Sunday, November 8, 2009

Political Pandering of Ft Hood, New Lebanese Govt

Frank Rich
Seymour Hersh
Lee Siegel

“We’re not going to let the system go back to the way it was,” - Timothy Geithner
"As the unemployment rate crossed the 10 percent threshold at week’s end, we learned that bankers were helping themselves not just to bonuses as large as those at the bubble’s peak but to early allotments of H1N1 vaccine."   - Frank Rich
"It’s time to start asking ourselves whether our famous American freedom—in both its liberal and conservative formulations—is not actually a subtle form of dehumanizing tyranny."  - Lee Siegel

The White House leaked today that later this month President Obama will send 34,000  troops to Afghanistan. The number requested was 80,000,  The leak was done to see the reaction to the 34,000 number and let the debate begin, with the actual number ending up more or less than the first pitch thrown. The leak was in reaction to the Afghan government telling the UN and the US to back off and leave us alone! The two bodies have been giving Hamid Karzai suggestions on how to reduce the graft and corruption in his government. Its tough trying to change such time-honored national traditions all at once. It would be like asking Congress to outlaw lobbyists and their donations for votes cast their way, and we already have observed both Democrats and Republicans ignoring the calls to go without their fringe benefits...

One good thing that may come from the tragedy at Fort Hood is the public examination of the inadequate services the Army provides to its soldiers. Most of the psychiatrist's employed by the Army don't really offer any therapy, just prescribe drugs to gloss over the pain and guilt. Of course, there really isn't anything a doctor can do to alleviate the effects of such stress and witnessing such horrors on a daily basis. You can help provide catharsis, which will lessen the emotional burden, but each soldier has to learn acceptance, to take responsibility and learn from it instead of letting it destroy you. This takes at least 20 years to happen, and is why one generation of old warriors are better at counseling the next one instead of a doctor who has not experienced the same things, and would freak out more...
"They're so under-resourced that people just don't end up getting enough care, . . . I think it's a horrible place to practice psychiatry." - Dr Stephen Stahl

Of course, Texas politicians are using this horrible incident to portray themselves as the most capable and sympathetic to the situation: "Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison has emerged as the most visible official in the wake of the tragic shooting at Fort Hood, highlighting her ability to respond to a crisis amid a tough battle for the Texas GOP gubernatorial nomination.

Soon after news of the shooting broke Thursday afternoon, Hutchison was on Fox News with Neil Cavuto and later with Shepard Smith. She appeared on MSNBC with David Shuster and then later on “Hardball." She appeared twice on CNN’s Situation Room. She spoke with Jim Lehrer on PBS’s "NewsHour," appeared on a Dallas TV station, spoke with ABC news and NBC News and did an interview with Dallas TV station.

And she was quoted in nearly every major newspaper account, giving updates about the number of people dead and wounded and providing early snapshots about the alleged gunman – accounts typically given by law enforcement authorities rather than a sitting United States senator."

This is either good, solid politics or the worst sort of pandering off of other's misfortunes, depending on your point of view...

One story that is significant that has been pushed to the back-burner, is the new government formed in Lebanon: "Lebanon's political opposition has agreed to join a unity government under Prime Minister designate Saad Hariri. Hezbollah - a powerful Shia political and military organisation - says the opposition alliance it leads agreed to the move after talks on Friday. The governing coalition is believed to have agreed to a number of concessions, ending the deadlock that has existed since June's parliamentary elections...

... The young billionaire businessman Saad Hariri heads one of the largest business conglomerates in the Middle East and has powerful allies in Saudi Arabia and the West. But he is best known for being the son of Rafik Hariri - Lebanon's former prime minister who was killed in Beirut in 2005."
The assassination, which altered the course of Lebanon's history, marked the beginning of Saad Hariri's own political career." 

Lebanon is an important lynchpin for the security and stability of the Middl East. They absorb influences from both the US and Hezbollah, walking a tightrope of communicating back and forth. Along with Egypt, they probably have a more important role in  the Israeli/Palestinian process than Turkey has had. Of course, the only way we are going to get an agreement from the Israelis and Palestinians is to bulldoze the West Bank and drag Hamas kicking and screaming to the party...

The H1N1 flu virus isn't the only concern that should bother the Saudis once the Hajj starts later this month:
"Somebody should write about sexual harassment during the Hajj. Let us face it: some male pilgrims grope and harass female pilgrims, from what I hear. Do you think that Saudi authorities would address this problem?"  - The Angry Arab

And now, truly a moment of Zen:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hi! Thanks for commenting. I always try to respond...