Today’s New York Times is as usual a real check on our daily national hearbeat and there is always a beat or two that skips the regular and expected pattern. First up is this story concerning the fact that Abdullah Abdullah has decided to sit out the runoff election against the incumbent President Karzai in Afghanistan, effectively handing him a victory. He claims that he is doing this because the election cannot be a fair one and he will not take part in a charade for the benefit of Karzai and his party.
Our soldiers and marines fought and died for this? The story is here.
Here is a excerpt from the article:
"Mr. Abdullah has been under intense pressure from Western officials to avoid confrontation and end a two-month dispute over the election results. That has been in part because the outcome of the runoff had been identified as a vital benchmark before Mr. Obama was to announce his military strategy in Afghanistan.
Even now, administration officials said Sunday, that announcement could be at least three weeks away: it is not expected until the president returns from a trip to Asia later this month."
Memo to the President: Why don’t you just announce we are taking our stuff and that our people are coming home? This war was, is and always will be none of our business.
In this article, the U.S. now must face the prospect of propping up an Afghan Administration that many Afghanis consider to be illegitimate. Here is a quote:
"WASHINGTON — With the White House’s reluctant embrace on Sunday of Hamid Karzai as the winner of Afghanistan’s suddenly moot presidential runoff, President Obama now faces a new complication: enabling a badly tarnished partner to regain enough legitimacy to help the United States find the way out of an eight-year-old war.
It will not be easy. As the evidence mounted in late summer that Mr. Karzai’s forces had sought to win re-election through widespread fraud to defeat his main challenger, Abdullah Abdullah, administration officials made no secret of their disgust. How do you consider sending tens of thousands of additional American troops, they asked in meetings in the White House, to prop up an Afghan government regarded as illegitimate by many of its own people?
The answer was supposed to be a runoff election. Now, administration officials argue that Mr. Karzai will have to regain that legitimacy by changing the way he governs, at a moment when he is politically weaker than at any time since 2001. "
The full article is here.
In this article we learn that Europeans like Obama personally but fear that he is not breaking far enough away from Bush Administration policies for them to be comfortable with his world leadership. They do not see enough movement on Obama’s part to repudiate what they see as the nightmare of the Bush years. That story is here.
In this article we learn that partisan media coverage like Fox News is actually growing, not dying. The American media is quickly splintering into groups that write from a point of view that is strongly on one side or the other of the political divide in our country. The middle ground of traditional American journalism is swiftly eroding. The story is here.
Paul Krugman has written an Op Ed piece lamenting that Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is too little of a good thing and that it will not substantially improve American employment. That story is here.
In the Washington Post today we have equally insightful stories. First up is this article on the House Ethics Committee’s investigations concerning congressmen and women presently holding office. Here is an excerpt from the article that will get your attention:
"But the document also brings potential political peril for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), whose party claimed the majority in November 2006 after she promised to "drain the swamp" of corruption on Capitol Hill. Two and a half years into Pelosi’s reign, more than 25 Democrats have been targeted for ethics reviews by the two ethics bodies, while just seven Republicans appeared to be under scrutiny, according to the document."
Wow! Who would have thought? National Democrats can be just as sleezy as Republicans. The full story is here.
In an Op Ed piece by Robert Samuelson entitled "Could America Go Broke?" there is the disconcerting realization here that we actually could put ourselves in a position where we could not pay our creditors. Nations like Russia and Argentina are already there. If it happens to us or Britain or Japan, the entire world economy as we know it is cooked. Wow! The story is here.
In this story, the North Korean government is asking the U.S. to resume direct talks on nuclear disarmament. It seems that they are desperate for trade, aid and financial assistance of all kinds. That story is here.
According to BBC News there is this story of a fresh suicide blast near Pakistani Army Headquarters in Rawalpindi that killed forty people. That story is here.
The BBC News also tells us that the Secretary General of the U.N. Ban-Ki Moon is in Kabul, Afghanistan to speak with President Karzai now that the runoff election with Abdullah Abdullah is not going to happen. Good. Good. The story is here.
Here is an interesting article on AOL this morning. It seems that Adolf Hitler’s three Mercedes Benz armored car limousines are on sale for $9 million dollars. Interesting indeed. The article is here.
Here is a press release from Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Senator Dan Akaka (D-Hi) concerning 22 veterans bills being held up for action by one senator. That late October press release is here.
The House Committee on Veterans Affairs has no posting yet for November either.
Here is a story released by the Associated Press this morning which has got to go down in media history as a ….well…lets just say, an oddity. In Kosovo the ethnic Albanians there have erected an eleven foot bronze statue painted gold in honor of former President Bill Clinton. Here was on site for the unveiling and he was surprised. He did not see this coming. Who would? The story is here.
And finally there is this story from the Associated Press.
In May of 2004 the FBI interviewed then Vice President Dick Cheney who could not recall details that he was asked about 72 times during the formal investigative interview concerning Valierie Plame’s outing as a CIA operative. That transcript was released last week. Here is an excerpt from that article.
"WASHINGTON -Federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald famously declared in the Valerie Plame affair that "there is a cloud over the vice president." Last week’s release of an FBI interview summary of Dick Cheney’s answers in the criminal investigation underscores why Fitzgerald felt that way.
On 72 occasions, according to the 28-page FBI summary, Cheney equivocated to the FBI during his lengthy May 2004 interview, saying he could not be certain in his answers to questions about matters large and small in the Plame controversy.
The Cheney interview reflects a team of prosecutors and FBI agents trying to find out whether the leaks of Plame’s CIA identity were orchestrated at the highest level of the White House and carried out by, among others, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Cheney’s chief of staff."
That article is here.
An informed veteran is a comfort to his friends and a danger to his adversaries. Get informed and stay informed in order to help govern the nation you served so well while in uniform.
CWO3 Tom Barnes, USCG (Ret.)