David Swanson: The late Howard Zinn’s new book The Bomb is a brilliant little dissection of some of the central myths of our militarized society.
Ivan Eland: With the justified firing of Gen. Stanley McChrystal and his replacement with Iraq water-walker David Petraeus, it’s as if people are hoping for a second coming of Jesus in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, the replacement may be similar to the second coming of the water-walking Joe Gibbs as coach of the Washington Redskins.
Kenneth Weisbode: Gen. McChrystal is far from the first general to scoff at the White House. His fate echoes that of Generals MacArthur and McClellan but the comparison ends there, says historian Kenneth Weisbrode, because today there’s a greater reliance on the military in foreign relations.
William Lambers: President Obama and Secretary Clinton have both stated how a strong, stable Yemen is a vital national security priority. The Senate, citing Al Qaida’s presence, has emphasized the same through a resolution. But where is the food?
Ivan Eland: It’s fine for Americans to try to do good deeds overseas—if no ulterior motives are involved (which many times there are)—but arrogance and contempt for other nation’s laws, culture, and customs should be left at home.
Gil Troy: Obama quickly plunged into a much-needed defense of the bank bailout and his stimulus plan. In his most human moment, he acknowledged that Democrats and Republicans united in hating the bailout: “I hated it. You hated it. It was about as popular as a root canal.” His stimulus defense appeared more substantive as he detailed the bill’s accomplishments. But to avoid being too professorial, Obama failed to connect the dots, not quite explaining how that controversial bill actually created the jobs he enumerated.
Although Obama may enjoy a brief up-tick in poll numbers after his talk, as soon as larger numbers of American bodies come home in flag-draped coffins, and Walter Reed fills up again with the damaged bodies and minds of soldiers whose lives have been ruined, the country will turn against what it thought, in November, 2009, was a good idea.
To be a reliable vicar, even for a president as cautious and deliberative as Barack Obama, she must still prove just how strong her backbone really is. She shouldn’t wait for the next crisis to do so. Now is the time to forge strong constituencies of her own at home and abroad, and to take those risks. At stake is not only her own reputation, but also that of her president and her country.
Drinking Motivational KoolAid: How It All Works Financially. Even the soberest fiscal conservatives cannot avoid the power of this pitch and will jump out of his or her seat with wallet wide open! You may get in for $19, but more than half of you will spend many hundreds if indeed not thousands more. – […]
McChrystal, much like Gen. Douglas MacArthur during the Korean War, has publicly spoken out about decisions that are the exclusive purview of the elected civilian leadership. At great cost to his popularity, President Harry Truman cast a great blow for the critical republican principle of civilian control over the military by firing the insubordinate MacArthur. President Obama could do the same with far less cost; McChrystal just took his job and is not a popular war hero, as was MacArthur.
There are notorious dictatorships and terrorists in the world, but their threat to the United States has been exaggerated as an excuse to fulfill the foreign policy agendas of certain politicians, bureaucracies, or interest groups.
The time will come sooner or later when President Obama will have to stand up to the military and face the inevitably shrill attacks from the armchair commanders and “conservative” bloviators who populate the mainstream media.
The ideal of universal care has revolved around two poles. In the 1930s, liberals imagined a universal right to health care tied to compulsory insurance, like Social Security. Johnson based Medicare on this idea, and it survives today as the “single-payer model” of universal health care, or “Medicare for all.” The alternative proposal, starting with Eisenhower, was to create a market for health care based on private insurers and employers.