Closing Thought–12Apr17

“the ones mother gives you does nothing at all”

This country has our elite troops….Green Berets, Rangers, Delta Force, SEALs and others…..and these troopers have accomplished some amazing feats most of which we mere mortals may never know to what extent……

A disturbing story has come out about drug use among our elites…the SEALs…..

One of the most honored and respected segments of the U.S. military is battling an enemy within. For the first time, Navy SEALs are talking publicly about drug abuse in the ranks.

“I’m sitting in this chair because I’m not proud anymore to be in the community because of the direction that it’s going,” said one of the Navy SEALs who came forward.

Three Navy SEALs — one active duty, two retired — agreed to talk to us on camera if we disguised their faces and change their voices to protect them from retribution.

Source: Navy SEAL drug use “staggering,” investigation finds – CBS News

I will not sit here and condemn any of this…..you see when in Vietnam and we had a long mission…..5 days or more….we were given “bennies” to help us stay awake and alert….so I do not think that the military has moved beyond that sort of things today when were are asking these elite troops to do more and more.

But please if anyone would like to comment…feel free to do so…..

This concludes my day of posting…have a great evening and will return tomorrow bright and early with more stuff….chuq

What’s The Syrian Endgame?

For many years I have been asking just what was the policy endgame for Syria.

Anyone that is a regular follower of IST will know that I have been questioning the US approach to the situation in Syria since the very beginning…..and now people are listening……

We know that we are arming rebels but no one is sure who of these groups is on the side of the world….plus we have been told the “Assad must go” and yet how will that be accomplished if he does not go willingly?

Obama was vague….Trump has been vague….but after the airstrike on Syria there is a bit more clarity…..

Seeking support from abroad, the U.S. struggled Monday to explain a hazy Syria strategy that has yet to clarify key questions: whether President Bashar Assad must go, how displaced Syrians will be protected and when America might feel compelled to take further action.

Successive attempts by top Trump administration officials to articulate a plan have only furthered the appearance of a policy still evolving, even after the U.S. broke with precedent last week by attacking Assad’s forces. In the absence of answers, other countries seem to be moving ahead on their own terms.

Source: What exactly is US Syria policy? Big questions for allies – ABC News

But wait there is so much more……

At a White House presser, Spicer, elaborated on the new Syrian policy…….when pushed by reporter……

“The goal for the United States is twofold,” Spicer explained. “It’s, one, to make sure we destabilize Syria — destabilize the conflict there, reduce the threat of ISIS. But then, secondly, is create the political environment, not just within the Syrian people, but I think you can have — work with Russia in particular to make sure that they understand that Syria, backed up by Russia’s own accounting, should be held accountable for the agreements that its made with respect to its international agreements on chemical weapons alone.”

“Destabilize Syria”?  Seriously?

What the Hell has been going on for years there if not a destabilization?

“Create a political environment”?  Seriously?

Who would be part of this “political environment”?  Name one person, please.  (A post from a few days ago from IST)

Source: On Syria–Please Enlighten Us – In Saner Thought

The situation on the ground in Syria is complex…..more complex than DC wants to admit…….

On the night of Apr. 6, the US opened a third air campaign in Syria, targeting Bashar al-Assad’s air force. The US has been bombing the Islamic State and select al Qaeda targets in Syria since 2014. But the Syrian regime, which is responsible for most of the civilian casualties in the country, was not hit with America’s air power until President Trump drew a new red line over Assad’s use of chemical weapons.

Two days earlier, on Apr. 4, Assad’s airmen dropped a chemical agent on citizens living in the town of Khan Shaykhun, which is in the northwestern province of Idlib. Trump expressed horror the following day. “It crossed a lot of lines for me. When you kill innocent children, innocent babies, little babies, with a chemical gas that is so lethal—people were shocked to hear what gas it was—that crosses many, many lines, beyond a red line, many, many lines,” Trump said, during a press conference alongside King Abdullah II of Jordan in the Rose Garden on Apr.

Source: Syria Policy Must Reflect the Complex Reality on the Ground | RealClearDefense

Eventually someone will admit that they have NO damn idea on what to do in Syria…..then the real work can begin.

 

The Spicer Side Of Life

Okay in the last day the whole country has gone batcrap crazy over something that Sean Spicer said in his presser….it seems that he tried to compare Hitler and Assad but as usual he inserted a foot in mouth and his performance became the story of the day.

But in case you have been under your rock for 24 hours then let me help out……

Sean Spicer is being hit with a wave of criticism—the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect is even calling for his firing—after he said Hitler wasn’t that bad compared to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, at least in one specific area. “Hitler didn’t even sink to the level of using chemical weapons,” Vox quotes the press secretary as saying during a press conference Tuesday. CNN reports there was an “audible gasp” from reporters following the comment. Understandable, because Hitler, in fact, used gas to kill millions of Jews in the Holocaust. He also used gas to kill disabled people and other groups.

Spicer only dug himself deeper when he attempted to clarify what he meant. “He was not using the gas on his own people in the same way that Assad is doing,” Spicer said. “He brought them into Holocaust centers, I understand that.” That clarification managed to invent a new term for concentration camps and possibly imply that German Jews were not real Germans. Spicer finally specified that he meant Hitler didn’t use chemical weapons on the battlefield, USA Today reports. Despite insisting he wasn’t “trying to lessen the horrendous nature of the Holocaust,” the Anne Frank Center is accusing Spicer of Holocaust denial. Spicer’s original point, now firmly buried by his invocation of Hitler, was that Russia shouldn’t continue to support Assad.

As a rational individual I believe I know what he was trying to say….no Hitler did not use gas on the battlefield but yes he did use gas on his people in the death camps…oh sorry we are calling them “Holocaust Centers” now…..

Now Spicer f*cked up…..he has walked back his screw up….now time to let it go.

The needed a new story for the facts on the missile strike was getting thin….so they needed something to fixate on and BAM!  Spicer made it happen.

But for my part Trump needs to find a new press sec because this is not the first time he has inserted his foot….Trump needs someone who can think on the fly without having to walk back everything he says daily.

He be sorry….now LET IT GO!

Another Jolly Little War

Thanx to the MSM I can now write about the same subjects as before the only difference is people are listening now.

Yes Irene we have bombed yet another Middle East country….well it is not the first time….Syria has been bombed into the stone age….all in the name of getting “the bad guy”.

So without further ado…..here we go again!

Since the missile attack last week I have been trying to give as many different sides of the action as I can.  Please keep in mind that I may not agree with their takes on the situation but I think my readers need as many opinions as I can give them so that they can make a rational decision on this.

Below is a Libertarian way of looking at this latest military action.

It seems that every new US president has to prove his machismo…or make his bones, as wiseguys say…by bombing the usual Arabs. By now, it’s almost a rite of passage. The American public loves it.

So we just saw the US launch 59 or 60 $1.5million apiece cruise missiles at a western Syrian airfield to express President Trump’s outrage caused by seeing injured children allegedly caused by a Syrian government toxic gas attack.

But what, Mr. President, about all those Iraqi, Syrian and Afghan babies killed by US B-52 and B-1 heavy bombers? Or the destruction of the defiant Iraqi city of Fallujah where the US used forbidden white phosphorus that burns right to the bone?

Source: Another Jolly Little War – The Unz Review

What will occur now that the big step has been taken?

Will the country become entangled in this mess as we did with Afghanistan and Iraq?

Is there more to come?  Or was this attack is a statement and nothing more?

Whether one believes they were the long-overdue response to the Syrian regime’s brutality, a one-off event that will not affect the conflict’s trajectory, a risky step that could prompt military escalation or all of the above, the 7 April U.S. missile strikes on Syria’s Shayrat air base in response to the regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons should be seized upon as an opportunity to jumpstart diplomatic efforts. The strikes have heightened tension between Moscow and Washington. Yet, this added volatility and the risks attached to it could and should prompt more serious pursuit by the two countries of their purportedly common interest: de-escalating violence sufficiently to establish a meaningful political track. This can be best achieved by deepening rather than breaking off U.S.-Russian cooperation.

Source: Syria after the U.S. Strike: What Should Come Next | Crisis Group

In my opinion further escalation would be a unwise decision…..intel vets see it as I do…..

Two dozen ex-U.S. intelligence officials urge President Trump to rethink his claims blaming the Syrian government for the chemical deaths in Idlib and to pull back from his dangerous escalation of tensions with Russia.

MEMORANDUM FOR: The President

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)*

SUBJECT: Syria: Was It Really “A Chemical Weapons Attack”?

Source: Trump Should Rethink Syria Escalation | By Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity | Common Dreams

Thoughts?

Syrian Update

Finally something that I can use what little expertise I have……the Syrian incident…..about damn time!

First will someone please tell Spicer that his name is Assad….not Ashad….not Ashir…..not Ashadi al-Bashir….it is Bashir al-Assad…..not a difficult name to say…..please Mr. Spicer try to keep up, okay?………now that I got that off my chest.

This is a round-up from what is called MSM……not some of the more reliable sources…but this is what most Americans use for their knowledge to form an opinion……(my sources usually are for single posts….most are not in this list)

In the days since President Trump ordered a cruise missile strike against Syria in retaliation for a chemical attack on civilians, his administration has spoken with multiple voices as it seeks to explain its evolving policy. But one voice has not been heard from: that of Mr. Trump himself. – New York Times

Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson said on Tuesday that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia must end his alliance with the government of Syria, and that the reign of that country’s leader, President Bashar al-Assad, was “coming to an end.” – New York Times

Days after President Trump bombed Syria in response to a chemical attack that killed children, Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson said on Monday that the United States would punish those “who commit crimes against the innocents anywhere in the world.” – New York Times

The use of barrel bombs by the Assad regime in Syria could trigger a U.S. response, the White House said Monday in what appeared to be a significant change in U.S. policy by drawing a new red line in the conflict. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

The punitive American missile strike on Syria for the chemical weapons attack a week ago brought Syria’s most important backers, Russia and Iran, publicly closer together — whether the Iranians want to be or not – New York Times

On Saturday, Islamic State extremists disguised as U.S.-backed rebels detonated a massive car bomb at the base entrance, a blast that allowed some of the militants to fight their way inside, Syrian fighters and American officials said on Monday. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

Americans narrowly support missile strikes ordered by President Trump last week in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack in Syria, even as most oppose additional military efforts to remove President Bashar al-Assad from power, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. – Washington Post

Defense Secretary James Mattis on Monday warned Syrian President Bashar Assad not to use chemical weapons again, saying the U.S. “will not passively stand by.” – The Hill

While Russia was “probably surprised” by the US missile strike on a Syrian air base, it is unlikely that the Kremlin will respond with escalatory force, according to a former deputy secretary general of NATO. – Atlantic Council

Former CIA Director Michael Hayden said President Trump’s missile strike in Syria is a radical departure from his “America first” foreign policy. – The Hill

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) ripped President Trump’s airstrikes on a Syrian airfield, arguing last week’s action didn’t move the needle in the country’s years-long civil war. – The Hill

The last person to serve as U.S. ambassador to Syria predicts that Syrian President Bashar Assad will try to use chemical weapons again despite the U.S. military strike against last week. – The Hill

U.S. officials and Syria experts are still debating what Syrian President Bashar Assad was thinking when he ordered a chemical attack sure to spark international outrage. Maybe Assad was hoping to terrorize his opponents. Perhaps he was testing Trump’s limits for his military planning. Trump officials even initially considered the possibility that Assad had not ordered the strike at all, according to one administration official, and that a military commander might have gone rogue without Assad’s knowledge. – Politico

A Russian Navy surface action group is headed to the Eastern Mediterranean departing shortly after a U.S. Tomahawk missile strike on a Syrian airfield, a U.S. defense official told USNI News on Monday. – USNI News

Russian military commanders involved in the war in Syria could be targeted with new international sanctions under proposals put forward by U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on Monday. – Politico

The United States has concluded Russia knew in advance of Syria’s chemical weapons attack last week, a senior U.S. official said Monday. – Associated Press
President Donald Trump’s decision to launch missiles into Syria risked raising tensions with Iran, a key backer of Syrian President Bashar Assad in a conflict with dangerously blurry battle lines. – Associated Press

U.S.-backed Syrian fighters on Monday pushed ahead in their offensive in northern Syria against members of the Islamic State group under the cover of U.S.-led coalition airstrikes, moving closer to a strategic town that is home to the country’s largest dam. – Associated Press

Paul Wolfowitz writes: These political and diplomatic actions could complement and reinforce more-concrete measures to change facts on the ground in Syria, such as creating safe zones or imposing some kind of no-fly zone. These efforts will not be simple, nor will they yield immediate results. But this framework would go a long way in addressing the common danger of radical extremism and in stemming the flow of refugees that has become a humanitarian disaster and a threat to U.S. interests. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

Elliott Abrams writes: When the president said it was in the “vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons,” he was right. It is also in our vital national security interest to stand for justice, and peace, and liberty, and it appears he is coming to see that. That’s the most encouraging thing of all. – The Weekly Standard

Gary Schmitt writes: Resting on broad and undefined arguments about “the national interest,” the war-making precedents of 1999 and 2011 have become a virtual license to engage in hostilities whenever and wherever a president decides. Members of Congress should care as much about the grounds on which President Trump justifies the use of his power as commander-in-chief as for what ends he uses that power. – The Weekly Standard

Bret Stephens writes: The core of the problem in Syria isn’t Islamic State, dreadful as it is. It’s a regime whose appetite for unlimited violence is one of the main reasons ISIS has thrived. To say there is no easy cure for Syria should not obscure the fact that there won’t be any possibility of a cure until Assad falls. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

Lee Smith writes: Critics who complain about the small scale of Thursday’s operation are missing the point—even with a strike that small, the United States showed how vulnerable Russia is. Indeed, Putin must now be struck by a fact it was easy to forget during the Obama years—in staking out a position in Syria, he has put himself in a place where he is surrounded by American allies. Trump’s was a solid opening play. The next move is Putin’s. – The Weekly Standard

Shadi Hamid writes: Here’s a practical guide for navigating the key sticking points in this latest iteration of the Syria debate, from the perspective of someone who has called for direct intervention against Bashar al-Assad since early on the conflict – The Atlantic

Tom Gross writes: Neither Assad has ever shown any signs of moderation. But that’s not the impression one might have formed from listening to many Western media and politicians. – The Weekly Standard

Lots of info…but that is what is needed……

I read so you will know…….

Iraq: 14 Years And Counting

I am sure that most Americans will let this auspicious anniversary slide away without much notice….so let me be the first to let you know…..

This week we shall celebrate the 14th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq…….

What: The American conquest of Baghdad

 When: 3-14 April 2003

 Where: Baghdad, Iraq

What happened?

 After the United States led an illegal international coalition to invade Iraq on 20 March 2003 under the pretext of destroying Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s fictional weapons of mass destruction stockpile, the main strategic target for the so-called “Coalition of the Willing” was the capital of Baghdad itself.

To sow discord in the Iraqi army’s command structure and to force the Iraqis to fight outside the city rather than within it, the coalition heavily bombed their rear areas in Baghdad itself. The Americans feared what would happen if the fighting degenerated into urban warfare, calculating that their losses would be very high. By heavily bombarding Baghdad itself, they thus forced the Iraqis to commit most of their forces outside the city limits where they were largely destroyed

Source: The Fall of Baghdad – Middle East Monitor

I bring all this up because the rhetoric flying around the most recent missile strike in Syria……we could be about to do the same thing all over again only in Syria this time…….

After the Soviet Union launched a full-scale invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979, President Jimmy Carter remarked to a television interviewer that this event had “made a more dramatic change in my opinion of what the Soviets’ ultimate goals are than anything they’ve done in the previous time I’ve been in office.”

Carter took much criticism for this comment, with charges that he was revealing naiveté and should have known all along about the nature of the regime he was confronting. But at least the Soviet military intervention was a very large data point — a major departure in Soviet policy that was far different in scale from the use of a particular weapon in one encounter during an ongoing war.

Source: The Scary Temptation of War in Syria – Consortiumnews

One missile strike does not an invasion make……but the rhetoric seems to indicate something is brewing……the US needs to beat due diligence to avoid “mission creep” in Syria…….

On April 6, President Donald Trump ordered a cruise missile strike against the Syrian airfield used by the warplanes that launched last week’s chemical attack against Syrian civilians.

This strike was an appropriate, proportional, and carefully calibrated response for the Assad regime’s repeated use of illegal chemical weapons.

While it was a bold tactical strike that sent a powerful message that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s behavior was unacceptable, it is merely the opening bid in what is likely to develop into a protracted diplomatic crisis.

Trump reacted viscerally to the pictures of poisoned babies and moved decisively to launch the punitive reprisal. But that limited military action is unlikely to be decisive in and of itself.

Source: Trump Must Avoid Mission Creep in Syria | RealClearDefense

The best advice has come from those who know…in this case it is the Iraqi war veterans…..

Almost as soon as the first cruise missile struck Syrian government forces Thursday evening, a furious debate over the prudence of the action began to build. While the strike was among the first actions taken by President Donald Trump to garner bipartisan support from lawmakers, it generated intense criticism within much of Trump’s base. This includes veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, many of whom were drawn to Trump’s campaign message of avoiding entanglement in Middle Eastern conflicts, particularly in regards to Syria.

“I was hoping for non-intervention foreign policy. I didn’t expect him to cave so soon,” said Michael Mazzuto, a Marine Corps Infantry Sergeant who served in Fallujah, Iraq in 2005, and was wounded in Ramadi in 2006, “With Hillary, I think they would have bombed a month sooner, but I don’t think there’s any difference now.”

Source: Iraq War Veterans Warn Against Syrian Entanglement | LifeZette

Sage advice from those that have lived the war……will it be enough for those advisers to pay attention?  My guess is no…….there is money to be made and that will be the ONLY policy.