Is Iran on our side now? This is all crazy…

June 13, 2014

UPDATE: The news since I first posted all of this is that now President Obama has ruled out sending in U.S. ground troops but other options remain under consideration.

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This is all crazy. Iraq is disintegrating in sectarian fighting and now there is the prospect of Iran taking part and actually being on our (U.S.) side to protect the Shiite government they back, as opposed to the Sunni militants (who are the old Saddam Hussein people, arch enemy of Iran). You may recall the U.S. at one time backed Iraq (Saddam Hussein) in its war against Iran. Maybe we were on the wrong side. Whatever, mixed up in all of this are the Islamic terrorists who would impose harsh Sharia law on all — no rights for women, and no individual rights for anyone really. Whether we should have ever got mixed up in all of this is one thing, but mixed up we got. We spent millions of dollars and suffered much loss of human life with thousands killed and severely wounded (for life) and then walked away with nothing.

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Are we going back to Iraq?

The US’s war in Iraq was supposed to be over and now it was on to winding down our involvement in Afghanistan.

But militants are taking over, threatening the government there we helped create (albeit the one who for all intents and purposes kicked us out). But secretly it asked us recently for some air support against the militants.

And now after declaring our involvement Iraq over President Barack Obama says nothing is off the table, all options are being considered, in the crisis there.

Let’s see: Vietnam, Iraq (two times, now three?), and Afghanistan (where the Taliban is just waiting for us to leave in order to take over).

Is there something similar in all of these?

When you don’t fight a war to win you lose.

Don’t get into war unless you have the stomach to win.

How can our leaders look into the eyes on the faces of the loved ones of those who have died in these wars?

So much sacrifice. For what?

P.s.

It seems to me that the only sensible way to have handled things was to go for all-out victory and then impose rule by a transition government of our creation and stay engaged. If that was not practical then we should have not been involved in the first place. If we go back now I doubt half measures will work. It’s a tough decision. Do we have leadership here in the United States capable of handling it? Not sure of that at all…

 

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Obama’s Iran nuclear deal: will anyone believe it? and just what is it?

November 24, 2013

Last night before I went to bed I was reading that President Obama was going to announce a breakthrough deal with Iran to keep that country from continuing with its nuclear weapons program, but from the story I gathered it was going to be about  1 a.m. or so my time so I didn’t stay up — I’m glad I didn’t from what I just read this morning. Maybe I’ll find out more soon, but from what I just read in the news all I get is something that is:

Vague, unclear, indefinite, not precise and so on, and I have to ask: Will anyone believe it considering the current credibility of this administration? And just what has really been agreed to?

I mean unless Iran had agreed to let international inspectors (to include ones from the United States) unlimited access to virtually anywhere in Iran (and it did not) at any time why would we possibly trust that nation?

The only thing I have read so far is that in return for the gradual lifting of some economic sanctions, Iran has agreed to slow down its move toward the bomb. Well progress maybe, but hardly a breakthrough deal.

If the sanctions were working well enough to make Iran want to bargain, I would have said keep them on, maybe make them stronger.

And as of this time, I’m still sticking with my idea put forth in this blogosphere space more than once: tell Iran in secret that it is not to develop the bomb, that if it does, we’ll take care of it (them). That would leave Iran the face-saving option of dropping its nuclear weapons program seemingly on its own volition.

But of course this current deal, if there really is one, might just be the breakthrough after all. I would hope it is.

For my part I would just as soon that the United States would have good relations with all nations and would keep out of their business as long as those nations are not directly threatening us. We cannot run what goes on inside their borders, nor should we want to.

We will see.

And I’ll bet some are recalling Ronald Reagan’s admonition about dealing with the Soviets on arms issues: “trust but verify”.

(I’m not particularly fond of quoting the old actor in chief, but it seemed appropriate here.)

P.s.

Of course the diplomatic work in all of this was done by Secretary of State John Kerry, a man who has never impressed me (not that he nor anyone else need worry about that), but perhaps he does have some talent. But Obama is the boss and will get the ultimate credit or the blame.

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Check out my Video Extra: http://youtu.be/lX7bVg_Jon8


We need to quit our nation building now, but we also need to act in self defense in preventing Iran from producing nuclear weapons…

February 3, 2012

It looks as though Iran is getting some pressure to abandon its project to create nuclear weapons (Iran denies it is for weapons, claiming it is for electricity generation only — few if any believe that).

The Israeli defense minister let it be known that time is running short, in the Israeli’s opinion, to do something. The word is, come spring if Iran has not backed off, Israel will strike.

And it seems as if the Obama administration is in on the pressure game, with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta confirming to a news reporter that the Israelis have said as much. The U.S. it is said tried unsuccessfully to get the Israelis to agree to give the economic sanctions more time — they replied there is little time left.

The U.S. will be blamed whether it is involved or directly involved or not.

You will note the Obama administration does not seem to be telling Israel no (even though we probably could not stop Israel from acting, certainly we have some fair amount of leverage over that nation).

I had begun to write a post about being against our nation-building efforts in the Middle East. But stopping Iran from getting the bomb, so to speak, has nothing to do with nation building and everything to do with self defense of the U.S. and the free world.

There had been a joint military exercise in Israel between their forces and ours planned but it was cancelled. Many speculate that is because Israel had more pressing matters to take care of and did not need the complication of American troops being in the way.

It is a difficult situation or problem, that is, telling another nation it cannot have nuclear weapons when we along with other nations have them. But we cannot let the proliferation of nuclear weapons continue. We survived the nuclear saber rattling of the Cold War, probably because our adversary the Soviet Union did not want a nuclear exchange any more than we did — an accident could have easily happened, though.

Iran is run by religious zealots and political mad men who might do anything. It must be stopped.

I have often written that I think the warnings ought to be done in secret to let Iran save face and allow it to abandon the nuclear weapons program on its own. But this public display of pressure may be needed too.

I would like to see the president of the United States make a speech and say that the U.S. will not allow the proliferation of nuclear weapons and leave it at that, no specific threat, you decide what we mean Iran.

Actions will eventually speak louder than words, and Iran needs to know action may come soon.

I changed my mind about how I would lead into this blog piece after hearing about the latest prediction on a strike on Iran, as I understand it, first reported by the Washington Post and picked up by other outlets, and used as the lead into the CBS Evening News, at least on the broadcast I heard on radio.

And now back to what I had originally intended to put forth:

Just began reading a story on the New York Times site about a Marine unit penetrating deep into the Afghan hinterlands where no NATO forces had ventured before, where the Taliban has had complete control. In the process, one Marine was seriously injured while trying to dismantle and IED and another injured as well. But bringing along some of the native government troops with them, they managed to plant the Afghan national flag.

Well, that’s all well and good, but I would call that “nation building”.

And that is one place where I am in entire agreement with Ron Paul. Under our constitution or at least under our constitution combined with the clear intentions of our founding fathers, we, the United States of America, have no business building nations other than our own. It is far too costly in blood and treasure and not our business anyway.

We feel compelled to hold on in Afghanistan, even though the Obama administration has made it known that it plans to essentially turn the brunt of the effort over to the Afghans come 2013 — but still have U.S. troops remain as backup, I guess —  because we feel we have to finish what we started, otherwise the effort, to include thousands dead and wounded, will have been in vain.

Before I go into 20/20 hindsight, I want to say it is my opinion that we should turn it all over to the Afghan government now and rid ourselves of the burden. If the Taliban take it all back, so be it. If the Taliban start threatening us somehow, we should go directly after them in what ever way feasible.

Now back to the 20/20 hindsight:

The 9/11 attack on the United States, the equivalent of Pearl Harbor, was essentially launched from Afghanistan where the late Osama Bin Laden and his Al Qaeda force received aid and comfort from the Taliban who ran Afghanistan at the time. We made the decision to invade Afghanistan after it refused to turn over Bin Laden and continued to protect Al Qaeda.

We should have gone in full bore, rounded up Bin Laden and all the Al Qaeda we could, took over for a time and supervised the setting up of a new government — yes nation building to a degree — and then at the appropriate time left. And I would not have suggested too long of a time — probably far less time than we, along with allied forces, spent supervising things in Japan and Germany. The populations and cultures of those two nations seemed to take to the forming of democratic and non-belligerent governments. This is not the case in Afghanistan. It is hostile territory with a backwards, tribal culture. Some things are not worth the bother — Afghanistan is not.

I say keep the aircraft carriers and the troops ready to respond where need be for the defense of the United States and its true interests (the free flow of goods, to include oil, being among them), but let us not get bogged down in trying to recreate another people’s culture and government.

If the presidential campaign were a one-issue event I might well vote for Ron Paul.

Neither Democratic president Obama nor any of the Republicans likely to become president are apt to change the status quo, although to his credit, Obama does seem to ever-so-slowly be winding down the costly and for the most part futile efforts in the Middle East.

Like I say, if electing a president was composed of just one issue, I might vote for Ron Paul.

But life is complex, whether the Republicans understand that or not.


Huntsman right on in supporting Iran strike…

October 10, 2011

UPDATE (10-12-11)

When I posted this the news of the alleged (and I say alleged — it sounds iffy to me) Iranian plot to Kill the Saudi Arabian ambassador in the United States had not come out yet. I’d have to know more about it all before making a comment on what the U.S. should do about that. Certainly there has to be clear proof that it was a bona-fide Iranian plot (remember Bush and WMDs). But whatever, actions (on our part) speak louder than words.

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I wholeheartedly agree with long-shot GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman who is quoted as saying that a pre-emptive strike on Iran would be appropriate if it looked like that rogue nation was at all close to getting the nuclear weapons capability (or weapons of mass destruction). The report said that while overall he is calling for pull back of troops and trimming down or “right sizing” of the defense establishment, he would be in favor of hitting Iran.

To me it is scary enough that in my lifetime I lived through the 50s and 60s when it looked as though we could be hit by nuclear-laden missiles at any time from the old USSR, possibly out of human error even, and it is worrying enough that so many nations already have nuclear capability and some are our sworn enemies. And Pakistan has them and it is nominally our ally, but in reality, not so much, and Al Qaeda or some other such group, might easily get its hands on the weapons — and then what?

My idea, as I have blogged before, is that we tell Iran (or any other nation we are concerned about) in private that we will no longer tolerate them holding weapons of mass destruction, thus giving the nation a chance to dismantle its program and save face by letting it claim it did so on its own. But if the nation does not comply — we strike.

It is not a matter of fairness or pushing our power around; it is a matter of survival, not only of the United States, but the world.

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The story about the Huntsman remarks:

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1011/65531.html

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P.s.

Huntsman does not seem to be getting any traction in the GOP race for nomination. Romney seems the only likely candidate, but he suffers from solid blocks of resistance within the GOP. Herman Cain has won a couple of GOP straw polls and is getting a lot of buzz. I know nothing about him, except I saw one clip in which he seemed feisty, with a good sense of humor. He’s a black man running for president who refuses to follow the traditional or conventional path of social engineering expected from someone in his position (or color). He did criticize Perry over that flap about the use of “N” word on a sign at a hunting lodge his family used, but he stresses work over social programs, carrying the standard GOP pro-business line. A black man vs. a black man for president of the United States — yes that would be interesting — a true test of residual racism in the U.S. The racist voter would have nowhere to go (what would the voting numbers be?).


Sorcery charges in Iran portend what could happen in U.S. if religious fundamentalists take control…

May 7, 2011

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black or accusing it of black magic, I can hardly take the folks in Iran’s higher ruling echelons seriously when they have political rivals arrested for practicing “sorcery”.

It seems that the slightly eccentric President Mahmoud Amadinejad, noted for his idiotic pronouncements and tirades, his opposition to the survival of Israel and his denial that the Holocaust ever happened, his looking as if he forgot to shave, and his penchant for wearing what most would call a light work jacket, instead  of the customary coat and tie, or even robes in his part of the world, is having a feud with Iran’s supreme religious leader Ayatollah Khamenei (not to be confused with his predecessor of a similar name), who claims that he, the Ayatollah, is the final arbiter of all things political as well things religious and cultural (in other words everything).

So without getting into all the details, Akmadinejad has seen some of his cohorts arrested for practicing sorcery.

Being able to level a charge of criminal sorcery would be a handy tool to have here in the United States for a political rival who feared his or her opponent’s charisma and ability to mesmerize audiences. For instance, Sarah Palin seems to manage to captivate certain  audiences (ignorant though they may be). Maybe she’s a witch. Maybe The Donald is a warlock. Have them locked up for sorcery. Or maybe they in turn would level charges of black magic against our first black president (that would be Barack Obama, not Bill Clinton).

It seems a little strange and ironic to me that the supreme religious leader in Iran would accuse anyone of practicing sorcery. I mean, I do not want to offend anyone who considers themselves religious or anyone who is a religious leader on any level. I have to explain that I personally cannot claim to be religious, even though I often invoke the name of God and even have a kind of latent belief in some type of holy (or higher) being and because of cultural upbringing lean toward Christianity. But to be a regious leader, such as the Ayatollah, or even the Pope, seems like, on its face, must require the belief in the supernatural by both the leader and the followers who recognize the leader.

So one sorcerer accuses another of being a sorcerer.

On the serious side, the goings on in Iran point to the dangers of having a religion-controlled government, a theocracy, or even just an official religion.

It is not a stretch to say the same or similar goings on could happen here in the United States if the religious right ever got complete control (they have made serious inroads into the Republican Party, with potential candidates feeling it necessary to make their appearances and kowtows before fundamentalist Christian gatherings).


To take out Iran or not to, that could be the question and, no Sarah you can’t see it from your front porch…

November 8, 2010

The paradox the United States finds itself in trying to be or at least preach that it is a peace-loving nation is that it is also at this time the world’s only super power but that super power means little if it cannot be used.

Put another way, while it is good to stand up to bullies, one has to keep in mind the bully may call one’s bluff and one better be prepared to put up or shut up.

I detest war or any type of armed aggression, but I also feel somewhat secure in this dangerous world by being a citizen of the world’s super power.

So I say all of this in regard to an article I just read (well by now some hours ago) in the Huffington Post (and entity that kind of represents Rush Limburger Cheese in reverse) that quotes Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina who is on the senate’s armed services committee as saying the U.S. ought not only to take out Iran’s nuclear capability but its military (Navy, I think the article emphasized) and Revolutionary Guard too and maybe give its citizens a chance to install a new government (presumably friendly to the West).

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The article, which is not exclusive to the Huffington Post, is as follows: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/06/lindsey-graham-calls-for-strike-on-iran_n_779997.html

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Keeping in mind the Obama administration claims all options are currently open on Iran, Graham says many Republicans would support tough action, beyond sanctions, by the Democratic administration.

Personally, to me it seems that when you have certified nut cases, such as president Amadinejad and the mullahs, or hoolahs or whoever they call themselves, in charge of a nation and they threaten to among other things wipe out Israel, and sentence people to death by stoning, and deny basic human rights to their own citizens and threaten movement of the world’s oil supply we cannot sit idly by and let them gain the power to really cause damage.

As far as what they do to their own citizens, I am for the most part only in sympathy with the wronged — the citizens of Iran are really the only ones who can take care of that problem, except that if such a nation gets to join the nuclear weapons club it could inflict its horrendous ways on parts of or all of the rest of the world.

The U.S. really opened Pandora’s box when it created the A bomb, but someone else would have done it eventually — most likely Nazi Germany, which was close to it during World War II.

It’s kind of tricky in a diplomatic sense having one’s own nuclear arsenal and then arguing that others should not get their own, but that’s the cost of survival.

Hopefully a military strike on Iran will not be necessary. I think the less said about it by our government the better, lest we box ourselves into a corner. Still it’s good of Graham to put that out there as a message to Iran and even to the American people, who could actually have a chance to voice their opinion yay or nay, via opinion polls and comments to their elected representatives and such,  rather than find out one morning we had another Bay of Pigs, long in the planning, but very secret, at least to the American people, maybe not to Castro, who easily put it down and embarrassed the heck out of the U.S.

My main concern about possible military action, besides the obvious that people can get hurt, is that it would require much planning and have clear goals and not turn into some kind of long, drawn out nation building fiasco.

And can you imagine Sarah Palin in the White House having to make such a decision?

First she would have to locate Iran on the map (hint to Sarah: no you can‘t see it from your front porch).

P.s.

Sen. Graham has served active duty in the Air Force and has seen some time in the war zones of the Middle East while serving in reserve status as a lawyer. He currently is a colonel in the Air Force Reserve. While I do not see that he has any actual combat experience, at least he wears the uniform — I only mention this because so many who advocate military action never have offered their services in that regard, although certainly military service is not a requirement to have an opinion or to hold office, nor should it be.


We need to regroup in the struggle between East and West…

August 21, 2010

I wrote this the other night and due to a continuing problem with my computer, especially when I’m mobile, that is remote, away from a landline connection, I could not post it. I note this because as I was driving today (which is now already yesterday on my blog time) and listening to the Ronn Owens show on KGO Radio, San Francisco they were talking about the Saudi eye-for-an-eye method, among other things, and many people were appalled as I was at such backwardness. Also, while the thesis of this post is that we should pull back from the Middle East (I guess that’s what it is, anyway), I also remember now that in the real world what happens is that if one power draws back another steps in. In this case, the Russians are apparently helping the Iranians with their nuclear program. Even though they are supposedly trying to safeguard from the Iranians getting bomb capability and only helping them to create power — well, if you really think that will be the case…. And if we withdraw from Afghanistan, others will step in, to include the Chinese, and grab the abundant minerals that are supposed to be there. And anyway, now that I’ve written this long preamble, I realize that I was writing about the ongoing struggle of East vs. West, so I don’t mean we should quit, rather we need to be more circumspect in our actions going forward.

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First it’s the execution of young lovers  by stoning them to death for the “crime” of trying to elope, done at the direction of the Taliban in Afghanistan; that was a few days ago.

Now today I read that our nominal ally Saudi Arabia may punish a man who took after another with a meat cleaver and left him paralyzed by having doctors paralyze him, the attacker, by damaging his spinal cord.

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ADD 1:

And we mustn’t forget the pending case against a 43-year old Iranian mother who was sentenced to be stoned to death but who now, thanks to the mercy of the Islamic government of Iran,  may only face death by hanging — she is accused of being an adulterer, something she claims she was forced into confessing by means of torture (well, the West, or at least the U.S., is not completely off the hook on that one — i.e. our torture of Islamic prisoners — make ’em talk, do anything to make ’em talk!

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While having to note our own aberrations from civility, I have to wonder: Why do we even deal with cultures who behave in such barbaric ways?

Yes, once upon a time our ancestors in the Western World did things like this, but we have moved beyond this, for the most part, executions in the U.S. notwithstanding.

In Afghanistan the latest stoning was done at the behest of the Taliban insurgents who were once in control of that country and who well may take over completely again. While some in Afghanistan may not approve of the Taliban action, from what I read many Afghans do — it’s part of their religion and culture.

I know we, the U.S., need oil in the region, and I know we can’t just avoid everyone and everything in the world because it does not always agree with our sensibilities, but it seems we should draw the line somewhere.

I am uncomfortable with the cozy relationship we have with Saudi Arabia. By being on its side we support cruel social practices such as administering justice via goulash operations, amputations and a severing of a spinal cord?

And I always recall that the 9/11 attackers were Saudi Arabians, although supposedly not sponsored by that kingdom itself — but it does seem strange.

There is an ongoing culture clash between East and West.

I for one hope the West wins.

But I am not sure taking the East head on is the way to go. I fear we are being sucked in:

The war in Iraq that is over, but not really over; the quagmire that is Afghanistan; the taunting by Iran, building a nuclear capability and thumbing its nose at us and threatening all the while to annihilate Israel, which for better or worse we are sworn to protect; the temptation for the U.S. or Israel or both to pre-emptively attack Iran, thus threatening global war; the ongoing unprecedented flooding of Pakistan, which adds to the chaos of a nation that has the bomb and is under internal threat by Muslim and anti-American extremists.

It seems to me that we are being played the sucker by our enemies and with the aid of mother nature in the case of Pakistan.

Instead of constantly shifting our forces from one place to the other in the Middle East, we might do better to pull back and regroup into a more defensive posture.

There are far more of them (the hordes of the East) than there are us (the civilized West).

At one time I am sure that the thinking was that we would slowly but surly transform the backward East into a modern civilized (western-styled) society. But while some in the East want to and do follow our ways, a larger number may not.

The Crusades of old were about religion.

The struggle today has religion in it, but it is more about survival of civilization as we in the West know it.

We do face a threat from within as well from the forces of something that amounts to a kind of reactionary right-wing neo-Nazism. But we can’t even defend ourselves against that if we get sucked into a trap in the East.

Right now we are dealing with our own economic and culture change and it is quite painful. And we are extremely vulnerable because it seems our middle class is disappearing. It was the middle class that brought us the form of democracy that we have today.

Technology is moving at an accelerated pace, leaving millions with nothing productive to do.

There is a deep threat to western civilization as we know it.

We need to regroup at home in order to withstand the onslaught of the East.

The proposed building of a mosque or cultural center some blocks away from ground zero of 9/11 is not a threat in and of itself, probably, but it is a symbol nonetheless.

While I think constitutionally the backers of the mosque have every right to go ahead, I would hope some kind of compromise could be reached.

It may be that Islam poses no real threat to the West, but rather some of its factions or some who misuse its name do. But I have not seen enough evidence that such is the case. It seems Muslims are too quiescent in the debate on whether their religion is attempting to take over the West.

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ADD 2:

My newspaper tells me that the Imam who wants to build the mosque near the 9/11 ground zero is now saying that religious extremism is posing security threats all over the world — amen to that. Also there was a story about some American Muslims condemning Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism (they had just returned from visiting former death camps in Germany) — that’s encouraging.

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(Well of course we know good Christians want to be predominate, but they already are in the West — like it or not it is ingrained into our culture, even if you are not Christian.)

The U.S. and others in the West have certainly done things over the decades to bring on some animosity and resentment — kicking out Palestinians to create Israel, as an example (and I know it‘s a long and complicated story, really).

But overall the West has tried to do good, sending much foreign aid to nations of the Middle East and East and all over the world.

Come to think of it, we probably should not have tried to help Afghanistan all those years ago in fighting off the Soviets. In the first place they apparently did not really need our help. In the second place, what did we get? The 9/11 attack on us.

They used to say “East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet.”

In this modern world that is not exactly true. But there is a divide and we need to keep up our end.

P.s.

I don’t know maybe that last sentence was a kind of mixed metaphor — I just go stream of consciousness sometimes, nearly all the time.