David Brooks | The American Identity Crisis – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

For most of the past century, human dignity had a friend — the United States of America. We are a deeply flawed and error-prone nation, like any other, but America helped defeat fascism and communism and helped set the context for European peace, Asian prosperity and the spread of democracy.

 

Then came Iraq and Afghanistan, and America lost faith in itself and its global role — like a pitcher who has been shelled and no longer has confidence in his own stuff. On the left, many now reject the idea that America can be or is a global champion of democracy, and they find phrases like “the indispensable nation” or the “last best hope of the earth” ridiculous. On the right the wall-building caucus has given up on the idea that the rest of the world is even worth engaging.

Many people around the world have always resisted America’s self-appointed role as democracy’s champion. But they have also been rightly appalled when America sits back and allows genocide to engulf places like Rwanda or allows dangerous regimes to threaten the world order.

The Afghans are the latest witnesses to this reality. The American bungles in Afghanistan have been well documented. We’ve spent trillions of dollars and lost thousands of our people. But the two-decade strategy of taking the fight to the terrorists, in Afghanistan and elsewhere, has meant that global terrorism is no longer seen as a major concern in daily American life. Over the past few years, a small force of American troops has helped prevent some of the worst people on earth from taking over a nation of more than 38 million — with relatively few American casualties. In 1999, no Afghan girls attended secondary school. Within four years, 6 percent were enrolled, and as of 2017 the figure had climbed to nearly 40 percent.

David Lindsay Jr.

David Lindsay Jr.Hamden, CT | NYT comment:

This is a complicated essay by David Brooks, and I’m afraid he might have more good points than bad ones, but he fails to convince this reader, becasue of the dearth of real facts and knowledge of Afganistan. His first major mistake, was leaving out Vietnam in the first paragraph. He says we are keeping the Taliban at bay with little cost and almost no casualties, but what exactly are the numbers over the last five years. We already spent over a trillion dollars in Afganistan, because we wasted $2 trillion in Iraq, in a war that was a tragic mistake. I am knowledgeable now in the history of Vietnam, and our dive into that civil war was also an unmitigated disaster, based on a complete lack of appreciation for Vietnamese history and culture. What real experts in Afganistan’s history and culture think that there is any force in Afghanistan strong enough to stand up to the Taliban, without a lot more treasure by the US. The Taliban appear to be the most determined, and disciplined in this war, just like the Vietnames communists under Ho Chi Minh were. If that is not a fair comparison, who can explain in detail, why the forces we have supported have any chance with light support against the Taliban. Our side appears to be better at corruption and graft, than at fighting the Taliban.

David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth Century Vietnam” and blogs mostly at InconvenientNews.Net.

Flawed Justice After a Mob Killed an Afghan Woman – by Alissa Rubin, The New York Times

“KABUL, Afghanistan — Farkhunda had one chance to escape the mob that wanted to kill her. Two Afghan police officers pulled her onto the roof of a low shed, above the angry crowd.From Our AdvertisersBut then the enraged men below her picked up poles and planks of wood, and hit at her until she lost her grip and tumbled down.Her face bloodied, she struggled to stand. Holding her hands to her hair, she looked horrified to find that her attackers had yanked off her black hijab as she fell. The mob closed in, kicking and jumping on her slight frame.Continue reading the main storyRelated Coverage Kabul residents at the riverbank Friday where a woman’s body was set afire after she was stoned and beaten to death the day before. A Day After a Killing, Afghans React in Horror, but Some Show ApprovalMARCH 20, 2015 Afghan women protested outside the Supreme Court in Kabul on Tuesday, demanding justice for a woman named Farkhunda who was beaten to death last week after being falsely accused of blasphemy. Open Source: Afghan Protesters Demand Justice for Woman Killed by MobMARCH 24, 2015 Rika, whose stepmother poured acid on her face when she was a girl, in her room in the Women for Afghan Women shelter in Kabul. A Thin Line of Defense Against ‘Honor Killings’MARCH 2, 2015 Police training in Kabul. The hiring of policewomen has been a priority for Western funding organizations. Afghan Policewomen Struggle Against CultureMARCH 1, 2015The tormented final hours of Farkhunda Malikzada, a 27-year-old aspiring student of Islam who was accused of burning a Quran in a Muslim shrine, shocked Afghans across the country. That is because many of her killers filmed one another beating her and posted clips of her broken body on social media. Hundreds of other men watched, holding their phones aloft to try to get a glimpse of the violence, but never making a move to intervene. Those standing by included several police officers.”

Source: Flawed Justice After a Mob Killed an Afghan Woman – The New York Times

Bill O’Reilly: Benjamin Netanyahu the antithesis of Barack Obama

This writer finally registered at the New Haven Register website, to leave a comment on Bill O’Reilly’s Op-Ed piece Benjamin Netanyahu the antithesis of Barack Obama, published March 7, 2015. Here is the gist of my comment: This piece on Netanyahu is actually one of the best things Bill O’Reilly has written in a long time, even though it is still demagogic in several places. Merriam-Webster.com defines demagogue as:  “a leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power.”

            There are numerous problems with O’Reilly’s analysis. Let’s start with the fact that President Obama has not refused to tell the public what he wants or is thinking over Iran. It is not wise to print such falsehoods, and it is sad that people get away with it, unchallenged by the press. The New Haven Register will lose discerning customers by supporting such ideologically biased and unscrupulous writers.

            O’Reilly also wrote, “Iran is led by some of the world’s most dangerous villains.”  He makes such grandiose statements without supporting them. It has recently been written in the New York Times that it is the troops of Iran, with US air support, that are enabling the Iraqi Army to push back ISIS. There is an old saying, that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Back in the 1950’s, the US helped overthrow a democratically elected leader in Iran to put the Shah in power,  just to give one example of greater complexity regarding villainy. From Wikipedia, “In 1951 Mohammad Mosaddegh was elected prime minister. He became enormously popular in Iran after he nationalized Iran’s petroleum industry and oil reserves. He was deposed in the 1953 Iranian coup d’état, an Anglo-American covert operation that marked the first time the US had overthrown a foreign government during the Cold War.[92]  After the coup, the Shah became increasingly autocratic and Sultanistic. Arbitrary arrests and torture by his secret police, SAVAK, were used to crush all forms of political opposition.”   American exceptional interest in oil apparently was greater than our exceptional interest in democratic procedures in Iran.

            Today, a nuclear pact with Iran to keep it from making a nuclear bomb, would make the region safer, because a war with Iran over such issues would guarantee that they develop nuclear weapons, and then so would the rest of the neighborhood want and develop nuclear weapons. Then there could be hell to pay. A nuclear arms race in the middle east would make the United States and the world less secure. It is absurd to suggest that Obama has been hiding such thinking. There have been numerous speeches, statements and articles.

            O’Reilly rants and raves at President Obama, while ignoring that Netanyahu is building illegal settlements on Palestinian lands, making peace with the Palestinians impossible, and galvanizing the Arab world, helping ISIS recruit, and hurting US interests.  These missing points are examples of how O’Reilly simplifies complicated issues, reducing them to a series of chest beatings, and unsupported claims. He leaves out critical parts of the puzzle.

            O’Reilly scores points when he criticizes Netanyahu, and Senator Mitch McConnell, but doesn’t mention that Netanyahu and the Republican congress insulted President Obama and the American people by presenting Netanyahu to address congress to speak against our own President, and our country’s foreign policy, without notifying the State Department or requesting permission, which protocol demanded. It is the President’s right by the constitution to run U.S. foreign policy.

            It is a pity that the New Haven Register supports the rants of such ideologues as Bill O’Reilly. The Register should be helping their readers discern fact from fiction. It is confusing as to why they support or even put up with the demagoguery displayed in this latest O’Reilly op-ed.

 

 

Are massacres often connected to increases in population? Anecdotal evidence abounds.

This horrible story makes no sense. I immediately wondered, is this murder and mayhem  due also to the explosion of the population. Sure enough, from the NY Times comments,:

LB in Florida
“Pakistan is a failed state. The corrupt, inept government made a deal with the devil when it got into bed with the Taliban many years ago. Now the chickens have come home to roost. Couple that with incredible rates of population growth–188 million people, up from 75 million only 40 years ago. No jobs, no hope, religious extremism….hiding bin Laden a mile from the “West Point” of Pakistan….what do you expect from a disaster?”
120 Recommended

In one of Pakistan’s bloodiest attacks in recent years, scores of people were killed after Taliban gunmen stormed a school in the northwestern city of Peshawar, officials said, and hundreds of students remained trapped inside.
nytimes.com|By Salman Masood

http://nyti.ms/1uMOqnN