Closing Thought–11Sep18

It All Began On 9/11!

Today we celebrate the 17th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers, Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania…

In all that time there has been a wealth of conspiracies about the attacks…..and in my tradition of trying inform my readers I will offer up several articles that touch on the day.

https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/a6384/debunking-911-myths-world-trade-center/

https://www.tms.org/pubs/journals/jom/0112/eagar/eagar-0112.html

https://www.newsweek.com/what-if-911-had-never-happened-67373

Al-Qaeda, the culprit that lead the attacks on 9/11 may be stronger than ever…..

In the days after Sept. 11, 2001, the United States set out to destroy Al Qaeda. President George W. Bush vowed to “starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place, until there is no refuge or no rest.”

Seventeen years later, Al Qaeda may be stronger than ever. Far from vanquishing the extremist group and its associated “franchises,” critics say, U.S. policies in the Mideast appear to have encouraged its spread.

http://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-al-qaeda-survive-20180910-story.html#

The attacks and the reaction to them have shaped U.S. policy for more than 15 years, leaving a nation that is far more vigilant and jittery about terrorism. Yet for all of the talk about 9/11, many elements of the attacks and the actions leading up to them have receded from the public memory. Here are 10 things you may have forgotten about 9/11:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2016/09/10/10-things-you-may-have-forgotten-911/90007376/

One last thought–since the attacks of 9/11 the War on Terror has cost the country $1.5 trillion (that is with a “T”).

The last photo taken to show the Towers…..taken on afternoon of 10Sep01

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Hunger: The Saddest Injustice

A good friend and blogger (https://beetleypete.wordpress.com/ ) got me to thinking about the issue of hunger….as always I have an opinion on that issue as well…….

There were times during my life when food was a major concern…..I admit that I had gone to bed hungry…..the saddest injustice for me is hunger.

I have tried to focus on hunger here on IST…..

https://lobotero.com/2008/12/22/hunger-is-growing/

https://lobotero.com/2010/02/03/hunger-is/

Then we have TV shows that waste food for entertainment….pumpkin chunking. bowling with raw turkey, etc.  I find all such “entertainment” disgusting……but let’s look at hunger right here in the US, that shining city on the hill…..

  1. 1 in 6 people in America face hunger.
  2. The USDA defines “food insecurity” as the lack of access, at times, to enough food for all household members. In 2011, households with children reported a significantly higher food insecurity rate than households without children: 20.6% vs. 12.2%.
  3. Food insecurity exists in every county in America. In 2013, 17.5 million households were food insecure. More and more people are relying on food banks and pantries. Collect food outside your local supermarket for a local food bank. Sign up for Supermarket Stakeout GL.
  4. 49 million Americans struggle to put food on the table.
  5. In the US, hunger isn’t caused by a lack of food, but rather the continued prevalence of poverty.
  1. More than 1 in 5 children is at risk of hunger. Among African-Americans and Latinos, it’s 1 in 3.
  2. Over 20 million children receive free or reduced-price lunch each school day. Less than half of them get breakfast, and only 10% have access to summer meal sites.
  3. For every 100 school lunch programs, there are only 87 breakfast sites and just 36 summer food programs.
  4. 1 in 7 people are enrolled in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Nearly half of them are children.
  5. 40% of food is thrown out in the US every year, or about $165 billion worth. All of this uneaten food could feed 25 million Americans.
  6. These 8 states have statistically higher food insecurity rates than the US national average (14.6%): Arkansas (21.2%), Mississippi (21.1%), Texas (18.0%), Tennessee (17.4%), North Carolina (17.3%), Missouri (16.9%), Georgia (16.6%), Ohio (16.0%).  (source:  dosomething.org)

Kinda sad from a country that can spend $1.5 trillion on a war that it cannot win.

It is a world problem not just one for the US…..and as the world’s nations grow more wealthy the hunger rate never changes……

It’s impossible to ignore the growth of economic inequality in each corner of the planet. Vulgarity is the order of the day, with the very rich hoarding vast amounts of wealth while the poor scratch the earth for their livelihood. The British-based charity group Oxfam has done an important service by offering an annual indication of the gravity of inequality. This year, Oxfam noted that a mere 42 rich people have as much wealth as 3.7 billion poor people. What is most astounding is that in 2017, 82 percent of the social wealth produced by the world’s people was vacuumed into the bank accounts of the wealthiest 1 percent among us. This is not an ancient problem, in other words, but a current problem posed by the structure of capitalism: goods and services are produced socially, but profit is sequestered privately—and with fewer and fewer hands able to seize this profit.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2018/09/05/hunger-warning

Every generation wants to end world hunger and very generation fails to do so.

I just cannot see a way to make the elimination of hunger  a priority…..words will not feed anyone…it will take action but where will that action come from?

If It Is Tuesday It Must Be Afghanistan

We have been throwing everything we have at the situation in Afghanistan…..if that is true then give us an update.

First we start with the documents that were used to start the war in Afghanistan.

These details are never discussed because they have for nearly two decades been hidden behind a shroud of secrecy. But now, after nearly two decades of lies, the remarkable truth about the secret documents that helped launch the Afghan war can finally be revealed.

Yet another surge of violence in Afghanistan, including suicide bombings by the Taliban and retaliatory airstrikes by US forces, is reminding the world once again of the fact that the Afghan war is far from over.

https://theantimedia.com/documents-expose-secret-lie-afghan-war/

And anytime Afghanistan is mentioned then someone has a winning strategy for the situation….

The United States intelligence agencies and military commands can’t agree on whether to be “cautiously optimistic” or “cautiously pessimistic” on prospects for Afghanistan.

What both do agree on, however, is that the United States and its Afghan partners have not defeated the Taliban either on the battlefield or by bringing them to negotiated terms of living in peace with other Afghans.

The reasons for our failure are simple to understand but unacceptable for a great power.

First was the eager rush to forget our Vietnam experience – even the successful CORDS counterinsurgency program in the villages of South Vietnam after 1968.

http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/winning-strategy-afghanistan

Whenever those types of posts are published there will be others that foresee the situation as a losing effort….

The Trump administration is optimistic about Afghanistan. Since the president a year ago introduced his plan—putting more U.S. boots on the ground and committing to our fifth round of re-entrenchment in America’s longest war—the conflict has been punctuated by a key milestone: its first ceasefire since 2001.

That brief pause in hostilities “really unleashed the Afghan people’s desire for peace and an end to violence,” Gen. John Nicholson, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, told reporters from Kabul last week. “I believe [Trump’s] strategy is working,” he continued. “So, the strategy was announced about a year ago. Within six months, we had two peace offers on the table.”

But the Pentagon’s own assessments of Afghanistan are bleaker.

http://reason.com/archives/2018/09/05/trump-isnt-winning-in-afghanistan

For those that would like more info on the war in Afghanistan then maybe the Special ops updates will be helpful….

http://www.sof.news/afghanistan/afghan-conflict-update-20180908/

IST tries to stay tuned in to the conflicts we are fighting around the world and will bring as much news as possible to keep my readers informed.

North Korea, Along The Way

North Korea is once again in the news….NO we do not have a peace treaty and we have not got a deal to dump all nukes on the Peninsula……basically something nice was said by Kim about Trump and that warranted a couple days of news reports.

Some have said that the US is going about the situation with North Korea all wrong……

U.S. President Donald Trump came to office clearly determined to reverse his predecessor’s policy toward North Korea, one that he saw as stagnant and ineffective. “The era of strategic patience is over,” Trump declared in 2017. Other Republican voices echoed this promise to chart a new path. When Trump’s first approach, rooted in threats and bellicosity, offered little reason for optimism, the president shifted to diplomatic engagement.

What harm, many asked, could come from negotiations? “I don’t believe this is a situation where the president has anything to lose,” explained former homeland security adviser Tom Bossert. In most cases, such confidence would be justified. What harm could possibly come from diplomatic engagement? North Korea, however, is not most cases, and the harm to American interests that appears to be emerging as a direct result of the Singapore talks may prove to be quite significant indeed.

https://thediplomat.com/2018/09/where-the-us-went-wrong-on-north-korea/

The news now is in a parade to celebrate 70 years of a Kim at the wheel….there were the usual suspects marching in review but what was not usual was the lack of missiles in the parade make-up….

North Korea rolled out some of its latest tanks and its best-trained goose-stepping units through Kim Il Sung Square in a major military parade Sunday to mark its 70th anniversary, but held back its most advanced missiles and devoted nearly half the event to underscoring Kim Jong Un’s new strategy of putting economic development front and center. Tens of thousands of North Koreans waving brightly colored plastic bouquets filled Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung Square as the parade began, reports the AP. Pyongyang residents have been training for months for the anniversary and held up the bouquets to spell words and slogans that can be seen from the VIP viewing area. Those unable to attend at the square lined the streets around town to cheer convoys carrying the troops after they complete parade duties.

Although North Korea stages military parades almost every year, and held one just before the Olympics in South Korea in February, Sunday’s parade came at a particularly sensitive time. Kim’s effort to ease tensions with President Trump has stalled since their June summit in Singapore. With tensions again on the rise, a parade featuring the very missiles that so unnerved Trump last year, and led to a dangerous volley of insults from both leaders, could have been seen as a deliberate provocation. The “new line” of economic development has been Kim’s top priority this year. He claims to have perfected his nuclear arsenal enough to deter US aggression and devote his resources to raising the standard of living. This year’s celebrations also mark the revival of North Korea’s iconic mass games, which involve tens of thousands holding up placards or dancing in precise unison in a display of national unity

This should send the analysts into a frenzy trying to explain what Kim is doing.

Is this something positive or negative?

Well Trump has received another letter and a request……

President Donald Trump has received a request from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for a follow-up to their historic June summit, and planning is in motion to make it happen. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday that no details had been finalized, the AP reports. Trump had told reporters last week that he was expecting a letter from Kim. Sanders said Trump has received the letter, which she described as “very warm, very positive.” The White House will not release the full letter unless Kim agrees it should be made public, she said. “The primary purpose of the letter was to request and look to schedule another meeting with the president, which we are open to and are already in the process of coordinating that,” Sanders said at her first press briefing in nearly three weeks. She cited the letter as “further evidence of progress” in relations between the leaders.

On Sunday, Trump offered praise for Kim following a North Korean military parade that, unlike past parades, downplayed the missiles and nuclear weapons that brought North Korea to the brink of military conflict with the United States just a year ago. “This is a big and very positive statement from North Korea,” Trump tweeted Sunday about the parade. “Thank you To Chairman Kim. We will both prove everyone wrong! There is nothing like good dialogue from two people that like each other! Much better than before I took office.” Sanders also cited the parade in her comments Monday. “The recent parade in North Korea, for once, was not about their nuclear arsenal,” she said, characterizing the event as “a sign of good faith.” Trump, she said, had achieved “tremendous success” with his policies so far toward North Korea “and this letter was further evidence of progress in that relationship.”

I think a second meeting would benefit only Kim…..the US would get little out of it and in turn would look like we were graveling to Kim.

And the beat goes on!

Revisit The “Dark Continent”

I have written about the ever expanding special ops in Africa….not just a few countries I mean the whole damn continent.

https://lobotero.com/2016/07/13/africa-the-dark-continent/

As I said “the ever expanding” role of US Special Ops in Africa….

Around 200,000 US troops are stationed in 177 countries throughout the world. Those forces utilize several hundred military installations. Africa is no exemption. On August 2, Maj. Gen. Roger L. Cloutier took command of US Army Africa, promising to “hit the ground running.”

The US is not waging any wars in Africa but it has a significant presence on the continent. Navy SEALs, Green Berets, and other special ops are currently conducting nearly 100 missions across 20 African countries at any given time, waging secret, limited-scale operations. According to the magazine Vice, US troops are now conducting 3,500 exercises and military engagements throughout Africa per year, an average of 10 per day — an astounding 1,900% increase since the command rolled out 10 years ago. Many activities described as “advise and assist” are actually indistinguishable from combat by any basic definition.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/08/30/us-military-presence-in-africa-all-over-continent-still-expanding.html

Writers like myself try to keep people informed on how the US military is being used (or should that be “misused”)….mostly without their permission (that means elected official is not authorizing these wars of attrition)……

It hardly matters where you look. There are the nearly million-and-a-half weapons that the Pentagon shipped to war-torn Iraq and Afghanistan. As a recent study shows, it evidently lost complete track of hundreds of thousands of them, many of which seem to have simply gone on the open market in countries where buyers are unlikely to be the crew of our dreams. Or there’s the $6.5 trillion (that is not a misprint) that the accountants for a single service, the U.S. Army, seem to have lost track of in 2015. Or there’s the simple fact that the Pentagon is utterly incapable of conducting a successful audit of itself or, on a minor note, that its officials can’t even keep track of which of their underlings go to strip clubs, “adult entertainment establishments,” and casinos on the taxpayer dollar. You could say that, though it swallows up at least $600 billion-plus a year of our money, it’s an organization that seems remarkably comfortable knowing remarkably little about itself (which means of course that you know next to nothing about it).

http://original.antiwar.com/engelhardt/2016/09/06/mission-impossible-keeping-track-us-special-ops-africa/

The point is the more places and troops deployed the better the chances are that someone will be killed……and that needs to be controlled by the representative bodies….as it is today…they are not!