Obama declares war!

Presidential Declaration of War

President Obama has declared war!

Last night, in a 14-minute speech on the eve of the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks the president dramatically broadened the Iraqi conflict, announcing he has authorized a major expansion of the military campaign against ISIS terrorists — thereby beginning steps to expand and intensify the fighting.

But whether right or wrong, wise or crazy, each of these steps is fraught with dangers.

1. The United States will launch an aggressive campaign of airstrikes on ISIS Syria.

Danger: This could play right into the hands of Syrian President Assad, whose Russian-made planes have bombed his own people for three long years, responsible for many of the 200,000 mostly civilian deaths in the Syrian civil war so far. How precisely will U.S. jets avoid adding to this toll?

2. The United States will deploy hundreds more "military advisers" to Iraq, bringing the total number of military personnel there to 1,600.

Danger: Don’t these advisers wear boots too? And won’t those boots be on the ground? If so, how many more U.S. troops will be needed to defend them against ISIS forces launching targeted terrorist attacks against them?

3. For boots on the ground in Syria, rely exclusively on the moderate rebel forces in Syria.

Problem: They don’t exist. The anti-government moderates have been virtually wiped out. Most of those that weren’t bombed out by the Syrian government forces have been pushed out by ISIS. Only scattered remnants of these forces remain. And without the support of ground forces, any American bombing efforts are bound to be little more than a futile gesture.

Danger: If other Moslem states in the region, such as Saudi Arabia or Turkey, contribute ground troops or support the moderate rebels in Syria, they will be near and easy targets for ISIS terrorist attacks.

President Obama failed to mention or at best soft-pedaled, these dangers.

And what’s most ironic, his announcement was in stark contrast to the president’s year-ago speech, announcing major action (never taken) against the hated regime of Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad.

Then, Assad was the enemy. And ISIS was an ally of our moderate rebel friends.

Today, ISIS is the enemy. And Assad is the enemy of our enemy (but not our friend.)

The obvious big-picture danger: We are jumping into an extremely complex, three-way civil war, in which shaky alliances continue to shift and new enemies can emerge at almost any time.

More Complex than Korea, Vietnam and the Balkans.

In fact, the civil war in Syria is a four-way conflict (not including the United States.). They are:

  1. the powerful Assad regime,
  2. the powerful ISIS forces,
  3. the al-Qaeda aligned rebel forces,
  4. weakest of all, the "moderate" rebel forces, which we’re going to supposedly rely on as proxies for our troops on the ground.

And, the civil war in Iraq is also a four-way conflict:

  1. the Shiites,
  2. the non-ISIS Sunnis,
  3. the Kurds and
  4. ISIS.

It’s a quagmire that’s muddier than that of Korea, Vietnam or the Balkans. Our actions will inevitably set off a chain reaction of unpredictable consequences.

This dramatic expansion of the war against ISIS, especially with new stepped-up involvement by Saudi Arabia and other rich Persian Gulf countries, can only mean that billions more petrodollars will seek safety here in the United States.

Plus, untold billions more dollars will continue to seek refuge from Russia and Western Europe. Just yesterday, we got another shock from Vladimir Putin:

Even as he was withdrawing some of his troops from Ukraine, he made new shocking steps. He announced he is personally taking charge of Russia’s entire defense industry. He is going to push for more advanced weapons and a treaty-busting build-up of nuclear bombs. And he tested a missile capable of delivering a nuke 100 times more powerful than Hiroshima’s.

Global Water Shortages Pose Threat of War

On January 17, scientists downloaded data from a pair of NASA satellites and distributed the findings among the small group of researchers who track the world’s water reserves. At the University of California Irvine, hydrologist James Famiglietti looked over the data from the gravity-sensing Grace satellites with a rising sense of dread.

The data, released last week, showed California on the verge of an epic drought, with its backup systems of groundwater reserves so run down that the losses could be picked up by satellites orbiting 400km above the Earth’s surface.

"It was definitely an ‘oh my gosh moment’," Famiglietti said. "The groundwater is our strategic reserve. It’s our backup, and so where do you go when the backup is gone?"

That same day, California state governor, Jerry Brown, declared a drought emergency and appealed to Californians to cut their water use by 20%. "Every day this drought goes on we are going to have to tighten the screws on what people are doing," he said.
Seventeen rural communities are in danger of running out of water within 60 days and that number is expected to rise, after the main municipal water distribution system announced it did not have enough supplies and would have to turn off the taps to local agencies.

There are other shock moments ahead — and not just for California — in a world where water is increasingly in short supply because of growing demands from agriculture, an expanding population, energy production and climate change.

Already a billion people, or one in seven people on the planet, lack access to safe drinking water. Britain is currently at the other extreme. Great swaths of the country are drowning in misery, after a series of Atlantic storms off the south-western coast.

But that too is part of the picture that has been coming into sharper focus over 12 years of the Grace satellite record. Countries at northern latitudes and in the tropics are getting wetter. But those countries at mid-latitude are running increasingly low on water.

"What we see is very much a picture of the wet areas of the Earth getting wetter," Famiglietti said. "Those would be the high latitudes like the Arctic and the lower latitudes like the tropics.

The middle latitudes in between, those are already the arid and semi-arid parts of the world and they are getting drier."

On the satellite images the biggest losses were denoted by red hotspots, he said. And those red spots largely matched the locations of groundwater reserves.

"Almost all of those red hotspots correspond to major aquifers of the world. What Grace shows us is that groundwater depletion is happening at a very rapid rate in almost all of the major aquifers in the arid and semi-arid parts of the world."

The Middle East, north Africa and south Asia are all projected to experience water shortages over the coming years because of decades of bad management and overuse.

Watering crops, slaking thirst in expanding cities, cooling power plants, fracking oil and gas wells — all take water from the same diminishing supply. Add to that climate change — which is projected to intensify dry spells in the coming years — and the world is going to be forced to think a lot more about water than it ever did before.

The losses of water reserves are staggering. In seven years, beginning in 2003, parts of Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers lost 144 cubic kilometres of stored freshwater — or about the same amount of water in the Dead Sea, according to data compiled by the Grace mission and released last year.

A small portion of the water loss was due to soil drying up because of a 2007 drought and to a poor snowpack. Another share was lost to evaporation from lakes and reservoirs. But the majority of the water lost, 90km3, or about 60%, was due to reductions in groundwater.

Farmers, facing drought, resorted to pumping out groundwater — at times on a massive scale. The Iraqi government drilled about 1,000 wells to weather the 2007 drought, all drawing from the same stressed supply.

In south Asia, the losses of groundwater over the last decade were even higher. About 600 million people live on the 2,000km swath that extends from eastern Pakistan, across the hot dry plains of northern India and into Bangladesh, and the land is the most intensely irrigated in the world. Up to 75% of farmers rely on pumped groundwater to water their crops, and water use is intensifying.

Over the last decade, groundwater was pumped out 70% faster than in the 1990s. Satellite measurements showed a staggering loss of 54km3 of groundwater a year.

Indian farmers were pumping their way into a water crisis….


Is Osama bin Laden’s Killing a Con Job?

Wouldn’t you think that after spending trillions of dollars and killing hundreds of thousands of people, that after ten years, we could catch Osama bin Laden alive, the man who is supposed to be the mastermind of evil itself. Ironically by the time we found him bin Laden couldn’t have been more than just a tired, sick old man. He would probably have died naturally in a few years anyway, if he wasn’t already dead.

It’s also troubling that the federal administration can’t seem to get their story straight. First bin Laden is hiding behind a woman, using her as a shield as he returned fire. Then he’s unarmed. Now there are allegations from his daughter, who was on the scene, that bin Laden was taken alive and executed later, mob style. bin Laden family members who are now in Pakistani custody have also claimed that no shots were fired by anyone living in the compound.

The whole thing smells fishy. If official reports are true and we knew he was in the compound then why didn’t we take him alive – at nearly any cost. Think of the information he would have had! But instead our government seemed to go out of its way to kill him, which seems to me to be incredibly stupid… Unless they don’t want him talking.

bin Laden said several times that he had nothing to do with the events of 9/11. But former President George W. Bush used him, and 9/11, as the justification for entering Afghanistan and shredding the constitution. It would have been interesting to know who Osama thought was actually behind 9/11.

Then, after killing him, they dump his body in the Arabian Sea, using the excuse that he had to be interred within 24 hours as a Muslim, and it wasn’t possible to bury him because they didn’t want to create a shrine. Does our military go out of its way to bury every Muslim they kill within 24 hours? Absolutely not, in fact I’ll bet they leave most of those bodies as a treat for the dogs and the crows. We’ll now never know whose body that was. Or exactly how he was killed. All the physical evidence has been conveniently disposed of.

All that remains is the word of the US government, which lied about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and al Qaeda connections, about Iranian nukes, and, according to thousands of experts, about 9/11. Suddenly the government is telling us the truth about bin Laden’s death? I don’t believe it.

Think about this for a moment… The U.S. government has just taken it upon itself to assignate  someone without even a show trial like Saddam Hussein got. Yes it was Osama bin Laden, but even he deserves a trial, doesn’t he? The government has always had professional killers in its employ. But it at least had the decency to deny their existence. Now it brags about them, and parades them.

Americans were jumping and cheering around Times Square as if it was V-J Day when bin Laden’s killing was announced. It’s sad and degrading to celebrate a murder. We are celebrating a murder performed by contract killers. That’s what SEAL Team 6 does – much like the Army’s Delta Force. They’re told to go somewhere and kill any person or persons their “superiors” say, and they do it. If you wear a uniform, and work for a state, murder becomes acceptable, with no questions asked by anyone.

I believe Osama bin Laden is dead – whenever and wherever he died. I’m glad he’s dead. I don’t like what he believed in. But this is not the way these things should be handled. At least not by a supposedly free country.

Was Osama bin Laden actually a threat to the United States. By his own admission he said he was only up in arms for three reasons:

  1. The U.S. had its troops in Muslim lands;
  2. The U.S. was supporting the stooges running those countries; 
  3. The U.S. was supporting Israel, which he considered an oppressor of the Palestinians.
    If the U.S. desisted from those things, he was presumably happy to leave us alone. Are his demands so unreasonable? It’s not my business what goes on in sovereign nations around the globe, and it’s also not the business of the U.S. government. It has become too expensive – more than one trillion dollars each year – for the U.S. to remain entangled in other nations business.

Ultimately killing bin Laden will not solve the so-called terror problem.

Osama bin Laden is Dead?

If today were April 1 and not May 2, we might dismiss this morning’s headline that Osama bin Laden was killed as an April fool’s joke. bin Laden was killed in a firefight in Pakistan and quickly buried at sea. This morning’s headline has the odor of a staged event. The smell reeks from the triumphant news reports loaded with exaggerations, from celebrants waving flags and chanting “USA USA.” Could something else be going on?

Think about it. What are the chances that a person allegedly suffering from kidney disease and requiring dialysis, aflicted with diabetes and low blood pressure, survived in mountain hideaways for a decade? If bin Laden was able to acquire dialysis equipment and medical care that his condition required, wouldn’t the shipment of that equipment point to his location? Why did it take ten years to find him?

Consider also the claims, repeated by a jubilant US media celebrating bin Laden’s death, that “bin Laden used his millions to bankroll terrorist training camps in Sudan, the Philippines, and Afghanistan, sending ‘holy warriors’ to foment revolution and fight with fundamentalist Muslim forces across North Africa, in Chechnya, Tajikistan and Bosnia.” That’s a lot of activity for mere millions to bankroll (perhaps the US should have put him in charge of the Pentagon), but the main question is: how was bin Laden able to move his money about? What banking system was helping him? The US government succeeds in seizing the assets of people and of entire countries, Libya being the most recent. Why not bin Laden’s? Was he carrying around with him $100 million dollars in gold coins and sending emissaries to distribute payments to his far-flung operations?

No doubt President Obama is in desperate need of a victory. He committed the error of restarting the war in Afghanistan, and now after a decade of fighting the US faces stalemate, if not defeat. The wars of the Bush/Obama regimes have bankrupted the US, leaving huge deficits and a declining dollar in their wake. And re-election time is approaching.

The various lies and deceptions, such as “weapons of mass destruction,” of past administrations has had terrible consequences for the US and the world. But not all deceptions are the same. Remember, the entire reason for invading Afghanistan in the first place was to get bin Laden. Now that President Obama has declared bin Laden to have been shot in the head by US special forces operating in an independent country and buried at sea, there is no reason for continuing the war.

Is it the nature of justice in America to order the assassination of someone located in another sovereign nation who has not been put on trial, no matter how evil he has been made out to be? When a country spends 10-years and billions of dollars to chase a man around the world, only to find him ‘hiding in plain sight’ right next door to a country it has invaded, what does it say about its capability to keep its citizens safe? As the mainstream media is presenting all the information passed along by the US government without questioning any of it, could there be another side to the story that is not being discussed? In light of such an apparent ‘victory’, when will the civil liberties and financial privacies that have been taken so rapidly since 9/11 be reinstated? Regardless of any short-term euphoria, is the country headed in the overall right direction? Has there been any change in the ability of the nation’s leaders to forge real solutions?

Perhaps the precipitous decline in the US dollar in foreign exchange markets has forced some real budget reductions, which can only come from stopping the open-ended wars. Until the decline of the dollar reached the breaking point, Osama bin Laden, who many experts believe to have been dead for years, was a useful bogeyman to use to feed the profits of the US military/security complex.

Is the US is expecting visitors?

“CAIRO, Feb 18 (Reuters) – Egypt has approved the passage of two Iranian navy ships through the Suez Canal, an army source said, a move that could annoy Israel, whose foreign minister has called Iran’s actions a provocation.  “Egypt has agreed to the passage of two Iranian ships through the Suez Canal,” the army source told Reuters.”

The Red Sea is tight quarters. The military is always concerned about unintended incidents with war ships in such close proximity.

A quick check of the US Carrier battle groups shows something interesting:

The USS Enterprise and USS Kearsarge are straddling the entrance and exits to the Red Sea.  The USS Carl Vinson is parked directly off the beaches of Iran.  Probably in plain site of any sun bathers.  That is a lot of warships packed into a small area of the planet.  These ships never travel alone.
What is also curious is that on the east coast of the US the USS Bataan, USS Harry Truman and the USS GWH Bush are stationed.  On the west coast of the US the USS Makin Island, USS John Stennis and USS Ronald Regan are deployed.   It’s almost like a picket line has been formed on each coast. 

Is the US is expecting visitors?

PS: This information is a matter of public record.  Besides, it is never about where the ships are.  It is about what they are doing and where they are going.