Darrell Castle talks about the geopolitical maneuvering between these three countries.
Darrell Castle talks about Congress and the effects of war.
Darrell Castle talks about the 20-year war in Iraq.
Darrell Castle talks about the breakdown in the Greek bailout deal, the G20 summit, and the situation in Iraq.
Last night President Obama delivered his State of the Union address, as he is required by the Constitution to do once each year. Although he covered many different areas, he concentrated on only three: the domestic economy, which includes what he called job creation, domestic policy topics such as education and energy, and foreign policy, which includes military and defense issues.
The President told us that the nation is doing well economically and is on its way to recovery from recession. Evidence of this recovery, according to the President, is the “booming stock market.”
My response is that it is utterly ridiculous to say that we are well into recovery because the stock market is booming. Tell that news to the 43 million plus who have to use food stamps to eat. Tell that to the 15 million plus unemployed people. That number would be much higher than 15 million if the government kept honest numbers and counted the people who are no longer looking for jobs. Tell that to the millions of underemployed who used to have good jobs in manufacturing with benefits and who now work in service-related jobs with no benefits.
The President said that we can’t live in the past with regard to our economy. For example, it used to take about 1000 jobs to operate a steel mill, but now it only takes 100, so we must adjust to that reality and innovate. What he didn’t say is that any jobs in steel are being performed in Korea and other countries and no amount of innovation will change that.
What then is the answer to our economic problems? First, do no more harm with bailouts. Stop all bailouts and recover any money previously committed to bailouts that has not already been spent. Withdraw from all so-called free trade agreements such as NAFTA, CAFTA, WTO, and GATT which have been largely responsible for the destruction of America’s manufacturing base. Remove the regulations and restrictions that prevent businesses from doing business in America and from hiring the people they need to make the things that people want to buy.
Finally, the economy cannot recover until the debt and deficit are resolved through de-leveraging of debt and control of spending. Stop spending more than you take in. It is a simple concept that Americans understand but that apparently their politicians don’t. Once the debt and deficit are under control, the President should endeavor to drive a stake through the heart of the entire Federal Reserve system and return to a monetary system based on sound money principles. Stop the destruction of our currency immediately.
The President also told us that educationally we are doing well, but we can do better, so he launched a program called Race to the Top in all fifty states to replace No Child Left Behind. This is also total nonsense. The United States continues to lag behind other nations in math, science, and reading skills. Our system of education, controlled and paid for by the federal government, is a failure and should be scrapped and replaced with state and local control, with primary responsibility left to parents. There is no role for the federal government in education whatsoever.
The nation’s energy needs could be met largely by domestic production if we were to allow our own domestic sources of energy to be exploited by repeal of harmful laws that unnecessarily restrain production. Technology will now allow energy exploration and production with minimal damage to the environment. This would prevent the US government from exploring for oil in the Middle East through military force and help foster a more peaceful world.
Finally, the President talked about “shaping” a better world through strengthening NATO and rebuilding our relationship with Russia. He stated that 100,000 of our troops have come home from Iraq with their heads held high. That is also complete nonsense. It’s not his job to shape the world, it’s his job to protect and defend the Constitution and the American people. Many of those 100,000 troops didn’t come home but went to Afghanistan instead. Thousands of others did come home but in boxes or in rehab hospitals.
What then is the foreign policy answer? Issue an order to General Patraeus and the other commanders to execute an immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq. Then order a military withdrawal from the other 100 nations around the world where we have over 700 foreign bases. That would save many lives, much money, and would create far fewer enemies than we are creating now.
We simply must stop acting as if we own the world or as if we are responsible for it. That would not be isolationism but instead a lack of military domination. The US would trade with all nations who were willing to trade with us. Creditor nations would probably appreciate our new monetary policy whereby they were paid with real instead of counterfeit money.
If the President were to dedicate himself to the ideas proposed in this response to his speech, we would be well on our way to the most dynamic period in American history.
- Darrell Castle
This is the week of the 50th anniversary of President Eisenhower’s famous speech in which he warned the nation to beware of what he called “the military industrial complex.” He was talking about the military leaders joining with leaders of the arms industry for the purpose of expanding their budgets in order to line their own pockets and greatly expand their power over American foreign policy.
President Eisenhower probably remembered the end of WWII, just 15 years before his speech, when the United States stood at the top of world power as no nation had ever stood before. With 12 million men under arms, the only nation with nuclear weapons and a proven disposition to use them, with Europe in ruins and the Soviet Union with millions of dead, who could challenge the United States?
But challenged we were: just five years later we were at war again in Korea, and the Soviet Union also had nuclear weapons. By the time of President Eisenhower’s speech in 1960, we were in a life or death struggle with the Soviet Union for global supremacy. Those of us who lived through that time remember the “missile gap” and the constant stories of how much better Soviet weapons were than ours and how if we didn’t fund, fund, fund, and build, build, build, our civilization would be dead, dead, dead. The entire “free world” depended on the American taxpayer.
The Soviet Union remained a faithful partner in the game until it finally imploded in 1989, but as luck would have it, Islamic fundamentalism was there to pick up the ball and carry it. Twenty years of fighting Islamic fundamentalism have certainly been rewarding for the players, but fighting a bunch of primitive people who live in caves and hovels makes it hard to justify building very many $350 million dollar plus (research and development factored in) F-22 Raptors, especially when the nation is bankrupt. The F-22 production line was, therefore, shut down after 187 were built.
Permanent war fighting has its own set of rewards, but it just doesn’t create the same zeal as a real big iron showdown against a legitimate technologically advanced country. For a short time it looked as if the players of “the great game,” as Zbigniew Brzezinski called it, would have to adjust to only permanent war against Islamic fundamentalism, but they are clever and resourceful.
Lo and behold, along comes China with the J-20 stealth fighter. We are told that China got its stealth technology from Russia which got it from us, but we are also told that most Russian technological systems are junk right now from lack of funding. China debuted its new fighter aircraft just in time for the summit between Chinese President Hu Jintao and U.S. President Barack Obama and at about the same time that China announced it was moving troops into North Korea. Oh how lucky can one group of people get! Look for the F-22 line to start up any day now, and, in addition, we have the Chinese in Korea again just like 50 years ago.
Well, it will be extremely interesting to see how President Obama handles the summit with China. I am confident that he will handle it as well as he did the START talks with the Russians. The “great game” goes on, but if the dollar loses its reserve status, as now appears inevitable, the players will have to find a way to pay for all their big iron.
- Darrell Castle
“Several Warnings, Then a Soldier’s Lonely Death”
So read the headline in last Sunday’s New York Times. The story involves the death of one soldier, apparently by his own hand, after he had served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and after he had twice attempted suicide before being sent back to Afghanistan.
Why would the army send a soldier back into combat and its extreme stress who had twice attempted to take his own life? While in Afghanistan the young man apparently was deemed such a threat to himself that his personal combat weapon was taken from him. Why would the Army keep a soldier in combat who could not be entrusted with a weapon? Why would the army leave a soldier who could not be entrusted with a weapon as the roommate of a soldier who was fully armed?
His father would like answers to these questions, but no one in the U.S. Army seems to have the answers. I’m sure the Army regrets his death and appreciates his service since they buried him at Arlington with full honors.
What is the answer? Why is the suicide rate among the armed forces increasing at such an alarming rate? The military is trying to find the answer in special counseling sessions, rehab centers for when veterans return home, drug therapy for the depressed, and now a suicide prevention task force, but nothing seems to be working. I don’t have the answer either, but I do have some ideas.
Perhaps war itself is the problem. War is a destroyer of people and of nations. Maybe we should start thinking of our long wars in the Middle East as both personal suicide for those who serve and national suicide for the nation.
The USG has designated 43 areas of the world as combat zones. That is the highest number of combat zones since WWII. We can conclude then, that after all these years of fighting, we have more areas to fight in than any time since WWII. That is a very depressing statistic for me, but I can only imagine how depressing it must be for those who have to bear the burden.
The USG has become very good at creating enemies faster than the US military can kill them. I was told once by a marketing expert that everyone has 250 people who would go to his wedding or funeral. Perhaps each person killed by the USG around the world has 250 friends who are now enemies.
In that same front page section of the Times was a full page ad that read: “War Is Over If you Want It, Love and Peace from John and Yoko.” Regardless of what you may think of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, the ad is exactly right. Our leaders are able to commit the nation to endless, senseless war that destroys the lives of people like the soldier mentioned earlier because we let them do it.
They will not tell us why they do it, only that it is “necessary.” That’s what the Commander in Chief gives us as an answer – “it’s necessary.” It’s time that we start demanding real answers from our leaders as to why our children have been committed to fighting a war that has gone on for 10 years with no end in sight. The Commander in Chief will not give us a definition of victory or even state that victory is something we are seeking. He only states that “it’s necessary.”
The leaders of the USG are responsible for this mass homicide, but there is another party that shares equal responsibility. We the people are now complicit in the crimes of our leaders. We still have some ability to influence policy through the electoral process, but instead of demanding an end to the madness, we send out an order for more of it. We the people share in the blood guilt of our leaders. I pray that we will rise up and put a stop to it. If we don’t may God forgive us.
- Darrell Castle
The Tennessee state primary election is scheduled for August 5th, 2010. In that election candidates of the Democrat and Republican Parties will be selected to face each other in the November election for Governor of Tennessee.
One of the leading candidates in the Republican primary is Zach Wamp, and fortunately we do not have to search very long to find Mr. Wamp’s philosophy of government, as Zach Wamp has been in the United States Congress representing Tennessee’s 3rd District since 1995.
Let’s now examine a small part of Congressman Wamp’s 15-year voting record.
He voted to authorize the war against Iraq and has repeatedly voted to continue its funding. As a result of that war over 4000 young Americans have lost their lives and tens of thousands more have been physically and/or psychologically injured for life. Only God knows for sure how many Iraqis have been killed – perhaps hundreds of thousands or more. Millions more have been reduced to the status of homeless refugees; the infrastructure of their country destroyed; their land, water, and air contaminated by depleted uranium weapons. Keep in mind that Iraq was a country which had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11 and represented no threat to the United States whatsoever.
Congressman Wamp states on his campaign website that “we need a balanced budget,” and “reckless spending cannot continue.” Those are noble sentiments, but his voting record does not indicate a genuine commitment to them.
He voted against the ban on UN funding, for the Cash for Clunkers program, for the banker bailout, for the Economic Stimulus Act, for the Peru Free Trade Agreement, for foreign aid, for the Oman Free Trade Agreement, for the Iraq War authorization and continued funding as previously stated, for various supplemental appropriations funding, and repeatedly for deficit spending and unbalanced budgets.
Those votes do not indicate a committment to fiscal responsibility or to the U.S. Constitution.
If that were all it would be plenty, but there’s more. He voted for warrantless searches, for electronic eavesdropping, for criminalizing legitimate dissent through the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act, for military tribunals for those designated unlawful enemy combatants, for Patriot Act reauthorization, and against an amendment to deny funds for implementation of the National Animal Identification System.
These votes do not indicate a commitment to the U.S. Constitution and the Bill Of Rights.
Congressman Wamp’s voting record as a whole indicates a firm commitment to the congressional leadership of the Republican Party but a weak commitment to the best interests of the American people. For those reasons I cannot support him as a candidate for Governor of Tennessee.
- Darrell Castle
In a recent speech to the Economic Club of Grand Rapids, Michigan, former President George W. Bush confessed to ordering the torture of a suspect in the 9/11 attacks.
“Yeah, we water-boarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed,” Bush said of the man to whom The Grand Rapids Press referred as the terrorist who master-minded the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington. Bush went on to say that the event shaped his presidency and convinced him that the nation was in a war against terror.
To contradict Mr. Bush, his Secretary of the Treasury Paul O’Neil said in the book The Price of Loyalty that the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq were planned from the first National Security Council meeting after the inauguration, obviously months before 9/11.
Ron Suskind, a Wall Street Journal reporter and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, wrote The Price of Liberty, a book about Mr. O’Neil’s time with the Bush administration.
If Mr. O’Neil is telling the truth, then Mr. Bush committed crimes against humanity by using the 9/11 attacks as a pretext for the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.
During these invasions and subsequent occupations, millions of people have been killed, wounded and left homeless. The infrastructure of both countries has been destroyed, and they have been contaminated by depleted uranium weapons. Tens of thousand of young Americans have been killed and wounded, both physically and psychologically.
Mr. Bush seems especially proud of his invasion of Iraq, a country that he must have known had nothing to do with 9/11 and had not harmed the United States in any way. Neither country presented even the most remote threat to the United States.
I quote from The Grand Rapids Press: “ ’Getting rid of Saddam Hussein was the right thing to do and the world is a better place without him,’ Bush said.”
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, according to CIA admission, was water-boarded a total of 181 times. That’s 181 individual instances of torture before he supposedly “confessed.” I trust that we all understand that a confession obtained by torture is not a confession but a succumbing to unbearable persecution.
I have to give it to the Sheikh though, he’s pretty tough. I’m not sure I could hold on through 181 water-boarding sessions. I doubt if Mr. Bush could, either. I’ll wager that with a bucket of water and a couple of minutes a professional torturer – excuse me I mean interrogator – could make Mr. Bush confess to the 9/11 attacks.
But the invasions resulted in far more torture than Khalid Mohammed experienced. For example, the prisoners held at Abu Ghraib experienced torture, rape, sodomy, and homicide. These acts were committed by American units and US government agencies. I further point out that many of the prisoners at Abu Ghraib were children, but the rest of that story is so vile, wicked, and disgusting that it is not appropriate for these pages.
So there you have it: A former President of the United States of America is proud of his authorizing torture and of his invasions of sovereign nations resulting in millions of deaths.
What does all this mean for us?
It means that we, the American people, are complicit in this man’s war crimes and crimes against humanity.
It means that the President is now above the law and totally unaccountable for anything.
His right to reign is similar to King John’s claim to rule by divine right. In fact, Mr. Bush clothes his actions in the Christian faith and uses it as absolution for what he did. I quote again from The Grand Rapids Press, “Bush underlined the role religion played in his life in the White House, saying prayer gave him strength to go forward. ‘I prayed a lot. I really did. I prayed before every major speech. I prayed before debates. It was a very important experience.’ “
So God told him to do it. He must know a God quite different from the one I know.
What does it feel like to wait in the night for your torturers to come? I don’t know, but Khalid Sheikh Mohammed does, and so do the children of Abu Ghraib.
- Darrell Castle