Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Theodore Roosevelt, Obama and Afghanistan

I've been meaning to write more about Theodore Roosevelt for some time, given the central role he plays in the history of United States imperialism, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Today the New York Times published an article [From a Carrier, Another View of America's Air War in Afghanistan by Elisabeth Bumiller] that allows me to make some connections to our current era.

According to the article, there is a weapon of mass destruction, an aircraft carrier named the, yes, U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt, parked in the sea off Pakistan. Every day, weather permitting, jet bombers take off from the carrier and bomb the people of Afghanistan. They try to bomb Taliban, soldiers. The Taliban were the ruling "party" until the U.S. installed a puppet government in 2002. I am not at all fond of the Taliban, but I recognize that they are the only group in Afghanistan that is fighting against foreign domination. They are, largely, the same group that the CIA once armed in order to drive the former Soviet Union out of the country.

It is very safe on the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt. Accidents are the greatest danger to the sailors and combat pilots. It is not so safe on the ground for American troops, given how much they are hated and how many Afghanis have armed themselves. But mostly a battle in Afghanistan goes like this: the Afghans attack the Americans (or their NATO henchmen). The Americans hunker down in fear and scream into their communications gear that they are under attack. The nearest fighter-bomber screams in and unleashes bombs. The Afghan (Taliban) soldiers are mostly killed; those who are not dead, retreat. What is amazing is that given that this scenario is repeated daily, the Afghans are brave enough and motivated enough to fight the invaders.

The left opposition in the United States of America largely blames the war in Afghanistan on former President Bush, forgetting that the Democratic Party leadership were frothing at the mouth to go into Afghanistan too. "Progressive" Democrats hoped that the election of President Barack Obama would bring an end to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, but instead Obama has broadened the war to include Pakistan and is sending another 17,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan. He is escalating the war. Since the war is against the Afghan people, it cannot be won without essentially exterminating those people. Barack Obama has quickly joined the long list of American presidents, starting with George Washington, who have participated in genocide.

Theodore Roosevelt, in contrast to Obama, was an honest man. A miserable, twisted, psychotic murdering honest man, to be sure, but everyone knew that. He began calling for war at an early age. He was among a cabal that pushed Spain into a war with the U.S. that it did not want, the Spanish American War. He gloried in fighting the war himself. Unlike Obama, who has never been in the U.S. military or in the militant opposition to U.S. imperialism. Elected Vice-President and assuming office in 1901, "T. R." quickly became President when Leon Czolgosz successfully assassinated President William McKinley. As such, he presided over the genocide against the Philippine people, usually known as the Philippine War, in which 2 million islanders, mostly non-combatants, were murdered by U.S. troops.

If the U.S. ruling class were running the Philippine War today, they'd call the anti-U.S. opposition terrorists. Regardless of whether they were Islamic or Communist or just Nationalists or Vegitarians, and regardless of the tactics they used.

Theodore Roosevelt, like most humans, had his good side. He was a nature lover of sorts. He loved to kill wild animals with a rifle, being too slow-footed and chicken shit to try to kill them with his bare hands. He enlarged the national park system. Given the complexity of the legislative process, he probably signed some laws you would approve of, and some you would oppose. Such is the nature of the Presidency.

Theodore Roosevelt particularly liked to slaughter bears. Strangely, that brought us the beloved stuffed animal toys known as Teddy Bears.

So the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt is named appropriately. From it, at no risk to himself, Barack Obama can kill Afganis.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Lyndon Johnson II: Barack Obama Escalates War in Afghanistan

Were you hoping Barack Obama was just feinting to the right in the presidential election, and was secretly a man of peace?

You can stay in denial of reality by not reading the February 17, 2009 "Statement of the President on Afghanistan."

There seems to be a fundamental problem with the people of Afghanistan. They don't want their country run by the United States. Just like the nation of Vietnam, which had an independence movement that predated the American Revolution.

So the President is sending in more U.S. troops. They aren't carrying Care packages. They are going to be armed to the teeth. They are going to kill anyone they can who disagrees with the idea that Barack Obama should rule the world.

I was going to compare President Barack Obama to President Nixon, because Nixon inherited the Vietnam War from President Lyndon Johnson. Who inherited in from President John Kennedy. Some people claim Kennedy inherited the war from President Dwight Eisenhower, but that is a misrepresentation. Eisenhower kept a handful of American military advisors in South Vietnam who had been sent there by Harry Truman after World War II.

The French occupied Indochina and kept it as a colony. That kind of colonialism, white colonialism, was fine with the U.S. When the Japanese liberated Vietnam from the French, it really p.o.'d President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He built up a giant invasion fleet in Hawaii to kick the Japanese out of Vietnam and China. When the Japanese surrendered, Vietnam was not granted independence. It was handed back to France.

Lyndon Johnson works best compared to Barack Obama because he was a New Deal Democrat who ran a peace campaign against his Republican rival, Barry Goldwater, in 1964. Under Johnson, the U.S. military support for maintaining the colonial economy turned into a full scale war that massacred well over a million Vietnamese.

In the end, it was Richard Nixon who made peace with Vietnam and China. He talked tough, but he pulled out the U.S. troops (after initially trying to napalm the region into submission).

Who knows, though, maybe the U.S. can win in Afghanistan. Maybe Islam can be extinquished and lamb kababs replaced with big macs.

Can we use either of two political parties to commit crimes against humanity and war crimes?

Yes We Can!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

President Obama Does Afghanistan

Do you remember the patriotic frenzy after the destruction of the World Trade Center? It was not just Republicans who were frothing at the mouth. We - Americans - the good guys - had been attacked. And unprovoked. By some guys who did not even have atomic weapons. They did not even have cruise missiles. They didn't even have artillery. True, they had once had surface-to-air missiles, but the CIA gave them those and they had been used up fighting the Russians. They attacked us with nothing but courage and skill. Outrageous.

Only a couple of Democrats in Congress voted against attacking Afghanistan. No matter that the government and people of Afghanistan had nothing to do with the attack. True, the "criminal" or "religious" organization that actually carried out the World Trade Center attacks had bases in Afghanistan, but all kinds of war criminals are trained or based in the United States, and we Americans don't think that means anyone else should invade our country and overthrow our government.

The tiny remnants of the American left, mostly veterans of the Vietnam War or of the protests against it, dragged themselves out of hiding, started protesting and demonstrating, and eventually, especially after Iraq was invaded, managed to start influencing broader public opinion.

The politicians of the Democratic Party then supported the illegal war crime that was the invasion of Iraq. Still, at protest marches, a large segment of the demonstrators focused their hate on a man they were sure had worse grammar aptitude than they had, President George W. Bush.

Then as the country soured on the war, as people began to understand the history and players better, some Democratic Party politicians wet their fingers, felt the wind shift, and came out against President Bush's poor management of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In 2006 the Democratic Party won the House of Representatives largely because they pretended to be a party of peace. They now claimed had been tricked into rushing into war by that evil Bush. It never occurred to a bunch of politicians that another politician might occasionally tell a little lie.

They could have cut off appropriations for the wars (the House can do that) but they did not. They wanted the war to be an issue to help them in the 2008 elections.

The economy turned sour, and the Democrats now own the House, the Senate, and the Executive Branch.

And the war goes on. The only change: now Democratic Party politicians blame their failure in Afghanistan and Pakistan on the ineptitude of the puppets the CIA installed in those countries.

Can Barack Obama get the CIA to change the American puppets running Afghanistan and Pakistan?

Yes he can!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Groundhog Day Forecasting

Groundhog Day is rapidly becoming the most important day for reflection and celebration of the year. Will Spring come? It isn't just a question of whether there will be a few more weeks of winter. There will be more than that in Alaska, less than that in Florida. What will the weather bring? What strange tidings of global warming and human folly can be seen?

Most Americans have been enduring a fiercely cold winter. In Mendocino County, California, the opposite is true. It usually rains here most days in winter. This year we are in a drought, or have perfect winter weather, depending on how you look at it. There has not even been the usual ocean fog to obscure the sun. Highs in the 60's. Just plain weird. One of my apple trees began blooming in December. Jan and I have been taking Hugo to Schooner Gulch Beach to run in the sun and sand. Schooner Gulch, normally a strong stream in winter, is a trickle. Neighbors report that other seasonal streams are dry.

America is in trouble, friends, and I can't say we don't deserve it. We built our economy on false premises. "Free trade" and unregulated greed were supposed to bring us prosperity, instead they have brought us to grief. Too many Americans drove SUVs they could not really afford to places they did not need to go to buy crap they did not need to buy. Americans who were incapable of working within a budget rewarded themselves with McMansions. Now we have McMansion ghost towns to add to the collapsed city centers of the old mill towns. We won't let immigrants in to fill up the empty housing. If we did let them in, it would add to a population that is already environmentally unsustainable. The United States of America can no longer feed its own population, after centuries of being one of the world's great food exporters (we still export food, but we import more than we export).

Our government is set up to be conservative. It is very time consuming to make any fundamental change in the government's structure or even policy (See Is America a Democracy?). The government was not designed to change as fast as technology its consequences. Our "sacred" U. S. Constitution was designed to protect the property of the then nascent economic aristocracy, including their property in slaves. It has been improved by some of its amendments, but it was not designed for our modern society.

The Obama administration, while potentially an improvement on the Bush and Clinton administrations, is off to a pretty bad start. The good things President Obama has done [closing the extra-legal foreign prisons and allowing California and other states to set better miles-per-gallon car requirements] are just observing the basic laws of the land that W. had been breaking. Having the tax-and-spend Democrats trying to appoint tax-cheating jackasses to Cabinet posts sends a very bad signal to the citizens.

No President is preparing the United States or the world for what is coming down the line. The weather is going to get heavier. Ecosystems really are changing or collapsing fast enough to see within a few years. The economy needs a total reorientation. We need to think about what we want to produce and consume given the environmental impacts of that consumption. We need to design and implement a new economy that can do this. We need a plan to lower the size of the human population to a long-term sustainable level in a fair and humane manner.

Let me just predict we are not going to get those things from the federal government. The much heralded economic stimulus package only hints at solutions. It does not look to me like it will do much unless you are in one of the special interest groups, like construction firms and workers, that it targets.

At least maybe the frothing-mouthed Republican Party of the past 30 years is going into hibernation. Moderates are taking over the Republican Party in former ultra-right strongholds like Texas. Take away the evolution-denying, wife-cheating, IRS-cheating Christian hypocrites and there are some basic, ancient lessons in the culture of the Republican Party that should not be thrown out with the bath water. The most important one is personal responsibility. If you are not willing to take responsibility for your life and for your community, no amount of government bossing around is ever going to make things right. At the leftist end of the spectrum, Personal Responsibility is one of the Ten Key Values of the Green Party.

Things may change quickly, or they may change slowly. But the weather is changing. Most likely scenario: America looks like the Sahara in 50 years. On the other hand, higher temperatures mean more water vapor from the oceans, and it has to come down somewhere, so parts of America could be in for a Deluge. Maybe Obama can start building the giant irrigation canals that people once thought they could see on Mars.