Tag Archives: Iraq

So That’s What The President Is Supposed To Do!

8 Apr

What’s that you smell in the air, America?  Breathe it in deep and maybe you’ll remember.

It’s old fashioned leadership.

Barack Obama is only in office for 11 weeks so far and so he’s got lots of time to screw things up.  But, you’ve got to give it to the president for his strong start.

Yesterday, he goes to Iraq where he’s cheered by the troops he’s putting a reasonable plan in action to remove from danger.  A few days before he got the G-20 to commit to pumping a trillion dollars into the world economy.  And over a coffee break, he started working on getting the world rid of nuclear weapons.

Critics say the president is trying to do to much.  Perhaps they’ve got some valid concerns, but I think Obama himself answered those best.  To paraphrase, the president said you’ve got to aim high and try to do the tough things that need to be done when you’re president.  You may not accomplish all your goals but you stand a better chance if you actually aspire to high levels of achievement in the first place.

Wow!  That sure is refreshing.  After eight years of that other guy, we’re way past due for some real leadership based on intelligence and a larger understanding of the world.

And it may be paying off already for this administration.  Recent polls indicate the public solidly backs the president while giving low numbers to the GOP.

More importantly, Obama’s strong start may be benefiting the rest of us too.  You’re starting to see web headlines pop up about how people are feeling more confident about the economic future and how maybe things have started to come back a little.  It’s early and there’s still a lot of economic pain on the horizon, but my guess is that a big part of recovery is belief. 

It seems right now America has found someone to believe in and that is Barack Obama.

Are We Americans Simply War Crazed?

7 Apr

I saw a headline today that found that something like 51% of Americans polled say they favor some kind of military action against North Korea.  If true, that’s shocking and appalling all in one shot.

At a time in which we are still heavily involved in Iraq and ramping back up in Afghanistan,  I can not believe so many people would favor opening up another front.  For one thing, if the lives lost don’t phase you, than I don’t know how you can ignore the economic damage our foreign entanglements are doing to us.

Maybe it’s just ignorance.  Maybe some Americans aren’t aware that we already fought a hard war against the North Korea.  Maybe people don’t realize how heavily armed they are or that they have nuclear capability.  I’m betting most who responded in favor of military action don’t have a son or daughter among the many U.S. Troops stationed in South Korea.

Mostly I’m betting that people search for easy answers and don’t really think when they answer poll questions.  I don’t want to believe the alternative which is that Americans like war.

My vision of America is a strong country that fights only when it must and views war as a last resort.  You know, kind of like the one that stopped Adolf Hitler.

Stop The Presses! Bush Vindicated By Uranium Discovery!! Or Maybe Not…

21 Aug
This past Sunday, I saw my best friend and his bride for dinner with me and my wife.  My best friend tends to be more on the conservative or at least Republican side of things, while I started our friendship over twenty years ago as a raging liberal and have gradually moved more to the center.  Aging, 9/11 and the realization that both parties have done precious little over the past twenty years to address our biggest problems will do that to a guy.
Anyway, I think it’s safe to say that politics tends to be my more bag than my best friend’s.  But, I do respect his opinion and value getting his POV as it often differs from mine and helps me check my own beliefs.
Over dinner, he rocked my world.  He busted out that he met some guy at a barbecue earlier in the day that told him all about 500 tons of Iraqi yellow cake uranium that had been discovered and was being moved out of Iraq.  According to my friend’s new friend and the blog (this will be important in a few moments) that he showed him on his laptop, this was all a shocking case of the often referenced “liberal media bias” in action.  The original story, according to the barbecue laptop guy, was reported in July, yet the media (who ever they are these days) hadn’t made a big deal about it.  My best pal asked me if I’d heard about it.  I had not.
Hmmmmm…. Here was the smoking gun.  They found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and no one was reporting it.  Bush was vindicated.  The  Iraq War was justified.  Wow, maybe I owe our President a big apology I thought.
After drafting an apology letter to the president, I thought better of it and did some digging.  After a quick web search, I think the guy who told my pal about the 500 tons of uranium was off base on a few things.  The reason the media didn’t make this the top story of the year was twofold:
1 – it’s an old story.  The yellow cake uranium in question has been known to be in Saddam’s possession since the 1980s.  And none of it dates from after the First Gulf War.  So, it’s not the smoking gun that proves that Bush was right to invade Iraq.  Saddam had the stuff in his possession & we knew about it for over 20 years.  If it wasn’t dangerous enough for us to oust Saddam in the 80s or under the first and wiser President Bush, than what would make it a justification for the second Iraq War?
2 – The US wanted to keep the movement of the material as secret as possible.  Apparently, we were concerned that if it was widely known that we were moving it out of Iraq that extremists might target it.  The US Government didn’t want this to be a big story.
By searching the net, I found reporting on the material over the years.  So, the media has in fact been reporting it.  It just isn’t a big story cause of the two reasons listed above.  I know many people believe there’s a liberal media bias (despite the dominance of conservative talk radio & Fox News) but this just is not a case of liberal media bias.
In fact, the Bush Administration was trying to build the case that Saddam was trying to buy more uranium as a justification for the war.  That has to date not been proven.
Below is a link to a good article on the uranium in question from MSNBC and I also pasted the most relevant excerpt if you are pressed for time.
Totally cop to the charge that MSNBC is (as a business decision for their cable channel) featuring more and more liberal commentary (Keith Obermann, Rachel Maddow, etc).  But, I still take them to be credible for general reporting when it’s not commentary.  Keep in mind MSNBC is owned by GE & Microsoft not exactly bleeding heart liberal hippies…
Tuwaitha and an adjacent research facility were well known for decades as the centerpiece of Saddam’s nuclear efforts.Israeli warplanes bombed a reactor project at the site in 1981. Later, U.N. inspectors documented and safeguarded the yellowcake, which had been stored in aging drums and containers since before the 1991 Gulf War. There was no evidence of any yellowcake dating from after 1991, the official said.


If none of this convinces you that the guy at the barbecue was off base, then ask yourself this.  If this was such a big story & vindicated Bush for this war, than why isn’t he out there saying so?
I would have attached a link to the blog my friend saw at the barbecue, but I don’t know what it was.
On a related note, seems to me this blogosphere (if that’s what we blogging nerds are calling) is at once one of the greatest aids to democracy in the world and at the same time one of the greatest threats.  Fact is any yahoo can start a blog (like I did).  I make no claim to be an expert and try hard to let readers know when I’m guessing at or assuming something.  I am by no means perfect.  So, if you read this blog, PLEASE fact check me and let me know when I’m off base.  It’s the least we can do as modern day Americans.
It’s tough to know these days what’s fact and what’s some guy or gal’s wacked out opinion.  At least that’s my take…

All This Good News Is Just A Coincidence!

13 Jul

So, this weekend we got a double blast of good news and I am thankful for it all if it is true.

According to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert peace with the Palestinians is closer than ever.   And it was announced that the U.S. might be able to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq quicker and sooner that it was previously thought possible.


I’m sure it’s all a coincidence as I’m not a conspiracy theory kinda guy (‘cept in the case of JFK’s assassination to be fair).  But, it is interesting timing!

The Israeli Prime Minister is best described these days as embattled.  A corruption scandal is seriously threatening his political viability.  What better way to ensure a positive legacy and maybe save your office than by brokering a peace accord?  I can’t think of any, but give me some time!

In the good ol’ USA, we now hear troops might start coming home in a drawdown beginning in September.  September, as most of you will know, is only two months before the general election.  A general election in which both candidates staked a lot on the situation in Iraq.  Of course, the party currently in power probably has a lot more to benefit from the public feeling that the situation in Iraq is getting better.  Just saying…

Am I cynical?  No more than most these days.

But then, I’ll take good news where ever I can get it.

The Dick Cheney Comedy Tour Rolls On!!!

3 Jun

As you might of heard, Dick Cheney recently insulted the “great state” of West Virginia and its proud people.  When going over his family history he noted that there were Cheney’s on both sides of the family tree.  He then cracked “So, I had Cheneys on both sides of the family – and we don’t even live in West Virginia!”

After the laughter subsided, Cheney explained you can make that kind of joke when you’re not running for re-election.  Being the PC culture that we’ve become, of course, Cheney was forced to apologize soon after his remarks got out.  Apparently, there are some people who can read in West Virginia after all! (Wait, I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to offend.  See? Now I’m doing it!)

Having spent a lot of my life in places that serve as comic punchlines, maybe I’ve built up a thick skin, but I thought Cheney was actually got off a funny line.  Sure, it was a kind of hacky predictable humor, but you don’t expect your politicians to be Richard Pryor, George Carlin or Robin Williams.  The best you can hope for is that the guy once starred in a movie with a monkey (may Ronald Reagan rest in peace).

Anyhoo, it got me thinking.  Cheney deserves a lot more credit for his comedy than he’s ever been given by we fellow Americans.  Sure, there was the whole shooting the guy while hunting thing.  That got a lot of attention.  But, there have been so many other priceless moments that didn’t get their just due.

So, let’s right that wrong.  Without further rambling, here are two of Cheney’s best!

In this first clip, you’ll notice that Chaney has clearly been influenced in his comedy by how Harvey Korman (may he rest in peace too – now we know Heaven is a funnier place) used to let himself crack up as Tim Conway played opposite him.  Like Korman, Cheney is secure enough to be vulnerable and acknowledge his partner’s comic genius.  In this scene, President Bush during a State of the Union address breaks up Cheney while talking about how their oil man administration is gonna reduce the nation’s dependence on, yup, you guessed it! Oil…  Enjoy!  It’s wacky stuff!

Now, in this second clip the comedy is a bit more sophisticated.  This one is all about the irony.  See how comic mastermind Cheney takes a position in 1994 which turned out to be historically correct, yet which he actually went against when it came time to decide whether to go forward with the War in Iraq.  Genius!  It’s almost like he was Punking us in 1994!


I Agree With Reverend Wright on Dick…

12 May

….Cheney, That Is! 

How did we ever let an administration filled with draft avoiders (to be kind) lead us into an unnecessary war?  Shame on them and shame on us!

It’s The Bush, Stupid!

1 May

Better political minds than mine are all up in arms about needing to settle the Clinton-Obama question as soon as possible.  Their worry is that Democrats are losing ground in the fight against Republican Nominee John McCain with every day that the primary battle isn’t resolved.

Yet, should Democrats nationwide be breaking out in streaks of perspiration?  I don’t think so.  Check the latest polls and you’ll find both Democrats running ahead of McCain.  Somehow the unsinkable Senator Clinton has almost a double digit lead over the Arizona Senator.  And for all the Reverend Wright flak coming his way, Senator Obama still leads John McCain by two points nationwide.  It’s anybodies game.

How can this be?  Simple answer really.  This year it’s the Bush, stupid.

No matter what Republicans do in this campaign they will be dogged by an eight year association with a failed or at least failing administration.  People want change pure and simple.

It’s going to be tough for McCain to sell that he’s the real new deal when he’s part of the same GOP as President Bush, not to mention that fairly or not people associate McCain with Bush’s Iraq strategy.  The surge may have helped security somewhat, but it’s become clear to everyone (except perhaps Senators Clinton & Obama) that we’re staying in Iraq for a good while longer.  Bottom line is McCain is stuck with Bush and Iraq.  Those associations aren’t going away no matter how nasty the Clinton-Obama battle becomes.

That’s the reason so many people are coming out to vote in the Democratic Primaries.  That’s the reason, Democratic should relax and let their nomination race play out fairly.  The emphasis here is on fairly.  Democrats, we all know are fully capable of shooting themselves in the foot.  If the eventual Democratic Nominee is selected in a way that seems not above board, then indeed all Democrats should start sweating.  The perception of an unfair playing field is the Democrat’s potential critical weakness.


BIG questions about: Big Oil, Castro, The Clintons, Obama, McCain and You!

5 Apr

Today, I’m asking some BIG questions.  They need answers.  It’s a Saturday.  You’ve got a few minutes.  Do me a favor please & let me know what you think the answers are.  Thanks in advance…

Here’s what I’m wondering:

#1 – We’ve had American troops in Iraq for five years essentially occupying a huge oil producing nation.  American oil companies are bursting with billion dollar profits. Yet, somehow gas prices will soon top $4 a gallon. 

We’re in Iraq for the oil companies.  Our young men and women are their dying for them.  Yet, somehow the oil industry can’t see their way clear to sacrificing some profit to make their product more affordable to the average American. 

Why won’t our government do more than just hold hearings designed to make our politicians look like they are fighting for us?  I like free market capitalism as much as the next guy but, it’s time to get tough with big oil!

#2 – Did Fidel Castro fund his retirement with a 401K or traditional pension fund?

#3 – Why do politicians spend millions just to get jobs that top out in the $200,000 per year range?  Oh, wait, that question was answered when the Clintons released their taxe returns the other day.  The post-Presidential money is SWEEEEET!

#4 – Why are people so upset over Reverend Wright’s comments when many of his comments mirror comments made by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr? 

This one I can answer.  Dr. King, may he rest in peace, was a great man who did make comments that were justifiably criticical of American culture and policy and some do sound similar to Reverend Wright’s.  The difference is the context.  Dr. King made his comments 40 and 50 years ago.  If Dr. King were alive today, no doubt he’d stick by many of them.  However, time has changed some things and Reverend Wright’s mistake is not realizing that.  His comments simply don’t reflect the full picture of where America is today.

Barack Obama could’ve told you that, but unfortunately he wasn’t there to hear any of Reverend Wright’s controversial comments in person.  Timing issss everything.

#5 – If we all agree no children should be left behind, then how do we tolerate having 50% high school drop out rates in several of our biggest cities?  We’re one of the richest countries in the world, how do we allow this to continue?  Local government and school officials should get their share of the blame, but why are parents not rioting for better schools in those cities?

#6 – Final question on Candidate McCain. Should we be nervous that you are endorsed by Reverend Hagee, who when not calling the Catholic Church “a whore” is eagerly awaiting and praying for the end of the world?  True story.  Hagee wants judgement day to get here ASAP & he’s supporting John McCain. Should that tell us something??

You Are Safer Tonight Thanks To Candidate Romney and Other Lies!

8 Feb

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Mitt Romney went out of the 2008 Presidential Campaign the same way he got into it, lying.  Here’s what he said:

“In this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign be a part of aiding a surrender to terror. This is not an easy decision. I hate to lose,”

“If this were only about me, I’d go on. But it’s never been only about me. I entered this race because I love America, and because I love America, in this time of war I feel I have to now stand aside for our party and for our country.”

Let’s analyze:

Big Lie #1 – anytime a politician claims it’s not about them, they are lying.  Romney wouldn’t be human if a big chunk of his desire to be president didn’t have a lot to do with his own ego.

Big Lie #2 – he’s getting out of the campaign as a sacrifice during a time of war.  Let’s be honest.  He’s getting out cause he blew about 40 million of his own fortune and realized he wasn’t getting the job he was chasing.  I would respect him more if he simply said “I’m getting out because my wife is uncomfortable with me spending any more of our money on a now clearly futile campaign for the White House”

Go to fullsize imageBiggest Lie of All– Hillary or Barack will be “surrendering to terror”.  I’m sure that’s at the top of each of their first day TO DO LISTS.    The American people wouldn’t stand for it.  Romney knows this, yet he tied his getting out to making sure America would be safer by increasing the chances of a Republican controlling the White House and continuing to wage the war against terror.  Does he really believe that if Clinton or Obama becomes President that we’ll stop our efforts against Al Qaeda?  Not likely.  But as we’ve seen with Romney, he’s not one to let a little truth get in the way of a good story.

Go to fullsize imageLet’s go back in history and ponder “what if Al Gore had been in the White House on 9/11”.  Here’s what I think would have happened for all of you wondering how a Democrat would have responded.  Our response would have been exactly the same. 

We would have demanded Bin Laden.  Given a timetable and then attacked the Taliban when they declined to turn him over.  In fact, I think the Bush Administration should get high marks for restraint and an appropriate and timely use of force in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. 

(PS – I’m sure the paragraph above is going to manage to tick off both Republicans and Democrats.  Deal with it.)

Where the Bush Administration faltered, and where Gore might not have, is they simply lost track of the plot.  Bin Laden went from “wanted dead or alive” to not being important enough anymore for us to worry about whether we’d captured him yet.  Bush couldn’t help himself from getting us involved in Iraq.  Now John McCain says we may be there a 100 years.  And still Bin Laden roams free.  Where’s the outrage over that?

If we hadn’t attacked Iraq, perhaps we’d have caught Bin Laden by now.  Perhaps we’d be safer.  We’ll never know. 

BGo to fullsize imageut the bottom line is that it’s a myth that Republicans are automatically better than Democrats on nationally security.  It really comes down to the judgement of a particular administration.  In Bush’s case, they blew it with Iraq.  Not because he was a Republican, but because George Bush has little intellectual curiosity and lacks judgement tempered by that and a knowledge of history.

Go to fullsize imageOn the other hand, he is by all accounts a great guy to grab a beer with.  Happily, now Romney has lots of time to join him. 

But please, make sure to buy the next round for Mitt.  He’s a bit tapped out right now.

PPS – I believe Mormons aren’t supposed to drink alcohol.  Didn’t mean literally that Romney should begin drinking.  I’m all about respecting people’s religious choices.

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