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America, the benevolent dictator


Fri, Nov 30th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

Joseph Broz, aka Tito, was one of those more benevolent dictators - using a bit of carrot and stick to hold the ethnic stew known as Yugoslavia together.

"No one questioned 'who is a Serb, who is a Croat, who is a Muslim (Bosniak)', we were all one people, that's how it was back then, and I still think it is that way today," Tito said about his country.

Tito played his international cards craftily in dealing with the Soviets and the West during the Cold War, being a prominent player in the non-alignment movement.

His brand of socialism was enough to appease the Soviets that Yugoslavia was one of them, while Tito's tolerance toward religion and limited capitalism made him a friend of the West as well.

"None of our republics would be anything if we weren't all together; but we have to create our own history - history of United Yugoslavia, also in the future."

Of course we all know what happened to Yugoslavia's history after Tito's death, when the republics fell on each other and Serbs started killing Muslims. NATO and the UN intervened in the late 90s to stop the ethnic cleansing. NATO forces are still in Kosova today.

In essence, NATO has become the new Tito, using their military presence to maintain peace among the so called warring parties.

Saddam Hussein was a different kind of dictator using only a big stick to knock errant ethnic groups into place. His preference for Sunnis over Kurds and Shiites was pretty much ignored by the U.S. when he conveniently went to war against Iran. But Saddam got too big for his britches when he invaded Kuwait which led to the first Gulf War.

George the First knew enough to stay out of Baghdad. George the Second didn't. So, now we own it as Colin Powell so aptly predicted.

The recent troop surge, while appearing to bring down the level of violence in Iraq, has done nothing to improve the political situation in the country.

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the top U.S. commander in Iraq after Baghdad fell, said "improvements in security... have not been matched by a willingness on the part of Iraqi leaders to make the hard choices necessary to bring peace to their country." Sanchez has called for most American troops to come home within a year.

That is one option.

America's only other option is to use its military power to beat down the civil war that has raged in Iraq these past four years - to become the benevolent .....
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If I were a true patriot

Fri, Nov 23rd, 2007
Posted in Commentary

If I were truly patriotic I would be demonstrating on our streets and carrying placards calling for the impeachment of President Bush.

How is it that I can stand by while President Bush has amongst many other things:

Violated the Uni ..... 
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Do the right thing with recycling

Fri, Nov 23rd, 2007
Posted in Commentary

Every day we are faced with the same dilemma: to recycle or not to recycle.

My recent trips to the gas station seem to be pressing this issue on my subconscious mind. I reach down to grab the bag of garbage when I eye a plastic pop bottle sn ..... 
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Irrelevant?

Fri, Oct 26th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

Two recent headlines concerning Mr. Bush have me on more tenterhooks than usual. I am really getting tired of being insulted by someone so intellectually incurious and inexact. The first in the Washington Post was "Bush Deplores American Timidity", ..... 
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Bankrupting America

Fri, Sep 28th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

It used to be that the U.S. Dollar (USD) carried some weight overseas. Working and travelling in Asia several years ago, I knew that there was always two prices for a product - one in local currency and one in U.S. Dollars.

"Dong or Dollar?" ..... 
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Truth as we know it to be

Fri, Sep 21st, 2007
Posted in Commentary

Truth might be defined as an accepted fact or reality. And yet, as we have seen all too often there are varying interpretations of the truth. Truth comes in different forms. There is my truth, your truth and the "real" truth. Some examples of accept ..... 
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Beware of monsters

Fri, Sep 14th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

German philosopher Frederick Nietsche said, "Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he doesn't become a monster."

Which made me think immediately of George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfield and all the neo-cons surrou ..... 
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It will take years to undo what this administration has done

Fri, Sep 14th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

One question I get about my commentaries is: "How do you pick your subject?"

Most of the time I choose medically related subjects. It's not that I don't have strong opinions on other subjects. I suspect people will take me more seriously if ..... 
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A coming together

Fri, Sep 7th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

Recently I had the opportunity to talk with a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) worker. I wasn't looking forward to it but it turned out to be an interesting chat. He was a young man no older than 40 and relatively senior in the inspector r ..... 
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