Saturday, March 3, 2007

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Hillary Rodham Clinton took the oath of office as United States Senator from New York in January 2001. Three months later she delivered her maiden speech in the Senate. That same day Council for a Livable World had an appointment with her to discuss our issues and concerns. The meeting was held in the crowded conference room adjacent to the Senate chamber where senators meet with constituents, lobbyists and friends and still be readily available for roll calls and votes.
We took command of a corner of the room for a semblance of privacy, lined up chairs for the Senator and her staff, also for me as the spokesperson and council staff. Hillary appeared, resplendent in a light blue shiny pants suit, flushed with the glowing experience of her first speech, much more feminine and handsome than I had expected.
“Senator, thank you for your time on this important day. We congratulate you on your election and are proud that we were able to raise…” She interrupted, “Your endorsement was more important.” Touche.
Then I asked for her support on four legislative matters due to come before the Senate, including National Missile Defense, Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, etc. We discussed each in detail. She was well informed on the details and the political problems of each. In every case she agreed to support our position.
Finally, I thanked her for the meeting and said, “Senator, we are overwhelmed by your cooperation, that you have agreed with our position on all four items.” Senator Clinton responded, “Mr. Grossman, I am putty in your hands.” General laughter. End of meeting. Everybody impressed by the Senator’s knowledge, wit and social grace.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

What It Really Means to Support the Troops

What It Really Means to Support the Troops

by Jerome Grossman

I don’t know a single American citizen or a single Member of Congress who does not support and sympathize with the US soldiers in Iraq. They have an impossible task, one for which they have not been adequately trained or prepared.

Each day US soldiers go door-to-door, breaking into homes, searching bedrooms, bathrooms, and closets looking for weapons and young men. Their trigger fingers are alert for the possibility of resistance. The next closet could hold a bomber or an insurgent. The women, children, and old folks are scared as the foreign soldiers rummage through the homes, conducting police work without knowledge of the local language or customs. The terrified inhabitants are unlikely to furnish intelligence about insurgents: if they cooperate with the invaders they will be punished, tomorrow or whenever the occupiers leave.

What a way to win the hearts and minds of Iraqis!

Some National Guardsmen and women are on their third and fourth tours of duty, away from their families and businesses and jobs. They must be thinking of the inequality of sacrifice. They must fear that it is not recognized at home.

To some who support the war, supporting the troops has become a sacred mission in itself, a reason for continuing the war. “Support the troops” is an emotional rallying point intended to stifle debate.

No president or Member of Congress -- Republican or Democrat -- should be making policy in this manner. Asking soldiers to risk their lives requires the clearest threat to all 300 million Americans. The mission must be constantly reevaluated to determine if it is in the national interest, particularly when popular opinion polls indicate that a majority of Americans believe the Iraq war was a mistake and initiated on a pattern of government lies and misrepresentations.

In Time Magazine on February 19, Joe Klein, a war supporter, analyzed what it really means to support the troops. “Politicians have a sacred mission, too. Their duty is threefold: to be judicious about sending the troops off to war, to give the military everything it needs to complete the mission and, if it appears that mission is futile or compromised, to change or end it.”


The best way to support our troops is to elect a president, a vice president, and a Congress who will not order them to fight an unnecessary and unwinnable war.

Jerome Grossman is the author of “Relentless Liberal” and Chairman emeritus of Council for a Livable World

Monday, February 26, 2007

Outside Pressures Snapped Korean Deadlock

Outside Pressures Snapped Korean Deadlock
NY Times 2/13/07 by David Sanger
….For Mr. Kim, the nuclear explosion – more of a fizzle – that he set off in the mountains not far from the Chinese border in October turned out to be a strategic mistake. The Chinese, who spent six decades protecting the Kim family dynasty, responded by cutting off his military aid, and helping Washington crack down on the banks that financed the Cognac-and-Mercedes lifestyle of the North Korean leadership. “As a political statement, that test was a red flare for everyone,” said Robert Galucci…

Counterinsurgency Warfare As Military Malpractice

Counterinsurgency Warfare As Military Malpractice
By Edward N. Luttwack – Harper’s Magazine, February 2007
Modern armed forces continue to be structured for large-scale war, but advanced societies whose small families
lack expendable children have a very low tolerance for casualties…Fortunately, this refusal to sell blood needed to
fuel battles diminishes the likelihood that advanced societies will deliberately set out to fight one another unless
they are somehow able to convince themselves that a war could be entirely or very largely aerial and naval. Such
wars, however, are difficult to imagine … air and naval forces can certainly be employed advantageously against
any less advanced enemies incautious enough to rely on a conventional defense, but …there must be severe doubts
about the continued usefulness of the ground forces of advanced countries that are intolerant of casualties…

Officially Introduced Senate Legislation

Officially Introduced Senate Legislation
S.121 Sponsor: Russell Feingold (D-Wisconsin)
Introduced January 4, 2007
Co-Sponsors Barbara Boxer (D-California)
Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
Bernard Sanders (Ind – VT)
Summary: Calls for redeploying U.S. forces out of Iraq no later than 180 days after the date of enactment while leaving a minimum level of U.S. forces to “engage directly in targeted counterterrorism activities, train Iraq security forces, and protect U.S. infrastructure and personnel in Iraq.

What it Really Means to Support The Troops

From an article in Time Magazine 2/19/07 by Joe Klein
What it Really Means to Support The Troops
Politicians have a sacred mission too. Their duty is threefold: to be judicious about sending the troops off to war, to give the military everything it needs to complete the mission and if it appears the mission is futile or compromised, to change or end it.

Letter to John Kerry

January 30, 2007
Senator John Kerry,
Dear John,
I was shocked and surprised to read in the Boston Globe and the New York Times that you claim to have been Chairman of the Committee to Elect Father Drinan in 1970. You know that I was Chair for all five of his campaigns, hired the managers, raised the money, organized the caucus and the peace workers, etc. You had no role. By altering history, you are swiftboating me the way you were swiftboated in the 2004 election. It isn’t fair and I don’t like it. You should correct the record with the newspapers and on your resume.


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