Al Qaeda

Marines In 43 Countries, And Military In 100 Or More Other Nations: Absolutely Crazy And Self Defeating!

The tragic events in Niger, where four Special Forces troops were ambushed and killed by terrorist forces, has revealed a secret that even members of Congress on the Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate were not aware of.

We have been engaged in operations in that central African nation and others on that continent, beyond those in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as Central Asia, and also in Latin America and in South and East Asia.

In other words, we now know we have US Marines in 43 nations, at least, and military presence and possibly more, in at least 100 other nations.

This means we are having influence in three of every four nations of the world, all with the goal of protecting American national security and defenses in an age of world wide terrorism by Al Qaeda, ISIS (ISIL), Boko Haram, Al-Shabab, and other similar terrorist groups.

So besides the issues of Russia, China, Iran, North Vietnam, and the Middle East morass, including Syria and Iraq, we have to be concerned about insurgency in the Philippines; about pending warfare in Iraq of not just Shiite and Sunni Muslims but also the Kurdish minority; and danger of a Spanish Civil War of Catalonia (its capital in Barcelona) and the Spanish Central government; and instability in Eastern Europe in nations once thought to be finally democratic, but instead becoming extremist right wing, including Hungary, Austria, Poland and the Czech Republic

At least 43 American military have died under the watch of Donald Trump, and over 10,000 civilians have been killed due to our troops.

This policy of American engagement all over the world is absolutely crazy and self defeating, and only enriches military contractors, while sacrificing lives of our young men and women.

It is a self defeating situation, in which the wealthy benefit, and the rest of us are victims, in one way or another.

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 After One Week: Totally Unstable, Incomprehensible, Unpredictable, And Danger To The Reputation Of The Presidency

Donald Trump has been in office just one week, and it has been a week of horrors!

A case could be made that he has taken extreme actions with his executive orders, and that he should be subjected to impeachment for high crimes and misdemeanors.

How is this so?

He has endangered the health and well being of 20 million people, who are in danger of losing their health care.

He has set out to destroy all environmental advancements of previous administrations, and to take away the rights of native Americans for a safe water supply, and seems ready to prevent any action on the imminent threat of climate change on the American future.

He is undermining US-Mexican relations with his promotion of immediate action on a Mexican Wall, and threatening action against Mexico to pay for a wall that they do not support or want.

He has issued a blanket ban on seven nations’ nationals entering the United States, including people with green cards and proper vetting on their way to the US, in airports and prevented from entering the nation, even when many endangered their own lives to help the US effort against Al Qaeda and ISIL (ISIS). Innocent people are being mistreated, and religious persecution against Muslims is being promoted, and yet from Islamic nations, including Saudi Arabia, are allowed in. Realize it was Saudi nationals who caused September 11, but Trump has business interests in those nations, so bribery is going on.

He has consorted with Vladimir Putin of Russia, who clearly interfered in the US Presidential election, and Trump is ready to end US Sanctions placed on Russia for seizure of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, endangering NATO, the European Union, and military security of all of Europe.

He has broken the Immigration Law of 1965 which bans discrimination against immigrants of any national origin, or of picking on any religion and victimizing them.

He has threatened basic civil liberties and civil rights of all Americans, violating the First Amendment.

He is promoting a war of one religion against another, and white supremacy.

He is moving toward massive deportation, unprecedented in numbers, in American history.

He has engaged in behavior that marks him as totally unstable, incomprehensible, unpredictable, and a danger to the reputation of the Presidency.

He can be seen as a Fascist demagogue who is setting out to destroy historical tradition and accomplishments, and he must be stopped!

He has engaged in abuse of power, bribery, treason, obstruction of justice, and perjury for his endless statements that are lies and deceitful, and should face impeachment.

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!

Secret Service In Crisis Which Threatens Safety Of President, Vice President, And Presidential Candidates!

New revelations make clear that the Secret Service is in crisis, and that President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and the multitude of Presidential candidates cannot feel relaxed that they are safe.

With the mounting gun violence, increase in domestic terrorism, and the rapidly increased threat from Al Qaeda and ISIL (ISIS) being evident, we need a strong, disciplined, well trained, and competent Secret Service.

But many blunders have occurred, including the recent White House Jumper Joseph Caput0; the sex scandals of Secret Service agents overseas; the misbehavior of some agents including dangerous driving and too much drinking when due to go on duty in a short time frame; and the evident cronyism in the power structure of the Secret Service.

In the 114 years that the Secret Service has protected the President, there has never been awareness or knowledge of so many shortcomings and inadequacies in this most important agency.

The fear is that if the Secret Service does not improve its record very rapidly, which is unlikely, that we could witness a tragedy which would undermine national confidence and unity, similar to the John F. Kennedy or Robert F. Kennedy assassination, or the Ronald Reagan serious wounding from an assassination attempt!

Closing Down Mosques, Requiring Muslim ID Badges, Closing Down Cafes And Diners And Wherever Muslims Meet: Meet American Fascism And The Republican Party Of 2015!

The Republican Party of 2015 has gone so far to the Right that now it can be compared to Fascism in many ways!

Donald Trump asserts that all mosques in America should be shut down, which only incites anti Muslim hatred and endangers all Muslims in the United States.

What Trump forgets is the concept of the First Amendment and religious freedom!  Can one imagine if we had a politician say all Catholic Churches, all evangelical Christian churches, all mainline Establishment Protestant churches, or all Jewish synagogues should be shut down?  Would we ever allow or conceive of such action by any level of American government, which would make us no different than what Nazi Germany represented, as they shut down Jewish synagogues, and in fact, torched and desecrated them?  Have we gone mad as a nation, that we even have a Presidential candidate who can utter such bigotry and fascist tendencies, and sit by and ignore it?

Donald Trump also declares that we should require Muslim ID badges, reminding us of the branding of Jews with a yellow star in Nazi Germany, and are Americans ok with that, as if so, why not some day do that to other religious groups or ethnic minorities?  And he wants a database established to track all Muslims in America in their daily existence.

Marco Rubio wants us to close down cafes and diners and wherever Muslims meet, making him an American Fascist as much as Donald Trump!  Are we to arrest and imprison all Muslims in America as we did with Japanese Americans in World War II?

Are we to repeal the Bill of Rights and end freedom of assembly, along with freedom of religion, as well as freedom of speech?  Does anyone really think that shutting down public places where Muslims might congregate will prevent them from meeting underground?  Are we out to promote paranoia among Muslims in America, where the 99 percent who are NOT terrorist oriented will be motivated to defend themselves by joining groups that promote Al Qaeda or ISIL (ISIS)?

Are we going to allow those who advocate hate, such as Pam Geller, Franklin Graham, and others who promote Islamophobia, to undermine our nation and its basic values, and create a situation that will incite violence against anyone seen as Muslim?

Do we think such individuals would not be willing to defend themselves in a nation where there are so many firearms, many in the hands of mentally unstable individuals?  How do we gain a sense of peace and tranquility long term, when we are having demagogues advocating violence, warfare, and a native American Fascism?

All decent people MUST condemn Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, and all other Republicans who advocate similar Fascist ideas, as well as Pam Geller and Franklin Graham and others of their ilk! They undermine any hope of coexistence, as all they do is accomplish what the evil terrorist groups want the most–the dissolution of America and its values!

35 Years Of CNN!

On this day in 1980, the Cable News Network began, and it is hard to recall the time before cable news, news 24 hours a day, came to be the norm!

CNN, founded by Ted Turner, has undergone a tremendous amount of change, and has been much criticized, but it set the standard for cable news all over America, and was unchallenged, until the emergence of MSNBC and Fox News Channel in 1996.

CNN first became widely popular during the Persian Gulf War; and also gained by its coverage of the O J Simpson Murder Trial; the Bill Clinton Impeachment Trial; the controversial Presidential Election of 2000; the September 11, 2001 attacks of Al Qaeda; the Iraq War; Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans; the election of Barack Obama in 2008; and the Boston Marathon Bombing, among many other historic and, often, tragic events.

As much as there is room for vast improvement in news coverage, CNN has contributed a great deal to public discourse and discussion, informing the American people of what they need to know to be good American citizens, and to understand the world we live in!

200th Anniversary Of British Attack On Washington DC During War Of 1812!

Today is the 200th Anniversary of the British attack on Washington DC during the War of 1812, one of the three times that our homeland has been directly attacked!

The second was the Japanese attack on the US naval base on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941, and the third was the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, leading to the war in Afghanistan against Al Qaeda, and the full development of the War on Terror!

The attack on the nation’s capital led to the burning of the White House and the US Capitol, and the fleeing of Congress to Baltimore, and the saving of the George Washington portrait in the White House by servants of President James Madison. The Library of Congress lost its 3,000 volume collection, and later bought the Thomas Jefferson private collection to replace it.

This was a low moment in the War of 1812, but thankfully, the British left DC after 26 hours, and within months, a truce and peace treaty (Treaty of Ghent) was signed, and the war was over. Also, fortunately, a heavy summer thunderstorm helped to put out the fire in the Capital and the White House, and therefore, less damage was done than might have been otherwise!

The thought that our government center had been attacked was hard to accept, and since the terrorists on September 11 intended to attack the Capitol and/or the White House, and only were stopped by the courageous passengers of United Airlines Flight 93, who brought down a plane in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, that horrible situation was prevented, but the attack on the Pentagon, right over the DC line in Virginia was a strong enough warning of the threats that still existed then, and still do today with the growing danger of ISIL (ISIS)!

The ISIL (ISIS) Threat To The Western World Is Real! Far Greater Than The Soviet Union During The Cold War!

The horrible news emerging that a Western journalist, who had been captured two years ago, has been beheaded, with the disgusting video broadcast with a threat to the United States and the Western world, is yet another alarm bell in the night, warning of the successful spread of the worst Islamic terrorist group in existence, ISIL, also known as ISIS.

This terrorist group has taken over portions of Iraq and Syria, and has declared a Caliphate. It has declared war on Shiite Muslims, including those in Iraq and, most notably in Iran, as well as against Christians, Jews, and all minority religious groups in the Fertile Crescent, and by implication against Saudi Arabia and other Sunni nations that oppose their wave of vicious terrorism. Even Al Qaeda, which brought about September 11, has denounced them and their tactics, including mass murder, rape of women, beheading of children, and destruction of mosques and historic sites.

This is organized insanity, with a threat to the United States and the Western world unmatched in danger since World War II and Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. Those that would say the Soviet Union during the Cold War was an equal threat forget that Communism was not based on religion, and in fact, was atheistic, and that the Russians wanted to triumph, but were not suicidal as many of these Islamic terrorist are. So when they saw they could not win, despite much stress and tensions, they stepped back from the brink of destructive war, as in the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

Imagine that we could see the Cold War as not as dangerous as Islamic terrorism in the second decade of the 21st century, but this threat from ISIL (ISIS) requires that America do something they cannot imagine, after being sick of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

That is, the Western world must unite against this dire threat, and it will require military action, and it makes one wonder how we are going to afford it, and also deal with domestic needs!

It is enough to make one scream, that we cannot seem to avoid war and military operations overseas, and this author was opposed to the war in Vietnam, the war in Iraq, and had doubts about the war in Afghanistan, while supporting the Persian Gulf War against Saddam Hussein.

But what choice do we have, as it is estimated that 100 Americans have gone over to fight for ISIL (ISIS), and maybe a thousand Europeans have done the same, and these trained terrorists can likely return to their home countries and wage war on Western civilization! The US and the European nations are in dire danger, with these terrorists ready to sacrifice themselves in their cause, reminding us of the Kamikaze pilots of Japan in the waning days of World War II!

So it will be necessary for President Obama to abandon his view that we can and must avoid conflict with ground troops in the Middle East, and accept the reality that this time, whatever the past criticisms, we MUST intervene with other nations and fight the ISIL (ISIS) group, as if we do not, there is more certainty of their infiltration of American and European nations to the detriment of all decent people!

Foreign Policy And The Republican Party: Time For Jon Huntsman, NOT Rand Paul Nor Dick Cheney Viewpoint!

Foreign policy is tearing the Republican Party into factions, nothing really new, as the same situation arose in the time of World War II and the Cold War.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney is calling for a return to military options in the Iraq mess, with much of the nation being take over by Sunni Muslims, establishing Sharia Law and slaughtering Shiite Muslims, and also endangering Iraq’s neighbors, including Syria, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, and alarming Shiite Iran.

This whole mess was caused by the US intervention in Iraq in 2003, based on false premises promoted by Dick Cheney and the neoconservatives, who want a similar intervention now to overcome ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), a group even rejected by Al Qaeda as too violent and extremist!

This is a nightmare in the making, and also threatens Israel, and is bound to lead to a wider war in the Middle East very soon, as it is believed ISIS is not content to gain control of Iraq.

So along comes Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, often called an isolationist, who is against any intervention in the Middle East, and blames the George W. Bush-Dick Cheney administration for the present mess, rather than Barack Obama for having withdrawn all military forces at the end of 2011. But Rand Paul is seen by many as having no clue to foreign policy issues.

So one might wonder: Where can Republicans turn to for a rational, reasonable, intelligent foreign policy, not based on the advice of neoconservatives and Dick Cheney, but also not isolationist like Rand Paul?

The answer is former Utah Governor and Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman, who has the ONLY extensive foreign policy experience of any potential GOP nominee for President in 2016. No one is paying attention, because Huntsman is seen as not conservative enough, not Tea Party backed, not sufficiently anti Obama.

The only hope for the Republicans in 2016, however, is for them to overcome their divisions, and unite around Jon Huntsman as the only legitimate nominee, who is sensible, sane, and also able to deal with “real world” situations in the world, without the extreme reaction of the neoconservatives and Dick Cheney, or the isolationism of Rand Paul!

But will the GOP be smart enough to realize this? The betting odds are, sadly for them, and for the nation, NO!