Thursday, September 25, 2014

Obama Repeats the Mistakes of the Viet Nam War

Candidate Barack Obama made a big thing in the 2008 campaign of promising that he would end "George Bush's War" and withdraw from Iraq immediately. In his 2012 re-election campaign, he made an even bigger thing of how he had ended the war in Iraq and brought all our troops home. Now, however, he's changing his tune. A video has been made of a group of Obama's 2012 campaign statements, with one of his more recent statements at its end.

(Click here to see the video.)

Now President Obama has decided to initiate a war. Again. (Remember Libya?) But he doesn't want to handle his war the way President Bush did. His base wouldn't stand for that! Plus, he's trapped himself with his own statements. So, as a direct result, President Obama has reportedly overruled all his generals and other military advisors, and keeps repeating his mantra that there will be "no American boots on the ground in Iraq" (and now he's adding Syria).

Of course, it's not really "no (American) boots on the ground" — it's "no (American) combat boots on the ground." In part, that's because we already have thousands of American boots on the ground in Iraq. But, of course, they're not "combat troops", they're security forces and military advisors. So, of course, they're not "boots on the ground." Because President Obama has said "I want to be clear: The American forces that have been deployed to Iraq do not and will not have a combat mission."

Along with that, President Obama wants to maintain tight control over what the troops other than ground troops do in carrying out his war. In fact, it appears President Obama's personal authorization will be required for every single mission — every single strike — in Syria. And it won't be very much different from that in Iraq.

So the US strategy will be, Obama says, entirely airborne — bombing strikes and Tomahawk missiles. There's a problem with that. It really doesn't work. There's also a reason for it.

To those of us of a certain age, this all gives us a profound sense of déjà vu. We've seen it all before. In Viet Nam. We had "advisors" there, and were promised no combat troops would be used. But they were, of course. And we had air strikes, all of which had to be approved in advance by Washington. It was driven by politics then, and it's being driven by politics now.

This strategy was a failure in Viet Nam. It got more than 58,000 troops killed and a lot more maimed. It's sure to be a failure here, too. President Obama's response? “I’m not going to anticipate failure at this point.” He'd rather be surprised, just as he has been by all his other failures.

And that will produce the expected result.

Friday, September 12, 2014

"The Islamic State is not Islamic"

President Barack Obama said Wednesday evening that “ISIL is not ‘Islamic.’” He followed that up by saying “No religion condones the killing of innocents.”

And Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) agrees with him.

Let's take a look at this logically.

  1. “No religion condones the killing of innocents.”

  2. ISIS — which President Obama calls ISIL — unquestionably does condone such killing. So does al Qaeda. So does Hamas. So does Hezbollah. So does the Taliban. So does the Muslim Brotherhood. So does every major Islamic group. So does the Koran. So did Mohammed.

    Therefore, by President Obama's own logic,
  3. Islam is not a religion.

That seems clear enough to me.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

9/11/2001 -- Never Forget!

Our own generation's "day which will live in infamy."

It's the day we were attacked by uncivilized barbarians. We saw some of what they caused.

Their successors are even less civilized than they were. We hadn't thought that possible.

No, we must never forget!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Albuquerque Area Readers Opine

There were a couple of "letters to the editor," published in today's Albuquerque Journal, that seem to me deserving of wider distribution. One identifies the key reason for the "do nothing" Congress.

Sen. Reid's desk is where bills go to die

The U.S. House is working, but the Senate is where the obstruction is.

More than 250 bills made it through the U.S. House — none of which have made it to the floor of the Senate. Two hundred of the bills were passed in the House with unanimous support ... More than 90 percent of those bills passed the U.S. House with bipartisan support, and more than 100 were passed with 75 percent support of House Democrats. Over 50 were introduced by Democrats.

The U.S. House has passed dozens of reform bills for the VA — some bipartisan — none of which have made it to the floor of the Senate; (Senate Majority Leader) Harry Reid stopped them. He didn't give senators the opportunity to even consider them. Over 30 jobs bills are also sitting on Harry Reid's desk, which he also refuses to even put up for a vote.

Senators are (more) focused on special interest groups than the "folks back home." The longer they're in office and live in Washington, the less they feel they need their constituents. You can't fix their arrogance and support for Harry Reid, but you can vote them out.

Cedar Crest

Cedar Crest is one of the small towns outside Albuquerque. Another is Ojo Feliz, from which comes a good suggested long-term solution.
Put limit on terms, not on corporate funding

RE: Sally-Alice Thompson's letter to the editor "It's Time to Control Money in Politics" (Aug. 26).

Thompson calls on us to support the so-called Democracy for All Amendment as an aid to getting rid of corporate funding of elections.

Basically, she's advocating removing the issue of constitutional protection of political speech from the courts and giving it to Congress so that members of Congress could determine who could engage in political speech and to what extent. This amendment, Brain child of (N.M. Sen.) Tom Udall, would more accurately be called the Incumbent Protection Amendment.

Thompson touches on the real source of the problem but skates right past it. "Why do congressmen so avidly respond to the wishes of the corporations rather than to the requests of the voters ... ? Is it because that's where they get the campaign funds necessary to keep them in their privileged positions?"

I suggest we come at the perceived problem of corporate money in politics by amending the Constitution to limit the terms of all members of Congress. If repeated re-elections are out of the picture, so is much of the opportunity for "you scratch my back — with campaign contributions — and I'll scratch yours — with legislation that benefits you." With term limits and a "cooling-off period" between holding public office and being allowed to hire on as a lobbyist for your favorite corporation, I suspect we could at least chip away at the self-anointed aristocracy that we have allowed our national legislature to become.

Giving Congress the power to aid its supporters and to shut out those who would criticize its members simply compounds the problem.

Ojo Feliz

Food for thought — and action.

Elite politicians disconnected from the people.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day, 2014

Mrs. Critter and I took off for Labor Day. We hadn't ridden the Rail Runner before, and thought it was high time we did. So we boarded the train this morning (Monday) and headed for Santa Fe.

On the way — both directions — we were joined by a lot of folks going to and from the 27th annual New Mexico Wine Festival in Bernalillo, not far north of Albuquerque. But many were, like us, going to Santa Fe. A major draw this weekend was the Santa Fe Fiestas, held continuously since 1712.

We enjoyed ourselves wandering about among the fiesta booths. We also visited a number of the shops on the Plaza, and the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis, a short distance off the city's central square. And we had drinks and snacks (tapas, if you like).

In the late afternoon, we headed back for the train station for our return home.

All in all, our holiday jaunt was very enjoyable. It was inexpensive, and avoided hassles with traffic and parking — twin issues for so many visits to Santa Fe.

We hope your Labor Day holiday was enjoyable, too!