Wednesday, February 21, 2007

I what follows is a letter I am presenting to Rep. Gillmor's office tomorrow. I will be meeting with him next Friday.

Dear Representative Gillmor

I am writing you to express my opposition to the planned troop escalation in Iraq. In light of the news that Great Britain intends to start a withdrawal of at least some of its forces and other nations with smaller forces are considering a total withdrawal of their forces. It begs the question, why are we escalating ours?

Sending approximately 21,000 extra troops to increase our forces in Iraq to about 150,000 will, according to most experts, accomplish little. We have had about 150,000 troops in Iraq before and it did not make Iraq any safer for either our forces or the Iraqi people. So at best this escalation can be seen as an easy solution to a much more difficult problem. At worst it can be seen as putting 21,000 soldiers unnecessarily into harm’s way.

We need to not escalate our forces but rather to use them in a different capacity. The Baker Commission suggested we need to start pulling our troops back and using them to train Iraqi forces and I agree. If Iraq ever has any hopes of being truly free it must learn to solve its problems with its own people. Is the US presence there thought of as an irritant by the Iraqis? If the Shi’ites and the Sunnis have such long standing religious intolerance for one another no amount of foreign military might will solve it. Only the Sunnis and the Shi’ites can resolve these issues. We might be able to assist in negotiations but armored divisions and cavalries are hardly the stuff of negotiations.

We need to follow the British example and start to withdrawal in addition to the reassignment of American forces. If there weren’t the American troops to attack, then we might see the violence abate. If the Iraqis were left to forge their own destiny we might be surprised how well they might do. However as long as the US military is seen as an occupying force we might never see any change. Also polls have shown that most Iraqis would like us to leave and that most view us occupiers rather than liberators. If we are there to help establish a democracy shouldn’t we take heed of the Iraqi people’s will?

I also think Congress and the military need to rethink this concept of the War on Terror. If this is as President Bush has suggested a long war without the victories we are accustomed to from past conflicts, then maybe we need a whole new way to fight it. If we are no longer fighting nations but rather rouge factions, then maybe we need to fight without occupations and large numbers of troops. If our enemy has so drastically changed from large empires with vast military force and highly productive industry to one that hides in the shadows and uses improvised weapons and sneak attacks then maybe we ought to reconsider our strategy as well.

I write you only as a citizen who is concerned that his country is not acting in manner that is best for both its citizens and the rest of the world. I know there are no easy answers but to find any answers we need to ask the hard questions.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

I haven’t inflicted a random thoughts column on you in a while. Since I’m stuck in my house because the blizzard outside I figured, why not? So here goes nothing.

The New Congress: OK, so this new Democratic majority was voted in for a new direction in Iraq, if I heard correctly. So what do they do? They propose non-binding resolutions. OK Democrats here’s a little piece of advice for you, the Constitution doesn’t stop this President. A non-binding resolution might as well be printed on toilet paper. Hell in the Senate there can’t even be a debate. The House had a debate that seemed to be a whole lot of talking loud and saying nothing. Somebody needs to grow a pair and do something. Even if it’s holding hearings that expose the incompetent nature of this war and destroy any credibility this President has so he has to play nice with the Congress. So if I may use a local phrase, either shit or get off of the pot. Do something. Or it will all just be like The Who once sang, “Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.” This was has gone on for too long and too much has been wasted in terms of lives and dollars. We can ill afford to continue down the road we are on.

Barrack vs. Hillary for Hollywood’s support: I saw a piece on a newscast about who would Hollywood support, Barrack Obama or Hillary Clinton. I can only reply with the words of the great Chuck D of Public Enemy fame, “Burn Hollywood Burn!” Hollywood is to the left what the fundamentalist Christians are to the right, a bunch of disconnected loud mouths who lean a little too far to the end of the political spectrum to really matter much to Main Street America. The only reason anyone gives a damn what they think is because they are famous. Their opinions are no more valid than any other you might in say the local barbershop. The Hollywood set just has the fame and fortune to afford a bigger megaphone. Sure they’re entitled to their opinions, I would never deny someone that, but they are no more or less important that John or Jane Q. Public’s opinions. They are simply able to afford the means to be heard better and have the social status to rub shoulders with the elite politicians.

Anna Nicole Smith dies: OK she’s dead I get it! I don’t care about who fathered her child or the struggle over who gets her earthly remains. Get this meaningless nonsense off of the news and cover something meaningful. The Scooter Libby trial is getting next to no play compared to this. That’s just sad.

Iran: With the recent allegations of Iran supplying weapons to Iraqi insurgents and the two carrier groups waiting off of Iran’s shore, I’m getting a little nervous. So I will just say this, doing anything militarily to Iran would be a catastrophic error. We haven’t the military resources to deal with fighting three countries at once. This paranoia about them having nuclear weapons is ludicrous. They might have one eventually and we have at least 10,000. I somehow don’t think Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is that crazy. We need to enter talk with them and deal with them diplomatically, end of argument. Just like we finally started to do with North Korea.