Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Whatever it takes...

Sorry, but I am just a little angry right now. I feel I cannot stand by as the DNC, the far-left, and the so-called "antiwar" movement continue to threaten our efforts in Iraq. The recent controversy with John McCain and his comments about staying in Iraq for the "next 100 years" is ridiculous. To those of you pulling the strings over at the DNC, I say this to you...well, first off, screw you!

Second, which is worse, advocating a solid, 100% commitment to the brave Iraqis who are fighting some of the most evil people out there, or advocating abandoning them for political purposes, as you people have done? If 100 years is what it takes to stop these terrorists, then so be it. I'm not one to say things like this, but if the DNC continues it propaganda campaign by showing images of Al-Qaeda's work and then calling for us to abandon Iraq, I will be happy to watch their party implode within itself as Barack and Hillary battle it out for the nomination. These people certainly deserve it.

Some might say to me, "C.H., your views aren't in line with the views of the American people". Well, I don't really care. I cannot put into words how tired I am with Iraq being a political issue. This is not an issue politicians should be using to get votes. These disgusting ads and statements coming out of the DNC headquarters need to stop, period. Enough with the debate over WMD's, the War on Terror, and whether or not it was right to go into Iraq. At the very least, can all of us, whether liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, or any other affiliation, agree that helping the people of Iraq rebuild their country and fight a savage and evil enemy is the right thing to do? ALL of us should want success in Iraq, no matter who we want to see in the White House.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Empty promises

Almost four years ago, both President Bush and his opponent, Senator John Kerry, stood in front of a crowd declaring that the atrocities being committed in Sudan's western Darfur province were indeed genocide. The international community decided that action needed to be taken. The phrase "never again" was invoked on numerous occasions. Advocacy groups took root, and promises were made that the people of Darfur would not be abandoned.

Then why, may I ask, is this happening:


Five years after fighting first erupted in Darfur between Sudanese Government forces and rebel groups, the world has still not found a durable solution to the suffering of millions of people in the region, the United Nations humanitarian chief told the Security Council today, warning the situation will only deteriorate unless urgent measures are taken.

John Holmes, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, told a Council meeting that he was saddened and angry to inform them that the situation inside Darfur had only worsened in the past 12 months, despite the efforts of the international community.

"We continue to see the goalposts receding, to the point where peace in Darfur seems further away today than ever," he said in a statement. "Further progress in the deployment of UNAMID [the hybrid UN-African Union peacekeeping force], equipped to protect civilians and improve security, will help.

"But only an end to all violence and concrete steps towards a political settlement will make the fundamental difference needed, as the rebel movements themselves above all need to recognize. Otherwise the reality is that the people of Darfur face a continued steady deterioration of their conditions of life and their chances of lasting recovery."

Maybe its time for an end to the empty promises and false pledges of action. How many hopes of peace have been fluttered about only to be smashed beneath the boots of Sudanese government soldiers and Janajaweed militiamen as they burn villages and bury the corpses of innocent villagers in sandy mass graves.

Is an example of "false hope needed"?

From CNN in 2004:

The Sudanese government and rebels in the country's Darfur region have signed security and humanitarian agreements in Nigeria after two weeks of talks, the press officer for Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo has said.

More than 1.5 million people have been forced from their homes because of fighting in Darfur, creating what the United Nations has termed the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

The government abandoned its objection to a no-fly zone in the area to make the security agreement happen.

The agreement moves the government closer to disarming the brutal Janjaweed militias, and it calls on both sides to allow monitors to observe the cease-fire.

But this is not the most recent example. Let us never forget the infamous "Darfur Peace Accord" of 2006. At this stage, there are really only two options left. First off, we can do what needs to be done and take a stand against the regime of Omar Al-Bashir and his hired thugs, or we can be honest with the people of Darfur and declare that, judging by our actions, that we do not care about them and are only worried about the problems happening inside of our borders. Why make meaningless and empty promises of action if we have no intention of following through with it?

It is a moral tragedy that after five years, nothing has been done and no one is putting forth any serious solutions to solve this conflict. Has the world completely lost its nerve? Even in the parts of the world that have had severe repercussions for the west, such as Afghanistan, western countries have become more reluctant than ever to confront those who pose a threat to peace and stability.

During these last five years, this tragedy has been brought up during campaigns and political events. It has been the focus of rallies calling for has been featured on the nightly news, and it has been the subject of many debates. But let's remember one thing: at the end of the day, this is still happening...and no matter how many pledges of action and support we make to those who are suffering, it will not go away if it is followed by inaction and becomes an empty promise.

Monday, April 21, 2008

One less thing to worry about

A new Gallup poll indicates that Americans are not as concerned about global warming as one might think. According to the poll, just over one third of Americans worry about it "considerably"...which, interestingly enough, is the same percentage as almost two decades ago.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The wrong message

From Fox News Election Center:

Barack Obama declined to condemn Jimmy Carter Wednesday for Carter’s decision to meet with Hamas but said he supports diplomacy with Iran because it has recognized status internationally.

In a meeting with Jewish community leaders in Philadelphia, the Democratic presidential candidate stopped short of condemning the meeting between the former U.S. president and the designated terror group. However, he said direct talks with the Islamic Republic have practical benefits that are in Israel’s interest.

“Hamas is not a state. Hamas is a terrorist organization,” Obama said, explaining the distinction.

Now, I'm a bit confused here. According to Barack Obama, we should be engaged with a terrorist state, but avoid the terrorist groups that have been funded, or as in some cases, created by it. Iran is the epicenter of the extremist cause that has plunged the Middle East into chaos, from the borders of southern Iraq to humanitarian disaster that is brewing in the Gaza strip, and every action they have taken indicates that Khamenei (Iran's supreme leader) and Ahmadinejad are not peace-seeking individuals. In the end, is there really any difference between a terror-sponsoring state and a terrorist group? Let's not forget, back in 2001, the Taliban was the governing power in Afghanistan, even though only three countries (Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and the UAE) recognized them. Nevertheless, the Taliban embraces the same destructive beliefs as Al-Qaeda and has engaged in the same methods of terrorism against the current government in Kabul.

Barack Obama is right to say that we have no business dealing with Hamas. However, if he expects that a sit-down with the leaders of a country that has financed, supplied, and trained Hamas would be any different, he is misguided to say the least.

I'm all for discussion and diplomacy to achieve peace, but both sides actually need to want it in order for it to work. With Iran, history shows that is just not the case.

The realities of immigration

This is a documentary I found on youtube about illegal immigration. The question we should all be asking ourselves is why these immigrants want to flee their homeland in the first place, not simply "how do we get rid of them" as many conservative commentators and right-wing activists tend to say. The immigrants in this video seem like perfectly ordinary people who are truly looking for a better life and better place to live. At the same time, many people here in this country are probably wondering how conditions in Mexico can be so bad that millions of people are fleeing over the border.

Obviously, Mexicans are faced with a number of problems, from poverty to drug cartels terrorizing the population in the country's north. It may very well be that the solution to solving this problem will be the actions taken by the Mexican government to solve the drug trade issues and the fierce violence that claimed the lives of thousands of people last year alone, as opposed to any of the solutions being passed around in Congress or in any of the talking points given by Lou Dobbs or Pat Buchanan.

The extreme right (like those mentioned above) seem to think that building a wall across the border and sealing ourselves off will somehow solve this issue. Personally, I would like to see that wall torn down because it alienates this country from the Mexican community and basically sends the message that we do not want to associate with them. To make life better for people on both sides of the border we should be doing the exact opposite--the USA and Mexico should come up with a comprehensive plan to work together in helping the people of Mexico live better lives, instead of having to pack up and flee through scorching deserts and terrain run by drug cartels who have adopted Al-Qaeda inspired tactics.

One way or another, building a wall is not the answer, but developing a closer relationship and working together with those on the other side of the border just might be.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Even the best of intentions can have disasterous consequences

From the Washington Post:

Former president Jimmy Carter plans to meet next week in Damascus with Khaled Meshal, the head of the Palestinian militant group Hamas, in a direct rebuke of the Bush administration's campaign to isolate it.

The disclosure of Carter's plans by the Arabic-language newspaper al-Hayat and subsequent confirmation by sources familiar with his itinerary instantly placed the campaigns of Sens. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) in a political bind.

The campaign of Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), the presumptive Republican nominee, was quick to blast Carter's plans and called on both Obama and Clinton to condemn the meeting with what the State Department lists as a terrorist group.

Both Clinton and Obama issued statements with milder language, saying they "disagreed" or did "not agree" with Carter's plans.

Carter's views of the Middle East attracted controversy last year because a book he wrote included tough criticism of Israel's policies. Indeed, a source close to Carter said that the former president favors Obama but that he has decided not to endorse Obama publicly or formally because he fears it would contribute to hostility toward Obama among Jewish Democrats.

My View:

Now I'm going to be honest and speak my mind about ol' Jim's decision to fly over to Damascus to meet with Khaled Meshaal, a terrorist in a suit: his intentions are good. Yes, I believe that Jimmy Carter actually thinks this will lead to progress. After all, people like him believe that Hamas is just misguided and has simply chosen the wrong path. We've seen this before...let us not forget Dennis Kucinich and Nancy Pelosi's adventures in Syria last year, which was a total rejection of not only the Bush Administration's policies, but better judgement and the difference between right and wrong.

In the end, a visit with a former U.S. President will only help Hamas' PR campaign. Before he goes on his trip, I hope that Jimmy Carter has read up on every single attack carried out by Hamas and the savage acts against innocent civilians, both Israeli and Palestinians, it has committed. I also hope he has watched the propaganda videos that on Hamas TV and Iranian hate television that glorify terrorism and encourage young children to detonate themselves in the name of a religion that has been betrayed.

I would be appropriate if the former president has all of that on his mind when his plane flies over the skyline of Damascus and is welcomed by a regime that has hosted a variety of thugs and murderers from all across the Muslim world.

Monday, April 7, 2008

14 years ago...

I found the video above on Youtube, and I thought it put things into perspective pretty well.

14 years ago, in April of 1994, the tragedy that would become the Rwandan Genocide was underway. In the end, it would become the most efficient killing spree in human history, with some 1,070,000 people killed by the ruthless Hutu militiamen roaming across the countryside. The UN ran away and the international community did nothing. It gave the world yet another opportunity to mumble the phrase "Never Again" after the killings were over. Basically, we said we would do better next time.

But Rwanda was that "next time". Before Rwanda, there was Cambodia, where Pol Pot's reign of terror wiped out a portion of the country's population. And of course, after Rwanda, there was Eastern Congo, which would basically become a sequel to what had happened in Rwanda several years earlier, this time leaving even more bodies in its wake. Today, the people of Darfur find themselves at the mercy of a genocidal madman barking orders to a band of thugs and militiamen from his palace in Khartoum. Somalia is being overrun by fanatical Islamic insurgents who are driving tens of thousands of people from their homes each month and killing anyone who gets in their way, and Iraq is under siege by Iranian-backed militiamen and the murderous force that is Al-Qaeda.

Most of these conflicts we choose to ignore..Darfur, Somalia, and Congo are the best examples. Then in the case of Iraq, we have people who march through the streets waving signs and calling on the US to simply pack up and go home, even though a sudden withdrawal would lead to chaos that would threaten the lives of millions and could very well find a way to follow us back home. I'm not trying to make this a right-wing conservative post, but if we learned anything from 9/11, Al-Qaeda, and Afghanistan, it proved to us that events happening on the other side of the world in some desolate, forgotten region can affect our homeland in ways we never thought possible. It's not only the antiwar (so-called) movement and the American far-left that embrace the "get out now" approach, but the isolationist right as well--the Pat Buchannans and Ron Pauls of the conservative movement who believe that simply building a wall around the country and only focusing on what's happening inside our borders will somehow prevent conflict.

One of my fellow bloggers just recently wrote a great post about the poor decision made by the United States to simply pull back and give up in Vietnam, and I must say, he summed it up pretty good. The sad thing is, its not the only time we made that mistake. Had we finished the Gulf War in 1991 by helping the Kurds and the Shiites like we said we would, there's a very real chance that we never would have had to go back into Iraq in 2003. Instead, we decided it would not be worth it, and we pulled back as Saddam Hussein unleashed his fury on Southern Iraq and the Kurdish north. Two years later, after the infamous "Blackhawk Down" incident in the Somali Capital, Mogadishu, we packed up and went home. We did so to prevent the further loss of American life, but ironically, we gave the extremists and the insurgents of that country a training grounds to coordinate future attacks...and a chance to direct their attacks against the civilian population on a daily basis, although the odds are you are not hearing about this on the Nightly News. In the end, Somalia will not be on the minds of most voters who will be heading to the polls this November.

An old phrase comes to mind: If you do not learn from history, you are destined to repeat it. Well, we've been down that road several times now, and still we have not learned from history. As the world marks the anniversary of one of the greatest human tragedies in history, maybe its time we do so.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Terror in Sri Lanka

From the Press Association:

A suspected Tamil Tiger suicide attacker bombed the opening ceremony of a marathon outside Sri Lanka's capital, killing a powerful government minister, a former Olympian and 12 others, the military said. Nearly 100 were wounded.

The bombing, the second this year to kill a senior government official, showed while the rebels might be on the defensive against a military onslaught on their heartland in the north, they retained the ability to launch devastating attacks deep in government territory.

The rebels have fought since 1983 for an independent homeland for ethnic minority Tamils after decades of marginalisation by governments run by the Sinhalese majority. More than 70,000 people have been killed.

Scores of runners and onlookers gathered at the starting line of the marathon in Weliweriya, about 12 miles, from Colombo, part of the national celebration of the upcoming Sinhalese New Year.

Yet again, another reminder of how dangerous the world has become.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Defying the system of economics

I drove past the gas station the other day and I couldn't help but notice that the price of fuel went up 11 cents OVERNIGHT, bringing the overall cost to $3.56 a gallon. That of course, is just at Chevron, the price is $3.65. Those of us in the San Francisco Bay Area have the honor of having some of the highest prices in the US.

I've reached the conclusion that the "law" of supply and demand is no longer relevant. For one thing, fuel supplies have been up, oil production is strong, and the demand for gasoline has been going down...yet the prices continue to rise, completely defying the system of economics. The question is, who's to blame? Some blame the oil companies, others blame the government, whether it be the Republican Administration OR the Democratic Congress (both of whom have done very little). To be honest, I don't really care who's responsible, I just want someone to fix it.

The real issue:

I couldn't help but laugh when I read this. Just recently, another report was released and offered further proof that the hysteria that is global warming is nothing but a crock, just as I have said on this blog many times. It always seems that these global warming predictors are finding ways to contradict themselves, including the back and forth predictions on hurricanes. Instead of running all these adds proclaiming that we need to "solve" global warming, we should be working to find alternative and more efficient energy...without having to make up some fictitious problem starring Al Gore and a bunch of other alarmists. There is no doubt we have an energy problem, but we should be trying to solve it without having another pretense. Talk about the need to cut back on fossil fuel consumption and the need for a new energy source is everywhere, but it seems that its always followed by the warnings and fear tactics about global warming and how it needs to be stopped. In the end, the threat of $4 per gallon gasoline will probably frighten people a lot more than Al Gore getting up on a lift, pointing to a chart, and preaching about how the destruction of humanity is imminent (unless of course, we listen to him).

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Please, not another one...

Last week, Hollywood released its latest propaganda film "Stop-Loss"...and just like the many others that have managed to get into the theatres, it is has tanked at the box office. We all remember movies like "Rendition", "Redacted", "Lions for Lambs", and "In the Valley of Elah"--all of which embraced the same anti-American message and subsequently failed miserably to make a decent profit.

If you read some of the reviews in newspapers like the San Francisco Chronicle, the writers will try to make it seem as though these movies are failing with audiences because of "war fatigue", meaning that people generally agree with the message, but after hearing so much negative news coming in from Iraq, they want nothing to do with it, even watching an antiwar film.

However, I must say that sounds like BS to me. The reason these terrible movies are failing is because the vast majority of Americans who find themselves to the right of do not want to pay money, sit in a movie theatre, and hear about how terrible and evil the United States is, regardless of their political affiliation.

I prefer Red Eye Host Greg Gutfeld's analysis, which I must say sums it up pretty good.

Recently, I had the miserable experience of watching the movie "Shooter", the Mark Wahlberg film about a government conspiracy that managed to do a little bit better at the box office. The truth is, my attention slowly drifted away towards the middle of the film, so I don't remember the full plot...just the clever little messages about the Iraq War, Donald Rumsfeld, and the guy wearing the "Che" T-shirt.