Obama May Add 30,000 Troops in Afghanistan – New York Times


In Afghanistan's HistoryIn today’s New York Times the lead-off headline is Obama May Add 30,000 Troops in Afghanistan.

In a related story, the Times’ article U.S. Strategy on Afghanistan Will Contain Many Messages , tells us just how tricky a job it is going to be to sell this to the American people.

In an article on terrorism entitled India’s Guard Is Up, but Weaknesses Remain , the Mumbai massacre and bombing of last year has not produced the ground swell of backlash against the terrorists in India that was expected.


And in a strange twist of happenstance for Iraqi soccer fans (that would be every Iraqi on the planet) FIFA has suspended Iraq’s national soccer team because the government keeps interfering with the team’s management. The article entitled Soccer in Iraq: Another Field for Argument, is here.

Just to show you what the Iraqi team has had to endure, here is an excerpt from the article.

"BAGHDAD — Iraq’s national soccer team has certainly endured hardship. Saddam Hussein had players beaten after losses. And the war that deposed him forced them into exile, after extremists started killing sports figures. Their first game at home in years was just this summer — against the Palestinians, the only team willing to come here during a war.’

"Through all that, the team continued to compete internationally. Now that may be at an end, at least for a time. The International Federation of Association Football, known by its French acronym, FIFA, suspended Iraq’s soccer team on Friday, charging the government with interference in the affairs of the board that oversees the national team."

In a very strange piece entitled Lou Dobbs Weighs Senate Run, as a Steppingstone, we read that this pundit feels qualified to run for the Senate. I hope he does not expect the immigrant vote!

In an article entitled Sanford Impeachment Considered , the governor of South Carolina , Mark Sanford, might soon be out of a job.

In this article, Official Charged With Closing Guantánamo Quits, the Times wades in on the departure of a main man in the transition and closure team for Guantanamo Detention Center.

In a telling Op Ed by Maureen Dowd entitled Thanks for the Memories, Obama supporters are fraying at the edges over his tendency to take them for granted. I will personally vouch for that. The honeymoon with the American Left is now pretty much over.  The President needs to look at this.

To be very frank, he is pissing off people who worked very hard to get him elected.  This is never very smart for a politician to take on as a daily working strategy. President Obama is a bit too mercurial at times for the people who put him into office.  Relationships are starting to fray.

I am actively involved in Democratic Party politics here in Alexandria, Virginia.  Blocs of Democrats are starting to float in the political waters here in Northern Virginia like icerbergs in the South Atlantic.  There are no ties, no attempts at substantive communication, no real sense of a common goal.  Democrats are splitting along lines that best goes unsaid at the moment.

In the On This Day section of the Times this morning we read the following.

"On Nov. 25, 1986, the Iran-Contra affair erupted as President Reagan and Attorney General Edwin Meese revealed that profits from secret arms sales to Iran had been diverted to Nicaraguan rebels. "

Those were not proud days, were they?

In today’s Washington Post we read that a return to normal employment in this country could take up to six more years. Yikes!

That story, Economy limping back to strength, simply points out to me the ridiculous contention that we can afford these nonsensical wars. This idea must be abandoned by Obama. We need that money here at home for full employment and the recreation of the crumbling social and physical infrastructure that generations of neglect has brought upon us.

In an article entitled Whose side is Obama on?, we get a different view of Obama’s view of the problems on Wall Street as oppossed to those on Main Street. Here is an excerpt:

"What really sticks in our craw, however, is that while most of the country is hunkered down, Wall Street continues to feast on a bounty of trading profits. You’d expect that a new liberal Democratic president would find a way to give voice to this populist outrage and constructively channel this public anger. But too often, the response from the administration has been to try to convince us that there’s little we can do, or should do, to ensure that the economic harvest is more equitably distributed. Now, the White House and congressional leaders find themselves scrambling to get ahead of a growing political backlash that threatens to upend their carefully calibrated agenda, not to mention their political fortunes."

To say the least! Wow! I would have said that with a much angrier tone! 

These Democrats are acting like Republicans.  If we wanted Republicans, McCain and Palin would be in the White House right now.  Mr. President, you need to reevaluate what you are doing.  We ain’t happy.

In this article entitled In his slow decision-making, Obama goes with head, not gut, it seems that the media is beginning to see Obama as a political Mr. Spock, all head and no gut, regardless of what he says about his own decision making style. This ain’t good for his political alliances or his personal political future.

Here is a telling excerpt:

"Obama’s style has been attacked from his left flank as well. Liberals have zinged him as being too cautious, too much of a compromiser. Some of his supporters would like to see him show more fire in the belly and recapture the energy that propelled him to victory last year."

Pakistan has now charged seven people with last year’s terrorist attack in Mumbai, India. The story is here, Pakistan charges 7 suspects in Mumbai attacks.

And finally in a story for which I can personally vouch for the veracity of this social anamoly from an almost 25 year Coast Guard career, there is this article entitled Despite pact, few blacks at Coast Guard school. The Coast Guard and even more specifically, the Coast Guard Academy simply does not recruit and retain enough people of color. It is a very white armed force. It was in my day and it still is. This just ain’t right!

The Coast Guard is involved in an incredible array of activities from national defense to maritime law enforcement to hazardous material movement to petroleum product spill cleanup to search and rescue to aids to navigation and other missions. 

It is very good at the politics of staying "under the radar" of any potential federal oversight from Congress.  It operates as a lone wolf and it always has.  That is its greatest weakness and its greatest strength.  Oversight of the Coast Guard is minimal at best. 

To state this simply, in the more than 24 years that I served on active duty in the U.S. Coast Guard, the organization did whatever it damned well pleased.  There is an "old boy" network operating within the Coast Guard that would make Skull and Bones green with envy.

I worked for many admirals as both a chief petty officer and a warrant officer and La Cosa Nostra has got nothing on the Coast Guard.  It has its own code of conduct and it follows it religiously.  It knows exactly how to remain small, quiet and off the radar in order to quietly achieve its rather parochial agenda year after year.

It is a textbook study in a federal organization that has spent its entire history quietly pursuing its own goals at the expense of the taxpayer.  It makes the Smithsonian Institution’s recent financial scandals involving a run-away leadership team look insignificant.

The Coast Guard does as it damn well pleases and it always will as long as rich dentists and wealthy plastic surgeons and highly connected politicians get lost at sea on their million dollar boats that they do not know how to navigate and need help in returning to port. 

Once the Coast Guard tows a wealthy and connected drunk back into port because he ran out of gas twenty five miles out to sea, they have a friend for life.  I have seen this too many times to think differently.  The Coast Guard will continue to do whatever it wants, where ever it wants.  It is the way that it has always operated and will continue to operate. Enough said.

Get informed and stay informed so that you can help govern this republic.  It is your duty as a citizen and your responsibility as a veteran.

CWO3 Tom Barnes, USCG (Ret.)






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