Archive for July, 2010

“The Afghan Struggle: A Secret Archive” (TIMES, 7/26/10)

July 26, 2010

          How much more do we have to learn about the war in Afghanistan (or in the entire Af-Pak-Iraq region) to resolve the situation in a rational way?

          Only the irrational elements on the far right of the American political spectrum believe in total victory after an unconditional surrender of the insurgent forces there.

          4404 U.S. service members have died in Iraq and 1184 in Afghanistan, yet we are no closer to a genuine settlement in either country. Iraq could easily break up into three separate states and the fate of Afghanistan remains hidden in shadow.

          Should the administration await the outcome of the November election (more than three months distant) before it addresses this disaster (and the equally serious unemployment problem) or should it make a determined effort to resolve both; wait for the people to bolster the courage of the Democratic leadership or win its support by acting courageously?

“Siren On Oil Rig Was Kept Silent, Technician Says” (TIMES, 7/24/10)

July 26, 2010

         Is there some way copies of this story can be sent to the various Tea Party groups active throughout the nation? Surely they would then re-consider their opposition to government supervision of industry.

          Drilling for offshore oil is obviously a risky operation that requires keen oversight that can only be done by a responsible federal agency. 

          It was absurd to think that cost-cutting industrial managers could handle  that responsibility and workers’ organizations are too weak to do so.

          Probably, off-shore oil drilling should be terminated as too risky or too expensive to undertake. However, if it is to continue, there must be proper oversight.

“An Afghan Deadline, but Not the Desired Effect” (TIMES, 7/22/10)

July 26, 2010

          Setting a summer 2010 deadline “to begin drawing down troops” from Afghanistan was inhibited from succeeding by president Obama’s declaration that the war there “is necessary.”

          That unwise assertion, probably made to placate the hawks in his own party when the withdrawal from Iraq had first priority, is now a heavy weight on his shoulders.

          The war in Afghanistan is NOT necessary. Once Obama faces up to that fact, an exit strategy can be initiated that has as its goal the safe withdrawal of the U.S. and allied forces presently stationed there.

          Only when Hamid Karzai realizes that the foreign armed forces bolstering up his government are actually leaving, will he make an effort to get a government functioning. What longterm stability is accomplished by such an authority remains to be seen.

          What should be crystal clear is that the continued sacrifice of American troops and those of the U.S. allies is UNACCEPTABLE. 1179 American service members have died in this unnecessary war. It should be terminated.

“EX-Official Says Afghan and Iraq Wars Increased Threats to Britain” (TIMES, 7/21/10)

July 26, 2010

          A former leader of MI5 (the British FBI), the Baroness Manningham-Buller no less, has added her voice to the denunciation of the quagmire Rumsfeld created in Iraq.

          “Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11” but “it was not a judgement that found favor with…Donald H. Rumsfeld” and was the reason he started an alternative intelligence unit in the Pentagon to seek an alternative judgement.”

          Has word of this denunciation reached the Tea Party stalwarts? An intelligence official of the closest ally of the United States asserted that the invasion of Iraq was “unnecessary.”

“Ventures With Kurds Beckon Americans” (TIMES, 7/15/10)

July 19, 2010

          While U.S. troops endanger their lives for a unified Iraq, American hustlers like Peter W. Galbraith and Zalmay Khalilzad have been busily “chasing business opportunities in the oil-rich Kurdish region.”

          How soon after U.S troops are withdrawn from Iraq will the country break up into smaller, more malleable states easily manipulated by Big Oil?

          In Central America such small states were referred to as “Banana Republics” because of United Fruit’s influence there. Will the divided parts of Iraq be called petroleum Sheikdoms?

THE FACE OF RUMSFELD’S QUAGMIRE

July 19, 2010

          “The Department of Defense has identified 1158 American service members who have died as a part of the Afghan war and related operations.”

          The above sentence appears someplace in your newspaper several times a month and will no doubt continue to do so in the ensuing months and years. The only part of it that will change is the number, which could exceed 1200 by the end of this month. It was 1132 on 7/1/10, 1095 on 6/16/10, so 63 died between mid-June and mid-July. At this rate, another 220 will die by Election Day for a total of 1378.

          Would that American voters could turn out the mindless hawks pursuing this folly but both parties support the “necessary war,” as Obama unwisely described it when he assumed the presidency.

          The longer the U.S. forces wallow in this quagmire, the more difficult it will be to extricate them.

“An Economy of Grinds” by David Brooks (TIMES, 7/13/10)

July 19, 2010

          The only thing David Brooks left out of his fable of the prince and the grind is “once upon a time”; it remains another of his fictitious narratives apparently aimed at distracting us from a thorough analysis of the business world. His literary creation seems aimed at turning us away from finding solutions  to the economic crisis now gripping the country.

          On the basis of what better analysts are saying, it would seem that a lack of oversight by a government NOT of the people enabled both princes and grinds to play the economy for their own benefit. They got rich while others were victimized, in some cases to the point of destitution.

          Now, relief is urgent for millions of workers and a government that is answerable to all the people, not in thrall to the corporations operated by both princes and grinds.

“U.S Training of Pakistani Forces Is Facing Hurdles and Suspicion” (TIMES, 7/12/10)

July 12, 2010

          The United States is spending a lot of money in the borderlands of Pakistan to train a miniscule force that is currently overmatched by a much more experienced insurgent army.

           It seems fairly clear that any kind of effective resistance to Al Qaeda and the Taliban along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border is years from being attained.

          Success in irregular  warfare is not primarily a matter of training, however smart and dedicated are the trainers. Irregular forces exist within the embrace of a larger population of sympathizers to their cause. U.S. officers have seen it before.

          Apparently, the stuffy editors of the TIMES have forgotten the lessons of the recent past. It might not be to the same degree as it was in Vietnam, but the insurgents are the fish in the water of a sympathetic population.

“Volcker, Loud and Clear” (TIMES/Sunday Business, 7/11/10)

July 12, 2010

          When a top economist like Paul Volcker, who supported de-regulation when Reagan was president, acknowledges that he was mistaken then, it is time for all business-friendly Democrats to sit up and take notice.

          Repealing the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 was a serious mistake that contributed to the depression the USA is now experiencing. Referring to this debacle as the “most serious economic crisis since the Great Depression” or as a “Great Recession” are only efforts to deny the grim reality. 

          We are witnessing a DE-PRES-SION and it is time for Obama to acknowledge that fact. Doing so will not only make the situation clear to more of the American people but will enable the pathetic Democratic Party to initiate the OVERSIGHT of business that is so urgently needed.

          The hustlers on Wall Street have to be put under intense scrutiny. Then they might learn the difference between speculation and gambling.

“A Deep Driller With Penchant to Test Rules” (TMES, 7/8/10)

July 12, 2010

          “Test rules” or break them?

          It looks like a genuine investigation of the BP-Transocean atrocity in the Gulf of Mexico might require a regiment of U.S Marines in order to make any headway.

          They better bring all their tanks and helicopters with them because these multinational titans are not to be taken lightly.

          Implanted in the regiment should be a battalion of expert lawyers and accountants able to unravel the many ways these criminals broke the law.

          Let the Republican Party lackies of corporate power apologize to BP; a genuine investigating body should bring them to heel.

          May justice prevail!