The Tucson area has a large community of writers. One of these is Linda Strader who in the 1970s was a firefighter for the U. S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, one of the first woman to serve in this intrepid, male-only fraternity. Summers of Fire is a memoir of her experiences during the seven years she fought fires from Arizona to Alaska, until an injury forced her to resign. Visit her Summers of Fire blog to learn more about Linda and read the first chapter of her book.
Linda has for many years written regularly for… Continue reading
My first encounter with the National Security Agency (“NSA”) was on August 26, 1956, during my Army discharge process in Brooklyn. That summer the communist satellites in Eastern Europe were acting up against Soviet control. In June a workers’ revolt in Posnan, Poland, erupted and was brutally squashed. Scuttlebutt had it that all Army discharges would be delayed. Strengthening our forces in Western Europe was in process in case the Soviets attacked to distract the satellites. By August, though, the climate in Eastern Europe had improved enough that the Army could get along without me and I became a… Continue reading
Several days ago I questioned our reliance on military action on foreign policy issues instead of seeking diplomatic solutions in the context of President Obama’s threat to “punish” Assad militarily for using chemical weapons in the Syrian civil war. The negative public opinion in our country and congressional opposition forced the President to explore – successfully it appears – a diplomatic alternative to bombing Syria.
Starting with our headstrong, blundering into war in Iraq, we seem to ignore the diplomatic implications and resulting adverse consequences of relying on military solutions for complex situations. Throughout our lives we have opportunities that… Continue reading
In earlier blogs I advocated that President Obama submit for congressional vote his announced plan to “punish” Assad with military action and suggested that diplomatic efforts be initiated to achieve a ceasefire in the civil war. After some fumbling with the issue, the President asked Congress to postpone a vote that appeared likely to be negative on his plans and instead sent the Secretary of State to negotiate with the Russians and others a diplomatic solution to the problem. As a result of his efforts, Russia initiated a plan that with our support and that of the United Nations, China… Continue reading
I’m excited to report that my book Hot Times in Panamá achieved bestseller status on Amazon a couple of weeks ago. Thank you all for helping make this possible.
I’m working on some new stories to include in future posts for your comments and suggestions.
Last week I had a conversation about writing and my book Hot Times in Panamá with Roberto Alejandro Lopez of KAMP Student Radio, University of Arizona, recorded at http://bit.ly/1aNLvEg . Roberto is an engineering student with a serious interest in writing and movie-making. When he quizzed me on several stories in the book and my background, I knew he’d read it and done his research before our interview. Roberto’s an example of the knowledgeable students with wide ranging interests we have at our University.
Eleven years ago this morning I drove to the cemetery to view a tree that our friends the Parhams had planted in memory of my wife Ann who had died in May. The car radio was playing classical music. I got out of the car and walked into the cemetery to the tree and spent a few minutes observing the planting, reading the memorial inscription and meditating. Returning to the car and starting the engine, the radio was now reporting the horrific attack on the twin towers. Shocked beyond belief, I sat there listening, the engine idling, and realized our… Continue reading
The title of an article by Philip Elliott of the Associated Press on the front page, right hand column, of today’s Arizona Daily Star caught my attention: “No solid link ties Assad to attack…” and continues, “But ‘common-sense test’ proves he used gas, White House Insists.” The President’s Chief of Staff said the administration lacks “irrefutable, beyond-a-reasonable-doubt evidence” that skeptical Americans and Congress are asking for to support a military attack on Syria. I’m with the skeptics. If we’re going to risk another war in the Middle East, the facts we’re basing our decision on should meet the… Continue reading
I hadn’t planned to continue the Syrian war discussion, but yesterday Betsy and I decided to communicate with the Arizona contingent in the House and Senate and several Senators in other states with whom we’ve had contact in the past. The message we sent follows;
“Dear ___________ :
“Betsy and I want you to know that we oppose any U. S. military action in Syria under the present circumstances. Such action will further harm the already savaged civilian population and gain support for Assad from our many enemies around the world. It’s ridiculous to view the proposed bombing as… Continue reading
In June I posted a couple of blogs discussing our possible involvement in the Syrian War. President Obama was under pressure to supply the rebel forces with weapons. Although we decided to provide them arms, we have dragged our feet in doing so because of the difficulty in identifying which group(s) to support.
Now we are awaiting a decision by our government how to attack the Assad government for using chemical weapons in this civil war. The death toll of Syrian civilians is horrendous. Although the odds are stacked in favor of action now, I hope the president continues to… Continue reading