Day: December 1, 2009

Barack Obama’s War In Afghanistan

President Obama gave a passionate, well crafted speech tonight, announcing 30,000 more troops going to Afghanistan in the next six months, with the beginning of withdrawal in 18 months, and the expectation that we would leave Afghanistan by 2012. He told us that the war was essential to overcome the threat of Al Qaeda and the Taliban, and that the NATO partners would provide extra troops to supplement the American war effort. He also told the nation that we had to work on domestic problems at the same time as prosecuting the war, and that we had to manage the war expenses in a way that would avoid a negative effect on our government spending and deficit.

While Obama seemed committed to what he was saying, I came away with the feeling that what he wanted to accomplish was delusional. How can we know that the war will begin to end in 18 months; that we can control the war spending caused by this escalation; that we can pursue domestic reform AND the war in the midst of the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression; that we can rely on NATO nations to give major support to the war effort; and that we can expect Afghanistan, with no history of democracy or stability, to be safe and secure enough that it can manage its own internal affairs without a long range commitment of men and treasure by the United States?

Obama means to do well, but he will find that his own party and progressives and liberals around the country will turn against him, and will likely make it impossible for him to accomplish the great goals he campaigned on. Meanwhile, the opposition will, on the surface, support his war measures, but continue to boycott and blockade any effort at making changes domestically.

Unfortunately, Barack Obama has made a pact with the Republican critics and the defense establishment and the corporations and has disappointed his loyal supporters, who had they known what would now happen, would not have come out in droves to support his candidacy. Some would say the President has made a pact with the “devil”, and that he will not reap any benefit, but only heartache by his decision to escalate in Afghanistan.

Just wait to the likely failure of his Afghanistan plans, and the possibility that sometime down the road he will realize the errors of his ways, and then the so called “supporters” will unleash their full fury at him, and he will no longer have his true supporters there to cover his back.

President Obama has made a grevious error, and we can only hope that somehow, in the long run, we who oppose what he is doing, will either see him accept responsibility and change policy, or that we will admit we were wrong, and that, miraculously, he was proven right!

The Democrats Who Stand In The Way Of Health Care Reform

As things now stand, the health care legislation being debated in the Senate has four Democrats preventing a real reform package, and we could call them the “N and Three L’s”–Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, and Blanche Lincoln of Nebraska.

Without these four votes for the “public option”, the only way conceivable that the Democrats can overcome a filibuster is to utilize “reconciliation”, which Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would prefer to avoid, but can use if necessary, just as it was under the GOP control of the Senate during the Bush Administration.

This means 51 votes, or even 50 plus the Vice President, would be enough to accomplish health care reform. This has been broached before by myself and others, and certainly is not preferable, but we have reached a point where we cannot allow a few rebellious Democrats to block necessary reform that has never reached this stage legislatively.

To allow health care reform to fail at this point would be a tragedy on the level of the Afghan War escalation about to begin! 🙁

The Continued Dominance Of The Military-Industrial Complex

As we await President Obama’s Afghanistan War speech at the US Military Academy at West Point, New York, tonight, where he is expected to call for 30,000 more troops to be sent, I am saddened by the news of what he plans to say.

Obama was elected to promote “Change”, and his progressive and liberal supporters really thought we were going down a different road in foreign policy, that we had learned that we cannot be the world’s policeman, that we cannot sacrifice our young men and women to endless war that has no solution.

Afghanistan was the graveyard for the Soviet Union, the British Empire, Alexander the Great, and Attila the Hun. It is a forbidden country, landlocked, with inability to have a stable central government, living in many ways in the 14th century. It is the ultimate nightmare, and for the President to believe that we can move in and start leaving in two years seems to me to be totally delusional.

For quite a while, while three months of meetings went on at the White House of his top advisers, it seemed as if Obama had learned the message that this is a war the American people don’t want, and that many intelligent people see as unwinable.

Now it seems that Obama has betrayed the people who elected him, and is more concerned about what the Republican opposition says, as if the GOP is there to help him succeed. They have no interest in helping him, as they want him to fail, and they are now relishing the split in his coalition.

IF Obama says what we expect him to say in two hours, then the American people, and the poor souls who are sent to Afghanistan to die and be seriously wounded are the losers!

Who are the winners? The enemies of everything Obama wished to do in domestic affairs, the conservatives and their mean spirited Republican allies, are the victors.

But also, what President Eisenhower called “the military-industrial complex” is the ultimate winner! They have captured yet another American President who does not see that constant war and intervention overseas does not help America’s interests and future, but actually condemns us long term to bankruptcy and social disintegration, as we will be unable to accomplish essential domestic change. The rich will get richer, the poor will get poorer, the middle class will be knocked down to just above the poverty level, and the corporations will become ever more powerful and corrupt at our expense.

And finally, the generals, who have no interest but their own personal success, who have no threats to their lives as they send others to war, will gain ever increasing influence over the civilian branch of government!

This will make many Americans so disgusted, that they will not ever vote again or participate as citizens in our country, and our democracy, or what remains of it, will be permanently scarred beyond recognition!

This is a tragedy that calls for much weeping and a sense of sadness of what has occurred to our country!

President Obama, no matter what you say tonight, have the courage and determination to reverse course once you see that your well laid plans are going awry! Admit mistakes and bring the troops home as soon as possible, PLEASE! 🙁

Will Mike Huckabee Have The Same Fate As Michael Dukakis?

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee is under fire for having released a convict who murdered four police officers in Washington State before being killed this morning by police pursuing him.

This release happened back in the year 2000 when Huckabee was still governor, and way before he sought the Presidency in 2008.

He is considered now one of the top three Republican possibilities for the Presidential nomination in 2012, at least in polls, along with Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin. He has, however, earlier expressed the thought that he might not seek the Presidency, as he has done it already and really likes his talk show on Fox News Channel on Saturday evenings, along with his syndicated radio talk show.

It seems to me that he will be now off limits to conservatives for support in 2012, with them already having expressed doubts in 2008, based on his alleged high spending budgets in Arkansas. He has already received a storm of protest over the release of this convict, and if one goes by history, it will doom him for any future in politics.

This condemnation of a governor for pardoning a convict who later committed more crimes was certainly utilized by the first President Bush in his campaign against Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis in the 1988 Presidential campaign. The Massachusetts governor never recovered from the “Willie Horton” ads used against him.

It will be interesting to see how far and how long the attacks against Huckabee will go, but I think the odds are he is finished in American politics as a result of this unfortunate set of circumstances.

But one other question: will the Democrats go after Huckabee as the GOP went after Dukakis? I highly doubt it, but it will be very reflective of the differences between the two major political parties. More likely is the conservative purists in the GOP will make mince meat of Huckabee while the Democrats sit on the sidelines!