Archive for October, 2011

“U.S. Seeks Aid From Pakistan In Peace Effort” (TIMES, 10/31/11)

October 31, 2011

     When asked whether the United States would “Crack down or negotiate with the Haqqani network,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton responded: “We want to fight, talk and build all at the same time.”

     But how can we talk with people we are engaged in killing?  “A little bit of both” cannot possibly work.  It will only increase the distrust between the USA and Pakistan.

     It is time to acknowledge that we are wallowing in a quagmire that has been widening and deepening.  We should change the strategy by informing the Afghan leaders that we are pulling out all our troops BEFORE  2014.  To strengthen our resolve, maybe we should replace some of our foreign policy team?

“As Cain Promotes His Management Skills, Ex-Aides Tell of Campaign in Chaos” (TIMES, 10/27/11)

October 31, 2011

     Herman Cain is not running for president.  This pretend candidacy is simply a way pf making him an instant celebrity, which will increase the sale of his book, “This Is Herman Cain! My Journey to the White House.”

     Norman Mailer talked about the importance of fame in the sale of books in “Advertisements For Myself” (published in 1960).  He pointed to Ernest Hemingway as one who benefitted from such a tactic and, of course, Mailer did the same thing to popularize his works from that time on.

     Since I have not seen any report on how well Cain’s book is doing, I don’t know if it will be a bestseller or not.  However, it is clear that his book tours are much more important to him than his campaigning.  Herman Cain sounds like a cynical black man cut from the same mold as Clarence Thomas.

     How comical that this faux candidate is leading the pack of Republican pipsqueaks vying for the nomination! 

“The Fighter Fallacy” by David Brooks (TIMES, 10/25/11)

October 31, 2011

     There is no doubt that many Americans distrust their government (on every level) but it is a gross simplification to suggest (as Brooks does) that the Democrats are “the party of government” and the Republicans are not.

     The Republican Party, now more than ever, is a political organization in the employ of the wealthiest of our citizens.  An example of its use of big government on behalf of the one percent of the population was the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Law, which benefitted greedy investors and ruined millions of small property owners.

     The idea of a strong central government serving the wishes of the very rich goes all the way back to Alexander Hamilton, the spiritual father of the Republican Party founded long after he died.

     As a proud Hamiltonian and experienced journalist who calls himself a “moderate conservative,” it is often difficult for me to accept that Brooks actually believes what he says.

“Panetta’s Pentagon, Without the Blank Check” by Peter Baker (TIMES, 10/24/11)

October 31, 2011

     I believe it was  David Stocker (?), a Republican Cabinet member in the Reagan administration, who suggested that the Secretary of Defense was a salesman for the defense industry.  Bearing that in mind, we should never give such an official a “blank check.”

     Whatever his intention in writing this piece, Peter Baker has revealed another appointed official in a powerful position in a democratic government.  After Donald Rumsfeld, that makes me nervous.  The United States does not need someone who can act the Roman proconsul while holding such an important position.

     Leon Panetta claims Dwight Eisenhower as a hero of his.  I hope he remembers Eisenhower’s warning about the great influence of the military-industrial complex in the affairs of our government.

“Last U.S. Soldiers To Exit From Iraq in 2011, Obama Says” (TIMES, 10/22/11)

October 29, 2011

     Great day in the morning, it looks like the U.S. will actually withdraw all regular military forces from Iraq by 12/31/11!

     HOWEVER, our government “will still keep about 160 military personnel to guard its embassy in Baghdad and manage the continuing military relationship.  There will also be 4000 to 5000 private State Department security contractors, as well as a significant C.I.A. presence.”

     The 160 will have diplomatic immunity.  Will that be the case for the State Department mercenaries and the CIA personnel?  Despite the good news of the withdrawal, these questions have to be asked, especially since the Secretary of Defense wanted to leave a force of 3000 to 5000 troops in this beleaguered country.

     Almost 4500 U.S. service members have died in Iraq, many thousands more have been wounded and at a cost of more than a trillion dollars for a war that never should have been fought; yet, we have officials like Leon Panetta who want to maintain some kind of  presence in the region.

     President Obama should beware of listening to this Rumsfeld in his Cabinet!

“U.S. Weighs Its Strategy On Warfare in Cyberspace” (TIMES, 10/19/11)

October 29, 2011

     “Is active defense really offensive in cyberspace?”

     Another weighty question being asked by still another four-star general in a position of great authority in the government.  And there are Americans who want more secrecy about these recent developments!

     At the bottom of this article was printed that awful little box informing readers that “1794 American service members” have died in the “Afghan war.”

     Was the juxtaposition meant to remind everybody that in the future U.S. wars should be fought by robots?

“The Great Restoration” by David Brooks (TIMES, 10/18/11)

October 29, 2011

     At the present time, most Americans who discuss the state of the economy favor    government spending in order to stimulate a recovery.

     Moreover, the notion that government spending “is only a temporary solution” is simplistic to the point of inaccuracy.

     The people that would be put to work by a massive federal jobs program would quickly pay taxes and next would spend money that could resuscitate the economy.

     Brooks is being overly pessimistic in his assessment of the stimulus.

“U.S. Cuts Back Proposed Size of Force in Iraq” (TIMES, 10/16/11)

October 22, 2011

     NO AMERICAN  “TRAINERS” SHOULD REMAIN IN IRAQ BEYOND THE PROMISED WITHDRAWAL DATE!

     “The United States and Iraq agreed in 2008 that all troops would withdraw by the end of 2011.”

     Keeping some of them there, no matter how small a contingent, will leave a back door open through which another intervention can be made.  Almost 4500 U.S. service members have died in this unnecessary war and billions of dollars wasted.

     President Obama should remain firm in upholding that 2008 agreement, making it clear to Leon Panetta that he will not tolerate a Secretary of Defense like Donald Rumsfeld.  The President is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces; his Cabinet officers are advisors.

     How cooperative (with Panetta) of THE NEW YORK TIMES to bury this important notice on page 11; yet, I guess we should be grateful that it was printed.  Know that it will be posted on my blog site (wordpress.com.letters unfit to print/shoumende).

“A New Pakistan Policy: Containment” by Bruce O. Riedel (TIMES, 10/15/11)

October 22, 2011

     The plea by this former CIA officer to contain the Pakistani Army’s “aggressive instincts” makes sense.  For too long the United States has been tolerating the behavior of its Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI), even at great peril to our own strategy in this region.

     Does that containment policy require the continued U.S. presence in Afghanistan, that graveyard of invading armies?

     It is time to end this “necessary war,” as President Obama unfortunately identified it in 2009, and change the date for the U.S. withdrawal.  Keeping our troops in Rumsfeld’s quagmire for another three years is irresponsible.

“Preparing for a Way Out of Afghanistan” by C>J> Chivers (TIMES, 10/14/11)

October 18, 2011

     Kudos for this straight-forward account of a “remote outpost” that Chivers saw as a “microcosm” of the “exit plan” from the quagmire that is the war in Afghanistan.  Whatever the intention of the piece, it clearly reveals the  hopelessness of the situation there.

     As one noncommissioned officer close to the Afghan soldiers who will take over when the U.S. finally withdraws its forces reported: “I don’t think they’ll make it through the first winter.”

     This sober prognosis from an experienced American soldier on the scene probably won’t influence some senior officer sitting behind a desk far from the actual fighting, especially if he has his eye on a good position after retirement with some defense industry.

     But, we the people should take note of it and press our government to re-think the exit strategy.  Why, for example, should it be dragged out to the year 2014?  With a good withdrawal plan, the U.S. could be out of this hell hole by 6/30/12 (the end of the fiscal year) and save a lot of American lives.