Wednesday, July 18, 2018

America's New Pearl Harbor/9-11-01

America is facing this generation's version of the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and the terror attack on 9-11-2001. For the first time in America's history, the occupant of the White House is supporting a foreign enemy power rather than the interest and people of America.  In 1941 and in 2001, the then presidents of the United States took prompt and immediate action to defend against the attack by hostile anti-American elements.  Since taking occupancy of the White House, Trump has done NOTHING to respond properly to Russia's 2016 cyber-attack and election interference.  Worse yet, Trump has attacked and sought to alienate America's long time allies as he played submissive whore to Vladimir Putin.  A piece in Politico looks at this stark failure to counter an enemy while another in The Atlantic looks at the crisis facing genuinely patriotic Americans (which by definition, excludes Trump supporting Republicans).  Here are excerpts from Politico:
On December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy launched a surprise conventional attack against the U.S. Pacific Fleet moored at Pearl Harbor. The Japanese operation was part of a larger strategy: cripple the United States — in capability, naval manpower and mentality — so that we would be prevented from interfering as Japan continued military operations throughout Southeast Asia. Almost 3,500 Americans were killed or wounded; eight U.S. battleships were damaged and four were sunk; and more than 300 aircraft were damaged or destroyed. To this day, the wreckage of the USS Arizona is a monument to loss of life and totality of destruction. The attack happened without a declaration of war and without explicit warning, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt responded the next day.
On September 11, 2001, the Islamist terrorist group Al Qaeda conducted four coordinated unconventional attacks against our nation. Its leader, Osama bin Laden, chose targets linked to the U.S. government and American economic power as part of his larger strategy: bring “holy war” to the American homeland for what bin Laden alleged were aggressions against Muslims in the Middle East. Nearly 3,000 people were killed and more than 6,000 injured in attacks that caused at least $10 billion in damages. The memorials in Manhattan, at the Pentagon, and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, remind us of the loss and of the hollowness we felt watching the Twin Towers fall. The attack happened without a declaration of war and without explicit warning, and President George W. Bush responded the next day.
[B]oth attacks were earth-shaking events that forced a forward leap in our strategic thinking about the defense of the American homeland and the projection of American power. As the smoke still rose over the wreckage of our fleet, and as the dust settled over Manhattan and the Pentagon, we went to war. We acted because Japan and Al Qaeda had underestimated us.
In 2016, our country was targeted by an attack that had different operational objectives and a different overarching strategy, but its aim was every bit as much to devastate the American homeland as Pearl Harbor or 9/11. The destruction may not send pillars of smoke into the sky or come with an 11-digit price tag, and there’s no body count or casualty statistics—but the damage done has ravaged our institutions and shaken our belief in our immovability. But two years on, we still haven’t put any boats or men in the proverbial water. We still have not yet acted—just today, President Donald Trump, a beneficiary of this attack, exonerated the man who ordered it: Russian strongman Vladimir Putin.
Piece by piece, name by name, one operational detail after the next, special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation has documented that the Russian attack on the American homeland and the American people was every inch as organized, expansive, penetrating and daring as that Japanese run on our fleet or bin Laden’s plan to use civilian airliners as weapons.
So where are the air-raid sirens and the calls to arms from those who vow to protect and defend our Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic? Last week, as Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein released Mueller’s latest indictment of the 12 Russian intelligence officers, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats was also testifying on Capitol Hill. “The warning lights are blinking red,” he said. The risk of a “crippling cyberattack on our critical infrastructure” by a foreign adversary was increasing, he added. Coats named Russia as the most aggressive threat, saying: “The digital infrastructure that serves this country is literally under attack.” Not in 2016. Now. It’s happening all over again.
For now, our [Republican] civilian leadership is shrugging this off, even acquiescing, which leaves every individual to defend themselves against the assault of information levied by a foreign attacker. This should not be the way we defend our people and our homeland.  This is our Pearl Harbor, our 9/11. In the past, we have risen to the defense of our values, our ideologies and our institutions. It’s time for another fight. The ball — as Putin said — is in our court.

The piece in The Atlantic likewise faces the dire threat posed by Russia and Donald Trump and his lap dog, Mike Pence.  Moreover, it calls for action now to rein in or remove Trump.  The author?  A former Republican who puts country and morality above party.  Here are excerpts:
We still do not know what hold Vladimir Putin has on Donald Trump, but the whole world has now witnessed the power of its grip.
Russia helped Donald Trump into the presidency, as Robert Mueller’s indictment vividly details. Putin, in his own voice, has confirmed that he wanted Trump elected. Standing alongside his benefactor, Trump denounced the special counsel investigating Russian intervention in the U.S. election—and even repudiated his own intelligence appointees.
This is an unprecedented situation, but not an uncontemplated one. At the 1787 convention in Philadelphia, the authors of the Constitution worried a great deal about foreign potentates corrupting the American presidency.
When Gouverneur Morris famously changed his mind in favor of an impeachment clause, he explained his new point of view by invoking a situation very similar to the one now facing the United States:  Our Executive was not like a Magistrate having a life interest, much less like one having an hereditary interest in his office. He may be bribed by a greater interest to betray his trust; and no one would say that we ought to expose ourselves to the danger of seeing the first Magistrate in foreign pay without being able to guard [against] it by displacing him.
The reasons for Trump’s striking behavior—whether he was bribed or blackmailed or something else—remain to be ascertained. That he has publicly refused to defend his country’s independent electoral process—and did so jointly with the foreign dictator who perverted that process—is video-recorded fact.
And it’s a fact that has to be seen in the larger context of his actions in office: denouncing the European Union as a “foe,” threatening to break up NATO, wrecking the U.S.-led world trading system, intervening in both U.K. and German politics in support of extremist and pro-Russian forces, and continually refusing to act to protect the integrity of U.S. voting systems—it all adds up to a political indictment, whether or not it quite qualifies as a criminal one.
[C]onfronting the country in the wake of Helsinki is this question: Can it afford to wait to ascertain why Trump has subordinated himself to Putin after the president has so abjectly demonstrated that he has subordinated himself? Robert Mueller is leading a legal process. The United States faces a national-security emergency.

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