American Military Involvement

Americans want a military that is strong and one that it can be proud of.  Americans donot want our military to lose a conflict in which it finds itself involved.  Americans are more willing to fight and die for freedom than any other people on earth…and not just our own freedom, but freedom where ever it is threatened by tyranny.

But I have to say now, as a veteran, that I believe that we should complete our missions in Iraq and in Afghanistan and bring our troops home at the earliest possible time.  Let me repeat that we should complete our missions in Iraq and Afghanistan and then bring our troops home.

After bring our military home from those countries, we should issue a proclamation to the world.  That proclamation should state that, so long as we have elected members of Congress who are willing to vote to send troops into combat and then decide, for their own political interests, to denounce them, to call them murderers without evidence, to announce to our country and to our enemies that we have lost the conflict, to show a continued lack of support for them, we will never send American military forces to a foreign conflict again.

We should begin the process of removing all American forces from foreign lands, except our embassies around the world.  The embassies will actually need a larger force than currently there to protect the embassies because we will not have a way to quickly move forces to defend our embassies if needed.  Those facilities are, after all, American soil and should be defended.

The likes of Murtha and Pelosi and Reid and Kerry make me, again as a veteran, embarrassed to call them our leaders.  They all voted to send troops to Iraq.  Every one of them cast their vote in favor.  Yet they have the gall to encourage the forces of the enemy on a daily basis with their words, simply because the Commander-in-Chief is of the opposing party.  Each of them, and many others, owe our military an apology.  Not a collective letter or just a vote in the halls of congress, but an individual apology by each one in front of all Americans.  I personally think they should offer their resignations at the same time, but that would be far too much to ask.

I am not opposed to opposition to war.  I am not opposed to protest. I am, however, against voting to send people to fight a war and then not being willing to stand behind them.  I don’t want to hear that the folks I mentioned supported our troops, just not the war.  They sent them there! 

The mainstream media is guilty, as well.  They are not elected, however.  They did not vote to send military men and women into combat, though most expressed approval at the time.  They are protected by the First Amendment.  So, while they owe an apology as well, we cannot demand it of them.

Frankly, to do as I suggest would be a mistake.  The United States is the only protection some nations have to protect their own freedom.  Our Congress hasn’t shown an interest in supporting them.  Not because they don’t believe in freedom and the need to protect it, but because they believe, even stronger in discrediting their own political opponents.

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Senator Clinton Speaks to the Democrats

Senator Hillary Clinton made her much anticipated speech at the Democratic Convention in Denver tonight.  It was no doubt the best speech given so far and spoke of the issues of interest to Democrats.  She said several times that they need to elect Barack Obama President of the United States.

Interestingly enough, following the speech there was a division of thoughts about the speech by the networks.  MSNBC spokesmen immediately said that it was a “home run…out of the park!”  CNN  commentators said that it was a good speech and that she made the case to her followers to get behind the candidate.  FOX, on the other hand, said that she did what she had to do, but at no time said that she felt Barack Obama would be good president.

I watched the speech and felt closer to what the FOX crew said.  I think that if you change some of the words and leave out the parts about the current campaign, she can use the same speech outline when she announces that she is a candidate for the Democratic nomination in 2012!

Congress Doing Nothing Better Than Any Other In 20 Years!

Unless there is a major change in the ways of the 110th Congress after Labor Day, this Congress will have the distinction of having passed fewer pieces of legislation than any Congress in the past 20 years.  That’s not to say that they did nothing while in Washington.  They will have passed more resolutions than any Congress in the same time period.

You will notice that they capped it off with failure to pass any serious energy legislation before taking time off in August.  I understand how important it is to get some time off from the job, but the energy problem is rather important too.  I’m sure the Ms Pelosi could have been excused during the month.  After all, she had commitments to attend to trying to sell her book.

This Congress held hearings on important issues such as how to blame Bush/Cheney/Rove (pick one) for whatever they could think of.  They held hearings on steroids in major league baseball.  They didn’t bother to hold hearings on the immigration bill they tried to force on the people.  Not as important in their minds as trying to tie someone from the administration to the outing of Valerie Plame(some hearings were held with that goal in mind even after Robert Novak revealed who the source was!).

With all of that being said, I must admit that I am torn.  As Senator Paul Laxalt is reported to have said, “Every day that Congress meets, we lose a little of our liberty.”  So, if I look at it that way, I am glad they haven’t done much.  On the other hand, it costs a lot of money to have these folks in Washington holding the hearings they held and passing resolution after resolution (just how many post offices were named in the past couple of years and do we really need a National Watermelon Month?)  Maybe we should ask for a refund from this Congress for all that they’ve done!

What, If Anything, To Do About Russia’s Attack on Georgia

I am foremost against involving American forces in another front of combat.  Our ground forces are exhausted already and stretched too thin to do anything on the ground to assist our ally, Georgia.

The United Nations will not act in any manner that will stop the ultimate goals of Russia.  Those goals undoubtedly have to do with the control of the oil pipeline that runs through Georgia.  It is also a test, similar to what the Germans did when they marched into and occupied the Rhineland in March 1936.  While the Germans wanted the territory, they feared that France or England would use force to stop them from taking it.  As it turned out, nobody was willing to fight the Nazis over the Rhineland and they grew bolder in the future.  Don’t be surprised if the ultimate goal is to annex the entire country!

NATO as a group won’t do anything other than issue “strongly worded statements” condemning the attack.  It is unlikely that the organization is unified on what to do.

The European Union will also make strong statements and will actually get involved in shuttle diplomacy to end the fighting, but what else.

The United States must make a decision.  Do we allow this invasion to succeed in the destruction of an ally and do we allow the Russians to pull, by force, one of the old Soviet states back into the fold?  Do we need to wait for the UN to act?  Do we need to sit with our European partners and get their permission to act?  Will Congress come off vacation to discuss the matter? 

The President should issue a statement to the Russian government that they should immediately stop pressing further into Georgian territory until diplomats can have a chance to negotiate a settlement.  They should be told to discontinue military flights in internationally recognized Georgian airspace.

They should be informed that the US would begin to send medical and humanitarian aid to Georgia immediately and, if necessary, would use US airpower to protect those shipments.

What would doing nothing say to our friends in Taiwan, or Latvia, or Estonia, or anywhere else?

Be Very Concerned, My Fellow Americans

With the Russian invasion of Georgia and the fighting continuing to escalate, it spells trouble for not just the American ally which is out-manned and out-gunned. 

Many of the former Soviet satellite countries that now enjoy freedom, have condemned the attack and are undoubtedly worried that the Russians are beginning to take back the territory that was lost at the collapse of the Soviet empire.

European nations are concerned that the Russians are trying to gain control of the oil pipelines running out of Georgia to the rest of Europe.  Britain, France and Belgium have all called for a halt of Russian attacks.

This fighting could spread very quickly into a much larger war as the worse-case scenario and will certainly cause a strain on US/Russian relations.  The United Nations is helpless (once again) in any attempt to stop the killing and we are watching as yet another sovereign nation is under attack while they do nothing.

In another part of the globe, there is a real chance that Israel will feel that it needs to launch an attack against Iranian nuclear production facilities.  I would bet the farm that they already feel this way and have not only made plans for the attack, but have practiced it.  Such an attack will undoubtedly cause Iran to try some type of military counter move and who knows how the Arab nations will react. 

With our military bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan we can hardly afford to help either of our allies (Georgia and Israel) very much, but we might not be given the choice.  We have American military personnel on the ground in Georgia already.  If they come under attack by Russian forces, what will we do?  If Iran is attacked and they decide to shut down the Straight of Hormuz, what shall we do? 

These times are extremely dangerous.  We should be very concerned.

Good Luck to U.S. Olympic Teams

As the Olympics get under way in Beijing, I wish our teams all of the best in their competitions.  As the Olympics get under way, though, I have to wish it was just amateurs competing.

When the U.S. Olympic Committee decided to send professional athletes to represent the United States in Olympic basketball, it was partially to maintain American dominance in that sport and partially to send a message to the other countries that were already using professional athletes on their teams.  The original “Dream Team” proved the point in spades in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona!

In my opinion, if they needed to send professionals, they should have sent the one dream team to prove the point and then switch back to an all-amateur team.  This may have resulted in the U.S. no longer being the ones dominating Olympic basketball with an automatic gold medal, but it would still be a great challenge and a great experience for the amateur athletes who competed. 

Sometimes, the U.S. would still win a gold and what a feeling for the athletes and for the country.  Remember?  There was nothing better than our gold in the Miracle on Ice as the U.S. defeated the Russians in the 1980 games.  That group of amateur athletes fought the fight, played the game and won the medals.  But in our minds the gold was all of ours.  Let’s get back to trying for that feeling again!  Let’s give our amateur athletes a chance to compete in the Olympics!

Use Al Gore’s Personal Plan for Carbon Offset

In February 2007, Al Gore won an Oscar for best documentary with his Inconvenient Truth.  The next day, the Tennessee Center for Policy Research (TCPR) uncovered that the former Vice President’s private home in Nashville consumes twenty time the amount of energy of the average American home.

Following the TCPR report, the Gore’s went to exhaustive measures to upgrade their home with all of the newest “green” technology available.  Yes, he started using all of the things he wants all Americans to use to make their homes more efficient.  After adding solar panels and a geothermal system, after replacing all of the light bulbs with the new “more efficient” type and modifying his windows and duct work, after all of hoopla, he found that he is now consuming 10% more energy than before the modifications.

Now, Al is a spokesman for the environment so he travels a lot and has to use a private jet and has to leave the engines running on his limo so the air conditioned inside will be the proper temperature when he is done speaking, but don’t worry, he’ buying carbon offsets for the home, the jet and the cars.

Unfortunately for the rest of us, the carbon offsets he is buying is investments in either his own companies or those that he has a personal financial interest in!

So here’s my plan to get us all off the hook and make the country green without costing us much and without ruining our lives.  Since Congress seems to be hell-bent on telling companies how they should run their business and spend their money, they should simply tell all of the companies that manage all of our retirement funds or 401k’s that they will be required to invest in the same companies that Al Gore is investing in.  That way, we too will have our carbon offsets and can continue living as we like. 

Al Gore will like the idea, because all of the money pouring into his companies will make him a rich(er) man and that is, after all, the only thing he is really interested in!