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Chapter 5 of Donald Trump’s Crippled America and Chapters 7/8/9 of Hillary Clinton’s Hard Choices

Donald Trump – Crippled America, Chapter 5; Education:  A Failing Grade

Trump opens by saying that his father did not have a college degree but that he so valued a college education that he lent financial assistance to his brother John so that he could earn a master’s degree.  Donald Trump also shares his own education:  “I went to the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania, which is, in my opinion, the best business school in America–and arguably the hardest there is to get into.”   He also says that his goal is to make America the best education for all of us.

It is significant that Trump begins his discussion of education by juxtaposing o a successful Ivy League graduate, himself, with a self-made man, his father. Implicit in this comparison is the belief that education isn’t essential to be successful. Like many things that Trump says, he makes a forceful assertion that is vague enough to be interpreted a variety of ways. Yes, education is important he says, but the measure of true accomplishment success in business.

Hillary Clinton Hard Choices PART 3: WAR AND PEACE

Chapter 7- Af Pak Surge

Three days before Thanksgiving 2009, Clinton recalls sitting in the White House situation room as Obama asked for advice about Afghanistan, which “was on its way to becoming the longest [war] in American history.” The summer had gone badly, with an increase in Taliban fighters and attacks on NATO forces, and an election marred by widespread fraud. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal asked for more troops. In the end, Obama decided on a “surge” of 30,000 troops, focused on security, human services and helping the government, with a deadline for withdrawal in 18 months. The military brass went away happy, but Vice President Biden was displeased and warned of a “bloody quagmire.” As for Clinton, she writes that she was “under no illusions about how difficult it would be to turn around this war. But all things considered I believed that the President had made the right choice and put us in the best position to succeed.”

 Chapter 8 Afghanistan: To End a War

Clinton writes about trying to conscript Pakistan into the effort to secure Afghanistan’s future. The United States held secret talks with a top aide to Mohammad Omar, head of the Taliban. Prisoner swaps, Clinton wrote, were discussed, including Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. “The Taliban’s top concern seemed to be the fate of its fighters being held at Guantanamo Bay and other prisons,” Clinton writes, adding that in every such discussion “we demanded the release” of Bergdahl.

Chapter 9 Pakistan: National Honor

The highlight of this chapter is easy: Clinton details the meetings that led up to the move on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, and the tense moments as the raid took place. Officials held regular meetings in March and April leading up to the May 1, 2011, raid. Then-CIA Director Leon E. Panetta and national security adviser Tom Donilon supported a raid; then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates didn’t. Biden also was skeptical.

On April 28, 2011, Obama convened the group for one last meeting in the situation room. He asked everyone at the table for their final recommendation. Clinton writes that since Obama and she were both lawyers,  she had learned to appeal to Obama’s analytical mind and laid out the case that the risks were outweighed by the benefits of success.


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