Filed under: Politics | Tags: Afghanistan, Afghanistan War, Petraeus, Politics
Let’s all think back to the reason we first went to war in Afghanistan. Oh yeah, that’s right, terrorists hijacked four planes on United States’ soil, killing nearly three thousand Americans, most of whom were civilians.
Our response was strong and swift, but it proved not to be enough and now we are still locked in a war many people don’t think about on a day-to-day basis. It took the back seat when we invaded Iraq, but is still as important now as it was the day it started.
If We Leave
If we leave Afghanistan before the Taliban is completely ousted, the Afghan people can protect themselves from the Taliban, and without the cross-boarder support of Pakistan, then the Taliban will come back in, grow in strength, and take back control of Afghanistan. This would waste all the time, money, effort that we’ve put into this conflict, not to mention all the American men and women that gave their lives for this cause.
If the Taliban is allowed to take back control of the country, there will again be a place where Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups can freely train and prepare for attacks against the United States and our allies. This is unacceptable and will certainly lead to another attack on American soil.
A Third Option?
Recently, Afghanistan leaders said that the Taliban is ready for peace talks. While there are worries that these negotiations may not be with Taliban leadership, it poses an interesting opportunity nonetheless. If the Taliban and the Afghan government were to come to some sort of agreement that would benefit the U.S., the Afghan people, and the Taliban, it could be worth a try.
A concern here, however, is what to do about protecting the United States and her allies from terrorism. There would have to be a specific point made about this, and if it isn’t satisfactory, we need to continue with the war until we have sufficiently protected ourselves.
- Former Afghan Leader: Taliban Ready to Talk Peace (waronterrornews.typepad.com)
- Official: NATO Helping Taliban Contact Afghan Government (waronterrornews.typepad.com)
- “Planting the seeds of victory” in Afghanistan without seeking the victory (powerlineblog.com)
Filed under: Politics | Tags: Hillary Clinton, Iran, Lindsey Graham, Middle East, News, Nuclear weapon, Politics, United States
According to the Miami Herald, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said yesterday that he supports a U.S. invasion of Iran and institution of regime change as a last resort to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb. Sen. Graham likens the situation to Pandora’s box, saying that he would rather open the box than have it emptied by Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon. Sen. Graham would also prefer the United States invade Iran, because our military is much stronger than Israel’s.
While I agree that it would be bad to put a nuclear weapon in the hands of Iranian President Ahmadinejad, I think it would be a much worse thing to start another war. While support for our allies in the region is important, starting a war while we are still at war in Afghanistan, still have troops in Iraq, and have a fragile situation in Korea to worry about, is a very bad idea.
Remember what happened in 2003 when we started a regime change war with Iraq? We did so many things wrong and created an insurgency that still exists today. While we assume the people of Iran dislike Ahmadinejad, we also thought that about Saddam. Then, a few years later, the people started hating American forces worse and essentially switched sides. What’s to stop the people of Iran from turning on us?
Iran is a youthful nation, with many you adults who are very out spoken and even revolutionary. Why not just aid them in over-throwing their own government? That’s exactly what Secretary Clinton suggested yesterday. ABC News quoted Secretary Clinton saying “I can only hope that there will be some effort inside Iran, by responsible civil and religious leaders to take hold of the apparatus of the state.”
That effort may need a nudge, and the United States is in a great position to do that. A ‘nudge’ could consist of many different methods of instigating a youth movement to enact regime change, including clandestine operations from our black ops folks. This would avoid another war, and ultimately protect soldiers’ lives and citizens’ dollars.
Oh, and talking could work too.
- Secretary Clinton Expresses Concern over Growing Military Influence in Iran (abcnews.go.com)
- Hillary Clinton urges Iran to dump Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (telegraph.co.uk)
- Clinton urges ‘responsible’ leaders to take control in Iran (alternet.org)
- Iran’s secret Nuke (warintel.blogspot.com)
- Ahmadinejad: The ‘Future Belongs to Iran’ (foxnews.com)
Filed under: Politics | Tags: Asia, China, Kim Jong-il, News, North Korea, Politics, South Korea, Washington DC
The Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing today to talk about the current security situation in Korea, as well as to discuss recent events such as the North Korean sinking of a South Korean ship via torpedo attack. Senator Levin’s opening remarks describe North Korea as continuing to attempt to build ballistic missiles and maintain an expensive military while its people starve. Additionally, North Korea has tried, on multiple occasions, to sell and export arms illegally to Iran.
North Korea’s current nuclear capabilities are unclear at best, but they have reported a successful test of a nuclear munition, as well as boasting improved ballistic capabilities. Their ability to deliver a nuclear weapon by missile or otherwise is unlikely at present, but could become a large threat in the near future.
According to testimony, the Korean-Japanese-American Alliance’s top priority in East Asia is to deter and defend while striving for peace. China, who states the same wish for East Asia, has been “out of step with this global security issue” according to Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), the committee’s minority leader.
McCain went on to say that China has been an obstacle in the way of our dealings with North Korea and to simply ‘step up our language’ is not enough, and is purely bureaucratic rhetoric.
The recent attack by North Korea on the Republic of Korea’s ship Cheonan could be considered an act of war according to Secretary Gregson. However, he maintains that a decision on how to respond remains an alliance decision, and is primarily up to the president of Korea.
Senator Levin (D-Mich.) made it a point to mention that calling this act a provocation is too mild. Instead, he argues, “it was an attack, a premeditated attack on a ship that killed 46 sailors.”
Both Democrats and Republicans on the committee commented that the U.S. needed to take a harsher stance towards China and do more than just ‘step up the language.’
General Sharp described North Korea’s current ability to fire on Seoul, South Korea with 200 long-range artillery systems without having to move the systems or ammunition. This creates an important need for a constant state of readiness. When asked by Senator Levin (D-Mich.) the status of this need, General Sharp replied that “we’re in a high state of readiness” with combined forces ready to respond to a North Korean attack under U.S. control.
To Senator McCain’s (R-Ariz.) question about Kim Jong-il’s successor, Secretary Campbell replied “Your guess is as good as ours!”
McCain quickly replied, seemingly angry at the lack of seriousness in Campbell’s answer, “well that’s an interesting comment on our intelligence capability in North Korea.”
Campbell later explained, after Senator McCain had left the hearing to vote on the Small Business Lending Fund Program, that he meant that it is only speculation at this point about who will succeed Kim Jong-il because the situation in Korea is so fragile. He also described Korea as “the hardest target we face in the global [intelligence] arena.”
The hard-line stance taken by both Democrats and Republicans during the hearing is reassuring. While the region grows increasingly unstable, it seems as though congress is ready to get tough on North Korea and China.
- U.S. Officials: Alleged North Korea Attack Was An ‘Act Of War’ (huffingtonpost.com)
- U.S. lacks intel on North Korea, including succession (reuters.com)
Filed under: Politics | Tags: BP, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement, Deepwater Horizon, Drilling, Gulf of Mexico, Oil, Petroleum industry, Politics, Presidency of Barack Obama, Washington
The recent Deepwater Horizon spill was a horrible mess. Oil gushed out of a broken pipe deep in the Gulf of Mexico while BP and the US government struggled to stop the flow and clean up the spill.
The chaos that the spill caused in Washington led to very abrupt halting of deep water drilling in the gulf. The regulators, however, let their caution spill over into other areas as well. According to the Associated Press, “the pace at which regulators grant drilling permits in water less than 500 feet deep has slowed sharply this summer … just four out of 10 shallow-water drilling applications have been approved from June through August; 15 applications were sought and approved in the same period last year.”
According to Reuters, the Obama administration is most likely going to let the drilling ban expire. “Michael Bromwich, head of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, said he has been impressed with strides the oil and gas industry has made on spill response and containment since the drilling ban was imposed,” Reuters reported today.
After years of loose regulation, do they really think they can fix all the problems and safety hazards in five months? After such a strict summer why, suddenly, are they seeming to trust the oil industry again? It seems that regulators want to have their cake and eat it too. You must accept some risk if you want the private sector to succeed. An over-regulated or over-taxed private sector simply kills jobs and the economy. But, when you let corporations have a little room to move, you may have an explosion, or a faulty part, or some other issue.
Which is worse, Washington, a failing economy and a high unemployment rate or a free market where there is inherent risk? I think the American people will answer that question in November.
The Obama administration needs to find a balance of regulation and taxation. Enough so that they protect our wellbeing and our environment, but not so much so that they hinder our freedom, economic growth, and prosperity.
- UPDATE 1-US drilling ban “unlikely” to be extended-official (reuters.com)
- New US safety rules delay shallow water drilling (reuters.com)
- New rules slow Gulf drilling pace in shallow water (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Regulator Defends Shallow-Water Policies (online.wsj.com)
Filed under: Politics | Tags: Congress, Democratic Party, Election, Mid-term, Mitch McConnell, Politics, Republican, Senate, Tax, Tea, Tea Party
It has become clear that, no matter which party you ascribe to, when something popular in the political world comes along, everyone jumps on board to try to get votes.
Bring out the Tea Party. When it first arrived on the political scene as a response to the ‘tyranny’ of the Obama administration, it wasn’t seen as much more than a bunch of unorganized people gathering in the streets dressed as revolutionary-era orators and soldiers. They shouted about tyranny and taxes, unfair majorities, and abundant wastes of tax-payer dollars by the federal government. Most importantly, the pundits and politicians didn’t seem to take them seriously.
Flash forward a year to fall of 2010. The mid-term elections are upon us and it seems that the only thing people can talk about is the Tea Party. They have suddenly, and quite unexpectedly, become the strongest movement in this election. Obama is trying to assuage the largest part of the Tea Party, the middle class, by proposing to extend what Marlene Y. Satter describes as “Bush-era tax cuts for those making under $200,000 (individuals)/$250,000 (families), while allowing the tax cuts for those in higher income brackets to expire at the end of the year.”
The GOP seems to see right through the gimmick, however, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) said that a Republican vote for this tax increase for the wealthy was out of the question. Additionally, The Washington Post reports that “House Democrats remain deeply divided over the issue, with a raft of vulnerable Democrats signalling growing resistance to raising taxes in an election year.” So, the president’s last-minute attempt to win some Tea Party votes appears more transparent than he promised his presidency would be.
It is obvious from the above that both sides are trying to use the latest political fad to their advantage this fall. We will have to wait and see whether the most recent political movement has the power to drastically change congress, although I doubt it will be the landslide many pundits are predicting.
- Tea Party Rallies Across US Mobilize for November Elections (waronterrornews.typepad.com)
- Coast to Coast, Tea Partiers Promote Their Cause (politics.usnews.com)
- Video: Tea Party Takes Aim (thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com)
- A year later, tea party marches on (politico.com)