A popular sport in the Middle East today is the game of kick the grenade. In practice, the game is played with the pin in the grenade, while in actual play the pin is removed. The object of the game is to kill or maim all of the opposing players until one team wins by the survival of one or more of its players. There are two leagues, the Iron Fist league and the Midwife league. Teams are organized by country and usually divided into Sunni and Shiite teams. The Sunni teams are owned by Saudi Arabia, and the Shiite teams are financed by Iran. Osama bin Laden was a star player on the Sunni, al-Qaeda team before his untimely death. At season’s end, the winning team receives the Pottery Barn Cup for one year’s possession. However, if you break it, you own it.
Not only is the sport dangerous to its participants, it is also dangerous to innocent spectators and referees. From time to time, outside countries such as the US and the coalition of the willing decide to take charge of the refereeing. Most recently there was international dissatisfaction with the job that Saddam Hussein was doing, and we replaced him, while trying to change the rules. In doing so, we managed to upset both the players and the spectators leading to a temporary breakdown in the rules. Now that the US and others have left Iraq, the game is returning to its original rules.
Pakistan is one the most poorly educated nations on earth. They spend 2% of GNP on education and 30% on defense. That leaves a tremendous vacuum to be filled and the Saudis have rushed to fill it with madrassas that turn out more and more of the Taliban. We can follow the Pakistani example as advocated by the GOP, more cuts in education and more money for defense. Just follow the GOP sponsored budget in the House this summer and fall.
In My Time, A Personal and Political Memoir by Dick Cheney with Liz Cheney. Contrary to what Dick Cheney said, the contents of this book did not cause by head to spin. It did confirm what many of us already knew or suspected, George W. Bush intended to invade Iraq no matter what. He even intended to defy Congress if necessary and was prepared to be impeached over the issue if necessary. Evidence of WMD did not matter nor did logic or law. That’s how much Bush/Cheney respected the Constitution.
Syria with the assistance of North Korea tried secretly to build a nuclear reactor at al-Kibar in the Syrian desert. Israel, with Cheney’s support, wanted the US to destroy the reactor before it became operational, but Bush was opposed. Subsequently, Israel went ahead and bombed the unfinished reactor on their own. That was the second nuclear reactor destroyed by Israel with Iraq’s being the first.
Now we are faced with the possibility of a nuclear Iran and again the US is being urged by Saudi Arabia, Israel and others to destroy the Iranian reactor(s). If we do not, I fear that Israel will again act on their own, and the US will be blamed for the actions of Israel as our proxy. For a brief discussion of the consequences of attacking Iran, please see my prior post, If John McCain had won. Recently, Afghanistan indicated that it would support Pakistan in a war between Pakistan and the US. Consider the possibility of Iraq allied with Iran in a war between the US and Iran.
I was disappointed that Dick Cheney did not mention bin Laden and al-Qaeda at Tora Bora in Afghanistan when we and the Pakistanis had them surrounded in late 2001. I was hoping for his take on how and why bin Laden escaped with most of his supporters to continue fighting the US.
I have borrowed the title and the satire of this message from Jonathan Swift; the ideas expressed are my own.
In 1803, Thomas Jefferson decided to make the Louisiana Purchase even though he believed the action to be unconstitutional. We paid France $15 million for what is now the middle third of the country. Much of the rest of the country was gained through wars of aggression against Spain, Great Britain, Canada and native tribes. So according to Jefferson, wars of aggression were constitutional, but peaceful purchases were not.
To be in agreement with Jefferson’s views, let us sell the Louisiana Purchase back to France. It would split the country in two separate pieces, but there is the modern example of Pakistan which later became Pakistan and Bangladesh. I would set the asking price at $15 trillion to allow for 207 years of inflation and accumulated interest plus the improvements we have made. If France agrees to the asking price, we can completely pay off the national debt of $13 trillion plus change and have a surplus of $1-$2 trillion. France probably doesn’t have $15 trillion available, but we can allow installment payments. If necessary, France could borrow the down payment from China.
If that proposal is too radical a solution to our money problems, perhaps selling off a later acquisition, Seward’s folly, Alaska, would fit the bill. Purchased in 1867 for the modest sum of $7.2 million, I think modern day Russia would be interested because of all of Alaska’s natural resources. If we open the bidding to all comers, I think that Japan would also be interested. Perhaps Saudi Arabia would bid to acquire a summer retreat for their royal family to escape the heat. If al-Qaeda is successful in deposing the Saudi royal family, Alaska could become their permanent new home.