Letters to the Editor

Better strategy

September 25, 2009


To the editor:

Contrary to the claims made in a recent letter (“Betraying allies,” Sept. 22), President Obama’s change in missile defense strategy enhances the security of Israel and Europe.

Changing from fixed sites in Poland and the Czech Republic to mobile and sea-based interceptors closer to Iran not only provides protection to Europe, but also brings Israel within the coverage area of U.S. missile defense systems. That wasn’t the case for the fixed sites favored by the previous administration.

Not to mention that, unlike the canceled system, these mobile interceptors actually work, will be deployed much sooner, and are designed to counter missiles that Iran is actually developing. Additionally, we shouldn’t overlook the fact that this change opens the door to cooperation with Russia on stopping Iran’s nuclear program.

President Obama is strengthening our alliances by using a combination of diplomacy and smart military power, as evidenced by this change in strategy that protects our allies and gives us a better chance to counter the threat posed by Iran.


Richard Heckler 8 years, 8 months ago

"Ironically, the Bush family's century of involvement in oil, armaments and global intrigue has never been at the center of the national debate since the Bushes starting running for president in 1980.

The reason? Insufficient public knowledge."

Richard Heckler 8 years, 8 months ago

"The only Bush biography published before George H.W. Bush won election in 1988 was a puff job written by a former press secretary, and the biographies of George W. Bush in 2000 barely mentioned his forefathers. Millions of Republicans who have loyally voted for Bushes in three presidential elections simply have no idea. Here are circumstances and biases especially worth noting.

The Bushes and the military-industrial complex: George H. Walker and Samuel Prescott Bush were the dynasty's founding fathers during the years of and after World War I. Walker, a St. Louis financier, made his mark in corporate reorganizations and war contracts. By 1919, he was enlisted by railroad heir W. Averell Harriman to be president of Wall Street-based WA Harriman, which invested in oil, shipping, aviation and manganese, partly in Russia and Germany, during the 1920s. Sam Bush, the current president's other great-grandfather, ran an Ohio company, Buckeye Steel Castings, that produced armaments. In 1917, he went to Washington to head the small arms, ammunition and ordnance section of the federal War Industries Board. Both men were present at the emergence of what became the U.S. military-industrial complex.

Prescott Bush, the Connecticut senator and grandfather of the current president, had some German corporate ties at the outbreak of World War II, but the better yardstick of his connections was his directorships of companies involved in U.S. war production. Dresser Industries, for example, produced the incendiary bombs dropped on Tokyo and made gaseous diffusion pumps for the atomic bomb project. George H.W. Bush later worked for Dresser's oil-services businesses. Then, as CIA director, vice president and president, one of his priorities was the U.S. weapons trade and secret arms deals with Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the moujahedeen in Afghanistan.

In his 1961 farewell address, President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned about how “we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.” That complex's recent mega-leap to power came under George H.W. Bush and even more under George W. Bush — with the post-9/11 expansion of the military and creation of the Department of Homeland Security. But armaments and arms deals seem to have been in the Bushes' blood for nearly a century. ”

Richard Heckler 8 years, 8 months ago

“The Pentagon routinely justifies weapons sales as “promoting regional stability,” but many of these arms end up in the world’s war zones. In 2006 and 2007, the five biggest recipients of U.S. weapons were Pakistan ($3.5 billion), Iraq ($2.2 billion), Israel ($2.2 billion), Afghanistan ($1.9 billion) and Colombia ($580 million) — all countries where conflict rages.

In Pakistan, the fighting ranges from communal violence and state repression, to attacks against India, to deadly battles between Pakistani military and al Qaeda forces in the northwest provinces. Israel has used U.S.-supplied weapons in the West Bank and Gaza, as well as in the 2006 invasion of Lebanon. Colombia uses U.S. weaponry to fight the drug war. Of the 27 major conflicts during 2006 and 2007, 19 of them involved U.S-supplied weapons.

While full data is not yet available for 2008, the United States continues to flood warzones with more destabilizing weapons. In 2008, the Pentagon brokered more than $12.5 billion in possible foreign military sales to Iraq, including guns, ammunition, tanks and attack helicopters. ”

Flap Doodle 8 years, 8 months ago

Psst, merrill. Bush isn't President any more. Some empty suit that cut his political teeth in the fever swamp of Chicago corruption is the current occupant of 1600 Penn. Ave.

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years, 8 months ago

What about the threat from North Korea? I don't think our interceptors in the Persian Gulf and Mediterranean will do as much good (if any) against a nuclear barrage originating in continental Asia and targeting eastern Europe.

BigDog 8 years, 8 months ago

Mr. Martin ..... your credentials for analyzing missile defense strategy is????

Richard Heckler 8 years, 8 months ago

Strategic Errors of Monumental Proportions

What Can Be Done in Iraq? by Lt. Gen. William E. Odom (Ret.)

Text of testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, 18 January 2007

Good afternoon, Senator Biden, and members of the committee. It is a grave responsibility to testify before you today because the issue, the war in Iraq, is of such monumental importance.

You have asked me to address primarily the military aspects of the war. Although I shall comply, I must emphasize that it makes no sense to separate them from the political aspects. Military actions are merely the most extreme form of politics. If politics is the business of deciding "who gets what, when, how," as Boss Tweed of Tammany Hall in New York City once said, then the military aspects of war are the most extreme form of politics. The war in Iraq will answer that question there.

Strategic Overview

The role that US military forces can play in that conflict is seriously limited by all the political decisions the US government has already taken. The most fundamental decision was setting as its larger strategic purpose the stabilization of the region by building a democracy in Iraq and encouraging its spread. This, of course, was to risk destabilizing the region by starting a war.

Military operations must be judged by whether and how they contribute to accomplishing war aims. No clear view is possible of where we are today and where we are headed without constant focus on war aims and how they affect US interests. The interaction of interests, war aims, and military operations defines the strategic context in which we find ourselves. We cannot have the slightest understanding of the likely consequences of proposed changes in our war policy without relating them to the strategic context. Here are the four major realities that define that context:

  1. Confusion about war aims and US interests. The president stated three war aims clearly and repeatedly:

  2. the destruction of Iraqi WMD;

  3. the overthrow of Saddam Hussein; and
  4. the creation of a liberal democratic Iraq.

The first war aim is moot because Iraq had no WMD. The second was achieved by late Spring 2003. Today, people are waking up to what was obvious before the war -- the third aim has no real prospects of being achieved even in ten or twenty years, much less in the short time anticipated by the war planners. Implicit in that aim was the belief that a pro-American, post-Saddam regime could be established. This too, it should now be clear, is most unlikely. Finally, is it in the US interest to have launched a war in pursuit of any of these aims? And is it in the US interest to continue pursuing the third? Or is it time to redefine our aims? And, concomitantly, to redefine what constitutes victory?

  1. The war has served primarily the interests of Iran and al-Qaeda, not American interests...


gphawk89 8 years, 8 months ago

"As for this Merrill guy, I am getting to the point that I just skim past his remarks, as they are always the same."

And too long. And off-topic.

JHOK32 8 years, 8 months ago

At least Bush 1 and Reagon were a bit sly in their obvious power grabs. It was obvious that they were true capitalists who wanted to control middle-eastern oil which packed & padded the pockets of their very close big oil buddies while at the same time fighting the Ruskies in Afghanistan & Saddam in the first Gulf war (this padded the pockets of the big oil buddies & the big arms dealers). By the time Georgie Jr came along he didn't even try to hide the fact that he was working for big oil & big arms dealers by blatantly invading Iraq for their oil, killing Saddam, & meanwhile, of course, making $Billions of dollars for Cheney's Blackwater buddies by awarding no-bid multi-billion dollar contracts. This was all occurring while the good little patriotic Americans that we are were asleep at the wheel and we worried more about who was going to win the Monday night football game. So the novel ends with Exxon-Mobil making the highest record profits of any U.S. company in history, the arms dealers got very fat & rich, Cheney's Blackwater boys got off with millions of no-bid taxpayer money, then Ladies & Gentlemen it is time for the events leading up to the final scene when Georgie Jr gets on national TV and announces that the entire country has gone broke (yes, even under his watchful eye......the same eye that was out to lunch when a handful of arab rejects out-smarted Georgie's CIA, ATF, FBI, NSA, etc, etc, WHICH IS WHAT GOT US IN THIS UNBELIEVABLE MESS TO BEGIN WITH!! So the synopsis is: the fat cat oil men got even fatter, the fat cat arms dealers got even fatter, and then we charge the whole thing to the big oil & arms dealer guys that made all the money?.......right? ................oh no!.............we charge the $Trillion dollar war & the $Trillion dollar bailout for our big bank buddies to who else -----you and I.....the American taxpayer gets to pay for this monstrosity of a mess!!! So rest easy tonight fellow Americans, and you can go back to the Monday night game again, but just hope old grandma Peggy doesn't come down with colon cancer or such, cause we done spent our next 3 generations of Americans taxes by making all these $Billionaires all over the place, and old granny's just gonna have to die like those other 4000 kids who died for a worthy cause - - making all these billionaires!......lets hope they sleep good tonight. But on the bright side, since we didn't want to spend the money to save old Granny, she will get a beautiful and respectful funeral provided by her appreciative Uncle Sam, (so long as the wonderful buriel does not exceed $255). .....

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