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Member since: Sat May 15, 2010, 04:48 PM
Number of posts: 5,173

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NY Times Editorial - Wrong Turn on Syria: No Convincing Plan

Wrong Turn on Syria: No Convincing Plan

President Obama has put America at the center of a widening war by expanding into Syria airstrikes against the Islamic State, the Sunni extremist group known as ISIS and ISIL. He has done this without allowing the public debate that needs to take place before this nation enters another costly and potentially lengthy conflict in the Middle East.

< . . . .>

The military action early Tuesday was quite different from what Mr. Obama explained in a televised speech on Sept. 10. For months the administration has focused on the ISIS threat, yet these strikes also targeted Khorasan, a group the government says is linked to Al Qaeda and engaged in “active plotting that posed an imminent threat to the United States and potentially our allies.”

It is puzzling that Mr. Obama would address the nation on a terrorist threat and not mention the group that officials now say poses an imminent threat to the United States, which ISIS does not. They say they kept details about Khorasan secret so the group would not know it was being tracked. But past threats, including Osama bin Laden, were discussed openly even as they were tracked.

These incongruities — two enemies now, instead of one — call into question whatever sense of purpose and planning the administration hopes to project. Mr. Obama has said airstrikes alone are not enough, and native ground troops in both Iraq and Syria will be relied on after the bombings. But it will be months before Americans can turn the mainstream opposition into a fighting force; in Iraq, after six weeks of American airstrikes, Iraqi Army troops have scarcely budged ISIS from its strongholds.

< . . . . >

Posted by markpkessinger | Wed Sep 24, 2014, 06:37 AM (12 replies)

A familiar name came up on "The Roosevelts"

Just finished watching the final episode of "The Roosevelts" (i watched all seven parts online). My ears perked up at the mention of FDR's cousin, Laura Delano, who was with him in the last days of his life at Warm Springs, Georgia, and to whom fell the task of providing the details of his death to Mrs. Roosevelt when she arrived there (including the fact that also with him had been her long-time nemesis, Lucy Rutherford Mercer).

In the 1990s, I met, on many occasions, Laura Delano, who by then was known as Laura Delano Adams Eastman (her last marriage, prior to her coming out as a lesbian, had been to the heir of the Eastman-Kodak fortune). She was a regular in attendance, along with her partner, Ms. Bunny Diehl (whom she would introduce as, "my partner, the formerly straight Miss Bunny Diehl") at the Sunday services of the Episcopal Chaplaincy of Fire Island Pines, over which my friend, Fr. Craig Bustrin, presided and for which I often played piano. She was a wonderful woman, who spoke in the same patrician accent as her famous cousin and carried herself with all of the dignity and refinement as one would expect. And yet, there was not the slightest hint of snobbery about her. She was very warm, VERY funny and never took herself too seriously!
Posted by markpkessinger | Fri Sep 19, 2014, 09:48 PM (23 replies)

My favorite mental image from "The Roosevelts" so far

Teddy Roosevelt, ever the effete, upper class Easterner even as he undertook his adventures in the West and beyond, riding a round-up with cowboys in the Badlands of South Dakota, exhorting a fellow cowboy to, "Hasten forward quickly there!" I guess that was the equivalent among the upper class gentry of the day to, "Giddy up!" or "move your ass!."
Posted by markpkessinger | Thu Sep 18, 2014, 08:40 AM (6 replies)

And the cynics tell us bipartisanship is dead - HAH!

As long as we're debating how to conduct endless war for endless profit, we'll get all the bipartisanship a defense contractor could ever want!

House Grudgingly Approves Arms for Syrian Rebels
WASHINGTON — Sep 17, 2014, 8:56 PM ET

(AP) The Republican-controlled House voted grudgingly Wednesday to give the administration authority to train and arm Syrian rebels as President Barack Obama emphasized anew that American forces "do not and will not have a combat mission" in the struggle against Islamic State militants in either Iraq or Syria.

The 273-156 vote crossed party lines to an unusual degree in a Congress marked by near-ceaseless partisanship. Top Republican and Democratic leaders backed Obama's plan seven weeks before midterm elections, while dozens of rank-and-file lawmakers in both parties opposed it.

The provision was added to spending legislation that will ensure the federal government operates normally after the Sept. 30 end of the budget year. Final approval is expected in the Senate on Thursday.

Even supporters of the military plan found little to trumpet. "This is the best of a long list of bad options," said Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va.

< . . . . >
Posted by markpkessinger | Thu Sep 18, 2014, 08:02 AM (20 replies)

The Right's Idiocracy Strikes Again

I was just reading articles on CNN and USA Today about the President's speech about the Ebola crisis. The comments are chock full of statements like, "Since WHEN is a virus in AFRICA our problem?!" I gather they would prefer we wait until it hits Iowa or something. American idiocy at its finest!
Posted by markpkessinger | Tue Sep 16, 2014, 08:19 PM (3 replies)

NYT: U.S. General to Seek Combat Troops if Airstrikes Can’t Stop ISIS

I guess this is what "no boots on the ground" looks like.

U.S. General to Seek Combat Troops if Airstrikes Can’t Stop ISIS


WASHINGTON — Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress on Tuesday that he would recommend deploying United States combat forces against Islamic extremists in specific operations if the current strategy of airstrikes was not successful, offering a more expansive view of the American role in the ground war than that of President Obama.

In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, he said that while he was confident in the ability of the coalition of American, European and Middle Eastern governments to stop the Islamic State, he could not completely close the door to eventually asking Mr. Obama to commit ground troops to fight the group, known as ISIS or ISIL.

“My view at this point is that this coalition is the appropriate way forward. I believe that will prove true,” he said. “But if it fails to be true, and if there are threats to the United States, then I of course would go back to the president and make a recommendation that may include the use of U.S. military ground forces.”

Any future commitment of American personnel on the ground could put Mr. Obama in a difficult position, as he has repeatedly insisted that no American troops would engage in the battlefield, and Gen. Dempsey sought to explain the apparent contradiction.

< . . . . >

Posted by markpkessinger | Tue Sep 16, 2014, 03:07 PM (1 replies)

"Never forget" indeed!

Posted by markpkessinger | Fri Sep 12, 2014, 05:13 PM (1 replies)

Taking a pass on the annual national orgy of reliving 9/11

Pausing to reflect on those who died on that day is one thing. But most of what passes for "remembering 9/11" these days amounts to trying to relive, by way of video, the events of that horrible day. This does nothing to honor those who died. As far as I am concerned, watching the videos from that day is rather like a parent, whose son was killed in a horrific traffic accident that was caught on surveillance video, watching that video again on every anniversary of their son's death. It is maudlin. It is unhealthy. If that parent were a friend of ours, we would urge him or her to get professional help. Watching these videos over and over again, year after year, and telling ourselves we are doing it to "remember" those who died, reduces the lives of those who died to the manner of their deaths, rather than the lives they lived. No, we're not "remembering" those who died; we're remembering, and in many cases, deliberately and self-indulgently trying to relive, how we felt on that day -- which has little or nothing to do with those who lost their lives.

Rather than this annual orgy of emotional self-indulgence, I submit a far better way of honoring those who died would be to focus our efforts on making the world a better place. For my part, I took a few moments when I woke up today to reflect on those who died, and those who were left behind. But, thanks but no thanks on the disaster porn.
Posted by markpkessinger | Thu Sep 11, 2014, 09:53 PM (9 replies)

"Oceania was at war with Eurasia; . . ."

" . . . therefore Oceania had always been at war with Eurasia." (George Orwell in 1984).

Think about it.
Posted by markpkessinger | Thu Sep 11, 2014, 03:54 PM (44 replies)

Hillary: Kissinger Stands Up for American Values

I have no words for this. Is this really who we want to field in 2016? Aaargh!

Hillary Clinton Praises a Guy With Lots of Blood on His Hands
In lauding Henry Kissinger, the possible Democratic presidential nominee goes far beyond her usual hawkish rhetoric.
By David Corn | Fri Sep. 5, 2014 1:44 PM EDT

<. . . .>

Sure, perhaps there is secretary's privilege—an old boy and girls club, in which the ex-foreign-policy chiefs do not speak ill of each other and try to help out the person presently in the post. Nothing wrong with that. But former-Madam Secretary Clinton had no obligation to praise Kissinger and publicly participate in his decades-long mission to rehabilitate his image. In the review, she calls Kissinger a "friend" and reports, "I relied on his counsel when I served as secretary of state. He checked in with me regularly, sharing astute observations about foreign leaders and sending me written reports on his travels." She does add that she and Henry "have often seen the world and some of our challenges quite differently, and advocated different responses now and in the past." But here's the kicker: At the end of the review, she notes that Kissinger is "surprisingly idealistic":

Even when there are tensions between our values and other objectives, America, he reminds us, succeeds by standing up for our values, not shirking them, and leads by engaging peoples and societies, the sources of legitimacy, not governments alone.

Kissinger reminds us that America succeeds by standing up for its values? Did she inhale?

Corn goes on to remind us of the "values" Kissinger upheld in places like Chile, Argentina, East Timor, Cambodia and Bangladesh. He continues:

<. . . . >
And there's more. Kissinger's mendacity has been chronicled for years. See Gary Bass' recent and damning book on the Bangladesh tragedy, The Blood Telegram. There's Seymour Hersh's classic, The Price of Power. In The Trial of Henry Kissinger, Christopher Hitchens presented the case against Kissinger in his full polemical style. As secretary of state, Kissinger made common cause with—and encouraged—tyrants who repressed and massacred many. He did not serve the American values of democracy, free expression, and human rights. He shredded them.

< . . . . >

Posted by markpkessinger | Fri Sep 5, 2014, 07:47 PM (179 replies)
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