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Posts Tagged ‘Saddam Hussein’

Everything is riding on this.  Ultimately our global leadership is riding on this.  It’s not Saddam that is the issue;  it’s whether America can lead, lead constructively and in a way that others respect it.
    —    Zbigniew Brzezinski
[Obviously, given the reference to Saddam, a dated quote, but the point (constructive leadership) remains valid.    —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2018 My Religion
Day 22: Step And Hang
2017 Adrift In The Oval Office
Regrets – The Donald Failed The Test
2016 Just Ask “The Donald”
2015 Did You Pass On It?
2014 Even When It Ain’t, It Is
2013 Still Happens
2012 Possessing Eternity
2011 I Thought We Were Talking About Afghanistan

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Once you got to Iraq and took it over, and took down Saddam Hussein’s government, then what are you going to put in its place?
That’s a very volatile part of the world, and if you take down the central government of Iraq you can easily end up seeing pieces of Iraq fly off.  Part of it the Syrians would like to have to the west.  Part of eastern Iraq, the Iranians would like to claim, fought over for eight years.  In the north you’ve got the Kurds, and if the Kurds spin loose and join with the Kurds in Turkey, then you threaten the territorial integrity of Turkey.  It’s a quagmire.
    —    Dick Cheney
From an interview with CNN on April 15th, 1994.
[This quote was found at a blog I follow:  The Bully Pulpit
The original post is located at:  https://jrbenjamin.com/2014/09/10/its-a-quagmire/
It is an interesting site to visit if you have some time.  Unfortunately, it is not posted to very frequently anymore.    —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2018 Be Someone’s Kindling
2017 When The Moment Comes
2016 Changed Clothes Lately?
2015 Like Stone
2014 Resistance Is Futile
2013 Subtle Humor
To Look Behind Green Eyes
2012 The Path Is Endless
2011 Happy MLK, Jr Day!!!
A Factor Of Ten
Better Late Than Never?
Whoops!
Acceptable Beginnings
Slow Progress
Useful Confrontation
When Phenomena Are Different
Creative Avoidance
Thinking
Fast And Flexible
Surrender Certainty
Techniques
Vive La Difference
Destiny
Completeness
Art

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[The following is an opinion / editorial written by former Director of the CIA — John Brennan, titled:  “I will speak out until integrity returns to the White House
The editorial appeared in the Washington Post Newspaper on 1 June 2018.  It also appeared on the Post website:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/
The specific link to the editorial is: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/john-brennan-i-will-speak-out-until-integrity-returns-to-the-white-house/2018/05/31/afbccafa-64e8-11e8-a69c-b944de66d9e7_story.html?utm_term=.7a7512618b79
All rights are reserved by the Washington Post.  I am posting the editorial on my blog site in its entirety simply because I feel an urgent need to address (to “speak out” about) the problems with the Trump Administration.
For those not familiar with the name, John Brennan served as director of the Central Intelligence Agency from March 2013 to January 2017.
  —  KMAB]
My first visit to the Oval Office came in October 1990, when I was a 35-year-old CIA officer.  Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had invaded Kuwait two months before, and President George H.W. Bush wanted to discuss the implications of a U.S.-led military coalition that would ultimately push the Iraqis out.
I remember the nervousness I felt when I entered that room and met a president of the United States for the first time.  By the time the meeting ended, his intellectual curiosity, wisdom, affability and intense interest in finding the best policy course to protect and promote U.S. interests were abundantly evident.
Over the next quarter-century, I returned to the Oval Office several hundred times during the administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.  The jitters that accompanied my first Oval Office visit dissipated over time, but the respect, awe and admiration I held for the office of the presidency and the incumbents never waned.  The presidents I directly served were not perfect, and I didn’t agree with all of their policy choices.  But I never doubted that each treated their solemn responsibility to lead our nation with anything less than the seriousness, intellectual rigor and principles that it deserved.  Many times, I heard them dismiss the political concerns of their advisers, saying, “I don’t care about my politics, it’s the right thing to do.”
The esteem with which I held the presidency was dealt a serious blow when Donald Trump took office.  Almost immediately, I began to see a startling aberration from the remarkable, though human, presidents I had served.  Mr. Trump’s lifelong preoccupation with aggrandizing himself seemed to intensify in office, and he quickly leveraged his 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. address and his Twitter handle to burnish his brand and misrepresent reality.
Presidents throughout the years have differed in their approaches to policy, based on political platforms, ideologies and individual beliefs.  Mr. Trump, however, has shown highly abnormal behavior by lying routinely to the American people without compunction, intentionally fueling divisions in our country and actively working to degrade the imperfect but critical institutions that serve us.
Although appalling, those actions shouldn’t be surprising.  As was the case throughout his business and entertainment careers, Mr. Trump charts his every move according to a calculus of how it will personally help or hurt him.  His strategy is to undercut real, potential and perceived opponents; his focus is to win at all costs, irrespective of truth, ethics, decency and — many would argue — the law.  His disparagement of institutions is designed to short-circuit legitimate law enforcement investigations, intelligence assessments and media challenges that threaten his interests.  His fear of the special counsel’s work is especially palpable, as is his growing interest in destroying its mandate.
For more than three decades, I observed and analyzed the traits and tactics of corrupt, incompetent and narcissistic foreign officials who did whatever they thought was necessary to retain power.  Exploiting the fears and concerns of their citizenry, these demagogues routinely relied on lies, deceit and suppression of political opposition to cast themselves as populist heroes and to mask self-serving priorities.  By gaining control of intelligence and security services, stifling the independence of the judiciary and discrediting a free press, these authoritarian rulers followed a time-tested recipe for how to inhibit democracy’s development, retard individual freedoms and liberties, and reserve the spoils of corrupt governance for themselves and their ilk.  It never dawned on me that we could face such a development in the United States.
On the international front, Mr. Trump pursues policies that are rooted in uninformed campaign promises, a determination to upend actions of his predecessors and an aversion to multilateral engagements.  His ad hoc and frequently impulsive approach to national security is short-sighted and dangerous, as allies and partners are left uncertain about U.S. strategy and objectives.
The impact of the Trump presidency will be felt for many years to come.  Most worrisome is that his use of falsehoods, his mean-spirited and malicious behavior, and his self-absorption will be emulated by many young Americans — indeed, young people globally — who look to the president of the United States as a role model.
The damage also will be felt by the millions of Americans who believe in Mr. Trump because of their concern about being left behind in a rapidly changing globalized world.  These Americans have a legitimate gripe that politicians and political parties of all stripes have failed to deliver on the promise that America is the land of opportunity for all, irrespective of race, creed or place of residence.  At a time when deep-seated fears of socioeconomic and cultural change need to be addressed honestly and without prejudice, Mr. Trump grandstands like a snake-oil salesman, squandering his formidable charisma and communication skills in favor of ego, selfishness and false promises.
Many have condemned my public criticism of Mr. Trump, arguing that as a former CIA director, I should bite my tongue.  My criticisms, however, are not political; I have never been and will never be a partisan.  I speak out for the simple reason that Mr. Trump is failing to live up to the standards that we should all expect of a president.
As someone who had the rare privilege of directly serving four presidents, I will continue to speak out loudly and critically until integrity, decency, wisdom — and maybe even some humility — return to the White House.
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On This Day In:
2017 To Laws, Not Office Or Individuals
Beast / General / Civil
2016 Patronage
2015 For Blogs, Too!
2014 Righteous Anger
2013 An Irish Blessing
2012 But Is It Worth It?
2011 Let Us Start

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