Archive for the ‘Biography’ Category

Mitt Romney Chooses Economic Conservative Paul Ryan as his Running Mate

11 Aug

Paul Ryan, Congressman from Wisconsin, is the latest GOP running mate who is probably an unknown to the majority of the Amerian voting populace.  To policy wonks, Tea Party faithful, and those who follow conservative economic politics, Ryan is well-known and, if you are an economic conservative, quite popular.  However, to the majority of Americans, who right now are probably more attuned to the Olympics, summer camping, and the new NFL season, news of Paul Ryan’s pick is more likely akin to prior news of Sarah Palin or Dan Quayle as running mates.  In other words, a big “Who is that?”

Paul Ryan and his Family (note the Green Bay Packers sweatshirt!)

Paul Ryan and his Family (note the Green Bay Packers sweatshirt!)

So, who IS Paul RyanPaul Ryan is a young (born in 1970) handsome family man (one wife, three kids), who lives in a town where his parents and grandparents are all buried (Janesville, Wisconsin), and he is an avid Green Bay Packers fan. Paul Ryan is also Catholic, which may be a helpful aspect for the Morman Romney.   In Paul Ryan’s Political Career, he has risen quickly through the ranks of the GOP through his work on the budget and his “Roadmap to Prosperity,” an economic blueprint that bears the intellectual handprint of the dean of Conservative economists, Milton Friedman.

In the days and weeks leading up to Mitt Romney’s VP announcement, speculation arose around such Republican luminaries as Condoleeza Rice and Marco Rubio, among others.  Either of those two would have provided Romney with an instant inroad to traditionally Democratic constituencies (African-Americans and Hispanics), but instead he chose a white midwesterner with no foreign policy exprience.  If the world experiences a major crisis in the weeks leading up to the American presidential election, the choice of a domestic economic expert rather than someone experienced in foreign policy, could come back to bite Romney.  It is quite likely that the war in Syria could easily get worse and engulf the U.S. into some sort of military intervention, and/or, an Israeli attack on Iran (which this writer thinks is very likely to occur before the U.S. elections), could highlight the lack of foreign policy experience on the Romney-Paul ticket.

One thing is for certain:  The U.S. Presidential election will be interesting.


New Biography Page on General McChrystal, Afghanistan Commander

27 Oct

George Stanley McChrystal (b. August, 14, 1954)
General Stanley A. McChrystal is an American army general who was named the commander of allied forces in Afghanistan, and assumed command of those forces in May of 2009.
General McChrystal is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. McChyrstal is a Green Beret and an Army Ranger, as well as a veteran commander in Special Operations, also known as “Black Ops.”
McChrystal served in Afghanistan as chief of staff of the military operations in 2001 and 2002. He also commanded the 75th Ranger Regiment and served tours in Saudi Arabia during the Persian Gulf War in 1991.
Forces under General McChrystal’s command found and captured Saddam Hussein and with tracking and killing Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaida in Mesopotamia (al-Qaida in Iraq).
General McChrystal replaced General David McKiernan…


Biography: Pervez Musharraf

04 Nov

Pervez Musharraf–(b. August 11, 1943)

Pervez Musharraf , commanding general of the Pakistani military, as well as the current president of Pakistan, is a military dictator who seized power in a military coup on October 12, 1999. In his time as Pakistan’s top general and as its political leader, he has led Pakistan into conflict with India (the Kargil Conflict), supported the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan, become an ally of the United States against the Taliban after September 11, 2001, fought against rebels in Baluchistan, and against frontier tribes, al-Qaida and the Taliban in the resurgent Waziristan War and the Siege of the Red Mosque. Musharraf has presided over the political fragmentation of his country as he tries to suppress democracy and continue his hold on power especially with his ongoing political conflict with Pakistan’s Supreme Court and his imposition of a State of Emergency, (martial law) in early November of 2007.

Musharraf was born in Nahr wali Haveli, Delhi, British India on August 11, 1943. British India was divided between the newly independent nations of Pakistan and India, and, as Muslims, the Musharraf family migrated from Hindu-dominated India to the Muslim nation of Pakistan, along with millions of other Indian Muslims. His father was a Pakistani diplomat, reaching the position of Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Musharraf graduated in 1956 from Saint Patrick’s School in Karachi, Pakistan, and later attended Forman Christian College in Lahore. Though he is Muslim, it was then common for children of the educated elite to attend such private schools.

Musharraf entered the military in 1964, and served in the 1965 Indo-Pakistani War. He later fought in the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War (a.k.a. the Bangladesh War of Independence). Musharraf does not belong to the largely ethnic Punjabi officer class which dominates the Pakistani army. The Musharraf family are members of the Urdu ethnic group. His rise through the military is notable due to his minority status. In addition to his education as a youth, Musharraf also acquired military training in the United Kingdom. (See also: Indo-Pakistani Wars)

In 1998, General Pervez Musharraf was appointed to the position of Army Chief of Staff by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The 1998-1999 Kargil Crisis and conflict, which was overseen by General Musharraf, ended as an embarrassing loss for Pakistan, and brought him into open conflict with the Prime Minister. In October, 1999, Prime Minister Sharif attempted to fire Musharraf, who then led a bloodless coup against Sharif. Immediately following the Musharraf coup, tensions with India increased, though eventually the Musharraf regime worked successfully to ease tensions with India.

Prior to the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, Pakistan supported the Taliban movement in neighboring Afghanistan, but Musharraf decided to work with the United States against the Taliban and al-Qaida as the U.S. and its allies invaded Afghanistan in October, 2001. Musharraf’s stance against Islamic extremists like the Taliban and al-Qaida helped lead to violence within Pakistan as those groups aided frontier tribes oppose the authority of Pakistan’s central government. Traditionally, the tribal groups along Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier have enjoyed a great deal of autonomy, and when Musharraf sent the Pakistani military to the frontier in an attempt to prevent Taliban and al-Qaida infiltration along the border (per American requests), the tribes saw this as a violation of their rights. The Taliban and al-Qaida were more than willing to aid the tribes against the government, and this border conflict became the latest War in Waziristan, as part of the frontier is known. Islamic militants have attempted to assassinate President Musharraf several times, and in the summer of 2007, violence hit the Pakistani capital with the Siege of the Red Mosque. Islamic militants led by Abdul Rashid Ghazi defied government authority, which prompted a violent army siege of an important mosque in Islamabad, resulting in hundreds of deaths.

Musharraf named himself President of Pakistan in June, 2001, and has maintained that post as well as his old position of Army Chief of Staff. The legality of his dual role has brought him into conflict with the Pakistani Supreme Court. Despite the fact that Musharraf allowed a former Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto to return from exile, he imposed martial law in early November of 2007. This act brought condemnation from many foreign governments, including the United States. Pakistan is at the brink of serious political violence as Musharraf attempts to further consolidate power at the expense of his country’s remaining democratic institutions.

Syed Musharraf Uddin Father

Zarin MusharrafMother





Profile: Pervez Musharraf--from the BBC

Pervez Musharraf--Wikipedia Article

Pervez Musharraf–World (sister site)

The Road to Lal Masjid and its Aftermath–By Hassan Abbas at Global Terrorism Monitor


War Czar

30 Apr

You have to look carefully in the newspapers to see it.  An enigmatic title that evokes memories of the "Drug Czar" position from administrations past.  The new phrase is "War Czar," and the first I saw it, the news stories were saying that the Bush Administration was having trouble finding anyone who would take the job.

So, what is a "War Czar" to do, if one is ever found?  As envisioned by Stephen Hadley, the National Security Adviser, the person who takes this job will be responsible for briefing the president every day regarding the ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  This person would also have the authority to tell the various members of the president’s Cabinet what to do. 

The problem is, no one seems to want the job.  At least three retired 4-star generals have turned down the offer of a job managing the wars.  Comments have been made that Hadley, the National Security Director, is farming out an important part of his job, possibly to pass any failures of policy off to the new person.  Maybe.  Other comments criticize the president for farming out HIS job.  Maybe.  As I see it, the biggest failure (among the individuals involved), is that of the retired military officers who turned the job down. 

Retired or not, they made a career of serving their nation, and now, when their Commander-in-Chief calls on them to help direct the wars against our enemies, the wars in which our servicemen and women are dying almost daily, the wars which, if we fail, could expand into more dangerous regional conflicts, they just said "no thanks."
I think those generals have turned their backs on their country.  It is true that the president has not done a good job of inducing a sense of national sacrifice or ownership of the wars, as FDR did in World War Two, but these generals should know better. 

If they cannot stand up and show the nation what is needed to win these wars, (because the president sure can’t do that), then who will?  Would Patton, or Eisenhower, or Marshall, or Bradley, or MacArthur turn down a similar request from their president?  Hell no!



02 Apr

Welcome to "Politics, Presidents, and Elections..Oh My!", a new blog on, you guessed it, POLITICS!

My goal is to be a fairly unbiased observer and commentator on American politics and government.  So, what do I mean by "unbiased?"  I am not going to rant and rave about how one party is great, and the other party (or parties) are basically the spawn of the devil, or anything like that.  I do have opinions, and you will see those opinions, but I see positives in almost all of the current crop of presidential candidates. I like to think of my writings to be political, but not overly partisan.

So stop on by and check out my postings and comment on them as you wish. 


Roger Lee

p.s.  In case you wondered, the title refers to a comment by Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.  Her comment was "Lions, and Tigers, and Bears..Oh My"  And, did you know that the original Wizard book was, in addition to being a children’s tale, an allegory to the politics of the Populist Era?


Gerald R. Ford and his Wars

02 Apr

This is a post I had on another blog after President Ford died.

The late President Gerald R. Ford entered office at a time of great turmoil in the United States and in the world.  Richard Nixon left Ford the mess of the Vietnam War, which was coming to an inglorious and futile conclusion, while the Soviets and Chinese were testing the waters by meddling in post-colonial Africa and other areas of the world. 

Ford had to deal with the leftovers from the Vietnam War, while also deciding how to respond to Soviet incursions in southern Africa in the wake of Portugal’s exit from the imperial stage.  While his hands were largely tied on the Vietnam issue by the failed policies of his predecessors, Johnson and Nixon, he did have to handle a unique situation which arose in Cambodia: The Khmer Rouge (French for "Cambodian Reds"), seizure in May, 1975 of the American merchant vessel the Mayaguez.  Less than two weeks after the embarrassing spectacle of American helicopters fleeing the Communist conquest of Saigon, Ford ordered American troops into combat against the Khmer Rouge.  In pitched battles on islands off the Cambodian coast, 41 American Marines and Airmen lost their lives and another 50 were wounded.  The crew of the ship was released, and the United States finally closed the book on the Indochina/Vietnam War.  See also The Mayaguez Incident.

Ford also had to deal with the fall of the Portuguese Empire in Africa, specifically; he had to respond to the turmoil in Angola, where Marxist rebels, with substantial aid from the Soviet Union and Cuba, were fighting against non-communist forces for control of the newly independent Angola.  Ford decided to order the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to arm and direct mercenaries to aid the non-communist forces.  While this decision met with quite a bit of public scorn, and the Senate voted to cut of funding for this project, Ford made the right decision to stand up to Soviet expansion in a valuable and strategic part of the world that was experiencing a power vacuum.  Read an interview with President Ford on this topic.

Given the setbacks the U.S. later experienced in the Carter years (Angola, Nicaragua, Ethiopia/Somalia, Iran, the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan), it would be interesting to speculate how a more experienced and geopolitically realistic leader like Gerald Ford would have reacted differently than the inexperienced and geopolitically naive Jimmy Carter.  Alas, that is not how history works.  Gerald Ford was a president with a strong spine and a good head.  We shall miss him!