Iraq

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.

Donald Trump And Afghanistan: No More Interest In Reform, Only Killing, A Prescription For Disaster!

Donald Trump’s speech on Afghanistan last night was what this blogger expected: Trump the warmonger, a complete switch from his “isolationist” stand during his Presidential campaign.

It was very predictable, as again, Donald Trump proved to be what he has always been best at being, a massive liar and manipulator of the truth!

The man who was a draft dodger, on the basis of bone spurs in the 1960s, and said his “Vietnam” was avoiding sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) with women at that time of his life, now has become a war President, and is allowing his overly dominant military administration to “charge on” in Afghanistan, after 16 years, the most of any American war, and inability to resolve the matter.

Afghanistan caused the loss of Alexander the Great in ancient times; of the British Empire in the 19th century; and of the Soviet Union from 1979-1989.

It is a “hell hole” with no end, and already 2,400 Americans have died in that war, and the war has also cost an estimate of between $841 billion to $2 trillion dollars, a massive waste of money that has undermined the nation! And over 20,000 men and women have been wounded, many of them seriously, and mental issues have arisen among many of these veterans, and many others who were not physically harmed.

And to top it off, Trump has indicated there is no interest in trying to make life better for Afghan civilians, but rather just to kill terrorists!

That is a prescription for endless, constant war, and bitterness, and continued growth of terrorism for decades on end!

The Taliban control an estimated 35-60 percent of the nation, and opium production in the major province that produces the drug is 80 percent under their control.

The Afghan mentality is that you kill their relatives, for generations after, the goal will be revenge, so a war is unwinnable.

And Trump seems to be stirring up trouble with neighbor Pakistan, a Muslim nation with nuclear weapons, with his hostile rhetoric.

It seems as if Trump has decided to be a warmonger–continuing in Afghanistan, while fighting ISIL (ISIS), and stirring up China with threats of trade wars, while trying to deal with North Korea, without starting a new Korean War or using nuclear weapons on Kim Jong Un; and threatening to break the Iranian nuclear agreement; and also suggesting action in Venezuela; as well as trying to deal with the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, Syria, and Iraq.

All that Trump seems to be able to do is make money all of the time, while promoting American imperialism overseas, insuring engagement in more wars, and spending taxpayer money to glorify himself as a “tough guy” in international affairs, while avoiding diplomacy, and cutting the State Department budget by up to 40 percent, including NOT having many ambassadorial positions filled or even nominated after seven months in office!

Trump is a true proponent of unregulated capitalism and American militarism, precisely what has led to so much turmoil and suffering caused by the top few percent of the population who worship Wall Street and the Pentagon as the answer to all problems in America.

Meanwhile, the white and minority working class become the cannon fodder for Trump’s egotism and narcissism, as he continues to divide America, and has no concern about the tremendous damage he is causing, creating an atmosphere of civil anger and disrespect that has split America like no time since the 1960s, and in many ways, worse than that decade 50 years ago!

The Growing Role Of Jared Kushner: Will It Make A Difference And Transform Donald Trump?

It is now clear that son in law Jared Kushner, and his wife, daughter Ivanka Trump, have a great and growing influence over Donald Trump, as the President is very loyal to family.

The question is whether it will make a difference and transform Donald Trump from a nasty, mean spirited right wing Republican, out to destroy the system, exactly what Stephen Bannon wants, or will move toward the center, and be able to appeal to moderate Republicans and some Democrats, as after all, Kushner was a Democrat in his politics that we know of, earlier in his life.

Kushner has been given great responsibility, to reorganize the federal government, as well as deal with the Middle East, and has also been engaged in traveling to Iraq this week, and the issue is whether he really has the qualifications and knowledge to be able to handle these responsibilities in a way that will lead to good results.

In other words, is Jared Kushner possibly the new Robert F. Kennedy, who had already had government experience before he became Attorney General under his brother, John F. Kennedy, and proved to be indispensable to his brother?

Is Jared Kushner the next Hillary Clinton, who took on health care reform unsuccessfully as First Lady under Bill Clinton, but was also one of the leading attorneys in America?

First impressions of Jared Kushner is that he is nothing special or impressive, more a spoiled rich kid who married into the right family, and had assets to start a New York City newspaper.

The future of America short term, and for the reputation of Donald Trump in history, may be based on the level of Jared Kushner’s success, which at the moment is much in doubt.

Conflict Within The Trump Circle Undermining Stability Within The White House

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is told he cannot have his choice for Deputy Secretary of State, Elliott Abrams, because of Abrams’ criticism of Donald Trump during the Presidential campaign.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis contradicts Donald Trump’s statement that America should take Iraq’s oil if America were to send troops again to that nation to fight ISIL (ISIS). Also, Mattis does not see Russia as an ally to fight the terrorist group in Syria and does not trust Vladimir Putin, but Trump does, so that presents a problem in strategy.

Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly contradicts Donald Trump’s statement that the deportation of immigrants to Mexico will require military forces, saying no such scenario will occur.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is ordered by Donald Trump to agree with Attorney General Jeff Sessions on rescinding federal endorsement of transgender students being able to use the bathroom they choose in public schools across the nation, with DeVos issuing statement promoting her view, but giving in to Trump in a White House meeting with Sessions, instead of resigning.

Kelly Anne Conway has been silenced a lot as she was making statements later contradicted by Sean Spicer, the Press Secretary to Donald Trump.

Several potential appointees have refused positions because they do not wish to work for Donald Trump.

The man is a nightmare to be around, and too many appointees and cabinet members have to swallow a great deal in order to work around a true narcissist, with no scruples, ethics or morals, and only interested in promoting his own sick ego!

The best thing that could happen would be for the cabinet members to organize with Vice President Mike Pence, and force Donald Trump out of office based on his total mental instability and danger to the nation, putting their principles ahead of their loyalty.

This could be done by the utilization of the 25th Amendment, Section 4, leading to Mike Pence as President, with all his faults and shortcomings, but not mentally damaged where he is a threat to the nation and the world!

44 Years Ago: Death Of Lyndon B. Johnson; Abortion Becomes Legal; End Of Engagement In Vietnam War–We Must Learn From These Events!

44 years ago, on January 22, former President Lyndon B. Johnson died at the age of 64, and the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in the case of Roe V. Wade, that women had a right to abortion in the first two trimesters.

44 years ago on January 23, announcement of an agreement to end US involvement in the Vietnam War was announced in Paris, therefore denying LBJ the ability to know of the peace agreement before his death, in a war that had forced him out of the Presidential race in 1968.

Looking back 44 years and to today in 2017, we can reflect that the Great Society of LBJ is under attack in a massive way, as is the New Deal of FDR. We are going backwards in so many ways under President Donald Trump.

Also, abortion rights are being taken away in many areas and by government policy, and the danger is that Roe V Wade could be reversed in a future Supreme Court decision, once a Trump appointed Justice is added to the Court. So women’s rights to control their own bodies will now face new restrictions, and will lead to more deaths, and abuses.

And our engagement in Vietnam, a massive mistake, has not been learned from, as now there are hints that Donald Trump is ready to send troops to fight ISIL (ISIS), committing us to a massive war in the Middle East, and with Trump asserting yesterday that America might just seize the oil of Iraq for ourselves, which would be a war crime, and a continuation of US imperialism overseas.

This is why we have intervened so much since World War II in other nations in the Middle East and in Asia, as well as Latin America.

And do not be surprised by a move to engage in war with Iran, in support of the right wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel, and more warfare in the West Bank and Gaza Strip areas of the Palestinians.

This is not to endorse Iran, the Palestinians, or anyone else, but to point out, it looks as if we are on the way to another major military conflict, that will cost American lives and make tons of profit for the war industry. And we are likely to see a new generation of American military personnel who end up having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and are unlikely to gain proper medical treatment for that condition.

In many ways, America has learned nothing from our historical experiences, and we are reverting to past mistakes in domestic and foreign policy.

Hillary Clinton Seems To Be Planning To Ask Joe Biden To Be Her Secretary Of State! If So, Fantastic Move!

Politico reports that Hillary Clinton is planning to ask Vice President Joe Biden to be her Secretary of State!

If the news is true, that would be a fantastic beginning to a Hillary Clinton Presidency!

This author and blogger has proposed this in the past, and it would be great news if it turned out to be reality.

Joe Biden is the absolutely best person to head our foreign policy in the next four years.

Joe Biden has a record of enough caution in his views on foreign affairs that it would help allay fears on the left of the Democratic Party that Hillary Clinton would be prone to engage us in foreign interventions, due to the image, much of it unwarranted, that she is a “hawk”.

Joe Biden knows all world leaders, and he knows how to get along with everyone, and move them toward his ideas, even including Republicans on Capitol Hill, who genuinely like him and had him as their liaison to President Obama during the last eight years, due to Biden’s well known ability to “schmooze” in a way unique to American politics.

Joe Biden has been right much of the time, including his suggestion years ago that Iraq should probably be three nations, each with its own religious sect and nationality—the Shiites, the Sunnis, and the Kurds. That is still the ultimately best solution for that battle torn nation, once ISIL (ISIS) is destroyed.

Joe Biden has 44 years in government, and was head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and no one past or present, has the depth of experience and knowledge that this man has.

Even though Joe Biden will be 74 next month, he still has loads of energy, enthusiasm, stamina, and motivation to serve his nation, and he is a true jewel who should be utilized in our next President’s administration.

The report on Hillary Clinton planning to ask Joe Biden to join her cabinet is a true sign of her wisdom and genius in running a sane, sensible foreign policy in the future!

The Iran Nuclear Deal And Release Of Five Hostages Held By Iran: Diplomacy and Negotiation Work!

Great news today, with the announcement of the release of five hostages held by Iran, as part of the Nuclear Deal, which is about to be judged accomplished by the International Atomic Energy Agency!

The Republicans will now suffer, rightfully, for their bombast and bulliness, and declaration that they want a war with Iran, one of the most heavily populated nations in the world, and an area twice that of Iraq!

It is easy for those who have never gone to war to send others to war, particularly those of the working class and poor, who often have no other means to acquire a decent education and alternatives to military service.

That is not to condemn those who sacrifice for America, but simply the reality that the sons and daughters of the upper middle class and the wealthy do NOT serve in wartime in modern times, without a draft!

This proves that serious and delicate diplomacy DOES work, that negotiation and patience CAN be successful, if one has patience, and the desire to avoid war that settles nothing!

Kudos to President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry and others in the administration, who have taken flak that was unconscionable, but have triumphed over the Republican war machine and, also, the constant promotion of war by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the past decade, and his inexcusable interference in American politics, both in the Presidential Election of 2012 and the upcoming Presidential Election of 2016, along with the decision to defy President Obama and appear before a joint session of a Republican controlled Congress in 2015!

Top 10 Political Stories Of 2015

As the year 2015 ends, we look back on the major political stories of this eventful year.

The ten major stories of the year are as follows:

The rise of Donald Trump, and the threat he represents to the Republican Party, the conservative movement, and to the American people in general. He is promoting a Fascist agenda, including nativism, racism, misogyny, and a belief spreading among white working class men that somehow he is the new Messiah, who will solve all of the problems brought about by the failings of the George W. Bush Administration.  These  include the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars, which fueled terrorism; and the Great Recession of 2008, which is still reverberating among those less educated and more suspect to demagoguery. And also,those who refuse to accept Barack Obama as a legitimate President find Donald Trump appealing.

The surprise appeal of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who is gaining support among the millennial generation, and men and women under 45, who are more educated than average Americans, and find his democratic Socialist ideas appealing.  There is no question that the younger generation is much more liberal than other Americans, and this bodes well for the Democratic Party, if Hillary Clinton continues her move to the left, pushed that way by Sanders’ agenda.

The final acceptance of gay marriage and the advancement of gay rights on all fronts, including the rights of transgender people, but with much discrimination still evident by those who resist change.

The disappearance of John Boehner and the rise of Paul Ryan to the Speakership of the House of Representatives, and the issue of whether Ryan can be any more effective in dealing with the Tea Party Movement, which helped to bring Boehner to the point of resignation.

The growing racial tensions in the nation, due to increased examples of police abuse toward African American men, and even women, along with Latinos, and the growing militarization of law enforcement, a dangerous trend.

The rise of more domestic terrorism, including in Charleston, San Bernandino and elsewhere, some of it inspired by ISIL (ISIS), but also by right wing Christian extremism.

Barack Obama’s changed foreign policy, including opening up to Cuban diplomatic relations; making a deal with Iran’s government on nuclear weapons; attempts to cooperate with other nations to deal with Islamic terrorism, meaning ISIL (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria; and trying to work with a hostile Israeli government, led by Benjamin Netanyahu, who made life more difficult for Obama by openly consorting with Republicans over the President.

The growing impact of social issues on American politics, including not only gay rights and gay marriage, but also abortion, gun control, immigration reform, and climate change.  All of these controversies will impact politics in a dramatic fashion in 2016 and beyond.

The issue of individual rights to privacy, and the growing role of intelligence gathering and government snooping, including the Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Security Agency, and other government agencies, who feel that they must intrude and investigate all social media and phones and computers, to protect us.  This is seen by many critics as a violation of our civil liberties.

The evident deterioration of the effectiveness and competence of the Secret Service, in its role as protector of the President and his family; the Vice President; the Speaker of the House of Representatives; and all Presidential candidates, as the Presidential Election year of 2016 awaits us.  The last thing we need is any incident that affects the health, safety, and lives of any of the candidates or the top leadership of government.  If such were to happen, it would undermine our whole political system and stability in massive ways!

 

Attacks On Mosques Reminiscent Of Attacks On Synagogues And Black Churches: All Are Domestic Terrorism!

Donald Trump’s controversial proposal to ban all Muslim immigration to the United States has unleashed a crime wave against mosques, and attacks on Muslim Americans in the past week, with occurrences taking place every day all over the country, and by one count, 19 such events in the first week after his utterances!

The promotion of Islamophobia is no different than the the anti Semitism which has led to attacks on Jewish synagogues, and the racism which has led to attacks on African American churches, going back to the Civil Rights era.

All of this is domestic terrorism, and Trump is inciting this violence, and should be held accountable for such incitement!

A small sliver of the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world are engaged in jihad and terrorism, just as a small percentage of other faiths have engaged in bloodshed and violence historically and today.

Has anyone noticed how most terrorism in America is by white Christian men, not by Muslims?  Has anyone noticed that there are Jewish terrorists who kill Palestinians who are not terrorists but live in Israel alongside Israelis?  Has anyone noticed that there are Hindus who commit violence against the minority Muslims in India?

Religious extremism has always existed, and will always exist, and of course, it is something to work against with all possible efforts!

But to label the vast, overwhelming majority of Muslims as terrorists only helps the despicable group that controls portions of Syria and Iraq, ISIL (ISIS), to gain supporters.

So the anti Muslim violence and propaganda that Donald Trump and other Islamophobes are promoting is actually the best recruitment tool for this horrific group to gain more supporters and present a long term threat to America and the Western world!

How Richard Nixon And Ronald Reagan Undermined Lyndon B. Johnson And Jimmy Carter In Presidential Elections Of 1968 And 1980

As one looks back at the 1968 and 1980 Presidential campaigns, evidence has emerged that Republican operatives were involved in manipulations to prevent resolution of the Vietnam War and the Iranian hostage crisis, in order to benefit Republican Presidential nominees Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, and undermine their Democratic opponents, Vice President Hubert Humphrey and President Jimmy Carter.  It also prevented Lyndon B. Johnson from gaining an end to the Vietnam War during his administration.

In 1968, it is clear that Republicans behind the scenes worked with South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu to prevent any peace agreement between South Vietnam and North Vietnam, which, had it occurred, likely would have benefited Humphrey, who lost to Nixon in a close race in the popular vote.

In 1980, it is also clear that Republicans behind the scenes worked with the Iranian government of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to delay the release of the hostages taken by Iranian radicals on November 4, 1979, to after the election, which destroyed any chances of Jimmy Carter being reelected, with the Iranians willing to delay the release.

We know that Iran went to war with Iraq in the fall of 1980 during the hostage crisis, and the release of the hostages when Reagan became President was partly due to desire of the Iranians not to get engaged with a more aggressive President, but also led to the Iran-Contra affair during the Reagan Administration, the providing of arms to Iran to assist its war against Iraq and Saddam Hussein in the mid 1980s, something Reagan conveniently “forgot” or was “unaware of”!

America under Reagan was willing to deal with Iran behind the scenes and provide arms, with indications even before the Iran Contra Scandal became known, that arms sales were going on.

So “dirty tricks” by Republicans helped to defeat a Vice President who would have made a great President, and a sitting President, who only now is coming to be appreciated for his contributions!