Afghanistan War

From 9-11 To 11-9: One American Tragedy To Another!

The 21st century began with the horrific attack on September 11, 2001 on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, killing nearly 3.000 civilians of many nations.

It ushered in a 15 year period of turmoil, division, and tremendous spending to fight terrorism and wage two unwinnable wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It has led to persecution of Muslims in America, and promotion of nativism, racism, and antisemitism.

It has caused the two major political parties to fight each other in a way that prevents any cooperation on just about anything.

And then, in the midst of all this chaos and anxiety, along came a charlatan, a rookie in politics, a crooked businessman, a narcissist to the extreme, who was able to convince working class white males that he was their “Superman”, and would end terrorism, crime, and fight Wall Street, all fabrications.

So from the 9-11 tragedy, we went to 11-9, November 9, 2016, the declared victory of Donald Trump, who has caused more division and hatred than anyone in the past 15 years.

And he won due to the quirks of the Electoral College, having only one serious opponent who won electoral votes, but only winning 46 percent of all votes cast.

And November 9 is also the day in 1938 when we had Kristallnacht, the “Night of the Broken Glass”, when thousands of Jews became victims of a pogrom, as businesses and synagogues went up in flames and ushered in the beginning of the Holocaust in Nazi Germany, which killed six million Jews by 1945.

With the rise of white supremacy, and characters such as Richard Spencer and David Duke backing Donald Trump’s attacks on Mexicans. Muslims, and all immigration under attack, one can sense that we might be moving toward Fascism, with only the scandals around Donald Trump giving us the hope that his agenda may be stalled and prevented permanently.

Afghanistan War 2001-2017: $800 Billion, And 2,249 Americans Killed In A Quagmire That Is Unwinnable With Troops!

Fareed Zakaria spoke today on his CNN show about the Afghanistan War, which began on October 7, 2001, after the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.

We still have more than 8,000 troops engaged in a war that never has really ended, and it is the longest war in American history.

About $800 billion has been spent fighting the Taliban and Al Qaeda, but one cannot say that the war has been won, or will ever be won.

2,249 Americans have paid the ultimate price, in a quagmire that is unwinnable with troops, by any sensible measure of success.

The Soviet Union collapsed by 1991, partly due to the invasion of Afghanistan that went on from December 1979 February 1989.

The British tried to gain control of Afghanistan as part of the British Empire and failed, and the same for Alexander the Great in ancient times.

The loss of life and treasure is enough, and the US should stop their ground war in Afghanistan, and utilize drones as the only worthwhile investment, since the government of Afghanistan is hopelessly corrupt and unable to win the war, with no one really knowing what “winning” means in any case!

Donald Trump, The Warmonger: ISIL, Syria, North Korea, Iran—The Military Training School 14-18 Year Old Bully Gone Mad!

Donald Trump was a bully as a kid and a teenager, and his misbehavior made his parents decide to send him to a military training school for his high school years from age 14 to 18, and Trump never matured beyond that stage.

As an adult, with a “gift” of one million dollars from his father, Donald Trump set out on a career of bullying people, harassing women, and demonstrating racism, misogyny, nativism, and willingness to cheat workers, contractors, and fellow businessmen, and possessing no moral compass or ethics.

Now he is the 45th President, and is showing he is a warmonger, a man who is determined to show the American imperialistic bent that became part of the 20th and early 21st century under most of his predecessors in the White House, and sacrificing generations of young Americans, most of them poor whites or minorities, who see the military as their last bastion of a chance for success in life.

America has not “won” a war since 1945, and has engaged in wars that have undermined the American reputation in the world, first in Korea, then in Vietnam, then in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with many interventions in nations we did not have a long term commitment of troops.

Donald Trump lives in his own parallel universe, however, and seems to think that being a warmonger against four adversaries at once is a smart idea, as he has now challenged ISIL (ISIS), Syria, North Korea, and Iran, along with using the MOAB (Mother Of All Bombs) in Afghanistan.

Thinking that he can wage four wars or more at once is a sign of maniacal behavior, of insane behavior, that will make our military cannon fodder for Donald Trump’s imperial ambitions.

It is something that should not be allowed to happen, as it will cause massive casualties and deaths to glorify a man who is dangerous to world stability and peace.

A Sobering Centennial: America Enters “The Great War” On April 6, 1917

It has been a century since America entered world affairs in a full sense, as on April 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson spoke to Congress and asked for a declaration of war against the Imperial German Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the Ottoman Turkish Empire, and allied with Great Britain, France and Italy, in what was called “The Great War” at the time, and later World War I or the First World War.

The controversy over whether Wilson could have kept us out of the war has raged for a century, and his handling of the war effort, and the promotion of restriction on civil liberties during the war has remained highly contentious, and has caused Wilson to decline from Number 6 in the C Span Presidential poll of 2000, to Number 9 in the C Span Presidential poll of 2009, and now Number 11 in the C Span Presidential poll of 2017, all participated in by reputable scholars.

American sacrifices in war had been avoided, as America remained isolated from world affairs and foreign conflict until 1917, but in the last century, we have been in many major wars since then, including World War II, the Korean conflict, the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War, the Iraq War, and the Afghanistan War, along with many other foreign interventions in Latin America and the Middle East.

No one can be anything but sober to realize that when Congress voted for war on April 6, 1917, it transformed America in a permanent way, helping to create the concept of an American Empire, and America as a world leader since the end of World War II.

And now, with Donald Trump, the whole history of American foreign relations is in flux, and we face many challenges and crises in international affairs, and the hope is that we will avoid further military conflicts in the future, but hard to believe that is the scenario under Donald Trump.

PBS will have a six hour presentation on The American Experience on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings April 10, 11, and 12 on America and The Great War, our nation’s engagement in the First World War, from many different perspectives, highly recommended to all who read this blog.

April The Month For Many American Wars Beginning, And Now Likelihood Of War Against North Korea Soon

When one examines American history, if we do not count wars against native Americans; interventions in Latin America; and the Filipino Insurrection from 1899-1902, we have had 12 wars in the nation’s historical experience.

Six of those wars began in April–The Revolutionary War, the Mexican American War, the Civil War, The Spanish American War, the First World War, and the escalation of the Vietnam War.

These events took place in 1775, 1846, 1861, 1898, 1917, and 1965.

Additionally, two wars began in March–the Second World War if one counts the Lend Lease Act of 1941 as the real beginning of naval engagement before Pearl harbor in December; and the Iraq War on March 20, 2003, the 14th anniversary of that tragic war being yesterday.

And also, two wars began in June—the War of 1812 and the Korean War in 1950.

So only two wars did not begin in the Spring months from early March to late June–the Persian Gulf War in January 1991 and the Afghanistan War in October 2001.

There is something about the Spring months, and particularly April, that seems, maybe coincidentally but maybe not, to be the time for wars to commence.

Based on recent warnings from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson while on a trip to Japan South Korea, and China, war could be coming very soon against Kim Jong Un of North Korea, maybe in April or shortly after, as concern about North Korean nuclear development being a growing threat to Seattle, Portland and San Francisco, as well as Hawaii, and also the threat to South Korea and Japan, is alarming.

Iraq War, “Operation Iraqi Freedom”, Began 14 Years Ago Today—And Now On To Likely War Against North Korea

14 years ago, Operation Iraqi Freedom, the Iraq War, began, leading to an eight year and nine month war, the longest war in American history except for the war in Afghanistan.

It also caused the death of close to 4,500 Americans and loss of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, and the collapse of stable government, and the rise of ISIL (ISIS), leading to the horrific destruction and terrorism threat of the past three years.

It was a war based on falsehoods about “Weapons of Mass Destruction”, and undermined the reputation of President George W. Bush and his administration.

And now, there are strong hints that we are on the way to another major war against North Korea, with uncertainty whether that means nuclear war or a massive invasion.

And the effect on South Korea and Japan of the threat from North Korea is unnerving with their massive standing army, and what it means for US Troops in South Korea.

There is no debate about the dangers of North Korea and its leader, Kim Jong Un, but the question is what can or should be done about it.

The fact that we have a very unstable President in Donald Trump, with his recklessness in dealing with other nations in diplomacy, adds to the tension and nervousness about what is likely to occur soon.

The Positive Contributions Of The Barack Obama Presidency

So here we are on the last full day of the Barack Obama Presidency, which I have been writing about since August 2008, and just about daily since 2010.

Barack Obama has been an historic President, and will end up in the top ten of our 44 Presidents over time, if not immediately.

Barack Obama was the most pilloried President since Richard Nixon, but for no good reason, and a lot of it was based on pure racism, sorry to say, but the truth.

But Obama brought us a dignified, classy persona to the White House, as did his wife Michelle.

He gave us the biggest expansion of our health care system, and much of it will survive the Donald Trump and Republican onslaught in the end.

He gave us the concept of limited military involvement, after decades of too many interventions overseas, and ended our involvement in Iraq, and cut back dramatically on the unwinnable war in Afghanistan.

He gave us the possibility of ending the threat of Iran as a nuclear power, and opened up a new relationship with Cuba, after 55 years of ignoring reality.

He accomplished through the use of technology and drones the elimination of thousands of terrorists worldwide, and took the gamble to bring justice to Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

He started moving the focus of American foreign policy to Asia and the Pacific, and kept good relations with America’s NATO allies, and kept Russia’s Vladimir Putin on edge. about how America would react toward his aggressive stands.

He made climate change worldwide a crucial focus, and participated in international agreements, and accepted science over conspiracy theories, and made us realize global warming was a danger to American national security.

He took an economy that was the worst since the Great Depression, what is called the Great Recession, and turned it around, with the greatest job growth over eight years in American history, the greatest stock market growth, and the greatest drop in the unemployment rate that has occurred in any administration.

He accomplished in health care what Presidents since Theodore Roosevelt to Franklin D. Roosevelt to Harry Truman to John F. Kennedy to Lyndon B. Johnson to Richard Nixon to Bill Clinton to George W. Bush had been unable to do.

He brought about the revival of the American auto industry, and advanced the rights of workers to overtime pay and increased minimum wage, and the rights of consumers through the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

He advanced women’s rights, including to equal pay, and gave DREAM kids a reprieve from possible deportation, and promoted the idea of universal pre school and community college education, and worked to try to deal with the student loan crisis.

He advocated fair treatment of Muslims in America, and became the champion of gay equality in the military, gay rights in society, and gay marriage and transgender rights.

He became a great advocate of the environment, adding to our national parks and national forests and endangered sites, and continued the tradition of earlier exceptional environmental Presidents, including Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton before him.

He utilized executive orders to expand the rights of the American people, and worked for legal and judicial reform, and appointed Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court.

He cared about the weak, the powerless, and the forgotten groups in American society, and set a good moral basis in his own life and that of his family, becoming a model for young people as to how a President should conduct himself.

He avoided lashing out at those who promoted bigotry, and also showed emotion after his failed attempts at immigration reform and gun safety legislation. He had real tears, emotions, and sincerity in the Oval Office, which has hardly ever seen that, and hard to think of any earlier President quite like Obama.

He also faced the greatest number of threats of any President since Abraham Lincoln, as delineated in my Assassinations book, and demonstrated great courage and equanimity in waking up every day, knowing he was a target for hate mongers who wished him and his family ill will.

And finally, he had two terms of office without any hint of a personal, or otherwise, major scandal!

So Barack Obama was a FINE MAN, a different spelling of this author’s and blogger’s last name, and he will rise in the Presidential rankings to the top ten, and likely higher in the middle of the top ten at some point in the future, as he was truly a transformational President!

Goodbye, President and Mrs Obama, we will miss you, and wish you many decades of good health, prosperity, and happiness, as you continue to contribute to American betterment! God bless you both!

Donald Trump Is Not A “Miracle Man”: Disillusionment Among Followers Will Erupt Soon, Before End of 2017!

Donald Trump is guaranteed to alienate many of his followers, once they realize he is NOT a “Miracle Man”, that we are going to end up with many events that no one bargained for, including:

The most corrupt Presidency since Richard Nixon, and possibly surpassing the level and depth of Nixon scandals.

The strong likelihood of a major war, with major commitment of troops, and loss of life closer to Vietnam over a period of years, than to Iraq or Afghanistan.

Manufacturing and Mining jobs will NOT return, as it will be clear that Trump’s pledge to the white uneducated working class will not be fulfilled.

A massive cut is likely in Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and Food Stamps, and poverty will rise, and not just among minorities, but among poor whites, sick people, and the elderly.

Environmental damage that will harm the health of all Americans will be likely, the greatest since the disastrous environmental record of Ronald Reagan in the 1980s.

The conditions of labor will get worse, with no concern about minimum wage, sick leave, overtime pay, or basic benefits.

Racism will increase with backing of the Trump Presidency,

Mistreatment of women and of gays and lesbians is insured to multiply, with the support of extreme right wing social conservative Vice President Mike Pence.

The Supreme Court, unless both Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice Stephen Breyer stay healthy, will move dramatically to the extreme right, long term damage.

Basic civil liberties and civil rights will go by the wayside, with curbs on freedom of expression, as through speech, press, and assembly.

One can project that over time, a year or so, great disillusionment will set in, and possibly lead to open confrontations with law enforcement authorities, who try to quell public dissent with the approval of an authoritarian President and executive branch, and an unsympathetic Republican party controlled Congress.

Expect a strong reaction to occur, something such as happened under Richard Nixon during his continuation of the Vietnam War nearly 50 years ago.

Empathy Important Trait For Any Political Leader, Particularly A President Of The United States, Missing In The GOP And Donald Trump!

Empathy is one of the most important traits that any political leader needs to govern effectively.

Sadly, the Republican Party and most of its leadership totally lacks empathy, and instead is very harsh and judgmental toward those who are not fortunate enough to be born wealthy.

They fail to have concern for poverty stricken people, blaming them for their own plight.

They fail to have concern for those who are sick and or disabled, and wish to cut benefits, including ObamaCare, which has given millions of Americans their first health care.

They fail to care about the tragedy of veterans who often have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from their experiences fighting in America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the basic stresses of being in the military.

They fail to care about discrimination, racism, nativism, and misogyny, and often encourage rhetoric and actions, which further alienate large sections of population within America.

They allow religion to be utilized in a way to promote hate and division, and look the other way as they endorse hypocrisy.

The candidacy of Donald Trump only emphasizes ever more these terrible traits, as Trump is totally clueless and uncaring about the American people, often insulting, denigrating, demeaning, ridiculing, bullying, and showing total disdain for anyone who dares to challenge his disgraceful behavior and rhetoric.

Instead of taking responsibility for his own shortcomings, Trump lashes out at the news media for exposing his actions and words, thereby attempting to turn the American people against the news media and the concept of Freedom of the Press.

The Republican Party has been complicit in this kind of attack, even before Donald Trump emerged as a significant political force, and they represent a threat to our Bill Of Rights.

The last time this happened, the Federalist Party attack on the Bill of Rights under John Adams, with the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798-1801, resulted in the demise of the party over the next generation.

18 Weeks Until The Election Of Hillary Clinton As The 45th President Of The United States!

The news today that the FBI has cleared Hillary Clinton of any illegal, criminal activity, regarding her Email controversy, is the clincher of the election 18 weeks from today!

Sure, the GOP will jump on the FBI’s statement that Hillary Clinton showed very poor judgment on the security matters of her email usage, but that can be seen as simply human error, as all leaders make mistakes, but not on the level of George W. Bush and the Iraq War, Afghanistan War, Hurricane Katrina, and the Great Recession of 2008!

No one is saying that Hillary Clinton is perfect but then Donald Trump is much more imperfect in an extreme fashion.

We are not electing God, or a perfect human being, as no such person has ever existed.

But we know President Hillary Clinton will shape the future of the Supreme Court and promote progressive reforms, building on Barack Obama’s path breaking changes in domestic affairs.

And we know that Hillary Clinton has the foreign policy expertise, and connections and respect from foreign governments, including friends and foes.

And now, today, Hillary Clinton can finally campaign without a cloud over her head, and arriving in Charlotte, North Carolina on Air Force One with President Obama, and later this week speaking in Scranton, Pennsylvania with Vice President Joe Biden!

So the future is bright, and there is no way, other than millions stupidly staying home and not voting, to prevent our first woman President of the United States!