Sunday, February 28, 2010

We Don't Even Have a Sword!

An American army unit, while passing through an Afghan village, stopped to ask a local for help. After being peppered with a slew of questions about the Taliban, the poor villager cried out: “You have your tanks and planes. If you can’t defeat them with all of that, how do you expect us to help you? We don’t even have a sword!”

A sword. These are the people we bring our great army against- -a medieval lot of goat herders, cobblers, and metal smiths.

Now President Obama plans to escalate the war against these people. He tells America, “We will finish the job.”

No, Mr. President, you will finish nothing in Afghanistan. You have neither the power nor the moral authority.

This is what will happen: You will send the most advanced army on Earth against a poor and illiterate people. You will kill many of them- -men, women, and children- -and then you will leave. And the Afghan winds will blow over your tracks, and the Afghan rains will wash all trace of America away. All that will remain of America in Afghanistan will be what is told in the history books.

The Afghans will write their history. They will speak of the brief moment when the Russians interfered in their lives, and then again when the Americans interfered.

America’s story will be told on one page. No matter how many of our brave soldiers die there, no matter how we seek to glorify their sacrifices in our own books, they will merit only one page in the Book of Afghanistan. It will be a bloody page- -a tale of interference in the lives, the culture, and the history of the Afghan people.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

"Radical" or Just Plain "Ready"?

America is waging a war against people they pretend to not understand.

Recently, CNN featured this headline story: “What Turns Young Muslims Radical?” as though young Jews, Christians, and Hindus never turn “radical.”

Young men are the strong arm of all righteous (and un-righteous) movements. Just because they do not wait for formal declarations to go into action does not make them “radical.” They may simply see a cause bigger than themselves and feel compelled to be the first to lay their lives on the line.

When Kaiser Wilhelm was over-running Europe during World War I—even before America joined the war—young American men were traveling to Europe to fight the Germans. Before America’s Civil War, young Northerners called “Free-Soilers,” traveled to Kansas to fight (and sometimes kill) those who sought to extend slavery into the new territories.

Throughout history, young men of all faiths and nationalities have turned “radical” at the sight of perceived injustices against other human beings.

I myself as a young African-American, joined the front lines in the struggle against racism in America. My “militancy” crystallized in the late ‘60s when, at the age of 17, I fought in a race riot—up and down the halls of Baldwin High.

Where people care deeply, it is always their young men who rise up and show how much they care. This does not make anybody right or wrong; it only shows that we are all human.

Lincoln's Four Year Plan: Leave It All On The Floor

Barack Obama is fond of comparing himself to Abraham Lincoln. If not outwardly, then certainly there is an inner gleam when he thinks of the lanky senator from Illinois who became president. But there is more to Lincoln than being tall and lanky, and having come from humble beginnings: When he got his chance, Lincoln left it all on the floor.

Lincoln’s election to the presidency brought the nation to the brink of destruction. South Carolina immediately seceded from the Union, followed in swift order by the rest of the states that would comprise the Confederacy. The Fuse lit for the most explosive four years in America’s history. Lincoln never blinked.

Braving the winds of a perpetual storm, he learned war on the fly, even as he fought for the nation’s very survival. In his four years, 600,000 Americans died.

By the end of those four years, Lincoln had lost a son in the White House- -11- -year-old Willie- - his wife had gone mad, and he was left a gaunt and emaciated figure of his former self. He left it all on the floor. He won the war, he preserved the Union for us all, and then he died.

Barack Obama does not have to die, neither must he lose a precious daughter; Michelle need not go mad. But he does need to leave it all on the floor.

Mr. Obama: Think not about a second term. Conduct this term you have like it is your only term. Be a Lincoln. Do this, and you will get a second term, whether you want it or not- -whether you have the strength left to stand, or not. Do this for your country. Whether you know it or not, this is what you signed on for: To be a Lincoln; to leave it all on the Floor

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Tear Down That Wall!

The other day, on CNN, I was adopting American parents place a gadget inot the hands of their newly-adopted Haitian child. The child - no older than four - soon became enmeshed in buttons, oblivious to the proud parents who stood over him.

A technological device is the last thing that child needs. (He's just a baby!) He has been through a great earthquake. His entire world came crashing down. He needs talking with, and walking with, and reading to.
There will be plenty of time for technology. There is a short window - those early years - during which a parent can build a special bond with his child. Those precious years must not be wasted forging an unholy bond between child and technology. Instead of allowing such a wall between ourselves and our children, we should be tearing it down.
Then, there was our president - the same day, on the same channel - standing behind two TelePrompTers as he addressed a grade school audience. (They are just babies!) If you can be human with them, who can you be human with?
On of the raps against President Obama is that he is emotionally detached. His inability to "feel the people's pain," as Clinton would put it, is exacerbated by his tendency to inject technology between him and the people.
Now, as a cost-cutting measure, he wants to put a freeze on executive staff pay. Are you serious? Freeze? With the kind of advice they have been giving him, he should be imposing a pay cut. (Do that we'll call it "even.")
The first thing his over-priced staff should have done was advise him against taking TelePrompTers into a school - any school. In fact, except for major speeches, get rid of the TeleprompTer altogether. Designed as aids, they have become barriers that mirror insecurity.
Technology. It is becoming less and less about people communicating with people, and more and more about technology, itself.
Time for someone with guts in this administration to stand up to our president and say, "Mr. Obama, tear down that wall!" And time for us to do the same.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Take a Hike!

The Democrats are so proud of their "filibuster-proof" majority in the Senate that they will crawl on their bellies to appease it.

Enough already! With behavior like that, they don't deserve a 60 vote majority. Better that they had 56 or 57 seats in the Senate, instead. At least, then...perhaps, they would stand up like men rather than cow to the likes of Landrieu and Lieberman.

And speaking of Lieberman: It is time Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader, stripped the closet Republican of his committee chairmanships and told him to "Take a hike!"

And while he is at it, tell "Louisiana" Landrieu and "Nebraska" Nelson - who held the Senate vote on health care hostage for their own sakes - to do the same. The Democrats would be better off without them. They would certainly smell a lot better.

(Larry wrote this piece before the election of Scott Brown(R) to the Senate and ending the so-called "filibuster-proof" 60 vote majority for the Democrats in the Senate).