Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Where Our National Security Fails

In the first year of the Obama administration we have seen a shift in the way that our conflict with Islamic Extremists home and abroad has been conducted.  During the Bush years the Government viewed the endeavor are a war on terror.  Which for me is a vague term, in reality it was considered a War On Islamic Terrorists.  Now we see that the conflict has turned from a war to an exercise in law enforcement.  This change is of course confusing.  The two doctrines do indeed clash, and in effect change the means in which the conflict if fought.  

Let me first recall the Bush years, Bush viewed as was said in the report by the 9/11 Commission that these extremists have been at war with us and the west as a whole.   In this framework the Bush administration did not seek just to find Osama Bin Laden but all that share his ideology.  In reality the only reason why Bin Laden in at the top of our public enemies list is because he was behind 9/11.  But Bin Laden is simply one player in a greater community of Extremists.  You see Bush saw that Al-Queada and the Taliban operated more like fraternities, in that there were chapters, each chapter had a president, and each chapter was independent of the other.  Because of how these organizations independent nature hitting once sect would not effect the others.  In the mind of Bush this could not then be fought as a criminal enterprise because if one was taken out then we would have to wait for an attack by one of the other sects before we could go after them.  Thus the War on Terror was declared.  This means that Bush not only declared war on Osama Bin Laden began but a war on all other organizations that felt the imperial nature of the west was destroying the east.  Thus comes the War in Iraq.  The war in Iraq was declared for three reasons. They were a strong hold for the Taliban, they have a resource that we want to protect, and a Democratic Iraq is in the best interest for the U.S.  But the war in Iraq does stem from the idea that we are at war with a group of people with common interests.

Now we have had a drastic change in the approach of fighting the Extremists.  Obama views the acts of every sect are an individual act of crime.  This view point is quite simple.  Essentially Obama sees that people have broken our laws by committing murder and by our laws should be in our court system and stand trial for their crimes.  The problem with this approach is that one has to do a crime against us before we go out and get them.  The focus now has become very narrow, now we are only looking for those who have already committed crimes.  Unlike in the Bush years where we took preventative measures, whether ethical or not is irrelevant, like one does in a war.  But let us look at the events in 2009.  There have now been three incidences because we have relaxed our preventative measures.  The first was the shooting of a private in Little Rock by a radicalized individual.  The Fort Hood Shooting.  And now the attempt to blow up a jet liner.  Yes, in these cases we have treated them as criminal acts and not acts of war, in that capacity they will be taken to our courts and stand trial for their crimes.   But what we are forgetting is that in all three of these instances there was a common ideology and a common point of contact to radical group abroad.  This is wear our national security fails.

It seems that we have relaxed our preventative measures so much, because the Obama administration does not think we are at war or that someone is at war with us, that is is becoming even more clear that our national security is at risk.  Look at the breach a few week ago where TSA security protocols were released, then then this incident over the holiday happened.  When we take out the mind set that we are at war this changes how intelligence is gathered how we can gather it.  Furthermore, when we look at criminal acts as the root of the what the Extremists are doing most of the intelligence cannot be useful because of the means in which the intelligence has been acquired.  I think that Obama needs to take large preventative measures and communicate more with Leon Penetta and not Eric Holder. 


Sunday, December 27, 2009

The after Christmas break down

Hello all,

I hope that everyone has a stupendous holiday. I know that I did, but with some minor complications. As many of you know a few weeks ago I had injured my back by a combination of falling down some stairs and playing shping- shpong (ping pong but with a Soccer ball and the paddles are real players. This happened about 3 weeks before Christmas. I went to my Doctor got some med's, did some stretches and was feeling fine. The Christmas Eve rolled around and I need to clean my room. So I was cleaning and putting some books away my room was nearly clean (relative to my liking) and I had generated a pile of papers on the floor. I went to pick them up and wouldn't you know, a shooting pain went up my back and around my abdomen and at that point I fell. I could not stand without excruciating pain let alone walk. After about 10 minutes I told my self that 'this is going to hurt' but I needed to get my self into bed. Which as I predicted I did, using only my arms to get me up and what ever leg power I had for support. My body at this point was in one large cramp.

I figured I would stay in bed till my spasm passed and then would go up stairs to take my med's I had gotten two weeks earlier. The problem was that the spasm had not stopped so I called my father to my room and told him to bring my med's. I took them and nothing happened the spasm continued. I was able to sleep for an hour, and when I woke up, even though I still had pain, I knew I had to go up stairs. So I gathered my strength and did so. I sat in my arm chair, my mother gave me some left over Oxycodine, which helped with the pain, but the spasm had not stopped. I did get to a point however where the pain subsided enough that I could walk around. I thought that maybe some motion would help my muscles. I was wrong. I was walking around when all of the sudden I had a horrible spasm, the pain shot down my back and around my abdomen again, I collapsed and convulsed uncontrollably. My brother was able to help me up and get me back to my arm chair. A few hours later I passed out from the pain and pure exhaustion. A few hours later I woke up, I still was having a spasm. It was Christmas morning. I got up and walked around for a while with my Mother and Father next to me. Things were going fine until about 9 AM. In the kitchen the pain came back and my legs would not work, I stood leaning against the island in my kitchen for maybe 15 minutes until I felt that I could move.

Moving from the island an armchair in the living room (a total of 15 feet) was difficult. My back was convulsing, the pain was great. And for the next 45 minutes as we were opening presents I could not move without pain. Many of my gifts my father opened for me. After we opened everything I told my mother that it is time to go to the Hospital. When we got there, which getting me in and out of the car was the hardest thing in the world, I was given a shot of muscle relaxant and a shot of an anti-inflammatory. The Practitioner told me that if what I was taking wasn't working then he would give me some very strong medication. I left able to walk thanks to the shot, still had pain though, and with three prescriptions. Motrin to help with the muscle swelling, Vicodin for the pain, and Valium to relax my muscles. AND he told me to take all three at the same time about every 8 hours for three days. I have been floating on air, haha. But seriously today which is the 27th I think, was the first day that I could really walk on my own again.

But Christmas was not all bad. I got lots of money for my semester in Germany, new luggage, and the new Star Trek movie (which is a must see for everyone). But I think the best gift that I got was a dialogue with an old friend. A friend that I have not spoken with in months. It was a good Christmas gift none-the-less, and more important to me then all the others. (And by no means is this some sort of plea to butter this person up or to send mixed messages. :-) )



Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Bizarre Blizzard in the Fall of 2009

Yes, that is right. When the Blizzard hit Friday night and continued to drop about 2 feet of snow it was still fall. This beautiful back drop of white coated all of the land around me. It was not the typical Maryland wet snow that turns into ice, but a soft powder. Quite lovely, and just in time for Christmas. This will be the first Christmas in my life time that will have snow, and in essence be my first 'white Christmas.'

It was quite pretty and made me nostalgic. I remember the first 'big snow' I saw. It was 1996 and I was just 7 and probably a little over 3 and a half feet. That year we got about 21 inches in DC and I remember it well. I was so excited for it, little did I know that my mother and father would spend hours digging in the snow just so that my brother and I could leave the house. I had wanted to build an igloo a snow man, sled, everything. But when I had gone out there were places where the snow was up to my chest. That year the roads were horrible, and the plows usually came down our street last. I remember my father having to walk through all of it to go to Safeway which was about 5 miles away.

This year I had a similar feeling as I did when I was 7. I could not wait to go out side. Just anticipating the snow. But instead of wanting to play in it. I could not wait to use our gas powered snow plow in two feet of snow. hahahaha times have changed.

Merry Christmas everyone, and a happy New Year

Saturday, December 5, 2009

A Wonderful Idea for The Holiday Season

An all-wet version of the classic

As our story opens, the Dashwood sisters are evicted from their childhood home and sent to live on a mysterious island full of savage creatures . . . and dark secrets. Whlie sensible Elinor falls in love with Edward Ferrars, her romantic sister Marianne is courted by both the handsome Willoughby and the hideous man-monster Colonel Brandon. Can the Dashwood sisters triumph over meddlesome matriarchs and unscrupulous rogues to find true love? Or will they fall prey to the tentacles that are forever snapping at their heels? All these questions (and more, probably) will be answered in Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters!

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters expands the original text of the beloved Jane Austen (the celebrated co-author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) novel with all-new scenes of sea monstery delight. You'll thrill as you witness giant lobsters, rampaging octopi (or octopuses - both are correct pluralizations), two-headed sea serpents, and perhaps the most hideous of sea monsters ever created: true love. Awww. Remember, if you buy and read Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, well, then, um, you'll be a better read person. And maybe Jane Austen won't roll over in her grave quite so much.