George A. Sprecace M.D.,
J.D., F.A.C.P. and Allergy Associates of New
RESPONSE (Archives)...Daily Commentary on News of the Day
This is a new section. It will
quick reactions by myself to news and events of the day, day by day, in
this rapid-fire world of ours. Of course, as in military
a rapid response in one direction may occasionally have to be followed
by a "strategic withdrawal" in another direction. Charge that to
"the fog of war", and to the necessary flexibility any mental or
campaign must maintain to be effective. But the mission will
be the same: common sense, based upon facts and "real politick",
by a visceral sense of Justice and a commitment to be pro-active.
That's all I promise.
to return to the current Rapid Response list
MONDAY through THURSDAY, June 27
through 30, 2011
I have previously offered my view of Barack Obama's MO:
JUST DO SOMETHING. STAND THERE!
even liberal columnist Maureen Dowd has his
number. See her article in the NY Times Sunday June 26 edition,
entitled: "Why Is He Bi (Sigh)"?
"Our president likes to be on both sides at once....A leader is not a
mediator or an umpire or a convener or a facilitator....Sometimes, as
Christie put it, 'the president has got to show up'....On some of the
important issues facing this nation, it is time for the president to
of the closet."
SUNDAY, June 26, 2011
"WELTANSCHAUNG": "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly".
The world's first political structure may have been "The Twelve Tribes
Israel". But tribal loyalties, beginning with the
family, are still paramount throughout the world - and especially in
and Far East. That is why we in the U.S., having shed many of our
traditional tribal loyalties in order to create these United States of
America, are out of our element in dealing with "countries"
like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, etc.
matter how a western country like England can "create" Afghanistan in
the late 1800's, or Churchill can "create" Iraq after WW l, or the
U.N. can "create" Israel in 1947, what they also created are
festering wounds that if mis-handled can spread as a sepsis far beyond
boundaries. Here, the following maxim takes on real meaning: "A
nation does not have friends...only interests". And
that's why the U.S. must only take on tasks that are in our
national interests - not nation-building, not spread of democracy, not
protection of indigenous peoples, unless such goals are also in our
interest. That includes our relationships with our
"Allies". For you can be sure that's how the
rest of the world operates. But is that how
been operating in the last several decades? I think not.
And it has
cost us dearly.
But there is one vital task that we must take on, by all effective
motivate the vast majority of Moderate Muslims to overthrow the toxic
terrorist and dictatorial fundamentalist interpretation of Islam that a
minority of Muslims find quite useful to their personal goals of
Only they can do it. And, if it is not done, we are on our way to
War lll between the West and Islam.
This is avoidable. The Faith of Islam does not dictate or require
this. But without action - and even revolution from within - this
will happen. For self-defense and survival are definitely in our
SATURDAY, June 25, 2011
Olsen's candidacy damages
Republican Party in New London
By BILL VOGEL
Publication: The Day
06/24/2011 12:00 AM
Updated 06/24/2011 01:59 AM
It pains me to have this public
discussion about a sad circumstance in the New London Republican Party.
As chairman I have worked to elect Republicans in a mostly Democrat
city. Unfortunately, we have a situation where one of our Republican
city councilors has bolted the party. He, along with a few of his
supporters, has blamed me, the chairman, for obstructing his ability to
run as a Republican for the elected mayor position. I considered Mayor
Marty Olsen a friend and loyal Republican, so it is with a deep pain in
my heart that I try to set the record straight.
In early fall 2010, Olsen told me that
he, rather than deputy mayor and fellow Councilor Adam Sprecace,
deserved to be the next, and last, ceremonial mayor. When reminded that
Sprecace received the second highest number of votes in the 2009
election (to Olsen's second lowest) and that Sprecace had served on the
City Council the prior two years (when Olsen had not), Olsen said he
would if necessary seek the support of the New London Democrats on the
City Council to become ceremonial mayor. At the same time, Olsen stated
if charter revision passed creating a strong mayor office, he would
support fellow Republican Rob Pero in the 2011 mayoral election.
Olsen snubs colleagues
In December 2010, after charter revision
passed, Olsen accepted the New London Democrats' support and became
ceremonial mayor, a big snub to his fellow Republicans. He also stated
that he would not run for the elected mayor position in 2011.
In January 2011, Pero announced his
intent to run for the elected mayor position. No other Republicans
expressed any such desire, including Olsen. Given that no other
Republican expressed any desire to run, I threw my full support to
Pero, and encouraged him to run hard and start early because that is
what it takes for a Republican to win in New London.
As of March 2011, Olsen had made no
comment to me about his desire to run for elected mayor, despite our
speaking on a regular basis and having co-hosted a weekly public access
television show for almost two years.
Between April and May 2011, Olsen stopped
returning telephone messages left by me and stopped attending monthly
Republican Town Committee meetings.
This month Olsen announced his candidacy
for elected mayor as a petitioning candidate, thereby bypassing the
party endorsement. At any time, Olsen could have sought the nomination
for elected mayor from the Republican Town Committee. The chairman has
no power to block nominations.
Olsen is simply choosing to cast blame in
my direction in order, I suspect, to deflect attention from his lack of
support in the Republican Party, which has fallen to new lows as a
result of his disloyalty for using the Democrats' support to become the
So, what exactly is Olsen's motivation
for running as a petitioning candidate? I believe he knew he did not
have the support of the town committee and that he could not win in a
Although I do not believe that a
petitioning candidate can win, Olsen's candidacy and its potential to
split the vote could make it that much harder for a Republican to win.
I suspect the Democrats are smiling.
Bill Vogel is chairman of the New
London Republican Town Committee.
MONDAY through FRIDAY, June 13
through 24, 2011
film was made by a 15 year old girl. It is the hottest thing on the
and on Fox News today.Lizzie Palmer who put this YouTube program
15 years old. There have been over 3,000,000 hits as of this morning.
you missed it, here it is.Watch all of it.......and, pass it on!!
SUNDAY, June 12, 2011
city can't accept fabulous
By Ann Baldelli
Publication: The Day
Published 06/12/2011 12:00 AMUpdated 06/10/2011 06:16
It was just after 8 on a Friday morning, a
spectacular June day, when Deputy Chief Marshall Segar drove past New
London's just refurbished Parade plaza to make sure everything was in
order for festivities there later that day.
"It was such a beautiful day and I saw the flowers
and the whale tail and it all looked like a million bucks," says Segar.
"It just looked fabulous."
But as the deputy police chief looked closer he
spotted a shoeless, shirtless man showering himself beneath the stream
of water flowing over the whale tail sculpture there.
That incident, on June 3, has sparked much
conversation about the city's Parade plaza and whether undesirables are
spending too much time there.
Deputy Chief Segar ordered the man, who was cited for
disorderly conduct and taken to Lawrence & Memorial Hospital for
evaluation, out of the water. Because the man had soiled himself,
public works crews were called to hose off the plaza and put additional
chlorine in the pool of recycling water that runs off the whale tail.
Yes, it was a sordid affair, but the story has grown
to mythical proportions since that time, resulting in last week's
closure of the fountain.
When two citizens raised questions about the incident
at last week's City Council meeting, mayoral candidate and Councilor
Michael Buscetto III matter-of-factly stated that people have been
using the fountain to urinate, defecate, bathe, and wash blood from
So much for fabulous. Apparently fabulous is an
impossibility in New London.
By the Monday after the disgusting Friday incident,
stories were swirling about how the fountain's water could be a source
of hepatitis. Seriously? And otherwise reasonable people were passing
tales of men lathering beneath the whale tail stream with bars of soap
and other fables of riffraff regularly vomiting there.
So much for accentuating the positive. The plaza
project is now known around-the-world as the "$11 million bathroom."
Nonsense like this is why New London can never get
ahead of its unfair reputation. Some of the people who proclaim to care
about the city knock it every chance they get. Whatever is good in New
London is never good enough.
I'm with Deputy Chief Segar, I think the Parade plaza
looks spectacular. And I am profoundly disappointed that New London has
once again made itself the butt of a joke.
There is a legitimate issue with a handful of
homeless people misbehaving downtown and near the Parade plaza, and
that shouldn't be tolerated.
Officials are working to address the problem, and
perhaps they need to work faster and harder. The redesign and rebuild
of the plaza was intended to make the area the city's town green - its
public meeting place - and as such it should be treated respectfully by
everyone who uses it.
Whether people have a permanent roof over their heads
or not, they have a right to visit the Parade as long as they obey the
laws and act responsibly. Homeless people have been a part of New
London's fabric - every city's fabric - for as long as people have
But making a spectacle out of a problem involving a
clearly disturbed homeless person who did something despicable is
counter-productive to all the other good that's happened in New London.
And that is just pitiful.
SATURDAY, June 11, 2011
the 1950's Arthur
wrote an article whose thesis was the following: that very often in
elections, the loser has a greater impact on the future direction of
than does the winner...simply because he said those true but unpopular
that had to be said - and lost the election for his efforts. Of
that sequence of events is true only when the winner has the good sense
adopt the loser's wisdom and courage.
Unfortunately that is not entirely true with the current
Although he shows occasional signs of "getting it", he seems to
be too doctrinaire a theorist to wake up and smell the flowers - or
President Obama and the rest of us would do well to re-read the Foreign
speech provided by John McCain during the last Presidential
Maybe we can bring back Arthur Schlesinger's tradition.
FRIDAY, June 10, 2011
Yes, turn the fountain back on
By David Collins
Publication: The Day
Published 06/10/2011 12:00 AMUpdated
06/10/2011 12:01 AM
Just when it looked like selling Riverside Park might
be the big issue of the New London mayoral race, along came the faux
whale fountain crisis.
Chief cheerleader of this mess, which, alas, put New
London on the news map this week around the world, was mayoral
candidate Michael Buscetto, an early critic of the Parade renovations
downtown and a longtime foe of the homeless.
City Councilor Buscetto has taken every opportunity
to exaggerate one homeless man's inappropriate use of the fountain last
week - the perpetrator was arrested and jailed - and paint New London
in a bad light.
"A gentleman defecated and continued to rinse off
underneath the whale tale. That got into the system ..." Buscetto
inappropriately and practically gleefully reported on camera to a news
team from the statewide television station WTNH Channel 8.
The report then cut back to the news station's
anchors, who sat in front of a huge picture of a roll of toilet paper
and the big headline: Fouled Fountain.
Then, to a reporter from The New York Times, Buscetto
went on to wring his hands some more and further embarrass the city.
"If the water is dirty, I have to look out for the
people," Buscetto told the Times.
I'd say Buscetto clearly flunked the mayoral test on
When one of the country's biggest newspapers calls,
don't talk about how worried you are that the water in your downtown
fountain is dirty. I'm pretty sure that's taught in Mayoring 101.
City Councilor Michael Passero, who would also like
to be mayor, had a much better answer for the newspaper, describing the
controversy as "much ado about nothing."
The contamination has been cleaned up, and he's heard
of no further incidents, Passero was quoted as calmly telling the
That's a passing grade, I'd say, on this mayoral test.
Even the Times acknowledged the fountain issues might
have hinged as much on politics as dirty water.
"It did not take long for the fountain . . . to
become mired in the fear of contaminated water and the political tumult
of an approaching mayor's race," the story reported.
This is clearly one of those times when New London
does indeed need a strong and influential mayor, someone who can keep
the city on track, use common sense, eliminate the distractions and
focus on the positive.
A mayor practicing good leadership should point out
that fountains and the homeless coexist just fine in cities around the
No, a mayor might say, to those meddlesome
bureaucrats who would suggest the whale tale is some kind of bathing or
swimming facility that needs to be regulated by health authorities.
It's just a fountain.
It's not that different, really, than the fountain
that has operated quietly for decades in New London, near the
intersection of Bank and Shaw streets.
Sure, go ahead and post signs that say you shouldn't
drink the water and you shouldn't bathe in it. And ask police to make a
point on patrols to be sure that people don't do that.
But no one is going to get sick or die if they do
somehow get hit by some spray from the fountain.
On Thursday afternoon, the city said it plans to
enclose the fountain area with a low retaining wall and turn it back
on. That seems like a reasonable solution for signaling that it is for
viewing, not bathing.
The new whale tale is really quite beautiful, and in
its short time in service has livened the downtown and brought pleasure
That's what fountains are for.
Yes, turn it back on.
This is the opinion of David Collins
TUESDAY through THURSDAY, June 7
through 9, 2011
check out our
Custom House Maritime Museum web site, particularly the link to "Whale
Tail Fountain" (www.nlmaritimesociety.org)...and
follow it all the way down to the NY Times report of today, June 9,
Some New Londoners continue to have a penchant for "soiling their own
figuratively and literally. But the vast majority of us,
transplants from other places, greatly appreciate New London for the "garden
spot of the world" that it is.
MONDAY, June 6, 2011
SEE ALSO June 4 Posting Below...
Obama’s Moment of Decision
by Andrew J. Bacevich
A new Senate report says billions of dollars in aid
go to waste in Afghanistan, where the president is about to make a
decision about troop levels. But as Andrew J. Bacevich argues, the
question is a distraction from a far more fundamental choice.
Once the capital of a nation defined by inalienable
rights; government of, by, and for the people; Fourteen Points; Four
Freedoms; and “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that wall!,” Washington is
today preoccupied with Anthony Weiner’s crotch and parsing Sarah
Palin’s interpretation of Paul Revere’s ride as a defense of the Second
Amendment. What used to be known as the people’s business is today
becoming indistinguishable from farce. Whether our ruling class
possesses the ability even to identify the matters deserving the
attention of senior policymakers has become an open question.
Take Afghanistan, for example. A promised
presidential decision on withdrawing some indeterminate number of
troops—presumably initiating a process, again of indeterminate length,
aimed at ending the war altogether—is forthcoming. A big deal? Not
really. In fact, the question of troops levels in the war zone is
barely worthy of presidential attention. Barack Obama should have more
important things to attend to.
If the Afghanistan War is essential to the safety and
well-being of the American people, then the president should allow the
commanders entrusted with its prosecution considerable discretion in
deciding both what they need to accomplish their assigned mission and
how long it will take. Let Gen. David Petraeus make the call on the
rate of withdrawal—on whether to withdraw any troops at all. If the
president lacks confidence in Petraeus’s ability to manage the war,
then he should find himself a new general.
If, on the other hand, the Afghanistan War is not
essential to the safety and well-being of the American people—a
position to which I subscribe—then the imperative is to end that war
forthwith. We’ve already wasted too much money and too many lives in
the “graveyard of empires.” Should General Petraeus entertain a
different view, then the president should find himself a four-star
willing to do the commander in chief’s bidding. As for the specific
schedule of withdrawal, establish basic parameters and let the military
figure out the details. Having Obama decide how many troops should come
home this summer makes about as much sense as having LBJ and Robert
McNamara pick bombing targets in North Vietnam.
More to the point, rather than expending energy and
attention on a secondary question like the rate of Afghan troop
withdrawals, Obama would be far better advised (and the country far
better served) were he to attend to matters that do deserve
Here are three examples—national-security questions
that the administration and Washington more broadly appear to be
neglecting. I’ll bet you can come up with at least as many more.
First: What exactly should we learn from nearly a
decade of warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan? Given all the frustrations
and failures of that decade, one would hope that we’d learn a lot. The
nation’s eagerness to forget Iraq even before it’s over suggests that
we will learn nothing. We need a 9/11-Commission-style panel to conduct
a broad, nonpartisan inquiry into every facet of what we used to call
the Global War on Terror. The object: to figure out what went wrong and
why. Constituting and empowering that panel is presidential business.
We’ve already wasted too much money and too many
lives in the 'graveyard of empires.'
Second: Here’s Adm. Mike Mullen, lame-duck chairman
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in Time magazine: "Long term, if the
military drifts away from its people in this country, that is a
catastrophic outcome we as a country can't tolerate, can't afford, in
no way.” The fact is that we are staring that catastrophe in the face:
the “gap” between American society and the United States military is
real and growing. No one knows this better than those who serve in
uniform. All of the emoting about “supporting the troops” cannot
disguise this reality. Acknowledging and taking action to close that
gap qualifies as presidential business. Thus far, Obama has been silent
on the issue.
Third: Admiral Mullen has also publicly stated that
the national debt constitutes “our biggest security threat.” Hyperbole?
Maybe a little. But it’s not hyperbole to say that getting the nation’s
fiscal house in order is a matter of considerable urgency. Of course,
Obama is not in a position to cure Washington’s penchant for profligacy
on his own. But if ever there were an issue that called for banging on
the bully pulpit, this is it. The president has shown far too little
In strategy, what separates the men from the boys is
being able to distinguish between what’s central and what’s peripheral.
In Washington today, that capacity appears all but nonexistent.
Remember the great Norma Desmond line? “I am big.
It’s the pictures that got small.” The narcissists inhabiting
Washington like to think they’re big. But the place itself has become
oddly small: ingrown, imprisoned by habit, oblivious to its own growing
Andrew J. Bacevich is professor of history and
international relations at Boston University.
MONDAY, June 6, 2011
DEVELOPMENT" keeps getting worse. See the Editorial in the WSJ
Sat.-Sun., June 4,5, 2011 entitled "NAACP VS BLACK PARENTS".
"Here's something you don't see everyday. Thousands of American
held a rally in Harlem last week to protest...the NAACP. The New
state chapter of the civil rights organization and the United
Teachers, the local teachers union, have filed a lawsuit to stop the
from closing 22 of Gotham's worst schools. The lawsuit also
block the city from giving charter schools space to operate in
occupied by traditional schools".
It gets worse. This is a must-read. And the only way the
failure of urban public schools will be reversed is through a revolt by
parents and families of those Black children who have for decades been
victimized - the same parents and families who have been
period the most dependable supporters of the perpetrators of this
of their Democratic toadies.
SUNDAY, June 5, 2011
Krauthammer has cleared the air regarding "America's
See his article of the same name in the Day (www.theday.com),
Saturday, June 4, 2011, pA7.
SATURDAY, June 4, 2011
split on his points. I disagree with
his assumption that
American armed forces are a "professional army" rather
than carrying the all-volunteer status that we know to be
are professionals who volunteer the same way (as I mentioned last
time) that police and fire fighters are professionals who
volunteer. Ask anyone in the military if they're doing it for the
or job security.
definitely take issue with his use of 'imperial'
(which permeates his
interview) in describing our foreign policy. It is ignorant,
and/or simply disingenuous (depending on his motives) to use that
this case. The fact that he is a West Point graduate and
a professor of history and international affairs does not make him
right. America is NOT an empire. It never has been, and
NEVER will be. The circular logic displayed by every person
who labels this country imperial is baffling and annoying to
empire expands its borders most often by force as a PRIMARY
action, and if
not, only because it has determined a specific expansion to be more
it is worth. Yet, it still demands tribute from a specified
under threat of force. History is full of examples
if 'imperial' is used to describe the pre-eminance of
U.K., it does not satisfy the same definition as it does when
to those like ancient Rome, China, and Russia. These were
empires; unbroken geographical expanse achieved primarily to
primal instinct in humans to have as deep a defense as possible against
enemy. Of course, the larger the expanse, the more spoils, but
higher the cost to maintain those ever-increasing borders.
is not the case even with Britain. Look a world map from
you will notice a pattern of British influence. It is not an
expanse, but a collection of choke points for global economic
True, by this time these areas also became strategic strongpoints,
only as a result of the world trade that had begun 400 years earlier
Portugal and Spain.
is NOT the case with America. Does an empire institute
Plans after it destroys a foreign enemy? Could we have not made a
more money trading with Saddam Hussein by foregoing a
Zone for ten years over Iraq? ARE WE GETTING FREE OIL FROM IRAQ
along with turning it into the 51st state? Where do Vietnam and
Afghanistan lie on the list of biggest oil-producing
anything, we are the antithesis of imperial because we throw money
countries (most of whom hate us with every fiber of their being) in
to be stabbed in the back by them. This is
called 'paying protection'
in the criminal world; hardly "imperial".
totally disagree with him that consensus dictates WWII was worth
for moral reasons, but our current wars are simply economic in nature,
average Americans oblivious to their consequences. They are
certainly more removed from them, but we have decades of liberal
mindsets completely disdainful (and often outright hostile) to anything
involving the military to blame for that. And, I could easily
the war in the Pacific could have been avoided had Japan not perceived
us to be
a threat to their economic lifeline in the Western Pacific. The
true for our war with Germany. Except for Hitler declaring
war on us
(and his equally idiotic move against the Soviets) I'm sure Germany
been content to hold as much of Europe as possible and get on with
If you read some of the comments posted after the article, you will see
inevitable drone of foil-helmet, black-helicopter conspiracy
who are convinced that every single military engagement in
history has been on the direct orders of the combined boards
Directors of the Fortune 500. He doesn't go this far, but he
implies that most every military action is precipitated by
I totally agree with Bacevich that America is addicted to immediate
gratification in nearly every aspect of our
shameful relationship with China is all the proof I need on that
But, it's a big leap to connect the two as the primary motivator.
I disagree with Bacevich's premise that Americans
are incapable or unwilling to see the true cost of
This was certainly the case when we gathered our picnic
sat on the hill overlooking the First Battle of Bull Run, only to be
by four years of carnage. But, if nothing else, technological
in media precludes that notion today. I think that had
technology and pathetic media bias existed in 1943, America would have
out of the war with Japan at the sight of thousands of
Marines floating on the shores of a tiny spit of land only a few
yards wide. One could argue that the pathetic media bias was from
right at that time, but in spite of sounding Machiavellian, look at
fought for, and look at what they fought for.
with today's true-believing, suicide-venerating enemy, we
wondered what we did to raise their ire. We would
have wondered what
we were doing halfway around the world, as if we have no
reason to do
anything but stay in our corner of it. We would have clamored
"enemy's" belief system is just as valid as ours and that we are
engaging in hateful racism and persecution. In fact, we would
claimed that ours was the more belligerant, for everything would be
if America would just stop sticking its fingers into everyone
is that our government knew the severity of the cultural, moral, and
economic threat, and it didn't act based on how the rest of the
perceived us. The political narcissism that infects the highest
our government far outweighs the notion that Americans are
simply accepting of permanent war as long as they can "go
his points on foreign oil as a reason for continued unnecessary
expenditures, he is totally preaching to any choir with their eyes
open. " . .
Persian Gulf region would have zero strategic significance were it not
fact that that’s where the oil is."
claims that Jimmy Carter "was
the one president of our time who recognized, I think, the challenges
us if we refused to get our house in order." He also
claims that, "Back
1980, . . . he said the Persian Gulf had enormous strategic
significance to the
United States. We were not going to permit any other country to control
region of the world. That set in motion a set of actions that
policy and led to ever deeper U.S. military involvement in the region.
result has been to postpone the day of reckoning. Americans are dodging
imperative of having a serious energy policy". Well,
which is it?
description of Reagan as a "modern
prophet of profligacy, the politician who gave moral sanction to the
consumption" is also disingenuous. He cherry picks
statistics on government spending and leaves out the context that is
to this type of discussion.
think he makes the most sense by saying, "if you want to preserve the
American way of life, then
you need to ask yourself, what exactly is it you value most? I believe
we want to preserve that which we value most in the American way of
we will need to change the American way of life. We need to modify or
things that are peripheral in order to preserve those things that
importance." I agree with his thoughts on the
to the Constitution in theory, but we also know that communism works
in theory. The framers of the Constitution never dreamed of
intercontinental air travel, so it is a bit sketchy to say that since
cared to concern themselves with our little part of it, we should as
agree that future generations will have far less opportunity if we
course, but he loses me again when he repeatedly ties this to
"imperial" actions. Give up the ghost, for God's sake!
served a career in the military and having lost his son in
Iraq, Prof. Bacevich is well aware of the 'blood and
this country has spent throughout its history. I do not have his
credentials, yet I know that the biggest danger to America is not greed
complacency on the part of average Americans, nor an "imperial"
presidential office, as he believes. It is an obsession on the
what I choose to call a "perma-government" (rather than an imperial
one) to behave in a bi-polar fashion, either caring not at all for
actions effect others, OR acting solely based on how we will be
read this; and I have further acquainted myself with the life to date
Andrew Bacevich, Colonel US Army Ret., graduate of West Point.
I have also re-read his posting on The Daily Beast, my first encounter
writings and, I believe, a poor choice for airing his views. I found it
to be a
cynical and bitter piece, despite some well-founded opinions...and I
After having read the substance of his interview with Bill Moyers (who
fortunately keeps his own editorializing to a minimum), I believe that
why. If you ignore the occasional polemic, Prof. Bacevich makes a
sense out of the facts and the life in America that those of us
observed since before WW ll. For example, he nails our current
scene as an "Incumbents' Party" rather than a Democratic or
Republican Party, and an "Imperial Presidency" in which a great
number of people and elements of government and society are
expands President Eisenhower's famous term to include a current "civil
military - industrial complex".embraced tightly by a highly
American society in order to protect its "American way of life" at
all cost...someone else's cost. But he seems to give short shrift
real problems of radical Islam and its obvious impact on America since
1980's, on the reality of our continuing dependence on Middle East oil
commitment to defend Israel, the only democracy in that region, on our
vulnerability to the increasing nuclear capabilities of unstable
regimes in the
area, and on the ever-present fishing-in-troubled-waters by Russia.
I have not read his books, which I believe he began publishing in 2005;
hope he addresses these issues there. Otherwise, he offers a
with no treatment.
Professor Bacevich and his family have endured a great loss, that of
an Army Lieutenant who was killed in 2007 in Iraq, two months after his
had called the Iraq war "immoral, illicit, imprudent". Is Professor
Bacevich's often charged rhetoric a reflection of his feeling that his
were "too little, too late"? I hope not, for his sake. As
I know from very personal experience, the loss of a loved one is barely
tolerable without having to deal with "shoulda - coulda - wouldas".
And what about the "treatment" for America's impending / ultimate
decline? 1) Give moderate Muslims a clear choice: clean your own
your crazies who are threatening us...or we will do the job ourselves,
great deal of "collateral damage"; 2) establish a national Draft, for
the Military and for meaningful public service, in order to share the
sacrifice, for a change; 3) demand the convening of a national
Convention to change our method of electing our leaders back to "one
one vote" and from "victory to the highest bidder", complete
with a Right of Recall at all levels of government; 4) develop a
energy policy devoid of dependence on Middle East oil, NOW.
And so, Professor Bacevich, I tender to you my apology...for having
you. We have a lot in common, personally and philosophically. I
henceforth follow your efforts on behalf of your country. And
might find it interesting to follow mine, as articulated on my web site
over a decade.
George A. Sprecace, M.D., J.D.
June 4, 2011
Moyers Interviews Andrew Bacevich
Thursday 2 June 2011
by: Bill Moyers, The New Press
"Bill Moyers Journal: The Conversation Continues" is the Truthout
Progressive Pick of the Week.
Our finest warriors are often our most reluctant
warmongers. They have seen firsthand the toll war exacts. They know
better than anyone that force can be like a lobster trap that closes
with each stage of descent, making escape impossible. So it was when
the liberal consensus lured America into Vietnam during the ’60s, and
again after 9/11, when neoconservatives clamored for the invasion of
Iraq. With the notorious ferocity of the noncombatant, the neocons
banged their tin drums and brayed for blood, as long as it was not
their own that would be spilled.
One old warrior looked on sadly, his understanding of
combat’s reality tempered by twenty-three years in uniform, including
service in Vietnam. A graduate of West Point, Andrew Bacevich retired
from the military to become a professor of history and international
relations at Boston University, a public thinker who has been able to
find an audience across the political spectrum, from The Nation to The
American Conservative magazines. In several acclaimed books, including
The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War,
Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War, and his bestselling
The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism, Bacevich
speaks truth to power, no matter who’s in power, which may be why he
reaches both the left and the right.
We spoke in the middle of the 2008 presidential
campaign, just as The Limits of Power was published. Bacevich supported
Barack Obama’s candidacy but believes that Obama’s commitment of more
troops to Afghanistan was a deadly mistake. —Bill Moyers
You began The Limits of Power with a quote from the
Bible, the book of Second Kings, chapter 20, verse 1: “Set thine house
in order.” Why that admonition?
I’ve been troubled by the course of U.S. foreign
policy for a long, long time. I wrote the book in order to sort out my
own thinking about where our basic problems lay. And I reached the
conclusion that our biggest problems are within.
I think there’s a tendency on the part of policy
makers and probably a tendency on the part of many Americans to think
that the problems we face are problems that are out there somewhere,
beyond our borders. And that if we can fix those problems, then we’ll
be able to continue the American way of life as it has long existed. I
think that’s fundamentally wrong. Our major problems are at home. You
begin healing yourself by looking at yourself in the mirror and seeing
yourself as you really are.
You write: “The pursuit of freedom, as defined in an
age of consumerism, has induced a condition of dependence—on imported
goods, on imported oil, and on credit. The chief desire of the American
people,” you write, “ is that nothing should disrupt their access to
these goods, that oil, and that credit. The chief aim of the U.S.
government is to satisfy that desire, which it does in part through the
distribution of largesse here at home (with Congress taking a leading
role) and in part through the pursuit of imperial ambitions abroad.”
In other words, you’re saying that our foreign policy
is the result of a dependence on consumer goods and credit.
Our foreign policy is not something simply concocted
by people in Washington, D.C., and then imposed on us. Our foreign
policy may be concocted in Washington, D.C., but it reflects the
perceptions of our political elite about what we the people want. And
what we want, by and large, is to sustain the flow of very cheap
consumer goods. We want to be able to pump gas into our cars regardless
of how big they happen to be, in order to be able to drive wherever we
want to be able to drive. And we want to be able to do these things
without having to think about whether or not the books balance at the
end of the month or the end of the fiscal year. And therefore, we want
an unending line of credit.
You write that what will not go away is “a yawning
disparity between what Americans expect and what they are willing or
able to pay.”
One of the ways we avoid confronting our refusal to
balance the books is to rely increasingly on the projection of American
military power around the world to maintain this dysfunctional system,
or set of arrangements, that have evolved over the last thirty or forty
But it’s not the American people who are deploying
around the world. It is a very specific subset of our people, this
professional army. We like to call it an all-volunteer force, but the
truth is, it’s a professional army, and when we think about the tasks
we assign that army, it’s really an imperial army. We need to step back
a little bit and ask ourselves, how did it come to be that places like
Iraq and Afghanistan should have come to seem critical to the
well-being of the United States of America?
There was a time, seventy, eighty, a hundred years
ago, when we Americans sat here in the Western Hemisphere and puzzled
over why British imperialists sent their troops to places like Iraq and
Afghanistan. We viewed that sort of adventurism with disdain. Today
this has become part of what we do.
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How is Iraq a clear manifestation, as you say, of
this “yawning disparity between what Americans expect and what they are
willing or able to pay”?
Let’s think about World War II, a war that President
Roosevelt told us was essential to U.S. national security, and was.
President Roosevelt said, because this is an important enterprise, the
American people would be called upon to make sacrifices. And indeed,
the people of the United States went off to fight that war in large
numbers. On the home front, people learned to get by with less. It was
a national effort.
None of that’s been true with regard to Iraq. I mean,
one of the most striking things about the way the Bush administration
has managed the global war on terror, which President Bush has compared
to World War II, is that there was no effort made to mobilize the
country, there was actually no effort even made to expand the size of
the armed forces. Just two weeks or so after 9/11 the president said,
“Go to Disney World. Go shopping.” There’s something out of whack here.
The global war on terror, and Iraq as a subset of the global war on
terror, is said to be critically important, on the one hand. Yet on the
other hand, the country basically goes about its business, as if,
really, there were no war on terror, and no war in Iraq ongoing at all.
So it is, you write, “seven years into its
confrontation with radical Islam, the United States finds itself with
too much war for too few warriors—and with no prospect of producing the
additional soldiers needed to close the gap.”
We’re having a very difficult time managing two wars
that, in a twentieth-century context, are actually relatively small.
You also say: “U.S. troops in battle dress and body
armor, whom Americans profess to admire and support, pay the price for
the nation’s collective refusal to confront our domestic dysfunction.”
What are we not confronting?
The most obvious, blindingly obvious, question is
energy. It’s oil. I think historians a hundred years from now will
puzzle over how it could be that the United States of America, the most
powerful nation in the world, as far back as the early 1970s, came to
recognize that dependence on foreign oil was a problem, posed a threat,
compromised our freedom of action, and then did next to nothing about
it. Every president from Richard Nixon down to the present has
declared, “We’re going to fix this problem.” And none of them did. The
reason we are in Iraq today is because the Persian Gulf is at the
center of the world’s oil reserves. I don’t mean that we invaded Iraq
on behalf of big oil, but the Persian Gulf region would have zero
strategic significance were it not for the fact that that’s where the
Back in 1980, President Carter promulgated the Carter
Doctrine. He said the Persian Gulf had enormous strategic significance
to the United States. We were not going to permit any other country to
control that region of the world. That set in motion a set of actions
that militarized U.S. policy and led to ever deeper U.S. military
involvement in the region. The result has been to postpone the day of
reckoning. Americans are dodging the imperative of having a serious
And this is connected to what you call “the crisis of
Well, we don’t live within our means. The individual
savings rate in this country is below zero. As a nation, we assume the
availability of an endless line of credit. But as individuals, the line
of credit is not endless; that’s one of the reasons why we’re having
this current problem with the housing crisis, and so on. And my view
would be that the nation’s assumption that its line of credit is
endless is also going to be shown to be false. And when that day occurs
it’s going to be a black day indeed.
You call us an empire of consumption.
I didn’t create that phrase. It’s a phrase drawn from
a book by a wonderful historian at Harvard University, Charles Maier.
The point he makes in his very important book is that when American
power was at its apex after World War II, through the Eisenhower years,
into the Kennedy years, we made what the world wanted. They wanted our
cars. We exported our television sets, our refrigerators—we were the
world’s manufacturing base. He called it an “empire of production.”
Sometime around the 1960s there was a tipping point
when the “empire of production” began to become the “empire of
consumption.” When the cars started to be produced elsewhere, and the
television sets, and the socks, and everything else. And what we ended
up with was the American people functioning primarily as consumers
rather than producers.
And you say this has produced a condition of profound
dependency, to the extent that, and I’m quoting you, “Americans are no
longer masters of their own fate.”
Well, they’re not. I mean, the current debt to the
Chinese government grows day by day. Why? Because of the negative trade
balance. Our negative trade balance with the world is something on the
order of $800 billion per year. That’s $800 billion of stuff that we
buy, so that we can consume, that is $800 billion more than the stuff
that we sell to them. That’s a big number, even relative to the size of
You use a metaphor that is intriguing. American
policy makers “ have been engaged in a de facto Ponzi scheme intended
to extend indefinitely the American line of credit.” What’s going on
that resembles a Ponzi scheme?
This continuing tendency to borrow and to assume that
the bills are never going to come due. I testified before a House
committee on the future of U.S. grand strategy. I was struck by the
questions coming from members that showed an awareness, a sensitivity,
and a deep concern about some of the issues that I tried to raise in
How are we going to pay the bills? How are we going
to pay for the entitlements that are going to increase year by year for
the next couple of decades, especially as baby boomers retire? Nobody
has answers to those questions. So I was pleased that these members of
Congress understood the problem. I was absolutely taken aback when they
said, “Professor, what can we do about this?” I took this as a candid
admission that they didn’t have any answers, that they were perplexed,
that this problem of learning to live within our means seemed to have
no politically plausible solution.
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You say that the tipping point between wanting more
than we were willing to pay for began in the Johnson administration.
“We can fix the tipping point with precision,” you write. “It occurred
between 1965, when President Lyndon Baines Johnson ordered U.S. combat
troops to South Vietnam, and 1973, when President Richard M. Nixon
finally ended direct U.S. involvement in that war.” Why do you see that
period as so crucial?
When President Johnson became president, our trade
balance was in the black. By the time we get to the Nixon era, it’s in
the red. And it stays in the red down to the present. As a matter of
fact, the trade imbalance essentially becomes larger year by year.
So I think that it is the ’60s generally—the Vietnam
period—that was the moment when we began to lose control of our
economic fate. And most disturbingly, we’re still really in denial.
You describe another fateful period between July 1979
and March 1983. You describe it, in fact, as a pivot of contemporary
American history. That includes Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, right?
Well, I would be one of the first to confess that I
think that we have misunderstood and underestimated President Carter.
He was the one president of our time who recognized, I think, the
challenges awaiting us if we refused to get our house in order.
Talk about his speech on July 15, 1979. Why does that
speech resonate so strongly?
This is the so-called Malaise Speech, even though he
never used the word malaise in the text. It’s a very powerful speech,
because President Carter acknowledges that our dependence on oil poses
a looming threat to the country. If we act now, he says, we may be able
to fix this problem. If we don’t act now, we’re headed down a path
along which not only will we become increasingly dependent upon foreign
oil, but we will have opted for a false model of freedom. A freedom of
materialism, a freedom of self-indulgence, a freedom of collective
recklessness. The president was urging us to think about what we mean
by freedom. We need to choose a definition of freedom that is anchored
in truth, he argued, and the way to manifest that choice was by
addressing our energy problem. Carter had a profound understanding of
the dilemma facing the country in the post-Vietnam period. And, of
course, he was completely derided and disregarded.
And he lost the election.
This speech killed any chance he had of winning
reelection. Why? Because the American people didn’t want to settle for
They absolutely did not. And indeed, the election of
1980 was the great expression of that, because in 1980, we have a
candidate, perhaps the most skillful politician of our time, Ronald
Reagan, who says, “Doomsayers, gloomsayers, don’t listen to them. The
country’s best days are ahead of us.”
“Morning in America.”
It’s “Morning in America.” You don’t have to
sacrifice; you can have more of everything. All we need to do is get
government out of the way and drill more holes for oil. The president
led us to believe the supply of oil right here in North America was
You describe Ronald Reagan as the “modern prophet of
profligacy, the politician who gave moral sanction to the empire of
To understand the truth about President Reagan is to
appreciate the extent to which our politics are misleading and false.
Remember, he was the guy who came in and said we need to shrink the
size of government. But government didn’t shrink during the Reagan era,
it grew. He came in and he said we need to reduce the level of federal
spending. He didn’t reduce it. It went through the roof. The budget
deficits for his time were the greatest we’d experienced since World
And wasn’t it his successor, his vice president, the
first President Bush, who said in 1992 that the American way of life is
This is not a Republican thing, or a Democratic
thing. All presidents, all administrations are committed to that
proposition. Now, I would say that probably 90 percent of the American
people today likewise concur. They insist that the American way of life
should not be not up for negotiation.
What I would invite them to consider is this: if you
want to preserve the American way of life, then you need to ask
yourself, what exactly is it you value most? I believe that if we want
to preserve that which we value most in the American way of life, then
we will need to change the American way of life. We need to modify or
discard things that are peripheral in order to preserve those things
that possess real importance.
What do you value most?
I say we should look to the Preamble to the
Constitution. There is nothing in the Preamble to the Constitution that
defines the purpose of the United States of America as remaking the
world in our image, which I view as a fool’s errand. There is nothing
in the Preamble to the Constitution that provides a basis for embarking
upon an effort, as President Bush has defined it, to transform the
greater Middle East, a region of the world that incorporates something
on the order of a billion people.
I believe that the framers of the Constitution were
primarily concerned with the way we live here, the way we order our
affairs. They wanted Americans as individuals to have an opportunity to
pursue freedom, however defined. They wanted Americans collectively to
create a national community so that we could live together in some kind
of harmony. And they wanted future generations to be able to share in
those same opportunities.
The big problem, it seems to me, with the current
crisis in American foreign policy is that unless we change our ways,
the likelihood that our children and our grandchildren are going to
enjoy the opportunities that we’ve had is very slight. Why? Because
we’re squandering our power. We are squandering our wealth. To the
extent that we persist in our imperial delusions, we’re also going to
squander freedom itself, because imperial policies end up enhancing the
authority of the imperial president, thereby providing imperial
presidents with an opportunity to compromise freedom even here at home.
We’ve seen that since 9/11.
The disturbing thing that you say again and again is
that every president since Reagan has relied on military power to
conceal or manage these problems that stem from the nation’s habits of
That’s exactly right. And again, this is another
issue where one needs to be unsparing in fixing responsibility as much
on liberal Democratic presidents as conservative Republican ones. I
think that the Bush administration’s response to 9/11 in constructing
this paradigm of a global war on terror, in promulgating the so-called
Bush Doctrine of preventive war, in plunging into Iraq—an utterly
unnecessary war—will go down in our history as a record of recklessness
unmatched by any other administration.
But that doesn’t really mean that Bill Clinton before
him, or George Herbert Walker Bush before him, or Ronald Reagan before
him were all that much better. They all have seen military power as our
strong suit. They all have assumed that by projecting power, by
threatening to employ power, we can fix the world. Fix the world in
order to sustain this dysfunctional way of life that we cling to at
This brings us to what you call the political crisis
of America, and you say, “The actual system of governance conceived by
the framers . . . no longer pertains.”
I am expressing in the book what many of us sense,
even if few of us are ready to confront the implications. Congress,
especially with regard to matters related to national security policy,
has thrust power and authority to the executive branch. We have created
an imperial presidency. Congress no longer is able to articulate a
vision of what is the common good. Congress exists primarily to ensure
the reelection of its members.
Supporting the imperial presidency are the various
institutions that comprise the national security state. I refer here to
the CIA, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Office of the Secretary of
Defense, the other intelligence agencies. These have grown since the
end of World War II into a mammoth enterprise. But the national
security state doesn’t work. Despite all the money it spends and the
people it employs, the national security state was not able to identify
the 9/11 conspiracy. It was not able to deflect the attackers on 9/11.
The national security state was not able to plan intelligently for the
The national security state has not been able to
effectively prosecute this so-called global war on terror. So as the
Congress has moved to the margins, as the president has moved to the
center of our politics, the presidency itself has come to be, I think,
less effective. The system is broken.
You write that no one in Washington knows what
they’re doing, including the president.
What I mean specifically is this: The end of the Cold
War coincided almost precisely with the first Persian Gulf War.
Americans saw Operation Desert Storm as a great, historic,
never-before-seen victory. It really wasn’t.
Politically and strategically, the outcome of that
war was far more ambiguous than people appreciated at the time.
Nonetheless, the war itself was advertised as this great success,
demonstrating that the Pentagon had developed a dazzling new American
way of war. This new American way of war ostensibly promised to enable
the United States to exercise military dominion on a global basis in
ways that the world had never seen.
The people in the Pentagon developed a phrase to
describe this. They called it “full-spectrum dominance,” meaning that
the United States was going to demonstrate outright supremacy, not just
capability, across the full spectrum of warfare. This became the center
of the way that the military advertised its capabilities in the 1990s.
The whole thing was fraudulent. To claim that the
United States military could enjoy such dominance flew in the face of
all of history. Yet in many respects, this sort of thinking set us up
for how the Bush administration was going to respond to 9/11. If you
believe that the United States military is utterly unstoppable, then a
global war to transform the greater Middle East might seem plausible.
Had the generals been more cognizant of the history of war, and of the
nature of war, then they might have been in a better position to argue
to Mr. Rumsfeld, then the secretary of defense, or to the president
himself, “Be wary. Don’t plunge in too deeply.” Recognize that force
has utility, but that utility is actually quite limited. Recognize that
when we go to war, almost inevitably unanticipated consequences will
follow, and they’re not going to be happy ones.
Above all, recognize that when you go to war, it’s
unlikely there will be a neat, tidy solution. It’s far more likely that
the bill that the nation is going to pay in lives and in dollars is
going to be a monumental one. My problem with the generals is that,
with certain exceptions—one could name General Shinseki . . .
Who said we are going to need more than half a
million men if we go into Iraq. He was shown the door for telling the
By and large, the generals did not speak truth to
One of the things that comes through in your book is
that great truths are contained in small absurdities. And you use the
lowly IED, the improvised explosive device, or roadside bomb, that’s
taken such a toll on American forces in Iraq, to get at a very powerful
Wars are competitions. Your enemy develops
capabilities. And you try to develop your own capabilities to check him
and gain an advantage. One of the striking things about the Iraq War,
in which we had been fighting against a relatively backward or
primitive adversary, is that the insurgents have innovated far more
adeptly and quickly than we have.
The IED provides an example. It began as a very
low-tech kind of primitive mine, and over time became ever more
sophisticated, ever more lethal, ever more difficult to detect. Those
enhancements in insurgent IED capability continually kept ahead of our
ability to adapt and catch up.
And I think you say in your book that it costs the
price of a pizza to make a roadside bomb. This is what our men and
women are up against in Afghanistan.
The point is that war is always a heck of a lot more
complicated than you might imagine the day before the war begins. And
rather than imagining that technology will define the future of
warfare, we really ought to look at military history.
And what do we learn when we look to the past?
Preventive war doesn’t work. The Iraq War didn’t
work. Therefore, we should abandon the Bush Doctrine of preventive war.
We should return to the just-war tradition, which permits force only as
a last resort, which sees war as something that is justifiable only
when waged in self-defense.
How, then, do we fight what you acknowledge to be the
real threat posed by violent Islamic extremism?
I think we need to see the threat for what it is.
Sure, the threat is real. But it’s not an existential threat. The
nineteen hijackers that killed three thousand Americans on 9/11 didn’t
succeed because they had fancy weapons, because they were particularly
smart, or because they were ten feet tall. They succeeded because we
let our guard down.
We need to recognize that the threat posed by violent
Islamic radicalism, by terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda, really is
akin to a criminal conspiracy. It’s violent and dangerous, but it’s a
criminal enterprise. Rooting out and destroying the conspiracy is
primarily the responsibility of organizations like the FBI, and of our
intelligence community, backed up at times by Special Operations
Forces. That doesn’t require invading and occupying countries. One of
the big mistakes the Bush administration made, and it’s a mistake we’re
still paying for, is that the president persuaded us that the best way
to prevent another 9/11 is to embark upon a global war. Wrong. The best
way to prevent another 9/11 is to organize an intensive international
effort to dismantle that criminal conspiracy.
In fact, you say that instead of a bigger army we
need a smaller, more modest foreign policy, one that assigns soldiers
missions that are consistent with their capability. “Modesty”—I’m
quoting you—“ implies giving up on the illusions of grandeur to which
the end of the Cold War and then 9/11 gave rise. It also means reining
in the imperial presidents who expect the army to make good on those
People run for the presidency in order to become
imperial presidents. The people who are advising these candidates,
those who aspire to be the next national security advisor, the next
secretary of defense, yearn to share in exercising this great
authority. They’re not running to see if they can make the Pentagon
I was in the White House back in the early ’60s, and
I’ve been a White House watcher ever since. I have never come across a
more distilled essence of the evolution of the presidency than in just
one paragraph in your book.
You write, “Beginning with the election of John F.
Kennedy in 1960, the occupant of the White House has become a
combination of demigod, father figure, and, inevitably, the betrayer of
inflated hopes. Pope, pop star, scold, scapegoat, crisis manager,
commander in chief, agenda setter, moral philosopher, interpreter of
the nation’s charisma, object of veneration, and the butt of jokes . .
. all these rolled into one.” I would say you nailed the modern
I think the troubling part is that the president has
become what we have instead of genuine politics, instead of genuine
democracy. The cult of the presidency has hollowed out our politics
and, in many respects, has made our democracy a false one. We’re going
through the motions of a democratic political system, but the fabric of
democracy really has worn very thin.
Would the imperial presidency exist were it not for
No, because the Congress, since World War II, has
thrust power and authority onto the presidency.
Here is what I take to be the core of your analysis
of our political crisis. You write, “The United States has become a de
facto one-party state, with the legislative branch permanently
controlled by an Incumbents’ Party.” And you write that every president
“ has exploited his role as commander in chief to expand on the
imperial prerogatives of his office.”
One of the great lies about American politics is that
Democrats genuinely subscribe to a set of core convictions that make
Democrats different from Republicans. And the same thing, of course,
applies to the other party. It’s not true.
I happen to define myself as a conservative. But when
you look back over the past thirty or so years, said to have been a
conservative era in American politics, did we get small government? Do
we get balanced budgets? Do we give serious, as opposed to simply
rhetorical, attention to traditional social values? The answer’s no.
The truth is that conservative principles have been eyewash, part of a
package of tactics that Republicans employ to get elected and to then
stay in office.
And yet you say that the prime example of political
dysfunction today is the Democratic Party in relation to Iraq.
Well, I may be a conservative, but I can assure you
that in November of 2006 I voted for every Democrat I could find on the
ballot. And I did so because the Democratic Party, speaking with one
voice at that time, said, “Elect us. Give us power in the Congress, and
we will end the Iraq War.”
The American people, at that point adamantly tired of
this war, did empower the Democrats. And Democrats absolutely, totally,
completely failed to follow through on their promise.
You argue that the promises of Harry Reid and Nancy
Pelosi proved to be empty. Reid and Pelosi’s commitment to forcing a
change in policy took a backseat to their concern to protect the
Could anybody disagree with that?
This is another one of my highlighted sentences: “To
anyone with a conscience, sending soldiers back to Iraq or Afghanistan
for multiple combat tours while the rest of the country chills out can
hardly seem an acceptable arrangement. It is unfair, unjust, and
morally corrosive.” And yet that’s what we’re doing.
Absolutely. And I think—I don’t want to talk about my
You dedicate the book to your son.
My son was killed in Iraq. That’s a personal matter.
But it has long stuck in my craw, this posturing of supporting the
troops. There are many people who say they support the troops, and they
really mean it. But what exactly does it mean to support the troops? It
ought to mean more than putting a bumper sticker on the back of your
car. I don’t think we actually do support the troops. What we the
people do is we contract out the business of national security to
approximately 0.5 percent of the population, about a million and a half
people who are on active duty. And then we really turn away. We don’t
want to look when our soldiers go back for two or three or four or five
combat tours. That’s not supporting the troops. That’s an abdication of
civic responsibility. And I do think there’s something fundamentally
immoral about that.
Again, I think the global war on terror, as a
framework of thinking about policy, is deeply defective. But if the
global war on terror is a national priority, then why isn’t the country
actually supporting it in a meaningful, substantive sense?
Are you calling for a reinstatement of the draft?
I’m not, because I understand that, politically, the
draft is an impossibility. And to tell you the truth, we don’t need to
have an army of six or eight or ten million people. What we need is to
have the country engaged in what its soldiers are doing. That simply
doesn’t exist today.
Despite your and your wife’s loss, you say in this
powerful book what to me is a paradox. You say that “ ironically Iraq
may yet prove to be the source of our salvation.” Help me to understand
We Americans are going to have a long argument about
the Iraq War, not unlike the way we had a very long argument about the
Vietnam War. And that argument is going to cause us, I hope, to ask
serious questions about where this war came from and what it has meant.
How did we come to be a nation that fancied our army capable of
transforming the greater Middle East?
What have been the costs that have been imposed on
this country? Hundreds of billions of dollars. Some project $2 to $3
trillion. Where is that money coming from? How else could it have been
spent? For what? Who bears the burden? Who died? Who suffered loss?
Who’s in hospitals? Who’s suffering from PTSD? And was it worth it?
There will be plenty of people who are going to say, “Absolutely, it
was worth it. We overthrew a dictator.” But I hope and pray that there
will be many others who will make the argument that it wasn’t worth it.
My hope is that Americans will come to see the Iraq
War as a fundamental mistake. That it never should have been
undertaken. And that we’re never going to do this kind of thing again.
That might be the moment when we will look at ourselves in the mirror.
And we will see what we have become. And perhaps undertake an effort to
make those changes that will enable us to preserve for future
generations that which we value most about the American way of life.
This excerpt originally appeared in Bill Moyers
Journal: The Conversation Continues, © 2011, Bill Moyers.
Published by The New Press, Inc.. Reprinted here with permission.
THURSDAY and FRIDAY, June 2 and 3, 2011
following running exchange began when I forwarded to my son David in
Denver, Colorado for verification the posting regarding "20 Million
Aliens....". He contacted the alleged author, Tina Griego, at the
Rocky Mountain News. Ms. Griego disclaimed authorship of the
That's when I commented on the UNBELIEVABLE cyberspace. My sons,
possessed of the same bulldog tenacity of their parents, continued to
the matter. The result is posted below, to date.
more observation from me. What exists on the Internet and on its
various metastases at this time is of a piece with the dis-information
classically injected into public discourse by propagandists, as in Nazi
and in all other despotic regimes, to inhibit and confuse the public's
to know the facts. This blinds the people to what is really going
their inevitable detriment. The antidote: tenacious quest for the
something which can still be pursued in this country without fear of
a hole in the head or a tongue cut out. So, to my sons: I'M PROUD
YOU. Let's all keep up the good work. Meanwhile, for the
you out there: "We report. You decide".
if 20 Million Illegal Aliens Vacated America??
Tina Griego, journalist for the Denver Rocky Mountain News ["...now
Denver Post] wrote a column
Visitor's Lament"- 10/25/07.
Mexican journalist Evangelina Hernandez while visiting Denver last
Hernandez said, "illegal
aliens pay rent, buy groceries, buy clothes. What Happens to your
economy if 20 million people go away?" Hmmm, I thought, what would
So I did my due diligence, buried my nose as a reporter into
I found below.
It's a good question it deserves an honest answer. Over 80% of
Americans demand secured borders and illegal migration stopped. But
happen if all 20 million or more vacated America ? The answers I found
In California , if 3.5 million illegal aliens moved back to
would leave an extra $10.2 billion to spend on overloaded school systems,
bankrupt hospitals and overrun prisons. It would leave highways
and less congested. Everyone could understand one another as English
dominant language again.
In Colorado , 500,000 illegal migrants, plus their
300,000 kids and
grandchilds would move back 'home', mostly to Mexico . That would save
an estimated $2 billion (other experts say $7 billion) annually in
pay for schooling, medical, social-services and incarceration costs. It
12,000 gang members would vanish out of Denver alone.
save more than $20 million in prison costs, and the terror that those
alien criminals set upon local citizens. Denver Officer Don Young and
of Colorado victims would not have suffered death, accidents, rapes and
crimes by illegals.
Denver Public Schools would not suffer a 67% dropout/flunk rate
because of thousands of illegal alien students speaking 41 different
At least 200,000 vehicles would vanish from our grid locked cities in
. Denver 's 4% unemployment rate would vanish as our working poor would
jobs at a living wage.
In Florida , 1.5 million illegals would return the
Sunshine State back
to America , the rule of law, and English.
In Chicago, Illinois , 2.1 million illegals would
free up hospitals,
schools, prisons and highways for a safer, cleaner and more crime-free
If 20 million illegal aliens returned 'home', the U.S.
Economy would return
to the rule of law. Employers would hire legal American citizens
living wage. Everyone would pay their fair share of taxes because they
be working off the books. That would result in an additional $401
IRS income taxes collected annually, and an equal amount for local,
state and city
No more push '1' for Spanish or '2' for English. No more confusion in
American schools that now must contend with over 100 languages that
educational system for American kids. Our overcrowded schools would
than two million illegal alien kids at a cost of billions in ESL and
breakfasts and lunches.
We would lose 500,000 illegal criminal alien inmates at
a cost of more
than $1.6 billion annually. That includes 15,000 MS-13 gang members who
distribute $130 billion in drugs annually would vacate our country.
like L.A. ,
20,000 members of the ' 18th Street Gang' would vanish from our nation.
Mexican forgery gangs for ID theft from Americans! No more foreign
Losing more than 20 million people would clear up our
crowded highways and
gridlock. Cleaner air and less drinking and driving American
America 's economy is drained. Taxpayers are harmed. Employers get rich. Over
$80 billion annually wouldn't return to the aliens' home countries by
transfers. Illegal migrants earned half that money untaxed, which
further drains America 's economy which currently suffers an $8.7
debt. $8.7 trillion debt.
At least 400,000 anchor babies would not be born in our
costing us $109 billion per year per cycle. At least 86 hospitals in
, Georgia and Florida would still be operating instead of being
bankrupt out of
existence because illegals pay nothing via the EMTOLA Act.
Americans wouldn't suffer thousands of TB and hepatitis
cases rampant in our
country-brought in by illegals unscreened at our borders.
Our cities would see 20 million less people driving,
polluting and grid locking
our cities. It
would also put the 'progressives' on the horns of a dilemma; illegal
their families cause 11% of our greenhouse gases.
Over one million of Mexico's poorest citizens now live
inside and along our
border from Brownsville, Texas to San Diego, California in what the New
Times called, 'colonias' or new neighborhoods. Trouble is, those living
resemble Bombay and Calcutta where grinding poverty, filth, diseases,
crimes, no sanitation and worse. They live without sewage, clean water,
streets, roads, electricity, or any kind of sanitation.
The New York Times reported them to be America's new '
Third World ' inside
our own country. Within 20 years, at their current growth rate,
20 million residents of those colonias. (I've seen them personally in
Arizona ; it's sickening beyond anything you can imagine.)
By enforcing our laws, we could repatriate them back to
Mexico . We should
invite 20 million aliens to go home, fix their own countries and/or
better life in Mexico . We already invite a million people into our
legally more than all other countries combined annually. We cannot and
allow anarchy at our borders, more anarchy within our borders and
every level in our nation.
It's time to stand up for our country, our culture, our
civilization and our
way of life.
Here are 14 reasons illegal aliens should vacate America,
and I hope they are
forwarded over and over again until they are read so many times that
gets sick of reading them:
billion to $22 billion dollars are spent each year on welfare to
Billion with a 'B') http://tinyurl.com/zob77.html
$7.5 billion dollars are spent each year on Medicaid for illegal aliens. http://www.cis.org/articles/2004/fiscalexec.html
billion dollars are spent each year on primary and secondary school
for children here illegally and they still cannot speak a word of
billion dollars are spent each year for education for the American-born
children of illegal aliens, known as anchor babies. http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0604/01/ldt.01.html
DAY' is spent to incarcerate illegal aliens. That's$1.2 Billion a year.
percent of all federal prison inmates are illegal aliens.
$190 billion dollars are spent each year on illegal aliens for welfare
social services by the American taxpayers. http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0610/29/ldt.01.html
$200 billion dollars per year in suppressed American wages are caused
illegal aliens. http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0604/01/ldt.01.html
The illegal aliens in the United States have a crime rate that's two
and a half
times that of white non-illegal aliens. In particular, their children, are
going to make a huge additional crime problem in the US . http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0606/12/ldt.01.html
During the year 2005, there were 8 to 10 MILLION illegal aliens that
our southern border with as many as 19,500 illegal aliens from other
countries. Over 10,000 of those were middle-eastern terrorists.
pounds of drugs, cocaine, meth, heroine, crack, Guns, and marijuana
into the U.S..from the southern border. http://tinyurl.com/t9sht
The National Policy Institute, estimates that the total cost of mass
deportation would be between $206 and $230 billion, or an average cost
between $41 and $46 billion annually over a five year period and nbsp; http://www.nationalpolicyinstitute.org/publications.php?b=deportation
2006, illegal aliens sent home $65 BILLION in remittances back to their
countries of origin, to their families and friends. http://www.rense.com/general75/niht.htm
The dark side of illegal immigration: Nearly one million sex crimes are
committed by illegal immigrants in the United States ! http://www.drdsk.com/articleshtml
cost a whopping $538.3
BILLION DOLLARS A YEAR!
WEDNESDAY, June 1, 2011
is entitled: PUBLIC
EDUCATION: THE DISASTER.
I have been writing about this for decades. See my web site,
category listed "Public Education Politics"...and weep.
Now comes an article by Joel Klein, former Chancellor of New York City
from 2002 to 2010: "Scenes From The New York Education Wars"
Tuesday, May 10, Opinion, pA15). Here it is, folks: the
unvarnished truth about one of our foundational institutions. In
Medicine, there is a First Principle: Primum Non Nocere -
First Do No
Harm". In the "profession" of Education, the First
Principle appears closer to the comment by Albert Shanker, long time
the UFT, quoted in the above article: "When schoolchildren start
union dues, that's when I'll start representing the interests of
What a shame. What a disaster.
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