Posts Tagged ‘Afghanistan’

Stimulus One-Year Speech: Surgical Strike

February 17, 2010

Please know that I know how intelligent and perceptive Rachel Maddow is.  I am no match for her either in brain power or professional, fact-finding staff.  However, I do seem to have the same generalized perceptions as she does.  Perhaps it is simply because we are human beings, truly concerned with bettering our country.  For two years now, I have been railing against the hypocrisy of our politicians and the absence of ethics in our corporate and governmental quarters.  As an exercise in “seeing the whole picture”, I will attempt to cite international as well as national events that scream “hypocrisy”.

One of my readers on DailyKOS made an astute analogy.  He said that Obama’s ascending the Presidency was like buying a fixer-upper house: before one can put their own imprint on an administration or a house, one has to first clean up the mess left behind.  And what a mess was left for President Obama!  Two endless wars in the Middle East, an economy on the verge of collapse, a federal deficit at an all-time high and the bulk of Americans earning less over the last ten-year period than they had before.  President Obama probably has not yet reached the point of finishing the cleaning up.  He is almost there, at the point where he can exert his agenda, but then WHAM!   He has midterm elections with which to contend.  Things are so much more complicated than we wish them to be.  Let me proceed to cite those examples of hypocrisy and fumigating the debris left by the prior administration.

In the international arena, yesterday on the radio, I heard an interview on NPR.  Mark Thiessen (read about his bona fides), a senior Hoover Fellow, put forth the argument that the Obama White House is killing too many terrorists instead of interrogating them, thereby losing an option to find out valuable information.

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/02/08/dead_terrorists_tell_no_tales

I laughed out loud.  What?  Should we continue to house the terrorists at some God-forsaken place like Guantanamo, leaving them to linger in years of limbo, all the while being provided with food, lodging and health care?  Furthermore, Thiessen holds that we indeed should use torture to get whatever information might be available.  Enough.  By collecting terrorists and having no place to put them for an undetermined span of time, we just offer more fodder for criticism and mayhem to flourish.

As an aside, not two minutes ago, Huffington Post announced that the Washington Post has just hired Mark Thiessen to write for their Op-Ed team.  Great: I get to read about the beauty and effectiveness of torture in my local paper:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/02/17/iwashington-posti-hires-c_n_465804.html

Nonetheless, the hypocrisy here is twofold.  First, the endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were nurtured by the Bush administration.  Loved, coveted and caressed, but without any kind of end strategy.  As if their initial reason for entering these wars was not skeptical enough, Bush held on to these wars like he was hugging his teddy bear for dear life, citing patriotism, as if a country cannot be patriotic unless they have an eternal war to fight.

Then, hypocrisy reared its ugly head again in relation to those terrorists that have been tried.  Not one so-called terrorist has been found guilty in a military trial.  Released and set free.  However, every single “terrorist”, and some carried this title very dubiously, was convicted and given a life sentence in federal, civil court.  It is truly amazing that our “liberal” new President is the leader taking the bull by the horns by taking more aggressive actions in Afghanistan and in trying to bring a terrorist to trial in civil court.  Still and yet, he is being met with constant criticism by the GOP, who is using opposition just for opposition’s sake.  I thought Republicans were the ones who wanted military actions in the war against terror as well as convictions for suspected terrorists.  Now that the President has acted on those policies, the Republicans still have nothing good to say.  Go figure.

Likewise on the domestic front.  Today President Obama gave a speech marking the one year anniversary of the stimulus package.  It was a damn good speech and highlighted some basic facts and figures that we all needed to hear.  The man has all of his marbles, despite the GOP’s highest aim to blockade all of his accomplishments.  This video is about 25 minutes long, with an introduction by Biden (What is that brown mark in the middle of his forehead?).  It is well worth listening to:

http://www.c-span.org/Watch/Media/2010/02/17/HP/R/29663/Obama+Administration+Marks+Stimulus+Bills+First+Anniversary.aspx

There have been definite benefits from the stimulus’  generosity.  If anything, the stimulus funds were not enough.  Today the President cited many examples of the beneficence created by the stimulus.  Don’t forget: he is still cleaning up that fixer-upper and has yet to implement his own agenda.  The Republicans have the gall to cite their favorite platforms of too much government interference, too much debt and their overall capitalistic catch-all stance that the economy will take care of itself.  I am not falling for that self-serving, elitist attitude one iota and today, President Obama addressed many of those accusations and delivered them back to the GOP on a silver platter.  I do think this particular speech could be a turning point for the administration.

Rather than rehash the hypocrisy of the GOP regarding domestic economic matters, read the following article:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/02/16/obama-dispatches-cabinet_n_463602.html

Numerous elected officials condemn the administration’s policies yet take whatever those policies might hand over to them and their special interests.  Make no mistake: the Democrats are just as culpable as the Republicans, citing Mary Landrieu and Ben Nelson as prime examples.  And those dedicated Republicans, who in better times hide behind their platform of “state’s rights” by calling for less government funding and interference, now are screaming bloody murder, “no fair”, (just Google Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger)as they are faced with humongous state deficits.  Of course now they want all the federal help they can muster.

So the hypocrisy abounds.  President Obama is getting the job done, slowly yes, but soon, soon, he will pick up speed.  His speech today was a step in the right direction because he cited specific facts to support items undertaken during the last year.  He communicated well —- and forcibly —- with the American people.  The generalities were gone, replaced by detailed examples of the last year’s accomplishments.

Keep cleaning up, Mr. President.  Your time is almost at hand.

POSTSCRIPT:

As long as we are on the topic of hypocrisy, have a look at the New Kid On Tha Block blog.  Sad that the author, still a twenty-something, has had to face the ravages of hypocrisy so early in her life.  But rewarding too, in that she will be better able to distinguish the phonies from the real mensches.  By the way, New Kid hits the mark in all of her posts; she is a voice of today:

http://newkidonthablog.blogspot.com/2010/02/this-was-on-gawker-and-it-gave-me.html

War: Wuss or Wise Man?

September 28, 2009

Following President Obama’s appearances at the U.N. and the G-20 summit, various talking heads have labeled him, based clearly on their political preferences,  either to be a wuss or a wise diplomat in his foray into public foreign policy.  The right wingers, historically the proponents of “bomb ’em off the face of the earth”, have declared his speeches  a prelude to the dissolution of the free world, rife with all the accoutrements of caving in to terrorism.   For  Heaven’s sake, they have practically crucified our President for merely talking with Iran.  Do they actually think that rushing into that country with military strategies and armaments is more effective and less costly than verbal negotiations?  On the other side of the aisle, Democrats and Progressives have, although very tenuously, tagged him as a leader who needs to mull over all the options before he will take action, resulting in active policies that will be 100 per cent correct.  (See Frank Rich: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/27/opinion/27rich.html?_r=1)

All of this talk is semantic silliness.  As I have said many times before, traditional warfare is obsolete, useless and just downright destructive.  Let me use our current situation in Afghanistan as an example.  Keep in mind that the old USSR spent ten years fighting in Afghanistan.  Due to that country’s decentralized tribal structure, rough terrain and poverty, the USSR did have to pull out not even close to being triumphant.  The cost of that ten year battle helped bring about the demise of the USSR. 

So why is the U.S. following that same foolhardy pattern?  We had our chance to nab Osama bin Laden in the year or two after 9/11.  We blew it.  There are two paths we can take in Afghanistan.  First is an insurgency.  Typical military strategy holds that by increasing the number of troops, we will experience victory.  Always remember that without troops and wars, there would not be any military to speak of.  Insurgencies validate the existence of the military.  Tell me something, my friends: have we been successful in any post-World War II war by the sheer strength of our bullets and bombs?  Certainly our presence in Korea, Viet Nam and Iraq was  total failures.  The “good guys” never won, the native population was decimated and the physical structure of the countries destroyed.  At best, we had to settle for a partitioning of the aggrieved countries and at worst, we had our cojones handed to us on a silver platter, with thousands upon thousands of our troops dead.

The second option for dealing with Afghanistan is trying to reach and alter the hearts and minds of the people.  By providing them with the basic needs of housing, jobs and education, we might be able to change the overall outlook.  One fact that has come to my attention this week is that Afghanistan has a 90% rate of illiteracy.  NINETY PER CENT!!!  That is absolutely astounding.  No wonder the extremists have the upper hand.  The people can react only to the verbal promises and brute force of these terrorists because they cannot read more reasonable proposals.  So the rebel rhetoric and guns are all they can consider as a means of help for them.

Furthermore, regarding this tack of reaching the hearts and minds of the people in Afghanistan, in all truthfulness, how can America provide the basic needs for Afghanistan when we are in pretty shaky shape right here on our own turf, what with inadequate funding for proper housing, education, health care and a dearth of job opportunities?  Protectionism is not the answer, yet neither is the outlaying the funds for nation building half way around the globe.  Somehow, these countries must find a way to discern who would be their best leaders, elect them (of course, a free and fair election must be a requisite) and work with those leaders to help themselves.  It might appear to be a simple solution, yet we have witnessed in countries around the world that this type of government is so hard to create and activate.

These ideological divisions are artificial constructs and have no usefulness in effecting change for the betterment of the human race.  It is immaterial whether or not President Obama is a wuss or wise man  in his international policies.  For the life of me, I do not understand the opposition’s constant criticism of him for gathering all the pertinent information before taking action, considering all the options before letting the bullets and bombs fly, and weighing the pros and cons before subjecting our troops to death sentences. 

Our notion of war is outdated and ineffectual.  We now have a thinking man in the White House.  What a waste it would be for us not to allow him the time to use those abilities to do the right thing.  Even after given that luxury of cool, contemplative thought, these are such complicated and tricky issues that there is a fairly good chance that the decisions still might not be the absolute correct ones.

Wuss or wise man?  Either way, Barack Obama is just a human being.  Even the comparisons to JFK are ridiculous: JFK was no genius when it came to foreign policy.  Yes, his ultimatum to the USSR during the Cuban missile crisis was successful in the dismantling of the warheads, but certainly his involvement in the Bay of Pigs was disastrous and his  policy (or more specifically, his LACK of a real policy) in Viet Nam was the prelude to an even more dire outcome.

President Obama is no JFK and we should be glad for that.  He is who he is, trying his damn best to do the right thing for our country and the world community.  To label him as either a wuss or a wise man is a detriment to progress.

A Hike in the Mountains

August 1, 2009

Let me ask you this: if you had the opportunity to go on a vacation, would you choose to go hiking in Iraq?  Not a chance, right?  Not exactly the safest place to hang out, right?  Check out this story about three missing Americans apparently no where to be found since they decided to take a little walk in northern Iraq and strayed into Iran:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/07/31/americans-missing-in-iraq_n_249014.html

What?  Our majestic national parks right here at home aren’t beautiful and challenging enough?  Old and new European cities don’t provide the culture around which a vacation can be planned?  The lure of exotic Asian sites isn’t alluring enough to tempt one to spend some holiday time there?   The thought of visiting a country where freedom does not prevail is the ultimate vacation temptation?

Oh, definitely not.  No other place on this earth can compete with the thrill of visiting a country with which we have been at war for seven years.  Plus the knowledge of possible road side bombs and suicide bombers in public places like the town markets makes a trip to Iraq even that much more exciting.  No wonder anti-American governments sometimes arrest innocent Americans there and accuse them of being spies or government agents.  Who in their right mind would believe that these tourists chose to take a vacation, much less a HIKING vacation, in a place that has only contempt and hatred for Americans?  Once again, stupidity rules the day.

I’m off now.  Gotta catch a flight to Afghanistan.  I hear its mountains are beautiful and there is an incredible system of caves underneath those mountains.  I am tingly all over just thinking about exploring those caves.  What could possibly go wrong, who could I possibly meet up with, in those peaceful underground caverns?

The Folly of Our Leadership

May 31, 2009

Frank Rich of the New York Times has been reading my posts again.  All egotistical flattery aside, our ideas are in sync because they are the obvious truth.   So very obvious, in fact, that everyone and Yo Mama have the very same thoughts.  No secret there.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/31/opinion/31rich.html

The folly and intellectual laziness of people still astounds me.  At the heart of Dick Cheney’s foray into the media this month is the fact of revenge.  His main objective is to continue the Bush/Cheney scare tactic of a repeat 9/11 performance in order to obtain the political ends the GOP desires.  Those wants, such as lower taxes, obstruction of individual rights, lower taxes, invasion of privacy, lower taxes, benefits for the rich over all the other economic classes and lower taxes, often bear no correlation to the prevention of terrorism.  As I said in an earlier post, Cheney would feel vindicated if there was another major terrorist attack on our soil.  It is more important for him to be “right” than for peace to prevail.

Frank Rich is also correct that the cradle of worry should be Pakistan.  May I add to that Iran and North Korea?  The common denominator of these three countries is the threat (an actuality in Pakistan) of nuclear arms.  All three nations have corrupt, unstable governments whereby an atomic warhead can very possibly fall into the wrong hands.  President Obama, upon taking office, made his plea for global nuclear disarmament clear.   However, the topic was not sexy enough and the current bevy of pressing issues quickly overtook this essential tenet.

As an aside, I can not for the life of me, reconcile the actions of nuclear armed nations “outlawing” non-nuclear governments from obtaining the technology.  Are the U.S., Israel, Russia, China, et.al. more peace-loving, politically sane and less power hungry than Iran or North Korea?   History would prove that untrue.  If it is forbidden for some countries to develop the bomb, then the entities that already have the bomb must disarm immediately.

Pakistan is the main worry now.  Afghanistan not so much: the terrorists in Pakistan were born in Afghanistan, their loyalties remain to that country but the geographical borders between the two countries do not exist in reality.  The mountains and rough terrain muddy what the maps say exist.  Attention must be paid to Pakistan because they are a nuclear nation and the political unrest there has the power to unleash chaos, which could morph into a nuclear weapon being stolen and used by the extremists.  So President Obama is correct in amassing policies and procedures to rein in the dangerous factions in Pakistan.  That must be our first priority.  Even  though Iran and North Korea may not be atomically armed yet, they too must be watched closely, for they also encompass a shaky political structure that can fall victim to the destructive aims of terrorists.

Furthermore, the Democrats who sided against the closing of GITMO are equally culpable in their contribution to this game of fear and succumbing to the least common moral denominator.  Fear mongering is so much easier than using ones brain to design a more effective solution.  Lazy bastards.

What can the world do?  Frank Rich echoes my thoughts again: we must act using our hearts and minds.  Feed the people, give them shelter and education, guarantee their human rights.  With these practices in place, there will be NO NEED for terrorists.  However, until we can attain that stasis, we must protect ourselves.  This is the fly in the ointment.  The yardstick, whether for global harmony, political power or individual financial gain, must become a fair and just belief system rather than a map for what one has, such as power and lucre.  The world at large has vacated their senses, if they ever had any sense in the first place.

Read Frank Rich carefully this morning.  If the next step in the narcissistic political battle field escalates to a nuclear attack, we all lose.

POSTSCRIPT

I have received an illuminating comment on this post in my Daily KOS diary.  I include it here:

You make some fine points.  However I believe that you have swallowed the propaganda with regard to several of the countries you cite as being unstable. For some of them “instability” is the cultural norm, externally imposed stability is the danger.

When discussing Pakistan and Afghanistan, one must recognize that they are tribal societies first and nation states second. When one bombs Pakistanis or Afghans, from the victims point of view, one is bombing their tribe, and that tribe as a whole will react regardless of which country they actually live in. This is why their border is so porous; there is little difference between the populations on either side of it. The border is a mere technicality of more interest to those doing the bombing than those who are being bombed.

Pakistan and Iran are more developed nation states than Afghanistan, but this is largely because their modern identities were developed in opposition to what they perceive as colonization by foreign powers. With Pakistan that would be Britain/India, with Iran it would be the United States. Their fundamental tribal basis is incredibly stable and is only made stronger by foreign intervention which tends to make the various tribes more cooperative.

The paternalistic attitude we take toward them with regard to propping up authoritarian rule in their country has blowback as can be seen in the Russo/Afghan and U.S./Afghan wars and the revolution against the U.S. backed Shah, not to mention the U.S. supported regimes in Iraq.

Your statements as regards Iran’s efforts to get the bomb have been repeatedly knocked down by intelligence services worldwide, though they also say that continued harping on the subject and aggressive stances towards them will ensure their ultimately seeking it if only as a deterrent/bargaining chip.

proliferation of nuclear weaponry has proven to be the sole point upon which the west will bargain. North Korea has proven this conclusively and has milked it through escalation for decades…as has Pakistan vs. India. Point being, there is a major difference between the motivations of the populations and the state actors which purport to lead them. This is what gives the impression of instability. They are in fact very stable countries within their own contexts, foreign as they may seem, And aggression or paternalism on our parts only makes both factions more likely to escalate.

we must act using our hearts and minds.  Feed the people, give them shelter and education, guarantee their human rights.  With these practices in place, there will be NO NEED for terrorists.

is absolutely correct. The militaristic stances we have taken in order to achieve our own narrow goals for the last seventy years, and longer if Britain, Russia and France are taken into account, have created the problems we see today. When you say:

So President Obama is correct in amassing policies and procedures to rein in the dangerous factions in Pakistan.  That must be our first priority.

You are essentially ratifying the status quo, which I sincerely do not believe will be of any real use if what we are interested in is resolving the problems we face with regard to extremism in the M.E and S.E Asia.

Sorry this turned into a novel.

And here is my response:

Thank you for your insightful comments.  We probably agree more than we disagree.

However, regarding the political stability (or lack thereof) in Afghanistan and Pakistan, I beg to differ with you.  Alliances within tribal entities are very secure.  However, within the confines of an overall national governing structure, tribal politics fall apart and serious hostilities can erupt.  Each tribal faction has there own little war with the next faction. So even though the tribes may provide some internal stability, that stasis does not apply to a national government or the international arena.

Regarding the stability in Iran, even my son astutely pointed out to me that there is a stable government in Iran.  Once again, I beg to differ.  Certainly the leader of Iran, an elected official no less, Ahmendinijad, is NOT the vision of stability.  He is a madman.  What other explanation could there be in response to his cry for action to wipe Israel off the face of the earth?  That’s stability?  And what of the electorate who elected him?  That’s stability?  No way.  Internal national security can not exist if it is a threat to international security.  If a nuclear device were to be detonated, would we be able to erect our territorial fences to prevent the toxic poison from entering our space?  No way.

I understand and acknowledge our paternalistic advances in countries that we have no right to interfere with.  That is an obvious given.  However, in view that a few extremist governments, either already possessing a nuclear capability or just on the verge of it, are a real threat to the entire world, we must find a better way, using our hearts and minds, to disarm them.

And more back and forth:

I hear you and I am quite sure that our agreements outnumber the disagreements, however I think the main disagreement is too fundamental not to discuss.

Alliances within tribal entities are very secure.  However, within the confines of a national governing structure, tribal politics fall apart and serious hostilities can erupt.

I tried to make this point here:

Point being, there is a major difference between the motivations of the populations and the state actors which purport to lead them. This is what gives the impression of instability

Probably not well. However, I maintain that aggressive militarism and self righteous, often false, propaganda with regard to such countries is not our friend because it tends to make the competing factions cooperate to a more extreme end than would otherwise be the case. You made my case for me by using Achmidenijad as an example:

Certainly the leader of Iran, an elected official no less, Ahmendinijad, is NOT the vision of stability.  He is a madman.  What other explanation could there be in response to his cry to action to wipe Israel off the face of the earth?

It is perfectly simple: they have been messed with by foreign powers, including Israel, for over seventy years. As regards Israel: Iran has the largest population of Jews in the middle east, yet Iranian Jews encounter few difficulties in their daily lives. The Persian peoples have traditionally been an extremely religiously sophisticated group. Their stance with regard to Israel has little to do with the Jewish faith, they cannot be fobbed off as anti-semites, there is something more at work here and I believe that the protected status of such an aggressive power as Israel in their backyard has a lot to do with it. See how the tribal and state interests coalesce in a more extreme form than they otherwise would in a different scenario?

Further, Iran has given incredible amounts of aid to the U.S. and its’ coalition partners with regard to our effort in Afghanistan, yet we have infiltrated them with factions hostile to their regime. How can such overt slaps in the face not be considered a factor in the radicalization of the Iranian regime?

Your son is right, the primary reason that Iran is as stable as it is is because they are drawn together in the face of what is perceived a greater enemy than conservative, nutcase Presidents; the Great Satan (U.S.) and its’ indefatigable efforts to undermine their leadership. We cannot say, at this point, that we do not understand that particular dynamic here, why would it be unreasonable elsewhere with far more historical reasons?

Note that the Iranian people’s enmity has not, until recently, extended to the U.S. people, just its’ government. This is an insight that we should be well aware of when advocating for a status quo solution.

My response:

Your comments on Iran are well-taken and I think you are correct. But can you explain to me, because I do not get it, how a seemingly mature nation like Iran can elect a leader like Ahmendinijad?  Are you ascribing all of his zealotry and hatred to a national response of retaliation due to outside influences?

If so, the thrust of my argument, for using our hearts and minds,is even more important.

And finally, more from my interested party:

Are you ascribing all of his zealotry and hatred to a national response of retaliation due to outside influences?

By comparison, the revolution was only thirty years ago; the coup around fifty. It will take time for their wounds to heal. We should respect that.

Exactly!  Few here could possibly recognize the very real trauma of having one’s elected leadership replaced in a coup instigated by a foreign power and then being ruled by so authoritarian a personage as the Shah. Reja Pahlavi was every bit the butcher that Saddam was (yet another one of our creations). We do not often hear what his reign was actually like…it wouldn’t put us in a favorable light.

The revolution by fundamentalist Muslims in Iran was easily forseeable given the type of country it was, yet one never hears that other side of the story. Instead, we hear a lot about the hostages, nothing about why they were taken hostage. Convenient, eh? When in peril, even a perceived peril, a people, any people including ourselves as we now well know, will seek freedom from that threat(however that term may be defined within the context of its’ own culture) in the most brutal way necessary.

Iran as a culture may be thousands of years old, but as a state it is, comparatively speaking, brand new with virtually all of its founders intact. The revolutionary rhetoric is not surprising, though actions based upon it in the absence of a real threat would be. These folks ain’t stupid…just like Kim Jong Il. Given Iran has essentially been surrounded by what their leadership perceives as an aggressive threat, the surprise is how helpful they have been in spite of their harsh rhetoric.

During the (from their perspective) relatively benign Clinton Administration they were slackening up on their more authoritarian tendencies with regard to their own people and the west, under Bush we got Achmadinejad. Their President, who is surprisingly powerless under their form of government, may have been popularly elected but he is not popular. Don’t bet, however, that in the face of a real threat each and every one of his constituents wouldn’t haul out their pitchforks and follow him wherever he might lead.

If so, the thrust of my argument, for using our hearts and minds,is even more important.

This is, indeed, critical for our understanding of how to handle all such countries, in my view.

I just thought of the perfect example. Persia is a VERY conservative culture which does not take slights well. Within the tribal system, where most cultural knowledge is passed down verbally, they are still angry at Alexander the Great and memorize epic poems about him. Alexander the Great! Nearly four thousand years ago!

No Surprise Here

April 20, 2009

When Hamid Karzai said he would tell the clergy to “revise” the marital rape law, did I say in my post of last night, “Run Like the Wind”, that he is living in a fantasy world?  Did I mention that to turn over civil law to an extremist sect will have no good ending?  You bet I said those things, and look what is reported today in the lead article in the Washington Post:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30299557/

Yuk!  It is beyond belief that this madman first of all signed into law, admittedly WITHOUT READING ITS ARTICLES FIRST, this discriminatory and abusive policy. Then to add insult to injury, he turned over the revision of this law to the very group of extremists that perpetuate this sexual injustice. What do you think are the chances that this revision will actually take place? Such cowardice from Karzai and Zardari (in Pakistan).  Bottom line: Karzai is intimidated and scared out of his mind by the Taliban, who killed his father in 1999.  Zardari, the husband of the slain Benazir Bhutto, would not have even dreamed of being the President of Pakistan had it not been for his wife.  And what of religion?  This is yet another example of the using “God” to persecute people, of yellow-bellied men hiding behind religious dogma.  It is their inherent weakness that is the real culprit.

Where are you world?  It is time to speak out.

Run Like the Wind

April 19, 2009

I apologize for bringing up yet once again President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan.  After viewing the video below, I am still dumbfounded.  When asked about the Shariah law that he signed off on last week that allows marital rape, and please, correct me if I am wrong, I believe that I heard Karzai say that this particular law will be revised “BY THE CLERGY” to be in accordance with the Afghan constitution. isn’t that like asking the Nazis to rule on religious freedom?  He admitted to actually NOT reading the law before he signed it.  Additionally, the journalist Zakaria then questions Karzai about the upsurge in the Taliban.  To save my life, I swear that I can not make hay out of his response.

http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/world/2009/

It is apparent to me that Karzai doesn’t know his ass from his elbow.  No?  This is NOT a language problem, but a disconnect of a few key phrases that, when stringed together, make no sense at all.  Perhaps too much opium intake?  He could not make any of his thoughts coherent, but nevertheless, wasn’t he the picture of sartorial splendor?  His words were bullsh**, but he sure did look good.

Heaven help us.  This is the country we are depending on to quash Al Qaeda and capture bin Laden?  If Karzai is our best bet as an ally in fighting terrorism, we need to run as fast and as far away from Afghanistan as we can.

C’mon Baby, Let’s Do The Twist

April 18, 2009

It never ceases to amaze me the way politicians, and especially world “leaders”, twist the truth so that it fits in perfectly with their own special interests.  Words are powerful and people are stupid.  The higher the office, the greater the charade.

Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, is becoming masterful in the ways of deception.  In support of the recent tea bag parties, he has called for Texas to possibly secede from our Union.  These tea bag protests are plain and simple, a response to the GOP’s paralysis in coming up with any meaningful alternatives to President Obama’s policies and popularity.  As the time grows closer that the top 5% of wage-earning Americans will see their tax bills rise (never mind that 95% of Americans will see their taxes decline), the tea baggers are all incendiary bluff with no underlying substance to their protest.  Gail Collins of the New York Times, in one of her better columns, hit the nail right on the head this time:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/18/opinion/18collins.html?_r=1

For the Republican party, Rick Perry and the tea baggers, I have but two words: SOUR GRAPES. Furthermore, their deception in using our Constitutional values, such as freedom and justice for all, to fulfill their own greedy, selfish purposes, is despicable.  Twist baby, twist.

Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld also used their own self interests to thwart not only our national but also the civilized world’s international legal code of ethics.  This issue of torture will not go away, nor should it.  Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, the many rendition sites and the use of illegal tactics here on our own soil are the ultimate treason to the ideals on which our country was founded.  This judge Jay S. Bybee, whom during the early years of the Iraq war was a member of the Office of Legal Counsel (a body of constitutional experts that offers advice to the President), is now a federal appeals court judge.  Yeah, right: reward the bastard for nipping and tucking the verbiage of illegal executive branch decisions so that it all appears legal.  Only in America can torturers, judges and lawmakers, not to mention the President, twist the legal lingo to supposedly offer a basis for their decisions.  Only the great United States of America would be interested in supplying a legal basis for their atrocious and immediate acts.   Surely this upholds our honor to the Constitution.  What happened to abiding by the actual content of the Constitution?  Twist baby, twist.

Anyway, here is an article from the Washington Post that will explain the evil goings-on in the Bush administration’s efforts of “balancing” security and monstrous torture:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/16/AR2009041602768_2.html?sid=ST2009041602877

Andrew Sullivan goes even further in his disgust with the “banality of evil”:

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2009/04/the-banality-of-evil.html

No one speaks to an issue better than Sullivan.  The sick irony of this situation is that Bybee, with the advice and consent of Bush, ruled on the acceptance and legality of various torture methods AS IF there was any moral basis for any of them!  Bottom line: there is no law or rationale in the universe that would sustain inhuman torture.  Twist baby, twist.

Finally, that ideal example of international enlightened leadership, Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, is being faced with protests from women who — oh my!— will not abide by the law Karzai signed off on last week to make marital sex mandatory, i.e. marital rape.  As I stated in my previous post, “The Pecker Wars”, Karzai okayed this aspect of Sharia law because he is trying to amass votes for the upcoming August election.  I stated that he would be appealing to half of his population, i.e. the men, with this measure.  I stand corrected; the Shia population of Afghanistan is only 20%.  That makes Karzai’s intentions even more degrading and desperate.  Was this an action to titillate the sex lives of tired marriages, or is it an effort to spice up Karzai’s electoral base?  Did I miss something here?  Since when has violence and rape been “sexy” and legislatively permissible?  He has since said, on Thursday in a CNN interview, that he will have the Shia Muslim clergy revise that law so that it will be in agreement with Afghan constitutional law.  Mr. Karzai: make believe I am from Missouri.   SHOW ME.  The true test of Karzai’s intentions will come in the courts and then the world will see if the Afghan constitution overrides the sectarian, inhumane Shariah law.  Twist baby, twist.

I am proud of the immense progress President Obama has made during his first almost 100 days in office.  If I have but one critical complaint, it is on the topic of human rights.  When Secretary of State Clinton visited China right after the inauguration, no mention of human rights was made.  Similarly, the administration has been publicly (could they be working on this in private?) silent on the recent events in Afghanistan and Pakistan regarding women’s civil and human rights.  Also, no mention of human rights was made this week by Obama when he cracked the door ajar to relations with Cuba.  It is still early days.  I am patient though, and have confidence that President Obama will deal with the very basic issues of human existence that he truly believes in.

Do I think that his ruling this week, not to hold those military personnel responsible for delivering the torture legally accountable, to be correct?  Surprisingly, at this juncture, I do.  If  Eric Holder and the Justice Department were to bring charges against these servicemen and women, there would be absolutely NO EXCUSE not to go after the depraved individuals who gave those orders, namely, at the top of the pyramid, Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld.  I think Obama is still on the fence about this mainly because he wants to spend his time on a new world order to fix what ails us.  Eventually, he is going to have to come to the conclusion that a new world order can not come into being unless we deal with the atrocities of the OLD world order.

Until that time, the arena of public opinion will be key in how this scenario plays out.  However, I do not believe there will be a huge outcry against the evil Bush triumvirate because the average American does not care enough about global principles of right and wrong.  Their apathy is realistically based on their time-constrained efforts to make a living and meet the often hard tasks of daily living.  Not an excuse, just an observation.

The black stain of deliberately miscommunicating, of altering the facts to fit whatever current situation in which we find ourselves, is an abomination.  It is especially harmful when our leaders participate in this sham.  In fact, it is outright lying.  Twist baby, twist.

The Pecker Wars

April 15, 2009

Why is it that the weaker a man is, the harder and more abusive he may be on the woman in his life?  Time and time again, history has repeated itself when, especially in stressful, hard times, one group of people must have another group of people to lord over.  The abusers feel no worth, experience no self-fulfillment at their own accomplishments, unless it is accompanied by someone else being damaged.  This is true from governments on down to individual households.

So we have a similar situation today in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  Afghan President Hamid Karzai, that sartorial wonder, signed legislation to make marital sexual relations mandatory any time the husband demands it.  Not surprisingly, he is feeling powerless lately due to his falling popularity ratings.  Additionally, there will be a national election in August and he hopes to win that.  So what else to do when feeling small, unimportant, stressed and overlooked?  You got it: come down hard on a group of people who you can tread on, namely women.  Furthermore, he has shrouded this act within religious significance, as if religion has not been contentious enough over the centuries, causing war after war after war.  Now we have an international leader who will hide behind his God to take away human rights of half of his population.  The religious majority has been satisfied, Karzai’s political impotency has been restored and his pecker power is in high gear.

Let us turn our attention now to that other enlightened nation, Pakistan.  The government this week succumbed to the wishes of the Taliban extremists in the Swat region by instituting Shariah law, Islamic law that gives zero rights to women.  President Asif Ali Zardari capitulated to that area’s demands as a means to overall peace.  Who are we kidding here?  Mr. Zardari must be feeling weak in his pecker lately for him to rationalize such backward, discriminatory and abusive actions towards the women in his country.  What is particularly appalling about Zardari’s move is that his wife, the assassinated Benazir Bhutto, would have never, ever, sacrificed her female population’s rights for a political liaison with the radical Islamists.  Irony aside, Zardari would not even be in office today if it were not for the legacy of his wife.  Once again, fearfulness and impotency is generating a destructive political path, targeting women, under the guise of religion, because they can.

In our own back yards I am astounded by the domestic and sexual abuse in this country.  When I see a blustery man accompanied by a passive mound of jello on his arm, a certain alert goes off in my head.  Of course, the only real mound of jello is in the husband’s pants.  The underlying pathology of abusive men not withstanding, there are more immediate triggers that set them off, such as a personal insult, financial problems or an overwhelming feeling of inadequacy.  Thus, these men compensate for their own shortcomings by physically lashing out at their women.  Such virile he-men, no?  To me, one measure of a good man is the confidence and backbone of the woman on his arm.  Strong woman, strong man.  That is the true reality.

It infuriates me to see people destroy other people, whether the excuse is gender related or not, just to make themselves look better.  The resultant “high” is only momentary for the abuser.  How deviant this behavior is.  Yet it is apparently acceptable on a nationwide, legislative basis.  Surely what we have seen in Afghanistan and Pakistan this week is institutional sexual abuse and violence.

Where is the world on this issue?  Are pecker problems of no consequence even if they cause damage and death to potentially half of the world’s population?  The men of this world could demonstrate real balls, true strength, if they cut out this widespread discrimination and destruction.  Until that time arrives, they need to look in the middle of their lower bodies for the why and wherefore of permitting this horror to continue.  Obviously their brains have been completely overrun by their male endowment (Thus, what part of their bodies do you really think act as their brains?)  The answer is right there, trust me.  Do you think the men of this world have the strength and sanity to end the Pecker Wars?  Let’s see if they own up to the title they so cherish: the stronger sex.

Surely, so far and without a doubt, by ignorantly reacting to such fear and impotency, they are the weaker sex.  There is no physical attribute, no justice, and certainly no God, that would allow one gender to condone and participate in the verbal abuse, rape or even murder against a member of the other gender.

POSTSCRIPT

As I was formulating this post in my head, I thought this would be a humorous post.  However, as I wrote it down, I became angrier and angrier.  This issue is not funny at all.  In fact, it is deadly serious.