Beyond the Cusp

January 27, 2016

The Election is Not About Beating Obama

 

 

I am not sure the Republican Candidates are fully aware that they are running for the office of President after President Obama leaves the White House as he has had his two terms. They will be running against likely Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. That is the other point, Hillary may not be the Democrat Candidate, Bernie Sanders is looking stronger every day. Further, Hillary may not be eligible to be President after the prosecution of her for the e-mail imbroglio results in more than an inconvenience and more of a felony indictment and convictions on numerous counts followed by her being disbarred and incarcerated, even if it is a luxury prison with full spas, golf course and other facilities making it more like a Club Med Resort; perhaps called Club Fed. What, you thought important and privileged people such as the Clintons or other politically connected criminals served their time in lock-down did you? Even if pardoned for her improprieties before the trial or simply having these criminal acts which may have threatened United States operatives, secrets or other damaging intelligence has been tried thus saving the American public from such a dreary and lengthy series of even more Hillary Clinton without make-up and self-sleep-deprived concerned about a future less predictable than a Presidential election could ever be.

 

 

Club Fed or Club Med?

Club Fed or Club Med?

 

 

From the little we have watched of the debates, it appeared that the so-called second tier candidates, better described as the hidden gems and chipped glass candidates as there are a couple of those who belong and are ready for prime time but are being kept in the basement more likely because they are ready and the Republicans want a puppet they can control and not a President who is in control. This is why they are so concerned about a Trump win and less concerned with actually winning the Presidency. Do not get us wrong, we also fear a Trump Presidential run but because we fear a Trump as President, though there could be worse, don’t ask us how. The questions which they all need to answer are simple and obvious to all except the moderators and the people writing their questions, or is there a higher conspiracy of silence on these topics. First off, how would you defeat the Democrat candidate if it is Hillary, if it is Bernie? Second, will you repeal all of Obamacare? Will you include the records gathering and other privacy invasions included in the original thousand plus page legislation and the other initial provisions hidden in other legislation some of which entitled the Federal Government through the IRS to gather medical data from every hospital and doctor’s office by the IRS and also allow them to share the data with corporations and other agencies? Would you, and if so, how would you go about making efforts to rebuild the relations with the more traditional allies, which ones, and exactly how? Asking them questions different than those placed at the feet of the Democrats in their debates is unfair and will remain that way but as long as there are going to be hardball questions, how about a little substance with the spiteful venom. As is said, inquiring minds want to know, and that holds for the Democrats as well as we want to know what their plans are and no more simpleton slogans like ‘Yes we can’ and healing the Earth as the Earth can take care of herself.

 

Another idea which would work for weeding out the candidates would be for the primaries not to be stacked-up and front-loaded as they are. It is a bit ridiculous that the candidacy be all but over after ‘Super Tuesday’ which this election year falls on March first. Even if none of the candidates have the required number of delegates, by the end of April it is all over but the shouting and streamers, confetti and balloons, please don’t forget the balloons as their refusing to dislodge as electrostatic cling is holding them against the ceiling and delegates screaming for them to be dislodged is often the only surprise and entertainment of these conventions. There used to be some drama in the nominations until people started complaining about the candidates being chosen in some dark backroom filled with cigar smoke to the point of being unhealthy as was that system. Then came the race to be the primary which ‘put the candidate over’ which meant that states were jockeying to place their primary date in the vital spot so as to be the one remembered for placing the name of the future President on their party’s ballot. This led to the leap-frogging until they all hid an agreed upon wall, nobody was to go earlier than March first, which happens to be the first Tuesday this year. When one considers the candidates and Presidents we have had since popular vote won the nomination, perhaps those smoke-filled rooms was not such a bad method as at least we got some of the best Presidents from cigar smoke-filled rooms. While we are at retrofitting political election processes, could we return the elections for Senate to the individual states and allow them to at least have the control even if by now not using the primary selection process would be a difficult sell, though as long as selecting Presidential candidates is on the ballot, the rest is just gravy which is proven by the far smaller number of people who vote in primaries in off year elections.

 

That brings us to our conclusions which the election processes makes so evidentially obvious. Not all change and placing things before the people is necessarily the greatest of ideas and the wisest of all approaches. Where we might trust a room with one hundred randomly chosen farmers more than we would trust the United States Senate in making decisions for our personal lives, we have our doubts about their deciding trade matters or approving cabinet positions and other appointments as they would not have sufficient knowledge in such areas, though they would prove to have greater common sense. It might not be a bad thing to add in one more requirement for the office of President as it would give every President a greater understanding concerning matters of military preparedness, the military requirements in budgetary matters and in the use of troops. Here are some observations from one of our staff who happens to be a veteran of the United States Army. It is understandable that there should be reductions in the military’s funding in times of need but their funding cannot be made the money pot which other programs are given increases while the military is cut. The military is an essential service even if it is not the preferred way to settle differences. A strong and well-armed military makes those other avenues more likely, not less likely. There should be a baseline minimum for military spending of something around ten percent of the budget. This would work in two ways. First and foremost it would guarantee sufficient if not ample funding of the military and allow for future planning with an assurance of the funding being provided. Secondly, this would put a damper on excessive spending knowing that for an additional nine billions dollars allocated elsewhere the military would necessarily add another ten million in defense spending.

 

 

Military in Action of Breaking Things

Military in Action of Breaking Things

 

 

The guaranteed spending level would allow for a steadily predictable level of force in personnel with quality salaries could be maintained. Any military project given the approval of the Congress and signed by a President must be carried forth reaching a minimal number set in the initial legislation and must not be cut or diminished at the whim of another Congress or President. The example which has been most evident was the cancellation of the full production of the F-22 Raptor which was the fighter jet which would provide the United States Air Force with fighter superiority even over that of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter which is being sold to other NATO and allied nations. Some areas require a superior vehicle such that any superior training would be maximized with a worthy and superior weapons and delivery systems. Lastly for the sake of brevity, the United States military is not a food delivery force or a nation building force, it is a nation destruction force which is trained to be the point of the spear should national security or treaty require there to be something subdued or destroyed. Protecting civilians sent to nation build would necessarily be placed under military control for use of force, not civilian. When the military is to be used for any conflict resolution, the mission must be spelled out with objective requirements and definition of victory where the military hands over the rest to a civilian force and the military mission is ended allowing for a residual security force which also is not a food delivery or nation building force but a security force. The American military is the most efficient use of force to break and destroy things and only the engineering battalions build things; build things like bridges so the rest of the military can continue destroying and breaking things. Yes, there will be casualties, that is why it is called war.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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June 24, 2014

Where Did Iraq and the Rest of the Middle East Go Wrong?

With the rapid unraveling of Iraq before the rapid murderous advance ISIS is executing through the central Sunni areas and advancing towards Baghdad and the Shiite south leaving slaughtered bodies and a ruined country in their wake has left a number of those who originally supported removing Saddam Hussein when President George W. Bush first proposed it expressing second guesses that perhaps their support was misplaced. Possibly the sole bright spot has been the fact that the Kurdish semiautonomous government intact and thus far mostly avoided and unmolested and that the Kurdish militias even have liberated Kirkuk from the clutches of ISIS after it had been subsumed falling as just another domino falling before the charging forces of Sharia. There have been some who have stuck with their original support of the war in Iraq such as Senators Graham and McCain who are now calling for yet another intervention to save Iraq, or maybe their aim is to try and not lose face and have to explain what was gained by the thousands of American young men and women who died or suffered horrendous injuries with too many having to live with permanent physical and/or psychological handicaps and disabilities or explain why so much treasure, taxpayers’ hard earned monies were invested just to have everything go up in smoke before the assault by ISIS. At least those who supported the original mission in Iraq and are now claiming that the United States is obliged to return to protect any gains which may have been won are being consistent in their positions, something that cannot be said for those who are now making excuses and asking forgiveness for their initial support and once again proving that hindsight is not as blind as the initial vision one initially had at the beginning. Yes, Iraq looks a whole lot different now than it did back when those supporting removing Saddam Hussein as an initial step towards changing the face of the Middle East. So, was the initial theory and concept really such a disaster or did things go awry at some point further down the line and if so, where and what was the point where things went sideways.

 

Let us first try and disassemble the early days and remember some of the initial ideas and concepts which were discussed and the plans which were discussed and proposed when the subject was first debated before the United States and their allies first entered Iraq. The idea was to introduce democracy and a more modern industrial and societal based society into the Middle East replacing the existing clan, tribal and sectarian based society. The thought was by removing Saddam Hussein who was thought to have WMD (weapons of mass destruction) and was known to be supporting terrorism as he was proud of his giving every family of a suicide bomber who detonated themselves within Israel with $25,000 reward recognizing the esteem the sacrifice of their family had garnered. There had been some mention that after liberating Iraq from Saddam Hussein that the next target would necessarily be Iran and the overthrow of the Ayatollahs. It was believed that Iraq and Iran were both causing much of the unrest, terrorism and discord in the Middle East. The ideas promised that by establishing functioning democracies along with introducing a multicultural based society in these two key countries that this would in turn be the first step of a spreading of modernism and Western style society throughout the Middle East and beyond which would make for a safer and more stable society. The one misconception which seemed evident from the start was this transformation would be easily established with minimal prolonged troops stationed in Iraq and Iran and that these concepts would be accepted quickly and without much resistance from the peoples. These ideas flew in the face of all previous evidence much of which we gained after World War II with the deNazification of Germany, the replacing of fascism in Italy and the installation of modern democratic governance replacing the Emperor in Japan. These efforts took somewhat longer than the few years that we were told would be needed to establish similar changes in governance in the Middle East. The United States kept troops in Germany and Italy for decades before being able to reduce the numbers necessary despite the fact that both were Western nations with histories and religious establishments which paralleled the United States and the allied Western powers. Even after that, the United States kept significant numbers of troops in Germany and Italy right on into the new century. In Japan there was a provincial government which was overseen by the United States for a significant number of years and the new Japanese Constitution was mostly written by the commanding American General Douglas MacArthur who also acted as a military governor. The occupation was codenamed Operation Blacklist and continued into early September 1951. There are still sizeable contingents of American troops stationed in Japan to this day. After World War II, in order to establish nonthreatening, effective, democratic governance in the Axis Power nations required decades of intense and invasive monitoring before the warring nations were changed into friendly and allied nations willing to cooperate and work towards supportive and compatible governance which could be trusted sufficiently along with the peoples themselves not to revert to their aggressive recent past. Somehow the brain-trust in the administration of President George W. Bush thought and tried to sell the idea that the transformation of the Middle East could be accomplished in a matter of a couple of years. All one can say looking back is what were they thinking? Maybe a better question would ask if they were actually thinking.

 

Now we can easily observe that everything in Iraq has collapsed in upon itself and the end of what was initially described as the coming of a dream for the Middle East has become a horrifying nightmare. There are reports of indescribable violence, murdering of entire groups who are dumped in mass graves, crucifixions and other horrors almost beyond belief. There was a report that thousands of individuals thought to be Iraqi military troops who had stripped off their uniforms, disposed of their equipment and weapons in place and attempted to flee into the population being gathered and executed wholesale. ISIS has taken possession of large amounts of United States equipment including heavy arms, armored vehicles and large caches of automatic assault weapons some of which are already on their way back to Syria for use there. Iran has sent their elite core units from the al-Quds force to assist and protect their investment which is the al-Malaki government which the United States supported when it was initially elected and there has been some discussion in Washington DC that perhaps the United States should support Iran in fighting and hopefully defeating ISIS. The problem with this concept is why support one horror which desires the downfall and defeat of the United States to defeat another horror which desires the downfall and defeat of the United States. Iran has stated repeatedly their hatred and revulsion of everything concerning the United States and its culture and ISIS has expressed their willingness to murder everything and everyone who does not believe in their exact version of Islam and are so vehement and violently determined to fulfill that promise that even the hierarchy of al-Qaeda has divorced themselves from them. Sometimes when two of your enemies are set on destroying one another, the best path is to permit them their conflict and watch and only making a move when the entirety of the violence has been resolved and then, if any action is truly necessary, and only then do you offer to provide the innocent people of Iraq an alternative. Of course if they show even the slightest hesitation then the offer must be withdrawn as such doubt signifies a people not yet tired with the horrors which currently are plaguing much of the Middle East and especially Iraq and until they are done with the insanity there is nothing the United States or anybody else can offer. The mistake was made when the plans for transforming the Middle East was presented as a quick and easy fix. The mistake was compounded when the transformation which was voted into the White House was the intention to transform the United States which changed the direction and complete ideas of who were friend and who were foe in the Middle East leading to the removal of American influence in much of the Middle East and where the influence remained, it was now contrary to all previous efforts over the last three or more decades. The Middle East is going to need to sort itself out without any interference from the United States or Europe and that may prove to be a blessing and an end to the curse of always having efforts turn into disasters as soon as one turns their attention aside for even an instant. The one coming horrific threat out of the Middle East is something which is an established reality that has simply not been announced but has been perceived followed by conscious dissidence allowing for the Western nations to pretend that their nuclear negotiations with Iran are actually meaningful and have the potential to prevent Iran from manufacturing nuclear weapons, something long accomplished and already an established fact. But why should the negotiations with Iran be founded in something any closer to reality than any of the Middle East policy of the United States at any time in this new century?

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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