Friday Reads: Riders on the StormPosted: August 27, 2021
Good Day Sky Dancers!
I first heard this song in Junior High School. My neighbor and playmate is a Doctor now, but she introduced The Hobbit to me in the 4th grade when she was in 5th grade, and our favorite play activity was building clouds from white sheets and playing goddesses. So, when she got her first Doors album, she immediately ordered me to her bedroom for initiation into the fans of Jim club. It wasn’t like I wasn’t playing the entire The Doors album until the grooves disappeared already.
I was in 8th grade, forced into a cotillion weekly dance class, and my only treat was getting either that album or Inna Gadda Da Vida played as the last song of the night where we could actually dance. But, Janet was particularly interested in sitting me down to hear Riders in the Storm because she insisted it was next level. Yeah. She was right. That and “Blowing in the Wind” became my official stuck in the basement during a tornado song set. My guitar went everywhere with me during those years. Well, actually it is still here sitting in that corner over there.
So, why am I all over this song today? It’s not 1971. But, I’m staring at a Cat 3 Hurricane coming right at us on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, and like all good children with a music obsession, I need a fight song to deal with the PTSD. So, enjoy! I may have to trade my Monday blog duties for Tuesday if our infrastructure does its usual thing.
The Doors were also a big deal during the Vietnam War, as was another obsession of mine, Creedance Clearwater Revival and “Run through the Jungle.” I actually knew a sniper/medic who took that as his fight song while doing active duty in Somalia. I always play 70s music when stressed. It’s my Wayback Machine. I will see you on the other side of this. At least it’s in the 70s temperature-wise today.
That’s my sewerage and water board building with pumps from the World War I era. Fortunately, I’m still on high ground, and our dedicated pump is up and running! I will be ‘Riding the Storm Out’.
So, this is your diversion from all the craziness. The Republicans are running amok with our democracy. They’re trying to impeach Secretary of State Blinken for the misdeeds of Secretary Pompeo. They’re calling for President Biden to resign over a deal with the Taliban struck by Trump and Pompeo. Writing for Slate, William Saletan has this to say: “The GOP’s Phony Complaints About Afghanistan. Nearly everything Republicans are decrying happened under Trump“.
On Thursday, suicide bombers killed scores of people outside the Kabul airport, including at least 12 American service members. Congressional Republicans snapped into action, demanding that President Joe Biden resign or be impeached. It’s the latest outburst in a string of political opportunism. For weeks, Republicans have been all over cable TV, lambasting Biden for withdrawing troops. They’ve professed dismay that thousands of jailed Taliban fighters were released from prison, that al-Qaida operatives are still in Afghanistan, and that the American president accepted a Taliban deadline to get out. All of these complaints are phony. Nearly everything the Republicans are decrying happened last year. But Republicans defended or ignored it, because the president who engineered those concessions was Donald Trump.
On Feb. 29, 2020, the Trump administration signed a deal with the Taliban to pull all American troops out of Afghanistan by May 1, 2021. The deal also required the Afghan government to release 5,000 imprisoned Taliban fighters. Hawks called the agreement weak and dangerous, but Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader, advised them not to speak out against it. In March 2020, at hearings of the House Armed Services Committee, some lawmakers worried about the deal, but most, including Reps. Jim Banks and Matt Gaetz, said nothing about it. Another Republican member of the committee, Rep. Mo Brooks, expressed his impatience to pull out, noting that American forces had long ago “destroyed al-Qaida’s operational capability” in Afghanistan.
In July 2020, the committee took up the National Defense Authorization Act, which would fund the military for the next year. Democratic Rep. Jason Crow presented an amendment that would make the Afghan pullout contingent on several requirements. These included “consultation and coordination” with allies, protection of “United States personnel in Afghanistan,” severance of the Taliban from al-Qaida, prevention of “terrorist safe havens inside Afghanistan,” and adequate “capacity of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces” to fight off Taliban attacks. The amendment also required investigation of any prisoners, released as part of the deal, who might be connected to terrorism. In short, the amendment would do what Trump had failed to do: impose real conditions on the withdrawal. Crow told his colleagues that he, too, wanted to get out, but that Afghan security forces weren’t yet “ready to stand on their own.”
Gaetz dismissed these warnings. The Taliban was already taking over the country, he argued, and imposing conditions would just get in the way of the pullout. “I don’t think there’s ever a bad day to end the war in Afghanistan,” he said.
Eleven members of the committee, including Banks, Brooks, and Gaetz, voted against the amendment. It passed, but Trump refused to accept it. In December, he vetoed the whole defense bill, complaining that it would, among other things, “restrict the President’s ability to withdraw troops from Afghanistan.” Steve Scalise, the minority whip, voted to uphold Trump’s veto. McCarthy, who had to miss the vote for medical reasons, said he, too, stood with the president. Congress overrode the veto, but Trump essentially ignored the amendment.
I keep thinking that BB and I have written our faces blue on this but the evidence is out there and coming out all the time. We’re both livid about the press treatment. Flights from Kabul have resumed after the deadly attack this week despite more information about possible future ISIS-K suicide bombers. This is from the New York Times and is updated constantly.
After a blast that killed 13 U.S. troops, evacuation flights have resumed. With four days remaining until an Aug. 31 deadline for the U.S. withdrawal, the window for airlifts is narrowing.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Kabul attack recalls the deadliest day for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, a decade ago.
Biden faces a tragedy he worked to avoid.
A baby born on an evacuation flight is named Reach, after the aircraft’s call sign.
How strong are ISIS and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan?
Aid groups work to find ways into Afghanistan amid the chaos in Kabul.
Devastation at one airport left many fearful at another across the world.
President Joe Biden was visibily moved by the airport carnage and loss of American life. As you can see in the Takei tweet, the Trump family is ready to take political advantage of dead american soldiers and Afghani children. This analysis is from WaPo and was written by Sean Sullivan and Anne Gearan. It starts with an unnecessary stab at Biden.
President Biden on Thursday confronted the most volatile crisis of his young presidency, the deaths of at least 13 Americans in Afghanistan that threatened to undermine his credentials as a seasoned global leader and a steady hand.
In emotional comments at the White House, Biden made clear that the attack would not cause him to rethink his strategy. Rather, he said, it reinforced his belief that the war must end and that the evacuation must proceed. He framed the deaths as the sacrifice of heroes performing a noble mission, and he suggested that any move to cut short the evacuation of Americans and their Afghan supporters would amount to caving to the terrorists.
“I bear responsibility for, fundamentally, all that has happened,” Biden said, addressing the nation hours after the deadly attack. His voice broke as he invoked Scripture, history and personal loss to decry the double suicide bombing at the entrance to the Kabul airport, which stands as the last small acreage controlled by the United States in Afghanistan nearly 20 years after the war began.
Biden promised to track down the killers responsible for the massacre, who he suggested were members of the terrorist group ISIS-K. “To those who carried out this attack: We will not forgive,” he said. “We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay.”
These paragraphs are then followed by a litany of Republicans blaming Biden and Blinken’s actions instead of remembering that Trump and Pompeo rolled this ball of dung to the next adminstration. The best source of why the Kabul evacuation was superior to the Saigon evacuation continues to be presented by Lawrence O’Donnell. He also highlights the difference between the response by Biden to Ford. When you read all those headlines today asking Biden to take full responsiblity, you shoud also ask yourself has he not already done that several times?
Well, we`ve been through this only once before in our history. Before the evacuation in Afghanistan, the American military had carried out only one evacuation from a war that we lost. That was from Vietnam in 1975, and Vietnam, when the airport we were using came under rocket fire from the north Vietnamese army and two marines were killed, the final two soldiers killed in combat in Vietnam, Republican President Gerald Ford immediately ordered the abandonment of the airport and the switch to helicopters dangerously taking people from the tops of buildings to finish the evacuation.
President Ford immediately ordered the evacuation speeded up. The president never gave a thought to trying to a avenge deaths of those two marines or in any way prolonging the dangerous situation and extending his deadline for evacuating from Vietnam. President Ford speeded it up. But President Ford did not tell us any of that at the time.
President Ford did not say a public word about the evacuation while it was going on or immediately after its end. Not one word. And not one word about the deaths of those marines in the evacuation of Vietnam.
Today, when tragedy struck in Afghanistan and 13 marines were killed, 18 marines were injured, President Biden said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I bear responsibility for fundamentally all that`s happened of late.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The Pentagon estimates that at least 60 Afghans were killed in the suicide bombing outside the airport in Kabul. President Biden`s first message today was one of condolence to the families and to the loved ones of the marines who were killed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: My heart aches for you. I know this. We have a continued obligation, a sacred obligation to all of you, families of those heroes. That obligation is not temporary, it lasts forever. The lives we lost today were lives given in the service of liberty, the service of security, the service of others and the service of America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The president`s second message was to the people who carried out he attack.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: For those who carried out this attack, as well as anyone who wishes America harm, know this: We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay. I`ll defend our interests and our people with every measure at my command.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The president then explained what happens next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: We will not be deterred by terrorists. We will not let them stop our mission. We will continue the evacuation.
I`ve also ordered my commanders to develop operational plans to strike ISIS-K assets, leadership and facilities. We will respond with force and precision at our time at the place we choose in a moment of our choosing.
Here`s what you need to know: these ISIS terrorists will not win.
We will rescue the Americans in there. We will get our Afghan allies out. And our mission will go on.
America will not be intimidated. I have the utmost confidence in our brave service members who continue to execute this mission with courage and honor to save lives and get Americans, our partners, our Afghan allies out of Afghanistan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
So, keep riding through all these American Storms and remember there are good guys and gals out there. If only people would solve the problem insteading of being one.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?