Posts Tagged ‘Iraq War’

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NOT JUST THE 2003 IRAQ WAR…

March 7, 2014

But the Gulf War a decade before!

Rachel Maddow is not my favorite of the MSNBC personalities- but GOOD JOB last nite on IRAQ – why the Gulf War and why little Bush had to follow in the same footsteps as his father, and WHY I FEEL EXONERATED.

For 14 years I’ve been saying IRAQ had NOTHING to do with 9-11 – the second invasion of that country was totally a Cheney/Bush/Condi and others plan LONG before Sept 11.  My position has always been that and caused a good many “heated discussions” among some good friends.

So now my position has been backed up with lots and lots of written documentation, footage, and interviews finally available at least to the Press….and although I am exonerated personally, it makes me sicker than it did as it was happening…because at least then, there always was that little chance that I was wrong. 

Now we all know, the dirty ugly way we started the 21st century with yet another Bush administration was in fact reality.  All those who died, or were wounded, or whose lives were deeply impacted by time spent fighting that unnecessary war did so for oil….led by men whose money came from the Oil Industry.  Makes me sick. 

And of course, one will never know, but perhaps if they had been a bit more FOCUSED on protecting the US , maybe they just would have picked up a signal or two that the emerging phenom of terrorists  that had certainly shown its ugly head in the Clinton Administration was not Democratic bumbling, but something they needed to “key an eye and ear” on.

Of course, I still have that second theory of motivation for it.  BIG Bush went into the Gulf War, accomplished his limited mission (no matter what you think of that mission) and got out…even though Cheney and others were advising otherwise. Then Cheney saw his chance by manipulating LITTLE Bush  in the dawn of the new millennium.  Remember MAMA Bush famous quote re Georgie Jr:  “He’s not my brightest son”.  No kidding.  I’ve always suspected that Cheney manipulated Little Bush by appealing to that “I’ll show him; I can do it better” little boy mentality about his father.

And although I am probably wrong, I can’t stop my mind from wandering to the same question I was asking post 9-11.  Why did we go to war in Afghanistan?  Yes, they were “harboring” the man who planned 9-11.  But was the Bush Administration so full of hubris they really thought they could WIN a war that Russia had fought endlessly there with no good results?  Did they forget we ARMED the very people we were now going to fight against?

Was there ANY attempt to do what Obama finally planned and did- kill Osama bin-Laden?

And do the Bushies and the evil Dick Cheney have ANY regrets for their missteps?  Or, was it just the macho cowboy BS we had to put up for the whole 8 years LITTLE Bush was in office?  He should have started painting earlier, if you ask me.   That has thankfully, kept him out of sight and out of mind. (although I continue to have this nagging thought…does he really see himself as another Eisenhower-a great General who became President and then retired to become an artist?)  YIKES!

And for all the repos who have been against Obama not just because he is a Democrat, nor for the color of his skin, but because he voted NO to going into Iraq?  Yes, those same ones that started the spin already on today’s crisis…Obama is weak; we need to get tough and go in, confront the Russians, and push back. 

Just take one minute and ask yourself.  Is this 1950? 1960? 1970? 1980? 1990? 2000?   We don’t have such a good track record in our wars through those sixty years, do we?    We have ended neither the FIRST one in Korea, nor the LAST one in AFGHANISTAN…so now, I guess, we have to revert to our winning tactics…world wars with more deaths or a long cold war while all the little kids have bomb drills and hide under their desks to survive a nuclear attack.

One more time….Being against war is NOT Unpatriotic despite the Bush propaganda machine; and what is wrong with trying Cooperation and Collaboration and Compromise? It’s not as macho, but just maybe…we could save lives, money and achieve something peacefully.

 

 

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A NIGHTMARE REVISITED

September 22, 2013

Friday night was a nightmare revisited as MSNBC aired a program entitled “Hubris – Selling the Iraq War”.   It has taken me 40 hours since watching it before I got over being sick about what it confirmed and could finally think through what that special was telling us.

It confirmed everything many of us were following in the lead up to the Iraqi War INCLUDING the search for a reason to start a war that dates back to before 9-11.  And along with that, it confirmed- not that we were right, but that those who disagreed and called us out-making fun of how stupid we were or worse -were the wrong-doers.  For me, in some cases that meant a loss of friendships that dated back to my youth.

The slime was even worse the second time around  because instead of just having “doubts”, watching the marketing campaign for “The Product” unfold, we cannot deny our doubts today; we know for a fact that the country and the world were duped.  And believe me, it does not help to be one of the few who disagreed with that war.  One still feels guilty that we, as intelligent citizens, were not able to stop this evil generated from within our own government.

We are still focusing around the world in finding “Nazi War Criminals” and bringing them to “Justice” over 70 years since the start of World War II.   Why, here in Minnesota , a 90+ year old man was just recently “outted” for being a young soldier in a German Army that committed atrocities in that war.  

And yet dating from 2001, people I consider “American  War Criminals” that planned the devastation in Iraq created by “The Product” still roam this earth as free men.  Can someone tell me why this makes sense?

I know, I am being a little facetious, but really, folks – this was a President, a Vice President, and several other cabinet members and key staff that carefully planned to dupe America and our UN allies into agreeing to go to war with false accusations.

And yes, 13 years later, the American public is saying…not again! 

But who is being punished because of it?  Not those who were responsible; instead  the party at fault has chosen to hold accountable one of the few who disbelieved the marketing campaign and voted NO to  going to war with Iraq.  So for five years, they have waged a publicity campaign against Barak Obama – who has spent five years trying to RIGHT the evil done in the previous Administration.

And yes, some of you are saying- this is not the first time the country has not had the truth, so what’s the big deal.  Indeed, in the back of my mind, a nagging thought keeps telling me that those not strong enough to face their mistakes, do often project the negative outcomes onto others around them.  But knowing that does not help.

So in my mind, we let the crimes continue.  We once were a functioning country whose citizens had faith in their elected leadership.  We once were a country that trusted our Congressional leaders to disagree, discuss, and move forward together.  Today many of us find most of our Congress simply a drain on the economy. 

It’s been hard to see the “Dream” crumble.  So instead of entitling this “A nightmare revisited”, I guess I should have said – “The Nightmare Continues.” 

I am so sorry this has happened to our country and none of us who knew better could stop it.

 

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OBAMA AND SYRIA

September 11, 2013

I woke up this morning thinking…why am I still conflicted on Syria; why can’t I seem to be as strongly  “YES”  or “NO”  as everyone around me?  I made my coffee, unfolded the paper, and read the headline ”Obama Backs Diplomacy; Keeps Strikes as Option”  and decided….I need to sort this out in my own mind – everyone else I know has.

Who is the man named Barak Obama?

Obama is anti-war in general; as a senator, he voted NO to the Iraq War…one of the few at the time that, like me, was not drawn into the neo-con nonsense.  I had watched 7.5 months of the Bush campaign and preparations to go to war against Iraq that started the day he was inaugurated; and I was leery.  I believed then, and I still believe, that the Neo-Cons manipulated Little George into a position of war to show up his father and finish a job that George Sr. did not finish.  And then 9-11 happened; masterminded by a man NOT from Afghanistan; but by a man that  took refuge there; so despite the fact history had just shown us the difficulty of winning a war in Afghanistan-based on the Russians then recent long attempt- we went to war without Congressional approval…..a war that is 12 years old and still continues.    So yes, Obama voting no to war was a good signal to me.

Obama was concerned about the Syrian civil war but clearly drew the line on entering a war and putting Americans at risk.  The US offered aid when it could be assured that aid would not end up in Al Qaida hands.

 Of course, that put Republicans against him; united in the belief that he is weak in foreign policy…because it does not follow the bluster of the second half of the 20th century; but then, SO FAR, it has not yielded wars that drag on and on and on…think Viet Nam; Afghanistan; and Iraq.

Most Americans were relieved we were not jumping in; many of us were still troubled that through the longest war since Viet Nam, the Bush Administration had given NO THOUGHT to what war in the 21st century would be like….NO THOUGHT to the kinds of injuries that would be incurred; NO THOUGHT to increasing veteran services to accommodate returning wounded soldiers – both physically and mentally.

All that was left to Obama; along with the slow process of ending the Iraqi War, working through a plan to extract us SOMETIME soon from Afghanistan; and trying to play “catch-up” with getting help for all the GIs that followed the Bush command to go to war. And let’s not forget to add to the list that in 2006, the Bush Administration started stockpiling cause and money to extend our wars in the Middle East to include Syria as well…Had McCain won the Presidential election in 2008, I have no doubt we’d be in the thick of that war as well – with similar disastrous results.  Fortunately Obama won.

Seriously, folks, do you really think what he inherited made him a war-monger?  Come on; get real!

Take a deep breath and think of the timeline.  The most recent chemical bombings happened on August 21 and were well-documented.

For some amount of time the battle of what to do raged inside the White House.  How many times did we hear Obama say “I’m still undecided”; and how many times did you hear the Press criticize him for that?  How many times did you hear your favorite commentator say:

“He’s ready to bomb; can’t he just wait for the UN inspectors to get out?”

or

“What is he waiting for?  The battle ships are in place.  If he doesn’t do it this weekend, we will lose the advantage of surprise?

Really folks, do you REALLY think anyone interested in the world wasn’t listening in on your constant evaluations?  Even in pre-WWII days, the world knew a debate was happening in the US so you can be sure, the world was tuned in to the blathering Press this time around.  But maybe the blathering  gave good coverage for the President to work through the possible action steps.

Nevertheless, through all that, I was hesitant and confused.

  •        I voted for Obama twice because he thought differently than our 20th century leaders.
  •         He was a man that believed leadership was reaching consensus through discussion-not unilateral decisions based on “power”.
  •          He filled his Cabinet and advisory positions with a mixture of folks- both Republican and Democrats that were experts on the task     at hand.
  •          I voted for him as the best representative of an emerging USA of the future.  For me that meant:

 

    1.    No ingrained philosophies of the good old boys; he was an independent thinker
    2.    A strong belief in consensus building through collaboration-something I know from experience on a smaller scale yields GREAT results, but is very “messy along the way
    3.    A first step in US leadership that reflects the USA of 2040 – multiculturalism
    4.    He was not an “angry old bird” from my generation trying to protect a myth that those of us who came into adulthood by 1970 “KNOW BEST”

So in spite of doubts, I reminded myself to watch the signals- he was doing exactly what I should expect.  He was preparing for retaliation, but he was struggling- as war goes against everything he believes in, and he was sharing that with the American people.  Over and over, he said he was undecided.

This brings us to the weekend before the G20.  The Press had already decided war was beginning that weekend as he had to do it before he left for Europe.  What?  Would any responsible President start a war on Sunday and leave for Europe the following week?   Well, obviously had the Press been in charge, we would have been foolish enough to do so.

Remember Andrea Mitchell bitching about the cost of repositioning the warships if they were not going to be used, and What was he doing playing golf on Friday with a war starting the next day or so?!!!

So that weekend, I went back to the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize and the discussion of “Just Wars”.  I read again the yeahs and nays and was reminded once again why I voted for Obama twice.

He is not a man of the world in which I was born, grew up, and formed my beliefs.  He’s a man suited to leading us in small steps to a better world of the 21st century.

I will not always agree; I do not have the same perspective.

But I believe his hesitancy was real; his actions were based on assessment of divided views within his advisory groups; and that it was well worth the delay that weekend to give diplomacy one more chance to work as he put a hold on action and tried one last time to work out an equitable plan with Putin at the G20, while Kerry continued discussions with his own Russian counterpart.

Personally, I think they fooled the Press…one more time…and now we have a reprieve-short as that may be.

Of course the naysayers and the Press will continue to shout WRONG – the wires were burning with Andrea Mitchell’s attempt just this noon.  She even did a whole segment on Nancy Reagan running the government as she questioned why Obama mentioned Michelle.

 No Andrea, I think most of country heard him say:  This is really hard and I know most people do not want war – I do not want war; Michelle does not want war.  THAT is totally different than the spin you are putting on things because of your own personal opinion…and forever more, I will think less of you for your presumption that as a reporter you know more than the President of the United States.

But as I look at what’s unfolded and how…I’d say one more time, his country underestimated a man of the 21st century.   As we continue to judge him against old standards that obviously did not quite make our world a better place for all.  Today’s 12th anniversary of 9-11 is certainly a testament to that as are the resulting wars that still continue with or without us in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the incredible debt piled up for starting  and paying for those wars on a credit card.

Obama is the first to try to blaze this new trail into a whole new world where no precedents have been set and for which there is no tested playbook.  Will he be right all the time?  Probably not, but will he have done a better job than all the Angry Old Birds including McCain and Andrea Mitchell?

I think so; so I’m sticking with him.

 

 

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DEVIL OR SUPERMAN?

August 22, 2013

The headline this morning read “2011 ruling:  NSA violated Constitution”; the subtitle read “The e-mail collection program was later fixed to the court’s satisfaction.”

The opening two paragraphs summarized that the NSA program violated the Constitution for several years according to a top-secret court ruling from October 2011 which was made public yesterday.

And then the third paragraph “below the fold” if you will:

“The release of the ruling, under pressure by a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, was the latest effort by the Obama Administration to contain revelations about NSA surveillance prompted by the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.   A side bar in bold in that paragraph proclaimed : ”Volume and nature of the Information [the program} had been collecting is fundamentally different than what the court had been led to believe.”    This quote was attributed to the 2011 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court opinion.

Eight inches of print into the article, we learned that the problems were relatively small compared to surveillance on non-citizens abroad.  And we learned that NSA quickly fixed the problem to the court’s satisfaction.   Nevertheless, the remaining 5 inches of print indicated the court was still troubled, and that what was being collected was far different than what  FISA had been led to believe.  It reported this was the third time in less than three years in which the government disclosed a substantial misrepresentation of the volume and nature of information.

As I finished the article, despite knowing a small amount about the NSA/FISA Court history rooted in the Bush Administration, I admit I had to take a deep breath and say…wow-this is not only disconcerting;  it is enough to make me think I better think through my support of Obama.

For some of you reading this, I imagine it was enough to send you off to the organizing groups with your donations to support impeachment of the President.   And hopefully, there are some of you out there that know much more than I and recognized this immediately as Press manipulation.

I however, fortunately had a nagging voice in my brain telling me to think through that timeline.  And I listened to it.

 If Obama was inaugurated in January of 2009, how could there possibly have been time to move into the White House, learn all there was to know just about  how the White House itself operated, get all the appointments announced and people in place in all the government agencies and arms that represent the nation, have them get acclimated in their new roles, dig deep, learn the nitty gritty details, review, and report back to the President recommendations and actions; get those actions implemented and enforced  and still have been able to  pull off some MAJOR disturbing practices….all the while butting heads with an opposing party who announced  their mission over the  four years from January 2008, to January, 2013, was to ensure  that Obama would have no second term.    How could one man, who also crafted a major change in US healthcare and GOT IT APPROVED despite that same opposition by the Republicans, and got us out of Iraq, and on track to get out of Afghanistan, and finally found Osama bin Laden and killed him, and weathered a Republican plan – at least in the short term – to bring down the country financially – be able to launch this plot successfully?  How could one man already fighting GREAT ODDS accomplish all this?   He was not a” White Man” with all the privilege that implies; he did not bring decades and decades of experience about how Congress worked, nor decades and decades of relationships within the Legislative bodies, nor did he have the family connections and money of a Kennedy, nor the benefit of being a Governor like a Clinton.

Amidst all that, how could he campaign and be selected to a second term of office – thereby showing the weakness of the opposing party NOT ONCE, but twice?

 And even more perplexing, Obama believes in building a better world through collaboration, listening and learning from one another; in a world where individual people helping others do make a difference.    He set out to change the Best World ever built – that one built by the Boomers  – a world that brought power and fame and money to those that knew how to play by Boomer rules.  Those rules that say  if we just surround ourselves with others like us and boycott, we will be ok….and the rest of the world will go away.   How in the world did he overcome those barriers we put in his way?

The timeline made no sense to me in view of all of that.  And then there was the fact that I knew nothing about the organization that brought the suit.  Who is Electronic Frontier Freedom anyway? 

And so I detoured off to do a little research – fully expecting to find that this group was another Republican propaganda arm – masking as a do-good non-profit.   And I was proven wrong, at least in the short amount of time (about two hours) I have spent on it this morning.

But what I learned as FACT was the timeline.

This organization came to be in 1990 – just a few years into the DIGITAL AGE – as a result of some very forward thinkers imagining a future in which individual rights would be fighting a tough battle in terms of privacy rights issues.  It seemed to be legitimate; it scores well on consumer/public ratings of whether to invest/believe or not.  And it sounds good on its web and in Wikipedia, and its actions to defend personal and individual rights speak well of its intent.

1990 – yes,  in the midst of Reagan/Bush Senior era – but as I read about it, its focus did not show political philosophies, it clearly was focused on what will this digital world we are entering do to our personal freedoms.  I know, you can’t believe everything you read, but my gut feel led me forward.

The initial interest and filings in this specific case went back to 2005-2006. This lawsuit itself was filed in SEPTEMBER 2008.  Hmmm.  That’s a red flag, is it not? 

The Republicans had just nominated John McCain as their presidential candidate; the Democrats had just nominated Obama.  We were in the midst of debates…and the American public was immersed in the issues and teetering on the brink of the worst collapse of our economic world since the Great Depression – an amazing turn of events in eight Bush years.   And there as a candidate was an unthinkable possibility that just maybe we could have a President that would be a mixture of both white and multi-cultural race that could lead us through this transition to that time in 2040 and beyond when whites would become the minority.  And even better, this candidate thought differently.  He did not emulate power and out-trumping an opponent, he professed listening, dialog and collaboration – just what all the futurists were saying was needed around the world in this new 21st century.

 

But I digress.  Back to the timeline.

  1. Issues surfaced 2005-2006.
  2. Lawsuit was filed September, 2008, while Bush was still Presidet of the United States.  Translation:  This was a lawsuit against Republican actions during the Bush Administration.
  3. The ruling made in October, 20ll, with extensive review and necessary adjustments made by the Obama Administration to comply with that ruling.
  4. No data uncovered to date to when plan for those implemented adjustments began, but I presume that it had to be a priority fro mthe beginning in order to have a plan and be able to implement it successfully immediately in case the ruling demanded it.  I would call that foresight.
  5. Although the changes were quietly implemented, there was no publicity at the time and Obama defended the right to keep them secret. (Ed:  Think:  Suporting the right of the Office ofthe President; and hence the person who initiated the action – George W. Bush)
  6. Obama refused to give out details to the Press, but at the same time told the nation in his address this summer that he welcomed the review of this (21st century) issue.

Today, that has all been played out in the Press with a definite slant of sensationalism aimed at Obama.

This feeds right into the damage and trouble that I believe is being caused by the PRESS in this country whom we have allowed to move from reporting facts to telling us what we should believe about those facts- which today are interspersed with non-facts and simply personal opinion of what is rapidly becoming irresponsible commentators looking for ratings to keep their jobs.  

That, and the difficult issues emerging in this century for which we have no precedent, puts us right where we were at the beginning of the 20th century…fumbling our way through a whole new world of individual rights that were expanding past white men to women to native and other non-white men and women at a disturbing pace because of new means of communication.  I’d like to think we learned something over a hundred years, but perhaps we have not.

That aside, the time I have spent on this morning’s STRIB article leads me to one conclusion only: 

Perhaps the sin of Obama is only that his strong morals and thoughts about how to better prepare the United States for the 21st century  led him NOT TO BLAME THE CAUSE  – the Neo-Cons under the weak leadership of nice man – George W.

Many have questioned why he as a ”Constitutional Scholar “could even think that what was being done would not be unconstitutional.  Perhaps what they scoff at is exactly why he did not take a personal stand – his knowledge and confidence in that document may have led him to the knowledge that change would come without his intervention. He did not dishonor a former President;  and did not yield to political pressure to do so as he has no further political aspirations. 

 I listened to that nagging doubt and invested the time to think it through and it brought me right back to where I was in 2008.  I voted for a man I admired for his principles and new thinking.  I stand on that. I believe he has been motivated by those same things as well as commitment to the Office he holds as the leader of the country he loves…even though standing against releasing the details of a system established by his predecessor has made him the bad guy.   

He is neither the DEVIL nor SUPERMAN.  He is not even acting as a politician, although he has done that well  along the way.  He is a product of his time with deep beliefs and motivation to help his country where he can.  And I personally cannot wait until he is released from this sentence we have given him so that he can return to the real world and we learn of how he next intends to influence the world and help guide us through the turmoil ahead for which we refuse to prepare!

That is why I spent today – my first time off in almost 40 days – to think this through.  It was worth every minute.

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LOOKING BACK: 2010 – the downside

December 30, 2010

This is the traditional week of the year filled with lists of the “best of” and “worst of” 2010, and like everyone else, I have viewed or read my share.

One such commentary saddened me as I listened to the pundits 2010 view on the Iraq war.  In 2001, as plans for it surfaced (BEFORE 9-11) in the Bush Administration, war was declared on “Terror” and we invaded Afghanistan looking for Osama bin Laden…all the while building up for the already planned invasion of Iraq, I felt like I stood alone in the world, as a naysayer cautioning that we would not succeed.  I was the unpatriotic one as I pooh-poohed the weapons of mass destruction theory and suggested it was limited to the biological weapons provided to Iraq and sanctioned by the neo-cons during the Reagan administration – so of course, they knew Saddam had them-they had come to be when the US was using Iraq as a weapon against Iran in the 80s.  I was chastised by friends for suggesting that Iraq’s Sunni culture stretched back over a 1000 years and that mixed with a heritage of warring tribes left little hope that in a quick invasion we could “save” them from their ways and create a democracy that would prosper, grow and become the model for bringing democracy to the middle east.  What in the world were those people smoking in the White House to be so deluded and dismissive of facts? And how in the world did they get a nation of reasonably intelligent citizens to go along with it? Oh yes, I was told I wrong in that thinking…after all, the one thing the US government does pretty well was WAR, I was told by a friend.  Not to worry, it would turn out all right.

And so it began…and did not go well as it not only contributed to a 10 trillion dollar shift in the deficit projections for 2010, created a tremendous tragedy of loss of American and Iraqi lives, and has not succeeded yet in establishing a solid democracy.

Projected positive balance in the early 2000s was $5 trillion by 2010 and thus provided the reasoning for the Bush tax CUTS in time of war.  Unfortunately, since the Bush Administration chose NOT to include war expenses in the budget for either the Afghan or Iraqi war, it took a while to realize that war was eating into that projected surplus – then the collapse of the teetering economy began in the early second half of the decade, and today we stand frightened to death of a $ 5 trillion deficit.  Congrats to the US; we managed between war and greed to achieve a $10 trillion swing that today still threatens the international economy.  We sure showed the world how powerful we are, didn’t we? Or did we just make way for the rise of BRIC?

Today, as we look forward to 2011, what are the projections?  Now the pundits mostly concur, the Iraqi war will not accomplish the mission – a victory we already celebrated years ago!  Sadly, we are seeing my projections come to be.  I fear this will be long remembered as a horrendous misstep by our government – making 19th century policies of Slavery, Manifest Destiny, and Extermination of the Indigenous Peoples look like child’s play.  And that does not even factor in the lost lives – not just of American soldiers who died, and those that were physically AND mentally injured, but the horrendous cost in lives and injuries to the Iraqis themselves-a loss much greater than our own.  No wonder I feel saddened. 

Add to that, Afghanistan, the Housing Crisis, the Economy, Lack of Jobs/job skills shifts, the worsening split between the political parties, and one could quickly experience a major sinking spell !

 Thank goodness, we can balance some ofthis with the oh so many positives in the world, our country and our personal lives that also surround us and keep us optimistic and moving forward!