Giving voice to millions of Americans: End U.S. wars of intervention
I recently met with President-elect Donald Trump to give voice to the millions of Americans, including my fellow veterans, who desperately want to end our country's illegal, counterproductive war to overthrow the Syrian government. We had an hour-long, meaningful, back-and-forth discussion about the problems with current U.S. policy in Syria and where to go from here.
I felt it critical to meet with him now, before warmongering neocons convince him to escalate this war that has already taken more than 400,000 lives and left millions of Syrians homeless and in search of safety for themselves and their families.
Pictured at the Touchdowns for Tatas check presentation are (from left): Jim Anderson, owner of the Beach House and Dollie’s Pub and Cafe; Nancy La Joy, executive director of the Pacific Cancer Foundation; Debbie Patton, Touchdowns for Tatas organizer; and Seth Kuperman, owner of the Beach House and Dollie’s.
I conveyed to the president-elect how the post-9/11 neocon agenda of interventionism and regime-change has left U.S. foreign policy absurdly disconnected from our actual security interests. Our actions to overthrow secular dictators in Iraq and Libya, and attempts now to do the same in Syria, have resulted in tremendous loss of life, failed nations and even worse humanitarian crises while strengthening the very terrorist organizations that have declared war on America.
Since 2011, the United States - working with Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, and Turkey - has been providing support to "rebel groups" fighting to overthrow the government and take over Syria. A recent New York Times article reported that these "rebel groups" supported by the U.S. "have entered into battlefield alliances with the affiliate of al-Qaeda in Syria, formerly known as al-Nusra." How the United States can work hand-in-hand with the very terrorist organization that is responsible for the killing of 3,000 Americans on 9/11 boggles my mind and curdles my blood.
This absurd alliance has allowed terrorist groups like al-Qaeda to establish strongholds throughout Syria, including in Aleppo, where they are now using the civilian population as human shields and their deaths as propaganda tools.
Additionally, escalating this regime-change war by implementing a "no fly/safe zone" in Syria would not only be ineffective, it would put the U.S. in direct military confrontation with nuclear-power Russia, require tens of thousands of ground troops and a massive U.S. air presence, and commit us to yet another endless war in the Middle East that does not serve American or Syrian interests.
In short, even if the U.S.-Saudi alliance were successful in overthrowing the Syrian government, we would be saddled with the responsibility of building a new nation in Syria. Trillions of U.S. taxpayer dollars, and who knows how many American lives, will be lost, and there will be little to show for it. As was true in Iraq and Libya, the U.S. has no credible government or leader able to bring order, security and freedom to the people of Syria if Assad is overthrown. To maintain order after Assad's fall would require at least 500,000 troops in a never-ending occupation.
The most likely outcome of this regime-change war is that it will open the door for ISIS, al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups who are the most powerful fighting forces on the ground to take over all of Syria, amass powerful weapons (many of which will have been provided to them by the U.S.), and pose a far worse threat to the Syrian people, religious minorities and to the world.
The crux of my advice to President-elect Trump was this: we must end this ill-conceived, counterproductive regime-change war immediately. We must focus our precious resources on investing in and rebuilding our own country and on defeating al-Qaeda, ISIS and other terrorist groups that pose a threat to the American people.
CONGRESSWOMAN TULSI GABBARD
Hoping for the best with Trump in charge
Dear "Name withheld by request," you start by addressing the "liberal media" and pushing their crazy views. Well, never once was there any hanky panky spewed to Ms. Clinton, right? What? Liberal media meanies! That's rich... seriously rich. In 1983, 90 percent of U.S. media was controlled by 50 companies; today, 90 percent is controlled by just six companies. So I suppose these massive trillion dollar corporations are a bunch of tree hugging, open border, we'll pay our fair share in taxes to support free education and healthcare types. Is that correct? Or are they Republican supporters first, but who pay off any politician they can to maximize their profit? Owners and stockholders would rather have Trump so they can increase their wealth. And they by far gave much more air, print and TV time to Trump.
You proceed with why would he risk his family and his own life to become president. You do realize that if President Obama has not been assassinated, I'm sure Trump will be fine. The amount of hate and vile slander heaped onto not only President Obama but his wife and young children as well is sickening. Vile, ugly, insane rants for eight years, and I'm sure it will continue for some time - just a sad state of morality and respect for life.
You opine, "Maybe he just wants to help ALL of this country." That's a whopper. He grew up with a trust fund. He has screwed over many hardworking people, builders and architects; it's amazing he hasn't gotten a beating. You're hoping that a Republican-controlled legislature is going to fork over trillions for infrastructure, vets, 911 responders? Why hasn't that happened already? Republicans have controlled not only Congress but over half of state and governorships in this country. Are they just waiting for Trump to lead them? I doubt it. See, the way it works is the legislature does what it wants for the most part. The president just signs the check, so to speak.
You state, "He saw people make less than they did ten years ago." I doubt he cares, and it does not matter. A Republican-controlled legislator is going to cut taxes for the upper 10 percent and corporations a lot, and the rest of us will see maybe a small decrease. Forget money for infrastructure, the fire department or highways. Let's privatize! So, more money for the military, and nothing will change to strengthen Social Security (it's not going broke, by the way), Medicaid, infrastructure repairs and modern transportation corridors like the rest of the free world.
And ISIS? You do realize that little bunch, which is a direct result of the Iraq invasion, is losing ground. Ask yourself why we spend so much money, by far the biggest money pit in the world many times over, to combat a bunch of religious nut-jobs thousands and thousands of miles away driving around in Toyota pick-ups using U.S.-manufactured weapons.
Government backing the police, you say. You think that will "make America great again?" If you haven't noticed, the government has an ongoing fire sale and sell all their lots of surplus military-grade weapons, vehicles and who knows what else to the police. Who wouldn't want a fully militarized police force? Well, if you're white it's OK, but there are a lot of CITIZENS of this country that have a very personal problem with that.
In the end, you claim he really is for all of us. You don't know what he is going to do. He has flip-flopped on so many perspectives over the years; it seems he just blurts out whatever he thinks will sound best and benefit him - kind of like a child. I agree it's time to move on. I am hoping for the best as well. You never know.
Mahalo for supporting Touchdowns for Tatas
The Beach House and Dollie's Pub and Cafe want to thank everyone for supporting our fourth annual Touchdowns for Tatas event on Oct. 24, 2016! It was a huge success this year as we raised $12,204, which was double last year and exceeded our $10,000 goal! All donations raised are donated to the Pacific Cancer Foundation, where all the monies stay in Maui County.
We wish to extend a big mahalo to our major sponsors: Captain Steve's Rafting, Maui Jim, Teddy's Bigger Burgers, UFO Parasail, and West Maui Parasail. A big mahalo also goes out to Marty Dread for playing at and supporting our Touchdowns for Tatas event!
We had a hugely successful silent auction and prize raffle! Mahalo to all of our prize donors, including a special shout out to the Hotel Molokai and Makani Kai Air for representing Molokai this year by donating a trip to Molokai! Over 90 businesses provided multiple prizes to our silent auction and our raffle.
A special thank you goes out to Seth Kuperman, our pink mohawked emcee, as well as to Captain Steve, Christine Gillis, Kulakane Tony, Jim Anderson and the entire crew at the Beach House and Dollie's!
We look forward to next year, our fifth annual Touchdowns for Tatas. Wear your pink and join us next October!
DIG ME DEB PATTON, Touchdowns for Tatas Chair, Lahaina