Letters to the Editor

FDR parallel

April 12, 2010


To the editor:

When Franklin Delano Roosevelt ignored the advice of our best military minds and relocated the Pacific Fleet to Hawaii, he placed American servicemen at risk. When on Dec. 7, 1941, the predictable occurred, Roosevelt ignored his own complicity in the deaths of nearly 3,000 servicemen and gave his “day of infamy” speech.

Subsequently, the Congress investigated Roosevelt and obfuscated the issue by focusing on whether or not the White House had withheld information from the field commanders concerning the date and time of the attack. A lawyer’s trick, it worked, as tricks often do, and the moving of the fleet was not addressed. Whenever the issue of Roosevelt’s incompetence arose, the chanting chorus of liberal defenders changed the issue to a conspiracy theory and dismissed the complaint.

Now comes Barack Obama, whose military knowledge is even less than Roosevelt’s (FDR had been Navy secretary), to declare to our enemies the perimeters of our national defense. We will now promise never to use nuclear weapons first. In doing so, against the best advice of our military minds, the president has opened the door to a disaster which will dwarf Pearl Harbor.

Winston Churchill famously declared he did not become prime minister to watch the setting of the sun on the British flag but that is exactly what he did. Obama, in striking contrast, seems to have become president to preside over the deliberate death of the American republic, a job he seems well qualified for.


Richard Heckler 7 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...


George Lippencott 7 years, 8 months ago

Lt Gen William Eldridge Odom died in 2008. The above quote is from 2007. General Odom was a well know opponent of the war in Iraq and hardly represents the opinion of the US military on that subject.

Once again we are treated to a one sided view of a topic without clarity as to that fact. Merrill should be taken with considerable skepticism as he blogs with an unstated bias.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 8 months ago

GW Bush went against the advice of the military and now look where we're at:

Almost 11,000 dead americans which includes our innocent military people as a result of 9/11/01.

Hundreds of thousands of innocent and dead Iraq and Afghanistan men,women and children.

Why is Obama continuing the Bush expansion? Bob Gates is still there....

Bring the troops home ASAP! NOW!

The war is killing thousands of innocent people and OUR ECONOMY!

Bring ALL of the troops home!

Richard Heckler 7 years, 8 months ago

Plans to build a pipeline to siphon oil from newly conquered Iraq to Israel are being discussed between Washington, Tel Aviv and potential future government figures in Baghdad.

The plan envisages the reconstruction of an old pipeline, inactive since the end of the British mandate in Palestine in 1948, when the flow from Iraq's northern oilfields to Palestine was re-directed to Syria.

Now, its resurrection would transform economic power in the region, bringing revenue to the new US-dominated Iraq, cutting out Syria and solving Israel's energy crisis at a stroke.

It would also create an end less and easily accessible source of cheap Iraqi oil for the US guaranteed by reliable allies other than Saudi Arabia - a keystone of US foreign policy for decades and especially since 11 September 2001.

Until 1948, the pipeline ran from the Kurdish-controlled city of Mosul to the Israeli port of Haifa, on its northern Mediterranean coast.

The revival of the pipeline was first discussed openly by the Israeli Minister for National Infrastructures, Joseph Paritzky, according to the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz .

The paper quotes Paritzky as saying that the pipeline would cut Israel's energy bill drastically - probably by more than 25 per cent - since the country is currently largely dependent on expensive imports from Russia.

US intelligence sources confirmed to The Observer that the project has been discussed. One former senior CIA official said: 'It has long been a dream of a powerful section of the people now driving this administration [of President George W. Bush] and the war in Iraq to safeguard Israel's energy supply as well as that of the United States.

'The Haifa pipeline was something that existed, was resurrected as a dream and is now a viable project - albeit with a lot of building to do.'

The editor-in-chief of the Middle East Economic Review , Walid Khadduri, says in the current issue of Jane's Foreign Report that 'there's not a metre of it left, at least in Arab territory'.

To resurrect the pipeline would need the backing of whatever government the US is to put in place in Iraq, and has been discussed - according to Western diplomatic sources - con't http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/apr/20/israelandthepalestinians.oil

Bring the troops home!

independant1 7 years, 8 months ago

I resemble that remark.

Some people spend a lifetime juggling with words, with not an idea in a carload. Will Rogers)

georgiahawk 7 years, 8 months ago

Oh come on Tom, we know what you think, you crazy cat-man! It's because he is a black muslim from Kenya who has been schooled in Marxist-socialist policies and techniques of manipulation and he hates America because as the anti-christ he is here to destroy your good christian life, right?

Cait McKnelly 7 years, 8 months ago

Even at your own numbers, it is WAY too many. Nor did you address the cost of the war and what it did/is doing to the American economy.

cato_the_elder 7 years, 8 months ago

"Now comes Barack Obama, whose military knowledge is even less than Roosevelt's..."? How about "nonexistent?" A healthy dose of understatement for sure.

Scott Drummond 7 years, 8 months ago

Will one of you objecting please describe an instance in which we would want to deploy nuclear weapons first?

rtwngr 7 years, 8 months ago

Thank you, Matthew, for a terrific letter. This president has taken us down a very dark path for the nation's future. Keep talking about it to everyone that will listen. People will eventually see the truth with the exception of the "Merrills" of the world.

3crookedhearts 7 years, 8 months ago

fear fear fear fear fear fear fear fear fear fear fear fear fear fear fear fear fear fear fear fear fear

What's the best way to fight against hope? Induce fear. What's the best way to fight fear?

Fearmongering has been pervasive since 9/11 and I'm tired of it. It makes me sad that people are exploiting the deaths of thousands to further their own agenda. Use logic and reason. Not fear.

Corey Williams 7 years, 8 months ago

barrypenders (anonymous) says… "I'm with Mahmoud." April 8, 2010 at 4:49 p.m.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 8 months ago

Worth repeating: • jkealing (Jonathan Kealing) says… bronze- I've warned you privately, now I'll warn you publicly. You do not have bearded_gnome's name correct. If you don't immediately cease to attempt to out an anonymous user, your account will be banned. In addition, I will immediately ban any account I suspect to be created by you without notice, warning or further cause. This is your final warning. Jonathan Kealing Online editor Why has paulette2 lasted this long?

3crookedhearts 7 years, 8 months ago

Barry, that's not a picture of me. That's a picture of Sean Connery from the John Boorman film Zardoz. Have you seen it? Its theme is ostensibly the idea that all religious belief is a superstitious mystification perpetuated by a cruel and repressive apparatus of priests and oppressors.

Pretension, manufacturing fear, and balderdash live unprecedentedly

Daniel Bone 7 years, 8 months ago

HaHa! That's great! I saw the picture and thought, "Can it be...?". Yep, there is no mistaking that long boot / man lingerie combo. I saw an article a couple of months ago comparing "Book of Eli" to "Zardoz." Had to look it up and after seeing that gem, I've been on the lookout for any old Connery movie of interest. Just shoutin' out to a fellow Zardoz fan. Heee! Great!

Flap Doodle 7 years, 8 months ago

Zardoz, a giant flying stone head & Sean Connery in a wedding dress, what's not to like about that?

BigPrune 7 years, 8 months ago

When I saw the headline I figured it would be a glowing comparison of how Obama is the reincarnation of FDR or some other drivel a common sense lacking liberal/socialist would profess. I was pleasantly surprised.

It wasn't FDR's social programs that lead us out of the Great Depression, it was war. A parallel-to-be perhaps?

tomatogrower 7 years, 8 months ago

And Barry is showing his lack of history education. FDR didn't nuke anyone. He was dead. That was Truman's decision, which most conservatives said was a good idea. You guys just waffle so much I get dizzy.

George Lippencott 7 years, 8 months ago

Is Iraq over? Maybe a bit premature to post a definitive outcome. They may pull it out, yet.

jonas_opines 7 years, 8 months ago

It sure doesn't take much commonality to declare a parallel does it? Just enough to allow the bleating to continue, I guess.

MyName 7 years, 8 months ago

Completely worthless LTE. They say Generals are always fighting the last war. Apparently armchair generals are always fighting the wars from 70 years ago.

I love how he claims Obama is declaring "to our enemies the perimeters of our national defense" without saying who those "enemies" are or how the President is doing that. If the goal is to reduce the number of nuclear weapons on this planet to zero (or as close as you can), then giving the nations out there one more reason to do so is sensible.

And it's really stupid how the LTE ignores the fact that Reagan, Eisenhower, Nixon and many other cold war Presidents shared this goal at a time when the existential dangers to this country (and planet) were more real than they are now, and the pressures to counter a nuclear threat were greater.

How can you claim Obama is making the country more dangerous when Reagan wanted to do the exact same thing, and he had the Soviet threat to deal with?

Yet another ignorant and unthinking LTE that should never have been published.

tomatogrower 7 years, 8 months ago

The rightwingers all need a common enemy. They would be really unhappy if peace broke out across the world. They might have to start beating their wives and kids. They must have someone to hate.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 8 months ago

Meet the USA war machine:

The Project for the New American Century (PNAC) is a neo-conservative think tank with strong ties to the American Enterprise Institute. PNAC's web site says it was “established in the spring of 1997” as “a non-profit, educational organization whose goal is to promote American global leadership.”

PNAC's policy document, “Rebuilding America's Defences,” openly advocates for total global military domination. Many PNAC members hold highest-level positions in the George W. Bush administration.

PNAC members in prominent government positions:

Dick Cheney Vice President

Donald Rumsfeld Former Secretary of Defense

Douglas J. Feith (former) Undersecretary of Defense

I. Lewis Libby Vice President Cheney’s former Chief of Staff and Assistant to the Vice President for National Security Affairs.

Aaron Friedberg Vice President Cheney’s deputy National Security advisor

Robert Zoelick US Deputy Secretary of State

Paula Dobriansky Undersecretary of State

Elliott Abrams Deputy National Security Adviser

Frank Gaffney Pentagon's Defense Policy Board

Fred C. Ikle Pentagon's Defense Policy Board

Eliot A. Cohen Pentagon's Defense Policy Board

Henry S. Rowen Pentagon's Defense Policy Board

William J. Bennett Presidential speech writer

Jeb Bush Former Governor of Florida

Paul Wolfowitz World Bank President

John Bolton Ambassador to the U.N.

Zalmay Khalilzad U.S. ambassador to Iraq



Richard Heckler 7 years, 8 months ago

Their Goal: The neoconservative agenda

Established in the spring of 1997 and funded largely by the energy and arms industries, the Project for the New American Century was founded as the neoconservative think tank whose stated goal was to usher in a “new American century”. Having won the cold war and no military threat to speak of, this group of ideologues created a blueprint for the future whose agenda was to capitalize upon our surplus of military forces and funds and forcing American hegemony and corporate privatization throughout the world. In their statement of principles they outline a fourfold agenda:

1) Increase an already enormous military budget at the expense of domestic social programs

Must see video: best documentary I've seen to date exposing the PNAC

Click here to see an interview with the creator Click here for free preview (.ram format) 2) Toppling of regimes resistant to our corporate interests
3) Forcing democracy at the barrel of a gun in regions that have no history of the democratic process
4) Replacing the UN’s role of preserving and extending international order
(This all can be read in their own words at www.newamericancentury.org)

Their Method

According to their own document, Rebuilding America’s Defenses ( .pdf format ) their stated goals would never be realized “absent some catastrophic catalyzing event –like a new Pearl Harbor”. (page 63).

George W Bush, whose political career has been nearly fully funded by the energy and defense industries was appointed by the Supreme Court after the disputed election of 2000. Immediately he appointed signatories of PNAC documents to the top levels of the Whitehouse and Pentagon.

It has now been proven that once Bush had all of his top levels filled by the PNAC, that our guard against terrorist attacks

George Lippencott 7 years, 8 months ago

And your point is? Of course there are neocon groups - they have a right to be. Yes, there were many neocons in the Bush administration. Look at what happened - they got fired. We could spend all day putting up URLs from groups on all sides - not sure that means diddly!

Me thinks there is some paranoia in all of your postings.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 8 months ago

The extended war machine:

Family Values: War, Wealth, Oil Four generations have created an unsavory web of links http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0208-05.htm ===================================================== 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.


Richard Heckler 7 years, 8 months ago

Did Iraq attack the USA? NO

Did Afghanistan attack the USA NO

Did Pakistan attack the USA? NO

Did Iran Attack the USA? NO

As a result of 9/11/10 about 9,538 americans have died:

Iraq - 5,396

Afghanistan 1042

Pakistan ?

Iran ?

New York City about 3,100

Estimated = 9,538( very close to 11,000) = when is too many?

More than 300,000 soldiers are dealing with brain damage = disabled PLUS those dealing with post traumatic syndrome = Muliti trillion dollar war = sinking the economy = Bring the troops home

How can anyone believe these people?

CRIME: Who hosted the Iran Contra secret illegal sale of weapons? Republicans! http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/nsa/publications/irancontra/irancon.html http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/reagan/peopleevents/pande08.html

CRIME: Who brought the nation Iran Contra number 2? Republicans! http://www.democracynow.org/2008/3/5/iran_contra_20_how_the_bush

CRIME: Which party held secret energy meetings and refused our elected officials its' content and who attended? GW Bush and the republicans!

Which party lied to congress and the world,went against military advice and created the worst strategic blunder in the history of the USA aka Iraq War? Republican Party! http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10348418/#storyContinued

Which party has held secret oil deals with Saudi Arabia? Republicans! http://www.democracynow.org/2004/4/20/did_bush_cut_secret_oil_deal

Secret Oil deals for Iraq Oil- Republicans! http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/newsnight/4354269.stm

jonas_opines 7 years, 8 months ago

Ignore button, please. The slinky-linker is draining my bandwidth! And hurting my poor scrolling thumbs.

Scott Drummond 7 years, 8 months ago

I suggest you open your mind and read some of the information Merrill posts. Then thank him for his good citizenship.

Or you can continue to exercise your thumbs more than your brain.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 8 months ago

People may have read some of those the first 100 times he posted the same set of links. The next 200 times, not so much.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 8 months ago

THE RECKONING The Iraq War Will Cost Us $3 Trillion, and Much More

By Linda J. Bilmes and Joseph E. Stiglitz Sunday, March 9, 2008

There is no such thing as a free lunch, and there is no such thing as a free war. The Iraq adventure has seriously weakened the U.S. economy, whose woes now go far beyond loose mortgage lending. You can't spend $3 trillion -- yes, $3 trillion -- on a failed war abroad and not feel the pain at home.

Some people will scoff at that number, but we've done the math. Senior Bush administration aides certainly pooh-poohed worrisome estimates in the run-up to the war.

Former White House economic adviser Lawrence Lindsey reckoned that the conflict would cost $100 billion to $200 billion; Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld later called his estimate "baloney." Administration officials insisted that the costs would be more like $50 billion to $60 billion.

In April 2003, Andrew S. Natsios, the thoughtful head of the U.S. Agency for International Development, said on "Nightline" that reconstructing Iraq would cost the American taxpayer just $1.7 billion. Ted Koppel, in disbelief, pressed Natsios on the question, but Natsios stuck to his guns.

Others in the administration, such as Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz, hoped that U.S. partners would chip in, as they had in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, or that Iraq's oil would pay for the damages.

The end result of all this wishful thinking? As we approach the fifth anniversary of the invasion, Iraq is not only the second longest war in U.S. history (after Vietnam), it is also the second most costly -- surpassed only by World War II.

Why doesn't the public understand the staggering scale of our expenditures? In part because the administration talks only about the upfront costs, which are mostly handled by emergency appropriations. (Iraq funding is apparently still an emergency five years after the war began.) These costs, by our calculations, are now running at $12 billion a month -- $16 billion if you include Afghanistan.

By the time you add in the costs hidden in the defense budget, the money we'll have to spend to help future veterans, and money to refurbish a military whose equipment and materiel have been greatly depleted, the total tab to the federal government will almost surely exceed $1.5 trillion.


But the costs to our society and economy are far greater. When a young soldier is killed in Iraq or Afghanistan, his or her family will receive a U.S. government check for just


independant1 7 years, 8 months ago

Just more of the pot calling the kettle black.

independant1 7 years, 8 months ago

as memory serves, all but one (obama) voted for military intervention. all agreed with the WMD assessment here and on other side of pond. all but the one agreed on the projection of force. now he's running the show in Iraq. rather comical in a sordid comical sense.

Mike Ford 7 years, 8 months ago

wow, a revisionist dumblican lovefest. Seriously all dumblicans, your chosen political leaders have neglected this country for so long creating your own system of who should and shouldn't have things that someone had to attempt to fix YOUR MESS. I know about about a certain Herbert Hoover, Warren Harding, and Calvin Coolidge who all adhered to Laissez Faire economic policies of deregulation that led to the Great Depression of the 1930's. This was in American History class in a tea party dumblican part of Jefferson County, KS, in the late 1980's. where I attended High School. Like Mr. Obama FDR had to attempt to fix all of the GOP messes and he did a good enough job of it that he got four terms out of it.. It took that long to fix YOUR MESSES. Like the tea party dumblicans, there were dumb people like Charles Curtis who had caused the Depression that swore up and down that if FDR ws elected he would make the problem worse. Wow Charles Curtis and the tea partiers sound a lot alike.Both of you caused problems and didn't want other people to fix them. I don't know if the tea partiers would tolerate a Native American U.S. Vice President in their midsts. All of that anger and no real plan. You'll do real good in November (LAUGHTER).

Mike Ford 7 years, 8 months ago

gee, you don't think supreme court obstruction in 1937 of FDR policies had anything to do with the recovery taking another seven years. why do you think that you can ignore the damages the GOP did in the 20's to cause the whole mess. This is the problem with the denialicans that think they can ignore their actions and call out others for the messes they cause. when you play upon the fears of the dumb maybe this is possible.

1029 7 years, 8 months ago

This is kinda like that movie Major League where Willie Mays Hays was played by Wesley Snipes, but then in the sequel Omar Epps was Willie Mays Hays. Even though they were different people, they were still the same guy. This is kinda how it is with Obama and FDR, that though they are different, they are still kinda the same guy.

independant1 7 years, 8 months ago

Democrats take the whole thing as a joke. Republicans take it serious but run it like a joke. (Will Rogers)

independant1 7 years, 8 months ago

We only have one or two wars in a lifetime. But we have three meals a day. When you have helped raise the standard of cooking then you would have raised the only thing in the world that matters. (Will Rogers)

esteshawk 7 years, 8 months ago

Hmmm. So according to the writer of this letter - void of any real substance - thinks that because Obama is committed to reducing nuclear (NUKE-u-lar?) weapons he is committed to destroying America? I wonder what Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Ford, Reagan, and Bush the Elder think about that (notice the two names left off the list?).

Come on folks, it's not 1960 anymore, and Sean Connery isn't going to save the world from Blofeld.

Alyosha 7 years, 8 months ago

The President's goal is to secure all weapons-useable nuclear material within four years in order to prevent Al Qaeda or other terrorist groups from obtaining and using nuclear weapons (either a nuke or a dirty bomb) against America or our allies.

And somehow Republicans, and many in this comment thread, think this is a bad thing.

Sticking to the facts, and refraining from fantasies, I would like to hear an explanation, from our fellow citizens on the right, how eliminating the possibility of Al Qaeda exploding a nuke in New York is a bad thing.

If you on the right want Al Qaeda to have access to nuclear material, why not just come out and say that, and explain to us, your fellow citizens, why you want that? Opposing the Presidents policies and actions with regard to non-proliferation and securing nuclear material suggests you are fine with the likelihood of Al Qaeda gaining access to nuclear material.

I, for one, applaud the President Obama's following in Presidents Reagan and Bush I's policy footsteps in terms of non-proliferation, reducing the number of nuclear weapons in the world, and securing nuclear materials so they don't fall into terrorists' hands.

George Lippencott 7 years, 8 months ago

I think the letter was about military-political and not economic policies. There have been books written on this specific subject.. Some suggest that FDR moved the fleet forward so that it would get attacked and we would join the war - a political objective. We were reading their mail but did not know PH was one of their targets so is the charge just?

Obama has negotiated a treaty with the Russians to reduce stockpiles and weapons systems. The Senate will advise and consent. We will ceratinly hear a lot more then and probably should keep our mouths shut until the actual ramifications come out. The Senate has rejected these kinds of treaties in the past. However, I doubt we are giving away the farm.

All the other things he is doing right now either are unilateral and reversable or a very good ideas (locking up nukes). He has my blessing on the latter although it will be a difficult path.

Mike Ford 7 years, 8 months ago

Firstly I'm not some loon from Winchester or Oskaloosa. I was taught by loons in McLouth (LAUGHTER). They still think like tea partiers. I never have and never will. Seondly, Independant1, Will Rogers was a DEMOCRAT and he was a Cherokee Indian from Oolagah, Indian Territory. Will Rogers would have nothing to do with a bunch of angry race-baiters being Indian. I'll stop this misappropriation from being like every time some dimwit Republican tries to invoke the spirit of Harry Truman when Harry Truman spent much of his career fighting Republicans and Dixiecrats who are the ancestors of the genuises? like Haley Barbour from Mississippi.

independant1 7 years, 8 months ago

My motto - I have not aligned myself with any party. Sitting tight waiting for an attractive offer. (Will Rogers)

I vote with my pocketbook.

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