Category Archives: International

EU Chairman proposes EU military headquarters

The European Union needs a military headquarters to work towards a common military force, the Commission president has told MEPs in Strasbourg.

Source: Juncker proposes EU military headquarters – BBC News

One has to wonder if a part of this isn’t to create a mechanism to keep more countries from attempting to exit the EU.

Singapore Prime Minister Encourages U.S. Taxpayers To Continue to Subsidize Singaporean Defense

You read stuff like this and it actually requires translation

SINGAPORE—Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong made the case for a sustained U.S. military presence in the Asia-Pacific region on Friday, saying American forces were “a key factor for peace and stability in the region.”

Source: Singapore Prime Minister Encourages U.S. Role in Asia – WSJ

Translation: Singapore needs U.S. taxpayers to continue subsidizing our defense so we can use our resources for improving Singaporean life.

The Pope Calls Europe a Sterile Old Crone

There are so many ways to spin this stuff. What the Pope actually said was:

“In many quarters we encounter a general impression of weariness and aging, of a Europe which is now a ‘grandmother,’ no longer fertile and vibrant,” the pope, an Argentine, told the Parliament, where speeches usually trade in platitudes or mind-numbing technicalities.

via At European Parliament, Pope Bluntly Critiques a Continent’s Malaise – NYTimes.com.

Unfortunately there are many who call for the U.S. to be more like Europe.

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Assad seems to be a gas bag.

On the one hand we have this report:

Allegations that Bashar al-Assad’s forces used chemical weapons in recent attacks gained traction on Sunday when France said it had “information” of toxic gases being used against opposition targets.

The claim, by the French president, François Hollande, follows accusations by the exiled Syrian opposition and rebel groups in the west and south of the country that gas has been used nine times in the past two months, killing more than 10 people and affecting hundreds more.

via France backs claims that Syrian forces have used chemical weapons recently | World news | theguardian.com.

And on the other hand we have this one:

In remarks on April 19, Kaag said Damascus has removed 80 percent of its declared CW. She said the Assad regime could meet an April 27 deadline to surrender the rest of the weapons agents.

Over the last few weeks, the international community reported an intensification of Syrian efforts to honor its commitment to eradicate some 1,000 tons of CW agents. For months, OPCW cited missed Syrian deadlines, and at one point the United States accused Assad of reneging on his agreement.

via UN: Syria has removed 80 percent of chemical weapons arsenal – World Tribune | World Tribune.

Seriously, who do we believe? I suppose both could be true but I can’t help but think that Assad and Putin are punking us and the rest of the world.

The US War in Syria

Back in 2002 Pres. George W. Bush gave Saddam Hussein an ultimatum that he allow weapons inspectors free and open access to every place they requested in compliance to U.N. Resolution Something-Or-Other or else. This was long after Hussein had used chemical weapons on the Kurds so a dictator using chemical weapons on its civilians was not the primary reason for Bush’s ultimatum, though it was used as one of many points to prove overthrowing Hussein.

I was against our intervention in Iraq and I was against Bush giving his ultimatum but after it was given and Hussein dismissed it I felt I had to support military action against Iraq. Once the political leader of my nation puts his foot down to the leader of another nation I have to back his play regardless of how much I disagree with him. That ultimatum of President Bush led to the worst mistake by this country since Viet Nam.

Now we are looking at a civil war in Syria and President Obama drawing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad a “red line in the sand” on the use of chemical weapons. It looks like al-Assad just stepped right over that line, kicking sand in Obama’s face as he did. So now President Obama is going before Congress to ask for permission to use military force against Syria.

I know we have to give some response and those Syrians gassed by the Syrian Army deserve justice but is more violence the proper response? I freely admit that I’m at a loss as to what else we should do in response but I just don’t see where more killing is the answer.

Kerry’s Secret Gift to Egypt

Ya know, at least with the Iran-Contra scandal there was the hope that we would get some hostages released and there was enough profit from the deal to buy arms for the Contra rebels. The best I can tell there’s no chance for any release of prisoners because of this and not only is there no profit but we are out $1.3 billion. How many kids would that fund in Headstart? via Flutterby

While employees of American NGOs sat in Egyptian prisons, Secretary of State John Kerry quietly waived the law that would prevent the U.S. from sending the Egyptian military $1.3 billion worth of weapons this year.

via Kerry’s Secret Gift to Egypt – The Daily Beast.

‘America’s Voice Corps’

I thought this was a good idea and I still do. I wonder if he will follow through with it this term?

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama promised to “launch a new ‘America’s Voice Corps’ to rapidly recruit and train fluent speakers of local languages (Arabic, Bahasa Melayu, Bahasa, Farsi, Urdu, and Turkish) with public diplomacy skills, who can ensure our voice is heard in the mass media and in our efforts on the ground.”

via PolitiFact | The Obameter: Launch a new ‘America’s Voice Corps’.

URL: http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/obameter/promise/173/launch-a-new-americas-voice-corps/

He’s Going to Iraq

About three weeks ago my son, who is a member of the Tennessee Army National Guard, found out that he will soon be heading to Camp Bucca in Iraq to help guard the camp. At that time he was told he would be stationed for between six to eight weeks someplace in the US to train for his mission and after the training would immediately be shipped to his duty station in Iraq.

Friday he found out he would leave on June 7th for Fort Dix in New Jersey for his training. Today I read this. I’m more than just a little worried about him.

The Bomb

Growing up in the early sixties I remember people building fallout shelters and a fear people had of Soviet missles being launched at the US. The decade hadn’t passed before those bomb shelters were being converted into storage space and the worries of Soviet missles was greatly diminished. There were other, more pressing evils out there and it seemed that even though the US and the Soviet Union still had thousands of warheads pointed at each other it was pretty much decided that the fear of mutually assured destruction would prevent them from ever launching.

The cold war ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union and with it went whatever worries we had about nuclear weapons. Even though India and Pakistan joined the Nuclear Club neither country was showing any aggresive animosity toward anyone but each other so we still felt sort of safe from nuclear weapons being used by anyone. Destruction by nuclear weapons was just things that movies were based on.

Then North Korea started making a noise. For years, though, all of the tantrums that Kim Jung Il were throwing were good for was just to make eyes roll. Last night that changed.

North Korea is now a member of the Nuclear Club. Even China, who often just laughs and pats little Kim Jung Il on the head when he pull his tantrums is now showing concern. Talk is surfacing in Japan about talks of rewriting its constitution to allow for possible preemptive strikes when done in conjunction with other countries and arming itself with nuclear weapons. Even suggestions that South Korea may now be motivated to posess nuclear weapons of its own are circulating.

Someone is trying to alleve our fears over this with this:

Analysts say North Korea probably has enough fissile material to make six to eight nuclear bombs but probably lacks the technology to devise one small enough to mount on a missile.

But how long will it take to reduce the size of their device down to where it will fit in the back of a truck to be launched against US soldiers manning the frontier between North and South Korea? I don’t think we are looking at much more than a couple of years before they will have developed a warhead capable of being launched by one of their missles that you can bet they are currently working on improving.

I don’t want to scare anyone with my take on this but I do want people to recognize that we need to find out what it’s going to take to make the Chinese stop worrying about a unified Korea if we really want to get things back under control in this region. My biggest concern isn’t a nuclear North Korea, it’s a Nuclear Japan with a new constitution 40 years from now.

A little lookback for consistancy’s sake

A little over two years ago I wrote this. I came across it while looking for something else but I had to stop and read it again just to make sure I’m staying consistant.

What’s bothering me is that I don’t like a lot of what could happen in the aftermath. Who’s going to fill the vacuum? There will be a stabilization period after the war where the US will more or less be in control of that country. The UN may have its name on the provisional government but it will be the US pulling the strings. How are those strings going to be pulled? That’s what’s bothering me.

Okay, the UN had no involvement in the government but my concerns are still the same.

Somethings going wrong around here.

Here are the current headlines in the top stories section of my my.Yahoo.com account:

  • Attacks kill 33 in London, Blair breaks off summit – 14 minutes ago
    Four blasts rocked London during rush hour early on Thursday, killing at least 33 people and disrupting a summit of Group of Eight leaders in Scotland in the deadliest peacetime attack on London.
  • London-like attack not expected in U.S.-officials – 20 minutes ago
    The U.S. government raised the terrorism alert level for buses, subways and trains across the United States on Thursday in the wake of deadly bombings in London but said it expected no similar attack in the United States.
  • Bush orders U.S. vigilance after London blasts – 3 hours ago
    President Bush directed U.S. security authorities on Thursday to be extra vigilant and take precautions in response to a series of apparently coordinated attacks in London.
  • London blasts fit al Qaeda pattern – analysts – 30 minutes ago
    Apparently coordinated blasts across London’s transport network on Thursday bear similarities to last year’s Madrid bombings and suggest an attack in the style of al Qaeda, security analysts said.
  • World recoils in horror at London attacks – 11 minutes ago
    The world recoiled in shock on Thursday after bombs tore through London’s transport system killing at least 33 people in a coordinated rush-hour attack.
  • Al Qaeda says kills Egypt envoy in Iraq-Web – one hour ago
    Al Qaeda group in Iraq said on Thursday it killed Egypt’s top envoy to Iraq for representing a “tyrannical” government allied to the “Jews and Crusaders.”
  • London blasts throw G8 summit into disarray – 15 minutes ago
    A series of attacks in London threw the Group of Eight summit into disarray on Thursday, forcing British Prime Minister Tony Blair to rush from the venue in Scotland to handle the crisis.
  • Taliban vow to kill ‘captured’ U.S. commando – 2 hours ago
    The Taliban reiterated on Thursday that they are holding a U.S. commando who has been missing in Afghanistan for more than a week and vowed to kill him, but the U.S. military said it had no information to support the claim.

While I expected most of the stories to be about the London bombings it’s the two other stories that I’m looking at and seeing a common thread. Acts of violence in the name of Islam is the only thing newsworthy at this moment. What is sad is that I don’t see this being uncommon. What is even sadder is that some people will see these headlines and not get angry with the people who set the bombs or killed the diplomat or threatened to kill the captured soldier, they will get angry at Tony Blair or George Bush.

There is something very wrong with that.

Rome Doesn’t Believe Us

ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s foreign minister said on Tuesday the killing of an Italian intelligence agent in Iraq by U.S. forces had been a tragic accident, but added that Rome did not believe the U.S. military’s version of events.

I’ve been looking and looking at this incident and wondering how it could have happened. I’ve read Giuliana Sgrena’s account of what happened but an ambush just doesn’t make sense to me. While I understand that US soldiers are fully capable of making up a story to cover up their wrongdoings, looking at the situation it seems that the story they are telling is a lot easier to believe than the story Ms. Sgrena and her driver are telling.

“Pluralitas non est ponenda sine neccesitate”
“Plurality should not be posited without necessity”

Bono may head World Bank

Stars have held various political offices throughout the years with Sonny Bono being elected to congress, Arnold Scwartznegger being elected govenor of California and Ronald Regan being elected both govenor of California and President of the United States. The most bizarre political news involving a celebrity, though, is thatBono or U2 fame may head World Bank. Yeah, I know he’s up for a Nobel Peace Prize and that he’s done an awful lot of work to gain debt forgiveness for third world countries but I always thought the World Bank Required someone with years and years of experience in Finance. Is the president of this organization just a figurehead?