Closing Thought–13Feb18

Last week the big story in the news was the Nunes  (Nunes is political speak for lapdog) Memo…….lots of blogs were dedicated to the memo and its effect on the country.  And guess what….they re still beating that dead horse…..

My problem is after reading many, not all, blog posts on the memo illustrates that there were lots of opinions but few that actually read the memo.

To avoid any confusion I will post the memo in its entirety for people to read and please do so….I mean it is not that much a page and a half or so……

The to/from line should tell you everything you need to know about this piece of toilet paper… wit:

January 18, 2018
To: HPSCI Majority Members
From: HPSCI Majority Staff
Subject: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Abuses at the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation

There is nothing official about this memo….it is written by staffers for staffers.  It is NOT a official memo from the FBI.

But do not take my word for it…….read it and you tell me just what the big deal is……

Day is done…..I must have my one beer, Boston Lager, and relax for tomorrow’s post… well, be safe…..chuq

The Dogs Of War

A tale of mercenaries and authors…..back in the late 1970’s Frederick Forsyth wrote a book, The Dogs of War, about a mercenary operation to takeover an African country.

It was an excellent read… was packed full of details that anyone could use… a matter of fact there was rumblings that Forsyth had actually put together a team for a coup attempt in West Africa……Benin was the targeted country…..which is interesting considering that a coup attempt was made in 1977.

Much of modern-day public opinion about mercenaries is still colored by adventures of Robert Denard, a French solider and mercenary, famous for his involvement in numerous “jobs” in support of Francafrique – France’s sphere of influence in its former colonies in Africa. One of Denard’s typical operations was the coup attempt against the government of Benin, from January 1977. Such and similar operations in turn inspired numerous novels and a few Hollywood movies, too.

The Republic of Benin is a little-known country in western Africa, bordered by Togo in the west, Nigeria in the east and Burkina Faso and Niger in the north. It came into being as a combination of three political and ethnic systems, the most significant of which – the Kingdom of Dahomey – used to be one of largest exporters of slaves to Portugal in the 18th Century. The French occupied the area in the late 19th century and declared it a part of their West Africa in 1899.

Another case where life imitates art……

Where Is That Pentagon’s Report On Niger’s 10/4/17 Tragedy, Due In January 2018

Where Is That Pentagon’s Report On Niger’s 10/4/17 Tragedy, Due In January 2018

When I was recovering in the hospital was when I first read about this…..just more questions into a questionable mission…..chuq

Gronda Morin

From left, Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black, 35, of Puyallup, Wash.; Sgt. La David Johnson of Miami Gardens, Fla.; Staff Sgt. Jeremiah W. Johnson, 39, of Springboro, Ohio and Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright, 29, of Lyons, Ga. All 4 were killed in Niger, when a joint patrol of American and Niger forces was ambushed on Oct. 4, 2017, by militants linked to the Islamic State group.

There is a draft of a report resulting from the Pentagon’s investigation into the October 4, 2017 killings of US Army special forces and fellow local soldiers in Niger during a supposedly standard reconnaissance mission. Sen General Mattis said he and the AFRICOM  Commander have yet to review the report which is thousands of pages long. There will be a classified version and the one to be made public which will be finalized in a few weeks.

Here’s the rest of the story…

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Pentagon’s Drug Of Choice

Speaking of an addiction……

Our Fearless Leader has declared war on opiates….declared war but has done little to nothing to actually fix the problem other than putting “lying Eyes” Conway in charge.

We have the budget process distracting everyone from important stuff……

The Pentagon has another addiction other than opiates… is CASH!

Donald Trump has, it seems, finally offered his plan for dealing with the opioid crisis in America. He did so during his State of the Union address to Congress, filled with Republican applause (none louder than The Donald’s), introducing the country to an Albuquerque policeman who had decided to adopt the future baby – now named “Hope” – of a homeless, pregnant heroin addict he found preparing to shoot up behind a convenience store. Previously, the president had directed the Department of Health and Human Services to declare the opioid epidemic to be a “national emergency.” He didn’t, however, come up with an extra cent of federal money to make it so. As a result, his response to the present national crisis of addiction turns out to be a nod of approval to the possibility of police officers adopting the babies of opioid addicts.

And that’s the closest his administration has come to forward thinking on the issue of drug wars in his first year in office. The president has, in fact, been a major enabler of what may be the leading addiction crisis in America. I’m thinking about the Pentagon and its drug of choice: money. At a time when, from infrastructure to health care, money is desperately needed and seldom found, only the Pentagon is still mainlining dollars as if there were no tomorrow. It’s shooting up in full view of the world and Donald Trump is aiding and abetting the process, eternally calling for yet more money to pump up that military (as well as the U.S. nuclear arsenal).


Never fear 2018 will be more than previous years…

The new Congressional budget boosts military spending in a big way. Last night’s PBS News report documented how military spending is projected to increase by $160 billion over two years, but that doesn’t include “overseas contingency funding” for wars, which is another $160 billion over two years. Meanwhile, spending for the opioid crisis, which is killing roughly 60,000 Americans a year (more Americans than were killed in the Vietnam War), is set at a paltry $6 billion ($25 billion was requested).

One thing is certain: Ike was right about the undue influence of the military-industrial-Congressional complex.

The military talks about needing all these scores of billions to “rebuild.” And, sure, there are ships that need to be refitted, planes in need of repairs, equipment that needs to be restocked, and veterans who need to be cared for. But a massive increase in military and war spending, perhaps as high as $320 billion over two years, is a recipe for excessive waste and even more disastrous military adventurism.

Even if you’re a supporter of big military budgets, this massive boost in military spending is bad news. Why? It doesn’t force the military to think. To set priorities. To define limits. To be creative.

Perhaps you’ve heard of the expression, “Spending money like drunken sailors on shore leave.” Our military has been drunk with money since 9/11. Is it really wise to give those “sailors” an enormous boost in the loose change they’re carrying, trusting them to spend it wisely?

Afghanistan Today

Afghanistan is back in the news thanx mostly because of a new film about the early days of this war and occupation.  Sadly this film will not force the American people into actually caring about the war and its consequences.  But then there are hard headed SOBs such as myself that force feed information to his readers.

A new president and new slogans…..but is there a new policy to go along with the person and/or the slogans?

There’s a new faith among the latest U.S. generals who have come to win the war in Afghanistan, but plenty of old realities. U.S. Central Command’s Gen. Joseph Votel, who is overseeing the Trump administration’s Afghanistan War reboot, came here to see its beginning and its promise of victory, with newly arriving squadrons of attack jets, howitzer cannons, and hundreds of specialized and experienced U.S. troops.

Just hours earlier, the 4-star distinguished visitor had been in Kabul discussing those plans at the Afghan Ministry of Defense when a suicide attacker detonated a massive car bomb disguised in an ambulance. Welcome back to the war.

Yet another look at the US Afghan strategy from another neo-con source…..

The Taliban was and remains an insurgency. It must be dealt with as an insurgency by focusing on the human terrain. The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA) must develop and pursue an indigenous Counter Insurgency (COIN) campaign focused on the principles of security, governance, and basic services. This does not need to be the full spectrum, comprehensive COIN led by the U.S. from 2010 to 2012, but a “light” version of that campaign. Regardless, GIRoA will likely require coalition forces to work by, with, and through them, providing training, advising, and assistance (TAA) in order for GIRoA to identify and address the specific elements of security, governance, and basic services which are the most critical for winning over the population and bringing the Taliban insurgency to an end.

There seems to be at least one bomb a week in Kabul…..probably not that often but just seems like…..

Two weekends ago, a Taliban bombing killed more than 100 and injured over 200 more in Afghanistan. The bombing took place in the heart of Kabul in an area considered among the country’s most secure. Along with a recent flurry of terrorist violence, the attack demonstrates the magnitude of the challenges facing the coalition effort in Afghanistan.

When he announced a new way forward in South Asia, the President made clear that he was going against his initial instincts to withdraw American forces. Instead, after listening to his senior advisors and military leaders, he decided to modestly expand our footprint in the country. In light of the President’s reservations, this may be our last chance to get Afghanistan right. Seventeen years into the longest war in our nation’s history, we still have enduring interests in South Asia—but securing them requires an honest look at our goals and the resources we are willing to spend in pursuit of those goals.

Ever heard of the Uighurs?  They tend to be localized in Southern China… you are asking what has that got to do with Afghanistan?

Appears the US is picking a fight…….

Over the past week, escalating US airstrikes in Afghanistan have shifted away from their usual focus on the Taliban and ISIS, and have shifted northward to Badakhshan, the province on the border with neighboring China.

This region has few Taliban, but it has Uighurs loyal to the East Turkastan Islamic Movement (ETIM), which is mostly seen as a secessionist group in China, and rarely thought of at all in Afghanistan.

Still, the US is targeting them, reflecting President Trump’s attitude that any groups that are “enemies” of Afghanistan, even if just on paper, are now the target. Some analysts are spinning them as part of a “broader” terrorist presence, and with the orders for the Pentagon to escalate, it doesn’t take much to get targeted.

Unspoken in all of this is that such strikes are having no impact on the Afghan War itself, as ETIM has little to no presence beyond the immediate border region, and while US strikes on them might be very pleasing to China, ETIM poses no threat to Afghanistan itself.


A little news from Afghanistan that the MSM does not find important enough to share with the country.

Believe it or not but there have been on-going peace ‘meetings’ between the Taleban and the Afghan government and it looks like some others have been invited to participate……

The Taliban is extending an invitation to Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, to their political office in Doha, to discuss possible peace plans to end the 17-year Afghan war.

The invitation, proposed on the terror group’s social media accounts under the moniker of the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,” was extended in response to Mr. Paul’s recent comments on the status of the war.

“We invite the respectable U.S. Senator Rand Paul, in his official capacity to visit our political office in Doha for mutual talks,” the Twitter post by the Information Committee of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan read.

There you have an update on our Afghan War…..stay tuned…….