Showing posts with label 9/11. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 9/11. Show all posts

Saturday, August 21, 2021

The Debacle in Afghanistan was Bound to Happen No Matter How Long We Stayed

We are hearing a chorus of shock at how fast the Taliban took control of Afghanistan a few weeks after the US withdrew its combat forces.  By contrast, it took almost 2 years for the South Vietnamese government to fall after the US withdrew.  In both cases, we had no understanding of their culture and were propping up an unpopular puppet government.  

An argument was made that the invasion of Afghanistan was more justified than the Vietnam war was because the Taliban harbored al Qaida when they attacked us on 9/11.  The Taliban did offer to hand Osama bin Laden et al. over in return for showing them the evidence of their involvement in the attack.  It was rejected out of hand by the Bush administration.  We will never know sincere this offer was.  If Bush had complied with the request and the Taliban had reciprocated, thousands of lives and trillions of dollars could have been saved.


Polls have shown that the average Afghan never heard of the 9/11 attacks.  They only knew that we were attacking them 12 years after we supported them against the Soviet Union.  After we launched our invasion in 2001, the Taliban melted away just as quickly as they retook the country.  In the meantime, we launched our invasion of Iraq and turned it into yet another breeding ground for terrorism.  The Afghanistan papers discussed above showed many of the same private doubts by U.S. political and military leaders that they had in Vietnam but they kept pushing ahead in both cases and lied to the public.

Vietnam should have taught us the limits of US military power.  It is meaningless without popular legitimacy.  The Vietnamese and the Afghans used many of the same tactics against us that we used against the British in the American Revolution.

Concerns about how women will be treated there are legitimate.  We should remember that it was only 101 years ago that women won the right to vote in this country after many years of disappointment and struggle.  In the Victorian era it was considered obscene for a woman to expose here ankles.  These things were eventually changed without dropping bombs on people.  There are far fewer hard feelings when it works out that way.

**Related Posts**


Wednesday, December 5, 2018

George HW Bush a Paragon of Virtue?



1988 was the first year I voted.  The candidates the major parties for President that year were George HW Bush and Michael Dukakis.  I was a freshman at IUP (Indiana University of Pennsylvania).  It was my first lesson in how ugly politics can be. 

Bush won that year by falsely claiming that Dukakis was against reciting the pledge of allegiance in schools, by insinuating that African-American criminals would attack you with the Willie Horton ads, and by falsely claiming that he would not raise taxes.  As President he launched military excursions in three out of the four of the years that he was President in Panama, Iraq, and Somalia.  Bush may have been a nice man if you meet him in person but his bite was far worse than his bark.



People now blame Trump and Palin for promoting stupidity in politics but it began long before anyone took them seriously.  Bush appointed Dan Quayle as his Vice President who made gaffes that would foreshadow Trump and Palin.  He blamed the riots that happened in Los Angeles after the policeman who beat Rodney King were acquitted on the TV show Murphy Brown.  Qualye was picked to placate the Christian right who had doubts on Bush's past support for abortion rights.

Bush's military attacks in Iraq and Panama killed hundreds of thousands of people and sowed the seeds of resentment against the US in Central America and the Muslim world.  Some may have thought his attack on Iraq was justified because of Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait but he had no interested in diplomacy working.  Osama bin Laden, who first cut his teeth as a fighter against the Soviets in the 1980's with US funding, turned on the US when US troops were stationed in Saudi Arabia.  Another future terrorist, Timothy McVeigh, fought in the Gulf War where he learned his munition skills and later bombed the Federal building in Oklahoma City five years later in response to the botched Federal assault on the Branch Davidians in Waco.  

Bush lost his bid for reelection in 1992 with 38% of the vote as the economy soured.  He made one last military excursion into Somalia which led to the deaths of 18 US soldiers and the growth of an al Qaida affiliate there.  Clinton later became chummy with Bush and mostly continued his policies.

In 2001 his son George W Bush became President in a disputed election and soon faced the 9/11 attacks and sent troops into Iraq and Afghanistan.  His son blamed his father's loss on breaking his no new taxes pledge and not finishing off Saddam Hussein and took an even more aggressive stance on those issues.  He won reelection by using the Swift Boat Veterans to sow doubt about his opponent and had blanket positive coverage from Fox News. This lead to the growth of ISIS and the Great Recession.  

Trump dropped all pretenses of niceties and the Republican base loved it.  He trounced son Jeb Bush in the primaries but now must play nice with the Bushes on the senior Bush's funeral after losing the House in the midterms.  Bush was cloak and dagger.  Trump is all dagger.  It's a sad commentary of how far our politics have sunken that Bush is now a paragon of political virtue.

**Related Posts**

We've All Neglected Our Wars (Me Too)



Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Inside the Democratic Poll Numbers and Jon Stewart Returns

In the same CNN poll that gave Trump a 20% lead, Hillary Clinton had a 58% to 30% to 2% lead over Sanders and O'Malley.  The last CNN poll included Vice President Joe Biden.  Clinton had the largest gain after Biden's exit at 13% followed by Sanders at 1%.  The poll asked their voters who they believed would best handle the economy, health care, climate change, foreign policy, and ISIS.  Republicans were asked about who could handle the economy, illegal immigration, foreign policy, ISIS, and the federal budget.

On the economy Clinton had a 10% gain, Sanders had a 2% gain since October to lead 58% to 31% over Sanders.  On health care (Clinton leads 58% to 33%) and climate change (Clinton leads 49% to 36%) Clinton had a 6% gain and Sanders had a 7% gain.  On foreign policy Clinton leads Sanders 74% to 17% with a 12% gain for Clinton and a 8% gain for Sanders.  For ISIS Clinton leads Sanders 59% to 25%.  

Clinton leads Sanders 74% to 17% on who has the best chance of winning in Nov 2016 (though head to head polls with Republicans don't bear that out).  Clinton leads Sanders 47%-44% on who would do most to help the middle class.  Clinton leads Sanders on who can best handle the responsibilities of commander in chief.  This was the first CNN poll where these questions were asked.

In a subset of democratic voters, Sanders does somewhat better among male voters (34%) than female (26%) and among white (32%) than non-white (28%).  Younger voters (usually Sanders strongest supporters) are not listed in the poll.  Sanders does better among voters earning less than $50k (35%) than those earning more than $50k (25%) and (unlike Trump among the Republicans) among those with a college degree (33%) compared to those who do not (28%).  Sanders also fares better among independent voters (40%) that Democratic (25%) and among liberal voters (42%) than among moderate (26%).  Sanders also fares better among urban voters (33%) than among suburban (24%).

Five years ago Jon Stewart hosted a panel on his show of 9/11 four responders on his show about how Congress is blocking a bill to assist then with their health care issues.  I posted it on my all time most popular post.  I repost the discussion here.



The act is now up for renewal and Congress is again holding it up. Last night on the Daily Show, Stewart returned to host the same panel of four.  Only one of the original four was able to attend.  One had died and the other two were too sick to attend.  Politics is supposed to be about people and what is best for them.  

**Related Posts**

Income and Life Expectancy. What does it Tell Us About US?

What is Sanity?

Bernie Sanders Lead in Iowa and NH but not SC: Inside the Numbers

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Post Paris Politics, Fear of Refugees, and Medicaid

The horrific attacks in Paris have sent a wave of fear around the world.  As of this writing, 28 governors in the US have said that they will not accept refugees from the civil war in Syria for fear that ISIS members will sneak into their states.  26 of these 28 governors (84%) are Republican.  10 out of the 18 Democratic governors (55%) have said that they will accept these refugees.  This difference is significant according to Fisher's exact test (p < 0.001).  The full numbers are displayed in the table below and the political affiliation of each states' governor is displayed below that.



Accepting Syrian 
Refugees     
Governor Political Party (% of Party)
D
I
R
Total
  no        
2 (11%)
0
26 (84%)
28
  undecided    
6 (33%)
1 (100%)
5 (16%)
12
  yes      
10 (55%)
0
0
10
Total
18
1
31
50

I have written extensively about which states have been willing to expand medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.  Below is a current map of the states expanding Medicaid.  Currently none of the 17 states which are refusing or considering to expand medicaid are accepting refugees. 10 states (all with Democratic governors) which are implementing some form of Medicaid expansion. are accepting refugees.  This difference is not as sharp as that for states with Republican Governors (p=0.003).

Accepting Syrian Refugees     
Expanding Medicaid (% of Column)
considering
no
yes
Total
  no        
1 (20%)
14 (82%)
13 (46%)
28
  undecided    
4 (80%)
3 (18%)
5 (18%)
12
  yes      
0
0
10 (36%)
10
Total
5
17
28
50
 

  Where the States Stand
Via: The Advisory Board Company

The relationship between the party affiliation of governors and medicaid expansion is similar to that of accepting refugees and medicaid expansion (p=0.004).  16 out of 31 republican governors (52%) are either expanding or considering to expand Medicaid.  It could be that the party that controls the governor's mansion changed in the last election in states that are expanding.  Kentucky just elected a new republican governor who is promising to reverse expansion but other republican governors such as Chris Christie (NJ) and John Kasich (Oh) have implemented expansion and have not suffered adverse political consequences (but may have in their Presidential Campaigns). 



Political Party of Governor     
Expanding Medicaid (% of Column)
considering
no
yes
Total
  D
1 (20%)
2 (12%)
15 (54%)
18
  I   
1 (20%)
0
0
1
  R      
3 (60%)
15 (88%)
13 (46%)
31
Total
5
17
28
50


This analysis shows that there is high probability of a partisan component to the governors not wanting Syrian refugees in their state.  This shift in medicaid expansion among republican governors could similarly happen with the right public pressure for the Syrian refugees (even Jeb Bush who is advocating that only Syrian Christians be allowed in the US)Below is a discussion of the the true nature of the refugees from Syria.

**Related Posts**



The Affordable Care Act Having an Impact in Some States but not Pennsylvania

Immigration: An International Issue

 

The World Wars and Today's Wars