Guilt by Association

While the nation’s interest became riveted on the Casey Anthony murder case, I was finishing a mystery written by a woman who figured prominently in an old nation-riveting murder case, that of O.J. Simpson. The woman in question was Marcia Clark, chief prosecutor of that case who has just published her first novel, Guilt by Association, Mulholland Books April 2011.

The protagonist of Guilt by Association resembles the driven, gutsy Marcia Clark of yore. Her alter ego, L.A. Deputy D.A. Rachel Knight, is a prosecutor in  the Special Trials Unit which tries the most notorious of cases.  When her friend and colleague, Jake, is found dead in a seedy motel under embarrassing circumstances, Rachel  desperately wants to prove his innocence. Instead she is specifically forbidden to investigate his death and instead inherits a case on his desk, the rape of a prominent doctor’s daughter.  Not to be put off, Rachel enlists the aid of friend Detective Bailey and a host of specialists to solve both cases. And this is where Clark’s novel rises above the normal legal thriller genre. She knows her stuff and has created a cast of sub characters which both enrich the novel and inform the reader. From forensic specialists, to coroners, police and even a judge, Rachel Knight uses her people wisely and with rare good humor and ties the loose threads together ingeniously.

The conversations between good buddies Bailey and Rachel  glow with an authenticity of real girl friends. Rachel lives in the Biltmore Hotel, and the staff offer even more support. They are, by and large, people I would like to meet.  I liked this book immensely and truly want to visit this world again. Are you listening, Marcia?

Lisa Scottoline, John Grisham, Linda Fairstein & Scott Turow, move over. There is a new kid on the block.

Don’t Forget our Soldiers

Following up my post on the Afghanistan War, I’d like to encourage everyone to remember those that are serving over there, many for multiple deployments, those who have returned injured and those who have not. I found this You Tube video made by a 15 year old girl that says it all.

http://www.youtube.com/v/ ervaMPt4Ha0&autoplay=1

I’m sending a couple of packages to soldiers this weekend. It is so easy to do and so appreciated.  Especially if you do not personally know a soldier personally you can go to AnySoldier.com, Choose a name, look at the instgructions of what to send, look what they ask for and send a small package, BUT be sure to include a note about yourself, and what you think of their service.

As you know, I’ve always hated this war, but these soldiers are amazing and deserve any support we can give them . Check out the site and I’m sure you will agree.

http://anysoldier.com/

What Should President Obama Do About Afghanistan?

Way back in 2002 when the Bush administration was beginning this war, I did write the White House protesting because as I said then …”This will be a quagmire. Nobody  wins in Afghanistan. They are a tribal Islamist society and that is what is important to them.” And I was right. I had read a history of Afghanistan then which led me to this view. Recently I finished another book on Afghanistan, The Wrong War: Grit, Strategy, and the Way Out of Afghanistan,  by Bing West, a marine veteran, a former assistant Secretary of Defense during the Reagan Administration and author of The Village which virtually serves as a textbook for counterinsurgency in the marine corps. He was imbedded with several units in Afghanistan and this book paints a bleak picture of our participation in this war. From reading this I have come to the following conclusions.

The majority of the Afghan people do not care about Democracy at all. They care about their Family, their Tribe and their God. We have not defeated the Taliban. They are everywhere but are protected by the village elders, the police, the mullahs, and the people, because Afghans know they will be here forever.  They will always return and since many of them are family or fellow tribesmen, to them goes the people’s allegiance. Afghans know The Nato forces will eventually go away and they fear the revenge of the Taliban to those who had heloped the Americans.

The Taliban initially didn’t get the elders on their side. They got the village mullahs.  By intertwining religious fervor with tribal identity, they have got the people on their side for the long run.

We  have spent vast amounts of money in this war. Not only what we spend in troops and material and support, but huge amounts in bribes and payments to Afghans. Typically we have gone into a village, met with the elders, promised protection against the Taliban , promised to build schools, wells, irrigation systems. Given them the money to do this and then the Afghans either don’t do it or come back and then ask the troops to actually build whatever. After 10 years of this we have produced a society which depends on us. We have turned our soldiers into Peace Corpsmen, but then at night they have to turn into warriors.

Let’s talk about our magnificent soldiers, who return time and time again, who are hampered by rules of engagement which require permission to actually fire on what they know is the enemy. They are relegated to existing for long periods of time in the most rudimentary of conditions, in terrible weather, surrounded by enemy they interact with daily. Since there are so few of them, they  must endure multiple deployments.Too many of them have died. Even more of them have been horribly injured for life.  Is there any wonder why there is such a high incidence of suicides among them.

And then there is the elephant in the room, Pakistan, which serves as a refuge, a supporter and a supplier of the Taliban. At every level of the government, the Pakistanis are playing both sides of the coin, keeping in good with the Taliban while bleeding the U.S.  for financial support. Remember where Oama bin Laden was hiding, and who was obviously aware of that. Realize that the Pakjistanis who helped point him out were recently arrested by the Pakistani police. Pakistanis are not our friends, and they have nuclear weapons.

Realistically to succeed at destroying the Taliban influence in the area will take many more years, and may never happen in the mileux of terrorists, corrupt politicians, radical religous zealots and opportunists which is Afghanistan.

I understand the arguments for continuing what we are doing. I fear for the women and children of Afghanistan when we leave.  I don’t want to cut and run, but to continue as we have is insane, cruel to our armed forces and their families, devastating for our economy and fruitless. There have been opportunists on our side getting rich from this war as well. They, in my estimation, are truly traitors, but we’ll leave them for another posting. So what should Presiden Obama do?

My Recommendations:

1. Pull out 50,000 troops this summer and fall.

2. Become Lean and Mean. Keep small cadres of advisors and counterinsurgency specialists partnering U.S. units and Afghan units together to continue training them and supporting their efforts. This will limit the amount of material we need sent in through Pakistan as support and lessen our dependence on them.

3. Continue and increase drone strikes and air support

4. Stop doling out money needllessly —these people have been draining the well and not reciprocating with information, assistance or loyalty.

5. Strongly encourage the Afghan government to stop corruption especially within its own structure. Enable field commanders to be able to fire incompetent personnel e.g. governors/policemen & Afghan army personnel

6. Forcefully address the Pakistan Problem by cutting off the money faucet.

Where Have All the True Conservatives Gone?

Where Have All the True Conservatives Gone?

CNN broadcaster Fareed Zakaria has an excellent OpEd in Time Magazine
this week addressing this question I have been asking…Read on:

 

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2077943,00.html

 

The Great Golf Match of 2011

Saturday, John Boehner and President Obama met on the golf course as partners .  Pitting themselves against Vice President Biden and Ohio Governor Kasich , they came out triumphant on the 18th hole.  One could only hope the two of them could continue this camaraderie away from the pressures of their parties and the ever present media.

I believe that essentially these are two decent men who really want what’s best for this country. They have a huge number of problems facing them and espouse two contradictory political theories.  IF it were just the two of them, I have no doubt they could make some compromises and come up with some ideas to both cut spending and to raise revenues as well as develop some programs to get people back to work.

However, this is not a year for logical thought.  The very word “compromise”  has become symbolic of giving in to the other side. Well, I hate to tell them but we are not going forward unless they both compromise to some extent.  The longer both parties posture and feign horror at what the other party wants, the farther in debt we are getting and the longer it will be before we get this country out of the sand trap.

Come on Mr Boehner…ignore Rush Limbaugh and come up with some ideas!

Come on President Obama, actually do what you’ve said!

Mission Statement

Ricki Rants will reflect my opinions on everything from the latest book I have read to movies I’ve seen, current affairs,  items in the news and all things relating to politics. As a retired librarian, I like to dig behind the scenes, look for facts, precedents and the whys of any situation. And as a mother, I know I’m right 🙂

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