Game Of Drones–Part Deux

The big scoop the media will milk for all it is worth is the deaths of an American AQ hostage in Pakistan by drone attack.

The drone program is a tactic to attack the bad guys without having to use US troops…..the intel services give the military a target and a drone is launched with missiles and such and the target is taken out…….and American troops were out of harms way.

Of course the Obama admin is pressing the successes the drones are having at taking the fight to the terrorists with minimum US involvement…….my problem with this program is the each target that is hit has civilians around it and in turn deaths of innocent people ensues….in a report issued back in 2014 the total civilians deaths from drone attacks is said to be 2400…..personally, I think that number is too low…..

Civilians deaths are not limited to the Middle East…..they have occurred in Somalia, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan to mention only a few.

I bring all this up because of the most recent deaths by drone………

A January drone strike against a “suspected al-Qaeda compound” in Pakistan has killed at least two innocent hostages, the White House admitted today, identified as American aid worker Dr. Warren Weinstein and Italian aid worker Giovanni Lo Porto.

This death brings the total amount of Americans killed by drones to…..6.

Officials say their initial intelligence gave them “near certainty” that there were no hostages at the targeted site, and much of the commentary defending the killings on cable news focuses on the idea that this was not a “hostage rescue mission” at any rate.  Near certainty?

Back in 2013 Obama made one of his famous speeches and talked about drone strikes………Obama indicated that drone strikes were only permissible when the administration possessed “near certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured, the highest standard we can set”………….

Basically what they are saying is that they had NO idea who was in the compound that held the two hostages before they authorized the attack………..why then attack the compound?  Are we just attacking for the sake of attacking?

The CIA and the US military’s Joint Special Operations Command, both of which carry out drone strikes, have in the past been empowered to launch lethal “signature strikes”, which do not require foreknowledge of who specific individuals are before killing them.

There has got to be a point where this becomes unacceptable.  I realize that the American public is out for blood since 9/11…..revenge and all that………but at what price?

A wall of silence goes up around the drone attacks and the public is kept out of the loop……..it is beyond time for a re-evaluation of the drone program……we know that will not happen under the Obama watch………but it not now…..WHEN?

 

Afghanistan: The Clock Is Ticking

Back in the day we ended our major deployment of troops in Afghanistan……they came home……well almost the admin has decided to leave a sizable force behind to help the Afghan Army maintain control of the situation.

I recall when the announcement was made of the date of our almost withdrawal the Right went batcrap crazy yelling that we were giving the Taliban a schedule for their attacks…..remember that?

It appears that the Taliban is not at all intimidated by the presence of US troops…….even with the expanded amount of troops the Taliban has served up the date for their renewed attacks on the government……

The Taliban said today they will start their spring offensive this week, an annual campaign in their war against the Afghan government. In an emailed statement, the group said the offensive—dubbed “Azm” or perseverance in Dari and Arabic—will begin on Friday. The Taliban said their Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is “determined to prolong the ongoing jihad,” or holy war. In past years, spring and the melting of snow on the mountains along the border with Pakistan have marked a significant upsurge in fighting between the Taliban and NATO forces along with their local allies. This fighting season is the first year the insurgents will face just Afghan forces on the battlefield after the withdrawal of most international combat troops at the end of last year.

While a long-term demand of the group has been the withdrawal of international military from Afghanistan, the statement said that under US leadership, the “crusaders” will maintain “control of our land and space” through security agreements with the Afghan government. Attacks across the north and east have intensified in the build-up to the launch of this year’s fighting season. The insurgents can be expected to fight until snow falls on the Hindu Kush. But after more than a decade of war, the Taliban appear no closer to their goal of overthrowing the Kabul government. This has opened up an opportunity for what is perceived to be an Islamic State affiliate to establish a small presence in Afghanistan. But despite the nascent ISIS presence, the Taliban appear to be spreading their influence to areas where they have not had a significant presence.

I think that the war hawks have more to worry about than the timetable.  The Taliban is this bold then they are prepared for whatever the Afghan Army, police and the troops have to throw at them………

Does anyone want to give the Afghan Army a vote of confidence and say they will be able to handle this resurgent threat?  (Think it over)

Smells like a new expansion for the US……

Watch this spot!

The Confusion That Is Yemen

The news for the last month has been the situation in Yemen……(head scratch)……most Americans only know Yemen as the port that the USS Cole was attacked or that there are a multitude of drone strikes going after terrorists.  After that…..NOTHING.

Yemen has a rich history of instability.  There has been one form of conflict or another for decades…….but it became an important ally when AQ attacked NYC on 9/11…..why?  Yemen has been a training ground for AQ for years and the US to flex its geopolitical muscle has been bombarding Yemen with drones targeting AQAP.  The president was an American lackey and the army has been trained by US forces …….that is until recently when a mistreated minority, the Houthis, decided they had had enough and committed themselves to rebellion.

Part of the confusion…..Houthis are a Shi’a sect…..the prez and his army were of the Sunni persuasion……AQAP is a Sunni fundamental group that is at odds with the Yemeni government……as well as the Shi’a Houthis were at odds also…….US attacked AQ…..Yemen attacked AQ…..Houthis attacked government and the tribe is basically armed and trained (supposedly) by Iran, which is of the Shi’a persuasion……then the situation got even more confounding……the Sunni Saudis saw a threat from the Shi’a Houthis and decided to attack the country and do away with the problem…….now after about a month of airstrikes the Saudis have stopped the attack and pronounced a victory…….

While the mini war was raging the Iranians have been accused of sending SAM missiles to the Houthis……and to that accusation the US has sent the Navy to intercept any planned deliveries……

It has been reported that the US talked the Saudis in a stand down because of the large amount of civilians deaths in their campaign against the Houthi……the Saudis declared victory so they must have done significant damage to the rebellion, right?

Not exactly…….even during the airstrike campaign the Houthis made significant advances and while the Saudis were killing civilians……AQAP has solidified its take over of the Eastern part of the country.

Fresh off killing scores of civilians in an airstrike on the Yemeni capital city of Sanaa, Saudi Arabia has declared victory in their ongoing war against the Houthis, insisting the military objectives of “Operation Decisive Storm” have all been achieved

For those keeping track, the initially stated goal was to reinstall former President Hadi, who is still living in exile in Riyadh. In the three weeks of strikes, hundreds of civilians have been killed, humanitarian resources are in short supply everywhere, Houthi forces are still contesting Aden with Hadi forces, and al-Qaeda has taken considerable territory in the east.

The declaration of victory and an end to the war doesn’t appear to mean an actual end to the war, however, as officials are announcing “Operation Renewal of Hope,” which will begin immediately, and will include military components. They’re describing it as an anti-terror operation, though the indications are that it will continue to focus on the Shi’ites, and not al-Qaeda.

So now I ask……just what was the reason for the Saudis intervening in the rebellion in Yemen?  I think there were two reasons……one was a PR ploy and the second was to give their ‘cousins’ AQAP a bit of an advantage.  There was never any intention to help the fight against terrorism for the AQAP held Eastern Yemen was never a target for airstrikes.

The US because of the civilian deaths caused by drone strikes turned the population against us……now the Saudis have succeeded in making another enemy and a better recruitment program…….

We have NOT heard the last of Yemen………….This situation is far from over and will get NO less confusing in the future.

Yemen will be a source of great concern……and a source of many long hours of worrisome thought by our foreign policy mavens…….something they richly deserve.

 

F-35: F.U.B.A.R.

Yep……….. yet another post about the stupidity of the military and the waste of taxpayer money…………enjoy!

Anybody that has been in the military knows exactly what FUBAR means….but for those not sure….it means F*cked Up Beyond All Repair……

I have been doing a series railing against the military for their attempt to replace the most perfect close combat airplane available……the A-10 Wart Hog.

Defense contractors are winning the battle and it appears that the ‘Hog will be replaced by this expensive brick…..but some say I am being too hard on the F-35 and that it would be a good investment for the ground troops support…….and to that I replied…BULLSH*T!

Why you ask….well just a few of the things that makes it unacceptable….from a piece written by AJ Vicens………

Here are a few:

Teaching to the test: The blizzard of testing required on the plane’s equipment and parts isn’t exactly going well, so the program’s administrators are moving the goal posts. Test scores are improving because the stats are being “massaged” with tricks like not recounting repeated failures. Some required testing is being consolidated, eliminated, or postponed. “As a result,” POGO writes, “the squadron will be flying with an uncertified avionics system.”

Unsafe at any airspeed? The high-tech stuff that was supposed to make the F-35 among the most advanced war machines ever built pose serious safety risks. For example: The fuel tank system “is at significant risk of catastrophic fire and explosion in combat,” according to POGO. The plane isn’t adequately protected against lightning strikes (in the air or on the ground); it’s currently prohibited from flying within 25 miles of thunderstorms. That’s a major problem for a plane training program based in the Florida panhandle.

Flying blind: The F-35’s fancy helmet-mounted display system, which is supposed to show pilots an almost 360-degree view that includes panel controls and threat information, has “high false alarm rates and false target tracks.” Its unreliability, combined with the plane’s design, make it impossible for pilots to see anything behind or below the cockpit.

Wing drop: The DOD report points out an ongoing problem with “wing drop“: When maneuvering at high speeds, the F-35 may drop and roll to one side. This issue has been known to designers for years, and they’ve tried designing add-on parts to address the problem. The fixes, unfortunately, will “further decreas[e] maneuverability, acceleration, and range,” according to POGO.

Engine trouble: For years the F-35s engines have suffered design and performance problems, and these problems have never been fully solved. Last summer these problems resulted in one engine ripping itself apart and destroying one of the planes. At the time, officials said this was a one-time occurrence, but a permanent fix has yet to be determined and the plane may not be airworthy, according to Department of Defense regulations.

Software bugs: The plane’s software includes more than 30 million lines of code. Problems with the code are causing navigation system inaccuracies, false alarms from sensors, and false target tracks. The operating system is so cumbersome that it requires the “design and development of a whole new set of…computers.” The software glitches also affect the plane’s ability to “find targets, detect and survive enemy defenses, deliver weapons accurately, and avoid fratricide.”

More cost overruns: Due to all the testing delays, design problems, and maintenance issues, taxpayers could be on the hook for an additional $67 billion to deploy the F-35. That’s a lot of money. Even for the US military.

Yeah………..this is the perfect replacement for a time worn classic and a ship that deserves its accolades…….more than that….it is the perfect support for our ground troops that the country just has to keep in the field and under fire….

Even Congress is getting on the side of the ‘Hog…….some are speaking the truth that few in the defense contractor sector do not want to hear…….read it!

http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/239373-gop-lawmaker-warns-against-a-10-retirement-troops-will-die

With so many taking issue with the retirement of the A-10…..why is it still on the chopping block?  My thought is….if the M-IC wants it…….. it will be so!

American grunts will pay the price and those in the M-IC do NOT CARE!

What is more important……..profits or the safety of our troops?

What About The Use Of Force?

HEY!  America please tear yourself away from the Tube and the wondering what gender the Royal will squirt out!  If this is your concern then I weep for my country.

The ink is barely dry on the Iranian compromise and there are some on the Right that are in a panic…..some aka Sen. Cotton are already calling for a limited airstrike at Iran’s nuke facility……I am sure if I kept up with Neocon think tanks they would be all over the use of this type of force…..like Heritage.

I bring all this up because of the “Authorization for the Use of Military Force” (AUMF)……remember?  That is that request the president has sent to Congress for them to do their duty and either approve the use of force or not….the process is that simple.

When Pres. Obama decided to go after ISIS with airstrikes the GOP went batcrap crazy…….demanding that he stop because he did not have the authorization to use force……all that made for great TV and great e-mails to supporters……Obama then decided that he would play their game and he sent an AUMF to Congress for approval…….and that is where it went to die.

To this day it is still waiting for some sort of action from the Congress…..and while we are waiting the Speaker of the House has brought up a good point…….

Speaker John A. Boehner said Tuesday that American troops in Iraq should move beyond training Iraqi forces to take a more direct role in fighting against the Islamic State.

After returning from a spring trip to the Middle East, Mr. Boehner told a group of reporters that the Obama administration has placed “artificial constraints” on military commanders responsible for 4,500 members of the American military there rather than allowing conditions on the ground to dictate strategy.

Let see……want to expand the use of military force but do not want to go on record authorizing it…is that about it?  The politicians are running scared….it is an election and they do not want something on record that could be used against them in an election.

This brings me back full circle……..without the AUMF how could dickhead Cotton use military force?  All this person is doing is throwing red meat at the base.  A typical American response to a problem….run from it and let someone else do the hard stuff.

Does everyone see why I feel I must keep pounding these people…..at best they are HYPOCRITICAL…….and at worse…….DANGEROUS!

American lives are at stake…….and NO one seems to care!

Iraq: “It’s No Big Deal”

My loyal readers know that I have a passion for the study of war and its consequences……most Americans do not seem to care for it does not effect them but that could change any day now.  I like to know what my defenders may step in on their way to war.

Iraqi troops and Shi’a militias have something to celebrate…..it appears that they have attacked and beaten ISIS in the Northern Iraq city of Tikrit, the birthplace of Saddam.  Airstrikes should be slapped on the back also for it was those that made the ground forces possible for their win in the city.

While the Iraqis were celebrating their success ISIS took it on the lamb and re-appeared in the capital of Anbar province, Ramadi…..this is not a good thing because Ramadi is not far from Baghdad and there are a wealth of American assets in the region of Anbar.

McClatchy is reporting……..

Iraq deployed elite troops to the besieged provincial capital of Ramadi on Thursday in hopes of stemming an Islamic State offensive but the city remained surrounded, with Islamic State forces in control of many, if not most, districts, according to witnesses and government officials.

The Islamic State also claimed that its fighters had entered the strategic oil refinery at Baiji, a huge reversal for the government, which until Thursday had prevented the radicals from gaining a foothold in Iraq’s largest oil-processing center.

The two battles 120 miles apart marked major setbacks for the government in Baghdad just two weeks after it triumphantly captured the city of Tikrit from the Islamic State, and they were a reminder that Iraqi forces still face an uphill climb in wresting much of their country from the group. The troops dispatched to Ramadi on Thursday were the same well-trained Interior Ministry commandos who’d spearheaded the final assault on Tikrit.

Ramadi has been a hub in the past but it seems that but for some reason an American general is not concerned…….

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Martin Dempsey is dismissing the talk of Ramadi’s fall would be no big deal, and adding that the city is “not central to the future of Iraq.

The reality, however, is that the US was making a big deal about the need to make inroads in the Anbar Province just last week, and now instead is facing the loss of the Anbar capital to ISIS, and another big setback for Iraqi troops.

The admin has gotten all think tanks to trot out to the cameras and push the positive that Ramadi is NO big deal……..Your propaganda machine in full operational capability…..I find it interesting that the capture of a smaller town of Tikrit is being sold as a win and a huge success and Ramadi is being dissed.  The loss of Ramadi would be a devastating blow to the narrative of success that the US is trying to sell……..maybe Dempsey is conceding that Ramadi is already lost and is trying to do a little damage control.

The flippant attitude of Gen. Dempsey does not seem to be echoed by the PM of Iraq…….

Iraqi PM Hayder Abadi clearly sees it differently, and warns the latest ISIS push against Ramadi, a city which has been contested since January of 2014, proves the group is a growing threat.

Abadi warned ISIS is recruiting young people “not only in Iraq but across the world,” and is both a transnational nation and one that is capable of establishing a serious presence on the ground.

“If Daesh has developed this capability, no uniformed army can stop them,” warned Abadi. The comments come as he is trying to get more military aid from the US for the war against ISIS.

As in any war the word games are just amazing…..then who do you believe is delivering the truth?  Is it Dempsey?  Or is it the Iraqi PM?

Any time the possibilities of the troops being put in harms way…………then……….. IT IS A BIG DEAL!

What Say You?

Score One For The ‘Hog

This post may not mean much to most readers and then if they are a combat vet then they are well aware of what the Wart Hog is and what it does.

Here it is….the infantryman’s best friend!

 

The Wart Hog is the A-10…… close air support airplane…..its nickname is the Wart Hog because it is so damn ugly…..but if you are in dire straits in combat you want to know the A-10 has your back……it may be ugly but the plane can kick some ass and do it non-stop…..

Recently the M-IC has decided that the A-10 needs to be replaced by a multi-billion dollar fiasco….the F-35.

This piece of unwanted expensive crap cannot perform for the ground troop any better than the A-10….the “Hog was designed to assist the ground troops in close support….the F-35 is supersonic fighter that cannot be as effective as the A-10.

I tell you what…..in combat and you have 2 radios one tuned to an A-10 the other to a F-35…..bet the “Hog gets the call every time….

Okay enough whining….the reason I am writing this is the some 2 star general just lost his job over the F-35……..

.The two-star general who told officers they would be “committing treason” by advocating to Congress that the A-10 should be kept in service has been fired and reprimanded, Air Combat Command announced on Friday.

The military blog John Q Public first reported in January that Maj. Gen. James Post made the comments at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, prompting the Air Force Inspector General’s Office to look into the matter.

As a result, Gen. Hawk Carlisle, head of Air Combat Command, has removed Post as vice commander of Air Combat Command and issued Post a letter of reprimand, the news release says.

Post’s “treason” comment outraged some in Congress, including Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who called on Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James to investigate the matter.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., has been the foremost opponent to the Air Force’s plans to retire the A-10. In January, Ayotte told Air Force Times she was “deeply disturbed” by what Post said.

“How could members of the armed forces exercising their lawful right to communicate with Congress be providing aid and comfort to our enemies?” Ayotte said in a statement at the time. “If the facts are on the Air Force’s side regarding its efforts to prematurely divest the A-10, what does the Air Force fear?”

Good bye dickhead!  I am sure that the defense contractor will gladly pay you handsomely for your efforts…….

The Grunt deserves to be heard…..and the grunt deserves the A-10 on his 6…….