The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Not necessarily true, but often used to justify US foreign policy. Before and after WW2, Stalin’s Soviet Union was our enemy, but during the war we were allies against Hitler‘s Germany.When Iran and Iraq were at war, we were friends and suppliers to Saddam Hussein‘s Iraq. After that war concluded, we became Saddam’s enemy and then found it necessary to invade the country in 2003.By doing that, we nearly touched off a civil war in Iraq and it still may happen. We learned in Vietnam to stay out of civil wars, and now some in the US are advocating that we become involved in the Syrian civil war. BAD IDEA. We should let the Syrians sort it out. Just because some are opposed to Assad does not mean we should align ourselves with some or any of his opponents.
My nominee for worst US VP ever is Dick Cheney, and he has very little competition. That is largely because until recently, vice-presidents did very little. If you go back to Jefferson’s first vice-president, you can say that Aaron Burr was a bad man, killing Alexander Hamilton in a duel and plotting to establish a separate country in the western territories. But he didn’t do that while he was vice-president. Spiro Agnew was forced to resign for his actions as Governor of Maryland before he became vice-president under Nixon. So Cheney has very few competitors.
Cheney selected himself as George W. Bush’s running mate, and he arranged for Bush to be surrounded by other Neocons like himself, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, and Paul Wolfowitz, who advocated attacking Iraq. We don’t know if Bush decided himself to invade Iraq or whether he was persuaded by Cheney and others. Perhaps we will never know. We do know that Bush was a better governor than he was president, and that Bush was one of the worst presidents ever. I rank him number one. Cheney taught Bush how to be president, and the US paid a very high price for those teachings. That is why I rate Dick Cheney as the worst VP in US history.
- Dick Cheney Updates “The Banality of Evil” (themoderatevoice.com)
- Stewart Tears Apart Cheney: Where Does This ‘Shi*ty’ VP ‘Get The Balls’ To Attack Obama? (mediaite.com)
- Cheney Eyed Iraq Oil, Says Bush Speech Writer (theepochtimes.com)
According to Chuck Hagel, “The Iraq and Afghanistan wars have not resonated with this generation the way previous wars did with other generations–largely because most Americans are disconnected from the burden and sacrifices of these wars. Less than 1 percent of our population is carrying all the burden, making all the sacrifices, and doing all the fighting and dying in these wars. There is no draft–no direct link to these wars for the other 99 percent of our population.”
The 1% fighting our wars is not the same 1% as the top 1% of income earners in our economy. What if it were the same 1%? The most fortunate among us would be compelled by custom and law to be the 1% fighting our wars. I believe it would be a much more peaceful world. When Rome was in its twilight years as an empire, some of the sons of Rome’s most privileged citizens had the thumb on their sword hand amputated so that they could not wield a sword and fight for their country. Are we the majority of Americans still willing to shoulder our responsibility to defend the nation?
- Doug Bandow: Chuck Hagel: Finally, a Pentagon Chief Who Despises War (huffingtonpost.com)
- Why the Hagel Nomination Matters (cato.org)
I am not satisfied with the information that we receive in the US from our media about Iran. With some on the Right insisting that we or Israel must attack Iran, I am reading several books on the country to gain a better insight on possible peaceful solutions. The best of the books I am currently reading is Neither East Nor West, One Woman’s Journey through the Islamic Republic of Iran by Christiane Bird who also wrote a book entitled A Thousand Sighs, A Thousand Revolts: Journeys in Kurdistan about the Kurds of Northern Iraq, Eastern Turkey and Western Iran. The Kurds are the most populous ethnic group in the world without a country to call their own. They have the misfortune to occupy a territory that is rich in oil that the three countries, Iran, Turkey and Iraq are unwilling to cede to the Kurds.
If you want to understand Iran more thoroughly in these turbulent times, I highly recommend Christiane Bird’s book. Another book that I wish I had in my possession to read is Kermit Roosevelt‘s Countercoup: The Struggle for the Control of Iran, first published in 1979 and long out of print. Roosevelt was FDR’s grandson and CIA station chief for Iran and surrounding countries. In his book, he related what dirty tricks the CIA used to bring down the freely elected Iranian government of Mohammad Mosaddegh and restore the Shah to power. The Iranian people have not forgiven us for that, and it was part of the reason the US was referred to as the “Great Satan” after the Iranian revolution of 1979.
After I wrote Bush and bin Laden, I decided to do some further reading on the subject. Tommy Franks‘s deputy Lieutenant General Michael DeLong with Noah Lukeman wrote a book I had not read before entitled Inside Centcom, The Unvarnished Truth about the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In that book, DeLong again stated his conviction that bin Laden was at Tora Bora during late 2001, early 2002. The area of interest around Tora Bora was 70 square miles. If it were circular, the circumference to be guarded was 30 miles; if rectangular 7 by 10 miles, the perimeter was 34 miles. Assuming a rectangle 1 mile by 70 miles long, the worst possible case from our viewpoint, the perimeter to be guarded against escape by bin Laden would have been 142 miles. A large area to cover it is true, but surely it was well within our capabilities to capture the world’s most wanted war criminal since the mountainous terrain limited the number of escape routes for the non-mountain climbers of al-Qaeda members from Saudi Arabia. After all, how many desert dwellers climb mountains for sport or recreation?
- General Tommy Franks? (themoderatevoice.com)