Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Why are we copying the LOSERS of the 20th Century?

By Ed Smallwood

I originally posted this on my MySpace page. I have changed it since then because I thought of something else to add to it. - Revised 2-28-2008

One of the nice things about having a blog is that sometimes you can put the entire first paragraph of an essay in the headline. Like the one above. However, having made a statement as strong as that one, I need to defend it.

In the 20th Century there were 2 entities that really lost. Nazi Germany, and the Warsaw Pact nations under the Soviet Union. Nazi Germany lost World War II, and the Warsaw Pact lost the Cold War, and they both lost in a big way.

What bothers me at this point is how it appears that the United States, instead of using its own actions in those events as a basis for moving forward, seems to be doing it’s level best to copy the losers.

Nazi Germany attempted to use lightning-fast battle techniques (“Blitzkrieg”) and superior arms to bring Europe to its knees. It ended up outrunning its supply lines and getting bogged down in multiple countries in direct conflict and terrorist attacks from insurgents until other countries could rally and defeat them. The United States used lighting-fast battle techniques (“Shock and Awe”) and superior arms to bring Afghanistan and Iraq to their knees. We’ve gotten bogged down in both countries due to insurgent attacks and can’t keep our equipment going or enlist enough soldiers to keep the fight going.

The Warsaw Pact couldn’t keep people in East Germany from defecting to the West, so they built a wall separating East Germany from West Germany, sucking resources and making it more expensive for people to flee East Germany. The United States is seriously considering building a wall across the southern border of our country to keep people from coming in illegally, mostly making it more expensive and dangerous for people to go under the border and sucking resources that could be better spent in other areas.

East Germany didn’t trust its own people, so they decided to wiretap and spy on people they suspected of being “unpatriotic” without court orders and without oversight. Our Government, in order to “protect us from terrorists” has been wiretapping people without court orders and without oversight. In fact, the administration still won’t tell us who was wiretapped, what was so important that it had to be wiretapped, or allowed either of the two other branches of government oversee what was done. They claim that the only phone conversations overheard or recorded had at least one end out of the country, but won’t produce any evidence of this. They claim that this information would be dangerous for anyone but them to know. They also claim that the FISA court, specifically devised to oversee this kind of wiretapping, moves too slow and is out of date for what they needed, even though they can get a warrant up to 72 hours after recording a phone conversation, and that the FISA laws were amended numerous times at their insistence after 9/11.

I’m going to give you the reality of the situations that nobody in Washington wants to face. Getting out of Iraq is going to involve more than just taking our soldiers out or putting more in. We screwed it up; we need to help fix it. This means we need to get the various factions talking. This is going to be hard, but throwing more soldiers at this problem won’t fix it. Taking them out won’t fix it either. The kind of destabilization in Iraq that would come from us leaving would likely spread across the region, which could be very bad for everyone.

With illegal immigration across our southern border, we need to start talking with Mexico. Currently they are helping their people to jump across the border. That needs to stop. In addition we need to help take away some of the need to come here. The best way of doing that is to help Mexico become more than the third-world country it currently is. Less corruption, better working conditions, better law enforcement, higher wages, less unemployment. All of these are necessary in order to reduce the influx from down south. A wall will do none of these things. The other illegal immigration problem that we have, the potentially bigger problem, is with people overstaying their visas. This is especially a big problem with H1-b visas. Building a wall will have no effect on this kind of illegal immigrant. We need better monitoring of people who are already here. It would also be a good idea to eliminate the H1-b visa program. The entire aim of this program is to dilute the job pool for educated workers, and bring down salaries for these people already in this country. This really benefits nobody but the heads of the businesses using them, and even that is debatable.

We also have no idea what was really done in the case of the illegal wiretapping. We don’t know who was wiretapped, why, or what was done with the information. We actually don’t know if the administration was wiretapping the Democrats in phone conversations that were held completely within the United States or its territories, and considering their past, I would believe this was almost certainly the case. Democracy is not served, ever, by keeping this kind of information secret, or by preventing oversight from the other branches of government. There is no doubt that crimes were committed with these wiretaps. It was absolutely against the law when it happened. Any attempts to make it retroactively legal should not be allowed. Emulating the Warsaw Pact is not in our best interest.

It is much easier to fight or build walls than talk or stop criminal activity by our Executive Branch, but if we really want to solve these problems that is exactly what we are going to have to do. That, or follow the Nazis and Soviets into failure, and possibly obscurity.

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