Tag Archives: Military

The Trump Train Rolls on…

So “The Donald” has swept Super Tuesday and pundits are anguishing over how in the world this has happened.

The Republican establishment is falling over themselves wondering how this guy has run the table.

I’m cracking up over here: how the Republican party can wonder how this paragon of dysfunction and hate has ascended to the throne of their party mystifies me. Are they that clinically incapable of self-awareness? Everything their platform and party has stood for in at least the last generation has led to this. I think they are just surprised it took this long…it’s like pouring lighter fluid on the campfire and wondering how-in-the-hell did the flame back up the stream and blow us to smithereens?

It’s genuinely frightening that a wannabe fuhrer like Trump is one general election away from the presidency, but I remain confident that what makes him appealing to the frightened masses, is exactly what will energize the segment of our population that is…well…rational…to trounce this clown come November.

If not…well, I can only imagine a variety of cataclysmic scenario’s up to and including a potential military coup should “The Donald” actually become commander-in-chief. I realize this sounds alarmist, but Trump sweeping Super Tuesday would have seemed alarmist a year ago. So there’s that.

At the end of the day, if “The Donald” becomes our next President, it will be entirely what we deserve. It should be no surprise. We’ve been asleep at the switch and sitting on our hands, and votes, for FAR too long.


Reaping What We Sow…

Syria is in our face.

We can’t run and we can’t hide. President Obama recklessly painted us into this corner when he declared there was a “red line” with regard to Syrian use of chemical weapons.  But his ill-advised rhetoric is not to blame.

Truman began this descent into Constitutional madness, and our lack of Congressional accountability has fomented it.

Without rehashing an endlessly fascinating (I’m being a serious wonk here) debate on the merits and legality of nation states taking violent, war-like action against other states, I submit that our constitution would be served best by at least trying to maintain an appearance of balance with regard to the Executive and Legislative branches when it comes to “declaring war”.  Or in this case, utilizing American military resources to strike another country.

Here’s where it’s gone all wrong. Truman  unilaterally launched our now famous “police action” in Korea, and ever since, the Executive branch has used that as a green light to launch all manner of military excursions.

There is a real honest and important policy consideration to be undertaken (as yet hopelessly mired in politics) regarding the use of American military forces in the interests of protecting the citizens of rogue states and merciless strongmen.  Think Rwanda where our inaction facilitated the genocide there. Or the “Killing Fields” of Cambodia.

When is it appropriate for us to become the worlds policemen?  Is it in the interest of our national security or simply a moral imperative?

Sadly, we are unlikely to have this debate. As surely as we are unlikely to systematically parse the actual legality of the action the Executive branch appears to be headed towards.

Why?  Because our system of government is broken.  The powers of the Executive branch have exceeded their intended boundaries as critically as our failed attempts at election reform have filled our Congress with short-sighted, career politicians with no understanding or the word compromise.

A poll released today states that a majority of Americans want Congressional approval before any military action is taken. In a perfect, “Constitutional” world, I support that sentiment.

But let me repeat: our system is broken and the only result of attempting to get Congressional approval would be another vote along party lines. No actual compromise or representative government would be seen within miles of the beltway. It would be another facade.

Do I think military action in Syria is the right move? Yes…but I simply despise the way we got here.

We are paying the price for decades of political instant gratification that began with Truman and masterfully exploited during the era of the “Great Communicator” himself.

We have only ourselves to blame…


Throw Us a Rope Mr. President

Whether Edward Snowden turns out to be the modern day version of Daniel Ellsberg, or simply an opportunistic, overachieving ITT Tech grad (as some pundits suggest), this much is clear:  Mr. President, you’ve a crisis of confidence on your hands.

Until recently, I was your biggest fan.  You won me over during your first campaign (okay, even before) and I’ve steadfastly remained in your corner until, well, until your drones and your sham FISA court, and your Gitmo (remember Gitmo sir, that place that you promised to close by now?) and your inability to express the razor-sharp reasoning that leads your administration to continue to operate outside the Constitution. OK, your Justice Deparment will argue that your policies are within the letter of the law but let’s get real…even if that’s true (and I don’t believe it is), you’re a big boy and we both know perception is reality, PARTICULARLY in the political arena.

So here’s the deal Mr. President: your actions have forced me into a segment of society I’d rather not invite over for dinner…the right wing conspiracy theorist. The Tea Partiers. The NRA fascist. The Fox News contingent. Yecch. I don’t like it here and I want to go home.

I want to go back to the audacity of hope that you promised us. The moral commitment that we came to expect from you. If it remains, it is well hidden. What we SEE is a President generally willing to compromise with the right (in a spirit of cooperation that has long since left the station) and a President that is willing to forgo the message of hope that you instilled in all of us.

Do the right thing Mr. President. Be clear with us why these draconian measures are necessary. Tell us exactly why the balance has swung so far into the infringement of our civil liberties. If you can’t do that, then make it stop…NOW.

I can’t be your only supporter that has become disenfranchised with the military-industrial complex that you oversee…and perpetuate. You’re throwing us to the wolves (Fox-es) Mr. President and your legacy is being critically injured through your actions and inaction.

Throw us a rope…


Syria & Obama…Kudos for What He’s NOT Doing.

(courtesy puoicm.org)

As the violence begins to creep towards a tipping point in Aleppo, it seems a good time to laud the President for his inaction.  Yes, I said his INACTION.

We’ve been down this road before, most recently in Iraq, and we all know how well that turned out…

Republicans have been capitalizing on the President’s lack of military aid (although I’m quite sure clandestine “back-channel” support is alive and well) and rhetoric with regard to the Syrian crisis.  They want tough talk and threats of military action, if not actual military intervention in a conflict the resistance fighters themselves have asked that we not engage in.  Hmmm, not invited to the party by the people we seek to help. Message received. Loud and clear.

The folks on the ground, and those in the State Department and Pentagon whose professional lives are consumed with studying the crisis and the nuances involved, overwhelmingly endorse the Obama Administration’s position on Syria.  Yet that’s not enough. The pundits on the right, including failed presidential candidate John McCain call for “Moral Leadership” on the issue. Sure…let’s denounce al-Assad and jump headlong into another sectarian conflict.  It worked so well in Iraq and for the Bush II folks…why not make the same leap in Syria?

The President knows that his position on Syria is a political liability. An electorate spoon-fed 20 second sound bites historically doesn’t tolerate actual foresight and intelligence.  But to the casual observer, I’d like to applaud the President for not only what I view as his “Moral Authority” but his willingness, on an election eve, to do the right thing.  I simply can’t believe a lot of politicians would make the same decision, including men and women whom I admire.  That Obama is willing to NOT act in this case speaks volumes to me about the man and his character.

It says a whole lot more to me than any campaign ad ever will.  Kudos Mr. President. Kudos for your courage. Kudos for simply doing the right thing in the face of adversity.


“There is no Them. There are only facets of Us.”~John Green

The Republican National Convention is in full swing and I think this is a good time to approach a subject I have tried to avoid, for the most part, on my social media sites:  politics.

I suspect that if you have had a cohesive, healthy emotional relationship with your parents, your political leaning have likely been shaped by them.  There are of course exceptions, but in my case this certainly rings true.  My father was a war hero.  He was a member of the 24th Marine Corps Raider Battalion and landed on many a beach in the South Pacific, including Iwo Jima, where he was shot by a Japanese sniper…when Korea rolled around he re-enlisted.  This man killed other human beings at close range and in his later years was haunted by the atrocities he had witnessed.

So it’s hard for a young lad like myself not to pay attention when dad tells you he met Ronald Reagan (at the time my dad was an executive with the NBC affiliate in Sacramento and Reagan was governor) and that the guy was a fraud.  Here is a war hero calling out a man that made-believe for a living and never experienced the horror of war.  Yet this man has become a beacon of the Republican party.

My dad was a liberal…a term of derision these days but he would have kicked your ass in his day had you told him that.  Here is a guy that knew what it was to sacrifice for his country and he had little tolerance for the political posers or the racist of his day.  Dad was a proud supporter of the civil rights movement and when your father espouses these beliefs, with his credentials…it just makes sense.

I’m a liberal too…and I’m not afraid to say it.  I have very strong beliefs that our government exists partially to not only provide economic freedom and growth, but to provide for those less fortunate, to stand up for the little guy, to root for and support the underdog.  I also believe in capital punishment and strongly support the second amendment.  I’m a former member of the NRA who rejected my membership when they launched their paranoid campaign to defeat President Obama in the last election.  I don’t believe in big government but I believe in universal healthcare or socialized medicine if you will.  I simply cannot believe in this day and age, that we are one of the last first world countries without it.  We provide military, police and fire protection for our populace, but somehow healthcare, by definition a life-and-death proposition, is not worthy of that basic tenet of the function of government.

So I guess I’m not a pure liberal…I share some beliefs with my Republican friends.  However, I am disgusted and frankly frightened about some of the rhetoric I hear from the G.O.P. in recent years.  It is so far from the norm, and the dialogue so vitriolic that it angers me.  I want to react, I want to fight back.  But for the most part I don’t.  My vote is my sword.

The political discourse in our country has become toxic at the state and national level.  In many cases it has digressed into an uninformed, base schoolyard fight.  I feel bullied at times by the hateful rhetoric but remain willing to fight to the death if necessary to protect my beliefs and the sanctity of my country…the country my dad fought for.  And if you’re a Republican and a Romney supporter, you may feel the same way about some of my beliefs.  I am only too aware that my Democratic party has its share of shrill idiots and merchants of hate.

What I find unsettling is that some people in my life who I love, friends that I cherish, are Republicans and by extension, I see them as believers of the Hannity’s and Beck’s and Limbaugh’s.  That may or may not be an accurate assessment but the bottom line is I am so disappointed when I find out these people don’t share my cherished beliefs.  I want them to see the light.  In my mind, I want them to open their minds and be better people.  Alas, they are probably hoping the same for me…maybe worse…I don’t know.

What I do know is this…the political discourse needs to change if we are to stay the UNITED States of America.  If you don’t pigeon-hole me as an “elite liberal” or simply a derisive “liberal”,  I promise to try not to unfairly categorize you and your beliefs.  If you agree that we can disagree without personal attacks, I’m all over that.  Finally, if you can take the biggest step of all…if you can agree that at some point, compromise is not only necessary, but inevitable for any union, then we can return this country to something better than what I’m afraid we are leaving for our children.  If you are a Republican…God bless you and your family.  I’m a liberal Democrat…I hope you can reciprocate.

 

 


And then it didn’t hurt so much…

It’s been a fascinating week watching my daughter (via social media), across the country, get settled into her dorm at college in D.C.  Equally fascinating has been my reaction to this whole fiasco.  As previously documented, it was pretty tough on me when she left.  My pride and joy was moving across the country to begin, what will no doubt be,  her swan song as far as the father/daughter Maslow’s physiological and safety phase of our relationship.  That makes me sad.

What makes me guilty is the fact that my daughter is going to college and she’s not being deployed.  So far so good with my 16 year old son, he’s not likely to enlist and will be college bound.  As I wallowed in my pity this week I read an article about parents whose son was near the end of his deployment in Afghanistan and was killed with less than two weeks prior to his demobilization.

I cannot imagine the sacrifice these young men and women, let alone their parents are making.  I am so far separated from their reality it just doesn’t feel right.  Advocates have suggested bringing back the draft as a means of sharing the sacrifice and raising awareness of the reality of armed conflict, but I’m not sure that’s the answer.  Maybe it’s just a matter of a parent like me being aware…being aware that I haven’t yet had to share the sacrifice of others and be damn glad I haven’t.  Maybe it’s a matter of gratitude manifested in political action and outreach and outrage that so many of our national treasures, young men and women like my own, are being sacrificed for what???  My father fought in World War II.  There was a clear national resolve and purpose in that war.  At the outset of the war in Afghanistan, I believe we could make the same case.  But then we allowed our President to carry on a sick personal agenda in Iraq and our focus in Afghanistan was terminally damaged.

I am sad my daughter is gone.  But, God willing, she will come home.  I am so grateful I can say that.  Other’s can’t.  And we should not forget that…


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