Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year 2010 –Bring it On!

At midnight New Years Eve, Latino countries dismiss the old year symbolically by tossing water into the streets over the balconies of their old Spanish Colonial homes. Alas, despite efforts tossing them out, the old problems persist, always returning as if propelled by a boomerang. In 2010 expect dismal continuity rather than dramatic change for the better.

A year ago as President Obama took power there was an air of hopeful optimism; that he could bring order out of the GW Bush political and economic chaos left behind after 8 years of Republican misrule. Instead of positive buoyancy, this commentary sadly will hang black crepe over the next year. This pessimism is confirmed by an Obama slide in the polls to below 50% coming down from over 65% favorable when he took office; confidence in his leadership slips more daily.

Obama was characterized by a columnist recently using a variation of a Mohamed Ali simile: HE FLOATS LIKE A BUTTERFLY BUT DOES NOT STING. One thing for certain, Obama sure likes to float in a Airforce One. The country is still waiting for someone to feel his sting over the Ft. Hood terrorist attacks and the Israeli rejection of continued colonization of Arab land. His limp reaction to the gate crashing of a White House was a patting the Secret Service on the head and ordering the agency to do better – he is earning his nom de guerre, BAMBI, by his failure to fire inefficient members of his administration.

Now the misbegotten Home Land Security has failed to pick off a terrorist before he activated a bomb aboard a commercial flight; fortunately the bomb failed to detonate. By the way, just as the 9/11 hijackers, the terrorist bought his ticket in cash and had no baggage... Can we expect another pat on the head for Napolitano, head of Home Land Security? After 40 billion in funding and all the misery inflicted by TSA at airports on passengers, the poor things still cannot get it right by stopping bomb carrying terrorists from boarding aircraft.

Disaster was signaled early for the Obama administration by his selection of Clinton hacks to run his administration. At the same time he jettisoned fresh blood by his failure to appoint Dean for domestic issues and curb Brzezinski’s influence in foreign policy established during the campaign.

This Clinton gang wrecked US manufacturing and with it the destruction of US jobs with its NAFTA agreement. GW Bush followed up with horror trade agreements with China, so there is plenty of blame to go around.

The way it is working out, Obama is Bambi domestically with his flaccid stimulus packages, uncontrolled printing of dollars, sweetheart bailout of banks and turning another cheek to terrorists. But he is a raging bull when it comes to war. He uses lethal unmanned drones as if he is playing Nintendo games; he just used them to smack targets in Yemen. His war in Afghanistan has been widened with large increases in forces and foolish nation building. He is increasingly playing his deadly Nintendo game in Pakistan which has intensified the insurgent activity in that country. Question remains: Who will increase terrorism against the US more? GWBush or Obama?

In Iraq our puppet Maliki is seriously challenged by Sunnis, his Shiites and the Peshmerga Kurds. Insurgent activity is escalating as US troops drawdown and SAVEUS PETRAEUS’ policy of bribes flounders with the release of detainees and non payment; after Abu Gharib and Fallujah II do not expect a residue of good will from the Iraqi people. Last count there are still about two million Iraqi refugees outside the country with an estimated 100,000 Iraqis killed.

Maliki is facing rising violence but has continued to refuse US combat assistance. There is still about 150,000 mercenaries feeding off the US trough. The remaining 115,000 troops are packing up to redeploy. My sense is that Obama will find an excuse to continue the US occupation after the deadlines have come and gone.

There continues to be serious system order and discipline problems in the US ground forces, especially in the Army. Efforts to stem pregnancies, female sexual abuse and rapes are failing. Even male homosexual rapes are on the upswing despite a failure to report many of them. For whatever reasons, suicides are at one of the highest historic levels; traditionally, this has indicated failed military leadership. If do not ask, do not tell policy is eliminated as Obama has promised, order and discipline will be prejudiced even more; the Marine corps commandant reportedly has indicated he will not comply if there is a new policy. Expect more turmoil in the ranks.

Next year with Obama will be continued grief. About the only group Obama has pleased is the White House Press Corps; it does not have to camp out at seedy Crawford, Texas where it followed GWB, only to be tortured by his bucolic ticks. Now it goes to sunny Hawaii in the winter with Obama. SEE YAH AT THE LUAU PAL..THE MAI TAIS ARE ON ME. Happy New Year. Colonel Robert E Bartos USA Ret.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Shrapnel’s Jerk of the Year 2009

TIME magazine started this man or person of the year farce years ago. It apparently gathers media attention giving the publication a holiday circulation spurt. When its picks are met with derision, the editor attempts to redefine the criteria for selection – at this stage it is almost anyone or thing will do if it can hold even a temporary spot light.

This year TIME’s underwhelming pick is Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke. So it is difficult to determine who is the bigger jerk, the Fed Chairman for his malfeasance in office, or TIME editor Richard Stengal for his airy-fairy selection of Bernanke. Stengal was promoted to the chief editor from writing artsy-fartsy columns for TIME where style trumped substance; his ethereal approach shows when he goes political.

The Fed chairman's ragged reign of power, recently extended by the US Senate, has even self-destructively generated a movement to abolish his agency. One financial critic characterized his activities as pigs breakfast. He has printed money without restraint, arguing it was necessary to save banks who we now know just saved themselves.

Greedybanker is now one word – as a class they are welcomed to my Jerks list.

There is a category of jerks in 2009 who fall under the rubric narcissistic personality disorder; these people need constant adoration and always want bigger conquests. My nominations here are Senator Joe Lieberman, Senator Arlen Spector and super-crook Bernie Maddoff. These contemptible bozos have in common their betrayal of their constituencies whether political or financial. Maddoff is the only one in jail of the three. Pray the other two find justice executed by the electorate.

Another politician who deserves mention as a jerk of the year is Obama's White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanual – his claim to defame is his incompetent management of the Health Care Bill since he insured the White House cut deals with Big Pharma and the Health Insurance companies and expected congress to salute them. It did not. As of this writing, this bill stands in jeopardy of not passing or even worse passing as a form of weak tokenism. I also blame Emanuel for the collapse of Obama's Israeli policy on cessation of Jewish settlements; he surrendered the first time Netanyahu squealed.

Make your own judgement. Stock prices of health care shares continue to soar as the public understands who is winning the advantages from congress in the new pending bills. Follow the price of these stocks, now at a 52 year high, not the Obama apologists for the lobby-gutted bills.

Another gaggle is our illicit lovers list. Politicians who carry on extra marital affairs are as common as cockroaches, aka the John Edwards syndrome; so they are not worth the mention on this list, although the ostentatious born-again evangelist hypocrites do tempt me. But when the world’s greatest golfer, Tiger Woods, has more loose lady friends than golf trophies, you at least take notice. Tiger's love life is between him, his wife, his children, his mistresses, his lawyer and commercial sponsors. Our hero of the links is painfully learning the syntax of celebrity.

However, when Donald Trump, Denis Rodman and Larry King attempted to save Tiger's reputation on King’s CNN show, it should set off laughter – these three swordsmen collectively, probably have had more wives, loves and shady ladies than all the Turkish Sultans of the Ottoman Empire. I include them as Jerks of the Year for their unabashed hubris.

Let us not forget Rush Limbaugh on our jerks list; he just called for the US to bomb Iran. He must have Israeli sponsors for his radio show. He comes from a rich family of lawyers and doctors and after flunking out of college he copped a 4F with a pyloric cyst to avoid the Vietnam war. Rush just shut up. Where were you when you were called to colors? Just another jerk who thinks he is a Dick Cheney clone, except our ex Veep has 5 deferments for the same war... Another Republican hero who wants others to fight his wars.

With Tony Blair out of the running in 2009, had to find another foreign jerk to replace him. It was not difficult; Afghan leader Hamid Karzai popped right up. Hamid is our crooked puppet in Kabul. We cannot live with him or without him – he knows how to steal elections, gather graft, but not win a war. Doubt our pal will be around next year as there is only so much a puppeteer can endure from his puppet who is off the string.

To avoid gender bias, had to find a female jerk. No question... it is Sister Sarah Palin. She could not stand the heat in the kitchen and resigned as elected Governor of Alaska; she lights up the the born-again trailer and hill folk, but cannot get an educated woman's vote. She did inadvertently promote Levi Johnson, father of her illegitimate grandson, as another gay pin-up boy. Just what the world needed. The Democrats really want the bizarre lady to stay; not so sure that the thinking, country-club wing of the Republican Party agrees.

If I have omitted your favorite name from my jerks of the year list, I apologize; there were thousands more. For example, you could write a book on our steroid-pumped, dog-fighting professional athletes. Or pick many vacuous film stars for the list. The irony of my list is that next year a goofy TIME editor may make one or all of them person of the year. Merry Christmas! Colonel Robert E Bartos USA Ret

*Photograph: Etching by Francisco Goya

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Obama Accepts Nobel War Prize in Oslo

President Obama's December trip to Oslo to accept the Nobel Peace Prize smacked of opera bouffe. He accepted the prize on the condition that he is making two and a half wars now and perhaps later, if he believed it was a just war, make even more. The US neocons and conservatives in the US are peeing in their pants in paroxysms of joy over the president's declaration; nearly all the liberals are doing mental cartwheels to stand by their man despite the fact he has clearly betrayed them.

Just wars are spoiled wine in old bottles. Josef Stalin, Hideki Tojo and Adolf Hilter used the same formulation to advance their wars. Just wars only become unjust when you lose the war – the victor then claims the righteousness for his bloody deeds. The object lesson is not to lose the war to validate the concept.

When Obama was nominated by the Nobel selection committee for the prize, he had two choices: reject it or accept it under its traditional conditions as peacemaker. He fooled us all. He accepted it, but put his own conditions on it which included making wars if it suited him. Even Hopeless Henry Kissinger who had blood stains up to elbows accepted his half of the prize figuratively holding up the Picasso dove of peace. Some say Obama’s speech was a study in honesty and frankness. I believe it was pure hypocrisy.

Uncertain why Obama accepted the prize when integrity would demand he reject it if he could not subscribe to its implied tenets. Sometimes I now regard Obama as a boy scout pointlessly seeking to fill his merit badge sash just to show off. After all, as president of the USA, this position should keep his achieving ego in check. He soon will be awarded the Airforce One merit badge for most miles logged as a US president. If he had been a scout he would be over this fixation by now.

Obama declared during his acceptance speech in Oslo that he is following in the steps of Martin Luther King. How so? Just based on recent civil rights progress, you can be certain Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rev. Jeremiah Wright do not agree with this self-evaluation; MLK, an apostle of non-violence, was turning his civil rights crusade into an anti Vietnam war movement just before he was assassinated. The president contrarily has followed a direct path to more war; he has ordered more than 60,000 troops to Afghanistan. Obama has passed out federal positions to Blacks, who many so far appear short on talent. So apart from this racial solidarity or pride, there does not seem to be much King in Obama

Whereas Obama’s main political attraction during the presidential campaign was that he was not GW Bush, his speech in Oslo could have been delivered by GWB if you excerpted the mush stuff on Wilson, Ghandi and King; and this also explains the delight over his speech by right wingers. Obama with his defense of the US as an international gendarme, righting wrongs and confronting evil in the name of democracy, is a tired mantra; this was pure neocon bullshit. So with Obama like GWB you can expect Johnny to continue to march off to war, foolishly fighting other peoples battles. Whatever happened to the intelligent isolationist non-interventionist Republicans? Not a peep from them.

Despite Obama's sharp criticism of the US invasion of Iraq during his election campaign, he actually defends this war of choice in his Oslo speech. You come a long way Mr. President to prove we have a one-party system in the US.

Obama is not the first or the last recipient of the Noble Peace Prize to make a burlesque of the award. But he he the first to redefine its meaning – War is Peace in his dogma. This is the change we can believe in? Now let us find another just war we can fight. Colonel Robert E Bartos USA Ret

Excerpted from Google: Words from Hideko Tojo after his failure to commit suicide over the WWII defeat of Japan: "I am very sorry it is taking me so long to die," he murmured. "The Greater East Asia War was justified and righteous. I am very sorry for the nation and all the races of the Greater Asiatic powers. I wait for the righteous judgment of history. I wished to commit suicide but sometimes that fails."[11]

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

No Turning Back – Now Afghanistan

When the high priest of the neocon Sanhedrian, Richard Perle, announced after the US invasion of Iraq that there was no turning back, he was as usual, dead wrong. Now a similar phenomena is unfolding as the Obama is enticed into making Afghanistan into a US protectorate. The pro Israel neocons, we want war Republicans and soon You Betcha Palin are gleefully jumping on the Obama war wagon. His left wing support is dismayed to find any justification in his decision. If President Obama is a real progressive, he must have twisted himself into a mental knot to believe war is human progress.

I am uncertain why Jewish American neocons, both Democratic and Republican, are so eager to plunge America and NATO into an extended Asian land war in Afghanistan. Is there some long term fear that an Islamic nuc from Pakistan will some way or some how find a target in Israel? If that is the case, turmoil caused by more US military presence in the Hindu Kush will increase the probability.

Whether there is victory or defeat of US/NATO forces, such a threat will be enhanced to Israel – if there is victory, a fixation for revenge will be intensified by the Jihadists – if the Jihadists succeed, they will have greater power to pursue the Pakistan bomb for their own purposes. By the way, the Taliban have never attacked Israel or the US. They were allies of al Qaeda until it was chased out of Afghanistan to Pakistan where it is now a greater threat to regional stability. The Taliban, like the old Vietcong, are not a threat to the US unless it is within borders, strolling through their villages with guns.

Israel also finds strategic comfort in the fact that it is not the only non-Islamic nation that is killing Arabs as long as the US and some NATO countries join them in the onslaught.

For whatever reason, the main stream media has fallen in line with Obama's expanded war policy. As of this writing the polls appear to support the war expansion by a small margin.

A few days after Obama's enhancement of the war was declared, NATO announced on cue that it would commit 7,000 more troops to the war effort. Except for UK, Canadian, Australian and Polish contributions, these troops do not provide much to the war effort; their rules of engagement preclude offensive combat operations where killing is involved. At the same time, these units absorb scare logistic/supply resources and compound command control. As it is developing, the US has 70% of the troops; that is if NATO fulfills its newest troop promises which is unlikely.

To kick off the new policy, General McChrystal has launched a thousand-man marine attack with 150 Afghan soldiers in Helmand province. He was lucky to find 150 Afghan soldiers or, were they swarthy contractors dressed as such. McChrystal is a special operations officer with a record of duplicity, so you never know what is real. One thing for certain is that the forces are not meeting much resistance as the insurgents hibernate and breed during the winter – they just want to remain warm. This while US forces burn gas at 400USD a gallon and freeze their asses off chasing rainbows.

When the winter snows clear the mountain passes, the Taliban will return for their favorite sport - Mayhem, Murder and Jihad. General McChrystal will have all the engagements he can absorb while new refugees clog his attack routes.

All week, since Obama gave his speech to expand the war, Americans have been trying to deduce its meaning. Did he drop a exit date or not? His administration’s effort to make all happy with ambiguous language has backfired. No one has explained how you defeat al Qaeda in Afghanistan when it is elsewhere, namely, in Pakistan and other countries in large packets. The president still needs congressional approval to budget his essentially new war.

Afghanistan is a logistics nightmare. If Obama wants to surge how can he do it? No way you can get 40,000 troops to surge even if he had them; it will be an incremental reinforcement that saps the impact. In Vietnam this dribbling in of forces was known as defeat in detail and undermined the buildups as the enemy had plenty of time to react and redeploy.

The GW Bush regime never figured that the US would depart Iraq: a massive chain of nearly 300 bases and airfields were built to control Iraq through occupation. A US embassy costing over 800 million USD was built on prime real estate in Baghdad that covers an area larger than the Vatican. All this construction was believed to anchor US presence in the Middle East. It did not. Now many of these installations are under caretaker status guarded by US contractors as the US redeploys. As they are turned over to to the Iraqis, they are systemically looted. SAVEUS PETRAEUS!

Obama's new commitment seeks to establish a permanent US presence in Afghanistan; another no turning back scenario that will not work out long term. The President advertised himself as a big government, welfare state, power to the people guy. Instead his new developing slogan appears to be GOD, NATIONALISM and the MILITARY. By the way, this was the credo of the 20thc fascist leader in Portugal, Salazar, who loved and lost his colonies. Colonel Robert E Bartos USA Ret.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Swing Low Swing High Sweet Chariot
Obama Goes to War

If President Obama cannot protect himself at a White House soiree, how can you trust him with something infinitely more complex when he intentionally expands a ground war in Asia? If he permitted himself and the White House to be used to promote Bonnie and Clyde publicity scam artists, just wait until the military-industrial-congressional complex treats him like a terrier with a rag doll as he is tossed in the air as it pursues war profits, medals and promotions in the Hindu Kush.

The Secret Service, now bureaucratically under the control of hopeless Homeland Security, permitted a con-artist couple to crash a state reception/dinner for the President of India. The Secret Service responding to its failure declared limply that procedures were not followed... that no one checked off the guest lists as the guests arrived... that the guests were checked through metal detectors. So what? You can murder a victim with a broken wine glass or a butter knife off a set table. As if idiotic proof of the danger and Secret Service incompetence was needed, the outlaw couple were photographed with Obama in the receiving line.

At minimum the Secret Service Chief should be demoted back to chasing the presidential limos on foot. Who cares how cozy he or his team is with the president? Maybe too cozy, as he let the country down. At minimum his continued presence in the position rewards his incompetence. Business as usual? And the band plays on.

Why in the world Obama chose to expand the war in Afghanistan when he knew in his bones and mind that it is a terrible thing to do. He put his intellect, instinct and integrity to do the right thing aside. It had nothing to do with the decision over which he had publicly agonized over months with high viz. meetings at the White House.

The whole thing is about economics; it is more apparent historically that the US needs permanent war to remain afloat economically and fully employed. FDR's WWII was a classic example: all his government intervention could not bring the country out of the depression. It did not happen until the whole economy was put on a state capitalism diet and mobilized for the all-out war effort. Now that was a stimulus package. The subsequent war regimes were tweaked by the Korean War, the Vietnam war; all these under the rubric of the Cold War. When General McArthur wanted to win the Korean War decisively, President Truman fired him.

As President Eisenhower left office he warned the American people of the insidious military/industrial complex that could drive US political and economic policies. IKE's granddaughter was later to add Eisenhower originally wanted to warn over the military-industrial-congressional threat, but dropped congressional to avoid offending his legislative pals.

Once the USSR collapsed, the Bushes turned to wars in the Middle East: first Kuwait then, Iraq. The Afghanistan war as a 9/11 reprisal sanction should have ended quickly with the death or capture of Bin Laden at Tora Bora and Taliban Chief Mullah Omar at Kandahar; but Rumsfeld and General Tommy Franks mysteriously permitted them to escape. But the continued military fumbling has inflamed the region now destabilizing Pakistan, especially as the US tilts to India with pending uranium deliveries.

With al Qaeda long gone, there is no cogent military reason to remain in Afghanistan except for small highly mobile US special operations forces. The only reasons to remain is a 30 billion dollar economic stimulus; permanent bases are already under construction in Afghanistan which is as cynical as it gets as you trade blood for dollars. A smarter policy is withdraw. The Taliban should be warned to bid farewell to their poppy fields and Kandahar should it permit an al Qaeda return to Afghanistan .

Obama will learn that times have changed. Economic stimulus caused by war does not work with the dollar at 50¢ to a Euro, oil at $80 a barrel, trillion dollar deficits, and jobs permanently disappeared through globalization and massive trade imbalances. Jobs have gone to China that holds billions in US dollars and floods US markets through bad US trade deals. Interest rates will soar. Housing foreclosures will out-pace sales.

Obama says he wants most troops out of Afghanistan in three years. Is he self-delusional?The US military does the long long goodbye thing; in three years he will be still be in Iraq and the US forces will be unfinished deploying to Afghanistan. Expect some bullshit slogan - WE CANNOT CHANGE HORSES IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREAM, or a GWBush favorite: WE CANNOT LET OUR TROOPS DIE IN VAIN.

Obama does not know what he doing. He treats the war as a board game. One step forward and two steps back. Forward with new deployments and back with withdrawal and turn over to NATO. Way too many moving parts to be an effective strategy. US military needs a very firm hand to control it. It does not respond to cajoling by neighborhood organizers or professors. Colonel Robert E Bartos USA Ret.

Excerpted from GOOGLE: Apollo was the god of the sun. Each day he drove his chariot of fiery horses across the sky to give light to the world. Apollo had a son called Phaeton, who was human. Phaeton nagged at Apollo to let him borrow the sun chariot and fly across the sky. Finally Apollo agreed. Phaeton proudly drove the sun chariot up into the sky, but then he lost control of the horses. The sun chariot dived towards the earth, burning everything. Finally Jupiter had to stop him with a thunder bolt.