Before Castro

Before the Castro Brothers assumed power in Cuba on January 1, 1959, Cuba was a rich island, and still is, where the wealth was concentrated at the top in the mainly white ruling class. The poor were mostly black. Castro started a revolution to divide the wealth more evenly, and many in the ruling class fled to the US. The mostly black poor stayed in Cuba and have supported the Cuban revolution for the 55 years since it began. That is why the Castro brothers are still in power despite the CIA and the US embargo. The 14 million citizens of Cuba mostly support the Castros even though most yearn for a better life. Fidel Castro sought US assistance at the beginning of the Cuban revolution, but was denied it due to the influence of US companies losing property in Cuba. Castro turned to the USSR only after being denied US help.

Cuba si

Cuba yes

I think that it is time to end the embargo of Cuba. We have normalized our relations with the rest of the Communist and formerly Communist world, so why not Cuba? Most of those Cubans who opposed Castro now live in the US and most of the Cubans still living in Cuba support Castro.

I suggest a non-binding election supervised by the UN of all people of Cuban ancestry, both here in the US and in Cuba. The question on the ballot to be maintain the embargo as is or repeal the embargo and normalize relations. I think that the normalize relations option would win and both countries would benefit from increased trade and tourism.

Military advisers

President Obama sent 1500 US military advisers to Iraq to help train the Iraqi army and will be sending 1500 more soon. We trained the Iraqi military and police before we withdrew and both the Iraqi military and police partially collapsed when challenged by ISIS. There is no guarantee that it won’t happen again. The battle against ISIS is essentially a civil war in both Iraq and Syria. The one thing we learned and should remember about our involvement in Vietnam is to stay out of civil wars.

Modern warfare is more complicated than it was in ancient Greece and Rome where the weapons were limited essentially to swords and spears. Sparta was a land power in ancient Greece while Athens was a sea power. They fought repeatedly and Athens was finally defeated in 404 BC. Before that date, Athens attacked Syracuse, an ally of Sparta, on the Island of Sicily. Syracuse appealed to Sparta for help and Sparta sent ONE, only ONE, adviser to help. The theory being that the residents of Syracuse must defend themselves. The adviser helped the residents of Syracuse organize their defenses, and eventually the Athenian siege was broken and Athens withdrew.

Let us learn from the experience of Athens at Syracuse and our own experience in Vietnam. We cannot and must not try to defend nations who are unwilling or unable to defend themselves when they are involved in a civil war.

The Secret Sentry

The Secret Sentry, The Untold History of the National Security Agency by Matthew M. Aid. The NSA occupies a large campus in Fort Meade, Maryland, about halfway between Washington and Baltimore. The book is full of interesting facts, such as bin Laden’s satellite phone number between 1997 and 1998, 00873-682-505-331. Bill Clinton could have called him directly and told Osama that cruise missiles were coming his way. When he learned that the US knew his number, bin Laden stopped using his phone. Instead al-Qaeda relayed messages through a member of the terrorist group who lived in Yemen. NSA knew his phone number too.

We knew that bin Laden was at Tora Bora, Afghanistan, in December, 2001, and then fled to Pakistan before year-end. The US and Libya started disputing Libya’s claim to offshore waters in the Mediterranean during Ronald Reagan’s presidency. Gaddafi ordered the bombing of a Berlin nightclub to kill Americans, and we retaliated by bombing Tripoli and Benghazi. So the dispute about Benghazi goes all the way back to Reagan if not further.

Before the 2003 war, the Iraqi command and control system was difficult for the NSA to monitor since it used the latest fiber-optic technology. Perhaps more fiber-optic cabling in the US would make NSA domestic spying more difficult. Even if the NSA was successful in intercepting Iraqi messaging, it lacked Arabic speakers who understood the Iraqi dialect. The US sent people to Iraq who spoke Korean, but not Arabic.

I think that the NSA is necessary to provide the US with knowledge about what enemies and potential enemies are planning. The NSA needs to be put on a tighter leash so that the President cannot use it to spy on Americans. I continue to believe that we should abolish the CIA.

Please see CIA and FBI