The Obama Legacy - War and Global Unrest?

by Mark  

Two op-eds on back in 2012 led me to put my own spin on things on June 12 of that year in an article entitled: Obama - The Warring President. With recent events it appears that both the op-eds and my own piece may have been prescient.

Here is some of what I wrote over two years ago:

There is increasing evidence that President Barack Obama may very well be remembered by history as the warring president.

Even though the President campaigned in 2008 on ending the war in Iraq, since taking office, under his direction the US has been involved in a number of military actions in a number of countries.

Yes, following the plan and agreement worked out by the Administration of President George W. Bush, Obama oversaw the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and the end of the decade long war. At the same time, the President directed a surge in the number of boots on the ground in Afghanistan.

Troops have been sent to various countries in Africa during his watch. The President was in charge of engagement with Libya which toppled Mohamar Ghadafi. The President ordered a clandestine attack within an ally's borders which took out Osama Bin Laden in his compound in Pakistan.

Drone attacks have continued to pound and take out Taliban and other terrorist leaders and camps in Pakistan. Drone attacks have launched in increasing numbers in Yemen against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Penninsula.

There is talk of eventual military action against Iran to prevent the development of a nuclear weapon. Some claim that the US has already committed an act of war with covert virus attacks on Iran's internet and computer grid.

Syria looms as trouble for the President. Plans have been developed, though listed as a last resort, for military intervention in Syria.

I understand the President's confusion and reluctance as he must now fulfill the role of Commander-in-Chief in a world that seems out of control. He campaigned on a platform of extended hands of friendship and peace. He won the Nobel Peace Prize with his lofty rhetoric of a new era where enemies sit down at the table and talk out their differences.

Yet now as has happened so often in our history, world events come crashing into second-term presidencies and disrupt and destroy the most well-laid plans of legacy.

Where the President had hoped to be known as the man who brought tranquility to the world and a new way of conducting foreign affairs, that hope has been shattered like glass falling from 100 stories up.

His hope that he would be revered and remembered for over-hauling the healthcare insurance market and expanding coverage to nearly all Americans has been swept into a corner.

Today it appears that the President's legacy will indeed be as "The Warring President".

Talks and sanctions are having some impact, but have yet to stop Russian President Vladmir Putin's imperialistic designs on the Ukraine and Eastern Europe.

Iran is still dithering at the table over giving up its desire to have a nuclear bomb.

Though the President did keep his promise to pull our troops out of Iran, all that was left behind was an embassy presence. Now we are once more embroiled in a war against jihadists in the land of the Tigris and Euphrates.

The President plans to end America's longest war in Afghanistan is still a go. But rather than bringing all our service members home, some 9,000 will be left in the country known as the "Graveyard of Empires".

The President is faced with the daunting task of using the military to thwart radicals who have corrupted religion to justify their murderous ways and means to establish a nation for the purpose of conversion by sword, destruction of the United States and bringing into submission all other Islamic countries and the world at large.

Words have no impact on this enemy.

The jihadist talk, the slick videos, the promise of paradise and sainthood to those who die as martyrs has rung true with disillusioned youth in the US of A and other Western nations. A sense of purpose and a pride are being instilled by an ideology built on hatred and deception and rooted in fear and intimidation.

What's a President to do?

From the Cornfield, for all the President's idealism, reality has assailed the gates.

Like the intruder last week who mounted the fence and made entry into the White House, world events and global trepidations have pushed their way into the Oval Office.

The talk now all over the media is of "Obama's War".

This is not the legacy on which the President had banked.

Marriage, Equality and the Constitution

by Mark  

Blame it on what seems to be a recurring bronchial infection wreaking havoc with my mind and body for my thoughts turning today with questions and pondering marriage, equality and the Constitution.

As my brain has been churning, I have begun to wonder if both proponents and opponents of providing equality to same-gender couples for legal recognition of their relationships with the wrong lens.

Is the real issue whether the government - state or federal - may have any say or may provide any benefits to any couples and which of those couples who commit to one another may receive legal recognition?

Opponents of same-gender equality cite religious beliefs for opposition to conferring legal recognition to same-gender couples. Opponents note that marriage is a religious sacrament or at least a religious ceremony.

If indeed marriage is religious in nature, should this be an alarm sounding that the "Establishment Clause" of the 1st Amendment to the Constitution is being violated?

Opponents cite biblical grounds for keeping legal recognition limited to one man and one woman. Opponents cite "Christian" principles to deny equality to same-gender couples.

But, there is the rub.

Not all Christian denominations, churches, sects, organizations define or translate the Bible the same way - even when it comes to same-gender couples. Some churches now solemnize same-gender unions and even allow gays and lesbians to fill the pulpit.

That automatically pits conflicting positions among those of the Christian persuasion.

Again the wire is tripped on a possible violation of the "Establishment Clause".

Which Christian belief is marriage or denial of equality to same-gender couples based?

For government to intervene and choose one over the other is a clear violation of the Clause.

Then you have other religions which may or may not also see marriage as something holy.

If the marriage laws are based on a certain Christian belief, does this not give preference to that belief over the beliefs of other religions and thus unconstitutional under the Clause?

What about those with no religious persuasion or no belief in a higher power?

Should those without religion be subjected by the government to a Christian sacrament in order to receive legal recognition of their commitment to one another?

This again would have red flags flying.

Is not the correct constitutional path for government, both state and federal, to remove any and all laws providing for legal recognition to committed couples from the books?

Is not the correct constitutionally mandated course of action to provide no tax breaks, tax deductions or treat any taxpayer differently based on whether the couple has gone through a religious ceremony determined to be the belief of a specific sect of Christianity?

As one CNN iReporter, Democritic, has pointed out many times that he, as a single man, is being discriminated against by the tax laws.

Should not all taxpayers be treated with equality?

To maintain constitutional muster, should not the states and the federal government be instructed that all laws on marriage or recognition of married couples with special benefits not afforded single taxpayers be scrapped?

Maybe it is the infection.

Maybe it is the meds.

From the Cornfield, jumbled thoughts passing through this fevered brain this last day of July make life interesting if not delusional at times.

Selective Concern for Life?

by Mark  

Do we in the US of A, world leaders, people scattered across the globe take a selective concern for which lives matter and which lives are not worth considering?

I recently wrote, The World Is Burning, in which I noted that there are wars, rumors of war, threats of war spreading throughout the world.

These "hot spots" seem to be on three continents: Africa, Asia and Europe. But these places, any of these locations, could draw others into the conflict from every continent, including North America and the US.

Does the loss of life, especially civilian casualties, matter more depending on who those casualties are and in what conflict the casualties are occurring?

Here is a list of the death toll (most of whom have been killed were civilians) of major troubled areas or conflicts reflecting mankinds inhumanity to humanity.

Tell me which lives matter more, if any.

These are the numbers from the current flare-ups, not including past battles or wars.

Israel-Gaza: Over 1,300 dead
Ukraine-Russia: Over 1,100 dead
Iraq-Islamic State: Over 5,500 dead
Afghanistan: Nearly 25,000 dead
South Sudan: Over 10,000 dead
Nigeria: Over 1,000 dead
Libya: Over 500 dead
Syria: Over 160,000 dead

Yet from the focus of the United Nations, from most media, we would think there are only two primary conflicts where life matters.

Do we have a selective concern for life?

From the Cornfield, if God knows and is touched by the death of one, small sparrow, how can we turn our eyes to what is a human failure that strikes no matter the locality, the ethnicity, the nation, the geographic boundaries?

Then here in the US of A, in some of our urban areas, the death toll is as shocking and as disconcerting. Yet again, because these are urban areas, we tend to have selective concern for life.

The Spin - Defies Logic?

by Mark  

To the terrorist organization Hamas and its sympathizers, Israel is to blame for the use of tunnels from Gaza to sneak into the Jewish State to raid, kill and kidnap Israelis.

The Israelis are to blame for using tunnels to smuggle in armaments and missiles to fire into Israel.

If Israel would simply open the border, demilitarize the area, there would be no reason or use for the tunnels.

In other words, the terrorists would then be free to walk across the border, kill and kidnap Israelis without having to resort to building tunnels.

There would then be no need to smuggle weapons and bombs into Gaza by tunnel if Israel would stop its barricade and allow free movement of weapons of mass destruction.

The reason civilians are being killed is Israel trying to root out Hamas and other jihadists. Hamas and jihadists have no choice, but to store weapons in United Nations facilities and to hide out in the civilian population since Israel is hellbent on defending itself from attacks.

If Israel would stand down, no civilians would be killed. Hamas, along with other jihadists, would not have to use civilians as shields to protect themselves.

Ignore that the only successful outcome called for by Hamas is the total annihilation of the nation of Israel. It is Israel's fault for existing.

From the Cornfield, I am sorry. This defies all logic.

Yes, I lament the loss of life by both sides. I lament the tragedy of civilians being used as pawns and fodder to be cut down like hay.

But let's be real.

Put the blame where it belongs.

Optics Matter

by Mark  

While the world is burning, President Barack Obama seems to be dancing. He is not slowing down his golf games or his fundraisers.

Today, the President is off to California for more fundraisers and partisan politicking.

While there is nothing wrong with either activity, in times of multiple crises - optics matter.

The pictures being seen give an appearance that the President is not in tune with what is happening. The optics show a President more intent on partisan dabbling rather than a display of a world leader in the midst of battle.

Optics matter.

The story is not new.

Recently when again optics mattered, the President declined to go to our southern border to view the humanitarian crisis of nearly 60,000 children crossing into our country. The President opted to be seen out at the bars in Denver, shooting pool and drinking beer.

Optics matter.

The world, nay the US of A, is crying out for a leader. The world looks at American television or newspapers and see not a leader, but a man too busy to care.

Optics matter.

This does not mean that the President is not on top of the situations going on, but the visuals give a different impression.

Today when the first bodies of those passengers slain on Malaysian Flight 17 were returned to The Netherlands, where was the President or Vice President Joe Biden or Secretary of State John Kerry?

True, only one passenger with dual Dutch citizenship was an American, but does not the White House realize and understand the signal that would be beamed to the world, to Russia, if the US of A was seen standing in solidarity with the king, the queen, the Dutch people, as those bodies were returned?

It is the visual which has the strongest immediate effect and provides the most stimuli. It is not what is heard nor read which can inflame the emotions as much as what we see.

For a President, who has never been shy of a photo op, suddenly, when it matters - the President doesn't want to be seen in a "photo op" as he said recently about the border crisis.

It is not, Mr. President, what you say, your Secretaries or your ambassadors say which has the most impact as much as what image you send to the world.

Optics matter.

From the Cornfield, when will this Administration begin using some wisdom and realize there are photo ops and then there are photo ops?

It is time to realize how you look to the world and Americans determines how the world and Americans perceive you, Mr. President.

To be thought of as a leader, a strong leader, a world leader - you must be SEEN as that image.

Optics matter.

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