Both sides wrong, but free Palestine now…

July 28, 2014

I’m not big on the UN but if there ever was a place for it I would say it is in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel killing thousands of of women and children and others is just plain wrong. And so is Hamas firing rockets into Israel. Both the Israeli and Hamas leadership are wrong. And the Palestinian people themselves seem to be following the wrong leadership or maybe they have no choice.

So far more than a thousand Palestinians have been reported killed (and of course there are the wounded) and less than a hundred Israelis.

The current flare-up in the decades-long conflict is blamed on Israeli soldiers killing a couple of Palestinian youths and then a seeming reprisal with the kidnap and murder of several Israeli youths — and the true circumstances  of any of all this is of course only known to those involved and still alive.

But whatever the case, the UN should step in full force. And the United States should use whatever influence it has and demand once and for all that Palestine become a free state separate from Israel.

Hamas probably does not represent the best interests of the Palestinian people. Any organization that would do things that they know will only lead to the death of their own people and on such a large scale is evil.

Israel is definitely caught in a bind. It does have to defend itself. But somehow killing women and children, even as they lie in hospitals (even if Hamas essentially uses the as shields by placing missile launchers in adjacent areas), cannot be moral or right.

Why Palestine cannot be a free state is beyond me.

The United States should demand Israel come to terms with the Palestinians once and for all or it should wash its hands of the problem and Israel.

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All’s quiet where I am near the border…

July 11, 2014

Been off the blog for several days due to the requirements of my real job. But here I am today near the Mexican border, just north of Nogales, Az., at Rio Rico. All is quiet. Have not seen any refugee children from Latin America yet. Have not even seen any illegal aliens sneaking through the sagebrush or hiding behind cacti. I did pass the border check (several miles north of the border) at which all northbound traffic is stopped at least momentarily — I will go through this later today. Always tons of Border Patrol vehicles there, and many officers, many of whom just seem to be standing around. Do the illegal aliens dutifully go through the official border check? One would think they would skirt around that. I know they are looking for drugs too. Sometimes they have drug-sniffing dogs. I am usually not even stopped, just waved through, or maybe I get a quick: are you a U.S. citizen? On a few occasions officers have made a cursory check of my big truck trailer and maybe even peeped into the sleeper to see if I had any passengers

But seriously this issue of so many thousand children crossing into the U.S. unaccompanied is worrisome. Certainly it would seem to me that we have no choice but to provide decent quarters and decent food and water for them while things are sorted out. Some say what is really going on is that parents hope to follow them or other family members are already here. One Mexican-American I heard on a talk show even suggested that many of the children are actually poor Mexicans who are claiming to be from countries in Central and South America whose citizens we offer refugee status to because of the turmoil in their own nations. I would not know myself (and he probably does not either).

It would also seem to me that once each individual’s identity and status is determined that most of them should be sent back to their native lands. We just can’t take care of the whole world. We really need to talk to those countries and find out what their problem is, that is to say why they cannot take care of their own people. It is our business because it is affecting us.

We also are sorely in need of immigration reform. Our so-called political leaders only seem to care about the next election and which side of the issue to be seen on, and they try to be ready to switch at a moment’s notice depending upon which way the wind is blowing.

There are so many competing interests: On the one hand new arrivals offer cheap labor (although some of these may be a little young). On the other hand they compete for U.S. jobs in a wide array of areas, to include agricultural field and packing house work, food service, domestic services, and construction, as well as others. Does a politician try to craft a policy that benefits working people or businesses who favor cheap, vulnerable labor? So-called conservatives rail against our “open” or porous borders but they don’t always support sanctions on businesses who hire undocumented workers. Liberals call illegals “immigrants”, just as if they were people who had applied for citizenship and decry our treatment of them. But at the same time they complain that illegals lured in by business interests compete for jobs and bring wages down.

And just what is our immigration policy and why is it what it is? I have no idea, I must confess, but let me ask you this: do you?

And one more note before I close. Some of the photos I have seen of these refugee children show rather nicely dressed young folk. Poor people don’t look the same as they did in the past. Just an observation, nothing more. I confess I only saw the photos hurriedly. Maybe I should look again.

P.s.

A double check of news reports reminds me that most of these children are coming across the border into Texas. But there is a huge warehouse (complete with coolers) in Nogales being used to temporarily house some of these children, according to one report.

I don’t know what is wrong in Central America and other parts of Latin  America, but maybe all these years if we would have been trying to help the people and not just anti-communist strong men, things might have progressed better. Foreign policy is always a tough one.

P.s. P.s.

As I was leaving Rio Rico I saw the large “Homeland Security” bus at the truck stop with an armed driver. Could not see whether he had passengers. This border stuff is big business. Lots of people on the payroll.

The Border Patrol officer waved me on with a smile after I briefly stopped.


Three hundred a few days ago turns into 750 U.S. troops in Iraq…

July 1, 2014

Well that was quick. A few days ago we were sending a mere 300 troops or military advisors back to Iraq (plus drones), no boots on the ground, or at least not a substantial force. We were emphatically NOT getting back into the war — Obama promised that. Now we are bringing the total up to 750 for security reasons.

I think if you read the history of Vietnam (and I know I have constantly used Vietnam an analogy, but is so often fits) you will see that at one point we sent in Marines to guard airfields. Well strange thing, the enemy shot at them and then we went whole hog and at the height had committed a half million of our military there.

And ironies of all ironies, the news today is that Ahmad Chalabi, the character who misguided the George W. Bush administration about the apparently non-existent weapons of mass destruction and who used this device to siphon millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars via the CIA into his own pockets, is in the running to be the next prime minister of Iraq. So to use another Vietnam analogy, we would be put into the position of supporting another corrupt leader in an unwinnable war.

Iraq is not Vietnam. But it has the potential of being even worse.

(And today communist — but essentially capitalist in economics — Vietnam is a peaceful trading partner with the United States.)

I don’t for a minute question the danger to the United States and the free world of so-called Islamic militants getting more of a foothold in the region, but we should not again let ourselves be drug into the quagmire. We have to find other means of fighting the terrorists.

If the terrorists do take hold in the region, one day in the future the inhabitants will look around and wonder why the rest of the world has it so much better and cast off the yoke of oppression.

It happened in Eastern Europe. And in a peaceful way.

Really the people there have to make a decision.