Sunday, April 24, 2011

Are We Really Willing to Wage War to Protect Civilians?

Is the West truly ready to commit to fight wars on the premise of protecting human life? The UN office for the protection of civilians UNPC has reiterated that article 4 of the Geneva Convention was adopted in 1949 yet we have most often failed to live up to that article. Indeed after the numerous failures throughout the 90’s and in the early millennium in stopping conflicts that resulted in massive losses of civilians the UN created this new office in 2005-06 to further demonstrate the need to protect civilians from unnecessary violence. Whether it was Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo or the Darfur region of Sudan, the world and the UN stood by and watched or talked until it was far too late to make a difference.

The last time the West agreed to stop a slaughter was in Kosovo when the US, Britain and Canada bombed Serbian targets in both Kosovo and in Serbia without a UN Security Council resolution authorizing the use of force under the guise of protecting Kosovar Albanians who were fleeing to Macedonia and telling tales of mass executions, mass rape and mass graves. It turned out to be mass lies but that’s a seperate article all together. The point was the one time the West did act they were duped and had to move forward without a UNSC resolution because Russia and China refused to agree to use force (which didn’t stop the Russians from deploying a brigade of combat troops to the Pristina Airport).

Recent events in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Syria, Bahrain, and Yemen suggest we still have mixed feelings on the issue and have responded very differently in each case.

In Tunisia I think the world was stunned and reacted after it was over, in Egypt the world stood by because after a few days of violence between the police and the protesters the Army took over and ended the violence. In Libya we acted quickly and at least initially with overwhelming force but as the debate over the justification of the actions and the Obama administrations unwillingness to lead the effort or provide the bulk of the military hardware has lead to a horrific number of unnecessary deaths as Muammar Gaddafi realized that NATO was unwilling to use ground troops and like the Serbs before them were more than capable of withstanding an air attack without the threat of ground troops (In Kosovo the Serbs held firm for almost 90 days until NATO troops massed in Macedonia, they then agreed to remove their standing army from Kosovo back into Serbia). I believe that the promise of NATO military support has emboldened the rebels in Libya but the reality of air power alone has ensured 100’s more have died in the fighting of which most have been civilians. It continues to be a stalemate on the ground with a trickle of deaths on both sides daily.

In Bahrain, we ignored the violence, ignored the fact that Saudi Arabian troops moved into Bahrain to put down the protests using deadly force and switched channels, why because Saudi Arabia is a friend perhaps? Or is it because a dozen dead doesn’t cut it anymore? In Syria, the estimates are over 200 dead and counting including an armed attack on a mass funeral procession on Saturday 23 April, yet the West barely speaks of the Syrian uprising, it’s hard to imagine why one group of civilians is more important to protect than another but here is a perfect example, you have a dictator who supports terrorist groups, has attempted to build a nuclear weapons facility and who has willingly ordered his security forces to use deadly force against unarmed civilians protesters yet nothing...we turned the channel and said Libya is enough to allow us to feel that we’ve done our duty.

In Yemen we have a cooperative dictator who was more than willing to allow the West to help rid his country of Al Qaeda in exchange for ignoring his abuses against legitimate protest over a lack of basic services being provided and a quality of life that is shrinking. Again nothing from the West beyond an honourable mention on the BBC once a week when they grow tired of the Japanese Nuclear disaster or the Libyan war.

It’s hardly worth mentioning the other disgraces in the world like Zimbabwe but we really need to decide a couple of things if we are going to advance our civilization. First are we willing to do something tangible to dissuade radicals who pervert religion or culture to encourage wanton violence against others and second are we willing to say no to the ability of dictators around the world to slaughter their own people, only acting when they decide killing their own isn’t satisfying enough?

These are tough calls and the UNSC is not structured properly to ensure a uniformed outcome so how do we truly live up to the idea that civilized nations living in peace can continue to do so without fear and all people’s living on this earth can do so freely and without fear of their own governments?

My first suggestion is that we need to do away with the P-5 veto powers. We also need to expand the P-5 to at least the P-8, adding Germany, India and Brazil immediately and then electing 13 nations to the council for 2 year terms with all 21 nations having an equal vote. Second the authorization of the use of force should require a super majority of at least 14 nations voting yes before force of any kind can be used and finally I believe it’s time to create a standing UN military force that is governed and controlled by the UNSC. This force can be created in two ways, one from donor countries as it is now or from creating a force that is within a unified UN chain of command which ensure that no donating countries can add caveats that limits the usefulness of their troops on the ground. This would also allow for common equipment, common training and a clear understanding for the soldiers that would make up the force of who they are fighting for. A Canadian joins the Canadian Armed Forces to defend Canada and her interests so when they are deployed to Croatia and find themselves wearing Blue Helmets and being used for target practise by all sides they aren’t very highly motivated to sacrifice for Croatia but if a UN soldier joins the UN standing army they know in advance that they are fighting for human rights and may find themselves anyplace on the planet defending those general rights.

While I don’t have all the answers I do know one thing, for too long the world has debated and discussed human rights and dignity while watching millions die horrifically while we pick and choose which conflicts are worthwhile and which aren’t. It’s time to believe in this world and that all peoples are equal and worth saving and that those who choose to slaughter the innocent will not be tolerated any longer regardless of who their friends are, what natural resources they may have to offer, what religion they practise or what colour their skin may be.

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

When Presidents Get Idealistic in the Middle East

Hillary Clinton was right, when during the primaries she featured the ad that about an emergency call in the middle of the night and asked if the guy answering would have the experience to make the right decisions. When a candidate runs for office they most often compare themselves to the sitting President and say one of two things, I’m going to be my own man but not make major changes or they say, this guy is taking us down the wrong path and I’ll change things, yet these initiatives rarely if ever are what a President is remembered for and it’s even rarer that a candidate has been able to avoid the early morning call or even guess what that call might be about. Sure they all say I’ll do this differently with this regime (insert any current or ongoing pain in the butt country here). If we are talking to them the candidate says I’m going to get tough on them and if we’re being tough on them and not talking or continuing to seek more sanctions the candidate says we need to use dialogue to achieve our foreign policies goals.

George W. Bush’s speeches during his primary run and then as the nominee show us a man very focused on domestic issues. When it comes to foreign policy some of his initiatives were to be ending the idea of nation building and getting out of Bosnia and Kosovo...why because President Clinton had US forces there long after combat operations ended and the US military wasn’t built for nation building. He also proposed a review of the US force levels in South Korea suggesting that we could cut more than half of the 50,000 troops and instead station troops in less expensive Japan and reinforce if necessary but really he wanted to turn over the task of protecting South Korea to South Korea, he also proposed cutting the European command to less than 100,000 troops centred on fewer bases and if possible down to less than 50,000 troops in all of Europe by the end of his first term. The savings would be used to replace the military’s heavy equipment designed for the cold war and to pay the troops more. All good stuff and none of it happened because on a bright fall day a group never once mentioned by either candidate (even though the very group attacked US targets 5 times during the 2 Clinton terms) during the 2000 election attacked the US. Bush’s Presidency changed in a heartbeat as his fathers had when Iraq invaded Kuwait.

President Carter didn’t like autocratic leaders who wouldn’t help their citizens, he demanded better of the government he told its leader that without reform the US could not and should not support him and then President Carter cut off aid to that country. Roughly a year later an unknown Mullah came to power and ordered his followers to take over the US Embassy. After decades of friendship Iran became the enemy of the United States and still is.

President Obama needs to look hard at Middle Eastern history and that of Africa. While we’d like to believe that when young people take to the streets asking for more freedom, what comes of it most often is more repression and more chaos. I would truly wonder what a young Pakistani would say about his country today. Is he happier under President Asif Ali Zardari than he was under General Pervez Musharraf? If President Bush had resisted the urge to tie aid to reform and forced General Musharraf to agree to step down as the head of the military and then pressured him to leave office would Benazir Bhutto still be alive, would the Taliban not have been increasing ignored while Musharraf ensured he wasn’t going to be overthrown in coup and let the Generals off the hook in going after the hard core AQ and Taliban elements living in his country in exchange for their support?

Today we see Cairo in flames and we’re shocked, we see young people in the thousands risking and losing their lives to say we want more freedom and that the government have allowed the police to go too far. They are increasingly corrupt and brutal in the way they ensure bribes are paid. In fact what is really going on is a reaction to the corruption reaching a tipping point. The police and local government officials have gone too far in their demands for bribes and as in Alexandra, the main police station was the primary target for those who complained of beatings when bribes weren’t or couldn’t be paid by business people and average citizens but and it’s a huge but, what is truly waiting to replace Hosni Mubarak, is it the Nobel Peace winner or is it the official opposition party, the Muslim brotherhood? President Bush learned a harsh lesson when he called for fair and free elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip thinking the Palestinians would support the moderate candidates that wanted peace with Israel, he bet on freedom and what he got was Hamas and more rockets being fired at Israel and elected opposition Fatah members running for their lives back to the West Bank. It’s hard to walk back from we trust the people unless the people vote for a terrorist organization. You really have a hard time with your freedom agenda if the people freely chose a terrorist organization.

President Obama in 2009 called for more freedom in Egypt and today we’re seeing the people step up and demand it. In 2005 President Bush made the same call and Egyptians responded by electing the largest number of Muslim Brother Candidates ever. President Mubarak learned from that election and rigged the next one to ensure he got 88% of the vote and that the Brotherhood only elected a handful of candidates.
While I believe that the peoples of the Middle East can prosper in a democracy it is certainly not going to be in a Western style democracy so we need to work behind the scenes to help improve people’s lot in life, not in public, for out of protest the most frequent result in Africa and the Middle East is chaos followed by brutal repressive regimes that make the past injustices look mild not to mention these regimes are often thrilled to thumb their nose at the US and Israel thus destabilizing the region.

Should President Obama make the wrong choices in the next 96 hrs and even hint publically or to the wrong people privately that he’s considering suspending aid we’ll see protests like never before and violence beyond anything to date and the result will not be a more peaceful and stable Egypt that remains indifferent to Israel but a country ripe for Al Qaeda and it’s cousin the Muslim Brotherhood and then folks we’ll really see what happens when a US President gets idealistic in the Middle East.

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Monday, January 03, 2011

Sarah and CNN

So what’s up with the CNN political ticker headlines? At first I thought it must have just been me but after I really started paying attention I’d realised that over the past month Sarah Palin has been the headliner for all but about 4 days and every single one of the headlines on the main webpage have a negative connotation even if the story itself doesn’t. A good example was a few days back when the headline was “Palin abandoned by close supporter”. The actual story was about a Palin aid who has taken a chief of staff job with a new member of congress that Palin had supported. While some editor could work this into being abandoned it hardly seems so to the layperson reading the full story.

Why is it that CNN has declared war on Sarah Palin and is doing everything day after day to show her in a bad light? Did they do a poll and discover that Palin has high negatives with their on-line viewership or is it just me over analysing CNN’s intent? Their attempt to poison the well for her ahead of a potential Presidential run is becoming the norm for the MSM which is a pitiful.

It really makes one wonder why Sarah Palin has been the target of the vast majority of the MSM since appearing on the national scene during the 2008 election. It would seem that the more Middle America grew to like the plainspoken hockey mom the more the MSM had kittens and threw their Teddies but it begs the question why?

For what it’s worth I think it was the post-Hillary loss backlash that caused the MSM to have a hate-on for Sarah. While the MSM was in the tank for President Obama during the general election I think they were split down the middle during the Democratic primary with many pulling for Hillary too.

I was brought up in what could best be described as a blue dog house, by very strong women who believed in their own brand of feminism. They taught me that equal work demands equal pay and that nobody should be barred from doing something based on anything other than the ability to do that something. They also taught me that while women were well behind in many areas they didn’t want special treatment or access they wanted to compete and show the world that they were equal and often better when not hindered. I have a wife and two daughters and lord help the person that attempts to tell them or me that they are banned from being anything they want to be, but lord help my daughters if they think for a second that I think they should get anything without being qualified for it and working hard to achieve their dreams. Gender is not a benefit or a barrier but it would appear the US MSM have a different vision of what kind of women they should portray positively.

I don’t hunt, fish or camp, I really don’t believe that everybody should be running around with guns, I’m not at all religious to the point of not being sure that I believe in a god, I do try to be honest, moral and ethical and have failed in each category at times in my life, I do believe in a strong justice system, a strong foreign policy that doesn’t excuse countries who support terrorism or allow quasi dictators to slaughter their own citizens and I believe in having as small a government as we can have with as limited a tax base as we need, which means I support Sarah Palin in some respects and in others not so much, but why has the MSM and in this case CNN decided she’s not the right woman and must be undermined at every turn?

Well I think she’s not the right woman because they expected the first woman President would be the Democratic Party kind not the Republican kind. The kind that wants to ban guns to protect children, have a government funded national health care system to take care of everybody for free, a woman who brings her perspective to the argument of sharing the wealth and breaking down the old boys club that has destroyed the dream that was the free market.

While I’m all for accountability on Wall street regardless of whether or not it’s men or women in charge and I’m all for making sure everybody has a reasonable level of health care, I can’t for the life of me understand why people want to punish success. The whole tax the rich more is a great headline but I’ve yet to meet the poor person who ever created a job. Taxing the rich means the rich spending more on accountants to seek additional tax shelters and ignores the fact that the rich pay more than 75% of all the taxes paid already, while the poor pay almost none and almost all that they do pay in mandatory deductions is returned to them by Uncle Sam.

If women believe in equality, true equality, they need to stand up and say that while they might not agree with Sarah Palin she must be treated with respect and with dignity or their cause will be fractured and eventually lost. There will never be a female US President as long as men and women allow the MSM to pre-emptively destroy Sarah Palin because she doesn’t represent their ideal of what a woman candidate should. Let her win or lose on merit and trust in the American people to make the best choice in November 2012.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

New Climate Change Same as the Old Climate Change

As the latest Global Warming conference in Cancun, Mexico has just wrapped up almost unnoticed by the main stream media it would appear the name change from Global Warming to Climate Change hasn’t helped, as much of Europe and the East Coast of North America have been continuously pummelled by snowstorms and cold weather while Western Canada was bitterly cold in October and November.

The European newscasters have been too busy talking about airport closures and motorway closures due to snow and ice to cover those sunning themselves in Cancun talking about the fact that the world is going to hell and a hand basket. I also found it rather strange to find out that Al Gore’s front company Generation Investment Management is in full retreat closing offices faster than the Brits can clear snow at Heathrow Airport. His company is all about helping people with the creation of sustainable green jobs and once had offices in 37 states but now only manages locations in 7 states with several more scheduled to close in 2011.

So what began as Global Warming morphed into Climate Change which sounds better when the weather continues to cool but even that’s not cutting it anymore and in the US there’s no hope of getting any legislation through so the Obama administration is quietly abandoning the idea of pushing a Cap and Trade bill through Congress in favor of changing the administrative rules behind the scenes. As if it’s not scary enough that we’ve seen scientists flat out lying about results that don’t match their expected outcomes and that we have governments who can’t legislate change using bureaucrats to do the dirty work but now comes the latest and most effort by the Global Warming crowd to have their way with the world.

Enter GEOENGINEERING, yes it’s time to ignore reality and let scientists fix the problem that scientists can’t yet figure out why or how it’s happening, or if it’s a man made change in our climate or a normal cycle of change but this is really the back to the future method that I wrote about in October 2007 in piece about the Time Magazine cover in the 70’s that spoke about the coming mini-ice age and the scientists of the day’s effort to save us all (

If the scientists of the mid 70’s had had their way they would have used technology to change the existing climate and avoid the predicted coming Ice Age, thankfully they didn’t have the technology and within a few years the earth began to go through a warming period which lasted until the mid-90’s. Today we have several leading global warning scientists advocating the same foolish approach; in Cancun the buzz for this conference was all about geoengineering. "The taboo is broken," Paul Crutzen, a Nobel Prize-winning atmospheric scientist, told The Associated Press.

Some examples of schemes to solve our warming problem were use aircraft, balloons (maybe they could recruit the balloon boy’s father, Richard Heene as the test pilot?) or use big guns to spread sulphate particles in the lower stratosphere to reflect sunlight, easing the warming scientists say is being caused by carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emitted by industry, vehicles and agriculture. Others suggested assembling several huge mirrors in low orbit to fend off the solar radiation, if you used diamonds you could just get the James Bond screenwriters to work out the details. Still others propose -- and a German experiment tried -- seeding the ocean with iron, a nutrient that would spur the spread of plankton, which absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide.

From spraying ocean clouds with sea salt to make them brighter and more reflective; to planting vast arid lands with agave, the "tequila plant," which stores carbon for years and grows where climate-friendly forests can't; to developing the chemistry and machines to suck in CO2 from the air and store it scientists are increasingly becoming convinced that they can do something to fix the problem. They reason that man created this problem and man can fix it. Thankfully as the last Ice Age melted away they weren’t around to fix the global warming of the day that led to the ability of mankind to not only survive but thrive on this planet.

Now before you think I belong in the loony bin or that I’ve spent too much time on fringe science websites, you should realize that this is moving forward. In September, the U.S. Government Accountability Office recommended in a 70-page report that the White House "establish a clear strategy for geoengineering research" within its science office. A month later, a report from U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon, a Democrat from Georgia who chairs the House Science and Technology Committee, urged the government to consider and fund climate-engineering research "as soon as possible in order to ensure scientific preparedness for future climate events."

In the 70’s the best science of the day was being used to tell us what we had to do to avoid an Ice Age caused by too pollution and CO2 gasses blocking the suns rays, they were wrong and the planet spent the next 20 yrs warming. Today the best science of the day is being manipulated to tell us that the planet is still warming for the very same reasons except now it’s because those gasses are dissipating and what we have to do to avoid the dreaded 2 degree increase that will wreak havoc and lead to the destruction of mankind but again they are wrong, and the planet has begun to cool again and is returning to the temperatures of the 80’s suggesting that short and long term natural cyclical effect that science has yet to figure out yet these esteemed scientists simply won’t admit that their altering of scientific data is damning to the vast majority of us laypeople. If what they are telling us is true the data should clearly back up their position and show an ongoing increase in temperatures towards the dreaded 2 degree increase yet it doesn’t.

I firmly believe that when it comes to mother nature man is a tiny tiny cog in a huge wheel and we’re in our infancy of understanding why climate changes and what those cycles involve, do we play a part of course we do, but when we had severe cooling during the dark ages it was estimated that we had about 800 million people or less on the planet, we now have 6.8 billion and yet we’ve still seen global cooling and warning at different periods over the 1000 or so years that followed the end of the dark ages. If you believe the global warming theory and that man is the number one reason for that warming (and can therefore reduce our output of green house gases and save the day) then you would have to believe that temperatures would only go up as man increased in population and having moved through the age of industrialization and deforestation throughout Europe, North America and Asia as the human footprint continued to increase yet it hasn’t...why?

This latest effort to get around the facts is the most dangerous yet, if we allow scientist to move ahead with plans to fix the problem we have to ask about the law of unintended consequences. Had those who were convinced in 1973 that an Ice Age was around the corner been capable of taking steps to warm the planet, they would have added or altered the natural warming that we now know took place. Today we have efforts under way to cool the planet when it’s already begun to do that on its’s a shame that politicians and scientists egos are getting in the way of reality. It’s hard to trust people who have already been found to skew data to fit a predicted outcome but I’m also convinced that there are enough true scientists left and more speaking out every day to stop this nonsense and focus on obtaining a better understanding of the earth natural climate change cycles and what if any impact man is having on them but to think we can geoengineering a solution is about as realistic as saying we can stop hurricanes.

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Monday, November 29, 2010

A Classy Exit

By T. Lee Humphrey

Former President George W. Bush spent the last few weeks hitting the talk show circuit and giving interviews to all the major networks and cable stations promoting his book Executive Decisions. He’d given a few speeches since leaving office as well, including one in Calgary, Canada my hometown that I was fortunate to attend at his invitation as a reward for my work at the US Embassy in Kabul from 2005 to 2006. The speech happened in March 2009 and was billed as his first formal speech after leaving the White House in January. He didn’t speak at all about his thoughts on the President Obama or his policies and it would appear that regardless of the recent attempts of the likes of Oprah or O’Reilly or anybody else he’s still not willing to talk about the current policies of the Obama administration or even about the current administrations never ending attempts to blame him for all the countries ills after almost 2 yrs under Obama and 5 yrs of a Democratic Congress running the show. President Bush’s appearances got me to thinking about other past Presidents and what they’ve done after leaving office and more specifically how they’ve treated their successors.

I became aware of US politics at a fairly young age mainly because my mother was an avowed left winger on most social issues but a very strong conservative on justice and foreign affairs as well as being somewhat of a compassionate fiscal hawk so while she was never fully happy with either Canadian or US parties she did tend to be what has come to be known as a Blue Dog Democrat and she also understood the link between our countries and taught me that the policies and government of the US had a profound impact on Canada’s economy so I should pay attention which I’ve tried to do. Based on my introduction to politics I’ll start with Richard Nixon who was overwhelmingly re-elected in 1972 only to be impeached a couple of years later.

Richard Nixon to the best of my knowledge and research never spoke about Gerald Ford’s administration and only went on the record a few times after leaving office most famously in the Frost-Nixon Interviews when he attempted to resurrect his imagine and defend his actions as it related to the Watergate Affair after which he really was never heard of publically again.

Gerald Ford like Nixon went quietly into the night after the election of Jimmy Carter in 1976 as did Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush with only President’s Carter and Clinton going after sitting Presidents. It would appear that a trend is happening. We have two Democrats that remain in the yappy column and 5 former Republican Presidents remaining silent.

I wonder why that would be, it’s not like Republicans are any less shy about attacking the opposition but it would appear at first blush that Republican Presidents are more likely in the last 36 yrs or so to better respect the office holders that succeed them. I mean you can understand why Reagan didn’t have anything negative to say about his former Vice President but he sure could have made headlines in 1993-4 by slamming President Clinton and his attempts to bring in Hillarycare yet he didn’t, nor did Bush the elder.

Yet President Carter just couldn’t resist getting involved and speaking out against President GW Bush at every opportunity and to be completely fair he was even willing to take a few swipes at President Clinton for fun too. He continues to interject himself and is more than willing to give President Obama a headache or too by continuing to mess around in North Korea even though his incompetence set us on the current course after the North struck a deal with him in 1994 and he convinced President Clinton that the North would honor the agreement but as we now know they didn’t and his ignorance allowed them to construct a plutonium enrichment facility while President Clinton was trying to figure out the definition of the word “if” and wondering if the “blue dress” was really going to lead to the first President to be impeached over an affair with an intern. As recently as this past week, President Carter couldn’t help but point out that only he along with his Chinese friends could resolve the North Korean problem.

President Clinton actually fared well and really tempered his comments regarding President GW Bush until Senator Clinton decided that she wanted to become POTUS too and then he was all about slamming the Bush administration as frequently as he could get a hold of a microphone.

While I’m not willing to give President Clinton a complete pass I can see that he attempted to honor tradition and not comment on the administration that succeeded him until he needed to help his wife and any husband worth his salt will go to the matt for the woman who stuck with him after he got caught cheating publically for the umpteenth time so I can understand why he broke the code but President Carter is another story. I’ve written about him a few times and every time my conclusion is the same, not only was he the worst President in every category (foreign and domestic policy) in the last half of the 20th century he was most likely the second worst President in US history and to make matters worse he’s gone on after his Presidency to screw up the two major assignments he took on in Haiti and North Korea and therefore I think his never ending efforts to stick his nose into other administrations is an ongoing attempt to gain a respect he’ll never achieve with the American public.

Had President Carter stuck with Habitat for Humanity as his post Presidential effort I’m guessing that his time in office and all the terrible decisions we’re still suffering with like OPEC and Iran would have been forgotten and he would be remembered as the President with a good heart who helped people get a fresh start which is a very noble and wonderful thing but instead he continues to seek the limelight and point out the failings of every President that has come after him.

Is it a trend that Democratic Presidents don’t follow the code that says there’s only one President at a time and after your turn is up you need to hush up...well two is hardly a trend and President Clinton only seems to make comments in support of his wife so no I don’t think there’s a trend but I do think President Jimmy Carter should heed my advice when I wrote “Dear Jimmy” at the end of September and if not my advice that of General MacArthur when he suggested that old soldiers simply fade away. President Carter needs to fade away for the sake of President Obama and for America and I hope President Obama when his time comes in 2 or 6 yrs will follow President GW Bush’s classy exit and not President Carters.

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Chinese Puppet Roars

By T. Lee Humphrey

At the end of Oct 2006 I published a piece on North Korea entitled “The North Korean Standoff” ( after they’d attempted to test a 3-stage rocket in July 2006 and failed and then attempted their first nuclear weapons test and again failed but signalled their move towards entering the nuclear weapons club and certainly confirmed that they’d manufactured enough weapons grade plutonium to move forward with a test program and eventually a production program.

The focus of the piece really was some background on North Korea and the attempts by both President’s Clinton and Bush to thwart the efforts of the North to move down this path. Both President’s tried carrots and sticks with Clinton offering up more carrots than sticks which resulted in the North promising not to develop weapons and doing so the minute ex-President Jimmy Carter left and Clinton was looking the other way. President Bush, once he realized that the US had been duped only really used sticks until it was obvious that the North had sufficient plutonium and were just a few years away from an operational delivery system. It was at this point that Bush agreed to the 6-party talks, which did nothing to deter the North from continuing to develop their weapons and delivery systems while also building a uranium producing plant too. The attempts to use UN sanctions to stop this effort and the 6-party talks have amounted to absolutely nothing.

In my earlier piece I suggested that in 2008-2009 the West would be at a tipping point and have to choose whether or not to pre-emptively attack North Korea or accept that they will have achieved the capability to deploy nuclear tipped missiles capable of striking our allies in the hemisphere. Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and Australia will immediately become more vulnerable while Hawaii may also be in range.

Thankfully President Bush spent the money necessary to develop our anti-missile defense system and deployed it and even with President Obama’s tinkering to appease Russia would most probably be able to shoot down any missiles launched by the North as they most likely at this stage only have 6-8 warheads capable of fitting onto a 3-stage missile but each year that they are able to continue to develop missiles and warheads moves us to a stage whereby one or two may make it through any defensive screen to their targets. The North will continue to refine plutonium and now uranium and will continue to further develop its nuclear weapons and delivery system program regardless of the efforts by the west or the UN so this begs the question where are they getting the material support and money from? They have nothing of value to sell, they have no natural resources to speak of yet they’ve managed to build a high tech plant to refine uranium with some 2,000 centrifuges all the while maintaining a hardened plutonium refining plant and a missile production facility while maintaining a huge standing conventional army, airforce and navy.

I’m going to take a wild guess here and suggest that all that money China has been collecting in interest on US debt may be finding its way into the hands of their North Korean friends and allies not to mention large amount of equipment and resources. If you look at the North Korean conventional military forces they are using a combination of Russian and Chinese exactly did they pay for this equipment? No oil or minerals to speak of, a starving population and UN sanctions up the hoop yet North Korea is expanding its nuclear weapons capability and now lobbing hundreds of artillery shells at our friend, after getting away with sinking one of its naval vessels last spring and the best we can do is sternly warn the North that if they do it again we’ll act? Really, this is the best we’ve it again and we’ll do something about it, after all they’ve done in the past four years to thumb their collective noses at the West and the US with a wink and a nod from the Chinese not to mention the pain they’ve inflicted on several dozen South Korean military families and civilians. And let’s not get too excited about the dispatching of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington to participate in naval exercises because that’s exactly what was done after the sinking of the South Korean naval vessel in the spring...really dissuaded the North from acting again didn’t it.

While the Chinese massively rearm and develop an aircraft carrier fleet as well as an amphibious capability I’m thinking they are testing Americas resolve to really respond to a friend in need in advance of their goal of taking Taiwan back, by force if necessary. I last wrote about their efforts to do just that in Aug 2007 in a piece entitled “The Next Conflict” (

I can only hope I’m out to lunch with all this forecasted conspiracy talk but while my timelines might be off somewhat I’m starting to think my premise is correct, although I never put the two actions together until today. The Chinese will be the next great superpower but to do so they must ensure the US will not stand in their way and there’s no easier way to test the resolve in ones enemy without exposing yourself than to set up a similar situation and study Americas actions or inactions and then apply the lessons learned. The Chinese just happen to have a dying lunatic on speed dial to help them with their goals.

Is America and President Obama prepared to act? Is the President of South Korea prepared to suffer thousands of casualties to allow the regime in the North to be overthrown by force or is he content to be bled until America fully deserts him? Time will tell but I’m guessing no and hell no so the people of Taiwan should recognize that if the US isn’t willing to support South Korea they are most definitely on their own when the Chinese coming knocking.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

You Can Touch My Junk Part Two

By T. Lee Humphrey
In You Can Touch My Junk part one I talked about the realities of the fully body scanner and tried to lower the language temperature by explaining that the MSM and anti-scanner crowd term naked picture didn’t really apply but to no avail. The MSM and more shockingly the right-wing of the MSM continues unabated in their attempt to portray these images as something that would be better suited to Playboy Magazine when in fact they are more akin to a faceless, featureless mannequin than anything else.

I should also point out that the reason I’m doing a part two is because of the response I received from You Can Touch My Junk, I obviously didn’t do a good enough job in explaining why it is I fully support these scanners and the practise of applying them universally as opposed to randomly or by using profiling. Those against the scanners are suggesting that we’re wasting our time by using them on Granny or the disabled or little children while pointing out the half a dozen or so cases where the TSA mishandled people (out of roughly 5 million people who’ve travelled during the same time) who refused to use the scanners or were selected for an enhanced pat down search while ignoring the benefits so let’s look at my personal experience with airport security and my opinion of why I believe the benefits far outweigh the negatives.

First my background in airport security, while I’ve worked on two airport projects as a security consultant (Ecuador and Russia) my experience primarily comes from travelling the world and I don’t mean the Western world I mean the developing world. I used a very cool Facebook application this morning to determine that I’ve been to 37% of the countries on the planet which was focused heavily in Africa, Europe, North America, Latin America and the Middle East. I’ve not travelled at all to the Far East or Australia. My African and Middle Eastern travel is all post 9-11 as is most of my travel to Latin America while the vast majority of my European travel was pre-9-11.

In April 2002 I travelled to Chad on behalf of a client, carrying with me a digital camera, GPS, Satellite Phone (laptop sized) and a laptop. It took me forever to get through security in Calgary, Canada my start point having to explain and turn on each item as well as demonstrate the functionality of each item. All these items were in my carry-on. My destination was Frankfurt where I changed planes and flew to Paris and then on to Chad. I never took the items out of my carry-on bag again. When I left Chad 100 days later I walked through a fake wooden metal detector and was then physically searched in a very cursory manner, however when the Air France plane landed their own security team got off the plane and carried out an additional multiple physical and wand search and inspection of carry-on luggage and you had to point out your checked luggage and hand it to a baggage handler under the supervision of an Air France security specialist (something I’d first done in Israel in 1986).

Over the years I’ve had my junk checked more times than not, when I’ve been getting on planes in the developing world as they have no other method of insuring that you’re not attempting to hid something in a place you’re hoping nobody would check. I currently reside in the Baghdad International Airport Free Zone and to get into the Free Zone from the rest of the country you have to pass through three inspections with the last one being a touch your junk inspection. I live there and move in and out of the zone up to twice daily yet each time, a very happy go lucky kid does his job and searches me fully even though he knows my face and I ask about his family each time. Why, because it’s the rules that everybody could potentially be a threat. The kid doesn’t know if I’ve had a change of heart and want to explode in the airport or if I’ve been threatened to bring something in or if my family is under threat or I’ve been paid, he does presumable know that he’s seen the enemy rapidly evolve and be willing to use anybody and every method they can think of to win.

In some countries you take your laptop out, in some you don’t, in some it’s belt off, watch off, jewellery off, shoes off etc, in some it isn’t. In some you’re screened coming into the airport, some you’re screened coming in and leaving. I won’t suggest that North America has the tougher standards or that Europe is easier or that even the developing world is the easiest but I will say that a common standard that ensures no weapons or explosives are getting on the plane is a good standard to achieve and boy would I be a happy travelling camper if it was the same in every airport.

Granny won’t attack us, no...but she might be forced or tricked into carrying something for somebody else, an elderly couple aged 64 and 65 were stopped before they could become suicide bombers a couple of years back. Disabled people shouldn’t be subjected to this treatment, right because disabled people can’t be our enemy or can’t be coerced like able bodied people. We’ve seen at least six mentally handicapped people successfully used as suicide bombers in Baghdad through trickery by al Qaeda. Nuns don’t need to be searched...I agree presuming we know they are actually nuns and not women dressed as nuns, do they get identifying tattoos or cards or something?

Listening to Mr. Hannity again today on his Fox News program you’d think this is the greatest invasion of civil liberties since the Social Security Card and the great data base that was to be collected and used against us and to track us. Maybe the pictures could be downloaded said a guest and since the TSA operator only makes $15 per hour they could make some extra cash my selling them to TMZ if celebrities come through...the ignorance that’s allowed on TV is overwhelming, I was sure Hannity had moved to MSNBC listening to this unchallenged drivel and nonsense so devoid of facts it had to be MSNBC but no it was my beloved Fair and Balanced Fox News...I expected better.

Our enemies recognized that we locked down metal detection, so they moved to liquids, we countered by limiting quantities, then they moved to liquids hidden on the body and we not only countered but we actually for the first time since 9-11 have gotten ahead of them, the fully body scanning machine that our scientists have created can identify any foreign object in any part of the body regardless of the material used. This means that plastic can be seen in cavities of the body that may be used to pack explosives (liquid or solid) so for once we’re forcing them away from the cabin of the passenger plane...although we still need to confirm that all checked luggage is receiving the same level of scrutiny to truly make passenger airline travel safe again. We also need to recognize that any flight emanating out of a location that doesn’t have this level of screening is vulnerable and those of us known to our enemies collectively as infidels remain a priority for execution. The underwear bomber began his journey in Amsterdam on a direct flight to the US. The level of screening for direct flights to North America must match the level of screening in North America and then be expanded out to include all of Europe or we’ll simply see more Europeans suffering instead of Americans but suffering is suffering.

Canada has purchased full body scanners and tested them and was getting ready to roll them out to match our American cousins but I highly doubt we’ll be seeing them anytime soon as the minority Conservative government will surely be gun shy after the greeting US so called US Conservatives have given this import device and that just provides our collective enemies with a great opportunity to fly to Canada and then into the US a nightmare scenario for all Canadians.

We also have to stop dismissing failed attempts and making light of them with cute names that imply they weren’t serious, like the underwear bomber. We pretend he wasn’t a serious threat and ignore the fact that the exact same bomb set up went off in Saudi Arabia a few weeks prior when a man walked into the office of a Saudi prince who is responsible for counter-terrorism operations and was able to detonate himself in the outer office killing several people after going through the traditional metal detector and a cursory pat down. Just because a device fails doesn’t mean it will every time and we finally have a quick, simple and easy method of detecting all foreign objects in or on the human body and we’re wailing and gnashing our teeth suggesting that the government is getting its jollies by taking naked photographs of people or joyfully groping them because they can.

As Conservatives we should be standing up for these machines and these measures because the one thing I thought we believed in above all others was the duty of the government to protect us from our enemies, not to impose health care or tax hikes or never ending levels of debt but surely to protect us, sparing no expense in doing so. We should also be supporting President Obama for putting politics and ginned up public outrage aside and listening to his experts in the area. Far too often we’ve rightly accused this President of not understanding national security or not having the junk to make the tough calls when it comes to the war on terror yet he’s made the right call and supported his experts and we’re now railing against him.

Seriously folks, put aside the nonsense about naked pictures and the mirage that Israeli type profiling can do the same thing (15,000 passengers a day compared to a million plus) and take a breath. We are safer because of these machines and the dedication of the TSA to enforce these standards and I for one will happily let them take my mannequin like picture or if necessary touch my junk if it means my junk gets safely from point A to point B.

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