August Already??

Busy, busy girl!  I can’t even remember what the last blog I wrote was….
I’ve been swamped at work..(very good thing).  Survived round 2 of layoffs.  We did lose a person in our department, but she took a position with another company.  Works for her, works for me (lol!).  Now the rest of us clerks are splitting up her work, so I haven’t got much time to skim the news or read blogs.  Not that I’m complaining… I love my job, love being busy, and hopefully they keep me here for many, many years to come.

Classes are starting this week, and although I’m an adult, I still get a little excited for the beginning of each semester.  Getting back into a classrom, with a fresh start, learning… It cheers me up a little.  Breaks my boring cycle up.  Although, in a week or two, I’m going to be missing my extra Baby/Momma time.  That’s my LEAST favorite part about school.  Work all day from 7a-4:30p… class from 5:30-9p… ugh that’s depressing!

I can’t really call it Baby/Momma time… because Little Guy is barely a baby anymore.  He does cannon balls into my parents’ pool, no water wings, and swims about 4 feet to the steps.  He does this swimming underwater, because he’s yet to master keeping his head above the water (lol!).  It’s pretty impressive for an almost 4-year-old.  
He can knock a tennis ball onto my parents’ roof with a baseball bat.  He’s got a real good eye.  Never lets the ball of his sight.  He even hits the balls that Mommy & Grandpa don’t get anywhere near his tiny strike zone.
He’s got a real good memory, too.  You remember those flashcards with the simple math problems on them?  Well, he can’t do math yet, but he’s pretty much got the majority of numbers memorized (1-9).  He flips them over and tells me each number on the card.  I thought my mom was crazy when she brought them over to me… but Mother always knows best.  The other night I was telling him how smart he is and I said, “How do you remember all of these?”  He responded with, “I’ve got a strange mind.”  Agreed.  Kid is smart.  I could go on and on about him for hours.  He makes those 15 hour days worth it…

Hope everyone is enjoying their summer!  I know I’m not ready for it to be ending.  Always goes by so quickly…

Obama’s Afghanistan Policy Tracks Bush in Iraq

By Morton Kondracke
Morton Kondracke is executive editor of Roll Call, the newspaper of Capitol Hill.

President Barack Obama is an unremitting critic of George W. Bush, but in Afghanistan he’s walking in Bush’s shoes. How ironic. But also, how encouraging.

Ironic, of course, because as a senator, Obama was among the strongest critics of Bush’s 2007 troop “surge” in Iraq.

He predicted that additional troops would actually worsen the sectarian violence raging in that country – though by September 2008, he acknowledged that “the surge has been successful,” but “in ways that not even President Bush expected.”

Obama’s stance is encouraging because, like Bush in Iraq, he believes in the policies he’s pursuing in Afghanistan and is willing to buck opposition.

“We now have a strategy that can work. We’ve got one of our best generals today, (David) Petraeus, on the ground,” he told CBS on Monday.

“I’ve been very clear that we’re going to move forward on a process of training Afghans so that they can provide for their own security.

“Then, by the middle of next year, we’re going to start thinning out our troops and giving Afghans more responsibility.

“If I didn’t think that it was important for our national security to finish the job in Afghanistan, then I would pull out today, because I have to sign letters to … families who have lost loved ones.”

Opposition to Obama’s Afghan policy comes primarily from within the Democratic Party, of course, though there is also opposition from members of the U.S. foreign policy “establishment.”

So it was for Bush in Iraq. When the going got rough, prominent Democrats such as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) declared the war “a lost cause” and a “quagmire,” and a majority of Congressional Democrats supported measures to curtail funding.

Congressional Democrats are turning against the Afghanistan War in increasing numbers, though opponents are still short of a majority.

Last week, 102 of the House’s 255 Democrats (plus 12 Republicans) voted against funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Obama, who’s a nonstop critic of Republicans for opposing his domestic policies, owes GOP members at least some thanks for supporting his Afghan policy.

But Democrats are not about to humiliate a president of their own party, and he is getting expressions of support from figures such as Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (Mich.) and Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry (Mass.).

They would almost certainly be denouncing the Afghan war effort if Bush were pursuing it – as would Vice President Joseph Biden. The three not only opposed Bush 43 on Iraq but his father’s 1991 decision to go to war when Iraq invaded Kuwait.

In this case, Biden is forecasting that when Obama’s “thinning out” process commences next July, it probably will involve “as few as a couple thousand” soldiers. Biden argued against Obama’s “surge” when the policy was being formulated.

Obama also is sticking with his policy against mounting public dissatisfaction and expressions of doubt by “establishment” figures – most recently by Richard Haass, an official in both Bush administrations and president of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Haass wrote in Newsweek last month that “It is time to scale down our ambitions there and both reduce and redirect what we do.” Haass does not favor a full-scale or sudden withdrawal, which “would almost certainly result in the collapse of the Karzai government and a Taliban takeover of much of the country.”

Rather, borrowing an idea from Robert Blackwill, a former U.S. ambassador to India, Haass favors “decentralization” – what amounts to partition – of Afghanistan, handing over Pashtun areas to the Taliban and equipping other ethnic groups to defend themselves.

The latest Gallup poll shows that – no doubt because of mounting U.S. casualty levels – a growing number of Americans (43 percent) believe that the United States made a “mistake” sending troops to Afghanistan, even though the question stipulated this first happened in October 2001.

That, of course, was a month after al-Qaida, then based in Afghanistan, toppled the Twin Towers. The memory seems to be fading.

Since then, some 1,220 U.S. service personnel have lost their lives in Afghanistan. Last month, 66 died, the highest monthly toll in the war.

However, that’s far short of the 4,400 who have died in Iraq and the record month, with 131 deaths, in May 2007.

The United States has abandoned Afghanistan and its nuclear-armed neighbor, Pakistan, again and again — too many times to maintain our credibility as a superpower, should we do it again.

Obama is not giving up, much as Bush didn’t. We can only hope that both are vindicated.

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About mzkatie

Live. Laugh. Love. Learn. <3
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