Saturday, March 26, 2011

Weekend Update: Libya, Japan, and other important news

To say the last few weeks have been anything but uncertain would be an understatement. Between whats going on with Japans earthquake and nuclear situation, plus all the protest in middle east you could say that the worlds stage has been pretty busy. After a while it gets tiring to listen to the same old news everyday, then you imagine what it would be like to live in those poor countries right now. On Monday President Obama will address the Nation and give an update on the situation in Libya. Major bombing operations have been transferred out of the hands of the U.S. and now is being taken care of by other members of the United Nations coalition.

Ny Times - Qaddafi Forces Pull Back as Rebels Retake Ajdabiya

ABC News - Air Raids Force Gadhafi Retreat, Rebels Seize East

Ny Times - Unrest in Syria and Jordan Poses New Test for U.S. Policy

CNN - Yemen president says he is 'ready to step down

Reuters - Japan nuclear crisis far from over - UN agency

CNN - Iowa Republicans eager for 2012 race to kick into gear

Fox News - Ohio Mom Claims U.S. Army Made 20-Year-Old Son Diet to Death

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

After 10 years in Afghanistan why are we still there ?

As of March, 2011, the United States has spent over $455.5 BILLION dollars on the war in Afghanistan. DoD tallies (which differ from independent sources) report that again, as of March, 2011, 1,412 soldiers (including the 11 CIA civilians) have been killed and 10,468 wounded during Afghan hostilities.

If you break it down, this translates out to 2-3 lives and $796,328,671.00 in taxpayer money wasted every week on a war that nobody wants. That’s right; a recent poll revealed that 2/3 of the American public no longer thinks that the war in Afghanistan is worth fighting.

While the current official stance is that troops will begin being moved out of Afghanistan in July of 2011 (with all troops to be removed by 2014), there is talk of what a post 2014 US Presence in Afghanistan should look like, which doesn’t sound as if the US plans on ever leaving completely. This talk was corroborated by Defense Secretary Gates who observed that the transference of security to Afghani civilian forces (which are currently being trained by the US military) may very well take longer than the 2014 deadline. It is a statement that is not sitting at all well with the American people, nor is the fact that it has been pointed out by sources outside the government that even if the number of Afghans being trained to take over security (the number is over 300,000 at this point) can be trained in time, the cost to Afghanistan (a notoriously impoverished country) to keep them trained and paid and supplied would be greater than Afghanistan’s entire gross domestic product

In spite of President Obama’s assurances that troops will begin to be withdrawn in July of this year, General Patraeus was recently quoted as saying he will “provide options and a recommendation” to the President regarding the number of troops to remove from Afghanistan this year. That caution is needed, and he went on to say that while steps forward in Afghani security are real, that they are “fragile and reversible.”

But it isn’t just the idea of a continued US presence in Afghanistan that is sticking in the craw of the American public; it is also the suspicion that there has been an organized effort by the government to hoodwink the American public into support of the war. Everything from the supposed ‘wikileaks’ documents which reports ties between the Taliban and Pakistan, to the 2010 announcement by pentagon officials (backed up by American geologists) that over $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits have been ‘discovered’ in Afghanistan (a fact which has been known to geologists for decades) make it clear that the US government is doing everything within its power to stall the withdrawal of troops.

Is the reluctance on the part of the US government to withdraw from Afghanistan truly a result over the concern for the Afghani people or is it, as some claim, a reaction to the 2010 agreement between Iran and Pakistan to create the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline? (which would give Afghanistan – given its border with Iran – a strategic significance in the world oil market).

In short, what began eleven years ago as a commitment by the American Government to find and bring to justice those responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks on American soil (specifically Osama bin Laden, who was being harbored by the Islamic extremist Taliban government, headquartered in Afghanistan) has turned into a full-scale headache, complete with the responsibility of rebuilding Afghanistan (for whatever reason) within a democratic framework and maintaining an American presence in the country even after we have turned security over to the Afghanis.

Is it truly the security of America and Americans that is now at stake? Or is it something more?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Is Libya proving to be just another Parallel between the fall of the Roman Empire and the U.S. Empire ?

If you have been folllowing my blog, you have an idea of how much I love my country and how I only want the best for America. That is why it alarms me that we still have not learned our lesson when it comes to over extending our powers around the world. From where I stand, it seems people just don't want to accept the fact that we have to become a passive aggressive super power if we want to remain a super power at all.

I think that some Politicians just don't get it, like Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. Now in full disclosure I have to admit that I actually like Senator Graham and agree with him on some issues. On Fox News Sunday Senator Lindsey Graham, who is a senior member of the Armed Services Commitee, said that the U.S. should be taking the lead role in the conflict in Libya. He was quoted as saying that " I am worried that we are taking a back seat rather then a leadership role " , he also said we need to, " Isolate , strangle and replace this man, this should be our goal " speaking of Libyan leader Col Muammar al  Qaddafi. Now, is it me or does Senator Graham sound like he is speaking of an all out war? Can you remember the last time we just shot a few cruise missiles at a country and we accomplished everything we needed to? Because I don't, what I do know is that it just cost us over $100 million to shoot those cruise missiles at Libya over the last two days.

I also think President Obama backed himself into a corner when saying that Col Muammar al Qaddafi must leave power. How are we going to get him out of power unless we send in ground troops to do so ? I don't think any other countries are gong to send in troops to get him out. So in a few weeks when we spend over a billion shooting bombs at Qaddafi and he is still in power, then what? We will have lost more credibility, spread ourselves out even thinner, and we will have to cut more domestic programs in order to pay for the conflict.

My point is with all the money spent on the Iraq war, $2 billion a month in Afghanistan, and now a $100 million in two days imposing a No Fly Zone over Libya, what is it going to take before we Get It ? The French and the Arab League took the lead before we did in this conflict; why didn't we let them stay in front? I understand we are a Super Power, but do we want to remain one?  During these times of uncertainty we have to be smart about the conflicts we get involved in. Especially when other countries are stepping up to the plate, let them drain some of their money and resources while we rebuild ours.

The Hill - Sen. Graham: US should take the lead on Libya

Ny Times - Qaddafi Forces Hold Strategic Town as Allied Attacks Continue