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!

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!

Right Wing Conspiratorial Hysteria Over Barack Obama Has Been Proved Totally Wrong!

We are now entering the eighth and last year of the Barack Obama Presidency, with a new President to be inaugurated on January 20, 2017.

It is in many ways amazing how Obama has survived unprecedented verbal attacks for seven years, and the most threats to his life of any President since Abraham Lincoln.

His Republican opposition has been unrelenting in the promotion of right wing conspiratorial hysteria for the past seven years, and has had no shame in wishing upon him all of the most terrible tragedies and failures, rather than willingness to unite for the public good!

And right wing radio and Fox News Channel has been totally despicable in encouraging right wing lunatics, and inciting them to create a constant stress and threat on the 44th President of the United States.  They would not be happy until he was either forced from office or dead from an assassin, and there is still clear concern that our President faces endless threats at a time when the Secret Service has been found wanting, and in need of drastic updating, reform, and new leadership!

For any American to have believed the conspiracy theories and gloom and doom loaded on Barack Obama, it is instructive to look back at some of what has been predicted and has NOT happened!

  1. Barack Obama will cancel the elections of 2016 and rule by martial law, and put his enemies into FEMA camps.  This is totally laughable!
  2. Barack Obama will take everyone’s guns away.  Yeh, sure, instead we have more guns and gun ownership than ever before, and more deaths from guns than automobile accidents!
  3. Barack Obama will destroy the American economy, with the highest gas prices ever, dramatic increase in unemployment and inflation, the collapse of the stock market, and the promotion of the end of the capitalist system. Instead we have 5 percent unemployment, doubling of the stock market, low inflation, and capitalism is alive and well, thank you!
  4. Barack Obama is a Muslim who will advance the cause of the Muslim jihadists, and allow the downfall of Christianity in America. Yeh, sure, instead we have more Muslims killed by Obama’s drone usage than under George W. Bush, and Osama bin Laden was killed!
  5. Barack Obama will destroy the oil and coal industries in his  mad quest to promote the “phony” issue of climate change. Yeh, sure, the energy industries are making record profits!
  6. Barack Obama will destroy heterosexual America by his promotion of gay rights, same sex marriage, and transgender rights.  Laughable, but heterosexual marriage divorces are up, and more Americans have broken marriages than the total number of same sex marriages!
  7. Barack Obama will take away the civil liberties and civil rights of Americans through government snooping on the private lives of Americans. Yeh, sure, as the NSA is limited in its ability to fight terrorism by government restrictions put upon them!
  8. Barack Obama will undermine law and order in this country through promotion of the agenda of extremist African Americans demands.  Yeh, sure, the idea that Obama is a black radical because he speaks up about growing number of police killings of unarmed black men is laughable!
  9. Barack Obama will destroy the nation through open borders immigration of people from Mexico and Central America.  Yeh, sure, as Obama has had more deportations of illegal immigrants than under George W. Bush!
  10. Barack Obama will undermine the nation of Israel and refuse to support the security of that nation.  Yeh, sure, as Obama provided the IRON DOME system and has given Israel more foreign aid than any President of the United States before him!
  11. Barack Obama will promote the expansion and aggression of the Russians under Vladimir Putin.  Yeh, sure that is why Putin embraces Donald Trump, and has actually cooperated with the American government on Middle East issues, and knows NATO is working to protect Ukraine, due to the tough stand of Obama!
  12. Barack Obama will promote a one world government led by the United Nations.  This is totally ridiculous, not even worth commenting on, as totally delusional!

It is time for the ill informed and uneducated population of America to stop their ignorance, learn the truth, and start to show appreciation of the historic nature of Barack Obama in the Presidency, and to wish him well in his final year in the White House.  His ranking in history for his accomplishments, his dignity, his class, his compassion, his common sense, and his courage in the face of adversity will make him appreciated in the future in a way appropriate for his performance in office!

Multiple Predictions Of Disaster By The Republicans During The Obama Presidency, But None Occurred!

The Republican Party and the conservative movement has made multiple predictions of disaster during the Obama Presidency, with none of them actually occurring.

They have acted like “Chicken Little”, and have been shown for their deceit.

In the midst of all these attacks, personally and policy wise, Barack Obama has acted with dignity and class, despite the outrageous statement of Florida Senator Marco Rubio that Obama has shown no class. Instead, Republican leadership, including Rubio, needs to look in the mirror at themselves!

A catalog of some of the many predictions of disaster follows:

The economic stimulus would cause a further downturn of the economy.

The auto bailout would fail miserably.

ObamaCare would fail, and would destroy the health care system.

Bank regulations to prevent another bank collapse would fail miserably.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was a dangerous government intervention that would never succeed.

Unemployment numbers would continue to rise, making the economy worse.

Illegal immigration numbers would continue to rise, and crimes caused by illegal immigrants would become predominant.

Gays in the military would cause the downfall of the greatest military in the world.

The Ebola epidemic in Africa would overtake America, and lead to widespread disease epidemic in America.

The government would try to take away private ownership of guns.

Requirement of vaccinations was a plot against families and children.

Higher pay for lower paid workers would destroy jobs and business.

Obama’s executive orders were a move toward dictatorship.

Obama’s moves on the environment are destroying the energy industries.

Obama’s Presidency is the most corrupt in American history.

Obama sides with Islamic terrorism, and will not use drones and other tactics against them.

Obama was plotting with Muslims to destroy Christianity.

Gay Marriage would destroy the American family as we know it.

Obama is conspiring with Iran to destroy Israel.

Obama opening up to Cuba is unprecedented, to deal with a totalitarian government and give diplomatic recognition.

Obama is not respected by other nations across the globe.

The list could go on and on and on, but these 21 examples are just the tip of the iceberg of the Republicans and conservatives predicting gloom and doom during an Obama Presidency!

Can The US Win Success In War On Terror By Utilizing Tactics Of Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, Communist North Korea, And ISIL?

It is clear that America lives in a different era since the September 11, 2001 attacks, and that our national security structure must do everything within legitimate limits to protect our nation!

There is no real argument with that fact, but the question arises whether this nation can win success in the War on Terror by utilizing tactics of Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, Communist North Korea, ISIL, and other despotic regimes throughout history.

If our government lacks any ethics, morals, and sense of decency in its actions against our enemies, it means our soldiers and civilians will be treated in the same despotic manner, whenever any of them are unfortunate enough to fall into the hands of the enemy.

But even if the enemy employs these despicable tactics is NO justification for us to do the same, as we are a democracy that believes in human dignity, human freedom, human rights, and the rule of law!

Torture is inhumane, and does not gain actionable intelligence by any measure we know of, but even if we think it does, it is against all common sense, as to become a “monster” in order to fight a “monster” is to lose our purpose as a nation which sets a standard of civilized behavior for the world.

Some will say that dropping the atomic bomb in World War II; firebombing Dresden and Tokyo in World War II; using drones in the War on Terror; and other similar tactics is the same situation, no better than CIA torture of detainees in prison.

But in actual fact, while the examples given are reprehensible, they are part of the laws of war, while brutal torture tactics are not so, as detainees are supposed to be treated with respect, which, of course, is why what happened with the Nazis in the Holocaust of World War II; the Cambodian Holocaust of the late 1970s by the Khmer Rouge; and other mass murders by ISIL and other groups is a totally different category of what must be called war crimes!

And sadly, what the CIA has done, and what George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have authorized and defended, IS a war crime, plain and simple!

Barack Obama: Who Is Our 44th President?

The attacks on Barack Obama, our 44th President, have reached a point of being totally ridiculous and preposterous in so many ways!

Critics say Obama is a Muslim, even though he never attended services at a mosque, and has called himself a Christian. Meanwhile, he has had America war against terrorist Muslims, and has used drones and troops to kill more Muslims than George W. Bush, including Osama Bin Laden!

Critics say Obama is a weak President, who has been unwilling to confront Vladamir Putin and defend Ukraine, while George W. Bush did not confront Putin on military action in Georgia in 2008; Lyndon B. Johnson did not confront the old Soviet Union on military action in Czechoslovakia in 1968; and Dwight D. Eisenhower did not confront the old Soviet Union on military action in Hungary in 1956.

Critics say that Obama is an “Emperor” or “King” because of action on immigration reform, but this is the same President they have said is “weak”, and when Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and all of the other Republican and Democratic Presidents since Dwight D. Eisenhower took action on immigration, none of them were called “Emperor” or “King”. So Obama is a “weak” President who is also an “Emperor” or “King”?

Critics say Obama is a Socialist, but Obama accepted the Newt Gingrich–Bob Dole–Heritage Foundation–Mitt Romney concept of health care, when he pushed for “ObamaCare”, which gives private insurance companies full control over health care when many Democrats and liberals and progressives really want “Medicare for all”.

Critics say Obama is anti capitalist, but Obama has tied himself to Wall Street much more than many Democrats and liberals and progressives wish he had, and the stock market is at an all time high, up about 250 percent from when he came in.

Critics say Obama is adding more to the national debt than anyone, forgetting he came in at the lowest point in 75 years, and that much of the new debt was an outgrowth of the disastrous George W. Bush economic policies that would have added the same to the national debt if John McCain and Mitt Romney had been elected President.

Critics say that Obama refused to work with the opposition party, but NO President EVER had such obstructionism as Barack Obama has had, and Republican Presidents, in particular, have found that opposition Democrats, while challenging them, NEVER promoted total lack of cooperation as the extremist right wing Republicans, led by the Tea Party Movement, have done over the past six years. Despite that, Obama has presided over a long list of accomplishments.

Critics blame Obama for the loss of seats in Congress in midterm elections, when ALL Presidents have faced that, except Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1934. Harry Truman in 1946, Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1954, Bill Clinton in 1994, George W. Bush in 2006, and now, Barack Obama in 2014, have seen the opposition party gain control of both houses of Congress. Also, FDR in 1938, Truman in 1950, Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1958, John F. Kennedy in 1962, Lyndon B. Johnson in 1966, Richard Nixon in 1970, Gerald Ford in 1974, Jimmy Carter in 1978, Ronald Reagan in 1982, George H. W. Bush in 1990, and Barack Obama in 2010 lost seats, and in the case of Obama, control of the House of Representatives.

These are just eight ways in which the critics of Obama are manipulating the truth and the facts, and despite all these attacks, Barack Obama stands tall and will look much better in history than his critics wish to concede!

Cutting Military Spending A Good Step, Since We Have As Much Spending as Next Twelve Nations Combined!

The world is an unsafe place, and yes, we have to be prepared for any eventuality, but does that mean that we need to spend as much as the next twelve nations combined?

Can we possibly match the two nations with bigger armies, China and India, when they both have3-4 times our population?

Do we really need so many aircraft carriers, and more nuclear weapons, and more bombers than we have now, which cost billions upon billions, while the ranks of the poor and the near poor continue to grow?

Can we intervene in every international crisis, even if the cause is good and moral, or do we have to pick our battles, and only engage militarily when the urgency of intervention is clear cut?

The plan, announced this week by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, to scale down the military to the smallest number of troops since before World War II engagement, in a world where technology, including drones, is going to be used more and more, makes total sense, as future wars will not be fought like World War II or even the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

We will still be number one, but have extra funds available to help promote the “American Dream” for future generations, emphasizing health care, education, housing, and the revival of the flagging middle class!

The Republican Party will have a “knee jerk” reaction to any proposal to scale down the military, but it can and must be done in a sensible, rational way, or else the national debt increase, much fueled by defense spending out of all control in the past decade, doubling over that time, will suffocate American democracy!

The Founding Fathers did not wish a defense behemoth as the Pentagon has become since World War II, and the Cold War is over, and the whole strategy of defense can be modified safely, and save trillions of dollars over time!

The Filibuster Champions: Ted Cruz And Rand Paul, Self Destructing Before Our Eyes!

The Senate filibuster used to be employed to prevent civil rights legislation, with South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond becoming infamous for the longest individual filibuster in Senate history in 1957 on that subject. Thurmond does not look very good in history due to his prejudiced, narrow minded stand on that topic.

Now Senator Rand Paul has used the filibuster tactic months ago to protest drone policy on foreign soil, and a crazy fear that drones would be used against Americans on domestic soil.

And Senator Ted Cruz is right this minute using the filibuster to attempt to destroy ObamaCare, denying millions of Americans the opportunity to have decent health care.

Neither Paul from months ago, and Cruz today, are going to change American policy, as the President will use drones only overseas, as a measure of defense and security policy against terrorists, including Americans who fight for the enemy; and ObamaCare will proceed, no matter what Cruz says or does.

But in the process, only the loonies on the extreme right will rally to either Paul or Cruz, and the Tea Party movement may have impact in the House of Representatives and with a few Senators, but both men are self destructing before our eyes by their own words and actions! If the GOP is nuts enough to nominate either of these characters for President, they will get what they deserve, a walloping defeat in 2016!

“Don’t Drone Me, Bro”—The Self Destruction Of Rand Paul AND Ted Cruz!

When Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky spoke yesterday at the first day of the Conservative Political Action Conference, a supporter yelled: “Don’t drone me, Bro”, referring to Paul’s 13 hour filibuster demanding an answer from President Obama that he would never use a drone on an American citizen on American soil, a stunt which gave Senator Paul a lot of attention, and led to his promoting the idea of the likelihood of his Presidential candidacy in 2016.

Meanwhile, Texas Senator Ted Cruz showed just what a bully, and an arrogant, overbearing person he is, making himself very unpopular even among fellow Republican Senators with his loony absolute interpretation of the Second Amendment, and showing lack of respect for Senator Diane Feinstein, who lived through the carnage of the murder of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone in 1978. The fact that even Justice Antonin Scalia has stated that there are limits to the Second Amendment does not phase Senator Cruz, as he fancies himself to be a “constitutionalist”!

Both of these Republican Senators fancy that the nation is ready for their looniness—Paul, the libertarian, who wants to bring about a utopian world of little government in people’s lives; and Cruz, using Joseph McCarthy type demagogic techniques to create turmoil and mistrust, and also to throw a “firebomb” as a method to grab for more power and influence!

Both Senators are upstart freshmen, who are showing total ignorance and total disrespect for the institution of the Senate, and their style and methods are designed to promote their own ambition, but will have the effect over time, if not fought bitterly by sane elements, to destroy the Republican Party and its long, much of the time, respectable history and leadership!

The nation is NOT going to accept either Senator Paul or Senator Cruz as their Commander in Chief, as they both, in different and competing ways, are promoting anarchy and chaos in the political arena, and are both VERY dangerous!

Rand Paul Becomes A Potential Presidential Candidate, And That Is Good For Democrats!

Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky has become a celebrity, due to his 13 hour filibuster, postponing consideration of John Brennan, a twenty five year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency, to become its head, The purpose of the filibuster was to gain a guarantee from the Obama Administration that drones would not be used on American soil against American non combatant citizens.

It has caused the American Civil Liberties Union to back Rand Paul, and some Democrats as well, including Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, as well as several progressive journals and web sites.

But the biggest manifestation has been the split developing in the Republican Party between the Tea Party Movement supporters (such as Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio) and the neocons (John McCain and Lindsey Graham, particularly), and this is great news for the Democratic Party!

Rand Paul is now being talked about more seriously as a potential Republican nominee for President, a thought that makes 2012 candidates for the nomination look as the beginning of a trend of continued disaster that will only become worse in 2016.

Bring on Rand Paul, and watch the GOP split asunder, and watch Rand Paul make Mitt Romney, John McCain, and Bob Dole, past GOP Presidential losers, appear brilliant by comparison! RIck Perry, Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, Herman Cain were all embarrassing and disastrous, but Rand Paul would be the most disastrous nominee in history!

If Rand Paul is nominated, and even if he divides the Republican Party while losing the nomination, he will only insure a massive popular vote victory by any Democratic nominee for President, particularly Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, but including others, such as Martin O’Malley, Andrew Cuomo, Elizabeth Warren, or Mark Warner!