Tag Archives: Peace

Dear Joe Pags: Why We Have to Negotiate with the Taliban

We’re stuck. Boots on the ground is a tar baby trick – Osama Bin Laden threw four planes at American landmarks. We moved righteously to punish the Taliban with regime change. They ran into Pakistani mountains and hid. We sought them out to kill them in their sleep.

That was eight or nine years ago. Thousands of the most honorable, courageous troops in the world have died, ten times more have lost limbs and suffered traumatic brain injury. We replaced the Taliban with a corrupt, incompetent government that cannot defend itself. We are outnumbered in the hearts and minds of the Afghan people. While we have not been attacked again, every foiled attempt (Times Square, Shoe Bomber…) merely serves to terrify some and lull others to complacency.

If all we needed to do was punish the Taliban, we could have done that from 30,000 feet. We would have killed and maimed civilians, but we’re doing that now. If we’re going to stick around and defend Karzai, we’re going to be there for decades. We can’t afford it. President Bush started this very ill-advised war by borrowing money and keeping it off the books, and it has cost us billions of dollars and immeasurable respect in the world. Whether we negotiate with the Taliban or merely “phase out” of Afghanistan and Iraq, we need to support our troops – by bringing them home.

Just my opinion.

Stop the wars

I have asked most of the people in my life to refrain from asking questions that start with “why…” But I make decisions on a much smaller scale than President Obama is facing right now, and none of my decisions will kill anyone. So I would ask the President to consider our reasons for being in Iraq and Afghanistan as he makes the anguished decisions he has before him now.

We have no real reason to stay in Iraq or Afghanistan. Neither country seems to be able to sustain any kind of clean government, maintain internal security or behave as a trustworthy ally. Iraq was a mistake and we accomplished our revenge in Afghanistan in the first year of our occupation there. Since then, both countries have exacted their revenge on our troops, our allies’ troops and anyone in either country that supports our notions of democracy and good world citizenship.

Now they just suck money and lives and spread hate for our “imperialist” ways. We continue to demonstrate that countries who attack us or show pretentions for weapons of mass destruction will – at the most – face regime change and a long, destructive occupation by our military machine. The resulting war, as we continue to demonstrate, will be one of attrition where we send a limited number of troops to fight nasty, dangerous skirmishes against “insurgents” who pick us off one Hummer at a time. Mighty military machines cannot stay in a foreign country and fight off native rebels forever. We should stop now.

Our best bet for securing the homeland is to establish a real deterrence. We have killed thousands of innocent civilians in our efforts to “win” these two wars. It is regrettable, it is bad public relations, it is immoral (all war is immoral). However, if we are going to fight, we need to fight with our best weapons. If we are the superior military power, we need to use our superiority, and that capability has two wings and heavy bombs.

Mr. President, I recommend that you bring our ground troops home and bomb the hell out of anyone who threatens us. If the Taliban and Al Queda have bunkered in to the mountains, level the mountains. We will kill civilians in the process, but we are killing civilians in the process now.

Iran and Korea are acting fearlessly, proceeding toward nuclear weapons without heeding our warnings. We need to scare them into proper behavior. Take out military targets – total destruction. Continue until they capitulate. We have a lot of airplanes, a lot of bombs, and it doesn’t take very many to obliterate a target.

We can no longer afford to fight wars like we have fought Iraq and Afghanistan. More importantly, the world cannot afford for us to continue to lead with stupidity. They need us to lead, they need us to become the superior power we are. The Soviet Unior discovered that they cannot keep up – no one can. We have the power. Let us use it with wisdom. Let us speak of peace, prosperity, freedom and democracy and carry our explosive stick with honest promise to use it when we have to.

Stop fighting stupid wars, start defending the country with our best tools. It will – in the long run – benefit the entire world.

Hey kids, what time is it?

It's time to stop this war.

It's time to stop this war.

Continued Conversation with Larry

You might wish to pick up on this thread, scroll down and find the Rabbi of Wellness thread.

Suffice to say that Larry doesn’t think Darfur, Auschwitz and the oppression of Palestinians belong in the same category. The Stalin Purges, Darfur, Auschwitz and Khmer Rouge probably all belong in the category, and Wounded Knee, Hiroshima and injustice to Palestinians are another class.

All of them, and atrocities occuring this very day, from suicide bombers throughout the world to some guy in a neighborhood far too close to any of us beating his kids or wife, condemn the species. WE MUST STOP THE VIOLENCE.

I was asked recently if I thought this condemnation would actually make it stop. Not today, maybe not in my grandchildrens’ lifetimes. The species is probably going to keep warring until the planet no longer supports our kind. But I will be among the many who plead and cry out, who speak up and say, each murder of innocents – I don’t care what you’re defending – condemns the species.

Period.

Words Whitford and the Rabbi of Wellness

On Jun 9, 2009, at 10:33 PM, as part of an essay, “The Numbers” accounting the tragedy of the endless slaughter of innocents, gary whitford wrote:

So many lives, all over the world, ended by bullet, bomb or bludgeon. So many lives exploited by unfair labor and oppressive economies, so many souls held prisoner by faiths of hate and fear, so many minds focused on obedient rage at another’s existence. I no longer have numbers here. We could go and gather them like pecans in the yard, walking under trees of deliberate human tragedy – Darfur, Rwanda, Auschwitz, Palestine – gathering 80 one day here, 1,342 another day over there.

It was published in this blog on June 28.

On 6/29/09 8:13 AM, Larry Cohen wrote:

That you should include the Palestinian issue in the same breath with Darfur et al is a sign that you are misinformed and  brain washed. This view is just plain wrong.

War does bring bad things- and I do not excuse it. but going after people just  to rid the the world of them in a governmental and public acquiescence policy does not apply to the Palestinian issues. Your education in this is woefully misinformed at best, and at worst a connivance created by the Arab world that suits their purpose- which by the way IS a stated policy of a desire to rid the world of the Israeli’s and the Jews.

I am happy to talk further. – Larry

Continue reading

The Numbers

One innocent life lost condemns the human race, so weighing the 2,740 people killed in the 9/11/01 attacks against 92,311 civilian deaths in Iraq and 4,972 direct civilian deaths by coalition forces in Afghanistan doesn’t seem fair enough to justify the vitriol I will get for writing the sentence. There are more numbers – 4,568 coalition forces killed in Iraq, including 3,662 American troops. Lot of numbers, each representing a life, each representing a violent death committed by another human life, witting or unwitting, for reasons some may fathom, but none can condone.

So many lives, all over the world, ended by bullet, bomb or bludgeon. So many lives exploited by unfair labor and oppressive economies, so many souls held prisoner by faiths of hate and fear, so many minds focused on obedient rage at another’s existence. I no longer have numbers here. We could go and gather them like pecans in the yard, walking under trees of deliberate human tragedy – Darfur, Rwanda, Auschwitz, Palestine – gathering 80 one day here, 1,342 another day over there.

And for all of our pecans, neatly shelled to discern the precise cause of death of each person to yield a number we are quite sure includes only innocent victims of these wars and conflicts and massacres, for all the nuts in the bag there are so many more in the dark invisibility of unknown, unnoticed slaughters. We have all these numbers, this huge aggregation of murder, the crime against all rational morality: what are we to do with them, how are we to stop it?

I am supposed to lyric now, to choral astonishment at our ability, in the midst of this sad melee, to laugh at Colbert’s Hope entertaining our troops stranded by error. I have a duty to admit the palliative relief that we are here, with our family of friends, cooled by air conditioning, warmed by wine and free to sleep embracing. We do so at such a great, unnecessary cost.

And now I lay me down to sleep, praise some Lord my soul to keep, counting sheep…

(Original Date: June 9, 2009)