Simmer down

We are the luckiest human beings in history, we Americans. We live in a continent-sized nation surrounded by oceans with friendly neighbors north and south. We enjoy the largest economy in the world, an ample safety net for the least among us, an old age pension system for our elderly, beautiful, bountiful lands to explore at our leisure, a highly diversified, free market economy to provide opportunity for all who want to take the risk, and police, military, and rescue personnel to keep the peace.

None of our systems are perfect, and strong, passionate arguments should take place among our leaders to find the best way to make our institutions more fair, more perfect for our great union. But they must do so respectfully, civilly, and while heeding the Constitution and Declaration of Independence that bind us, as a collective, in a national identity devoid of creed, in awe of liberty and the natural rights we enjoy as “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Our politicians and media should pause and take stock of how resentments cavalierly stirred over electronic ink, chirped through the fiber optic nerves of our body politic, come home to roost.

America’s leaders must now bring us together, remind us of our common humanity, our great fortune to be by happenstance born free citizens of a free land of abundance.

In lieu of expressions of gratitude we may end up like a pair of rich siblings fighting smugly over whether to take the Tesla or the Suburban to the dance, bound to wreck both in the process, sinking our luxury vehicles in a mire surrounded by a paradise, choking each other zealously as we go down together, a haughty fratricide.

Crazy people need few excuses for mayhem. Let’s give them none. Simmer down the divisive tone:

Florida man charged in connection with 14 bombs sent to Trump critics

The man suspected of mailing at least 14 pipe bombs to some of U.S. President Donald Trump’s leading critics was arrested on Friday in Florida on federal charges in a case echoing the rancor of one of the most toxic election campaigns in decades.

Instead remind the people of our great fortune to be who we are, where we are:

A journey to the poorest place on earth

But the people I met in Niger’s villages and towns illustrated the human cost when food starts to run out in the poorest of places. One of them was four-year-old Adam El Hadji Abail. Ten months ago, his mother died suddenly and now the food crisis has left him seriously malnourished.

Difficult clients

“If we do not take action, including potentially arms sales, as a result of this, if it turns out to be what they say it is, then we are not going to be able to with a straight face or any credibility confront Putin or Assad or Maduro in Venezuela or frankly confront the Chinese and their human rights violations.”

Senator Rubio says U.S. must take action over Saudi journalist

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican U.S. Senator Marco Rubio said the United States must confront Saudi Arabia or risk losing credibility on human rights, if allegations are proven true that the Saudi government orchestrated the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

They earned a chance

Let’s give our Afghan and Iraqi allies a place in line, preferably at the front.

Veterans Call on Congress to Protect Afghan Allies

Washington, D.C.-A group of veteran organizations today urged Congress to take action to protect Afghan military allies seeking refuge in the United States. In a letter sent to the House and Senate, Veterans for American Ideals, High Ground Veterans Advocacy, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, No One Left Behind, and Vietnam Veterans of America called on members to allocate four thousand visas through the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) Program, for those who served alongside U.S.

Who we are dealing with

As our President works to secure peace, we must, with vigilance, remain eyes-wide-open about the nature of his counterpart, especially the methods Kim Jong-un employs to maintain power.

Atrocities Under Kim Jong-un: Indoctrination, Prison Gulags, Executions

With the meeting of President Trump and Kim Jong-un of North Korea on Tuesday in Singapore, human rights groups are watching for Mr. Trump to bring up North Korea’s widespread crimes against humanity. Mr. Kim rules with extreme brutality, making his nation among the worst human rights violators in the world.

Promotion

Acknowledging a mistaken path of retributive justice after an unprecedented attack matters. Having the curiosity to question the wisdom of that path before it is taken matters more. Ms. Haspel must have eyes wide open not only with respect to the unforeseen, tragic outcomes of our choice to torture detainees, but also the negative consequences of subsequent misadventures in the Middle East. It is not enough to have learned these lessons from the chastened perspective. We must not blunder again. We’re too big. Our 800 pound gorilla actions, often good intentions gone awry, sometimes a well-deserved punch back, pave the way for humiliating consequences for ourselves, and for weaker actors, unexpected, hellish outcomes.

The mission of our nation’s intelligence apparatus, principally, is to provide early warning indicators of hostile activity and predictions of second, third and fourth order effects of our countering behavior; this, so our leaders can make the best decisions on behalf of defending the Constitution of the United States, the safety of her land and people. Ms. Haspel has the experience and dedication to duty to qualify for her new role, and has wisely, if not directly, acknowledged the mistaken nature of the choice she helped make reality in the past, but she must also have the wisdom to help prevent the next unforced error by providing the right advice. She must not only present her agency’s assessments honestly, but also aggressively lead opposition when others in power want to risk our nation’s prestige and the safety of the world with the choice of an unwise path. At the minimum, she must push hard against any factions that want to pull America back toward torture, back toward military adventurism in the Middle East. Will she? We shall see.

 

Gina Haspel – Central Intelligence Agency

Gina Haspel was sworn in as the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency on May 21, 2018