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Posts Tagged ‘george w. bush’

Obama’s Afghan Decision

Posted by AB on December 2, 2009

Last night, addressing the nation before the US Military Academy at West Point, President Obama announced his plan for moving forward in Afghanistan.  He announced that he would send 30, 000 more troops into Afghanistan through the next six months, part of a plan to begin removing American military from that country within 18 months.  The new strategy will focus on defeating Al Qaeda, training Afghan police and military, correcting government corruption, and support for the stability of Pakistan.

To the dismay of much of the media, the speech was not filled with “bumper-sticker” quotes, but with reason and responsibility.  His goal was to explain the strategy and reasons for that strategy to, not only American civilians and military members, but also to the people of Afghanistan and the world.  Something that I feel was especially significant and powerful was when the President looked straight into the camera, addressing Afghans, explaining the purpose of the US military presence in their country.  He told them, explicitly, that the United States had no desire to occupy Afghanistan.  That part of the speech might be overlooked and, although it may seem like an insignificant part of the speech, this subtle overture is important to gain the trust of the Afghan people.

This decision by President Obama has been, and will continue to be panned by the media, bloggers, and politicians.  This is one of those decisions that will please very few, right or left, but that could be a good sign, actually.  When no one in this divisive political atmosphere is championing the President’s decision, then he must be doing something right.  He, his administration, and the military seem to be on the same page on this decision, however, which is most important.  Popular support for all wars continue to wane in this country, and for good reason, but the populous reacts emotionally, while our nations leaders must rule with reason. 

Conservatives and Republicans, who are against every decision the President makes, are complaining that there are too few troops, and that the 18-month timeline for withdrawal is somehow equivalent to surrender.  Of course, all of this is nonsense.  I know that they must find something to disagree with, maybe they should remember the advice that they have repeated, again and again, for the past couple of months–listen to the generals.  Okay, let’s see what Gen. Stanley McChrystal has to say:  (from UPI)

“The clarity, capability, and committment outlined in President Obama’s address are critical steps toward eliminating an insurgency in Afghanistan and terrorist safe havens that threatened regional and global security….I believe our renewed coalition campaign is fortified by the path President Obama has put forward.”   

Democrats, liberals, and progressives–my side of political thinking–are not happy about the decision, either.  Many of them feel that it is time for us to immediately withdraw from Afghanistan.  Although President Obama, during last years election campaign, clearly stated he would place more focus of the war in Afghanistan, people on the left are disappointed or angry about this “surge” of troops.  They try to insult Obama by saying that he is acting just like George W. Bush.  That, too, is nonsense.  I only wish that President Bush would have placed the proper focus on Afghanistan.  Unfortunately, he forgot about Afghanistan.  He invaded Iraq.  He didn’t take care of business, so President Obama must.

There are no silver bullets for success in Afghanistan.  There seem to be no good options, but President Obama has properly deliberated over the facts and advice, and he has now announced the strategy that he believes is most likely to lead to success.  I don’t know if he is right or wrong but, as Americans, we should all hope that he is right.  It is time for Americans to unite.  “United we stand, divided we fall.”


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Who’s Afraid of Khalid Sheikh Muhammad?

Posted by AB on November 17, 2009

Remember when Republicans acted so tough on the issue of terrorism? You know, the days and months after 9/11. Remember when we weren’t going to allow terrorism to defeat us? Most Americans bought into that then, and we came together as a nation because of that belief, but fewer and fewer believe that in the subsequent years.

After our nation was attacked by religious extremists, our president assured us that those responsible would face justice–there was reason to believe in our nation. All that we needed to do was to go shopping, for if we allowed those terrorists to change our ways of life, they will have won. Do you remember that? All of that tough-sounding cowboy talk really got the red-blooded, “real” Americans’ juices flowing.

Time and truth, however, uncover the facades of even the most strident conservatives. As we moved farther and farther away from that infamous date of 9/11, the attacks have become less of a cause to do good, while becoming an excuse to forget that we have stronger values than others.  Behind the leadership of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, conservatives used the attacks of 9/11 to justify just about anything:  wars, wiretapping of American citizens, holding prisoners without charge, torture, assassinations, the corporate rape of the American people (think Halliburton, KBR, Blackwater), etc. 

Recently, current United States Attorney General, Eric Holder announced that the mastermind behind 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, and four of his cohorts would be tried before a federal court in New York City, the site of the attacks on the World Trade Center.  Republicans, conservatives, and some Democrats seem to have forgotten that we are a nation of laws, and they are huffing and puffing about how scary it will be to try these terrorists on American soil.  They are outraged and afraid; they want you to be outraged and afraid. 

Is it that they have so little faith in our justice system that they fear that the killers might be acquitted?  Do they fear that our law enforcement system cannot protect New York civilians?  Those are a couple of the excuses that you’ll hear, all designed to make you afraid of terrorism, all designed to paralyze this nation in fear.  It should be of no surprise, however, because conservatives have been doing this for years–using the threat of terrorism to weaken domestic opponents.  This time it is to weaken the President of the United States, Barack Obama.  It is easy to see that is the case, because terrorists were successfully tried in civilian courts during the Bush Administration, including the so-called 20th hijacker, Zacharias Moussavi.  That prosecution was supported by conservatives as a triumph of the American way of life.

Well, guess what fraidy-cats.  Trying these terrorists in the courts is not only the right thing to do constitutionally, but it is quintessentially American.  In our country, even the worst of the worst get due-process under our laws.  Even admitted murders get their day in court.  Even admitted child molestors have a right to a trial.  And yes, terrorists, domestic and foreign, must be tried and convicted if they are responsible for crimes on our soil.  Why?  Because we are America, stupid.  We do things the right way, no matter the fears of partisan politics.  If we forget that we are a nation of laws, then the terrorists have won.

This is the man that makes Republicans/conservatives wet their beds.  As an American, are you afraid of Khalid Sheikh Muhammad?

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Leave George W. Bush Alone!

Posted by AB on October 22, 2009

I know, I know.  Many of our nations obstacles are the direct result of his and his administration’s policies.  He was an utter disaster as a President.  We, as a nation, are dumber from listening to him explain his backward policies during the past eight years.  All of that is true–and more.  But I beg of the media, the pundits, and the comedians–LEAVE GEORGE W. BUSH ALONE.

It was announced, this week, that former President George W. Bush would be speaking at two motivational speaking events in Texas.  I know what you’re saying to yourself:  “Who in hell is going to be motivated by George W. Bush?”  Well, I cannot answer that question, but it doesn’t really matter.  He’s going to have some opportunities to make money, and we shouldn’t be mad about that.  Recent presidents and other public servants have made fortunes by speaking to large groups and corporations, so Mr. Bush should have that opportunity without being mocked.  We should pray to God, every moment of every day, in thanks that he is no longer in office.  If someone wants to pay him six figures to speak for 30-40 minutes, more power to them–and him.

Look, I disliked the leadership of George W. Bush and his administration as much as anyone, but it’s time to move on.  We have many challenges ahead, so just leave this man to his retirement.  He seems like a good man, in the sense that he’s not deliberately evil.  He seems like a good father and husband.  He is a former President of the United States and, for me, that still earns him a modicum of respect.  Just keep him as far away from critical decision-making as possible.  

All I am saying is that, at this point, making fun of George W. Bush is like beating a dead horse.  I don’t feel sorry for him, but I am tired of hearing about him.  I wish to put the former president as far from my mind as possible.  Just leave him alone; leave George W. Bush alone!

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Sotomayor Confirmation (Day 2)

Posted by AB on July 14, 2009

It was a long, but impressive day two for Supreme Court nominee, Sonia Sotomayor.  Today, she was questioned by Senate Judiciary Committee members.  As expected, by many, most Republicans on the panel focused on an out-of-context quote from an eight year-old speech about being a “wise Latina.”  Even after she said, clearly, that no ethnicity, race, or gender made a person more or less qualified to make better judgements, the questions and veiled accusations continued.

All of this seems ironic when faced with the requests, by Republican committee members, to have more time to study her lengthy judicial record.  In all actuality, we could have done this thing a week after her nomination, when the quote was well-vetted over and over and over again. 

I wasn’t able to see the entire day’s questioning, and from what I saw, it was not all Republicans that were stressing this quote, so I do not mean to imply that.  It was, however, most Republican members who asked question today.

Just par for the course, I guess, and Sotomayor handled the questions well.  I do wonder, though, how concerned the committee was of President George W. Bush’s two nominees–two white males–that they might be biased in favor of their race and gender.  That’s rhetorical.  Of course they weren’t concerned.

The hearing will continue tomorrow, and I hope that we can go at least an hour without hearing the phrase “wise Latina.”

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Thank You, Mr. President

Posted by AB on March 9, 2009

Mark the date:  Monday, March 9, 2009.  Today, President Obama has overturned one of his predecessor’s most tragic policies, by signing an executive order allowing expanded federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research.  In front of scientists, packed into the East Room of the White House, the President has given many the hope that was denied by George W. Bush, with the stroke of a pen.

President Bush signed the order in 2001.  Eight years have been lost by some of our best and brightest scientists.  Eight years have been wasted, in the name of political ideology.  We are eight years behind in creating cures for chronic illnesses like diabetes, Parkinson’s, and Alzhimer’s.  Also, there is hope that embryonic stem-cell research will uncover the keys to heal spinal cord injuries.

The treatment of spinal cord injuries is very personal to me, but for all of those who suffer from various maladies, it is, again, time to have hope.  Science will once again be regarded as a solution to medical problems, and a virtuous element of our progressive society.

It would be nice to say that this life-saving science will no longer be treated as a political wedge issue for individuals on the far right in this country, but that will not be the case.  Religious zealots will do all they can to prevent science from proceeding.  They will always care more about a microscopic ball of cells than they care about those human beings who suffer every day.  That’s why it’s important that scientists spare no time delaying this research that their minds have been craving for so many years.  From the anti-cure cabal, here is House minority leader, John Boehner, R–Ohio, regarding the President’s order.  Once again, the Republican description of unity and bipartisanship is “do what we want, or you are dividing us”:

” ….rolled back important protections for innocent life, further dividing our nation at a time when we need greater unity to tackle the challenges before us.” 

The United States is home to the world’s greatest scientists and doctors, and no longer will they be stifled by backwards governmental policies.  And at a time in which our economy is dragging, the discovery of cures to diseases will strengthen our economy.  It’s fun to imagine what a cure to a disease like diabetes will do for our economy.  There are an estimated 23.6 million Americans living with diabetes.  That about 8%, or the unemployment rate in this country.  For more information about diabetes, click here.  That’s only one of the diseases that could be cured by embryonic stem-cell research.     

Thank you, Mr. President.  The rhetoric of hope has become an active policy, just as we were promised.  Now it is time for our best and brightest to turn hope into cures.  The majority of Americans support this new policy, not because they hate, but because they are a hopeful citizenry.  Americans will forever believe in the promise of a new day, and for those who oppose, do so at the very real risk that your political careers will come to an end.  We are becoming a greater nation, right under the noses of obstructive pessimists.

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