War Of 1812

The First Terrorist Attack: Columbus, New Mexico (Pancho Villa) March 9, 1916!

Most who study American history know of the British attack on Washington, DC on August 24, 1814, during the War of 1812.

They know of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7, 1941, leading to World War II entrance.

Of course, they know of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, leading to the War on Terrorism.

But almost no one knows of the attack on Columbus, New Mexico, on March 9, 1916 by Mexican bandits led by rogue Pancho Villa, during the period known as the Mexican Revolution.

This attack led to the burning of this town on the Mexican border by several hundred Mexican guerrillas, and the deaths of 17 Americans.

President Woodrow Wilson sent in General John J. Pershing to hunt down Pancho Villa and the guerrillas, but this “Punitive Expedition”, lasting from March 14, 1916 to February 7, 1917 failed to accomplish its mission, and the American troops were withdrawn, after months of protests from the Mexican government about the invasion into their sovereign territory.

This was one of the many undeclared wars in American history, and was unable to fulfill its objective, the capture or killing of Villa, who was later killed by one of his followers in 1923.

So yesterday was the centennial anniversary of this tragic event!

More Gun Deaths Since 1968 Than War Deaths In All Of American History!

The crazy lack of gun control, in the midst of the growing level of violence in America in the past half century is a sign of a massive crisis that Congress, under Republican leadership, refuses to deal with, due to the dominating influence of the National Rifle Association and its public spokesman, Wayne La Pierre, who has blood on his hands, as the NRA even opposed basic background checks, or denying people on the Transportation Security Administration Watch List for airline passengers the right to purchase firearms!

This is total insanity, particularly after the Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre in 2012; all of the mass shootings since then; and the newly fresh San Bernadino, California Massacre two days ago!

A particular statistic that is a sign of the reality of this crisis is what Hillary Clinton said yesterday, that we are losing 90 people every day to gun violence!

But also, the statistic that since 1968, nearly 1.5 million Americans have died from gun violence, while ALL war deaths in all of American history total, by comparison, only close to 1.2 million people!

So in the past 47 years, 300,000 more Americans have died than all war deaths in the American Revolution; the War of 1812; the Mexican War; the Civil War; the Spanish American War; World War I; World War II; the Korean War;  the Vietnam War; the Persian Gulf War; the Afghanistan War; and the Iraq War!

How much longer can this nation suffer under refusal to do anything to deal with this disaster, which if a health crisis due to disease, would have led to rapid federal action to resolve the issue?

What will convince Congress, and particularly the Republican Party, to react?  Will the tragedy of harm to the President, Vice President, or Presidential candidates, or any other public figures, due to lack of action and concern, even lead to changes, as we had the Brady Bill, a decade after the assassination attempt against President Ronald Reagan, which was allowed to expire in 2004 by lack of action by President George W. Bush?

Will ANY tragedy lead to action?  Right now, it seems unlikely, crazy as that concept is!

In Crisis Moments, Should An American President Resign, As Reckless Republicans Are Suggesting? Of Course Not!

Think of how many times a crisis has arisen in American history during an administration of innumerable Presidents!

Should James Madison have resigned as he fled the capital as the British invaded Washington, DC  in August 1814 during the War of 1812?

Should Abraham Lincoln have resigned when various times in the Civil War the Confederacy won major military battles from 1861-1863?

Should Franklin D. Roosevelt have resigned when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941?

Should John F. Kennedy have resigned when Russian missiles were discovered in Cuba in 1962?

Should Ronald Reagan have resigned after the loss of 252 Marines in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1983, due to Islamic terrorism?

Should George W. Bush have resigned after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon by Al Qaeda?

In these and innumerable other situations, of course the answer is NO!

But now, suddenly, reckless Republicans want Barack Obama to resign due to the Paris terror attacks, which they blame Obama for, even though ISIL (ISIS) is the outgrowth of the disastrous and unnecessary Iraq War waged by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

This demand for resignation occurred after “Jihadi John”, who slaughtered foreign hostages by knife, including Americans; and a leading figure in ISIL (ISIS) in Libya, were killed by American air strikes, but before the tragic Paris terror attacks, as if the Republicans have s simple answer to the threat of Islamic terrorism!

So in a crisis moment, the nation should rally around the President, as is typical in most cases historically.  But even when not unifying around the President, no leader should bow to political attacks, and instead go to work and face the crises that arise, as so many Presidents have done throughout American history!

A President For Peace, And A Congress For War: Reminiscences Of The War Of 1812 Two Hundred Years Later

Tow hundred years ago, we had a President, who was very intelligent, and wanted to avoid war with a major power, which was actually the most powerful nation on earth.

James Madison wished to avoid conflict with Great Britain, arguably more of a threat than Barack Obama faces with the danger of war with Iran.

James Madison had a “War Hawk” Congress, headed by Henry Clay, John C. Calhoun, and others who wanted war, and thought they could take control of Canada away from Great Britain.

The result was a disastrous war, which luckily, Great Britain chose to end, once they had defeated Napoleon Bonaparte in Europe.

Now Barack Obama has been able to bring about, through Secretary of State John Kerry, an agreement with the potential for a prevention of a nuclear Iran for the next fifteen years, an agreement that the six major powers have joined in, and would support enforcement if Iran breaks the agreement.

The complication is that Israel wants to prevent the agreement and go to war, a war that would become a disaster without any definite way forward toward victory, as what would be victory in the first place? And it might antagonize the Sunni Arab states, led by Saudi Arabia, which is much more of a totalitarian dictatorship, and much more backward in the way they treat their population, than Iran. But are we in America to be dictated to by Saudi Arabia or Israel in making our foreign policy, when we have always been there for both nations in any crisis?

Barack Obama now faces a “war” party, the Republicans, who are hell bent on another war, which would cause massive casualties, an addition of another trillion in the national debt, and more veterans expenses when we do not provide adequately for our veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan and earlier wars now in 2015!

Leave it to John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Tom Cotton, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio et al to force us into another war that we can ill afford or want! They fail to realize that Iran is a much larger nation territorially and population wise than Iraq, Afghanistan, or Vietnam was when we engaged in those wars. And their young population is heavily pro-American, and the potential for change in Iran’s government, while hard to imagine, is clearly on the horizon, as it was in the Soviet Union, but if the hawks win their way, we will turn the entire population of that nation against America and the West long term, rather than the 36 years of hostility that have existed between Iran and America since 1979.

The alternative of war is always available if needed, but better to try to avoid war and accomplish the goal of controlling Iran through diplomacy and international cooperation of other nations, than go it alone and drag America into a war that no sane person should want!

Eleven Foreign Policy Presidential Elections In American History, And Now 2016!

America has had foreign policy affect eleven Presidential elections, overshadowing domestic policy issues. This has usually been centered about military intervention and wars. The list of foreign policy dominated Presidential elections follows:

1812—With the War of 1812 having begun, it became the major issue under President James Madison

1844—With the issue of Texas annexation a major issue, and with James K. Polk running on expansionism and “Manifest Destiny”, the issue of relations with Mexico became a major issue under John Tyler and Polk.

1848—With the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo after the Mexican War under James K. Polk granting so much new territory to the United States, the issue of what to do with these territories became the major issue of the campaign.

1900—With the Treaty of Paris ending the Spanish American War under William McKinley granting new territories to the United States, the issue of what do to with those territories reigned during the campaign, and the Filipino Insurrection was a hot issue as well.

1916–The issue of keeping America out of World War I dominated, with Woodrow Wilson campaigning on the fact that he had kept us out of the war.

1940—The issue of isolationism and World War II in Europe and Asia, and Franklin D. Roosevelt campaigning on keeping us out of war, but offering some assistance to Great Britain, dominated the campaign.

1944—The fact that we were still in World War II, and what to do about the postwar world and the Soviet Union, were key issues of the campaign.

1952—The debate over what to do about the limited nature of the Korean War under Harry Truman was a major factor in this campaign which elected Dwight D. Eisenhower.

1968—The debate over the Vietnam War under Lyndon B. Johnson, and the resulting split in the Democratic Party, and Richard Nixon declaring he had a secret plan to end the war, dominated the discussion in the campaign.

2004—The Iraq War and Afghanistan War under George W. Bush dominated the discussion in this campaign, as September 11 transformed the issue of national security.

2008—The continued intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan became a major issue, along with the Great Recession emerging during the campaign, and benefited Barack Obama, who promised to end the war in Iraq and downgrade the war in Afghanistan.

Now 2016 seems likely to be centered much more than many people want over foreign policy, particularly the threat of Iran in the Middle East, along with the danger of ISIL (ISIS) Terrorism, and the growing menace of the Russian Federation under Vladamir Putin, overall adding to the image of growing threats to national security.

And in these circumstances, one needs a steady hand at the helm, and only Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden have the experience and the judgment needed, along with Jon Huntsman, who, although listed by many as a long shot nominee for the Republicans, has indicated he is not a candidate. In any case, the Republicans are not smart enough to realize that the true treasure in their midst is Jon Huntsman!

The Wartime Presidency: From James Madison To Barack Obama

Now that it seems evident that America is to be engaged in a long drawn-out war against ISIL (ISIS), it means that we can expect the war to last possibly a generation, 20 years, and affect every Presidential election from 2016 through at least 2032.  It will also transform the Congress, and change the direction of American history, and it comes at a terrible time, as we have greater inequities economically now than even in the Gilded Age of the late 19th century.

But national security and defense always trump anything else, inevitably and necessarily!

So Barack Obama, who came into office determined to end the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars started by George W. Bush, is to be the promoter of a new war, against his desire.

So this is a good time to reflect on how many Presidents have chosen or been forced  to wage war!

James Madison reluctantly took America through the War of 1812, often depicted as “The Sorry Little War”, which led to the burning of the US Capitol and the White House by the invading British forces.

James K. Polk willingly took us through the Mexican War, leading to the acquisition of the American Southwest and California.

Abraham Lincoln took us into the Civil War, believing there was no alternative to “preserve the Union”.

William McKinley was convinced that the Spanish American War was a moral cause, and it led to the development of the “American Empire” in an age of expansionism and imperialism.  He also waged war to force the Philippines to accept American overlordship, after being “liberated” by the United States from Spanish control.

Theodore Roosevelt continued the fight against the Filipino revolutionaries, in what was well hidden for years and not taught in schools below the college level,, but was known to history as the Filipino Insurrection.

Woodrow Wilson took us into the First World War, after trying to avoid direct involvement for more than two years.

Franklin D. Roosevelt took us into the Second World War against Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Imperial Japan,  after isolationists bitterly opposed  such entrance, but forced by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor,  Hawaii.

Harry Truman continued our engagement in the Second World War, and used the atomic bomb against Japan, but also took us into the Korean War.

Dwight D. Eisenhower continued US involvement in the Korean War for the fist six month of his Presidency.

John F. Kennedy escalated our involvement in Vietnam, from 2,000 “advisers”under Eisenhower,  to over 16,500 Green Beret Special Forces by the time he was assassinated.

Lyndon B. Johnson massively escalated our involvement in Vietnam, reaching a grand total of 549.500 troops in 1968.

Richard Nixon continued the Vietnam War for four long years, causing a massive split in the nation, not seen since the Civil War.

George H. W. Bush took us into the Persian Gulf War, to force Iraq’s Saddam Hussein from keeping control of Kuwait, and being a threat to Saudi Arabia.

George W. Bush took us into war in Iraq and also in Afghanistan, and they became the longest wars in American history.

Barack Obama inherited both the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, and ended our involvement in Iraq, and is soon to end involvement in Afghanistan.  But now the war against ISIL (ISIS) is forecast to last a generation!

So 15 Presidents were commanders in chief in wartime, and this does not include invasions or bombings,  or undeclared naval wars, or wars against Native Americans!

The Ugly Month Of August This Year And In History

August is known as the month of the usually greatest heat, and this month is no exception, with the tremendous drought affecting the western half of the nation, especially California.

August is also the month of disastrous hurricanes, as with Andrew in 1992 and Katrina in 2005, as examples.

August is also the month of many wars and provocations, as with:

The British burning of the US Capitol and the White House during the War of 1812.

The outbreak of the First World War in Europe in 1914.

The signing of the Nazi-Soviet Pact which led to the beginning of the Second World War in 1939.

The dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, ending World War II in Asia in 1945.

The falsely reported Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1964, which led to the escalation of the war in Vietnam under Lyndon Johnson in 1964.

The invasion of Kuwait by Iraq’s Saddam Hussein in 1990, leading to the Persian Gulf War and the introduction of American troops on a permanent basis in a number of Muslim countries over the next quarter century, provoking a greater level of Islamic terrorism against America and Western Europe.

This August, we have seen racial tensions and division grow over recent killings by law enforcement authorities in St. Louis, Missouri and elsewhere, making us aware that the election of Barack Obama has NOT lessened the race issue in America, and has made us aware of the militarization of the police forces, with equipment returned from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

And we have become fully aware, finally realizing the threat from ISIL (ISIS), after the death of journalist James Foley, and it forecasts an escalation of involvement in the Middle East, adding to the fuel already created by the Gaza War between Israel and the Hamas Palestinian terrorist group which controls the Gaza Strip.

So again, August keeps its horrible reputation as a month full of tragedy and disaster, although clearly, every month has its share of these, but August does seem to have more than its fair share!

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 Centennial Of Woodrow Wilson’s Presidency: A Time For Debate Over His Legacy

A century ago day, Woodrow Wilson was inaugurated as the 28th President of the United States,and helped to transform the Presidency in massive ways, some good and some bad.

Wilson has been under attack in the present climate of conservative attacks on reform oriented Presidents, including Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Barack Obama.

The facts are that Wilson, FDR, and LBJ were the three most accomplished Presidents in domestic affairs, but with plenty of criticism about their handling of wars and the domestic relationship to those wars.

Wilson accomplished the most domestic reform of any President before him, taking on parts of Theodore Roosevelt’s New Nationalism agenda on the Progressive Party line in 1912, adding it to his own New Freedom legislative ideas.

So Wilson’s time saw the following:

Underwood Simmons Tariff

Federal Reserve Act

Clayton Anti Trust Act

Federal Trade Commission

Keating-Owen Child Labor Act

La Follette Seamen’s Act

Adamson Act (eight hour work day in interstate transportation)

Federal Farm Loan Act

Some of this did not work out well long term, and additionally, Wilson had major negative policies dealing with:

Woman Suffrage—opposing an amendment (although it came about despite him in 1920, via the 19th Amendment).

Race Relations—clearly racist policy of imposing Jim Crow segregation in Washington, DC; unfair treatment and recognition of African American sacrifices in the World War I effort; and endorsement of an openly racist film, D W Griffith’s BIRTH OF A NATION, which portrayed the Southern view of Reconstruction, a myth of long standing, which finally was proved inaccurate in the past half century of historical research and writing.

Civil Liberties Violations— including arrest and imprisonment of Socialist Party leader Eugene Debs for opposition to the draft and American involvement in World War I; the Espionage and Sedition Acts; and the Palmer Raids after the war.

In foreign policy, Wilson engaged in “Missionary Diplomacy” including interventions in Haiti, and more significantly in Mexico, attempting to pursue Pancho Villa for a raid across the border into Columbus, New Mexico, the worst incursion in American territory since the War of 1812. And of course, the controversy over Wilson and our entrance into World War I continues even today, and the whole debate and divisiveness over the Versailles Treaty and League of Nations in 1919-1920.

Additionally, being incapacitated by a stroke, but being unwilling to hand over temporary power to Vice President Thomas Marshall, and allowing his wife to run cabinet meetings, is another major issue in assessing Wilson’s Presidency.

So Wilson is a “very mixed bag” as a President, but usually is ranked in the bottom of the top ten of our Presidents, specifically because of his long range influence on America, rare among Presidents, for good or for bad, and there is clearly plenty of both!

More Deaths From Gun Violence 1968-2011 Than All American Wars Combined!

From 1968 to 2011, there were close to 1.4 million deaths from gun violence, and this is before the massacres in Aurora, Colorado; Newtown, Connecticut; and elsewhere in the past year.

But when one looks at all deaths from American wars, we discover the total is slightly less than 1.2 million!

With gun violence escalating in recent years, we had over 32,000 deaths in 2011, about equal to the losses in the three year long Korean War from 1950-1953.

From 1999 to 2010, we had about 365,000 gun deaths, almost equal to the 400,000 losses in the four years of World War II.

The years 1981 to 1998 saw 620,000 deaths from guns, about the same as in both sides of the four year Civil War.

With 2,500 to 3,000 deaths per month on the average now, it means in a year we match the totals of the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Spanish American War, the Persian Gulf War, the Afghanistan War, and the Iraq War combined!

Anyone looking at these statistics would have to be troubled by the fact that we are the most violent Western nation by far, and yet there are those who believe nothing can or should be done about this tragedy!