Saturday, November 19, 2005
I have come out strongly in certain areas. I have cautioned those who are of Chicken Little Lineage to chill out. Nothing is going to be as bad as you think.
My only reservation is bird flu.
But, Global Warming, Climate Change, CO2 emissions.
AND, Gasoline and Crude Oil prices. Look at this prediction from July 7, 2005.
Remember the panic? Gasoline was going to be $5 a gallon. We were all going to have to dump our SUVs and buy hybrids. Why doesn't Bush do something about this?
I just bought gas for $2 a gallon. A price starting to appear all over the place.
I advised, no, now is a GOOD time to make a GOOD deal on an SUV and that the price of Gasoline will settle back around $2 a gallon for a long time to come.
My more Small Fowl friends were not impressed. Give us a reason you believe this? How can you say this?
I would like to tell you I get special messages from on high, but frankly I'm a competent student of history, economics, human behavior, the markets and good (as opposed to junk) science.
Relax, fuel up the old suburban and go for a drive. We need the global warming, it's cold as heck here in IL.
World War II. The 'last good war', fought by 'the Greatest Generation.'
If we had the current press corps back then, you wouldn't know these phrases. World War II would live in infamy, remembered as a casually brutal, racist and hypocritical conflict in which the Americans were as bad as the Nazis we fought.
The fact is, the Iraq War has been held to a standard that NO war in history could ever meet. It's a sucker's deal for our soldiers. The liberals and media set the bar from the beginning so high that our troops were destined to 'fail' at the bar of "enlightened opinion".
In this war, soldiers are arrested for assaulting captured enemies. In WWII, according to one military historian (John Keegan), as many as 10 percent of surrendering enemies were killed outright.
In this war, the media and the Left are hysterical that some white phosphorous might have been used during a fight. In WWII, we firebombed Tokyo. Think on that a moment. We firebombed civilians living in paper houses. Over 100,000 people died, more than died from the atomic bombs.
In this war, we not only try to minimize civilian casualties, but during the invasion we actually consciously minimized enemy military casualties as well. Has that happened before in history? In comparison, in WWII we carpet-bombed much of Europe. (Dresden anyone)
In this war, we're so religiously and racially sensitive that the military launches investigations into Koran-abuse. In contrast, military historians say that the Pacific Theater in WWII had a heavily racist component. While in WWII they interred Japanese-Americans, we won't even search Arabs at the airport on more than a random basis.
None of this is said to enoble some bad things which have been done during the Iraq War -- prison abuse, military obfuscation, etc. It is said to provide perspective.
More important, none of this is said to denigrate the service or accomplishments of the men and women who served in WWII. NOTHING EVER COULD. And that's the point. These incidents cannot detract from the honor due the overall war effort. These men saved millions of lives, rescued nations from a vicious dictator, and restored human rights to countless people.
Hey, that sounds a lot like our troops in Iraq.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Vietnam: the population heavily supported the insurgents. Anyone who has studied low-intensity conflict will tell you this is the number one prereq for success.
Iraq: the baseline for support starts at perhaps 20% and then declines from there.
Vietnam: 58,000 dead.
Iraq: About 1/25th that number.
Vietnam: The ARVN troops were for the most part corrupt, unmotivated and ineffectual.
Iraq: The Kurdish Peshmurga are redoubtable fighters. The government troops are becoming more able and independent by the day.
Vietnam: Lush foliage to conceal the enemy.
Iraq: Open desert, friend to air power.
Vietnam: The common people expected to be empowered by a Communist victory.
Iraq: The Kurds and Shias would have only the boot of the Sunnis to expect. They won't give up.
Vietnam: The tech-gap between the two sides was relatively small. The NVA had Soviet aircraft, AA and equipment. US surveillance abilities were small, to the extent that we often dropped our bombs with little more than happy wishes of hitting something.
Iraq: Predator drones, satellites, Ground Surveillance Radars, etc, etc, etc.
Vietnam: The VC weren't fighting alone. The North Vietnamese Army fielded full-on military divisions. In fact, Saigon fell to 4 corps of NVA regulars. From what I remember, no guerrillas in history have won without the help of a regular army.
Iraq: The insurgents rely on homemade IEDs. They have no regular army support.
Vietnam: A country-sized battle zone.
Iraq: A relatively pacified country with a few very hot sections.
Vietnam: The media and liberal Democrats undercut the war effort, sapping public morale and snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Well, maybe the two aren't entirely dissimilar.
Tip o the hat to Discoshaman
Part 4 of 5.
Same Admonitions as before.
My opinions are in Red and subject to disagreement.
The words in Black are facts from the Historical record. You cant disagree, unless you counter or question with other good sound documented facts.
George W Bush
The exhaustion from 8 years of all things Clinton and the Gore Stiff as a Brick Presidential campaign led to the Win/Loss/Win by a Supreme Court 5-4 vote of GWB (The Magnificent).
Controversial, not universally loved or even accepted as legitimate by the electorate (who didn't really elect him) and with the economy drifting badly GWB took office. He fumbled. He tried to do some things. Rattled some sabers. Tried to find the bathroom. He was not well respected by international friends or enemies. They saw the divided country after the election as impotent and anemic.
Clinton had dismantled some of the intelligence and military power as a result of the end of the cold war. It seemed reasonable to everyone (including Conservatives). There was little reason in the 7 months of a new Bush administration to suspect what might happen next. There were memos, but there were memos every day. The paint wasnt even dry in the White House hallway. Condi was trying to find new shoes and a chair for her office. Donald was proposing to downsize the military for more efficiency, Cheney was trying to keep his heart pumping and Colin was thinking about retirement.
The big issue of the day was an ever worsening economy as a result of the dot-com boom and bust and its negative transfer of wealth and corporate scandals (Enron and Worldcom). Not a pretty situation but Bush was proposing plans. Tax Cuts, Incentives etc.
9-11 The World Changed. War was declared on us on our soil by an organized country-less force of radical Islamic fundamentalists more brutal and abandoned to hate and destruction than we could have imagined was possible.
This wasnt a government like Japan, Italy or even Germany you could reason with and who might surrender to preserve its people if we demanded it strongly enough . (Read that A-Bomb)
This was a terrorist matrix supported by nebulous people who openly declared they would destroy us, and everyone else in the world who didnt agree with their stated objective: to bring down thru terror corrupt infidel economies, cultures and governments worldwide and seize control of assets (oil) to amass a power base. What made these terrorists even more fearful was their utter disregard for human life including their own. Ruthless is a weak word in this regard.
Since the millennium there have been hundreds of terror attacks worldwide by these gangsters. Many of these acts were before the Iraq war And some prior to 9-11. A partial list includes:
- The Two Bali Bombings, one in a nightclub, one in a coffee shop
- The Bombing of the Sharm el-Sheikh hotel region in Egypt
- The bombings in Saudi Arabia
- The bombings in Manila Philippines
- The train bombings in Spain
- The Underground Bombings in Great Britain
- The Beslan School Bombing
- The Theater Attack in Russia
- The Checyn Revolutionaries bomb airplanes in Russia
- The Sudanese Executions of Christians by Muslims armies
- The execution of Van Gogh in the Netherlands by a Muslim extremist
- The most recent bombings of the Hotels in Jordan
- The riots in France, Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Most of the countries on which there have been attacks on have little to do with Iraq. And there have been reported a number of plots that were foiled by better and better intelligence. Most recently in Australia. Is any of this is Iraq War Related? Much is just a desire on the part of insane Islamic fascists to destabilize and demoralize the world?
This list above does not include any of the bombings in Israel by Fundamentalist Palestinians or hundreds of Iraqi suicide Bombings and IEDS. Iraq and Israel are active fronts in the war on terror.
Some of this is a frontal attack on Christianity by Islamic Fundamentalists.
For example executions of Christians in Muslim Indonesia by Islamic mobsters. 3 little 13-year-old Christian School girls on their way to school were beheaded a couple weeks ago, another was beheaded last week and her head was deposited on the Churchs doorstep. The perpetrators have been identified, and the government out of fear wont arrest them. Terrorists win when governments allow terrorists to prosper at the expense of its populace. It plain and simply fear, not agreement. Thats the cost of real cost of unopposed terror. Defacto control of the Government. I pray it doesnt happen here. Some voices in the media and in politics seem to be trying to take us there.
There have been no shortage of old Westerns with this theme. High Noon. Some of the Spaghetti Westerns. Sheriff pulls in to town to oust the bad guys. Bad guys come to town and terrorize the citizens. Sheriff asks for help in facing down Bad Guy gang. Citizens respond to him like hes Little Red Hen. Not me, not me. Oh they hate the terrorism, but they havent been personally threatened just yet. Maybe if they do nothing the Bad Guy Gang will leave them alone. Of course they dont. Then the sheriff decides to take them on. A few (minority) of the folks agree to help. Most of the rest hide behind windows and walls waiting to see who wins.
This is being played out in America, in Indonesia and in Iraq.
This American Life http://www.thislife.org/ has a good illustration of this dynamic. Click on the Archives and then on the Oct 28th program. I think you can listen for free. Its act 2 that tells the story although the whole program is good. Ira Glass of This American Life is no Conservative. He cried real tears on the air when Kerry lost.
For a long time the Populace of Iraq hid behind windows and doors waiting to see who would win. Now that we are, they are coming out, joining the army and police, voting en mass, and even asking the US to think about leaving soon. This is very good but never would have happened without the Sheriff taking on the bad guys.
This is a global terrorist movement that was on track to become a World War with or without the Iraq war. The Mobster Islamists have decided to take on the civilized world. In this way its like the Nazis in WWII. They are deluded madmen who must be stopped.
To even imagine that worldwide terrorism will stop or subside or that we will be insulated from it in America by pulling out of Iraq is naive at best and inane at worst.
When 9-11 happened the adversary was Osama bin Laden. He had been sheltered by the Taliban Regime in Afghanistan. It was a fairly easy task to take out the Taliban and close down training operations in Afghanistan. Finding OBL has become a mission without closure. In my opinion, he is dead. He was reported to be ill requiring dialyses. We havent heard anything him since late 2004.
I wont spend much time rehearsing the timetable of facts and assumptions before going into Iraq, the reasons for or wisdom of. I will state as a settled fact that that everyone from all sides of the political spectrum from the midpoint of the Clinton administration to the start of the war believed that Saddam had WMDs and was a threat particularly if he joined forces with the Al-Queada gangsters.
We are there and we have done the right thing in my opinion. We have engaged the enemy head on. Hes slippery but he is knowable. Its not OBL anymore. Getting OBL or his dead body now would be a non-event. It might be satisfying but he is irrelevant in the global terror picture.
What I find appalling is those who did support the assumption of WMDs in Iraq, who now say they never really did. I dont have an argument against those who were always against this war. I just hate turncoats, no matter what side of the aisle they come from. Hence my struggle with McCain.
A more sinister archetypical foe has emerged from the fading shadow of Osama bin Laden. Abu Musab Zarqawi. He represents the worst type of these killers. And he like the many headed monster HYDRA LERNAIA. If we kill him there are 10 more. But we must kill him and the others and the others and the others ........ This is not a play nice situation like McCain would want.
Zarquawi's story is instructive:
Profile: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is Iraq's most notorious insurgent - a shadowy figure associated with spectacular bombings, assassinations and the beheading of foreign hostages.
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi Who is he?
He first appeared in Iraq as the leader of the Tawhid and Jihad insurgent group, merging it in late 2004 with Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network.
The video-taped beheadings of foreign hostages that made Tawhid and Jihad infamous in 2004 have become less frequent since the group's merger with al-Qaeda.
Bomb attacks on Iraq's Shia-dominated government and security forces have continued apace, however, with many of the bloodiest strikes of 2005 blamed on Zarqawi's group, now renamed al-Qaeda in Iraq.
According to BBC security correspondent Gordon Corera, Zarqawi's increasingly bloody attacks on the Shias are alienating many in the insurgency, including some Sunni Muslims who are its strongest backers.
A letter released by US forces in 2005 - allegedly authored by Bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and addressed to Zarqawi - appears to support this.
In the run-up to the Iraq war in February 2003, US Secretary of State Colin Powell told the United Nations Zarqawi was an associate of Osama Bin Laden who had sought refuge in Iraq.
How he got to Iraq:
But after the defeat of the Soviets in Afghanistan, Zarqawi went back to Jordan with a radical Islamist agenda.
The next stop on his itinerary was his old stamping ground - Afghanistan.
He is believed to have set up a training camp in the western city of Heart Afghanistan, near the border with Iran.
Students at his camp supposedly became experts in the manufacture and use of poison gases.
It is during this period that Zarqawi is thought to have renewed his acquaintance with al-Qaeda.
He is believed to have fled to Iraq in 2001 after a US missile strike on his Afghan base, though the report that he lost a leg in the attack has not been verified.
US officials argue that it was at al-Qaeda's behest that he moved to Iraq and established links with Ansar al-Islam - a group of Kurdish Islamists from the north of the country.
He is thought to have remained with them for a while - feeling at home in mountainous northern Iraq.
Things He is Doing:
In October 2002, Zarqawi was blamed for the assassination of US aid official Laurence Foley in Amman.
Months later, in 2003, he was named as the brains behind a series of lethal bombings - from Casablanca in Morocco to Istanbul in Turkey.
It is in Iraq, though, that he has been most active. In it, Zarqawi appears to share his plans for igniting sectarian conflict in Iraq as a means of undermining the US presence there.
Attacks are now a daily occurrence in Iraq. Whether or not Zarqawi is behind them all, he is seen by the US as the biggest obstacle to their hopes of progress in Iraq - their most dangerous enemy in the country.
But this is about more than Zarqawi and the many-headed monster he is part of. These are gangsters, mobsters, true evil personified, worse than the Nazis by twice. Out to kill you and your loved ones. They must all be cut off and killed, one at a time or in bunches. But they must be crushed.
There is a tipping point, if we stay strong and determined countries like Jordan and yes even the French will begin to grasp the vision, people in Iraq and even Iran will start to see success. They will develop gonads. They will come out from behind their windows and walls and take up the battle. Only then will the world win this global struggle against an evil more insidious than we have ever faced.
To back away will only mean we will fight this battle with far more casualties than we have now but they will be innocent civilians in the USA on our soil. The US has endured more casualties to date in this war on US soil then in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. That will change but if we dont win you, your children and grandchildren will live in fear of terror.
To do this, we had to pick the time and place to engage this enemy. We had to smoke them out. This is old-fashioned battlefield warfare. We must pick the time and place to engage the enemy. They would rather we didn't. We have to take a beachhead. We must stand somewhere other than on US soil. That place is Iraq. It is an ideal location, symbolically and internationally. Thank God (and George Bush) we finally stopped running away and took a stand.
Last Section: Why Its Worth the Blood and Pain. Why it's worth the sacrifice of every Man and Woman who has died. A peek behind the curtain of a future Iraq, Middle East and World if we prevail.
In an effort to decriminalize all kinds of sexual deviance, the Massachusetts Democratic Left had introduced a bill to make it legal to marry and have sex with Fluffy and try to have, What??
I give up.
We're not on the way to Hell in a Handbasket, We're THERE!
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Part 3 of 5
Why the Iraq War is the Right War in the Right Place at the Right Time.
Reminder Admonitions: You are welcome to question my facts or argue my opinions. But, you have to Counter my facts if you believe I am wrong. You just can't generalize or pontificate without basis. I could be wrong you know. Im open to correction if I have misstated. I tried hard to be objective in the reporting of the facts. Much of this is just cut and pasted. You can tell when I did, the writing is better. I am only an editor.
My Opinions are clearly stated in Red.
Everything in Black comes from encyclopedic sources and I am presenting as objective fact. In the parlance of the day, True Facts! (as opposed to what?)
George HW Bush takes office January 1989
A soft leader again and worse a big believer in appeasement, consensus and the United Nations.
He had been the ambassador to China. They knew him well. So, when a student uprising happened in Tiananmen Square they didnt fear Bush would do anything about it. He didnt. The Massacre ensued.
The Berlin Wall fell. GHWB took credit. It was a residual of Reagans cold war strategy. He became best Friends with Gorbachev. I liked Gorby better.
Emboldened by a weak Bush, and with some winks of the eye of a wishy washy ambassador, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. Kuwait had been a province of Iraq formerly and he wanted it back. Kind of like Texas and Mexico. This couldnt stand. So, Bush instead of going right to war, fiddled while Saddam pillaged and established a beachhead. Bush organized a coalition. Lots of countries. More smoke than firepower. Mostly it was the USA and Great Britain that fought the war.
I was in Germany during Desert Storm. Germany sent in about 2000 troops. The whining on the part of the German news media about how depressing it was to have to go to war for those poor German soldiers made we wonder how the Third Reich ever got organized.
In February we massacred the poor Iraqi soldier in Desert Storm. Saddam hid out in Baghdad betting we wouldnt come for him. We didnt. We stopped short of total victory firmly in our grasp because Bush said, We would have incurred incalculable human and political costs, we would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and in effect rule Iraq. Now we have to do this anyhow because he and Colin Powell didnt have the gonads to do what needed to be done.
Ever the diplomat, he bragged that since Russia had been part of all this that there was a new world order emerging. There was one emerging all right, a new world order of Islamic Fundamentalist gangsters terrorizing the western world and the Infidels of Islam as they had assassinated Anwar Sadat in 1981 for the Camp David Peace Accord.
After Desert Storm there were rebels in the south and in the north who were prepared to take on Saddam in his weakened condition. They begged us for help. We sort of promised we would and then we didnt. What would the Europeans think? We abandoned them to die. The Kurds were crucified. The massacres in the south of the swamp Arabs were brutal. Their homeland which had always been lakes and swamps were drained or starved for water. They starved and were displaced.
We bailed out because of political pressure and a desire to have France think nice of us. I was very angry with all this at the time, I contacted politicians to encourage finishing the job. I really wondered during that time if those mis-leaders who backed down in the face of victory had gone into the bathroom and reached down in their pants, would found anything there to indicate they were men? They didnt act like it.
Everyone blames the no new taxes pledge for Bushs failure to be re-elected. No, it was the promise of a true conservative (and we knew he had balls; thats a sexual innuendo joke), even if he was a Democrat. I didnt vote for Clinton out of Republican loyalty. I wonder now if I did right.
President William Jefferson Clinton
Clinton attempted things of great vision. He had hope. Hope Arkansas and all. But he hit political roadblocks to his vision. Failed health care plan, 94 midterm elections and the takeover of the house and senate by Republicans. Gridlock. Lots of scandals ensued, mostly sex. He angered values conservatives who had been warming to him with cultural actions, Gays in the Military etc. I recall answering a question from a political pollster why I thought the Republicans had won so big in 94, I said, Speaking for myself, I voted against the cultural freefall we were in.
He became a friend and ally of Tony Blair. He enjoyed good economics as a result of Reagan tax cuts, Greenspans work, and the 95 Republican Congresss spending cuts. I didnt write that, its what the encyclopedia said.
He participated in disarmament talks that led to ultimate peace in Northern Ireland. This was a good thing.
He knew we were under attack from Islamic Fundamentalist Fascists and took action.
There was the World Trade Center Bombing in 1993 by Islamic Fundamentalists. Now the sirens were sounding. There was a war brewing. We took our first 6 casualties on American soil in this new war.
There was the failed plot by Saddam Hussein to kill Former President Bush in Kuwait. The circumstances of the alleged plot, which ended in a trial and conviction of 11 Iraqis and three Kuwaitis, have always evoked skepticism, although Clinton himself was apparently sufficiently convinced after receiving reports from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to order a missile strike on the Iraqi intelligence headquarters in Baghdad that killed six civilians in June, 1993.
There was the battle of Mogadishu (Blackhawk Down) where after taking casualties he ordered withdrawal of our troops. This emboldened the terrorists.
OBL has pointed to this and our anemic retaliatory response to the American Embassy bombings (below) as instructional events.
He didnt intervene in the Rwandan Genocide. He with the UN sent troops to Kosovo. He says today that is one of the biggest regrets of his presidency.
He bombed Iraq several times in retaliation for various infractions, mostly with Tomahawk Missiles.
He signed a unilateral nuclear disarmament treaty with North Korea that took all teeth out of any enforcement by their neighbors to the north and south. It involved promises from North Korea and lots of money from us. North Korea took our money, laughed all the way to the bank and thumbed their noses at us from then till now. This was a major disaster.
Like Reagans Grenada, Clinton sent troops to Haiti to reinstall Jon Bertrand Aristide as the countrys leader. It too became a disaster.
In 93 he mediated the Oslo peace accords. It angered fundamentalist Islamists. It also did little to advance the cause of peace. Arafat shook hands with Itzak Rabin of Israel. Clinton often preferred form over function.
In the mid-1990s, the Clinton administration authorized the CIA to pursue a dual strategy that entailed fomenting a popular uprising led by the Iraqi National Congress (INC) and Kurdish paramilitaries on the one hand, and seeking a coup from above, to be engineered by ex-Iraqi officers organized in the Iraqi National Accord, on the other. With CIA backing, the INC launched an uprising in 1994, and in March 1995, seized control of Mosul and Kirkuk in northern Iraq. The Clinton administration withdrew support for the operation at the last minute, and it (along with the attempted coup) was crushed by Iraqi troops. Hundreds were killed because of our indecision. He couldnt take the pressure from the media.
In 1995 there was the Oklahoma City Bombing. Many thought it had Islamic roots. It probably didnt.
Clinton recognized the influence of Osama bin Laden after the 1998 attacks on the US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in which hundreds were killed, many Americans. For that he bombed a chemical weapons factory in Khartoum Sudan.
He put out an arrest warrant for Osama bin Laden to be captured or killed. At the very end of his term, Al-Queada answered this threat by bombing the USS Cole killing more Americans. Some conservatives believe he had OBL in his grasp in Sudan and didnt act on it. I dont buy it. Clinton knew this was an evil dangerous man.
It was discovered in captured documents in Afghanistan during an Al-Queada headquarters raid that there was a plan in place by OBL to assassinate Bill Clinton in 1999.
Clinton fought with a reluctant democratic party and many weak republicans to put in place terrorist fighting actions:
He authorized 100 Million Dollars to work with the Israeli Mossad to track down and kill terrorists in the Middle East. We did. They did.
He authorized the Iraqi Liberation Act that funded efforts militarily and otherwise to foment regime change in Iraq. He backed down under heat however as you saw above.
He initiated by executive order Extraordinary Rendition or Torture by Proxy where Terrorists are sent to bad places to be tortured for info and then killed or imprisoned. A policy still in effect today and criticized by the left and John McCain who forget it was Clinton who put this in place. Thankfully it still is.
He did other good things. Defense of marriage act which included the language that states should control who can get married in their state and that marriage was between one man and one woman.
Of course we all remember all the scandals. Bill Clinton did much good. But his administration is most remembered for all the sex scandals, Jennifer Flowers, Kathleen Willy, Paula Jones, Juanita Broddrick and of course Monica. Democrats are much sexier than Republicans.
And there was Whitewater, Travelgate, Filegate, China Gate, Pardon Gate, Mike Espy and so forth. Much of this was Gotcha Politics ratcheted up. Even the impeachment was so much hot air while a world war was brewing under the surface.
One thing the terrorists learned about Americans during the 25 years from Carter to Clinton is: If the USA takes casualties they will turn tail and run.
Next, George W Bush is Elected. The USA Stops Running.
Monday, November 14, 2005
Purpose Makes the Difference
If history is to have real meaning it must have purpose. It must be going somewhere. If no specific end is in view then all things loose their meaning and life becomes pointless. Humans have known this from time immemorial. And Christians, of all people, need to remind the modern world of this regularly. If all we do is live and die then the work of our hands has no long term importance and all is vain.
The famous Henry Ford once concluded that "History is one damned thing after another." He's right, if Christ did not rise. Resurrection gives meaning to all things. If the grave is the end then history doesn't matter. My story is bunk and so is yours.
The Greeks called this telos, or purpose, the end for which something was made or existed. The Christian faith sees Christ as the true telos, the goal and end of all history. If we would live well, we must stay focused on Christ as the telos of all things. Only then will history not become "one damned thing after another."
Sunday, November 13, 2005
I listened with increasing upset to the man who had written a book regarding Creation Myths. I am a steady listener to NPR and listen to Lianne on Sunday Mornings. This was over the top.
I dont mind discussing creation myths, but for this gentleman to talk about the virgin birth, ascension, resurrection and other deeply held creeded basic tenets of Christian faith as myth was out of line and revealed a prejudice against Christianity. I dont care if this man is a Pagan and doesnt believe. But to treat Christianity like some Harry Potter story is an insult and degrading.
I wonder if an attack on core beliefs of Muslims would have been as acceptable to NPR. Why is this kind of frontal attack on the essentials of the Christian faith under attack on Public Radio?
The rest is simply history as pulled from encyclopedic sources. You can argue my opinion but you must counter my facts.
President Jimmy Carter takes office in 1977. New optimisms, out with the old in with the new. The hangover from the oil problems during Nixon years began to drain the economy. Carter tries to help, but does more damage than good. Windfall profit taxes on Oil Companies had the opposite of the desired effect. New Gas Lines formed.
He tried to back away from confrontation with the Soviet Union by implementing the Salt II agreement. He thought that perhaps it would be reciprocated in spirit. It was not, the rest of the world only saw us as weaker and weaker. Carter was dealing with an economy of 18% interest, 11% inflation, Unemployment of over 10%, new gasoline lines as a result of his policies, and a Dow under 900 (I wish I had bought); things couldnt have been worse. This disequilibria led to the savings and loan crisis of the 80s.
Carters answer to the oil shortages that persisted was to put solar panels on the White House, wear a sweater, put a wood burning stove in his White House living quarters and turn down the whole governments thermostat. We froze in the dark after having driven to work at 55mph (Thanks to a 1974 Democratic Congress and a weaked Nixon Presidency) smelling wood smoke. Those really were the bad old days.
Things got worse. Carter idealistically set out to enforce bans on worldwide human rights abuse sanctions he implemented against human rights abuses in other countries. New sanctions against Somoza in Nicaragua, criticism of Pinochet in Chile, The government of South Africa with sanctions against Rhodesia and our corrupt ally the Shah of Iran.
These were interpreted by our enemies as weakness and a lack of focus. Problems of monumental magnitude at home and we were out playing nanny to states around the world. Carter put the same human rights focus on the corrupt (but friend of the USA) Shah of Iran. He was deposed by militant islamists. Carter tried unsuccessfully make nice with the Islamists in power. Out of the goodness of his decent but naive heart, Carter allowed the Shah into the US for political asylum. Iranian Militants were angered and seized the American Embassy in Iran taking 100 Americans hostage. In a badly disguised effort to appease The Shah was exported to Egypt where he died. Carter made a failed attempt to rescue the hostages. It failed. Meanwhile Ross Perot successfully initiated a rescue of EDS employees held in Iran by the Iranian Government of the Ayatollas. It became a bestselling book, On Wings of Eagles by Ken Follett. This made Carter look even worse. Worldwide any fragment of respect the world had for the USA was lost.
The Ayatollahs scared everyone worldwide. When the US government backed down from Iran, Russia in fear of a like uprising on their southern border invaded Afghanistan. Carter opposed Russias action, began training Islamic fundamentalists in Pakistan and Afghanistan, which caused increasing instability in the region that ultimately led to the rise of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.
Carters response to Russias Afghan invasion was to not send a team to the 1980 Olympics in Russia. And at the same time he signed away the Panama Canal. His incompetent heart always was trying to do good. Poor Jimmy.
The single greatest thing Carter ever did was broker a peace accord between Egypt and Israel at Camp David. For that I forgive him much of the rest of his bungling.
In many peoples opinions Carter was the worst president the USA has ever had and the best ex-President; if he would just keep his mouth shut and a hammer in his hand. He was and still is soft in every way and in an abstract way personally responsible for the increasing unrest in the Islamic world that ensued in the 80s and 90s leading up to 9-11 and the Iraq war. If only he had dealt decisively with Iran at the hostage crisis perhaps our stance in the world would be better.
He didnt, IF is for fools. Rewrite history in your own heart, what if we had gone in after them with a historical show of force. The Ayatollas werent popular with many in Iran at the time and with thier cooperation we might have a free Iran today. There were generals of the Iranian Army begging us to come in and help depose the Isamists from power. We turned our back on them. Many lost their lives.
Reagan was elected.
I liked Reagan. The Great Communicator, positive, hope and all. But he was weak in many ways. Too much an appeaser. Too United Nations Oriented. Trying to be friends with the left.
But he was tough on the Soviet Union. Spending like mad to develop war machines that scared the crap out of them. Star Wars was like having pocket deuces and the Soviets thinking we had aces. It was all a bluff. It worked. It led to the eventual collapse along with the failure of communism in general and Gobachevs glasnost. These three things created the world and the cold war cessation we have today.
But our eyes were not on the battle brewing under the surface in the middle east. While we talked big about peace thru strength in the Reagan administration, the terrorists in Beirut were causing an uproar. There was a border conflict with Israel in 1982. Reagan sent 800 Marines in. Hundreds of Palestinians were killed in the conflict. Inflamed Arabs demanded justice. A peace was brokered by Reagan. A multinational task force was formed.
In October of 1983 in Lebanon 241 marines were killed in a terrorist bombing of a Marine Barracks. All the Marines were withdrawn from Lebanon due to a great hue and cry from the liberal media. A pattern of expecting American defeatism was being established in the minds of Islamic terrorists worldwide. They started to believe that if you cause casualties the US will turn tail and run. In response to the Beirut humiliation, Reagan invaded Grenada. We won. That was supposed to restore our place in the world. It made us look even more stupid and weak.
Reagan was playing reckless games. He was funding and training Afghan Freedom Fighters against the Soviet Union (that included Osama bin Laden). He took the side militarily of Iraq against Iran in a bloody war of attrition that so destroyed the Iraqi economy it created an incentive for Iraq to invade Kuwait later. He covertly shipped arms to the Iranians to secretly fund the Contras in Nicaragua against the Sandinistas. He provided Intelligence to Saddam Hussein to fight Iran. Supplied Saddam with Dual Use weapons (agricultural and military) which were later used to gas the Kurds and create the stockpile of WMDs everyone feared. We didnt want Iran to invade Iraq or Saudi Arabia. It really WAS about oil.
IT was almost frenetic. The investigations by mostly Democrats of the Iran Contra activities (Remember Ollie North?) and the 1987 Borking of Robert Bork created the Gotcha Politics of today. This was the first. It wouldnt be the last. The Republicans have long memories. President Clinton later suffered for the sins of Borking.
George Herbert Walker Bush digs the hole deeper in part 3.