Archive for February, 2012

“Afghan Uproar Casts Shadows On U.S. Pullout” (TIMES, 2/27/12)

February 28, 2012

          Afghanistan is a quagmire, Donald Rumsfeld’s denial notwithstanding.

          President Obama’s main concern should be to extricate the U.S. troops still stationed there. If it was not an election year, he could move up the withdrawal date to 12/13/12 and the majority of Americans would support him.

          Alas, the election is a long eight months away! Already 1884 American service members have died in this quagmire. What will that figure be by then?

A. Garavente

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“Romney Braces For A Long Haul” (TIMES, 2/26/12)

February 28, 2012

          The Republicans do not have a presidential candidate at this writing but the Democrats should not let down their guard.

          If the GOP leaders really think the issue won’t be settled “until at least May,” there might be an alternative strategy put forth that favors a brand new candidate. Surely, they have a list of possible alternatives to these four inept figures duking it out now.

          Maybe they even have a white knight ready to serve the party already waiting in the wings.

A. Garavente

“10 Afghans Killed in Protests as Anger Spreads Over Burning of Korans” (TIMES, 2/25/12)

February 28, 2012

          Here is further proof that moving the U.S. withdrawal date from Afghanistan from 12/31/14 to 6/30/13 was a sound decision by President Obama. This latest protest against the foreign presence in that sorry country has hastened the evacuation of the Germans.

          Despite the carping criticism of the GOP presidential candidates about sensible decisions such as the 6/30/13 U.S. evacuation, Obama should stay the course. In fact, if he is re-elected in November, he could move up the withdrawal to 3/31/13 or even to 12/31/12. Why drag out the agony?

A. Garavente

“Pain Without Gain” by Paul Krugman (TIMES, 2/20/12)

February 28, 2012

          Yes, Paul Krugman, it is long past the time “to put delusional beliefs about the virtues of austerity in a depressed economy behind us.” The evidence is overwhelming that proves such harsh measures are actually making things worse.

          President Herbert Hoover was wrong about that when the Great Depression swept the nation after the stock market crash of 1929 and the naysayers to “fiscal stimulus” are equally mistaken today.

          President Barack Obama has to implement a massive federal jobs program SOON. Waiting until the Democrats win the 2012 election, which is a long eight months away, might be too late.

          Moreover, despite the pathetic showing of the Republican candidates for president in the primaries, if the party finds a better one in a brokered convention, Obama may face a stronger GOP opponent that are challenging him now.

A. Garavente

“This War Is Not Over Yet” by Mary L. Dudziak (TIMES, 2/16/12)

February 23, 2012

          Kudos to Mary L. Dudziak for her call to release prisoners being held as terrorists now that the war in Iraq has ended and the one in Afghanistan will be over by June of next year.

          She’s right in claiming that President Obama is trying to have it both ways by upholding his “expansive definition of war” even as he is terminating these conflicts.

Certainly, when U.S. troops are finally out of Afghanistan, he can close the Guantánamo Bay prison.

A. Garavente

“The Materialist Fallacy” by David Brooks (TIMES, 2/14/12)

February 23, 2012

          David Brooks often sounds like the dumbest writer on the TIMES’ staff and sometimes his fulminations are not “fit to print.”

          He claims that economic determinists “stopped thinking in 1975.” Question: when did David Brooks start thinking? Can he really justify his extremely pessimistic views of the American people and U.S. society?

          If manufacturing jobs came back to the American economy, by whatever means, any shortage of an adequate work force could quickly be replenished (as happened in the industrial sector during World War II).

          Of course, some of the people applying for jobs would be turned down because they lack the skills to perform them. However, the majority of the current pool of unemployed and underemployed workers would be competent enough to be hired. 

          David Brooks is hobbled by his static viewpoint, therefore he has little confidence on the possibility of change. Those of us who see people continually involved in changes of some kind, tend to be more optimistic about the rectification of out problems.

A. Garavente

“Admiral Pushing For Freer Hand With Commandos” (TIMES, 2/13/12)

February 23, 2012

          It is one thing to achieve “global agility” for the Special Operations Command (SoCom) of the U.S. armed forces. It is quite another to give Admiral William. H. McRaven that much authority.

          It makes for an enticing drama to have Dirty Harry “cut the red tape” imposed by career bureaucrats in order to capture or kill dangerous criminals. It creates other problems that could adversely affect the proper operation of government and even undermine our democracy.

         A close watch should be kept on Admiral McRaven. He may be too zealous for the post he presently holds.

A Garavente 

 

“War’s Risks Shift To Contractors by Rod Nordland (TIMES, 2/12/12)”

February 23, 2012

          At last, the TIMES has given its readers something of a report about the mercenaries who are still being utilized in Iraq and Afghanistan, even including some information of the casualties.

          More has to be done; we cannot allow so much secrecy to enshroud their mission, Soldiers for hire, whether the Hessians who were utilized by the British during our Revolutionary War or the contract workers employed by various departments of the U.S. government today, are not sympathetic figures. Moreover, the American mercenaries  at least are paid high salaries, more than they could make in most jobs available at home, thus increasing the costs of wars.

          Relying so heavily on the use of such mercenaries, who have less of a connection with the American people than our regular armed forces do, makes it easier for government bureaucrats to evade accounting for them in any way. This undermines the democratic relationship between the one and thoe other, which constitutes another reason to curtail unpopular wars like these. 

“The White Underclass” by Nicholas Kristof (TIMES, 2/9/12)

February 23, 2012

          Yes, “persistent poverty is America’s great moral challenge” and the solution to which is not “averting our eyes–but opportunity.”

          The fastest way to alleviate this problem is the impementation of a massive federal jobs program that could quickly address the needs of all our unemployed and underemployed, not just whites. The United States has a sagging ingrastructure in need of repair and a vast pool of people who could be put to work fixing the problem.

          The vaunted private sector is incapable of dealing with this issue so it has to be a government effort. Then, with more money in circulation, entreprene

“U.S. Plans To Cut Its Staff By Half At Iraq Embassy” (TIMES, 2/8/12)

February 23, 2012

          Good news that the U.S. will be slashing half “the enormous diplomatic presence it had planned for Iraq,” which has been costing $6 billion a year. Most of the nearly 16,000 people are contractors (soldiers for hire) who can be more troublesome to good relations than they are worth.

          Still mired in an economic downturn, this is a sensible way to save the taxpayers money, some if which could be spent on putting Americans to work here at home.

A. Garavente