Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Light My Fire

Smoking is a stupid nicotine drug addiction, and it makes a far worse fool of many smoker's than they realize. A good example came Sunday when Israeli Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was answering questions about a decision to replace the nation of Israel's head military chief. Mr. Netanyahu, while answering reporter questions about this controversial shifting of this important security position for this tiny security concious nation, managed to put a fully lit cigar into his suit jacket and set his suit jacket on fire. Mr. Netanyahu was not injured, but it is an example how this nicotine drug addiction habit often results in silly accidents and mishaps.

Every year forests are needlessly burned down by careless smokers. And firefighters who fight these fires lose their lives sometimes fighting these fast shifting fires which absolutely ruin the environment and the animal population is destroyed. And every year housefires are needlessly caused by smoker's carelessness. One landlord I know with 50 properties has lost or had 4 damaged by fire, all by smoker's carelessness.

I had a friend who loved to constantly smoke and drink way too much. I warned him of such a lifestyle as being very deadly. He ignored my warnings. At about 50 years of age, he found himself with deadly cancer racing through his body, in a wheelchair no longer able to walk hooked to a constant pain and cancer therapy IV drip. There is no freedom or hope in that condition, and he died a very bitter and depresed person. It was very sad.

Besides the 50,000 killed by secondhand cigarette smoke each year, and the additional 300,000 smokers who kill themself with cancer, stroke or heart disease, needless house fires are another way in which cigarettes kill. In Oregon, the state legislature is debating a bill for all cigarettes sold in the state to be fire safe. And as usual, big tobacco is fighting this life saving safety measure to save lives. It would raise cigarette costs a mere 5cents, yet the industry weighs the cheaper cost of deadly cigarettes higher than human life. A fine business.

Cigarettes: you can live without them.

Monday, May 30, 2005

The Significant French Vote On The EU

The French vote to turndown membership in the EU treaty organization is a very significant event. So far it appears that both France and Britain may both reject membership in this organization where as many as 25 European states are interested in membership. This leaves Germany as far and away the most powerful player in this organization. This is also very significant. Since the 1950's some Bible scholars such as Herbert Armstrong and others have predicted based on the book of Revelation that a described union of "ten horns" united under some religious authority will replace the United States as the most powerful superpower in the world.

In older times, another great German leader ruled Europe under auhority of the Pope, Charlemagne. And history tends to repeat itself, especially in Europe. And Germany has also had a major influence on Europe twice in the last century, first in WWI and then again in the far worst WWII in which Germany sought to expand it's influence on the world. During WWI, Pope Benedict XV sought to have influence over Germany and Europe to prevent this conflict. He sought to heal differences between modernist, traditionist and Orthodox church breaches, and unite a strong European church as well as exert political influence in Europe. Now a new German born Pope, Bendict XVI is in a similar position, attempting to exert influence in Europe as a new power union in Europe is forming. And without the possible strong states of France and Britain possiby not involved in the union, it clears the path for Germany to unite states in Europe behind it, gather religious authority much like Charlemagne for another powerful German rulership and dominance of Europe.

It is significant that while some Moslem states such as Turkey are interested in EU membership, it has been the Vatican deeply opposed to adding any Moslem states in this European union that will become a Christian counterUnited States in Europe. The Vatican is firm in resurrecting the role of a European power in which it exerts great influence and authority. Yet the history of Europe is simply been one of war and conflict. There has been no peace in Europe. A counterUnited States is no solution to world peace. In fact European foreign policy has been far more troubled than the American foreign policy.

Both nationalist elements in Britain and France have opposed EU membership. In Britain, former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher is deeply concerned that rather than integrating Germany into Europe, the EU treaty instead forms an union of Europe onto a strong Germany. And in France, students, communists and even the far right right, all oppose the many ways in which a connection to a strong union which would mean German dominance of this union will weaken French identity. And while both France and Germany seek to act as a new superpower counter to the U.S., they seek ways to exert a foreign policy at odds with American interests.

In Yugoslavia after the breakup of communism, Germany sought to pry away Croatia as a near satellite state of Germany. Yet this had a disasterous effect, as it created a ghastly war of "ethic cleansing" against Moslems in Bosnia and conflict in Kosovo. From the early days of the rule of Europe by the Ottoman empire, which brought the Moslem faith to much of Europe, some pockets of Moslem faith remained. The war to "ethic cleanse" parts of the former Yugoslavia was a reopenning of this ages old conflict. And the disasterous war that Germany created by promoting the breakup of Yugoslavia led to American involvement in this region, and a short bombing war and U.N. peacekeeping in Kosovo to prevent any further "ethnic cleansing" of Moslems in this region. The larger state of Yugoslavia has strong Orthodox faith religious and other ties to Russia, while Croatia for example now has a national anthem that praises Germany.

And in the MidEast, both France and Germany have displayed much independence with economic ties to both Iran and Iraq, and a strong opposition to American policy in the region. Yet this independence has meant that French nuclear wares have been sold to Iran, and along with Russia, France will be a major reason that Iran will probably have the atomic bomb soon, as Iran with 10% of the world's oil energy resources somehow falsely contends that nuclear work is needed for energy development. Yet the same nuclear enrichment path that could be used for peaceful nuclear power potential work, can also be easily turned into nuclear weapons production. French, German and Russian foreign policy may be in great opposition to U.S. goals, yet it has only worsened the situation in both Iran and Iraq. And while the U.S. foreign and military policy could stand huge room for maturity, especially in the Bush years, it has felt compelled to "clean up" European messes created in the MidEast.

The United States is a declining world power though. Bush and his core of supporters are like a bunch of aloof Imperial Americanists, who blindly believe in some greatness of the U.S. to solve all world problems, often through the base means of militarism, while the economic base of America erodes. The strong emerging economy of China takes a greater toll on American manufacturing jobs each month, and Japan, China and South Korea actually keep the American government solvent by being the holders of billions and billions of dollars in bonds held by banks from Japan, South Korea and now China. America has an eroding economy in a state of regression, while the large economy of Germany and a possible union of 400 million persons versus the smaller union of America, means that America is reaching a twilight time as the major superpower in the world. And without the competing influence of Britain or France in this possible union, Germany becomes the most dominate player in Europe once again.

Shortly before the end of WWII, Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin discussed the sectioning of Germany after the allied victory into British, American, French and Russian sectors to prevent any future effort of a strong Germany to create problems in Europe. But as the Soviet Union decided to hold half of the country, America allowed a stronger half to remain free and assisted the rebuilding of this part. When the Berlin Wall fell, Germany concentrated on rebuilding the Eastern sector, which seemed to be no more advanced than the 1950's compared to the modern Western sector. Now Germany seeks to add more influence in Europe, and once again become a dominant world power. And the book of Revelation makes it clear that this superpower will not rule peacefully, it will involve itself in the worst war of mankind. And with the deeply flawed foreign policy and the steady weakening of American influence under Bush, it is not at all difficult to see these serious peacerobbing events very possible.

Unfortunately both the U.S. and Europe have dellusional foreign policy goals in the world. Bush has greatly accelerated the decline of the American economy and of American clout in the world. And the proposal of John Bolton, who does not work at all well with others, makes the U.S. possiby a marginalized player in the 191 member U.N. The path seems clear for Germany to unite a strong union in Europe under it's dominate economy and political influence to form a European superstate. And the warned of events of world war this superpower will cause as it unites "ten horns" under the religious blessing of the church in Europe means a new empire much like Charlemagne, and adds real concreteness to foretold events in the book of Revelation. WWI and WWII were disgusting displays of the immaturity of Europe to rule itself an orderly and peaceful manner. Soon the worst is yet to come as Europe gains more power to rob peace from mankind. The vote in France is significant as another step towards this powerful new German dominated European superpower as the U.S. power in the world wanes as the American right wing weaken America from within. Abraham Lincoln predicted that America would be destroyed not from outside of America, but from within America. And the right wing cult that surrounds the Bush core represents a significant downturn for America that will open the path for the new power in Europe to replace America, but with even worst world peacerobbing results.

The Danica Patrick Breakthrough

Racecar team owner, David Letterman, must be very happy today. Yesterday he fielded a fleet of three cars from his team Rahal in yesterday's Indianapolis 500, and a young woman, 23 year old Danica Patrick just narrowly missed winning the race. This was a great breakthrough for women in this motorsport. Patrick is far and away the greatest female driver in the world right now.

In 1992, at the age of 10, Patrick became very interested in gokarts. And by 1993, she was the secondplace winner a MidWest class of karting. By 1998, she became an international racer competing in racing of small automobiles in England. And between 2000 to 2001 became a top racing driver in England and award winning. In 2002, she signed a multi-year contract with David Letterman's Team Rahal, and has since proven her mark as far better than most men competing in racing today.

This is a huge breakthrough for women to be all they can be. It is refreshing to see another barrier fall, where in the case of Danica Patrick, the best man to race for Team Rahal, is a woman. Go Danica Go. The best is yet to come!

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Evil In Gresham

In a nearly all white neighorhood in Gresham, Oregon, a perfectly peaceful Black family owns a home. This is a neighborhood where all the residents respect their homes. And the Black family are no exception to this intense pride in their property. And this family with a small girl are well liked in the neighorhood.

Today, the little Black girl found a horrible site no little child should have to witness. Someone entered this family's yard and deliberately hung her small pet dog from a tree just like an old time lynching. This is apparently meant to be some sort of a racist message to this family.

Words cannot describe the evil in the heart of persons who do such disordered acts of violence and murder. In oregon, this person faces 5 years in prison for animal abuse as well as possible hate crime prosecution if the police and prosecutor so see this violent act. But any person who commits such an act has filled their heart with so much of the devil, that their heart and mind oozes nothing but evil now. It is hoped that God will bring justice to this evil person. And as a vegan who respects animals as a partner to man, any abuse of animals is an act that brings disgust to me. This decent family should never have been so victimized by such evil. God bless and heal their broken hearts, and especially that of the little girl without her cute little pal of a small dog.

The John Bolton Litmus Test

Next week's likely vote will be a litmus test on the values of each voting member of the U.S. Senate. Will some senators be more swayed by party loyalty concerns or by national security concerns for America? Will the conservatives desire to make some sort of politically moltivated "point" with a U.N. organization they distrust be a far greater factor than the real concerns over unsettling developments with North Korea, Iran or even China over Taiwan, which require the American ability to work well with the other 190 U.N. member states to prevent serious international disaster or war be a determining factor one way or another? Will the documents some senators desire regarding Bolton be made available before any vote?

On one hand, I reported a few days ago that former UNSCOM arms inspector, Scott Ritter has claimed that Bush has signed off for an aerial attack on Iranian nuclear research sites set for June. However some new evidence suggests that such an attack may not succeed for several reasons. While Israel has been supplied 5,000 smart bombs and 500 "bunker busters" in a large arms deal with the U.S. to arm their military for a possible attack on Iranian nuclear research sites, and has also covertly practiced for such a mission in Turkish airspace in a three way arrangement with Israel, the United States and Turkey, it is now suspected that the Iranian reactor has been buried so deep that it is invulerable to the bunker buster bombs. Israel has been the important intelligence link to the United States on Iranian nuclear research site concerns. And in a mid-April meeting with Bush, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, brought Major General Yaov Galant, who also briefed the U.S. on the latest Iranian activity on both the nuclear enrichment and the military abilities of the 3,000,000 man Iranian army, one of the world's largest.

Iran is thought to be within weeks to months on uranium enrichment, which they claim is for electrical power generation, yet for a nation with 10% of all oil reserves, this seems highly questionable, and is likely a cover story for the military goals of Iran. Originally the Shahab-3 missiles from Iran were a poor weapon and highly inaccurate. However a strong client state status with China has helped to provide GPS(Global Positioning System) technology. This is an unfortunate development due to Clinton era sales of such technology to China for their Air Force, which they in turn supplied to Iran's missile systems. With this technology, Iran could now hit American bases in Iraq to retaliate against any possible U.S. attack against Iran with great accuracy. And these bases could hit targets as far as London currently. In addition, since Iran controls the Strait Of Hormuz, it could choke off the supply for 40% of the world's oil supply and bring the economy of the U.S. to it's knees as well.

And North Korea, another strong ally of China, is raising it's own nuclear concerns with the possible test of an device within days. And with one of the world's largest and most powerful armies, North Korea warned that the possible military preemption option is not just for the U.S. alone, they also could launch a grand scale attack as well to safeguard their nation's regime.

And China is having difficult relations with Taiwan, and the threat of a possible invasion is being backed up with six new naval destroyers added to the People's Liberation Army Navy in the last few months. Two Russian Federation build, and four Luhu and Luhai class naval destroyers are armed with nuclear cruise missiles such as the Sunburn class designed to kill American aircraft carriers with 100% mortality if the U.S. should interfere in the 90 mile sea attack to overrun tiny Taiwan by the huge military of mainland China. The massive flood of Chinese made consumer goods flooding American store shelves are being funneled into China's war machine for this 90 mile drive to overrun Taiwan. And bad relations with Japan over some Japense history books failure to accept responsibility for Japanese crimes in WWII China such as the "Rape Of Nanking", are fueling rotten relations with Japan as well.

Conservatives seem to support John Bolton based on some passion to make a "point" with the U.N. over the Oil For Food scandal, revenge against the French for opposing U.S. military action in Iraq, and a shopping bag of other right wing reasons to promote dislike for this international peacekeeping institution. And Liberals and Democrats are very concerned about both American security issues as well as the sagging reputation of the U.S. since the Bush attack on Iraq. The U.S. has some of the lowest world respect levels ever under Bush, compared to the far more popular Bill Clinton. And Bolton's confrontive style and membership in the military contractor funded PNAC(Project For The New American Century) make Bolton seem especially not at all suited to being the best possible choice to bring support for American efforts to bring in international support from the other 190 U.N. member states to prevent nuclear problems or other difficullty with Iran, North Korea or China. And the U.N. Secretary General, Kofi Annan, warns the U.S. that there is simply not the support for economic sanctions on Iran on the U.N. Security Council, where both China and the Russian Republic hold veto vote power. And other states, such as France have a vested economic interest in Iran, as well as Russia in selling nuclear reactor related goods to Iran. Conservatives seem to live in a sort of bubble, not cognitive of the weak position of U.S. relations with the world under Bush. There is no comprehension of much of the poor of the world who think more of Osama Bin Laden than the U.S. Given so many dangerous situations which could result in major war at any time this very year, why conservatives want a confrontational U.N. Ambassador representing America like Bolton is just plain bizarre and realistic. The conservatives hatred of the U.N. is little reason to further aggravate antiU.S. sentiments with the very poor choice of Bolton, and further isolates the U.S., Britain and Israel from the other 188 voting member states. The conservatives will argue up and down how supposedly "qualified" Bolton is. Yet he only understands the world in the basest "Cold War" sense, and his confrontational style will make international support for any U.S. efforts to prevent nuclear problems with North Korea, Iran or China peacefully resolve far less likely. The Republican majority has the power to improve or blow up the world with the Bolton nomination. Let's hope God will give these voting senators the wisdom to make the proper choice for the sake of world peace and reject the confrontive John Bolton.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Why Iraq Is George Bush's Vietnam

On April 6, 2004, Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts proclaimed that "Iraq is George Bush's Vietnam". More and more facts point to this statement to be absolutely true. The similarities between the no-win situation in Vietnam and the no-win situation of Iraq are becoming more and more apparent.

It was claimed since the 1958 use of American military advisors in Vietnam, until the buildup of over 500,000 American troops in Vietnam by 1968, that the purpose was to stop "international communism". The second war in Iraq was justified by the post 9/11 claim that this war was vital to stop "international terrorism". Yet facts failed to support either stated premise. In Vietnam, the country had been split in two as a result of a post WWII, antiFrench colonial rule insurgency, which started in 1946 with the Vietminh communist movement of Ho Chi Minh who despite his communist ideology, had been a longtime U.S. ally. During WWII for example, troops loyal to Ho Chi Minh had fought along the side of U.S. soldiers to defeat the Japanese invaders. It was expected by Ho Chi Minh that the U.S. would side with his proindependence forces, and pressure and support the French withdrawal from Vietnamese affairs. In Iraq, a similar colonial rule by post WWI British forces began in 1917, and continued until the 1958 revolution in Iraq that threw out British rule. Saddam Hussein was a great admirer of the 1952-54 revolution against British rule in Egypt, and the rise to power of Arab socialist leader, Gamel Adbel-Nasser. The Ba'th socialist movement of Iraq was strongly inspired by the antiBritish imperialist Egyptian Arab socialist movement. These movements in both Vietnam and Iraq were not connected to any international goals to expand communist or socialist rule throughout the world. In reality, it was only after U.S. opposition to the Vietminh movement that the Vietminh proindependence forces sought either communist aid from the Soviet Union or China. Similarly, since it was assumed that the U.S. probably supported the colonialist goals of longtime ally, Great Britain, so Arab socialist leaders first in Egypt and then in Iraq sought support with military and economic assistence from the Soviet Union at the height of Cold War tensions in the 1950's to 60's. Yet it was clear that neither the government of Vietnam or the governments of Arab states wanted the dominance of any superpower in their affairs, including the Soviets or the U.S., and of course the defeated colonial powers of France and Britain. Yet the false case was made by the U.S. that intervention in Vietnam was necessary to defeat "international communism", and with Iraq, the false claim that defeating Saddam Hussein's regime was made, with the false claim of defeating post 9/11 "international terrorism". In both periods a aura of hysteria and overreaction of American security concerns fueled a hysteria driven rather factual based policy towards both nations. In both cases it resulted in a no-win war with nationalist driven insurgent elements.

From a military warfare prospective, the battlefield insurgency wars of Vietnam and Iraq were lost because of similar military limitations of the American military to fight the war due the warfare rules of the conflicts as well as the nationalist driven nature of the insurgency forces themselves. In Vietnam, the Vietminh forces who later became NVA military and the Vietcong insurgents of South Vietnam were able to attack from North Vietnam and retreat to some safety to regroup in North Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. The U.S. attempted wide scale bombings in these nations, however without the ability to expand U.S. troops into a widescale invasion in these other nations, the ability to defeat the Vietnamese indepdence driven nationalists was limited. And with well over 500,000 American soldiers in South Vietnam by 1968, with no end in sight to the conflict, growing antiwar protests in the U.S., a huge expansion of the draft to provide an American military of several million men to occupy a number of Indochina nations was clearly out of the question. And added fears of drawing either the Soviet Union or China into support for North Vietnam and creating WWIII, further limited the groundrules for the American combat role in this war against Vietnamese nationalist elements. In Iraq, the insurgent forces are a similar nationalist movement, driven by Islamic fundamentalism as well as the sense of Arab nationalism that since the 1952-54 revolt against British rule has been a popular movement in the Arab world. And just like the Vietcong and NVA forces, these insurgent fighters are able to disappear across the borders into Syria, Jordan and Iran, although these efforts are covert and against any formal "knowledge" of these governments. However it is well known in Iran for example, of some organizations that raise funds to support these insurgent forces. In Iran for example, one organization has the goal of training and supporting a terrorist and insurgent force of one million fighters over time. And the U.S. is even farther from preventing the efforts to gain cooperation of Iran to restrict this organization's activities because of the dispute over the nuclear arms that Iran may attempt to soon seek. And while Iran has gained a great deal of new clout with so many proIraniaian politicians in the new Iraq government, it nonetheless looks the other way on insurgent training and support organizations to combat the American forces in Iraq.

In Vietnam the nationalists were driven by a sense that if they could not defeat America, "In our lifetime, then in my sons lifetime, or his sons lifetime". And entire culture of the ability to fight generational wars existed in Vietnam. By comparison, Americans had no stomach for such conflicts that could span generations. Americans wanted conflicts quickly concluded. Patience is not an American military virtue, but to the Vietnamese insurgents, patience was an important military equation in the eventual victory that could be secured with inferior military forces, but highly moltivated by nationalist sentiments of independence from colonial rule. In Iraq, the insurgents have not only a sense of Arab nationalism, that soon took roots after the beginnings of British rule in 1917 in the Arab world, but a sense of Islamic fundamentalism that tests the faith in Allah of the warrior who must encounter superior forces as a sign of his faith in Allah to protect him as a mighty warrior. Standing up to a weak opponent, by contrast, is proof of a lack of faith in Allah, and reason to question one's standing with Allah. America has militarily been able to defeat invading forces from Japan or Germany that invaded other nations, but has not been able to exert the strength to defeat nationalist forces in blunting wars of national independence. And in WWII, the fear of one million American dead in an occupational war in Japan, forced the decision from Harry Truman to use the atomic bomb to secure Japan's unconditional surrender. It was feared a long hand to hand combat war with Japan would be extremely difficult, and the "nuclear option" appeared the most viable to military planners. A variety of desperation tactics to quickly conclude the war with Japan were considered. Widespread use of mustard gas on Japanese civilians was considered, which would not kill all victims but leave millions of Japanese blind, with burnt skin and permanently seared lungs. But General Curtis LeMay, George Wallace's former Presidential running mate developed a similarly evil combat against civilians. But the widespread firebombings of the population of Tokyo where 100,000 civilians would die in a single evening of American firebombings of this densely packed city, failed to gain a Japanese surrender. It was only after Japanese military officials understood that only two atomic bombs dropped in Japan caused more than 100,000 killed and many more injured, that they decided not to attempt to withstand an expected U.S. invasion as islands close to Japan fell and became American military staging areas for aircraft attacks on the mainland of Japan. By comparison, unless America seeks to expand the war to neighboring states like Iran and Syria, then the ability for a "battlefield victory" in Iraq are limited. But the problem is that in the MidEast, a battlefield victory means nothing. The insurgents cannot match the U.S. in this hightech warfare of $1 million dollar cruise missiles and other weapons remotely guided from space by satellites. Instead, the insurgent victory is based on the Vietminh warfare rules of long and patient generational conflict. If Arab nationalist goals of independence can survive from the 1917 days of British colonial rule, then it is known that America has no will to fight generational war in Iraq. For this reason, while the Bush Administration publicly uses disinformation claims of Donald Rumsfeld that troops can soon come home from Iraq, there is in reality no desire to end American involvement in Iraq. And has included hundreds of millions of dollars of requests in the latest defense bills in Congress for permanent military base construction in Iraq. After 1968, a similar misleading "withdrawal" from Vietnam was undertaken by the U.S., where forces were also cut somewhat to deceive the public into believing the conflict was winding down, but instead more aerial warfare was substituted and the conflict dragged on to the 1973 "Peace With Honor" agreement with the North Vietnamese, that did not end the war, only allowed the the U.S. to leave the conflict in knowing defeat.

And in South Vietnam, a few years after the CIA efforts to destablize the government of Prime Minister Ngo Dinh Diem, resulted in 1963 a coup and murder of this leader, and eventually as American troops entered South Vietnam to support the government of the corrupt leader, Nguyen Van Thieu, America had a difficult effort to gain public support from the people of South Vietnam who largely disliked the unpopular Thieu government. In Iraq, the new government is already gaining resentment for not bettering the public in Iraq as living conditions deteriorate. There is now less food, water and electricity than in the worst days of U.N. sanctions and "oil for food" sales theft by Saddam's family to build new palaces or load funds into their personal bank accounts. And the Bush Adminstration was so limited in usable opposition leaders to Saddam Hussein it had to form a "Governing Council" comprised of some former CIA operatives as well undesirable elements such as Ahmed Chalabi, who was convicted in Jordan in the nation's worst bank fraud scandal, yet brought into this government. And the Secretary of the Iraqi Communist Party, an economist who opposed "market economic models" and supported a Cubalike approach to Iraq's economy was also strangely brought in to the "Governing Council" by the Bush Administration. And even more strange, a Hezbollah leader was also brought in, despite the fact that this very same organization regularly fires terrorist rockets into Israel from Lebanon. And just like South Vietnam, Iraq has an unpopular government that does not gain public respect. And criminal figures like Chabali still hold major power in this government despite the fact that he's a convicted fugitive from justice from Jordan.

And just like the failed "Vietnamization" of the Vietnam War, in which conscripted South Vietnamese soldiers quickly ran from combat and refused to fight, leaving most serious combat and combat deaths to the America soldiers, Iraq has a similar flaw. With such a high poverty rate and few paying jobs in Iraq, many men out of work sign up for the military or police not out of any desire to defend the country, but to simply get a paycheck. However,out of 147,000 claimed Iraqi Defense Force soldiers, only about 25% are deemed to be "combat ready". And while some patriotic young college students and others will sign up, hoping it will fuel a quicker U.S. exit from Iraq, most Iraqi soldiers are completely undisciplined and sometimes walk away from basic trainging unless allowed to smoke during training by U.S. military advisors. And in combat, it becomes even worse, sometimes in a protracted firefight, only the American military advisor and a handful of Iraqi soldiers will not run from combat after a few hours of insurgent fighting. Just like Vietnam's failed "Vietnamization" of combat duties, the Iraqi experiment with the "Iraqi Defense Force" is so far a grossly failed experiment. American soldiers will bear the brunt of all major combat and combat deaths in Iraq, exactly like the experience in Vietnam.

This Memorial Day weekend deserves to be a period of prayerful thanks to so many lost in combat to defend America. And the heart breaks at so many young men and women lost. Our extended family has paid a high cost in blood and lives over the wars from WWII on. And I have great respect for our military. They go to war without question where the politicians send them. But that's exactly the problem. Both Vietnam and Iraq are similar no-win wars against homegrown insurgent forces. And both conflicts are so similar on so many levels that the chance of a good outcome in Iraq is probably no better than the failure in Vietnam. Our military deserves great respect. But politicians never seem to learn discretion which wars to involve America in, and the factors that make a positive outcome for the U.S. effort impossible. Vietnam and Iraq are unfortunately two sides to the same bad coin.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The Dangers Of Drug Addiction

Nothing illustrates the cognitive disabling effects of drug addiction any worse than Rush Limbaugh's limited comprehension response to Bill Moyers's heartfelt feelngs that it is the responsibility of journalists to question the actions of those in power and make the public aware of trustbreaking irresponsibility of those the public entrusts with their very lives. Rush Limbaugh dismises Bill Moyers as simply "insane".

It is unfortunate about the effects of drug addiction to destroy the ability to reason in more complex ways. The mind numbing effects of drug addiction impair the cognitive reasoning abilities down to a grade school level of comprehension in the case of Mr. Limbaugh. All a person can do is to wish Mr. Limbaugh well with his drug recovery efforts and perhaps leave his program in the hands of more capable host, say Al Franken.

The Lies That Got America Bogged Down In Iraq & Vietnam

U.S. soldiers have launched a new giant offensive in Western Iraq. It was only a few days ago that another big military offensive right near the Syrian border was staged. Instead of this situation improving in Iraq, major combat operations like this are increasing in frequency. This is a war without end, a situation very similar to Vietnam, where no end is anywhere in sight. Where human suffering in Iraq worsens. Instead of making this country better, America has actually made life worse for many Iraqis.

And instead of relying on true "intelligence", Ahmed Chalabi, who was convicted of the worst bank fraud scheme in the history of Jordan was almost solely relied on for reports on the Iraqi WMDs which beyond an old mustard gas shell and an exploded sarin shell, have been proven to simply not exist. In fact during the 1962 Cubian missile crisis, intelligence was very good by comparison. There were real documented photos of real missile sites, that would contain real nuclear warheads to be stationed just 90 miles from American shores. America had real spy plane photos to display to the U.N. that a threat on our doorstep was real and genuine. By comparison, the call to war in Iraq was fueled by hysteria and outright lies solely to profit military contractors in a hyped war, that was expected to be an easy victory and an opportunity to use a large quantity of $1 million dollar cruise missiles and other high priced weapons to create a financial windfall for the corporations that bought George Bush into office.

Here are some of the worst lies Bush knowingly promoted to create this endless cycle of war and suffering in Iraq:

"Iraq has stockpiled biological and chemical weapons, and is rebuilding the facilities to make more of those weapons"----Bush radio address from October 5, 2002

"The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting it's nuclear weapons program. Saddam Hussein has held numerous meetings with Iraqi nuclear scientists, a group he calls his "nuclear mujahideen"-his nuclear holy warriors. Satellite photographs reveal that iraq is rebuilding facilities at sites that have been part of it's nuclear program in the past. Iraq has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes and other equipment needed for gas centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons"----Bush Cincinnati, Ohio speech from October 7, 2002

"Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime contibues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised"----Bush address to the nation from March 17, 2003

"Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons"----Bush United Nations address from September 12, 2002

"We have sources that tell us that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons- the very weapons the dictator tells us he does not have"----Bush radio address from October 5, 2002

"We've also discovered through intelligence that Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned vehicles aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas. We're concerned that Iraq is exploring ways of using UAVs for missions targeting the United States"----Bush Cincinnati, Ohio speech from October 7, 2002

"We know that the Iraqi regime has produced thousands of tons of chemical agents, including mustard gas, sarin nerve gas, VX nerve gas"-----Bush Cincinnati, Ohio speech from October 7, 2002

"The Iraqi regime.....possessses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons"----Bush Cininnati, Ohio speech from October 7, 2002

The real truth is that unlike the real intelligence involving spy planes, satellites or other viable means of documenting weapons, instead the Bush Administration hyped very unreliable information from Ahmed Chalabli and information from members of the Bush Administration formerly connected to the neoconservative and military contractor funded PNAC(Project For The New American Century) whose sole purpose was to sell arms to the U.S. government by making it seem like a threat to the U.S. oil supply in the MidEast was somehow involved. Rumsfeld, Cheney, Jeb Bush, Wolfowitz and John Bolton were all members of this defense contractor funded military contractor peusdolobby disguised as a "think tank". Bush apparently didn't believe their hype to support war to be hysterical enough to get the American public behind a war with Iraq, so personally carried things a few steps farther by making up a series of outright lies about a looming threat to America if the U.S. did not attack to prevent a crisis right away. And when the only evidence of two old shells dated back to the 20 year old Iran-Iraq war were the only evidence recovered, then the nonsense about "bad intelligence" was made up to cover up for the lies and grossly outrageous statements made to hoodwink America to enter this worthless war. The fact is that America has in all recent times has been very accurate regarding the actual military threat posed by rival powers, the old Soviet Union, China, North Korea as well as many other nations. In fact arm limitations have been based on these accurate weapons intelligence information. The intelligence community is not that wrong and faulty. They were simply blamed because George Bush is not man enough to admit he's a terrible bald faced liar. The fact is, Bush simply deliberately misled the country. Bush simply lied to America to involve this country in Iraq. Yet for some reason has not so far faced impeachment for this high evil.

Bush likes to use every opportunity to remind America of his so-called faith. Yet he should read something from the Bible that is part of the Ten Commandments. The ninth one simply states that "Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor". This covers all lies in spirit of this law from God. In this case the many lies have cost many lives. 100,000 Iraqis have been estimated to have died and 1,644 Americans killed, and 12,516 Americans wounded, many losing limbs such as legs to roadside bombs. Even in the most benefit of the doubt case, it has to be assumed that Bush hyped matters far beyond the truth, hoping to latter gather enough evidence to at least justify the war. But his lies were so extreme that the only two 20 year old shells found prove that there could not ever been the intelligence information so claimed to justify this terrible war. In a similar incident, on August 5, 1964, Lyndon Johnson similarly misled America about a claimed incident where the USS Maddox was supposedly attacked in th Tonkin Gulf by the North Vietnamese PT boats. But as tapes from the LBJ presidency were opened to the public, in an old phone conversion from the White House, LBJ candidly admitted "For all I know they were shooting at whales out there", when the USS Maddox in total darkness shot into dark waters with no real evuidence that any North Vietnamese attack had ever taken place. And Admiral Stockdale, who later become Ross Perot's running mate also doubted any real attack had taken place. 58,00 Americans and 1 million Vietnamese died in this war where a lie about an attack that never took place cost so many lives and was used to justify this war. Someday more information will come out regarding the lies of George Bush to create the Iraq War. And Bush will go down in history as someone whose sense of truth is sorely weak and he'll be greatly dishonored as a man without the moral caliber to ever have been elected President.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Star Wars Episode Three

The Union Of Concerned Scientists have now voiced their opposition to the proposed new Bush Administration plans to weaponize space. Not only citing the possible new space arms race this could create, but also citing the extreme cost compared to ground based weapons could be just as effective if the technology existed in supported the weapons plans. The problem is just that, the technology is just not there. After 22, years and $100 billion dollars, every test of an effective ground based antiballistic missile system testing has either been flawed or only effective if very tightly choregraphed with two missiles on a virtual string to ram one another.

Realisticly, the cost of any space based weapons system would be very prohibitively expensive. Some plans for a workable antiballistic missile shield of interceptors would have to involve multiple launchings of as many as 1000 space shields, and could cost as much as $100 billion dollars. With a current launch schedule of only as many as 12 large rockets by the U.S. each year to launch satellites, the U.S. would have to dramaticly increase the number of launches per year. And of course this increases the possibility of rocket accidents. If uranuim or other nuclear product rockets are launched, the possibility of nuclear debris hitting the land or ocean are greatly increased with an agressive launch schedule. The Space Shuttle program for example has had fatal accidents involving 50% of the four existing Space Shuttle vehicles.

And if the technology supported the "Rods From God" weapon system, which would fire uranium rods from space at 7,200 miles per hour, with a nuclear bomb type destruction resulting, the cost would be as much as 100 times the cost of comparable ground based missile systems that could be launched at targets including cruise missiles. Other than safety concerns for American pilots who carry out manned bombing missions, there is very little advantage of this SciFi based "Rods From God" weapon proposal. However, so many ground based cruise missiles or other current satellite guided systems already exist, so with such a lag in technology not ready to keep up with the plans for such space based weapons, then little real reason exists to commit vast amounts of funds for weapons that cannot be currently developed as the technology is simply not there yet. And in most cases, as the "Shock And Awe" campaign against Iraq proved, manned bombing missions can be greatly reduced by current cruise missile technology. An offensive, rather than defensive weapon like the "Rods From God" concept has little advantage, and every cost and technology lag disadvantage.

But under recommendations from Donald Rumsfeld in a report given to President Bush, in 2002 the United States withdrew from it's long membership in the Antiballistic Missile Treaty. China and Russia have both sought U.N. support for a new resolution or new treaty banning the weaponization of space. In the LBJ days of 1967, the United States was a signing party to a world treaty not to station weapons of mass destruction in space. And with the "handshake in space" during the Ford Administration, an increasingly cooperative space efforts between the U.S. and first the former Soviet Union, and now the Russian Republic has been taking place.

Space is simply a great creation of God. And it is an area of great science exploration and cooperation for the world community. This is simply not an appropriate place to pollute with the evils of space weapons. The Heavens are part of God's own front porch. His home must be respected in Space.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

"Gort! Klaatu Barada Nikto!"

In maybe the best SciFi film of the 1950's, "The Day The Earth Stood Still", this classic dialog to Gort, the giant policeman robot were uttered, "Gort! Klaatu barada nikto!". Gort was assigned to keep the peace with the power to use his death ray to punish a lawbreaker. Gort and an astronaut from another world came to warn earth about the threat to peace this planet made in the universe with so many nuclear arms and fearsome weapons to destroy mankind or others in the universe as well. The giant policeman Gort came both as a bodyguard for the space traveler, as well as an enforcer robot against a lawless and primitive earth bent on weapons development and mutually assured destruction.

In the same way a few voices of wisdom argue about the ability of mankind to walk a step too far down the path of destructive weapons. In Iran for example, some religious clerics are arguing that for Iran to develop nuclear arms would be a gross violation of the laws of the Koran regarding taking innocent life. Yet other clerics more involved with the state seek such arms, as an attempt to push the nuclear envelop to the brink with the world community. And in North Korea, where the word of Kim Jong Il is virtually the divine word, no Gort voice restrains against going a step too far down the nuclear path. And China whose massive trade with the U.S. has funded six new naval destroyers added to the People's Liberation Army Navy in the last few months, armed with nuclear cruise missiles designed to kill American aircraft carriers with 100% mortality of all navy personel on board. The only Gort voice not to take weapons to this level is the hugh volume of trade with the U.S. If not for this, tension over Taiwan may well force such a conflict with the U.S.

And with the U.S. Administration, a new plan to weaponize space is now being promoted. Despite spending $100 billion over the last 22 years in failed antiballistic missiles weapons experiments, Donald Rumsfeld, Bush and other "true believers" now want to commit America to space weapons that exceed known science and technology limitations. One proposed weapon, the so-called "Rods From God", would hurl uranium cylinders from space at 7,200 miles an hour creating a nuclear bomb blast type destruction. Another system would use radio waves to act as a destructive weapon on earth objects. Another system seems designed after the "death star" from Star Wars films. It would involve a satellite series of mirrors in space reflecting deadly laser beams on earth targets.

The Bush Administration claims to be greatly "God" inspired when politically advantageous, yet has rejected every plea from religious leaders such as the Pope not to get involved in Iraq and destablize the MidEast region. And this pseudoreligious administration brushes off all other legitimate relgious leader calls for restraint in military affairs that could destablize the world. No one in the Bush Administration remembers how the Vietnam destablized the entire IndoChina region, and left Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia all with Communist governments. In both Zechariah and Ezekiel books of the Holy Scriptures, the grave dangers of world war to develop in the MidEast between Israel and Persia(Iran) are clearly stated. Yet this pseudoreligious regime in Washington seems little concerned of these dangers. The voice of the Pope and other leaders are like the Gort voice, warning of military restraint, but are little heeded. During an election it is seen as important to proclaim faith in God, but then ignore the religious community the rest of the year. Just like cheap grace, there is cheap faith.

And with the American world reputation rapidly sinking with embarrassing prison photos and stories from the MidEast and the American sector of Cuba, the Moslem world becomes more and more convinced of the U.S. as the "Great Satan", while little is done to rehabilitate this tattered image that is broadening the conflict between the U.S. and the Islamic world.

There is no widely accepted and universal "Gort" voice to rein in all sides from all nations not to speed towards some nuclear situation that will clearly get out of hand in the probable near future. Unfortunately, Gort is simply SciFi.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Not A Vast Wasteland

In his famous 1961 speech, controversial FCC head, Newton Minow referred to television as a "vast wasteland". This last year, that was hardly the case. Network television was actually very good last year. In fact so good, that many very good programs will not be returning on some overly full network schedules. Some very fine programs will simply not be be back for the Fall 2005/2006 network lineup.

Some very fine critically acclaimed programs failed to gather an audience this year. An early favorite with critics, "Clubhouse" quickly failed. And "Jack & Bobby", also a highly praised drama, failed to gather much of a viewer following as well. And the new "Blind Justice" and "Eyes", while acceptably good programs, never became audience favorites as well. Some really bad programs such as "Dr. Vegas", an outrageous premise of a doctor running his practice out of Las Vegas casino died a quick and merciful death though.

Friday night is a ratings bad night for television. The programs are usually very good, but the ratings are always dismal for programming that night. The Star Trek series SciFi adventure series, UPN's "Enterprise" is probably far and away the very best program this network has. Yet on viewer weak Friday night, this series died from poor ratings. Since 1987, America has had at least one or more Star Trek series. This excellent program will be greatly missed. And some NBC experiments to improve Friday ratings also have failed. "Medical Investigation" was a little like a third rate CSI ripoff. But still was acceptable Friday night fare. It sometimes had some compelling episodes, although the premier episode of patient's turning blue from an illness seemed like "X Files" type of SciFi silliness, rather than medical fact based drama. Other episodes were acceptably written and decent drama. And the very excellent, "Law And Order: Trial By Jury" will not be back. This is a huge loss. This is a very good program. Some of the finest and most intellectual drama about little known defense and prosecution strategy behind the scenes that is meant to win in the courtroom. The first episode dealing with jury shadow pools tailoring the defense courtroom strategy was an awesome program. Great television. And Bebe Neuwirth continued the great "Law And Order" recruiting of drawing excellent stage actors to this excellent TV series franchise. Jerry Orbach who starred in the Broadway version of "Chicago" and so many other great plays became "Mr. Law And Order" until his death from prostate cancer earlier this year. And the great Jesse Martin who is a main star in "Rent", is another great stage performer who has joined the "Law And Order" franchise. Mr. Martin is currently filming a film version of "Rent", and was temporarily replaced in the "Law And Order" series in an episode involving a revenge shooting. This fine actor is greatly missed, but will be back this fall. NBC should realize that Friday is a ratings tough night, and give "Law And Order: Trial By Jury" another opportunity. I can't think of a better Friday evening 10pm program than this, other than cable TVs excellent "Monk " series. Friday is a night you must own a VCR for. Choosing between "Monk" and "Law And Order: Trial By Jury" is too difficult without a VCR or TiVo to view both programs.

The excellent John Wells production, "Third Watch" is another great Friday program not returning. This started as a series with some compelling dramas in the lives of firefighters, police and paramedics. But by this year, seemed to wind down to just the level of some excellent and stylish police drama. In the last couple years, despite some overdone cheap dramatic storylines in which it seemed like a cast member was getting shot in the line of duty in every few shows, "Third Watch nonetheless was excellent TV viewing. In a real viewer treat, Gene Simmons, tongue waging rocker from KISS, played one of television's best villains in this series, and the season premier was a real gem . Simmons is a far better villain actor than musician in my view. He would be excellent in the villain lead in a James Bond film.

And despite the huge popularity of the "Passion Of The Christ", the critically acclaimed religious oriented TV drama, "Joan Of Arcadia" suffered from weak ratings and will not be back this coming fall. It was hoped by CBS that a call for "values" television would lead to strong viewership for this program. But the religious public never really warmed all that much to this program. It was greatly respected by critics, and for this sole reason lingered around for two years despite lackluster Friday night ratings.

And the cast and producers of some very good shows decided to call it quits. The excellent writing-rich comedy, "Everybody Loves Raymond" is gone. And the navy drama, "JAG", which originally was a ratings weak NBC drama, found many years of strong ratings on CBS. And in the wake of the scandal related to some CBS mistakes to accept some information over President Bush's national guard service, "60 Minutes" on Wednesday night is getting the ax for the Fall schedule.

"8 Simple Rules" had a sad history after great comedy actor, John Ritter died while filming. This series was kept alive by adding the great senior actor, James Garner and great insult comic, David Spade to the program. But without the talent of John Ritter, who this program really centered around, little more than public sympathy kept it on the air. There didn't appear to be great cast chemistry even with the original cast with Ritter, yet any program with John Ritter is a real comedy gem. And the final episodes of his life were very good comedy. Ritter was a very fine comic, whose role of hilarious pratfalls in "Three's Company" are comedy masterpieces from this great guilty pleasure late 70's TV show.

And in keeping with a tradition of failure from former "Seinfield" cast members, Jason Alexander's, "Listen Up" was acceptable, but certainly not great comedy that will not be returning in the Fall 2005 lineup. Compared to the absolutely awful "Bob Patterson" or the disasters from Michael Richards or Julia-Louise Dreyfuss, "Listen Up" was at least watchable, although a noticeable weak entry compared to all the other great comedies that CBS airs on it's fantastic Monday comedy night of programming.

Network television may not be PBS, or may not be allowed the wider freedom of cable to air programs like "Rescue Me", "The Shield", "Nip And Tuck" or even "South Park" by FCC regulations inhibiting edgy content and creativity, and with 16 minutes of advertising for every 60 minute program and 8 minutes of ads for every 30 minutes, cannot develop a series with the same smoooth flow of HBO's former critical favorite, "Sex And The City". But despite so many FCC creativity limitations, network television is really pretty good entertainment. With only a few bad exceptions, this previous year was very good for network television.

On television's most popular program, and the only returning one mentioned in this feature story, the great director Quentin Tarantino made a fantastic season finale of CSI which aired last night. The Winnepeg Sun referred to this episode as "simply terrific". In the U.S. this program draws 26.6 million viewers and as much as 100 million viewers worldwide by CBS claims. And last night's episode may have been far and away the best episode ever aired. It was a cinema quality event, and proved the tremendous skill of master filmmaker, Tarantino to actually improve on television's most popular program. Well done, master Tarantino.

Here's hoping the Fall 2005 season can be inspired to the greatness level set of last night's CSI/Tarantino masterwork.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

The Assault On Campus Professor Expression

In the legislatures of California, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Islade, Tennessee and Washington state, the political right is attempting a flurry of new bills to limit what college professors may teach in class. The claim is to "level the field" to allow "conservative views" by students an equal level of discussion and respect. Yet such bills with the power of law if passed, unless they are a general philosophical resolution, are aimed at limiting the ability of many professors who are seen as liberal to progressive in their thinking from expressing their personal philosophy into their classroom teaching environment.

There may well be a few cases of a self-righteous professor who will grade a student lower who expresses political views different from them. But in most cases, a good professor will recognize that not everyone thinks the same, has the same background, has the same life experiences. A good professor will never grade down a student for thinking differently or should ever do so. This would be gravely unethical to pervert the grading system in this way. Whether the thinking is more liberal or more conservative in nature should have no bearing on the final grade. The standard should be the quality of the work. The intellectual processess involved to arrive at the college paper or project involved.

Right wing thinker, David Horowitz, founder of Students For Academic Freedom is largely responsible for inspiring the notion that somehow "conservatives" are not allowed freedom of expression in college settings. Yet many colleges feature conservative, Republican, Christian conservative or other right of center groups. And in reality, the number of college conservatives on most campuses may roughly number the number of progressives or liberals. And on many religious college campuses are no doubt the majority by far.

Horowitz may parade an example of one college biology professor who had an airing scheduled of Michael Moore's "Farenheit 9/11" right before the election as an example of some professors presenting a liberal bias unrelated to their study discipline. Of course this example seemingly has nothing to do with the study of biology. And whether this was presented as a nonclass event is not known to me. But any professor should relate course materials to the study at hand. In a political science class for example, airing this film as well as a more "conservative" one could be used for class discussion purposes. But if presented as part of the regular biology class, it is unclear how a class that usually relates to frog dissection or other study should include any film not related to biology study environment.

In high school, I once remember a French class having a discussion of the Vietnam War during one of the Moratorium Day protests. There were some pretty raw feelings, that to this day I still found very objectionable. And the thin reasoning that because so many French opposed this war, meant this was somehow appropriate seemed like a gnat thin justification for a discusion so unrelated to the learning of the French language for high schoolers. Because so many students boycotted school nationwide that day, that perhaps the teacher felt it was comparable to a national event. And no doubt many nonpolitical science classes did discuss 9/11, the Kennedy or Martin Luther King assasinations or Pearl Harbor, the day these horrific events took place. But in general, divisive topics not related to the study should be avoided, unless a terrific national event warrants such a discussion.

I seriously doubt many conservatives are not free to speak their mind as the aim of these bills in various legislatures so claims. And if a professor gets too far from teaching the subject at hand, a complaint to the college can also result in some sort of conference with the Dean or department head about the teaching content, and the justification for such methods or content. And some department heads should consider sometimes attending a class to getting a feel for the quality of the professor in general. Did they prepare for class? Are they inspirng learning? And professor evaluation surveys are always useful. The power of legislatures to extend their grip into America's college classrooms is a real danger to academic freedom. This is one professor input not needed. Within the walls of the college a variety of internal means can make the college learning experience a quality one. The long reach of government or "conservatives" seeking to legally gag political views they object to is simply not the way.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

New Star Wars Grand Opening - Bush Style

There are no lovable Wookies named Chewbacca in this version of Star Wars. And there will be no collectable action figures of heroes or villians for children to collect. This is a new race soon to begin to weaponize space. For the last 35 years, spy satellites traveling at mach 25 have patrolled the heavens to not only survey the weapons capabilities of a number of nations, but have often proved useful in surveying weather dangerous weather conditions such as storms or surveying storm damage, so not all of the spy satellite potential has been used militarily by a number of nations who have them.

And much of the known space programs of the U.S., Russia and China, have been peaceful and scientific such as the American Space Shuttle, Russian Soyuz and Chinese Shenzhou spacecraft, and the international cooperation of the International Space Station. From the Cold War days with the successful launch of the October 1957, Soviet satellite Sputnik through the 1969 Apollo moonlanding, the area of space gradually became matured into an area of scientific admiration, mutual respect and peaceful exploraton.

But many painful steps for the U.S. and the former Soviet Union came along the way towards this peaceful and scientific exploration of space. On January 27, 1967, a ground countdown test of new three man Apollo 1 resulted in a fatal ground fire when the oxygen-rich cabin quickly burned with intense heat and flames when some electric short created a spark. Also in 1967, the Soviet Soyuz 1 capsule was to dock with the Soyuz 2 capsule to be launched a day later, but instead the mission was scaled back after heavy rains made the second launch impossible. So the mission was scaled down to merely some earth orbits by Soyuz 1, but on reentry a drag chute became entangled with another and the cosmonaut was killed as the craft crashed into the earth at high speed. In 1971, the Soviets had another fatal space tragedy. It was clear the Soviets could not win a race to land the first man on the moon, and would lose this challenge that President Kennedy set down for America. The Soviets instead concentrated on space station construction and the ability to keep men in space for extended periods. The Soyuz 11 craft's mission was to dock with the small Salyut space station, but a number of problems hampered this mission. There was a small fire in space, a problem with some instrument failure, and a fatal problem on reentry where a small valve hatch opened automaticly and released the cabin oxygen supply for the three man crew. There was a desperate attempt to hand crank this valve hatch shut, but probably the cosmonaut's blood boiled and they died very quickly before they could keep any oxgen pressure in the cabin. Because of space limitations this three man crew had no spacesuits in this craft, which contributed to this tragic accident.

In more recent times more tragedy has stricken space exploration. In 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger blew apart after launch when a defective "O" ring caused one of main fuel tanks to cause a fatal explosion. The crew cabin flew from the sky and hit the ocean at terrific force. And the body recovery mission was so secretative, that strong information claims that nearly intact bodies where thrown into the back of a pickup truck with a tarp covering them, and secretly transported back to pieces recovery center. This terrible possible revelation and a long soul searching look into what went wrong grounded the U.S. space program for an extended period. Then in 2003, disaster again struck when the Columbia broke up into pieces upon reentry. Apparently some tile damage may have created a small hole, and as the wings heated upon reentry, hot flames built inside the wing and the breakup process caused another fatal accident. Again the American space program is grounded and very slow to restart. Now only 2 out of 4 spaceflight capable Space Shuttle vehicles remain, the Discovery and Atlantis. The Enterprise named after the famous Star Trek television program is a test vehicle, and is not spaceflight capable.

After the succcessful moon landing, the NASA program seemed to wane in public interest. Most of the world carefully followed the first 1969 moon landing. But each mission suffered from less and less public interest, less news coverage. And worst of all, money for the space effort seemed to dry up. Other budget priorities continued to eat away at the NASA budget. And the thrify Space Shuttle program, the idea of a reusable vehicle to save money, seems to be a very bad design, fatal accidents to 50% of spaceflight capable vehicles and the only American deaths from actual space flight. Even the problem plagued Apollo 13 had enough backup systems, including the Lunar Module which acted as an emergency lifeboat as the Command Module lost vital oxygen and power after an oxygen tank "stirring" explosion in space on the way to a moon landing. This forced the return to earth with the oxygen and power from the Lunar Module, whose walls are nearly as thin as paper to keep the astronauts alive in space. And more drama developed during landing with a fear of whether the heat shields were damaged and whether the Command Module main capsule could even survive the reentry. The world was united in prayer, with the Pope calling on world prayer, and after an extended and frightening communications blackout upon reentry, the crew radioed that they did indeed survive a safe ocean splash down. In the 1960's through 70's , the space program seemed so much safer than today. Failure and disaster is now very common because budget cuts have forced too many corner cutting plans to keep a space program alive with a budget clearly inadequate to fund an adequate safe space program.

Now in this era of high space failures, the Bush White House and Pentagon war planners want to convert the long peaceful area of space research into a more military dominated area. And like the recent Shuttle disasters this area of space weapons has been both expensive and without much real success. In 2002, after a report by Donald Rumsfeld's own commision on space weapons, President Bush withdrew America from the 30 year old Antiballistic Missile Treaty. Part of this agreement banned space based weapon systems. And during the Reagan years, the Reagan Administration toyed with the idea of a Star Wars space weapons systems program, and even a bizarre proposal to share the weapons with any other nation, including the Soviet Union which Reagan referred to as the "Evil Empire".

Besides creating a possible new space race with arms in space with China and Russia, and eventually other states, the reality is that after lots of money, both the Reagan era space arms and the current Bush proposed ones have had a terrible rate of failure in tests. After 22 years and $100 billion dollars, the Pentagon and military contractor plans for a ground based ABM system have resulted in little more than complete failure. Antimissile rockets with the very best of puppeteering and careful orchestration could hardly knock down a test "enemy missile" in even the most carefully controlled of tests. Yet the Bush Administration is again throughly convinced in the logic of Donald Rumsfeld that despite 22 years of failure, a working system of space based weapons can be constructed.

This April, a small microsatellite the XSS-11, with the claimed ability to disrupt military satellites that provide spy functions as well as military commands was launched. Whether this satellite functions as it should is not known, because military weapons of this type are not completely open news to the public. And other programs are like the so-called, "Rods From God" project. This space weapon is supposed to hurl cylinders of uranium, titanium or tungsten at a speed of 7,200 miles an hour from space at earth military targets. With this much force and heat, each of these, including the uranium weapons would be like an atomic bomb hitting a target. The amount of damage would be horrific. Two more experimental weapons would use a space mirror system to destroy ground targets with laser beams. While the last would use radio waves to cause damage.

Currently the only real practical military use of space is spy satellites. These are either photo imaging that can view a 5or 6 inch ground object from space, or the Lockheed Martin designed radar-imaging spy satellite systems which can view North Korean missiles or other objects that are at least 3feet in size. In Iraq and Afghanistan, some small Predator drone aircraft armed with Hellfire missiles can patrol the skies in search of insugents planting roadside bomb devices or seek out insurgent leaders and fire a missile to kill this leadership. These 27 foot small aircraft can stay airbourne for up to 24 hours and are remotely operated for service in Iraq and Afghanistan by satellite from military command centers in the mainland U.S., many miles from the MidEast they patroll.

It is a depressing note that space which has long been an area for scientific study as well as cooperative research and joint space missions, could now become a new weapons frontier. From the days of Gerald Ford, when Soviet and American space explorers met in space, a new era of cooperative study of God's great heavens was opened. Now with the backing of Donald Rumsfeld, and the militaristic views of the Bush White House, space may be subverted into just another area to station weapons that kill rather than study the great heavens. Yet with so many American space failures currently, the U.S. seems like not the very best party to enter this space arms race. The kerosene based Russian rockets seem so much more reliable than the more complex and explosive and accident prone oxygen and hydrogen based rocket boosters used by America. And a simple high altitude plutonium missile explosion over the U.S. by any potential enemy power could knock out all ability for electric equipment to function including all military weapons that are electrically driven as well as the family automobile or simple wristwatch. American land based nuclear missiles could probably not be able to launch against the electrical function impairing effects of this defensive "plutonium umbrella" by an enemy state. And the old fashioned tube design of nearly all Soviet era and current Russian designed aircraft woud function with far less problems in a high radiation release warfare environment than American aircraft which is of advanced solid state design, and could likely fail to function properly with high radiaton in a combat situation. In fact even static electricity is sometimes fatal to some solid state chip functions. So a high radiation environment would be far more lethal to American solid state operated aircraft or weapons.

With so many possibilities for a "plutonium umbrella" to block mainland U.S. military functions, sea based attack submarines would become a vital form of defense for America. However, with such a long 22 year period of space weapon failures, and a Space Shuttle program with a 50% loss ratio, it seems like a bad area for the Bush Administration to make a new space weapons stand to make up for possible problems in land based defenses in time of war. While American weapons research is far beyond current Russian or Chinese capabilities, still the weaknesses of our space program illustrate a nation ill prepared to extend the horrors of war to this new space frontier. Detering an enemy state from an attack on the U.S. to make America a safe place to live, free from fear of North Korean or other missiles taking the lives of our families and burning our cities to crisp in the 100,000 degree heat of an enemy nuclear device is an acceptable goal of erring on the side of caution. But a new "Star Wars" that creates a dangerous space arms race is a very depressing change in many years of peaceful space exploration between the states of the world. The former Soviet Union and the U.S. were probably brought closer together by the goodwill of a handshake in space that thawed bad Cold War relations in the Gerald Ford years. But the Bush Administration, in yet another military miscalculation from Donald Rumsfeld could be slowly closing this window on positive Russian-U.S. relations forged by this historic handshake and mutual respect in space. Bush's version of Star Wars is far less entertaining than the George Lucas version opening in theatres, and as states like China gain ownership of companies such as IBM with new potential to develop their own space weapons to counter any American space arms created. And instead of the Russian Federation dstroying many nuclear devices, a new space race could reverse this trend and create a new era of "Cold WarII". Like so many other objectionable Bush policies, this is another potential "Pandora's Box" of new difficulties that Bush can create and make the mistake of Iraq look like a very small affair.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The Unfortunate Newsweek Error & The Extremist Urge To Violence

The error in Newsweek reporting that caused life taking violence in the Islamic world was a very sad event. A simple one line error, from a source that should have been reliable out of a magazine with thousands of other words of journalism, had a very unfortunate world impact on violence. Some of the extremists in the Islamic world used the Internet to report the story to populations of persons who are often illiterate, uneducated, impoverished and near starvation conditions, who would never read Newsweek, or understand the limitations on reporting or human errors in free press journalism. Some irresponsible religious leaders have promoted violence over this regrettable reporting error. Reporting errors are common in all news sources. Print and electronic journalism often get wrong sources, facts, or journalists make wrong assumptions errors based on note taking limitations.

The loss of life and any renewed sense of antiAmericanism because of this Newsweek error is a very depresssing legacy of this small reporting error. And because antiAmericanism heavily due to American support for Israel is often near the top of many sensibilities by some in the Islamic world, then often many want to believe the very worst about America. But in reality the availablity of the Bible, Torah, Koran as well as some Wicca books are very available in nearly all military bases, prisons, and state prisons as well. Religious clubs and worship representing all these faiths are encouraged in all these settings. There is no sense against any of these world religions. And the American military has Christian, Jewish , Moslem and Wicca members as well.

Hopefully this Newsweek error will not fuel more violence against the U.S. , but just like some Christian extremists in this country, then sometimes small things are blown out of proportion by a few to promote discrimination or sometimes violence. Some violence against homosexuals for example grows from some who take one part of the 510 Old Testament laws of the Jewish faith, and overpromote this to create discrimination against homosexuals. Other laws mandate Saturday Sabbath worship, not eating shellfish or pork, men being required to wear facial hair, or rules regarding menstruation. These laws are ignored by most practicing Christians, but the very small portion dealing with homosexuality is used to justify job and housing discrimination or gay marriage bans, or sometimes even violence by some. So sometimes some in the Christian community act in an extremist manner to go beyond promoting a spiritual walk with God, to instead using portions of the Bible in hurtful ways. In the same way some in the Islamic world caused death and violence by abusing the Newsweek story, before getting the facts straight.

The American government respects Islam very much. In the war with Yugoslavia, America spent billions and American pilots risked their lives to prevent further violence against Moslems in this nation. And with the Tsunami, some Muslim governments in the Asian community received billions in American government and private contibutions, aid and medical help. And although it's not the government hoped for by the Bush Administration in Iraq, the coalition of parties associated with Iranian born Shiite Cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, now rule Iraq, and America respects that government.

There is a great commonality of the Islamic, Jewish and Christian faiths. All three can call Abraham the father of the roots of their faith, and the two sons, Issac and Ismael, are the chief fathers of the JudeoChristian and Islamic peoples, respectively. There are now more who practice Islam in the U.S. than the Jewish faith for example. And most Christian and Jewish leaders have a great deal of respect for Islam. Many in the Islamic world attended the funeral of Pope John Paul II, because of the high level of respect he had for members of their faith.

I personally have both Jewish and Moslem friends. And I like both and respect all faiths as most in America do. The Newsweek error should not construct any wall of prejudice between any of the great faiths or societies of the world. And neither should the political right in this country abuse this error to promote more of their antifree press extremism either. Just like some antiAmerican extremists, the political right sometimes promote very irresponsible positions to further their own political power. Poliipundit for example equated Newsweek with "manslaughter" for their error. This is not responsible. There was no intent by Newswwek to promote violence or to worsen relations between Islam and the U.S. It was merely a print source reporting error. It is indeed very regrettable some lost their lives over this.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Between A Rock And A Really Hard Place

As the very worrisome potential for North Korea to soon test an atomic device and Iran's interest in such weapons increase by the day, the U.S. finds itself in a very difficult spot. U.N. Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, has now warned the U.S. that the U.N. Security Council may deadlock if the U.S. seeks any action or sanctions against Iran. China and Russia are both inportant client states to Iran, and either or both may veto any resolution dealing with any punititive sanctions against Iran if they continue to pursue a nuclear policy not acceptable to the U.S. And six nation talks to control the dangers of the North Korean nuclear situation are stalled currently.

This leaves the U.S. in a very difficult position. For the national interest of American security, and the security of allies and world stability, the U.S. has a vested interest in preventing both nations from nuclear arms acquiring. But without U.N. support, can America ethicly act outside of the law and take some action on their own without serious damage to the U.N as a organization to force nations to behave honorably and lawfully. Today the U.S. warned North Korea of some unspecificied response if their nuclear projects continue. But does this mean independent U.S. action, outside of the U.N., or is it a toothless statement. And with Iran, former UNSCOM arms inspector, Scott Ritter claims that President Bush has already signed off on a military intelligence plan to militarily attack Iran set for June. This is far from the economic sanctions that Kofi Annan warned the U.S. that will almost definately not be approved by the U.N. Security Council. If the U.N. is so divided against any action against Iran , than the prospect of any sudden military action against Iran could have a disasterous impact on what's left of American prestige around the world. Not only has Mr. Bush been a disaster for the far better image of America under President Clinton, who today is still a very popular figure in most world nations. And instead of seeking a healing force for the U.N., Bush had nominated the very arrogant and confrontational figure, John Bolton. With this loss of world respect, the U.S. is between a rock and a very hard spot in preventing North Korea or Iran from continuing down the nuclear weapons trail.

If America decides to act against Iran, Iran's massive 3,000,000 man army could invade Iraq and attack our smaller 147,000 man American forces there, and tear through Jordan on to counterattack Israel. And Russia and China,with close ties and interests in Iran, including financial income from a Russian built reactor, could be greatly angered and create war between the U.S. and Russia. And with a formidable nuclear force, the dangers for a significant loss of life are enormous.

In fact the Bible in Zechariah 14:12, describes exactly the effects of a nuclear blast on a human: " Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongues shall consume away in their mouths". Unfortunately this very graphic account describes exactly the effect of a 100,000 degree nuclear blast on a human. While the body is standing all flesh would be burnt off the skelton and the skelton itself burned to ash, and then the blast from the bomb would blow the ashes into nothingness.

The U.S. has some real concerns in not allowing North Korea or Iran to continue down the nuclear path. But U.S. military action independent of U.N. approval could promote World WarIII and make the startling prophecy of Zechariah and Ezekiel warning of such a war and the real consequences of such a terrible war a reality. In the next few days, the world could be facing some of the most grave and difficult of times. It is the responsibility for all parties to act with caution and realize the grave dangers of war. North Korea and Iran can be resolved peacefully if all parties realize that the war solution, and all it's terrible consequences is absolutely no solution at all.

Dr. Rice, Secretary Of State Propaganda

There is a huge difference between the styles of former Secretary State, Colin Powell, and Dr. Condoleeza Rice that replaced him. For one thing, Colin Powell is an honest man. When right wing politico, Ann Coulter attacked Max Cleland when running for reelection to the Senate with lies that Cleland blew off his own limbs on the way to drink at a bar, it was Colin Powell's own office, and secretary that personally condemned these lies with the truth that Cleland and a number of relief soldiers flown in by helicopter to assist the surrounded American forces at the seige of Khe Sahn, and a grenade was shot off a soldiers belt and exploded as Cleland and other soldiers were exiting a military helicopter. How Coulter could possiby have made up the outright lie about Cleland blowing off his own limbs on the way to drink was outrageous. There was no bar on this bloody battlefield. Colin Powell's office was outraged at this lie against a very good soldier, and true American hero, Max Cleland, by right winger, Ann Coulter. Coulter recently wrote a condescending book entitled, "How To Talk To A Liberal". You can start by talking truthfully, Coulter. That's a good start.

And unlike Colin Powell, who genuinely felt that John Bolton was truly the wrong choice for U.N. Ambassador for the country and made those concerns publicly known, Dr. Rice is the ultimate team player and company person. She was a former board member of the Directors of the Board of Chevron Oil. This company even named an oil tanker after her. And the Bush Administration with 42 executives, major stockholders or others associated with the oil industry often looks to "talent" from this industry to fill important policy areas.

In a short trip to Iraq yesterday, Dr. Rice made the news and acted as a public relations expert to contradict the reality of the worsening situation in that country. Even in the heavily fortified, "Green Zone" which is supposed to be the heart of the American military command, conditions are so unsafe that Dr. Rice and any visting Congressperson cannot visit for more than a few hours. There is no overnight visits due to extreme safety concerns. A visiting dignitary cannot even use the bathroom without armed guards in what is supposed to be the most safe and secure heart of the American military command center. Dr. Rice took off her helmet and flak jacket just long enough for a few photo and soundbite opts, then quickly put this important safety against constant violence gear back on.

Dr. Rice hoped to promote a phony vision of progress in Iraq with this visit. But the reality is that violence has sharply increased recently, as it is clear that that insurgent forces merely only regrouped during the seemingly lower level of violence a few weeks ago. In addition, the condition of the Iraqi public continues to worsen after the fall of Saddam. 25% of Iraqi children now suffer from chronic malnutrition. Only 54% of Iraqi citizens have clean drinking water to drink. 85% of Iraqis report chronic shortages or outages of electric power. And many reconstruction projects are stalled by the high level of violence, while other projects are plagued by American contractors who cannot account for $100 million approved by Congress for projects.

In her short visit to Iraq, Dr. Rice hoped to turn around sagging opinion poll numbers for this increasingly unpopular war. But the facts underly the desperate situation in Iraq. Life is very bad for Iraqi citizens and American soldiers alike. Rice's visit didn't change any of that. Some public relations propaganda for the Bush White House is a weak substitute for improved safety for American soldiers, or clean water, food and electricity for the average Iraqi.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Horrors From Haiti & The Privileged Existence Of John Bolton

Most Americans live in relative affluence and comfort compared to the populace in Haiti, a mere 90 minute plane flight from the U.S. , and the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. There is very little real infrastructure in this nation, as all the years of terrible political misleadership have promoted an environment not at all conducive to business investment. There is 75% unemployment, and 50% of the people are at or near starvation levels. Amid al this suffering. Add to this random political violence that has killed 600 since September, kidnappings, car jackings, random acts of gun violence, gang activity, and state sponsored massacres in which the guilty are never brought to justice by the state, police or court system, you have a dysfunctional nation that falls far from "heaven on earth" standards.

Unbelievably, this nation is set to have elections in October. And 37 year old Guy Philippe, the rebel leader who overthrew former Catholic priest, and democratically elected President, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. While half of the nation suffers without enough food, Guy Philippe gives campaign speeches and fundraises for his election efforts. After the overthrow of Aristide, Philippe was seen riding in a victory celebration into the capital city in a bright and shiny SUV. A SUV is probably needed to drive over all the garbage which is not taken a city dump, but rather simply thrown in the street where children, pigs and rodents all wallow in it. Many children become very ill from intestinal worms from this total lack of sanitation standards.

And former Prime Minister, Yvon Neptune is reported by family and friends to be near death from a hunger strike he has been on since April 17. The official government claims not so, as any good state propaganda unit surely would. Mr. Neptune has been jailed for 10 months without any official charge by the government.

Haiti, America's Caribbean neighbor and a voting U.N. member. Can the arrogant and privileged nature of sucessful attorney, John Bolton, close 30 year friend of Karl Rove and member of the defense contractor industry organization, The Project For The New American Century ever be able to fully understand the suffering of just this one U.N. member state. There are 191 U.N. members, and many are nearly as desperate as Haiti, with a nonending cycle of poverty, hunger, political violence and death. Yet there are those Senators who insist John Bolton is the right man for the job. His only well known position on the Caribbean, is that Cuba should be expanded into thought in the war on terrorism in his 2002 , "Beyond the axis of evil" speech. Without a rich knowledge of the human suffering in the Caribbean, only understanding the Caribbean in terms of AntiCastro sentiment, rather than the human suffering that allows such poor governments to flourish, than where is there any hope to be had in Bolton?

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Pushing The Demogoguery Envelope

Some years ago many remember the tearful Jimmy Swaggart message of "I have sinned". It was indeed a sad moment as a very popular television minister, who is related to both Mickey Gilley and Jerry Lee Lewis, felt deeply ashamed at some conduct that seemed greatly at odds with the Christian message he had so strongly proclaimed for so many years. There was a great hope he be able to regain his position as a very gifted preacher of the Gospel, but his ministery and conduct both seemed to suffer further slippage as the months wore on. But his pained address, and the deep sorrow he felt about his conduct was an honest sign of someone acknowledging their shortcomings to the high standards set by God.

That was then. This is now. Tom Delay, for all his reported shortcomings should be the next for a major, "I have sinned" address. But alas, no. At a Thursday night dinner, a witches brew of right wing organizations actually honored Delay. And instead of the tearful speech of repentence that should have been forthcoming, was a venomous attack on his opponents, and claims they have nothing positive to offer and no programs to promote.

Only in the area of being critical of his opponents as having no program may Delay have been right. Newt Gingrich offered the counter proposals to the Clinton Administration, known as "The Contract With America". Instead where are the Democrats right now. Without a majority in the Senate or House, without a President in the White House, without a majority on the Supreme Court, the last refuge for most Democrats is a plea to continue the filibuster. Even the soldiers who fought with Custer or manned the Alamo, seemed less surrounded by so much opposition. At some point new leader Howard Dean is going to have to offer a set of Democratic proposals as a Democratic version of Gingrich's "Contract". Serious economic issues like trade policies like CAFTA, NAFTA, erode american jobs should be included. And a counter Social Security proposal to levey slightly higher Social Security taxes on those earning more than $90,000 as a counter to the risky private investment in a volatile stock market that the White House is heavily promoting. A variety of populist and nationalistic proposals may help the Democrats regain some strength in the 2006 elections. But for now the Democrats seem more content to allow the Republicans to overexpose themselves in the public debate. This cannot go on forever. At some point you can't rely on the Republican majority getting so much news coverage, hoping that overexposure will hurt. You have to offer something constructiive as a counter set of proposals. Mr. Dean and his fellow Democratic strategists will have to acknowledge at some point.

And for all his problems Tom Delay hardly acted as the embattled politico he should be. By seeking refuge in his base, the hard right, he was able to find enough comfort to lash out at his opponents, rather than acknowledge his faults. He was hardly like the Biblical woman at the well seeking mercy. And ironically, by being so nonapologetic, Delay may actually be able to draw enough support from the hard right at the Thursday dinner, that many in the Rupblican controlled House may become wary of crossing this angry array of right wing politicos, for fear of making enemies. Delay figures if he can't improve his personal conduct, then seek refuge among political extremists who have no sense of right or wrong, but are merely issue driven by pet concerns. A "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" politically driven coalition of social conservatives who believe gay marriage is the worst threat to America, not North Korean missiles, a manufacturing labor collapse to labor cheap China and Mexico, an elective war in Iraq with all signs of worsening violence and a degraded quality of life from even the worst days of Saddam's palace building during the 12 year shortage of food and medicine under the U.N. sanctions.

And while Delay sees this hard right as a "City Of Refuge", others in his party are increasingly finding new ways to pander to this fringe political force. In a zeal to build a presidential election network, Senate Majority Leader, Bill Frist is suddenly becoming even more conservative than he actually is, and will push the demogoguery envelope next week by making the few far right judges that many Senate Democrats found objectionable in the foreground with a big politically driven sideshow to garner Brownie points with the hard right. In reality, about 97% of nominees have been approved without too much controversy. But the small three percent is being exploited by Frist into a major bottleneck of nominees according to his hollow ringing rehortic. It's more of a political drama for Frist, than a sincere search for the best qualified or most fair judge.

Delay is an inspiration to Frist and other hard right best friends wanabes. And Delay feels rather than any improvement on using the "charity" of special interests to pay for his next junket, he can instead hope that the Republican majority will act as though any attempt to be critical of his conduct will be repelled like kyptonite with a solid support from the hard right.
For both Delay and now Frist, there is a find hope that pushing the demogoguery envelope will reap unlimited political benefits. It sort of begs the question, could one be a good politician and Christian both. Politics seems to often bring out the very worst in human nature. Just ask Tom Delay.

Friday, May 13, 2005

The Face Of The Ugly American

Republican Senator George V. Voinovich acted as a great statesman and patroit today, in giving a blistering and passioned oratory about the need for America to represent the very best face possible to the world, and to reject John Bolton for U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. The easiest position for any senator is to automaticly side with any popular position that represents their party. But for the good of America, Senator Voinovich was concerned about image that the rude and abrasive Bolton would send to so many nations in the world. There are 193 nations in the world, of which 191 are members of the U.N. Only the Vatican City which has chosen not to be a U.N. member state, and Taiwan which was voted out in 1971 and mainland China replaced it as the member state from China. And some of these nations of the world do not share in the affluence of the U.S. or the wealthy nations. For example in the African state of Mozambique, there are great river beds that dried up, as it stopped raining forty years ago in most of the nation. Drought has broken sucessful and independent farmers, into poverty and famine. First the cattle dies, then the humans die. Senator Voinovich is concerned about how America is represented to member states like this whose concern is with solving hunger and economic justice towards this developing and Third World.

A popular newspaper distributed in the American Asian community, is THE ASIAN REPORTER. Up until recently this newspaper reported a very negative sentiment in much of Asia and especially nations in Indochina with significant Muslim populations, such as Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Mynamar. Only the huge flow of American support during the recent terrible tsunami disaster, helped to turn the opinions of many in these nations from critical of the U.S. , to far more positive. And unlike President Clinton, who has tremendous wordwide popularity, President Bush has brought world support and good feelings to an all time low, and made both America and her strong British ally, virtually isolated in the world. John Bolton represents an "ugly Americanism" of arrogance, and failure to work well with others. A sort of "we're better than you" because of America's affluence compared to much of the world. And some nations such as Russia still dream of being an effective countersystem to the U.S. , although their economy is hardly any larger than just one American city, LA, for the entire sum and substance of the nation. And European states who are members of the European Community, also dream of being a new U.S. in Europe, and dislike giving much credit to the U.S. in any regard. And dislike our foreign policy as being "world bullylike", yet are hardly much more effective in their toothless approach to situations like Iran seeking nuclear enrichment or even arms.

Voinovich recognizes enough of these American respect around the world shortcomings, and feels in his heart that Bolton is simply the wrong face of America in the U.N. And that's an honest assessment. Bolton is a 30 year friend of Karl Rove, a former young worker for Barry Goldwater, a member in good standing of the defense contractor funded Project For The New American Century, which totally miscalculated the Iraq War. Instead of relying on true intelligence such as during the serious 1962 Cubian missile crisis, instead Bolton and others tried to appeal to President Clinton and then suported Bush to restart the old 1990-1991 Gulf War which was poorly concluded without the usual complete surrender of the government of Iraq as is usual in war. Bolton relied on nonsense fictional accounts of Iraq supposedly having an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction from Ahmed Chalabi, who was convicted in Jordan of the worst banking scandal in the nations history, and like other members of this defense contractor funded organization, used such thin material to craft an argument for war to find the WMDs which of course did not exist. Some in the conservative community crafted fictional tales claiming that WMD weapons were taken by the Russians or by Syrians to Syria. But serious investigations by journalists failed to find any substantial fact in these claimed stories of the missing WMDs. Instead only the evidence of two old shells have been found in Iraq. One an old mustard gas shell, probably from the 1980's Iran -Iraq War. And another nerve agent shell, which was already exploded for some reason. Most likely with fear of U.N. inspections for WMDs turning up evidence that could land Saddam in the World Court, led to him ordering the destruction of any incriminating evidence of WMD crimes against his own people or the Iranian attacking forces during the Iran-Iraq War. Saddam could have been convicted of a number of war or other crimes, and destroying any evidence was seen as his best way to protect himself from arrest and trial.

Regardless, of the outcome of the failure to find WMDs, Bolton is simply a negative figure with bad judgement, who some Republican partisans seem to want to reward for many years of service to his party, or because of his 30 year friendship with close Bush advisor, Karl Rove. This isn't the best basis to select a U.N. Ambassador because of. Some coworkers complained of extreme arrogance and failure to work well with others. How would this arrogant personality work with a very poor nation like Mozambique who has just one vote in the U.N., the same as America has.

Too often Americans disgrace their nation. They don't behave all that well. In Iraq there was the prison abuse scandal. And there have been reports of frustrated young American soldiers throwing empty coke bottles at Iraqi citizens from their Humvees out of frustration of not being able to leave Iraq. In the Moslem world such horrible acts of American arrogance tear away good feelings about America. And Bolton represents more of that arrogance. Not the best face for America in the U.N. at all. And General Colin Powell, who has worked the most with Bolton is no fan at all. Why Colin Powell who has a far better reputation for character and the ability to work with others, is not nominated instead of Bolton is indeed a good question.

Senator Voinovich is looking out for the welfare of this nation in his strong statements about Bolton today. Will other Republican moderates and mavericks such as Snowe, Spector, Chafee, Collins or Hagel or McCain join his plea to put the good of their country above party loyalty be heeded or not in a full Senate vote on Bolton is a very good question. But it's up to every American to represent their country well to others from the other 192 nations of the world. And the role of U.N Ambassador is an important position as main representative of our nation. Our face to the world.