Sunday, September 30, 2012

Afghanistan: The Forgotten American Nightmare


This stupid war gets worse and worse and ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, FOX, and nearly all other networks conveniently let it slide by.  After all, there are only 100,000 Americans there... just another "bump" for the Commander In Chief.  But hardly a bump for the families of those who are serving in the military there.

It is personal.  I posted this a month and one-half ago.


R.I.P. Spc. Kyle McClain
But there is more than that.  This is the content of emails sent to my congressman and senators for the state of Michigan:

I wish to express my concern regarding the present military tactics being employed in Afghanistan that place our soldiers at unnecessary risk. 
Please refer to this article: 
My concern is more than abstract; I have a niece who will deploy to Afghanistan before the end of the year as a medic.  She will be one of those soldiers who will have to venture into hostile territory unarmed as a result of the politically correct insanity that serves as leadership these days. 
I would like to see funding sharply curtailed for this military fiasco since the CIC has determined that there is no real long term vision, strategy, or goals for our involvement... only that we want to stand our soldiers up before hostile forces in the name of hope and change. 
Forgive my sarcasm. 
Bruce Hall
I sent a copy of those emails to my sister whose daughter is referred to in them.  She wrote back:
Last night I spent the evening crying and went to bed at 1 a.m. and tossed and turned. I felt angry and moody all morning. This problem is very real to me- too real. And while I greatly appreciate your letters, I still believe they will do no good. You didn't get a response from Scott Walker when you wrote to him. I didn't get a response to Obama when I wrote to him. And frankly, Mitt Romney doesn't have a better idea of what to do or not do in Afghanistan either. None of them are talking about it and they simply do not listen anymore. When the vast majority of Americans are against this war and they are ignored, it is hard to feel like writing a letter will make a difference. I really can't walk around absorbing the full impact of this every day because what happened last night is the effect it has on me. When the girls and I were together we spent an evening on the beach. A beautiful evening with a fire, making "s'mores" like little kids on a camp out and drinking wine like big adults -  together for a brief time, all of us. And that lovely night reduced me to tears because we talked about what ----'s wishes were in the event she died in Afghanistan. You know, how much insurance she carried, who would get what, where she wanted to be buried or if she wanted to be buried. We also talked about what her wishes were should she be injured and maimed - where she wanted to be treated, etc. This is more real to me than you can know and my letter will not stop it. What it will do is make this emotional trauma even more real for me. My daughters are my life and I don't even have them near me. For my own mental health I need to have the illusion that ---- will come back from that hell physically and mentally sound. I have no religious faith - that has proven empty and hollow and I have no faith in politicians whose promises are equally empty and hollow. The country is too polarized to have effective leadership anymore and the result is innocent people getting caught in the crossfire. I don't expect the best. All I can do is control how I deal with it and my way of dealing with it is to tell and show ----, every day, how much I love her and how important she is to me so that she can carry that with her. No one has to remind me how bad it is. 
Someone needs to remind our politicians how bad it is.  But, of course, I'll expect another politicized form letter in place of a true response.

I don't expect honor from our politicians; I used to expect that from our military leaders.  Now I only expect self-serving, weasel-wording, dishonorable "leaders" regardless whether they call themselves "elected officials" or "military leaders."  Washington, D.C. is bereft of honor.  It is filled with dishonesty and cowardliness.  Our "leaders" are the antithesis of the person for whom the nation's capitol city they infest was named.

Should I get such responses, I will publish them here so that you can judge them for yourselves.  Not a threat; a promise.  It is time that our non-responsive Washingtonians be called out by name.

No comments accepted on this one.

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“The Divine Afflatus,” A Mencken Chrestomathy, chapter 25, p. 443 (1949)
... and one could add "not all human problems really are."
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Tracking Interest Rates

Tracking Interest Rates


SEARCH BLOG: FEDERAL RESERVE for full versions... or use the Blog Archive pulldown menu.

February 3, 2006
Go back to 1999-2000 and see what the Fed did. They are following the same pattern for 2005-06. If it ain't broke, the Fed will fix it... and good!
August 29, 2006 The Federal Reserve always acts on old information... and is the only cause of U.S. recessions.
December 5, 2006 Last spring I wrote about what I saw to be a sharp downturn in the economy in the "rustbelt" states, particularly Michigan.
March 28, 2007
The Federal Reserve sees no need to cut interest rates in the light of adverse recent economic data, Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday.
The Fed chairman said ”to date, the incoming data have supported the view that the current stance of policy is likely to foster sustainable economic growth and a gradual ebbing in core inflation”.

July 21, 2007 My guess is that if there is an interest rate change, a cut is more likely than an increase. The key variables to be watching at this point are real estate prices and the inventory of unsold homes.
August 11, 2007 I suspect that within 6 months the Federal Reserve will be forced to lower interest rates before housing becomes a black hole.
September 11, 2007 It only means that the overall process has flaws guaranteeing it will be slow in responding to changes in the economy... and tend to over-react as a result.
September 18, 2007 I think a 4% rate is really what is needed to turn the economy back on the right course. The rate may not get there, but more cuts will be needed with employment rates down and foreclosure rates up.
October 25, 2007 How long will it be before I will be able to write: "The Federal Reserve lowered its lending rate to 4% in response to the collapse of the U.S. housing market and massive numbers of foreclosures that threaten the banking and mortgage sectors."
"Should the elevated turbulence persist, it would increase the possibility of further tightening in financial conditions for households and businesses," he said.

"Uncertainties about the economic outlook are unusually high right now," he said. "These uncertainties require flexible and pragmatic policymaking -- nimble is the adjective I used a few weeks ago."

December 11, 2007 Somehow the Fed misses the obvious.
[Image from:]
December 13, 2007 [from The Christian Science Monitor]
"The odds of a recession are now above 50 percent," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's "We are right on the edge of a recession in part because of the Fed's reluctance to reduce interest rates more aggressively." [see my comments of September 11]
January 7, 2008 The real problem now is that consumers can't rescue the economy and manufacturing, which is already weakening, will continue to weaken. We've gutted the forces that could avoid a downturn. The question is not whether there will be a recession, but can it be dampened sufficiently so that it is very short.
January 11, 2008 This is death by a thousand cuts.
January 13, 2008 [N.Y. Times]
“The question is not whether we will have a recession, but how deep and prolonged it will be,” said David Rosenberg, the chief North American economist at Merrill Lynch. “Even if the Fed’s moves are going to work, it will not show up until the later part of 2008 or 2009.
January 17, 2008 A few days ago, Anna Schwartz, nonagenarian economist, implicated the Federal Reserve as the cause of the present lending crisis [from the Telegraph - UK]:
The high priestess of US monetarism - a revered figure at the Fed - says the central bank is itself the chief cause of the credit bubble, and now seems stunned as the consequences of its own actions engulf the financial system. "The new group at the Fed is not equal to the problem that faces it," she says, daring to utter a thought that fellow critics mostly utter sotto voce.
January 22, 2008 The cut has become infected and a limb is in danger. Ben Bernanke is panicking and the Fed has its emergency triage team cutting rates... this time by 3/4%. ...

What should the Federal Reserve do now? Step back... and don't be so anxious to raise rates at the first sign of economic improvement.
Individuals and businesses need stability in their financial cost structures so that they can plan effectively and keep their ships afloat. Wildly fluctuating rates... regardless of what the absolute levels are... create problems. Either too much spending or too much fear. It's just not that difficult to comprehend. Why has it been so difficult for the Fed?

About Me

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Michigan, United States
Air Force (SAC) captain 1968-72. Retired after 35 years of business and logistical planning, including running a small business. Two sons with advanced degrees; one with a business and pre-law degree. Beautiful wife who has put up with me for 4 decades. Education: B.A. (Sociology major; minors in philosopy, English literature, and German) M.S. Operations Management (like a mixture of an MBA with logistical planning)