A Liberal Marines Progressive Perspective

Marines are defenders of the republic and the Constitution. That is our oath, that is our purpose, that is our calling. Many are Democrats. This is the journal of one such Marine. This leatherneck's progressive perspective is as follows...

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Location: Southwest, United States

U.S. Marine,0300 MOS,eight years in,honorably discharged,college-educated. To all the damned trolls, you better believe there are liberal Marines. Read "War Is A Racket" by 2-time Medal of Honor recipient Maj.Gen.S.D.Butler, plus Lewis B. Puller, Jr.'s "Fortunate Son" and maybe then you'll understand. Semper Fi!

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Friday, April 29, 2005

Bush on the Charm Offensive Once Again: Calls North Korean leader Kim Jong Il "...a Dangerous Man..." Posted by Hello
Good morning to all, hope all is well. It's an overcast day here in the American Southwest...kind of hot, muggy and humid. First, I want to say that I am a real fan of the DailyKos website (www.dailykos.com), as I would imagine so many of you are as well. I am also one who thinks that the DailyKos site (www.dailykos.com) is, in fact, coming under frequent attack by (quite probably) hostile, conservative elements bent on muzzling yet another mechanism of fine American progressivism; in other words, I believe the site is being hacked. Hope the leadership at the Daily Kos website is able to counter the threat effectively. Just f.y.i. I wanted to put out there. This mornings topic of discussion is the President's first primetime press conference in over a year, which aired last night at 1900 hrs CDT (http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=710801&page=1). I listened to it on the radio and must report that I felt less secure after the press conference than before it started. So many things were disturbing about the President's performance, i.e., how the President tried (without much success I must add) to reach for some sad attempt at humor when he stated, while discussing his anemic campaign to reconstruct Social Security, that he too would be retiring in the not-to-distant future (albeit none too soon) just like so many other baby-boomers. For the President and first-born heir to the Bush family fortune (not to mention the fact that he will be an ex-President of the United States...not too many of those ducks are below the poverty line now are they?) could actually form his mouth to compare his financial state to the financial states of millions of Americans who are going to be retiring in the near future and looking to Social Security as a life-line smacks of an arrogance and hubris unseen since the days of Marie Antoinette and her "let-them-eat-cake" debacle of the late 18th century. I really don't think it's hyperbole to say that this President has no concept (whatsoever!) of what a "fixed-income" is, let alone what it means to be a working American under his watch in the early 21st century. The other two disturbing (at least in my opinion) occurences during last nights press conference was 1) how the President kept calling Vladimir Putin (leader of the Russian Commonwealth of Independent States) "Vladi-mer" instead of the correct pronunciation of "Vladi-meer" (http://www.factmonster.com/ce6/people/A0840582.html). Call me picky, but I think it's telling and goes to show a lack of diplomatic sensitivity/nuance and also is telling (sadly) in terms of how dumb this current President really is...I'm talking dense. Geez, to go from a "Rhode Scholar" (Bill Clinton) to a "no-scholar" (the current President) is very unnerving and a switch so drastic that some might even say it is a change of Shakespearean proportions (especially during these perilous times). Now the last (and most galling, in my humble opinion) fubar of last nights event was 2) when the President, while answering a question about North Korea's nuclear capabilities (sidenote: Defense Intelligence Agency head Vice-Admiral Jacoby stated Thursday before the Senate Armed Services Committee that he believes the DPRK has the ability to place a warhead on an ICBM thus placing the West Coast of the United States, as well as Japan, in the same "threat box", http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/04/29/news/nukes.php), went on to characterize North Korean leader Kim Jong Il as a "dangerous man". When the President uttered those harsh words, I could hear a collective groan coming from the Korean peninsula as a whole, the U.S. Army's 2nd Infantry Division (http://www-2id.korea.army.mil/), the Demilitarized Zone in its entirety (http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/facility/dmz.htm), as well as, the Japanese home islands. Mr. President, the North Koreans are already in an aggressive state of mind and none too happy (http://msnbc.msn.com/id/7260366/), why stir the pot? See, it's easy to say that kind of smack when you are holed-up in "Fortress Washington, DC" but it's another thing altogether when you live in Seoul or Pusan and the DMZ (with all of those artillery tubes and troops) is only about 30-40 miles north of you (http://www.gluckman.com/NKBorder.html); or you're living in Tokyo, which would mean North Korea is only a missile flight away (gives a whole meaning to the phrase "reach out and touch someone" doesn't it?). You see, what I'm talking about folks is military science 101: distance makes a real difference (BIG DIFFERENCE) when it comes to perspective. First, we as an American nation had to endure the "bring em on" blunder of July 2, 2003 (and be advised, you better believe the Iraqi insurgents responded in kind and brought it on, http://icasualties.org/oif/) and now this...another mouth blunder with potential dire, not to mention mortal, consequences. See, the great tragedy in all of this bravado is that the President writes rhetorical checks that OTHERS have to cash in blood. How will his verbal ineptitude (and downright ignorance) impact the "Six-Way Party Nuclear Talks" (U.S., Japan, China, Russia, South Korea and North Korea) that the President seems so determined to bring about (http://www.voanews.com/english/2005-04-26-voa1.cfm)? Who knows? I think the President's belligerent, rhetorical posture begs the question of whether or not he really thinks diplomacy is the answer to the "Korean problem" (http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/04/29/news/korea.php) or is the President pondering a more aggressive, "1950-1953" kind of solution? By now, the whole world knows (and understands all too well) that Kim Jong Il is the ultimate global "loose-cannon"; but is it really prudent, and in the best interest of global diplomacy and security, to inflame an already delicate situation by goading and name-calling? My short answer is an unmitigated and unequivocal "no"! I've got to tell you, if I had the leader of the world's most powerful military calling me a "dangerous man" and lambasting me before the world, let's just say I'd be feeling a creepy, uncomfortable cringe running up the back of my neck, as well as, not feeling that secure and comfortable right about now. Needless to say, I'd be very concerned as to whether or not the leader of the world's most powerful military was about to drop "the hammer" on me. Talk about throwing gasoline on an oil fire! In short, I believe the President's remarks were amatuerish, insensitive, not thoughtful in the extreme, agitating and indicative of a juvenile mindset when it comes to foreign policy and the consequences of bellicose rhetoric in the hothouse that IS foreign affairs and geopolitical diplomacy. You know, Bush's "big-talk" reminds me of guys that buy big Dodge Rams, HEMI trucks, Hummers, "duallies" etc. Are they really tough or are they trying to convince the world that they are tough? I'm inclined to think the latter instead of the former. Like they say in these parts, if you shake up old sticks of dynamite, you're bound to scrape folks off of the walls. The President didn't have to come out and say what he said last night concerning North Korea, but he did and time will tell whether or not he has aggravated an already disturbed and dangerous situation. Semper Fidelis


Blogger Kobayashi Maru said...

I can't thank you enough for your service to our country sir, but please keep in mind that when the president talks, his audience includes those living under oppression in places like North Korea. It is they as much as you or me who need to hear the truth: Kim Jong-il is bent on our destruction no matter who is in office and no matter the high and climbing cost to his own people. Saying otherwise is what was irresponsible on the part of the last president.

While Mr. Clinton talked nicey-nice to NoKo, the Kims kept right on doing exactly what they'd been doing since 1946 - arming themselves to the teeth - while the diplomatic Eloi world waited naively for them to somehow fall into a peaceful trance at Madeline Albright's enlightened rhetoric and clever bargaining.

Unfortunately, Kim Jong-il is a liar, and we the greater fools for having allowed him eight precious years in which to get into a position where he can now lob nukes at our homeland.

Yes, distance can make a huge difference. What yesterday's DIA briefing made clear however, is that it no longer makes much. NoKo nuclear missiles can definitely reach Alaska and Hawaii. They can probably reach the Pacific Northwest. They may be able to reach elsewhere.

Again, despite our disagreement on this, I wish to offer you the most heartfelt gratitude for your service to our great nation.

11:49 AM  
Blogger Winslow said...

The differences between the Bush admin and Clinton's are subtle, but very important. North Korea, it is agreed by all is an oppressive nation with little regard for the well being of its own citizens or the community of nations. While saber rattling does have its place, its obviously gotten the neocons nowhere, even though the sound bites play well to their base. In other words the name calling may satisfy some primal need on their part, but accomplices nothing.
In 1992 the N and S Korea agreed to keep the peninsula nuke-free, and the North finally allowed inspectors in, as the treaty demanded. It became obvious that North Korea was violating the NPT. UN in response ( the USA is the big dog on the security council) passed resolutions that did little good, other then embarrass NK, which is not completely irrelevent on the world stage of one ups-manship. The Clinton team pushed the “Agreed Framework”, signed in 1994.
-In 1994, estimated that the DPRK had enough plutonium for 1-3 bombs, accumulated over the last decade.
- One of those few times that the USA, with enough fire power to blow up the world didn't act like an insecure baby and Acted with real strength. The "framework" was a “carrot and stick”. The easing of sanctions was tied to the importation of heating oil and construction of 2 light water nuclear reactors to replace the graphite rod reactors. The stick-threat was military reprisals if North Korea ever crossed the “red line” - NK began processing spent fuel rods into weaponizable plutonium. They wanted the carrot, they feared what Clinton might do ( there were plans on the ready for an attack on NK, and everything was verified, so they never crossed this line.) Congressional Repubs held up the frame, they called it appeasement, refused to fully fund it. Why? Good question. Possibly the same reason they refused to support US troops in Kosovo. You’d have to ask them. Many the speculate that if it was President Rhodes Scholar's idea, his successful policies they were against it.
Enter stage Right, the Bush neocons. Fair to say, all hat, no cattle. While not clear what North Korea had actually done by neocon time with uranium enrichment - if they actually had made bomb-grade highly-enriched uranium, or if, like Iraq they hyped the intelligence out of proportion, the neocons decided, in 2002, that this was the end of the Agreed Framework. This being the case, North Korea threw out the IAEA, re-opened their graphite reactors, and began processing the plutonium rods in bomb fuel. They said screw the carrot, which the Bushies decided not to deliver and damn the stick, which Bush can't now use, short of tactical nukes, all of which precipitated the current crisis. And the Bush response was to do talk tough and do nothing.
Ultimatley two things will happen, the Bushies will make concessions, tie the concessions in a big bow, and call it victory, and not too far down the road the NK will implode because of its own insane oppressive and isolationist policies.

7:52 PM  
Blogger Winslow said...

One other related comment or observation on the Grand Canyon of moral relativity that the neocons have whallowed in since Nixon. They have over and over again given a free pass to any oppressive nation as long as its "friendly" toward the USA. This approach toward foreign policy is like letting a child molester have his way as long its not your children he's molesting. Reagan did it Latin America by supposting right-wing murderers and torturers and not pushing for a constitutional democracy at a very opprtune juncture in that region's history. Bush is doing it now by letting Russia slip into a highly authoritarian state and giving Uzbekistan that famous neocon free pass. from NYT

Seven months before Sept. 11, 2001, the State Department issued a human rights report on Uzbekistan. It was a litany of horrors.

The police repeatedly tortured prisoners, State Department officials wrote, noting that the most common techniques were "beating, often with blunt weapons, and asphyxiation with a gas mask." Separately, international human rights groups had reported that torture in Uzbek jails included boiling of body parts, using electroshock on genitals and plucking off fingernails and toenails with pliers. Two prisoners were boiled to death, the groups reported. The February 2001 State Department report stated bluntly: "Uzbekistan is an authoritarian state with limited civil rights."

Immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks, however, the Bush administration turned to Uzbekistan as a partner in the global fight against terrorism. The nation, a former Soviet republic in Central Asia, granted the United States the use of a military base for fighting the Taliban across the border in Afghanistan. President Bush welcomed President Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan to the White House, and the United States has given Uzbekistan more than $500 million for border control and other security measures.

Now there is growing evidence that the United States has sent terror suspects to Uzbekistan for detention and interrogation, even as Uzbekistan's treatment of its own prisoners continues to earn it admonishments from around the world, including from the State Department.

The so-called rendition program, under which the Central Intelligence Agency transfers terror suspects to foreign countries to be held and interrogated, has linked the United States to other countries with poor human rights records. But the turnabout in relations with Uzbekistan is particularly sharp. Before Sept. 11, 2001, there was little high-level contact between Washington and Tashkent, the Uzbek capital, beyond the United States' criticism of Uzbekistan.

12:02 AM  

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