Closing Thought–13Apr17

They say that “war is the way Americans learn geography”……

I have found in my teaching gigs that the statement is pretty damn accurate.  I had one freshman that did not know the Spain was below France separated by the Pyrenees Mountains……and another that located Vietnam on a blank map in Central Asia…..most did not know the conflict between Palestine and Israel…they could locate Israel but Palestine threw them a curve.  And they are at college level geography…..scary how uninformed our young are these days.

 To illustrate my point……

In 2014, following the Russian invasion of Crimea, The Washington Post published the results of a poll that asked Americans about whether the United States should intervene militarily in Ukraine. Only one in six could identify Ukraine on a map; the median response was off by about 1,800 miles. But this lack of knowledge did not stop people from expressing pointed views. In fact, the respondents favored intervention in direct proportion to their ignorance. Put another way, the people who thought Ukraine was located in Latin America or Australia were the most enthusiastic about using military force there. 

The following year, Public Policy Polling asked a broad sample of Democratic and Republican primary voters whether they would support bombing Agrabah. Nearly a third of Republican respondents said they would, versus 13 percent who opposed the idea. Democratic preferences were roughly reversed; 36 percent were opposed, and 19 percent were in favor. Agrabah doesn’t exist. It’s the fictional country in the 1992 Disney film Aladdin. Liberals crowed that the poll showed Republicans’ aggressive tendencies. Conservatives countered that it showed Democrats’ reflexive pacifism. Experts in national security couldn’t fail to notice that 43 percent of Republicans and 55 percent of Democrats polled had an actual, defined view on bombing a place in a cartoon.

Yeah let’s ignore education and worry about some damn wall…..

That is it……my day has come to a slow end…back with you guys tomorrow…..chuq

Advertisements

Afghanistan: 16 Years And Counting

Yes we have been fighting and dying in Afghanistan for 16 years…the US longest continuous war…..although a war that was never authorized…..and it does not look as if there is an end to this endless tunnel.

But there seems to be those that think the US can withdraw from Afghanistan by the year 2020…..only 3 short years away…..

In an interview today with USA Today, Afghan Ambassador to the United States Hamdullah Mohib raised the possibility that the US occupation of Afghanistan, which began in 2001, might finally be nearing an end, and that it was at least possible the US occupation could end by 2020.

The hope that the US might be able to leave is very tentative, however, as Mohib made it conditional on the assumption that the Afghan military “will be able to have what they need to carry on the fight on their own for the most part.” This  is not the first time the Afghan military was expected to be ready to handle the Taliban, of course.

Rampant corruption and flagging morale have hindered that time and again, however, with a significant portion of Afghanistan’s military dogged by “ghost troops” that exist only on paper, and only to draw a salary that can be embezzled by officials.

(antiwar.com)

Bold words…..idle words…..is this possible the US could get out of Afghanistan in 3 years?

The International Crisis Group has issued a report that may crap all over that optimistic prediction…..

Two and a half years after it was created to prevent the bitterly contested 2014 presidential election from plunging Afghanistan into turmoil, the future of the National Unity Government (NUG) is shaky, as is broader political stability. The NUG is beset with internal disagreements and discord and facing a resurgent insurgency. Several options are being discussed in Afghan and international circles for how best to tackle the political and constitutional tensions that, if left unresolved, would increase the risk of internal conflict and insecurity in an already fragile state. The only promising way forward is for the two protagonists, President Ashraf Ghani and his Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Abdullah Abdullah, to acknowledge that the stability of their government and country requires them to work together.

Source: Afghanistan: The Future of the National Unity Government | World Affairs Journal

Personally, I am not holding my breath…..there are too many variables in this conflict to make an accurate prediction 3 years down the road.

Syria: Thus Spake “MSM”

My regulars know that I do not like nor trust the Mainstream Media (MSM) with the news of the day.  And the incident with the missiles and the Syrian airfield are no different.

The MSM has been a cheerleader for the warmongers for decades…..and this most recent missile strike is no different……even the great Brian Williams sounded giddy when the attack occurred…..it was just sick…..

Amazing how fast Trump went from “dud” to “dude” and all it took was a couple of missiles.

Below is a list of the top news sources that have done nothing but cheer lead the attack……

Five major US newspapers—the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Wall Street Journal and New York Daily News—offered no opinion space to anyone opposed to Donald Trump’s Thursday night airstrikes. By contrast, the five papers ran a total of 18 op-eds, columns or “news analysis” articles (dressed-up opinion pieces) that either praised the strikes or criticized them for not being harsh enough:

Source: Five Top Papers Run 18 Opinion Pieces Praising Syria Strikes–Zero Are Critical | FAIR

NO negative PR from the leaders in news….go figure.

Plus the same media is leading the calls for escalation in Syria……

The mainstream U.S. media now reports as “flat-fact” the Syrian government’s guilt in the April 4 chemical weapons incident, but the real facts are less clear and some point in the opposite direction.

Historian and journalist Stephen Kinzer has said, “Coverage of the Syrian war will be remembered as one of the most shameful episodes in the history of the American press.” This past week’s coverage of the April 4 chemical-weapons incident in the northern Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun will only add to that dubious legacy.

Across the mainstream U.S. news media, there was almost no skepticism shown and virtually no differences of opinion allowed. Within hours, the rush to judgment that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was guilty had solidified into a full-scale groupthink.

Source: How Media Bias Fuels Syrian Escalation – Consortiumnews

Please do not rely on the MSM for your opinions….especially when it may involve the use of American troops…..read for yourselves….research for yourselves…..educate yourselves.

War is too important to allow others to form your opinions for you…..

Syriasly?

A clever title….wish I had thought of it……

Yes the US has attacked a Syrian airfield in retaliation for the alleged use of CWs by Assad in his own country against Syrian civilians.

Our president was outraged at the barbaric attack by a sitting government against his people.  Apparently he does not watch much international news for this, while despicable, was a minor use of CWs compared to some of the other stuff he has been accused of doing.

So why now?

One explanation is that he is a creature of television and learning about atrocities and injustice via the boob tube had a profound effect upon his thinking, and I use that term advisedly.

The scenes of human carnage should sicken us all, regardless of whether they are in Syria, Rwanda, Vietnam or Chicago. Man’s inhumanity to man is not acceptable under any condition and it is our collective responsibility to exhaust any and all remedies to alleviate human suffering. No one with a conscience, a soul, or even the hint of compassion and empathy is not reviled by the atrocity that occurred at the hands of the murderous Syrian dictator either this time or the last time or the times before that he unleashed chemical weapons upon his people.

Source: Syriasly? – LA Progressive

I mean this humanitarian gesture is NOTHING new….each president has had a moment of outrage to justify some sort of action.

But this action by Trump was more a message to the world than some noble cause to right a wrong…..plus it will help change the dialog in the news…..

Are We Headed For A Replay?

It is amazing just how many conflicts the US is involved in these days.  Plus all the rhetoric coming from the “leaders” in DC…..threats and words of war…….

Does anyone realize that 100 years ago last Sunday was the anniversary of the speech by Woodrow Wilson that landed the US ass deep in World War One?

I bring this up because of all the entanglements that the US is hanging onto….countries, many countries, are involved in these alliances…..it is starting to look like the international set-up just before the outbreak of WW1 in 1914.

Today [Sunday] marks the one-hundredth anniversary of Woodrow Wilson’s message to Congress asking for a declaration of war against the Central Powers. Thus the Great War began – a conflict that destroyed European civilization and set the stage for the rise of Bolshevism, Nazism, and the death of millions in World War II.

Wilson was the embodiment of the dominant ideological theme of the twentieth century: State-worship. In both the foreign and domestic realms, the great “progressive” President represented the twin aspects of statist ideology: war and the centralization of political authority. And his presidency was emblematic of the key link between these two aspects of the progressive ideology, as Murray Rothbard explained in a 1973 interview with Reason magazine. Every war in American history has been the occasion for a great leap forward in the power of the State to interfere in and regulate every aspect of our lives, he said, and a “huge increase in [government] power came out of World War I,” one that set the pattern up to the present day:

Source: Are We Headed for a Replay of World War I? by — Antiwar.com

All this could lead to another world conflict….and the American public is oblivious…..they do not care as long as they can check their credit score for free.

Today’s world was created on the battlefields of Europe beginning in 1914 and ending in 1918…..what have we learned from the war 100 years ago?

Today is a historical marker of immense importance in American history: it is the centenary of American entry into the Great War, later known as the First World War. One hundred years ago today, on April 6, 1917, the United States declared war on Germany, following strong majority votes in both Houses of Congress and the impassioned speech of President Woodrow Wilson to a joint session on April 2, wherein he asserted that America must fight in the European war “to make the world safe for democracy.”

A century later, the ghosts of hallowed American war dead at Belleau Wood, the Second Battle of the Marne, and the Argonne Forest cry out to our political leaders of today with one searing question:  have you learned anything from our sacrifice?  From an objective perspective, a brief review of the historical context that led to war and its aftermath across time would appear to indicate that the answer to this seminal question is no.  However, in great humility and reverent remembrance for the fallen Americans of that war, the key lessons from the tragedy unleashed 100 years ago today are offered below, in hopes that their learnings can, in fact, be applied to the urgent problems presently confronting the Trump Administration.

Source: Lessons from the Tragedy of Woodrow Wilson’s War | RealClearDefense

This week is the 100th anniversary of President Woodrow Wilson’s speech to Congress seeking a declaration of war against Germany. Many people celebrate this centenary of America’s emergence as a world power. But, when the Trump administration is bombing or rattling sabers at half a dozen nations while many Democrats clamor to fight Russia, it is worth reviewing World War One’s high hopes and dire results.

Wilson was narrowly re-elected in 1916 based on a campaign slogan, “He kept us out of war.” But Wilson had massively violated neutrality by providing armaments and money to the Allied powers that had been fighting Germany since 1914. In his war speech to Congress, Wilson hailed the U.S. government as “one of the champions of the rights of mankind” and proclaimed that “the world must be made safe for democracy.”

Source: Woodrow Wilson made democracy unsafe for the world: James Bovard

The US is heading head long into a situation that could be as disastrous as WW1….we need to step back and look at what happened 100 years ago and try like Hell to avoid yet another destructive World War.

Syrian Update–13Apr17

Until this situation dies down I will be providing daily updates on the Syrian situation…hopefully it will help my readers stay abreast of the noise flowing from the MSM…….

THis is the press briefing giving by the admin on 11Apr17…….get their side of the story……

Source: Background Press Briefing on Syria, 4/11/2017 | whitehouse.gov
The White House accused the Russian government on Tuesday of engaging in a cover-up of the chemical weapons attack last week by Syrian forces that prompted American missile strikes, saying that United States intelligence and numerous contemporaneous reports confirmed that the Syrians used sarin gas on their own people. – New York Times

The suspected sarin gas attack in Syria last week revealed one of the worst-kept secrets in international diplomacy: A 2013 deal brokered by Russia and the U.S. failed to cripple the Assad regime’s ability to make or use chemical weapons. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

The Trump administration’s effort to underscore its certainty that Syria carried out a chemical weapons attack has demonstrated a potential new U.S. policy: The use of nerve agents like sarin will prompt a military response, even if it’s less certain that unleashing other chemical weapons, such as chlorine, will. – Washington Post’s Checkpoint

Defense Secretary James Mattis made clear Tuesday that the Trump administration has “no doubt” the Bashar al-Assad regime launched last week’s chemical attack in Syria that killed more than 80 civilians, including children. – Washington Free Beacon

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Tuesday that the U.S. Tomahawk cruise missile strikes on a Syrian airfield last week were a one-off mission to deter chemical attacks and should not lead to a broader confrontation with Russia. – DOD Buzz

Russian President Vladimir Putin will reportedly press the United Nations to officially investigate last week’s chemical attack in Syria, claiming, without evidence, that there are plans to fake the use of chemical weapons. – The Hill

Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta says there is no future for Syria under President Bashar Assad, arguing the Russians should work with the United States to depose the leader. – The Hill

GOP Sens. John McCain (Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.) are urging President Trump to step up U.S. military activity against Syrian President Bashar Assad in the wake of last week’s airstrike. – The Hill

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Tuesday cast doubt on Russia’s ability police the actions of the Syrian government, saying he believes Russia is “complicit” in the Assad regime’s atrocities. – The Hill

The top Democrat in the Senate said Tuesday that his caucus is worried President Trump’s actions in Syria could lead to another open-ended major military fight for U.S. troops in the region and that “any further action should come to Congress” for approval. – Military Times

Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) on Tuesday defended his decision to back a U.S. missile strike on a Syrian air base after opposing military action in Syria under former President Obama. – The Hill

Donald Trump said the US would not enter the Syrian civil war, in a bid to clarify his policy in the wake of confusion that followed his missile strike on the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. – Financial Times

Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s forces are intensifying attacks on rebel areas, days after the US fired a salvo of missiles at one of the regime’s main airbases, according to opposition activists. – Financial Times

Preparations began on Tuesday to evacuate the Shi’ite populations of two Syrian towns in exchange for moving Sunni rebels and civilians out of two others in a deal between the warring sides, a monitor and a pro-government commander said. – Reuters

The U.N. Security Council could vote as early as Wednesday on a push by the United States, Britain and France to bolster support for international inquiries into a deadly toxic gas attack in Syria, diplomats said, a move Russia had deemed unacceptable and unwarranted. – Reuters
Editorial: A more modest goal for U.S. diplomacy would be to agree with Russia on a de facto partition of Syria into zones controlled by the regime, Western-backed rebels and Kurds, with a long-term cease-fire imposed on all sides. Russia could meanwhile round up and dispose of the chemical stocks that the Assad regime still retains. That would, at least, spare Syrian civilians from further atrocities and allow for a concentration of military efforts against the Islamic State and al-Qaeda. But as Mr. Kerry could tell Mr. Tillerson, even that won’t fly with Mr. Putin unless the United States is willing to show greater resolve. – Washington Post

Frederic Hof writes: Until a strategy for accomplishing those objectives is blessed by the president and implemented, one salient fact should guide American policy vis-à-vis Bashar al-Assad: with civilians on the regime bullseye, nothing good politically can happen in terms of resolving Syria’s armed conflict. If Assad is permitted to return to business as usual – mass homicide but (for a while, at least) without chemicals – children will die, extremists will prosper, and Syria will hemorrhage people. Russia, Iran, and Assad will not like it, but the free ride for mass murder must end. – Atlantic Council

Philip Gordon writes: The problem is that Russia knows exactly what it is doing, and it is highly determined to keep on doing it. As the Trump administration looks to change Moscow’s calculus, it had better understand that it will take a lot more than a single set of missile strikes to do so. – Washington Post

Vali Nasr writes: In Moscow this week, Tillerson has the opportunity to explain that the United States could strike again, and insist that Putin tightly control Assad’s actions, while also agreeing to a new U.S.-led diplomatic effort whose success alone could avert further U.S. action in Syria. Leading this process would bolster American standing in the region and across the world, and also curtail Russian ambition. Tillerson now has an opportunity to lay out a diplomatic plan for ending one of the most devastating conflicts of our time. – The Atlantic
Bassma Kodmani writes: It is only with a political transition that we can achieve a secure, democratic Syria. We do not want imposed regime change. We do not want a vacuum. We want the conditions for Syrians to be able to decide their future. To get there, we want the United States — in concert with others — to lay the foundations that will compel the regime to abandon its military strategy. This will enable us to secure a peace deal. We are ready to do our part — now we need the United States and allies to do theirs. – Washington Post

If anything breaks before the next update then I shall bring you the news as I get it…..educate yourselves!