Tag Archives: war

Letter To President Obama Dated November 2009

I decided to clean out my unnecessary WORD documents today, and as always, I read them before deleting.   I was surprised at finding the following:

MESSAGE TO THE PRESIDENT:  Subject:  Afghanistan

November 6, 2009

This is the first time I am writing to you.

I can’t imagine how difficult it is for you to be wrestling with the Afghan dilemma, but I am sure you must be suffering greatly under the burden of making a decision that will affect every American citizen all around the world for years to come.

I would like to give you my thoughts on the subject:

I am suffering also.  About the lives lost, the lives maimed and lives laid barren with the loss of loved ones.  It tears my heart and many times I am close to crying for every one of them.  And for what?  Shades of Viet Nam shadow my horizon of the future.  Details of that are not necessary to outline in this letter.  That is in the past.  So, let’s leave it there.

General  McChrystal is probably right in his assessment of the military requirements to heighten the effects of intervention on behalf of the Afghan people.  In the 8 years that troops have been deployed there, how much has been accomplished?  To me, that is the bottom line, and this question posed has, in my opinion, only one answer:  Accomplishment has been in the negative. 

As a result of much reading about the situation, I believe the following: 

  • (1) The Afghan people don’t want us there – it’s the politicians who want us there to plump up their egos and their personal pockets;
  • (2) The War Lords will always be in power, controlling the large illiterate population;
  • (3) The growing of poppies for drug trafficking will continue no matter who tries to stop it;
  • (4) The Taliban is too strongly entrenched and no matter who attempts to stop them and by what means, they will always be poised to gain control over the majority of the populace;
  • (5) The other nations are only too glad to let us keep sending our beautiful young people over there and not have theirs doing the fighting;and
  • (6) All the US Dollars that have been spent during the Bush years and this year just ending of the Obama years, could have been used to prop up our own economy which needs so much help.  Must we keep spending more to see it go for naught, in my opinion?

If I took more time right now, to think further, I’m sure I could come up with more reasons for us not being in Afghanistan.  The Russians found plenty of reasons for leaving.

I hope you will take my few thoughts to heart and mind, while you continue to mull over the Afghanistan problem.  My “bottom line” is: Leave!

I would say that if I sent this letter today, it would still be current.  What say you?

 

[ Header image from http://www.freewebheaders.com ]

 

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Personal Memories: Looking Back At the Early ’40s

 

My parents struggled in the early and middle ‘4os, and my Dad worked very hard to support his family.

No summer vacations until my Dad was able to save up enough to send my Mom and me to the Catskills for a month at a cheap rooming house.  He wanted us to get out of the hot city (Brooklyn) for a while.  I remember him boasting that he went without lunches in order to do that.

Dad also worked part time at the post office to earn extra money, in addition to his day job.  Since he and many others were not accepted into the service due to medical reasons, and job openings occurred in post offices and other private and government offices due to the lack of enough employable people because of serving in the war, it was a natural way to earn extra income.

WW 2My Mom did all she could to help with the “war effort.”  She saved aluminum foil and tinfoil (chewing gum had wrappers made of tinfoil) by rolling it all into a big ball she kept in a special closet built into the wall near the kitchen table nook.  That was a very big ball, and when my Mom couldn’t fit any more on it, my Dad would bring it to some station where it was collected along with all the contributions of citizens who felt so patriotic.  These types of collections were commonplace, along with any unwanted, broken things made of metal.

ww 2 4I spent much of my time sitting at a big desk in the basement of the house my Dad’s father owned; writing, pasting, and sending hand-made crossword puzzle books to the Red Cross to be distributed to the wounded soldiers. I felt great pleasure in doing that. I remember how excited I became when my Dad showed me a postcard that came from the Red Cross, thanking me for helping the soldiers who were in the hospital, recuperating.  My very first mail!

We had a victory garden in the backyard.  My grandfather and Dad attended to it.  Most of our neighbors grew their own veggies.  The whole war effort was based on saving everything we had, re-using and re-purposing what we could, and repairing instead of buying new; anyway, most people couldn’t afford to buy new.

ww 2 2Mom sent me to school with a lunchbox that contained a sandwich (don’t remember what kind of sandwich – probably peanut butter) that was wrapped in last week’s bread’s waxed paper wrapping.  (No such thing as plastic bags.)  This was re-used for the entire week or until it was too messy to be cleaned again.  I recall the name of “Silvercup” bread.  Does that ring a bell with anyone reading this post?

School was a great enjoyment.  I remember it was challenging:  I loved to learn and absorbed like a sponge, all that there was to take in, those many years ago.  Now, I call it learning by “osmosis,” because I felt such great pleasure in the learning.  I still do.  At that time in the past, there was no such word as “nerd.”  I’ve said many times in the recent past, that I was born too soon, because I love this technological world in which I now live, and I wish I could live longer so that I could enjoy all the progress and innovations yet to come.

 

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[War efforts images from bingdotcom]

 

What Is Bernie Sanders’ Foreign Policy?

 

Today, I came across a blog named, “People’s War.”  It is the first time that I have seen anything – in newspaper and magazine articles or anywhere on the Internet – where Bernie Sanders’ ideas about foreign policies have been mentioned.  Although the video shows Bernie addressing the House of Representatives in 1991, it is apparent that he has always had these fervent beliefs and there is no reason to assume he has changed his opinion.

I strongly urge those of my followers who are interested in what Bernie has to say about his ideas of the world and world powers, and how methods other than war could solve the serious problems around the globe, rather than with human suffering and bloodshed.  His predictions of spending for all the necessary armaments will be increased exponentially, was proved right.  He also predicted that in order to pay for the war (Gulf War), there would be cutbacks on social services that aid our citizens.  It all came true.  This video was filmed in January 1991 in the House of Representatives’ chambers.

As an introduction to this video, let me quote from “People’s War“:

“Shortly after Sanders was first elected Vermont’s sole representative in the House of Representatives in 1990, he took a stand on his first major war as a Congressman — the 1991 Gulf War. He voted against authorizing the use of military force against Iraq despite acknowledging that Iraq had no right to invade and occupy Kuwait and that Saddam Hussein was a brutal tyrant. For Sanders, these two facts were not sufficient reasons to go to war. Instead, he supported renewing diplomatic efforts and imposing sanctions on Iraq as non-military means of reaching the same outcome — ending Iraq’s occupation of Kuwait.

Sanders worried in 1991 that the Gulf War would be “laying the groundwork for more and more wars for years to come,” a prophetic statement given the subsequent U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq and the current war on ISIS. Although the 1991 Gulf War ended after a few weeks in a U.S. victory, Americans and Iraqis continued to pay with their lives for that victory in the years that followed. U.S. soldiers, possibly because of exposure to depleted uranium munitions or Iraq’s destroyed chemical weapon stockpiles, developed a range of illnesses collectively dubbed Gulf War syndrome. Sanders was at the forefront of the fight to win U.S. government recognition of Gulf War syndrome and get affected veterans the help and support they needed. At the same time U.S. soldiers were developing Gulf War-related illnesses, over 500,000 Iraqi children died as a result of crippling post-war economic sanctions imposed by the United Nations.

Sanders’ record on Iraq-related issues over the past 25 years is entirely consistent with his core values as a democratic socialist: namely, that working people — in the U.S. and around the world — are entitled to a decent standard of living in conditions of peace and freedom. Whatever action furthered that outcome, he supported; whatever action impeded that outcome, he opposed.

But if the guiding principle of the Sanders doctrine is simple, the struggle to the advance[ment of] that principle amid the world’s wars and complex conflicts is not.”

 

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A Small Tribute

A small tribute to our fallen heroes, thanking them and remembering them for their service to make sure we are kept safe to enjoy the freedoms we have because of their sacrifices.

A small tribute, because there isn’t one great enough to honor them as they should be honored, in my opinion.

 

Memories of a Time Past: Part 2

It’s been a while since I wrote Part 1; many things have got in the way of starting Part 2, but here I am again.  I have to “stoke” the fires of my memory because this one goes back – way back.  Since it’s nearing Memorial Day, my thoughts have turned to wartime, and trying to remember some cloudy sights and sounds.  Bear with me.

It was during World War II.  My earliest recollections as a very young girl are of gathering around a piano.  My parents were very friendly with some couples:  Ruth & Marty and Evelyn & Paul.  I believe my mother’s youngest sister, was there too, since she was married to Ruth’s and Evelyn’s brother and he was away at war.  She was very close with her in-laws.

I remember the Brooklyn apartment that Ruth and Marty lived in.  It was above a “dry goods” store that was owned by Ruth’s and Evelyn’s mom and dad.  They sold “necessities” like underwear, socks, kitchenware, aprons, children’s clothing, shoes, etc.

A typical dry goods store.

A typical dry goods store.

There was a private area at the back of the store where my aunt lived with my uncle until they were able to find an apartment.  They brought their first-born (my cousin) there after he was born.  During and after the war, apartments were a very difficult commodity to find.  So, even though extremely tiny, it was just enough for the time-being.  During war, people “made do.”

Ruth and Marty’s apartment was also small, but they did have a separate bedroom, kitchen and living room.

I had good, happy feelings when we visited Ruth and Marty.  They were a very lively couple, especially Aunt Ruth (I was told to call her that, even though she wasn’t my aunt) – she was extremely outgoing and welcomed everyone with open arms all the time.  Singing was a way to try to put the thoughts of war and our family members fighting in Europe in harm’s way, aside.  I always had a jolly time there, with Ruth’s sing-a-longs.

Piano sing-a-long.

Piano sing-a-long.

The popular song that I remember most was, “Sentimental Journey.”  Aunt Ruth had the sheet music sitting at the piano, and we all gathered ’round and I read the words so I could sing, too.

I remember when there was sirens and a blackout, all the shades and curtains had to be tightly closed so no light would show through to the outside.

Double curtains made sure no light was seen from the outside.

Double curtains made sure no light was seen from the outside.

When those sirens sounded, we left the apartment and climbed a ladder in the hallway which led to the narrow opening onto the roof.  Fortunately, everyone at that time wasn’t overweight, and we all fit through!

There were specific things to do when the sirens sounded during wartime.

There were specific things to do when the sirens sounded during wartime.

The view from the roof was scary to me, I remember.  It was high for a little girl, and the spotlights moving around the sky were frightening.  The night was warm – we didn’t have to put on any coats, as I remember.  It was only a drill, but to me, it was real.  We were there for some time, and then we were able to go back down into the apartment.

Another thing I remember during wartime:  we had a “Victory” garden in our back yard.  Between my father’s and his father’s work, the vegetables were beautiful.

A Victory Garden - very popular during World War II

A Victory Garden – very popular during World War II

Grandfather would chase down after the horses on the main street with his pail and shovel, to scoop up their droppings to use as fertilizer for the veggies.

I also remember that, during the war, my father’s brother’s wife, my Aunt Millie, lived upstairs.  The small bedroom was converted to a kitchen.  My parents gave up their bedroom, and moved downstairs and the living room became their bedroom, and I was relegated to the front “porch” room where there was no radiators.  It was freezing in there during the winter and I remember shivering.  I was still in a crib because there was no room for a bed in there.

My last memory during that time was when the war was declared “OVER.”  I was allowed to stay up late.  Even if I weren’t, I never would have been able to sleep.  The whole neighborhood was whooping and hollering and I remember the banging and clanging of people running out of their houses and banging spoons, and all kinds of things on pots and pans, to show their joy at the war’s end.

World War II is over!

World War II is over!

All my uncles came home in one piece!