Tag Archives: Saddam Hussein

What does Kim Jong Un want? Part 2

Donald J. Trump has complicated what ought to be the simplest of Kim Jong Un’s reported demands of the United States of America.

He wants guarantees that he can keep his job as North Korea’s strongman. 

In other words, no “regime change.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sounded semi-conciliatory in that regard the other day when he said that United States has no interest in overthrowing Kim and seeks a “diplomatic solution” to the growing crisis on the Korean Peninsula.

Then the president chimed in with comments threatening “fire and fury” and saying that U.S. military is “locked and loaded” in case Kim decides to make any “overt threats” against the United States or its allies.

The term “locked and loaded” means, in military terms, that your weapon is loaded and that you’ve put the first round in the chamber. You’re set to fire said weapon. Is that what the commander in chief meant? Are we now set to launch a first strike against the North Koreans?

Kim is thought to be mindful of past U.S. military actions, providing him with cause to make the demand that he not be tossed out by an invading force.

I present you the March 2013 U.S. invasion of Iraq , which was launched for the expressed purpose of ridding Iraq of its own dictator, the late Saddam Hussein.

President George W. Bush and his national security team told us Saddam had “weapons of mass destruction,” which became the primary selling point for launching the invasion. Our military launched a full frontal assault. It got to Baghdad. We scoured the country from stem to stern looking for WMD. We found none. Nothin’, man.

Oh, we eventually pulled Saddam out of that spider hole. The Iraqis put him on trial, convicted him of crimes against humanity — and hanged him.

Kim doesn’t want that to happen to himself or his closest sycophants.

The secretary of state is trying to sound a reasoned, rational tone. The president, though, keeps pre-empting him with talk of an entirely different nature. What’s more, the secretary of state does serve at the pleasure of the president.

Cheers have ‘Mission Accomplished’ ring to them

All that back-slapping and high-fiving at the White House today seems a bit premature — to say the very least.

Congressional Republicans sauntered down from Capitol Hill to the White House to congratulate themselves for approving a measure that repeals the Affordable Care Act and replaces it with the American Health Care Act.

“Today we made history by taking the first important step toward rescuing hardworking families from the failures and skyrocketing costs of Obamacare,” House Majority Whip Steve Scalise,  R-La., said in a statement.

They all are members of the House of Representatives. The bill, which passed 217-213 — with zero Democratic votes — now must go to the Senate, where their fellow Republicans are sending signals that the House bill is dead on arrival. It’s a goner. The Senate is going to craft an entirely different bill.

As The Hill reported: “The bill, known as the American Health Care Act, repeals the core elements of ObamaCare, including its subsidies to help people get insurance coverage, expansion of Medicaid, taxes and mandates for people to get coverage.

“In its place, the bill provides a new tax credit aimed at helping people buy insurance, though it would provide less help than ObamaCare to low-income people.”

The Hill also reported: “The measure is expected to undergo a major overhaul in the Senate, especially on the Medicaid front, where several Republican senators from states that accepted the expansion are wary of cutting it off.”

Cheers are quite premature

I was reminded of another celebratory moment in recent U.S. history.

It was in 2003 and President George W. Bush flew onto the deck of an aircraft carrier, jumped out of the jet aircraft wearing a flight suit, changed his duds and then delivered a speech under a banner that declared “Mission Accomplished.”

The president was saluting the capture of the late dictator Saddam Hussein, who our troops pulled out of a spider hole in which he was hiding. The Iraqi dictator was put on trial, convicted and hanged.

The Iraq War, though, raged on … and on … and on. Thousands of American service personnel were killed and injured for years as they sought to bring the fighting under control.

The “Mission Accomplished” banner was premature in the extreme.

So was today’s GOP cork-popping at the White House.

Here’s a thought: Go after Assad’s house

U.S. military forces tonight launched a few dozen Tomahawk cruise missiles at Syrian military targets.

Donald Trump ordered the strikes in retaliation for Syrian government forces’ use of chemical weapons on civilians, killing dozens of them, including children.

It was a reprehensible act. The thought occurs to me: The strikes hit military targets, but why not zero in on where the dictator, Bashar al-Assad, hangs his hat?

It’s not unprecedented. I recall when the Persian Gulf War started in late 1990. The first weapon was a Tomahawk cruise missile launched from the USS Wisconsin, the World War II-era battleship that had been brought back into active duty. The ship’s target? Saddam Hussein’s palace in Baghdad!

Saddam commanded the Iraqi military that had invaded Kuwait. He served two roles in Iraq: head of state and the supreme commander of the Iraqi military. President George H.W. Bush, thus, considered Saddam to be a military target.

Assad is just as ham-handed a dictator as Saddam Hussein had become. He also has a tight rein on his military forces. Therefore, he is a military — as well as a political — figure.

We should hit Syrian military targets. What the Syrian government has done is reprehensible in the extreme.

It does nothing, though, without the approval of the dictator who is in charge.

Make the dictator a target, too.

‘W’ trying, perhaps, to be too cute with his critiques

George W. Bush is saying he doesn’t want to “criticize” his successors as president of the United States.

Then he says things that sound oh, so critical of them.

Which is it, Mr. President? Are you going to weigh in fully or are you going to keep one foot off the scales?

Speaking at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, the ex-president warned against “isolationist tendencies,” an apparent reference to some of the statements made by Donald J. Trump and his administration.

It would behoove Bush to steer clear of references to the Iraq War, which in my view, didn’t turn out quite the way he and his team envisioned it and sold it to the United Nations and to the American public. We weren’t greeted as “liberators”; the fight to secure Baghdad was far tougher than advertised; and, oh yes, we never did find those weapons of mass destruction that the Bush team said were in the late Saddam Hussein’s possession.

As USA Today reported, “Bush said that there is a lesson ‘when the United States decides not to take the lead and withdraw,’ an apparent critique of former President Barack Obama.

“’Vacuums can be created when U.S. presence recedes and that vacuum is generally filed with people who don’t share the ideology, the same sense of human rights and human dignity and freedom that we do,’ he added.”

The former president should lose the pretense of “not wanting to be critical” of his successors. That would be too bad if he did decide to weigh in fully. I kind of admired his declaration that he didn’t want to undermine his immediate successor, President Obama, as he sought to craft his own foreign and domestic agenda. Neither did his father, George H.W. Bush, when he turned the presidency over to the man who defeated his re-election effort, Bill Clinton.

If Bush 43 is going to speak critically of current policy, then he just ought to say so and cease trying to sugarcoat it with “I don’t intend to criticize anyone” statements.

Actually, Mr. President, I get what you are trying to say.

Come clean with hacking info, Mr. President-elect

Oh, that Donald J. Trump.

He just cannot keep his trap shut. He now says he has information about the infamous election hacking that “others don’t know.”

I cannot stop thinking about the president-elect’s assertion a number of years ago that he had information about President Barack Obama’s place of birth that others didn’t know.

The birther in chief led the rumor monger parade in asserting that Barack Obama’s presidency was illegitimate. He said he had dispatched teams of spooks to Hawaii to learn the “truth” about the president’s place of birth; it wasn’t in Hawaii, the then-reality TV celebrity said.

It turned out that Trump had nothing. Zero. He was full of bull corn.

Now he has information about whether Russians hacked into our election system? That he knows things others don’t know? That our professional spies and intelligence officials don’t have the goods on the Russians?

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/trump-says-he-has-hacking-information-others-%e2%80%98don%e2%80%99t-know%e2%80%99/ar-BBxLW3t?li=BBnb7Kz

Trump keeps expressing skepticism about the CIA analysis, citing bogus intelligence reports about weapons of mass destruction prior to the start of the Iraq War in 2003. Hmm. Has anyone suggested to Trump that the WMD “analysis” might have been forwarded by the neocons who comprised President Bush’s inner circle of advisers, that it didn’t come necessarily from the CIA or the Defense Intelligence Agency?

Stop teasing us, Mr. President-elect, with nutty notions that you’re smarter than the intelligence officers who are charged with keeping us safe from our adversaries.

Bush 41 voting for Hillary

bush

This probably isn’t nearly as spectacular a political story as some are making it out to be.

Still, it’s an important development in the presidential campaign of 2016.

Former President George H.W. Bush — aka Poppy Bush, Bush 41 and Bush the Elder — has told a member of a leading Democratic family that he’s going to vote for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton over Republican Donald J. Trump.

The person who “outed” Bush 41 happens to be Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, a former Democratic lieutenant governor of Maryland — and the eldest child of the late Robert F. Kennedy.

Sure, it’s an important story. President Bush is as “establishment Republican” as you can get. He served in many high-profile government capacities before being elected president in 1988. Now he’s going to vote for the wife of the man who defeated him for re-election in 1992. Bush’s forsaking of Trump’s candidacy speaks to the reluctance among many Republicans to back their party’s nominee.

But hold on. Is this a jaw-dropper? Hardly.

President Bush is a dedicated family man who loves his children more than life itself. When a politician attacks the kids, as Trump did this year en route to the GOP nomination, it’s only natural for Dad to take it personally.

Trump called former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush “Low Energy Jeb” and chided him repeatedly for his failure to do better against Trump in the GOP primary campaign.

Then there is this: Trump said the younger President Bush — George W. — “lied” the country into going to war in Iraq. He accused W. of fabricating the pretext for taking out Saddam Hussein by saying he had “weapons of mass destruction” and that he was complicit in the 9/11 attacks.

Setting aside whether one believes Trump’s assertions about W.’s veracity — and they do ring true to me — it’s totally understandable that the first President Bush would hold those utterances against the man who made them.

With 49 days to go before the election, it remains to be seen whether Poppy’s plan to vote for Hillary will bring other disaffected establishment Republicans along.

As for George H.W. Bush’s apparent defection … I do get it.

Trump calls for another un-American policy

trump

Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign is based essentially on his vow to “make America great again.”

If he means it — and I’m not entirely sure he does — then why on Earth does he keep making patently in-American foreign-policy proposals?

Here’s the latest one: The Republican presidential nominee wants to put all immigrants through an ideology test before they are allowed entry into the United States.

He would require customs and immigrations agents to quiz every immigrant seeking residence in the United States about their feelings on such issues as gay rights, gender equality and religious freedom.

If they answer the “right” way, they’re in. If not, they go back. Is that how it works?

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/trump-to-call-for-new-ideological-test-for-admission-to-us/ar-BBvD2lE?li=BBnb7Kz

We’ve already listened to Trump rail against Muslims while proposing to ban them from entering the United States. He’s called illegal Latin American immigrants rapists, murderers and drug dealers and wants to build a “beautiful wall” across our southern border to keep them out.

And, oh yes, he talks about all this under the theme of making America great again.

What utter horse manure!

He’s going to talk about a plan to discontinue “nation-building” as part of our foreign policy. I actually agree with that. Look what nation-building has brought us: continued bloodshed in Iraq after we toppled the dictator Saddam Hussein; more of the same in Afghanistan after we routed the Taliban from power after 9/11; Libya remains a mess.

But this idiotic notion of applying an ideological test to all immigrants seeks to throw a shroud over the beacon that draws immigrants to our land in the first place.

Trump, Pence ignore a key element in ISIS’s creation

pence trump

Did I hear this correctly?

That Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama are responsible for the horror that the Islamic State is bringing to the world? Did Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump assert such a thing today? And did I hear his vice-presidential running mate, Mike Pence, echo such rubbish?

I believe that’s the case.

So, I think it’s time to set the record straight. Wish me luck.

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/07/trump-pence-vp-225652

The responsibility for ISIS belongs primarily with former President George W. Bush, who in March 2003 decided to topple Saddam Hussein’s government in Iraq. We invaded Iraq with phony “evidence” that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction. We got him and his Sunni government tossed out.

Oh, and what happened then?

A whole lot of Sunni Muslims became angry with our invasion and decided to strike back at the Iraqi government.

The Islamic State then came into being.

For Trump and Pence and other vocal critics of President Obama and Hillary Clinton to suggest that their policies have given rise to ISIS is a malicious lie.

The president inherited the troubles brought about by the Iraq War. They didn’t create them.

What can we expect, though. A presidential campaign is going to produce vastly overheated rhetoric from both sides.

Trump, with his penchant for attaching epithets such as “Lyin’ Ted” on his foes, is sure to hurl far more than his fair share of lies at Hillary Clinton.

He and his running mate did so again today.

Trump gives love to … Saddam Hussein!

trump

Let’s see if this is correct.

Donald J. Trump says in one breath that Saddam Hussein was a “bad guy, OK?” and then heaps praise on the one-time tyrant because he killed terrorists without reading them their rights.

The Republican presidential candidate thinks the world would be better off if Saddam and Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi were still in power.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/trump-gives-saddam-hussein-a-shout-out/ar-AAi914h?li=BBmkt5R&ocid=spartandhp

Gadhafi was pretty tough on his enemies, too, so I reckon he’d be getting some love from the Trumpenator if the moment presented itself.

Saddam Hussein brought zero redeeming quality to the world’s geopolitical situation. Do I agree with the decision to invade his country in 2003 on a phony pretext that he possessed weapons of mass destruction? No. But there can be nothing worth praising about the guy.

As for whether we’re tough enough in our war against international terror, I believe we’ve been quite ruthless in the hunt for Islamic State, al-Qaeda and other terrorists lurking in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Osama bin Laden’s corpse was dumped into the ocean after our commandos took him out. We’ve been launching drone strikes and manned air strikes daily against terrorists since we went to war with them after the 9/11 attacks.

Trump, though, is blathering utter nonsense if he thinks Saddam Hussein presented the model for fighting terrorists.

El Chapo interview continues to provoke debate

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I heard a media analyst make an astonishing comparison this afternoon on National Public Radio.

The discussion on NPR was about actor Sean Penn’s interview — published in Rolling Stone — with Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the despicable drug lord who was on the lam from his escape from a Mexican prison.

This analyst seemed to make a direct comparison between El Chapo and Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden and Moammar Gadhafi, all of whom were interviewed by the media before they met their deaths.

Hmmm. There’s something of a difference here.

Hussein and Gadhafi were heads of state; bin Laden hadn’t been convicted of anything, even though the entire world knew of his involvement in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Guzman was an escapee from a maximum-security prison. Mexican authorities had been scouring the country looking for him since his escape six months ago.

Penn’s access to this individual — whose drug activities have produced so much death and misery — was a function of his own celebrity status as an Oscar-winning film actor.

I keep coming back to what I believe is a central question: Doesn’t an American citizen such as Penn have an obligation to assist authorities in their search for a notorious drug dealer?

Sen. Marco Rubio was asked over the weekend to comment on the interview. The Republican presidential candidate said Penn is entitled to his First Amendment rights, but then he used a term with which I agree.

He called the interview “grotesque.”