29 April 2006

Regime change in Iran

How it's all likely to play out in Iran.
The US military attack on Iran will, most certainly, be conducted with air power. The US has neither the available ground forces necessary to invade a large country like Iran, nor the appetite (given the experience of Iraq) to manage its aftermath. In contrast, airpower assets are plentiful and its employment offers a clean, seemingly low cost alternative to a ground invasion.

There are two major problems with deploying airpower. The first is that Iran has both dispersed and hardened its nuclear related facilities. This situation means that in order to guarantee the destruction of some of these facilities, a nuclear weapon must be used. This is not a viable option. The use of nuclear weapons in any form is an anathema to the world and most people within the US government, despite the ability to modify these weapons to reduce their size and fallout. As a result, it is highly probable that some of Iran's facilities will survive conventional air attack.

The second problem is equally as difficult. Most of the threat posed by the Iranian nuclear program isn't contained in the facilities but in the knowledge of its engineers. This means that any destruction of facilities would only result in a short-term delay in development and a redoubled commitment by Iran to accomplish the task.

These problems indicate that the only way to truly realize a reversal in the Iranian program is regime change. Therefore the objective would be to remove the clerical regime from power -- it's likely that merely a political reshuffle would be insufficient to ensure any meaningful reduction in the threat. Additionally, this is a real test of the Bush doctrine of pre-emption. Iran has clearly supported international terrorism and will soon be in a position to supply these groups with nuclear weapons.

Of course, just as things didn't exactly work out as planned with the Iraq invasion, so optimistic gleanings like these should be judged accordingly.

19 April 2006

Crooks and Liars

No, not referring to the popular website that catalogs such egregious Republican political acts, but to the utterly incredulous recent radio commercials sponsored by the Republican National Committee, aired in Spanish, that claim Democrats voted to treat millions of hardworking immigrants as felons.
Los terroristas entran a través de nuestras trafican drogas en las orillas de los Estados Unidos.

Justo la semana pasada había esperanza, el congreso estaba trabajando para reformar la ley de inmigración....asegurar nuestras fronteras y proteger a las familias estadounidenses.

Pero el demócrata Harry Reid nos falló....Harry Reid jugó a la política y bloqueó a nuestros líderes en el Congreso para no llegar a un acuerdo.

Los aliados demócratas de Reid votaron para tratar a millones de trabajadores inmigrantes...como criminales...

Mientras el presidente Bush y los líderes republicanos trabajan por una legislación que protegerá nuestras fronteras y honrará a nuestros inmigrantes.

But the truth is that it was a Republican, James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin who introduced legislation that would turn illegal immigrants into felons. And here in Arizona, it is Republicans that are steaming over a veto by Democratic governor Janet Napolitano of similar legislation that wished to codify the same punitive measures. Republican lawmakers backed off the felony provision for "first time" offenders, but retained it for future violations.

The level of dishonesty is just apalling. How can any American vote Republican, given the culture of corruption prevalent, and now just brazen dishonesty being flaunted.

17 April 2006

Eliminationist rhetoric

As I've written here, regarding illegal immigration, I'm generally opposed to offers of amnesty and any type of guest worker program implementation. Not that I an evil hearted xenophobic radical, I, like many other Americans, feel that people should play by the rules and that temporary worker programs are an invitation to flagrant worker abuse and exploitation. However, when I read invectives on the issue like this one, it makes me shudder to cast my political lot with those who flaunt hate speech, wishing to dehumanize fellow brothers and sisters.
We can learn from Buffalo, New York. Now in Buffalo the rat problem in the city was a huge one. Exterminators could not handle the problem. But then in 2001 the city mandated that everyone would have to begin using special anti-rat garbage totes that the rats could not open. With no way to get to the garbage, the rats left Buffalo. Now, they went to the suburbs and now the suburbs are fighting them. But it is no longer a problem for the people of Buffalo, New York. Here is how to do the same with our problem:

1) No services.

Absolutely no services of any kind for those who cannot prove they are in the country legally. Nothing but emergency medical care. Without all the social services, medical and other services provided for them, the illegals will find life here less attractive.

2) No schools.

Absolutely no schooling for anyone who cannot prove they belong here legally.

3) No easy birthright.

Change the law. Now, if you are born here, you are a citizen. I say, if you cannot prove that you were born here and that your mother was here legally at the time, then your citizenship is that of the mother and not of the USA.

4) No legal status. No drivers licenses. No bank accounts. No ability to sue a citizen. No legal standing for anyone who is in this country illegally.

5) No free lunch for "The Man". Make it a criminal offense (and enforce it if it is already on the books) to hire an illegal alien, or to rent a dwelling place to him, or to sell him a home knowing that he intends to live there. Make employers provide documentation for all of their workers. You put the onus on "The Man" and it suddenly becomes less appealing to take advantage of the illegals.


David Neiwert notes that this same "rat comparison" meme, propagated by popular right wing talk show hosts, was used by the Nazis to drum up hatred of the Jews and is also employed to demonize gays and lesbians.

Furthermore, are illegal immigrants, as Arizona politician Russell Pearce is quick to pounce on this point, totally without constitutional rights? Do folks really wish to treat fellow human beings in such a manner, like vermin to be eliminated?

I have a feeling the immigration debate is going to get uglier, as a pushback against the recent spate of marches and protests starts to surface coincides with an intimidated legislative bunch who keep floating solutions that dissatisfy the majority of Americans. Yet, from my perspective, the answer is quite simple:

  • More punitive employer sanctions for hiring illegal workers and more importantly, enforcement of these laws.
  • Full worker rights for anyone working in the United States — if the labor force is empowered to exercise, to the fullest, laws of economic activity, it is a win win situation for all, American workers and those trying to forge a better life.

12 April 2006

They didn't appreciate McCain questioning their work ethic

Just another tidbit on how detached from the concerns of working Americans Senator John McCain is.
But he took more questions, including a pointed one on his immigration plan.

McCain responded by saying immigrants were taking jobs nobody else wanted. He offered anybody in the crowd $50 an hour to pick lettuce in Arizona.

Shouts of protest rose from the crowd, with some accepting McCain's job offer.

"I'll take it!" one man shouted.

McCain insisted none of them would do such menial labor for a complete season. "You can't do it, my friends."

Senator McCain is no friend to the American worker, doing everything in his power to undercut their wages and everything in earnest to displace American jobs with foreign workers.