Archive for August, 2010

“Pakistanis Tell of Motive In Taliban Leader’s Arrest” by Dexter Filkins (TIMES, 8/23/10)

August 23, 2010

          Many thanks to Dexter Filkins for still another exposure of the complex machinations which are a part of a war Obama unwisely called “necessary.”

          More duplicity piled atop past duplicities. Everybody involved, the Afghans (both Taliban and anti-Taliban), Pakistani intelligence agents with their self-serving agenda and the ubiquitous CIA burdened by its tired old cloak-and-dagger methods, all of them stumbling around in a quagmire that  gets deeper with each passing week.

          This “necessary” war, supposedly between the Afghans and the U.S. armed forces, also includes Pakistanis worried about the role of India in the region! When will the Kurds in Iraq (the “unnecessary” war) strengthen their drive for autonomy?

          How will Obama ever extricate U.S. troops from the Af-Pak-Iraq muck? Many of these recruits volunteered for the armed forces only because they had no chance of securing a decent job or of attending college. And, with unemployment continuing on the rise here at home, there will be plenty more who can be recruited.       




August 23, 2010

          Whether it is the two wars Obama inherited from the shadow presidency or the unemployment debacle which can be attributed to that same eight years of misrule, the president is not measuring up to the expectations he engendered during the election campaign.

          The quagmire Donald Rumsfeld boasted would not happen is still with us, especially is that so in Afghanistan. The “drawdown” in Iraq is such only to the rosiest of optimists. 50,000 regular U.S. troops  will remain there for  another sixteen months. In addition, there are thousands of mercenaries who will be on active duty indefinitely and the possibility of more of these hired soldiers being added to the already large foreign presence in Iraq. The USA remains at war ostensibly for the establishment of a “New World Order.”

          Despite the negative prognostications concerning the off-year election, the Obama administration is expecting to win enough seats in Congress on November 2, 2010 to begin functioning more actively for its promised progressive program then.

          Tighten your belts, everybody; that is 71 days away!

“Blackwater Reaches $42 Million Settlement With U.S. Over Export Violations” TIMES, 8/21/10)

August 23, 2010

          That Blackwater (now called Xe Services), a modern-day mercenary armed force headed by former Navy Seal Erik Prince, is still in the employ of the U.S. government is a sad state of affairs. It has a $120 million contract with the State Department and $100 million contract with the CIA to provide security for both in Afghanistan.

         Continuing to utilize this army of thugs is a short-sighted policy that will further undermine U.S. credibility in that beleaguered country, where 1218 American service members have already died.

          That Xe Services “had offered the lowest bid” is hardly justification for using a force that has probably not “cleaned up its act.”

“Appeasing the Bond Gods” by Paul Krugman (TIMES, 8/20/10)

August 23, 2010

          Perhaps a better way of dealing with the troublesome “austerians” would be to emphasize the urgent need for a massive federal jobs program?

          Trying to understand the vagaries of the market is like trying to know which number will come up on the roulette wheel.

          Krugman should focus more attention than he already has on the actual unemployment situation in the USA and what measures should be taken to end the stranglehold it has on the economy.

          Maybe he would be willing to direct some attention to the National Jobs For All Coalition’s pamphlet, Shared Prosperity and the Drive For Decent Work?

“Civilians to Take U.S. Lead After Military Leaves Iraq” (TIMES, 8/19/10)

August 23, 2010

          The more news we get about ending the war in Iraq, the more it is apparent that the United States will maintain a strong presence there for an indefinite period.

          The people on the ground might not wear the uniforms of the U.S. armed forces but it will be obvious to the Iraqis that they are armed occupiers of their country. 

          That means the U.S. will continue to have extraterritorial rights, making it difficult for American officials to deny having imperialist intentions.

          Isn’t there some way the United Nations could play a more significant role in resolving the mess in Iraq?

“Karzai Orders Private Security Phaseout” TIMES, (8/18/10)

August 23, 2010

          Afghanistan is crawling with mercenaries. 

          Fifty-two private security companies are licensed by the Afghan Interior Ministry. “The American government alone employs about 26,000 private security contractors who work for 37 private security companies,” Phasing out these well-equipped and well-paid mercenaries in the four-month timeline Karzai has laid down could increase the violence and disorder in this beleaguered country.

          “Some Afghan security company owners…argued that it could fuel the insurgency by increasing unemployment.”  Not even the fabled Wyatt Earp could disarm such a large force of hired guns in so short a time.

          And Rumsfeld boasted that he didn’t do quagmires!

“No ‘Graceful Exit'” by Bob Herbert (TIMES, 8/17/10)

August 23, 2010

          Oh, the power of the military in the USA, which so many people praise as the most democratic country in the world!

          It is often forgotten how many military leaders have used that “patriotic duty” to become candidates for high political office. Eight, beginning with Washington, attained the presidency not long after their military service. Though some made effective presidents, it is cause for concern.

          Many military “heroes” failed to attain the majority of the vote, McCain being the latest. There is some information that Custer’s reckless attack on the huge Indian encampment along the Little Big Horn River was partly motivated by his hope of being the vice-presidential candidate of the Democratic Party.

          Is General Petraeus the professional soldier he has claimed to be in his recent assertion that a graceful exit from Afghanistan is not his purpose? Rumor has it that he could be the Republican candidate for president.

          How can Obama handle this military subordinate of his after stating at the very beginning of his term in office that the war in Afghanistan “is necessary.” The clever and ambitious Petraeus can counter any pressure from his commander-in-chief to withdraw in 2011 by reminding him of that claim.

“General Opposes A Rapid Pullout In Afghanistan” (TIMES, 8/16/10)

August 16, 2010

          The Patraeus strategy in Iraq was not a surge, which the Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary describes as “a great swelling or sweeping forward”; it was a shifting of U.S. Forces out of harm’s way. That’s how U.S. casualties were lowered, so it was a good idea.

          The Obama withdrawal from Afghanistan is not precipitous (synonymous with steep). It will be done gradually and presumably with the safety of U.S and NATO troops having the top priority.

          Patraeus speaks more like a calculating politician than a military professional. Since he has been mentioned as a possible presidential candidate, we should listen very carefully to everything he says.

“A Secret Assault on Terror Widens on Two Continents” (TIMES, 8/15/10)

August 16, 2010

          Duane “Dewey” Clarridge, a “profane former CIA officer” who ran with Yalie snotnoses during the Great Depression, is currently one of the “security experts… helping run a Pentagon-financed private spying operation in Pakistan.”

          Why would the Obama administration want to employ a right-wing thug like Clarridge? Often dressed in a white linen suit, he resembles the colonial gin-and-tonic crowd who trumpeted the “white man’s burden” during the heyday of British imperialism.

          Throw the bum out!

“Fire and Imagination” by Bob Herbert (TIMES, 8/14/10)

August 16, 2010

          Is it true that the Obama administration missed the chance to create jobs?

         A massive federal jobs program should have been a top priority, but is it really too late to do something?

          Playing it cool with the economy so as not to risk alienating the many moderates in the Democratic Party until after the November election looks like a big mistake at this point.

          If Republicans are “expected to gain seats in the Congressional elections” anyway, what can the administration lose by advocating a bold jobs program now? There are still 79 days until Election Day, enough time for Obama to address the dire unemployment situation with a significant plan for relief.