Editorial: Obama casualty of his own wars?

November 18, 2009

America has a $1.4 Trillion Deficit, with a projected deficit Of $1.75 trillion! How much more will new troops, continued war and corporate bailouts cost in jobs and lives?

By Frank Schier

Editor & Publisher

Upon his return from Asia, President Barack Obama is expected to announce he is sending more troops to Afghanistan.

A year into his presidency, without significant troop pullouts in Iraq and Afghanistan, President Obama now has taken ownership of those wars. In fact, that possession and the proposed troop increases in Afghanistan show he is falling into the big trap of a military coffin opened up for him by the Republicans’ use of fear as a political strategy/weapon.

What got him elected? Hope, not fear-— “Yes, we can!” His public intent to get us out of those misbegotten wars was the hopeful, can-do wave that carried him to the White House.

What will defeat him? His ownership of those wars handed him by the Republican/neo-con unilateralists, whose design is to support Israel and establish a permanent U.S. presence in the Orwellian “disputed zone” between Israel and China. With Israel’s right to exist an honorable loyalty that must be always defended (we must stop and never repeat Holocausts of any kind), America must stop being the defacto and aggressive foreign policy arm of Israel.

Yes, we can put ourselves first for a change. Yes, we can commit our budget to our domestic agenda without being protectionists, xenophobic or isolationists. We must put our own domestic financial interests first, considering the state of our economy and our $1.4 Trillion deficit!

Last week, I cited the Tuesday statistics from www.costofwar.com. Since 2001, the cost of war in Iraq was $699,022,378,313, and the cost of war in Afghanistan was: $231,265,881,179. The ever-running grand total was $930,288,259,492. That’s about $69 billion short of $1 trillion.

Here’s this week’s Tuesday statistics from www.costofwar.com. Since 2001, the cost of war in Iraq was $701,011,941, and the cost of war in Afghanistan was $231,806,356,251. The ever-running grand total was $932,818,265,797. That’s about $67 billion short of one trillion dollars.

Again, the deficit is $1.4 Trillion. Add in the cost of these bailouts, given by http://money.cnn.com/news/storysupplement/economy/bailouttracker/index.html#FDIC: AIG Insurance company total bail out at $70+ billion; and the FDIC bank takeovers in 2008 and 2009, $45.4 billion—there’s your deficit and the projected deficit.

This week, President Obama was in China. As of May 2009, the U.S. owed China $772 billion.

“Americans have been paying about $450 billion a year in interest on the national credit card; without that debt to pay off, personal income taxes could be almost 40 percent lower,” says www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2009/03/13/business/econwatch/entry4864398.shtml.

Obama received a lecture from the Chinese on our deficit and deficit spending. The Chinese are none too happy about the instability and perceived threat brought to their common border with Afghanistan by the NATO forces there. As pointed out in The Nation, they know “no one has successfully invaded Afghanistan in centuries.”

In August, Gen. Stanley McChrystal told The Wall Street Journal we were essentially losing in Afghanistan, and we needed more troops.

“Currently, U.S. operations in Afghanistan cost taxpayers about $4 billion a month. That comes to roughly $133 million per day, or $5.5 million per hour,” said www.rawstory.com/08/news/2009/08/10/us-losing-in-afghanistan-top-general-admits/

With the accumulating cost of the deficit and 40 percent more on our income taxes, what’s it costing our local economy?

Even the folks on Facebook can tell you that. With unemployment at the national average of 10.4 percent percent, Rockford resident Craig Beiersdorff posted on Facebook last Wednesday the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics.

Out of the 372 cities listed, Rockford was No. 361 with 15.2 percent unemployed. Rockford has the 11th highest percentage of unemployed out of all the metropolitan areas in the county.

NPR/WNIJ ran a story Nov. 17 that one in six or seven people in the country went hungry last year.

These are real human costs.

Last Wednesday morning, I was listening to the Diane Rehm show on NPR/WNIJ 89.5 FM, and they featured two journalists: embedded photographer Peter van Agtmael and his new book, 2nd Tour, I hope I don’t get killed, and Washington Post Correspondent David Finkel and his book, The Good Soldiers.

The following Web sites have images that are very disturbing to view, but they are reality. These images show what our troops will be bringing home in their heads and wounded bodies, which the major media consistently fail to address.

Go to: http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/11/03/showcase-peter-van-agtmael-2nd-tour-hope-i-dont-die/

Go to: www.amazon.com/Good-Soldiers-David-Finkel/dp/0374165734 and www.petervanagtmael.com/

These are the real human costs.

And where are we spending our economic and human capital?

Countering Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s request for more troops, as the Los Angeles Times reported last week, U.S. Afghanistan “Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, a retired Army general and former commander of U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan, objected in two cables delivered to the State Department saying that additional troops would be unwise because of the corruption and ineffectiveness of the Afghan government, the officials said.”

Our own ambassador is telling our president the military is wrong; it’s just more money and lives down a rathole.

The LA Times article went on to say: “The fraud-tainted Aug. 20 presidential election has sharpened U.S. and European concerns about the Afghan government. In recent days, American and European officials have warned that President Hamid Karzai must change his ways for the costly international effort to succeed.”

The U.S. needs to get out of Afghanistan. Ask the Russians about their Vietnam experience there. It’s a no-win war, just like the War on Drugs, which is a big factor with the opium trade, again, which the major media consistently fail to address.

We must get out of Iraq and Afghanistan; otherwise, fanatical Muslim hatred of the U.S. will just grow. Our only very difficult hope is to intensify our Peace Corps styled efforts and spending there to really win hearts and minds and replace the opium agriculture, to drastically reduce our troop strength, and rely more on technological attacks on Taliban bases as suggested by, of all people, conservative columnist George Will.

Does Obama have the will and the guts to do this? He made a mistake by retaining Bush’s former CIA director, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. Obama knows the CIA and Defense Department can take down his presidency. Look at Jimmy Carter; and if you really want to go out there, look at John F. Kennedy with his rarely-spoken-of intent to get out of Vietnam. Obama has to ask for the public’s support against these forces. He must be honest and loudly proclaim what he is up against. He must be a real profile in courage. I pray for him.

While the Obama administration says our commitment in Afghanistan is “not open-ended,” our wealth and personal quality of life suffering from a growing deficit on many levels seems to be open-ended. That may make President Obama a political casualty of wars he would be very unwise to continue.

By clicking on “Contact Your Public Officials” at www.rockrivertimes, please tell President Obama you want to get our wherewithal out of Iraq and Afghanistan. We have so many real needs here at home. Remind him, “Yes, We Can!”

Avidly support him if he has the courage to act on his words.

From the November 18-24, 2009 issue

One Comment

  1. John M. Stassi

    November 20, 2009 at 10:11 am

    Dear Mr. Schier:

    RE: “With Israel’s right to exist an honorable loyalty that must be always defended (we must stop and never repeat Holocausts of any kind), America must stop being the defacto and aggressive foreign policy arm of Israel.”

    For insight into how the horrific crime that was the Holocaust has been exploited and perverted for political and financial gain and especially to justify Israeli crimes against human rights, I would suggest you consult the works of Norman Finkelstein
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Finkelstein
    especially his
    The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Holocaust_Industry

    For an insight into how “Israel’s right to exist” has been at the root of decades of Israeli crimes against the indigenous people of Palestine, I would suggest that you read
    The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine by Ilan Pappe
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ethnic_Cleansing_of_Palestine

    Is continued American support for an Israeli state that aspires to be exclusively Jewish any less reprehensible than support for a state that intends to be exlusively Muslim, exclusively Christian, or exclusively Aryan?

    How can we require our children to pledge allegiance to a nation “with liberty and justice for all” and then watch that nation support and fund a political entity, like Zionist Israel, that deprives an entire population of its rights to liberty and justice?

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