Posts Tagged ‘Iran’

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NOVEMBER MUSINGS

November 25, 2013

THE HOLIDAYS

Yesterday, I had yet another “I am my mother” feeling and I am sad.

I have debated and debated with myself and I just cannot do it.  I can’t rent a car, go to my storage site, struggle through locating all my Christmas décor…cart it all back in two trips and then begin the week-long process of transforming my house into my favorite time of year.

I hurt too much, I don’t have stents that work on my hands right now, and I am afraid that with the demands of BSCI project heating up…even if I could get this done, I would be living with it until after May 15.

And most who know me know what I feel about Christmas.  If you cannot wait to take your décor down until the Epiphany and the Magi arrive from the East, then in my mind you are suspect.   At worst, you become part of the St. Nicholas/Santa Claus crowd….not Christians celebrating the birth of Christ; at best, I am sorry you were never taught that the 12 days of Christmas does not end until Epiphany on January 6.  

In fact, I tend to be “up” Thanksgiving weekend; down by Dad’s birthday or at the latest Feb 1.  And this year I don’t think I can comply.

So, the logical solution is to leave it alone.  Go to Rochester for Thanksgiving.  Come back and switch out the Fall décor…and maybe when I am at the storage site, bring back a few things for the Holidays but skip the tree.  I know that is the SMART thing to do.  The question is can I discipline myself to do the SMART THING?

Truthfully, I am not liking this aging thing at all.  And finally, I understand how hard it was for my mother to make that decision the first time around.  Until now, I remembered only the sadness I felt when I went HOME for Christmas that first time she did not have a tree– only to find that Christmas was not there – at least not in physical décor.  The red candy dish, a few candles, holiday cards in a bowl, and a lot of Christmas cookies and fruitcake wwere not a celebration to me.  Too late, I am so sorry to admit that I had no idea how painful that decision was for her and why she made it.

And, for today at least, I am not keeping “Holiday Décor”on my to-do list….as I finally understand. I can only hope that, I too- like my mom-will learn that the joy really comes from being with family to celebrate a special time of the year.  

THE DEBATE BEGINS ON IRAN…

Or does it? 

Six months is a nano-second measured against almost forty years of NO INTERACTION, fear, and threat of war in the Mideast.

Only a fool or a politician hoping to use it as an issue to save a seat in Congress would question an interim agreement with Iran that COULD lead to a larger win for the world.

Had we allowed just six months of cool-down and inspections back in 2003, JUST THINK how many American lives would have been different…as we might have avoided so many deaths and so many, many, more physical and mental injuries. 

Have we really become a country where a single seat in Congress with its prestige, health benefits, salary, long term pension and constant ‘Moments of Fame” from the Press means so much more to those very few of us that become national political lifers that one would sacrifice yet another generation to keep your seat?

You naysayers and Netanyahu do not rule the world – thank goodness.  And to use North Korea as your ONLY defense of your position  is abominable.  Ask yourself this question:  If you had two sons who were following a path towards lawlessness and one killed someone, would you dis-own them both?  Or, would you work harder to save the other?

A BRIGHTER NOTE

Of course I knew Delaware was a favorite site for American corporations to file for incorporation.  But, silly me, I have never questioned why.  I simply assumed it must be less expensive.

This morning I learned how wrong I was to be so cynical.  In fact, 50% of publicly traded companies and several hundred thousand private firms are incorporated in Delaware because of its well-developed body of company law and the expertise of the judges.  Good to know.

And the Supreme Court of Cancery in Delaware that hears business cases is due for a new Chief Justice.

The two front-runner contenders are Carolyn Berger and Leo Strine.  Good, I thought – a woman.  Then I read a bit about Leo Strine-apparently a boy-legal wonder as he was only 29 when he became chief counsel to the Governor of Delaware.  He is neither pro-shareholders nor pro-management but  is sometime criticized for judicial decorum.  I had to chuckle when I read why – he “once described a business spat as a ‘drunken WASP-fest.’ ”   Hmmm.  A State Supreme Court Judge that does not seem to fear showing he is human.   This could be fun to watch unfold.

THANKSGIVING

Thanksgiving time is always filled with so many questions for me.  When do I leave; how long can I stay; how can I help; what do I bring?  And this year, it seemed to get more complicated.  My sister-in-law is fresh out of rehab with a walker; it’s time for tradition to change again.

And then I laughed when I said AGAIN.  Really?  The last Thanksgiving I remember that was not at Gordon and Virginia’s was at my mom and dad’s…in the unfinished basement on 3rd Street, at the square oak table that had a million leaves so it could become a Threshing Crew table I think….a little scary as that basement was where the SPIDERS lived, after all, so you had to keep a watchful eye out all through the meal so that one of those ugly things did not sneak up on you! 

We had an old stove down there and the freezer was an old-ice cream shop style that became a place to stack serving bowls that did not fit on the table.  We washed dishes in the laundry tubs.   I was not too old; the last picture I have of that timeframe was me in jeans and an ugly striped t-shirt with a dish-cloth wrapped around by head – Aunt Jemima-style, but I thought it was fashionable for some unknown reason- a little David peering around an adult, no Lisa –but maybe she was in the highchair, a newborn or maybe not even born yet ….all ways to say a very LONG TIME AGO!  And then shortly thereafter, we started going to Gordon’s.

But when do I go to Rochester is always a concern.  This year, I was going on Monday afternoon and returning Friday so I could help.  Then it changed and Linda and Jeff are now hosting-a momentous shift to the next generation!  

Then I decided not to go at all as rental cars were all booked in downtown; and limited funds meant if I went, I would not even have bus money left in my bank account when I return.  I was cursing my “can you survive without a car” experiment and was about ready to call Virginia to tell her I would not make it this year. Then Lisa connected and saved the day.  She is indeed flying home; will pick me up on Wednesday early afternoon and we will head to Rochester. So all is well with the world, and I am giving thanks for Lisa – my oldest niece, who is always looking out for her OLD aunt!

I think I will be glad when this holiday is OVER and I can return to my own little world where I think of myself as one of the two “little” sisters – which in my mind means NOT in my 60s – maybe in my 30s at most  !  🙂

 

 

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TUESDAY MORNING CLEANUP

November 12, 2013

I don’t like Christie’s political views but I do like his attitude for the most part so I was a little taken aback to read yesterday he took a position that Obama “lied” about healthcare.  Again, Obama did not lie.  The one year “bridge” insurance policies all are up in arms about were grandfathered out of the Affordable Health Care Act WITH THE CONDITION that issuing insurance companies would NOT ADD new policy holders.  Unfortunately, the corporate insurance world ignored the law and added new customers because, of course, they were not making enough profit as the audience  naturally dwindled…as existing customers became employed, qualified for Medicare,  were picked up on parents coverage because they were under 26, etc.  So, did the drafters of the law not see this coming is a valid point; they trusted the insurance companies to comply with the law.  And once again, the insurance world proved profits trump customers over the law and did what they wanted to do.  It was not a lie; Obama trusted the insurance companies and he and all those that voted to pass the Healthcare Act should not have done so.

Of course, I did not hear the actual statement made by Christie, so perhaps the “lied” was Press hyperbole; or perhaps with winning the second term as Governor, he now must shift gears as we’re “ONLY” two years from the Presidential election.

How sad it is that I am already hoping both Presidential “front-runners” fade to black.  Hillary had her chance; it’s time for new blood,   As for Christie…conservative, I’m not.  J 

We can only hope that our own example here in Minneapolis of taking a firm step into the 21st century by electing a young woman as Mayor supported by  a team with multi-cultural backgrounds to help us along the path to 2040, will become a model going forward nationally. 

Unfortunately, we have one big glitch.  The problems of the Republican Party national meltdown make the predictions for the future a bit hazy …except to know that they are already playing the blame game with their whining and cry of  “HE (that devil known as Obama) made me do it!”   

Oh yes, where were the Benghazi Headlines

And speaking of Republicans-what did they have to say  when they learned the main “witness” in Benghazi to the “mishandling of the situation by the US”  now revealed he was NOT EVEN THERE? 

One would be laughing at their stupidity if it were not so sad as Graham and McCain simply cannot acknowledge they did not have all the “facts” and were duped by a publicity-seeker, so they swore they would not back down!  The Angry Old Men will not give in so perhaps this will turn into a comedy as well, as they “stand their ground” and loudly protect a fame-seeker backed by a portion of the PRESS that did not do a good job of vetting the story!

Enough is Enough

And while I am on my soap box, we have the French and the Israelis posturing over first steps in over forty years to possibly move in right direction on Iran.

 Frankly, I dismiss the French….we continue to treat them like a world power when in my mind, the last time they were was when they supported the Colonies in the Revolutionary War.  Yes, a little exaggeration there, but come on, in the 20th century, they did not exactly cover themselves with glory.  And now they vote NO to a possible break-through in the mid-east that has been a tinderbox for 75 years!  

But the French aside, it is Netanyahu that I find hard to take.  Confession:  I have never liked him; I think he plays the martyr just a bit too much and over and over interjects his opinion as if he reins superior to all other international leaders. I’ve tried to talk myself into giving him a little leeway, but there is a part of me that says…he spent too much time in Massachusetts with Romney and enough is enough!

The WORLD is not ruled by Israel.  They cannot break every rule of peace and then point fingers at others.  They cry “persecution” every time they disagree.  Heretical as it may be, there are times I wish someone would point out that it was Christ, not Netanyahu, that walked on water.  He, like the rest of world leaders is just a human, with a right to his opinion, but certainly does not belong on a pedestal; sitting in judgment of other world leaders.

And then there is Christianity

Lest I get labeled anti-Semitic, I should make the point that although I believe God in general has a place in our government, I do not accept that any particular faith has a place.  Freedom of Religion to me means ALL religions – not just Christians like me, and I get rather irritated at our Right Wing political factions that wish to rule by Catholic Catechism.  They are welcome to their beliefs, but the Catholic Church is NOT synonymous with Christianity, and even within Catholic Church, they demonstrate daily they are merely human like the rest of us.

Certainly the Mpls/St. Paul Archdiocese is juggling evidence of that!  Finally, when issue after issue brought sexual misdeeds in the clergy to the forefront, MPR did a story on the facts, and Nienstedt now has pledged a PARTIAL LIST of predators and sex offenders will be released.    How caring of him!  Or is that just caring of his position of power?  Or maybe, quietly, he was reprimanded by the Pope.

Why remains to be seen but the fact remains that this “list” will not include offending priests that have left the Diocese, died, those removed from the priesthood, or priests accused of sexual misconduct with adults  signals to me all I need to know.  Nienstedt’s heart may be “heavy for the victims”….but he will continue to protect the institution over the flock as best he can.  Don’t expect a “cleansing of the temple” here.

And on a national level, we learned that Right Wing Republicans are not happy with the new Pope. I found that article in the STRIB very enlightening.  The issue centered around “church doctrine” NOT the teachings of Jesus as found in the Bible – recorded by those who witnesses His life.  That tells me a lot.

Finally, Sports Figures Idolization

Those who know me well know I am not a big football fan-although it holds my attention on occasion much more than baseball. 

First, I find it boring as they do more standing around and regrouping than they play – which is why 60 minutes gets stretched to 2.5 hours on a regular basis. Second, I have to question why we are so enthralled with a sport that pays players incredible amounts of money to put themselves in great physical danger.   And third, my personal experiences with several have shown me those held up as the great heros are OFTEN found lacking.  Oh yes, on occasion, I watch part of a game –partly because it is expected, partly because  of hometown pride-but generally, I am also reading a book at the same time so that I do not get too bored.

Add to that, my experience interacting with these guys at various Super Bowls in my incentive travel life, or the 1992 Super Bowl here, the Taste of NFL, or certainly the NFL Player of the Year Awards evenings  have shown me time after time that many of these guys are NO heroes! 

This latest stir-up about bullying is just one more thing to add to my list that reminds me I AM NOT THE CRAZY ONE.

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THE EVOLUTION OF MEET THE PRESS

October 28, 2013

THE EVOLUTION OF MEET THE PRESS

We got our first television in the late 50s – and MEET THE PRESS became a “Must See” event in our family.  It has always been the weekly resource for well–researched current events that reported without a bias, and gave equal time to multiple sides of an issue- whether that be political or otherwise.

Enter David Gregory.  For a long time, I thought it was just me.  I didn’t particularly care for him, but I felt I was not giving him an unbiased chance simply because I was so vested in his predecessor, Tim Russert .  However, over time, I became more disenchanted…sometimes to the point I would just turn it off.

Sunday might have been a turning point. 

My first clue was when the Governor of Kentucky pushed back on Gregory and flatly told him he was wrong.  Hmmm…Gregory is the Moderator, not the opposing viewpoint, right?  What is wrong with this picture?

Next, we had a single guest – Andrea Mitchell.  She was introduced as NBC’s expert  and together she and Gregory had a public discussion about Obama…filled with ”Is not”, ”will not”, and ”did not”  which culminated  with  a justification that Obama was wrong and weak based on Saudi Arabia and Israel’s  unhappiness with him.

Even at this point, I am thinking:  OK, Cheryl…the whole world seems to think this is a mess Obama created; perhaps you should rethink some of what you understand to be the situation.

And then the conversation transitioned to the latest Snowden leak.

And Meet the Press failed the test.  (see below)  They did not even bring up the most important question.

I shut off the TV because Meet the Press in my mind has crossed the line.  Instead of reporting and discussing news of the day and its possible impacts, its mission has evolved to “GOTCHA”.

It makes me sad that this oldest program on TV, long the friend of America, has fallen into the pit of sensationalism and ratings only.  Although, it does free me up to get to church ON TIME instead of a few minutes late!

 

MY PLEAS TO THE PRESS:  Just the facts AND THAT MEANS ALL the facts:

The latest in the Snowden epic is a release of a document that indicates eves-dropping activities from 80 US embassies and consulates.  It included several countries in Europe we consider our allies, including Germany.  Here are the dates I can find so far:

2002       NSA MAY have included Merkel’s personal phone in the dragnet

2005       The document leaked by Snowden indicates Merkel’s phone number was accessed.  However that document reveals the number being caught in the dragnet, but one cannot determine if the number was actually listened to.   

2009       Obama is inaugurated as President of the United States.   (NOTE:  This is at least four years and possibly seven years after the reported incident occurred.)

2010       NSA reports to Obama they have the numbers/are eves-dropping. I presume the actual date of that is recorded someplace, but I could not find if it was January or December.

20XX      At some point, NSA was told to STOP by Obama. Obviously, someplace there is a record of that.

20XX      Snowden steals document – I am sure by now, investigations could tell us the date it was stolen, but I do not have at hand. Nevertheless, the impression from Press was “IS”  listening in not WAS listening in.

2013       Snowden reveals the leak.

2013       Obama/Merkel phone call;  Obama assures Merkel the  US is not now nor will in the future eves-drop on her conversations.

Now, I am not a reporter; I am not expected to be the one who digs into the facts, but really, am I the  only one in the world that wonders why the dates above in red have not been revealed?  And am I the only one in the world that recognizes this began in 2002 and NOT after Obama became President?

I’m just saying, fill in the blanks and report the story in full.

 That was the reputation of what Meet the Press would do in the past.  That is not the story of Meet the Press today.   This may indeed be a major misstep that can be attributed to President Obama himself or it could be a risk taken that starts a movement toward meaningful conversations and actions; or it may be a twisted fact that sells magazines, newspapers and TV program ratings.    What I most fear it is that some of the continuing propaganda is being seeded by the Tea Party who are so intent on discrediting Obama as a man that they forget some of the spin discredits us as a nation.  And as a citizen, that really irritates me.

 

MY OWN TAKE ON THE MIDDLE EAST TODAY

For as long as I can remember, the Middle East has been an issue…early in my growing-up and adult life, it was trumped by Viet Nam a bit, but it has ALWAYS been a delicate balancing act because we have brought together in a very small place three major religions of the world (READ:  Commitment and Emotion) and a whole lot of oil (READ: Economics and Riches ….and somehow, that all means trouble.

Of course, we need to heed voices of concern from Israel and Saudi Arabia re Iran and Syria…but we also have to acknowledge that bellicose confrontations have not yielded results in the Middle East despite 45 years of trying to out-shout one another.

Of course, there is a possibility that movement in discussions toward eliminating chemical weapons and  nuclear capabilities could all be a ruse…but it could also be an opening to talk to one another and initiate possible change.  Does anyone expect that Israel will be worry-free (or even happy)?  No, but responsible countries cannot ignore the possibility that change could ultimately come and the bellicose confrontations and threats have not achieved much to date except death-so I think it is worth the effort to test it.

So when I read headlines like “Syria files plan to destroy (chemical) weapons” and “Anti-US signs ordered removed in Iran”…I continue to think:  “It’s working; proceed with caution; and see where this takes us.”

Of course, those complaining that Obama is foolish and weak; Obama is not following through; and all the other common Republican talking points that the Press has swallowed up as truth are really MOST INTERESTED in short term results – the Press wants ratings so they can keep their jobs; the politicians want votes  so they can keep their jobs.  And too bad about the viewers and readers that are searching for the truth.

Neither seem to understand  changes predicted for our world are here and now-not something that might happen in the future.   The Digital World has connected us all and that change alone calls for collaboration and compromise.

Unfortunately, all we know is WIN /LOSE, military might and wars.

All I can think of is another headline today that is also pretty thought-provoking – “Iraq crumbles under new attacks.”  To me that raises the question – how much money did our little boys spend playing live war games for ten years and with what result?

Sometimes I think that men will never give up their toys; thus their inbred-looking-backwards stupidity will be the death of us all.

 What I DO know is that in my mind, Meet the Press has moved from a thoughtful trusted resource to Edutainment at best.  I only hope the “evolution” has not stopped there but will survive this hiccup and that soon it will right its ways and continue on.

 


 

 

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EXONERATION?

September 28, 2013

A couple days ago, David Korn had an “Eureka” moment and speculated that perhaps what the “world” viewed  [READ:  The Press] has thought was bungling and weakness – just MAYBE was exactly what the Obama campaign in  2008 said he would do.  Unfortunately, he was not able to immediately implement what he promised as our economic world had collapsed at the end of the Bush administration, and their two wars had also gone a “bit off track”-to put it mildly!  As a result, Obama was forced to spend his first four years in office cleaning up the messes left by the neo-cons before he could move forward with his own agenda.

Remember that campaign?   “Diplomacy before War?”   Remember why you chose him over McCain who also has not changed his stance –” war first, then think about other options”.  Remember those initial moves Obama made to implement his thinking that did indeed lead him to be named as winner of Nobel Peace Prize?  We probably all remember the brouhaha over that.   But how many of us remember the Obama discussions of a “Just War” that accompanied that recognition – along with the reiteration that diplomacy should always come first?

Let’s not forget that as he entered office, it was very evident that his own agenda had to be put on hold as he mopped up after the Bush campaign.  Do we remember how surprised we were when he reached out to –not a friend- but Hillary Clinton to carry the ball for him as Secretary of State …so that diplomacy still remained the focus even if he, himself, was distracted?

Fast Forward to last week.  As it unfolded, the US proceeded with “caution”:  The Syria situation seemed to be moving forward in the right direction and Iran’s Rowhani seemed to be making positive overtures.

And yesterday, history was made TWICE! 

For the first time since 1979, heads of US and Iran had a conversation!  And for the first time, the UN Security Council approved a resolution on chemical weapon use and stockpiles in Syria.

By yesterday at noon, Andrea Mitchell was backing off her negative leading questions and  comments ; by evening, Rachel  Maddow  joined Chris Hayes on MSNBC for a long discussion that furthered David Korn’s statements earlier in the week.

As they looked back at what has happened leading up to Syria and the stance on sanctions in Iran, they recognized that quietly, without a lot of fanfare, Obama was acting exactly like he did as a Senator-and doing exactly what he said he would do during the 2008 Presidential Campaign.  In fact, they had a “eureka” moment.  It all made sense now that Hillary became Secretary of State and covered a million miles  rebuilding diplomatic relations around the world  for the US! And it made sense that John Kerry was selected to “carry on”.

Why, they even speculated that he had NOT put campaign promises aside after all. Instead, recognizing he had his hands full with the Bush economic disaster, he strategically picked Hilary to keep a strong focus on foreign affairs  while he mopped up the messes at home.

Has he been exonerated?  Probably not yet. 

Has the 20th century perspectives of Press, Congressional leaders and the general American people finally figured it out?  Probably not yet.

No, it will take some time to break the habit of applying 20th century norms to a 21st century thinker…but finally, there is a leak in the dam those angry old birds put up to protect themselves, and soon the dam will fail.

But for all those Americans that did not become disillusioned, discouraged and disappointed, but continued to watch patiently understanding the first to forge a new path often stumbles and falls and is “hit in the face by the brush” as they make it easier for others to follow…I say, YEAH TEAM! Indeed, “it’s working” and I , for one, feel it is almost exoneration time – even though I know that will only totally happen when the naysayers are GONE and Obama is viewed from a less emotional historical perspective.

Nevertheless, it’s been a good week….despite the Repo suicidal bent not only on their own destruction, but that of our country!

 

 

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THE DECIDING DEBATE…or just more blather?

October 22, 2012

For weeks we have heard the debates don’t matter. Opps…poll numbers started shifting during the first three, and now this final debate is the MOST IMPORTANT thing of the campaign. Who knows what the truth is? All I really know is that we should expect posturing and not truthful thought-out responses.
Yesterday I started a blog that outlined what I would like to hear discussed in the last debate tonight. No, Benghazi was not on the list…contrary to neo-con manipulation of Romney’s impression, Benghazi’s greatest importance was the unexpected loss of American lives-especially one who may have emerged as a knowledgeable and informed leader in 21st century foreign policy-someone who understands the Middle East; someone that could have helped the United States make needed transitions from “War is the Answer” to peaceful co-existence. And, its second most important role was as a demonstration for the American people of just how complex-even murky-an incident like this is. Such an incident calls for patience and level heads, no finger pointing until everyone has the facts, and no posturing for political advantage…especially from a neophyte whose total foreign policy is wrapped up in a father born in Mexico for religious reasons, and time spent as a missionary in France – a country that was then just emerging from post-WWII recovery! While I applaud Romney for his time and compassion, I do not think he emerged a qualified 21st century diplomat based on that experience! And frankly, I shudder to think his neo-con advisors are the very same men and women that manipulated Bush and tricked the world into the wrongful war in Iraq!
But I digress. What I was in the midst of outlining yesterday was my own questions/issues I hope to hear discussed tonight.
• Japan is about to take China’s place as the US largest creditor. What do you see as positive/negative impacts, if  any, on the United States?
• With China’s low profit margins on production of goods, combined with extremely low worker wages, what do you see as impact in the US, of as the Chinese “Boom” recedes? Will there be economic consequences from the many US companies with facilities there? Are the US corporate investments in China significant enough that a collapse there would impact us domestically?
NOTE: This morning STRIB had article in Business Insider Page 1 raising similar question of what will happen as US Corporations ramp up there, expecting China to replace slow markets in the US and Europe.
• What impact to US do you see as the Chinese population growth controls (one child; preferably male) starts impacting the Chinese economy?
I’ve read that traditionally, this male head of family takes on responsibility of support for parents AND parents of spouse. That support of three families on low wages seems challenging; as does the question of whom do these favored sons marry with so few Chinese women in their generation?
The Strib OPINION PAGE added significant “food for thought” this morning by pointing out that the most serious security challenges confronting the US –which come from the Mideast and South Asia- are “so complex and fluid” it is hard to provide clear answers…so at best we can expect posturing by Romney and over-simplification by Obama.
Uggh.
Before the debate, take the time to check out the article “What to hope for tonight at the debate”. The questions raised about the Arab Spring, Syria, Iran, will make your head spin, but every one of them is valid and raises significant issues…just reviewing the questions makes one realize how daunting the situation is.
The author’s last paragraph says it all.
Whatever the weaknesses of Obama on these issues, I’ve heard no clear alternatives from Romney and no recognition of the global changes of the last decade. I hope Schieffer will press both candidates for real, not canned answers. But my expectations aren’t high.
Amen to that….by now, most of you know, my biggest issue with Romney is that he is NOT prepared or even cognizant that we do not live today in a world in which his experience and success in a past century will make any difference. If he does not understand the implications and relationships in the world today, he will not be effective; nor will he be able to lead us successfully into the future. I say again, tomorrow is NOT more of the same. The world has changed.

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RAMBLINGS ON A SUNDAY AFTERNOON – PART 2

July 29, 2012

THANK YOU AMBASSADOR RYAN CROCKER

Sorry to see this man retire!

I first heard the name a decade ago when Bush and the neo-cons were hatching their Iraq War Plans/  Crocker was co-author of “The Perfect Storm” – a memorandum defining risk of a U.S. Invasion of Iraq.  Yes, the ignored analysis that predicted accurately the disintegration of Iraqi society that did, indeed, take place!

Five years later, the Bushies with no other option, had to call on him for help to “fix the deadly situation.”

As ambassador, first in Iraq and then in Afghanistan, he worked to build trust with local leaders, understood intimidation would not work, and showed compassion towards the ordinary citizens caught in the life-threatening and political power struggles.  That was a rarity for Bush and Neo-cons –which  I repeatedly point out is reflected when we recite the cost of war and only mention deaths of AMERICAN soldiers, and not who we killed, or were killed by others because of our presence.

He suggests we need to learn the lessons of our recent past as we weigh military options for the future- including plans for Syria and Iran.

We’re a superpower, we don’t fight on our territory, but that means you are in somebody else’s stadium, playing by somebody else’s ground rules, and you have to understand the environment, the history, the politics of the country you wish to intervene in.

Good advice.  I THINK Obama gets this; I KNOW the neo-cons advising Romney do not.  And where those that support Romney stand, I have no idea.

In any case, I think it worthwhile to repeat three thoughts from Crocker as found in the Strib:

  1.        Remember the law of unintended consequences
  2.        Recognize the limits of the United States actual capabilities
  3.        Understand getting out of a conflict once you are in can often be dangerous and as destructive for the country as the original conflict.

And to those I would add: If you don’t have money to pay for it, you can’t just charge ten plus years of war, residual damage, and long-term impacts on the US soldiers and families involved to your successor. 

You fooled us once…I hope we learned not to trust you again.