning of futility. The past decade of my life has involved reading, watching, hearing and thinking about the nation of Iraq. There is no sense reviewing mistakes made in the past since we lack a time machine to return backwards and fix things so that events unfurl in some logical pattern of intelligence. Here we are in June, 2014–Iraq is a mess. Period. Anyway, the leader of Iraq Shiites has reached a similar conclusion–things are a mess.

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has called upon all political leaders to come together and get rid of the world’s most incompetent Prime Minister–Nouri al-Maliki who created a disaster for his land. The Ayatollah wants political leaders from Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds to meet and select a new prime minister who can bring groups together, reform a broken military, and defeat ISIS terrorists who are sweeping through the country. He hopes this meeting would be a “prelude to the political solution that everyone seeks at present.” Common sense words.

I realize that Dick Cheney blames Obama for the mess. Hey Dick, YOU were the guy who selected Maliki! In other words, you were the dick head for caused the present mess.

Wither The Republican Party?

There was an interesting and sad television shot shown to the American people last night. On the anniversary of the fight for civil rights in the South, most members of Congress locked arms and sang the famous marching song of civil rights fighters, “We Shall Over Come.” However, neither John Boehner nor Senator Mitch McConnell moved their lips in order to display their opposition to anything that President Obama supported. A wonderful display of courage. If Jesus Christ appeared tomorrow and was walking with President Obama, the Republican party would come out against Christianity. A once great political party has become a negative, angry, hating group of men and women. Oops, sorry, I ignore the concern of Republicans for the oppressed minorities in our nation–the upper 5% of those with money and those who fight for the right to earn billions.

Let me review the history of this once great party:

1. Abraham Lincoln pushed through the first income tax. He gave away free land to all who desired in the Homestead Act. His government financed construction of the intercontinental railroad. He backed creation of colleges that were free to students. And, worst of all, he took property away–without compensation–from slave owners!
2. Theodore Roosevelt blasted the wealthy for their selfishness. He broke up monopolies and then had the Federal government supervise their operations. He advocated the Income Tax amendment. He ended segregation in the federal government. He also defended the rights of workers to have unions.
3. Wendell Wilkie lost the 1940 presidential election to Franklin Roosevelt. He then spent World War II as a special assistant for the president. Republicans in Congress worked with President Roosevelt to create a United Nations.
4. Dwight Eisenhower refused to lower the WWII top income tax level of NINETY PERCENT until debts were paid off. His administration fought for the Brown vs Board of Education Supreme Court decision that ended segregation. Eisenhower worked to ends segregation in the armed forces and ended it in Washington D.C.
5. Republicans worked with President Lyndon Johnson to pass the Civil Rights bill.
6. Heck, Richard Nixon supported Affirmative Action, came out for national health insurance, and even toyed with the idea of a guaranteed income for all Americans.

That used to be the Republican party!!