May 23, 2009

Obama-Cheney debate revisited, with a conclusion that may surprise both sides

Did Bush’s war on terror policy stop a second terror attack? Is Obama right that US policy tended to help al Qaeda grow? Is Cheney an ogre? Is Obama a naive fool?

Maybe the right answers don’t fit neatly into place. Maybe US policy back under Bush both tended to empower al Qaeda, by making Muslims more militant, and discourage an attack on the US at the same time. Perhaps, bin Laden's success at making the Muslim World more militant, made him in no hurry to attack the US a second time. However, was giving al Qaeda space to grow something really worth cheering about?

Yes, I agree with those who claim Bush made the world a mess, but in 2003 he withdrew US troops from Saudi Arabia. Troops there, was the main reason bin Laden vowed to attack the US a second time. Bush starting to withdraw some troops from Afghanistan, to fight in Iraq, pleased bin Laden in two ways. Bin Laden was far more interested in US troops leaving Afghanistan, where he spent many years then in mostly Shiite Iraq, and he was happy to see a secularist, Saddam Hussein, out of power. The first time President Bush might have really upset bin Laden was perhaps when he started sending a few drone aircraft into Pakistan, which might have not been enough for bin Laden to renew his desire to follow up 9/11 with a bigger attack just because of the drones.

When George Bush first became President, he wanted to look tough while avoiding war with Russia and China. Thus he came out with his “Axis of Evil” rhetoric. After 9/11 US troops in Afghanistan also made Bush look tough but it also whittled away Afghans being fed up with the Taliban. After 2003 Bush withdrew US troops from Saudi Arabia. US troops there was the main reason bin Laden stated for the 9/11 attack and why he vowed to attack again.

One of Bin Laden's basic goals is to make moderate Muslims militant, craving a world of the 8th century where Muslims were quick to attack. Not that anyone in the 8th century would have used their child or helpless old mother as a combatant. Or attack where noncombatant Muslims could get hurt such as at two US Embassies in Africa at rush hour. Or get Muslims to fight with each other like al Qaeda is doing between Shiites and Sunnis in Iraq, or get drunk before a battle assignment like 9/11, or tax Opium.

When, then Majority Leader, Bill Frist was about to call for bipartisan prison detention reform after reviewing the secret additional Abu Ghraib photos, al Qaeda derailed it by posting Nick Berg's beheading when Frist's press conference was about to start, which derailed the reform efforts, meaning the torture of suspects is what bin Laden wanted the US to do so he could use it as a recruiting tool,
The day after the January 22, when Obama announced the decision to close Guantanamo, al Qaeda announced that a former terror detainee was to be second in command in the Arabian Peninsula (it turned out only nominally),
Again it seems to suggest bin Laden wanted US torture facilities to stay open for it’s propaganda purposes.

I personally think it is a mistake for the peace movement to assume that the al Qaeda threat is over, and that thus Cheney doesn’t know what he is talking about when he claims there will be another terror attack where Cheney can claim “I told you so”.

I got some more sober assessments. More likely then not, a real possibility of peace in the Middle East or a quick agreement with moderates, or semi-moderates and a US withdrawal from Iran and Afghanistan would make al Qaeda desperate to attack instead of waiting for the US to bankrupt itself.

We need to deal with the possibility that as soon as bin Laden's dreams seem hopeless is when he will be the most desperate. Why should bin Laden just smash his own brains out when he loses like the al Qaeda member did in England when he bashed his truck into a strong steel gate at a military base where he had not much hope of killing anyone but himself, when other al Qaeda members can al least attack take a few vacationing Americans, on perhaps cruise ships in the Caribbean, with them. As al Qaeda diehards commit suicide in defeat, they will want to take as many of the enemy with them as the go.

Anyway, Bush policy of getting US troops out of Saudi Arabia shows that appeasement works even if done by someone who pretends to be tough all the time.

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May 12, 2009

Senator Specter - the key to our future

Specter has changed the political map by becoming a Democrat. It’s a new chapter in the political system and in the many twists and turns of his life. He has had so many roles that most of us in Philadelphia have at least one point in our life cheered him and at another point criticized him. Many appreciated him during the Gonzales hearings, but not so his Single Bullet Theory. Many more would appreciate Specter but for the albatross of the JFK assassination around his neck.

When then Attorney General Gonzales was being grilled about the firing of eight federal prosecutors, many Americans helped along by Specter’s evenhanded style joined in fear of our rights slipping away, like during the attempt to impeach Nixon. This, was very different then later impeachment efforts where both sides became shrill. In the last Congress, Chuck Hegel, and John Warner also played a bipartisan role. This, now replaced by ever more shill partisan argument. It may seem hopeless, but Specter somehow trying to hold on to bipartisanship is important.

However, many especially locally, whose minds are more on Specter than the rest of the country, are still upset with Specter’s Single Bullet Theory and it’s conclusion that Oswald acted alone in killing President Kennedy. People upset about this, often lash out on other issues and constantly say how sneaky Specter is, as if it was a plot to allow assassins to go free, which I think I can prove, originally at least, wasn’t true, but an attempt to delay publicizing a false trail leading to Cuba.

One of the things that mystifies many assassination buffs is why Chief Justice Earl Warren, the Warren Commission, and some of Kennedy’s friends wanted to believe that Oswald was the lone assassin. Specter’s heavy involvement with the Kennedy Assassination investigation may mean he has valuable tidbits, especially since President Bush declassified Lee Harvey Oswald’s very extensive back and forth dealings with the US Government, Russia, far rightists and far leftists. Somehow I never heard anyone publicly beg Specter to tell more, or ask him such things as, “Since President Bush declassified Oswald’s extensive dealings with both sides of the Cold War, does this effect your single bullet theory”. They just condemn Specter for allegedly wanting assassins not to be punished. Those in Philadelphia, or who are part of causes Specter participates in, have less problems reaching him or talking to people who might be able to, then those far away.

Today many Americans including, President Obama are renouncing secret government. Some think more would be accomplished if former Vice President Cheney were indicted for his torture memos, but Cheney’s lack of respect for democratic principles, has many historic precedents. Due process and most other rights were infringed upon under Nixon, Reagan, McCarthyism, and during both World Wars. If the JFK assassination came back into focus many more Americans would wake up to the dangers of secret government.

Specter’s role as healer between the Republican and Democratic Parties is now over, perhaps he could be encouraged to become America’s educator on history instead.

Specter’s Single Bullet Theory of the Kennedy assassination was suggested to delay the government having to publicly examine the false trail that led to the erroneous conclusion that Fidel Castro was involved to get even with the CIA for trying to assassinate him, as the Miami anti-Castro community was screaming. This back when the average American had no idea that the US government was involved in assassination attempts. President Johnson several times indicated in the JFK Assassination archives expressed fear that this blaming of Castro might lead to war with the Soviets.

Among other things the government hired the Mafia to kill Castro. Several Mafia leaders were disturbed that both JFK and his brother Attorney General Robert Kennedy were making a concerted effort to put crime leaders in jail. They felt it was a betrayal of trust.

Using gangsters for political purposes dates back to World War II when after the Mafia was very helpful to the war effort by exposing the agents that Hitler had infiltrated on the docks in the guise of pretending to be Italian-Americans. The Mafia and Jimmy Hoffa were encouraged to take over the then internationalist antiwar Teamsters Union to stop a wartime strike. Then at the start of the Cold War, without contemplating the long-term consequences, the Mafia was encouraged to infiltrate the entertainment industry to chase radicals and communists out. Communists during World War II were the most gung-ho for the war after the Hitler-Stalin Pack ended, and it was part of the war effort to encourage haters of Hitler who had been slow to join the war effort to have prominent places in the media. Anyone who was once ideologically opposed to fighting Hitler, but who changed their mind was a media star. Former pacifist Woody Guthrie at one point sang on all three networks at once. Accusing Communists of infiltrating, or claiming Senator McCarthy had a big imagination is a past example of the blame game distorting understanding history, just as was later the blaming of Specter for everything that went wrong with the JFK assassination investigation. Much later during Contra-gate the US government sold drugs to gangsters to raise money to support the Contras in Nicaragua.

Today, Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh claim that it keeps us safe that the government had been able to keep secrets and engage in what they claim is only supposedly illegal activities like warterboading Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to make him falsely claim that Saddam was involved with 9/1l. I hope I can squeeze in the possibility that after US troops withdrew from Saudi Arabia in 2003 bin Laden, quite possibly, had no intention of risking an adrenaline-charged, from another terror attack, US troops returning to sacred Muslim soil. If so the US falsely believing otherwise would have confused US intelligence gathering skill, even leading to more false conclusions through torture. I wonder if Dick Cheney is enticing bin Laden to want to attack to get Obama in trouble. My belief is that the Kennedy Assassination is partly responsible for much of what has gone wrong more recently.

Returning to the earlier point, the carefully concocted false trail to Castro, though ridiculous might have looked quite explosive when Specter was examining it, which may be why Chief Justice Earl Warren, and several close friends of Kennedy wanted to believe the possibility that Oswald acted alone. So I actually see something heroic in the original ruse. I just wish the truth came out before Carter lost. And I fear that Obama is being sabotaged the way Carter was.

President Bush declassified very pertinent documents and E. Howard Hunt, before he died named names of others involved including Lyndon Johnson. Johnson, however, did so much to carry on the Kennedy’s agenda, it’s like discovering your favorite uncle killed your older brother, or after being smashed in an accident discovering the benefactor helping you was the hit and run driver you were looking for. If we, or Specter, put this history in the country’s focus it would help many Americans know that Cheney and Limbaugh’s call to return to secret government endangers us all.

End Notes: Dealing with Specter’s saga can help us understand that history is important in understanding current events, can help Specter supporters get the albatross away from Specter’s neck, and people handing printed pieces of paper, though perhaps emails to people they know instead of just emailing strangers around the world can restore a sense of community in dealing with this troubled world of ours. Thank you Alan Specter for alerting the country, during the Gonzales hearings, of the danger of too many secrets. Please everyone urge Specter to continue to alert this country that it is in danger, like he did back during those hearings.

Tension with Cuba after Kennedy was shot,
The Mafia and World War II,
E. Howard Hunt’s deathbed statement,
Critical response follows article in next link,

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