Day: March 28, 2009

Foreign Policy Starts to Intrude

In the  midst of the economic crisis faced by the Obama Administration, foreign policy is, unfortunately, rearing its ugly head.

President Obama has decided to increase the commitment to the war in Afghanistan even beyond his earlier decision to introduce more troops into that forsaken country.  He has made it clear that he is out to destroy the Taliban forces that are in Afghanistan and Pakistan, something that seems impossible of accomplishment despite every good intention.  The fear is that Afghanistan might become Obama’s Vietnam as it was a major cause of the downfall of the Soviet Union in the 1980s.

Additionally, North Korea is again, under Kim Jong Il, becoming belligerent, threatening to fire a missile that could, it is believed, be a threat to Alaska and the West Coast of the United States someday.   Secretary of State  Hillary Clinton has warned the North Koreans against testing this missile, but it seems to be about to happen in the near future.

Finally, our neighbor to the south, Mexico, which shares a 2,000 mile boundary with the United States, is in crisis times as the drug cartels seem to be more powerful than the central or state governments of Mexico.  Larger numbers of Mexican troops are in the major cities where the drug cartels are operating, but the drug overlords seem to control the situation and have proceeded to promote brutal torture and murder of citizens of Mexico plus police and army personnel.  The danger of the drug cartel violence spilling over the border into such areas as San Diego, Tucson, and El Paso, is growing daily, and the US government is reinforcing the borders with National Guardsmen and regular Army troops.  The problem of illegal immigration, long a reality on the Mexican border, is now complicated by this growing crisis over the obsessive American consumer demand for cocaine and other hard drugs, which promotes the drug cartel’s aggressiveness and no holds barred cruelty and large scale murder with no limits yet established.

So in the midst of the greatest economic crisis in 70 years, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Robert Gates, Janet Napolitano and other administration leaders must come up with a strategy to deal with these emerging problems.  There are, unfortunately, no easy answers to any of these issues.  🙁

Time for Change In NY Politics in 2010

New York State, always seen as a  leader in so many ways, desperately needs a complete change next year, when Kirsten Gillebrand must defend her appointment as the replacement for Senator Hillary Clinton, and Governor David Paterson, who became the chief executive of the state upon the resignation of Governor Eliot Spitzer due to a sex scandal, will run to defend his position.

Paterson has proved to be very uninspiring and overly controversial and now his public opinion ratings have plummeted, partially due to his poor handling of the Clinton Senate seat appointment, first seemingly flirting with the idea of Caroline Kennedy and then ultimately settling on Congresswoman Kirsten Gillebrand from upstate Albany.

Gillebrand has emerged as a big backer of the National Rifle Association, although she is now trying to separate herself from this powerful pressure group’s tentacles.  But the latest revelation about her is that she did a lot of work in the 1990s for Big Tobacco when  it was fighting the national and state governments which were pursuing law suits against all of the tobacco corporations.  We do not need or want a senator representing New York, who works with such pressure groups as the above ones which undermine the American nation with their agenda.

It is essential that both Paterson and Gillebrand have strong primary challenges, and that both be removed from office in 2010.  Paterson should be replaced by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who has vigorously pursued AIG bonuses and in so many other ways has fought for the people of his state.  Gillebrand should be replaced by someone who is NOT an NRA or Big Tobacco supporter,  and has worked all of his or her career for principle and decency in public affairs.  Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, and Congressman Steve Israel are three such possibilities.

In any case, New York State deserves a Governor in the line of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Herbert Lehman, and Mario Cuomo, and a Senator in the tradition of Robert F. Wagner,  Robert F. Kennedy, Daniel P. Moynihan, Hillary Clinton, and Charles Schumer!

Possible Prosecution of Bush Officials for Torture

A Spanish court has taken steps toward promoting prosecution and possible arrest warrants for six Bush Administration officials who devised and promoted the torture of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as part of the policy developed toward terrorists after September 11. 

These officials include former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, Justice Department lawyer John Yoo, former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith,  and David Addington, chief of staff and legal adviser to former Vice President Dick Cheney. 

The possibility of arrest is unlikely unless these officials travel overseas, but it should be pointed out that former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet was arrested and brought to trial under the authority of this particular Spanish court, and various human rights groups are pursuing this idea for American officials who promoted waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques in the War on Terror.  Our own government has promoted the prosecution of foreign leaders who have promoted human rights violations, so it is certainly possible that there could be domestic prosecutions of Bush administration officials, and this theoretically could lead to top figures, including both George W. Bush and Dick Cheney,  facing the bar of justice for their unconstitutional actions in office.

I say take these investigations and prosecutions where they lead, and restore the United States as the promoter of human rights, and have this country be in the forefront of the reestablishment  of the basic principles of international law!