This is a reprint from a previous post but I feel it is important to restate my concerns and to show the attached video. Are we in the right place doing what is right or are we making a strategic mistake with lives of Americans?
The VietNam war was my generations war and it was a war that split the nation to it's core. It was a war that was un-winnable in the political environment of the day. America was unpopular around the world and the war was fought in the national and world press as much as it was on the battlefield. The questions asked was, why were we there? Shouldn't a country, VietNam, have the right to decide it's own form of government? Were we there for all the wrong reasons? Were we supporting a corrupt government in Saigon?
All the time young Americans were fighting and dying in the jungles of VietNam, and the politicians knew it was a war that they could not win. To win it we would have had to use the same tactics we had used in World War Two. Massive bombing and invasion of the North, in other words, total war. Would we have won? Most likely, but we would have been seen by the world as an aggressor nation. The politicians of the day had no stomach for it, so we failed and it was seen as a defeat for America. The victims of that war, the American fighting men bore that stigma. They fought and for the first time America lost a war, but in truth they were betrayed by those that sent them into hell. The legacy of VietNam was 60,000 American dead including my 19 year old cousin. A sorrow and pain that all those who lose someone can understand, added to that pain was the fact that President Johnson knew that the war couldn't be won but persisted out of sense history and not wanting to be the first American President to lose a war. It took a Democratically controlled congress' refusal to fund the war under President Richard Nixon that ultimately ended the debacle and brought the troops home.
Today we are engaged in a war in Afghanistan, and the fear is that it may be another un-winnable war. There is no army to fight, no army to bring to the negotiating table. It is an insurgent war. A war that slowly bleeds men and material. We went there to destroy Al Qaida following the 9/11 attack, and also to defeat their supporters the Taliban. Unfortunately President George W. Bush allowed Afghanistan to languor while he invaded Iraq in pursuit of mythical weapons of mass destruction. Al Qaida is no longer hiding in Afghanistan but believed to be hiding out in the Bad Lands on the border of Pakistan. While Al Qaida has mostly left Afghanistan, the Taliban has been resurgent aided by the fact that the government of Hamid Karzai is corrupt, militarily impotent and in most parts of the country barely in evidence.
Afghanistan is a land locked, mostly mountainous, country that is only slightly smaller than Texas with a population of close to 30 million people. The question is; what will it take to win and is it winnable? How long will it take, another five years, ten or even twenty years? Is it worth the cost and do the American people and congress have to will to do what must be done? It is easy to sit back in an armchair and say we have to win. It is another thing to win. There is the financial cost to the nation. We scream that we have no money for this and that social program but we have money for war. In this case how much money will be enough. Another problem is that there is a reluctance on the part of NATO including Canada and Great Britain to continue their support of the war. Can we go it alone if they all withdraw? If history has any lessons for us it is that Afghanistan was a defeat for British Empire, who in the 19th century, was the mightiest military power on the planet, and a defeat for the Soviet Union a, 20th century, super power. These are important lessons and it should cause us to consider other options. It may be that we need a different type of victory. Military men see military solutions, politicians see political solutions. There are no simple solutions to the war in Afghanistan, the the solution may not lie solely with a military approach. There may be a middle ground. To just abandon Afghanistan could be a costly mistake and to pursue a purely military solution may be cost lives and resources that stress the resources of the United States. A new strategy is needed one that engages the regional states actors to help bring about a greater dialogue and a greater support for a stable government with greater emphasis on the social infrastructure of the country giving the people a greater say and investment in their country. What we don't want is a repeat of the failures and pain that was the experience of VietNam.
The subprime student loan racket. An inside look at the fleecing of those who seek to improve their lives through education by the very institutions they turn too. The story of the for-profit educational institutional rip offs. Any parent or individual thinking about beginning or going back to school needs to know the dangers. From the Washington Monthly
"The federal government quietly agreed to forgo billions of dollars in potential tax payments from Citigroup as part of the deal announced this week to wean the company from the massive taxpayer bailout that helped it survive the financial crisis.
The Internal Revenue Service on Friday issued an exception to long-standing tax rules for the benefit of Citigroup and a few other companies partially owned by the government. As a result, Citigroup will be allowed to retain billions of dollars worth of tax breaks that otherwise would decline in value when the government sells its stake to private investors.
While the Obama administration has said taxpayers are likely to profit from the sale of the Citigroup shares, accounting experts said the lost tax revenue could easily outstrip those profits." For the full report.
Science and Environment
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1. Mr. Mullin,You must get a better understanding of the "Investment Banking" system. You mentioned:
"Citigroup gets a tax break from Obama’s administration" Well yes, our much beloved President felt that taxing the corporate profits, of a company owned by our beloved President Obama and US taxpayers would be counter productive. And besides, the more money the bank makes, theoretically they faster the "loan" would be paid back to the President and the taxpayers.
The article quoted " Citigroup will be allowed to retain billions of dollars worth of tax breaks that otherwise would decline in value when the government sells its stake to private investors. While the Obama’s administration has said taxpayers are likely to profit from the sale of the Citigroup shares" This clearly states the additional profits would be used to pay back the "Presidential Loan to the FATCATS on wall street"
And since that statement, Citibank has decided to offer $17.5 billion in common stock and $3.5 billion in equity in order to buy back the trust preferred securities that were purchased by the US government as part of the loan program. By paying back this last $20 billion, and with an agreement with the Treasury that it will sell back the rest of its common stock in the next 6 to 12 months, the bank hopes it will be able to no longer be classified as a recipient of “Presidential Loan to the FATCATS on wall street” by the end of the first quarter of 2010.
And for this kindly loan, our beloved President made something in the neighborhood of a 30 million in profit for the taxpayers, enough for one Democrat earmark for 3 jobs in Florida building cement shelters for endangered Christmas Elves. Thanks Mr. President, mission accomplished.