And Away We Go!

Closing Thought–27Dec18

To be fair to the president….I have been a critic of his…especially his treatment of the troops….and as I say to be fair Trump has braved the slings and arrows of outrageous foes and gone to Iraq…..

If President Trump’s Twitter feed seemed uncharacteristically quiet on Wednesday, now we know why. The president made a surprise trip to Iraq to visit US troops, reports the New York Times. He and the first lady visited service members at Al Asad Air Base near Baghdad, reports the Washington Post. It is Trump’s first visit to a combat zone. “President Trump and the First Lady traveled to Iraq late on Christmas night to visit with our troops and Senior Military leadership to thank them for their service, their success, and their sacrifice and to wish them a Merry Christmas,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted.

Sorry while I am pleased that the president took some time to visit our troops in a war zone….his speech as a campaign speech……a blathering of bullsh*t most were not accurate.  Not to worry the troops are use to being lied to.

But at least he went, right?

Could a report recently have been the reason for such a trip?

Some of Trump’s best supporters have been those people in the military…..he promised them all sorts of new “perks”…..the troops have not seen some of those “perks” since he was elected….and now his support with the troops is waning…..

President Donald Trump’s approval rating among active-duty military personnel has slipped over the last two years, leaving today’s troops evenly split over whether they’re happy with the commander in chief’s job performance, according to the results of a new Military Times poll of active-duty service members.

About 44 percent of troops had a favorable view of Trump’s presidency, the poll showed, compared to 43 percent who disapproved.

The results from the survey, conducted over the course of September and October, suggest a gradual decline in troops’ support of Trump since he was elected in fall 2016, when a similar Military Times poll showed that 46 percent of troops approved of Trump compared to 37 percent who disapproved. That nine-point margin of support now appears gone.

https://www.militarytimes.com/news/pentagon-congress/2018/10/15/support-for-trump-is-fading-among-active-duty-troops-new-poll-shows/

It appears that as the months go by Mr. Trump loses more and more support….as it dwindles how does this fare for his re-election prospects?  (BTW, I do not think he will stand for re-election…..he does not want to lose he had rather take a powder after 4 years than lose in another election…..his ego will not let him lose)

Can this trip change the trajectory of loss he is suffering with the troops?

But wait after his visit to US troops in Iraq……

Iraqi lawmakers Thursday demanded U.S. forces leave the country in the wake of a surprise visit by President Donald Trump that politicians denounced as arrogant and a violation of Iraqi sovereignty.Politicians from both blocs of Iraq’s divided Parliament called for a vote to expel U.S. troops and promised to schedule an extraordinary session to debate the matter.

“Parliament must clearly and urgently express its view about the ongoing American violations of Iraqi sovereignty,” said Salam al-Shimiri, a lawmaker loyal to the populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/after-trump-visit-iraqi-lawmakers-demand-u-s-withdrawal/

Again the timing may be suspect for Iraq…..

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Vietnam Is A Prime Example

Our wars should be examples to our leadership so that we do not make the same mistakes time after time…..the France had a long war and then the US came by and thought it would be a good idea to make same mistakes France did in Vietnam….oh sorry….Indo-China.

The First Indochina War…….

Ho’s efforts during this period were directed primarily at conciliating both the French themselves and the militantly antiFrench members of the ICP leadership. The growing frequency of clashes between French and Vietnamese forces in Haiphong led to a French naval bombardment of that port city in November 1946. Estimates of Vietnamese casualties from the action range from 6,000 to 20,000. This incident and the arrival of 1,000 troops of the French Foreign Legion in central and northern Vietnam in early December convinced the communists, including Ho, that they should prepare for war. On December 19, the French demanded that the Vietnamese forces in the Hanoi area disarm and transfer responsibility for law and order to French authority. That evening, the Viet Minh responded by attacking the city’s electric plant and other French installations around the area. Forewarned, the French seized Gia Lam airfield and took control of the central part of Hanoi, as full-scale war broke out. By late January, the French had retaken most of the provincial capitals in northern and central Vietnam. Hue fell in early February, after a six-week siege. The Viet Minh, which avoided using its main force units against the French at that time, continued to control most of the countryside, where it concentrated on building up its military strength and setting up guerrilla training programs in liberated areas. Seizing the initiative, however, the French marched north to the Chinese border in the autumn of 1947, inflicting heavy casualties on the Viet Minh and retaking much of the Viet Bac region.

https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/vietnam1.htm

The Vietnamese dealt a final blow with the battle of Dien Bien Phu…..a short video to explain what happened during this battle…..

After the France gave up the region the US thought it would be a good idea to get involved…..keep in mind the old “Domino Theory” fear mongering…..and then an incident gave the US its excuse for an all out invasion (not called that but a rose by another name thing)…..thinking Gulf of Tonkin incident….

Here in the US we have a selective memory and what they show on the tube as history of that war is not much that I saw during my 2 and half years in country….that is the key…selective memory……

The Vietnam War was obviously one of the most disastrous of this country’s past mistakes – and the Pentagon’s “50th Vietnam War commemoration” is a near-perfect example of how both national and military leaders and a willing public have avoided facing important truths about Vietnam and American wars ever since. That’s not just a matter of inaccurate storytelling. It’s dangerous because refusing to recognize past mistakes makes it easier to commit future ones. For that reason, the selective history the Pentagon has been putting out on Vietnam for more than six years, and what that story tells us about the military leadership’s institutional memory, is worth a critical look.

https://original.antiwar.com/Arnold_Isaacs/2018/11/08/misremembering-vietnam/

MY point is (I finally got there, huh?) we have made the same mistake in Afghanistan and Iraq that the French and then the US made in Vietnam….they, the leaders, did not learn from the history and we have repeated it…..

Are The Kurds Screwed Again?

In the “Way Back Machine” we travel to 1991……The dust from Desert Storm is beginning to settle…..Kuwait is back in the hands of a restrictive monarchy and their oil pumps are on and pleasing the West…..Saddam is still sitting on the power throne in Iraq…and the US takes its victory lap this time using a new resource…the 24 hour news cycle…..the Kurds are starting to flap their independence wings thinking the US has their backs….after all look what they did for the Kuwaiti royals.

Short synopsis…they were screwed by the US and paid a high price for lack of support.

2003 the Kurds were turned to to fight Saddam once again……and when he was killed they were used to fight s new enemy….ISIS…..

That was Iraq….how about Syria?

Northern Syria has a large Kurdish population along the border with Turkey…..and there is the problem….Turkey claims them as terrorists and has been trying to rid themselves of the Kurdish population….and now the war in Syria has given them the opportunity to do what they have been wanting to do for decades…..eliminate the Kurdish problem.

The Kurds in Syria as the Kurds in Iraq are US allies and have been helping with the fight against ISIS….the US has funded and armed these allies and by all accounts have been a huge asset in the fight.

By now most know that the president has stated that he will be pulling the troops out of Syria…..but why did he make this decision that seems like a knee jerk reaction?

This action will leave the Kurds in Syria vulnerable to the Turkish onslaught to come…..

Did Trump make his decision after a phone call to Erdogan?

According to US defense officials familiar with the situation, President Trump’s decision to withdraw US forces from Syria was made following a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

This talk came following Erdogan’s threat last week to invade Kurdish eastern Syria, where US forces are deployed. Officials say that Erdogan essentially warned the US forces to “get out of the way” of the invasion.

US officials had been warning Erdogan against the invasion before that call. Immediately following the call, Erdogan claimed to have been given Trump’s blessing to go ahead with the invasion. It’s not clear, but the implication seems to be that Trump has agreed to get out of the way.

Other reports indicate that there have been debates of US policy in Syria, with respect to Turkey, for awhile, with some arguing that the US alliance with the Syrian Kurds was always temporary, and that the US alliance with Turkey is a long-term priority.

Now, it seems the US is trying to finish withdrawing from Syria before Turkey gets there, while Turkey’s Defense Ministry says that they are “intensely preparing” for the invasion, which they view as a “counter-terror” operation against the Kurdish YPG.

(antiwar.com)

Are the Kurds screwed again?

Of course they are.

Turkey is calling for genocide after talking to Trump on the phone?

Turkey said Kurdish militants east of the Euphrates in Syria “will be buried in their ditches when the time comes”, after President Donald Trump began what will be a total withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria.

Trump’s decision to pull out completely was confirmed by U.S. officials and is expected in the coming months. The move stunned U.S. lawmakers and allies and upends American policy in the Middle East. For NATO ally Turkey, however, the news is likely to be welcome.

(reuters.com)

“Now we have Manbij and the east of the Euphrates in front of us. We are working intensively on this subject,” state-owned Anadolu news agency on Thursday reported Defence Minister Hulusi Akar as saying during a visit to a Qatari-Turkish joint military base in Doha.

“Right now it is being said that some ditches, tunnels were dug in Manbij and to the east of the Euphrates. They can dig tunnels or ditches if they want, they can go underground if they want, when the time and place comes they will buried in the ditches they dug. No one should doubt this.”

This does not sound like Turkey intends on stopping with the elimination of ISIS…..to me sounds like an Ottoman Armenian solution.  (if you do not know what that means then read a damn book)

Hopefully it is a coincidence that the Turkish statement and the phone call were so close together….but I have NEVER believed in coincidence.

Are The Kurds Screwed Again?

Syria: The Ghosts Of Gaseous Past

We are coming out of Syria!

Why did we go to Syria?

It all began with Iraq in 2003.

Without much discussion, “fighting ISIS” into Syrian territory slipped into another, albeit less enthusiastic, round of regime change, this time aimed at Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad. Assad’s family controlled the country since the 1960s, and was a sort-of American partner here and there, certainly helpful during the early years of the GWOT in torturing folks on America’s behalf.

https://original.antiwar.com/Peter_Van_Buren/2018/12/23/a-short-history-of-how-the-us-went-to-war-in-syria/

Obama was president and Assad is said to have gassed his fellow Syrians….and this was a sticking point…the use of WMDs….and eventually this was used by the MSM to sell the military actions to come.

A couple of posts that I offered up for my readers…..

https://lobotero.com/2017/05/19/its-wmds-once-again/

https://lobotero.com/2017/06/27/does-anyone-remember-2003/

https://lobotero.com/2018/02/19/gas-em-dan-o/

And then Trump came to the seat of power of the Western world…and shortly after Assad is Assad to have gassed his people again and Trump ordered an airstrike……

All that time I was skeptical that this gas was ever truly used…..and then the revelation…..

There were casualties from organophosphate poisoning in both cases; that much is certain. But America has accused Assad of direct responsibility for Sarin attacks and even blamed Russia for culpability in the Khan Sheikhoun tragedy.

Now its own military boss has said on the record that we have no evidence to support this conclusion. In so doing, Mattis tacitly impugned the interventionists who were responsible for pushing the “Assad is guilty” narrative twice without sufficient supporting evidence, at least in the eyes of the Pentagon.

https://www.newsweek.com/now-mattis-admits-there-was-no-evidence-assad-using-poison-gas-his-people-801542

Funny how that works…Mattis is on his way out and now he wants to “set the record straight”…..

Makes my point….any excuse to start a war…..it worked in Iraq in the 90’s…..it worked in Iraq in 2003….and it worked in Syria….

Victory Is Ours

If you decided to shrug off shopping and to spend the time with me and IST….we thank you….

Let’s get busy!

President Trump has said that troops will be coming out of Syria soon…the reason given, by Trump, is the the terrorist group called ISIS had been defeated….(this is where I leave the Trump bandwagon)…..thus the troops were no longer needed in the fight…..Defeated?

Without offering specifics on what led to a declaration of victory against the Islamic State (IS) terror group in Syria, the White House defended both the declaration and the decision to start bringing U.S. troops in the war-torn country back home.

The announcement, which seemed to catch some U.S. defense and diplomatic officials, as well as lawmakers, off guard, first came in a tweet from U.S. President Donald Trump Wednesday morning:

https://www.voanews.com/amp/white-house-defends-declaration-of-victory-against-is/4708667.html

After Trump made is bold sweeping statement about the defeat of ISIS his man in charge of the anti-ISIS program has dropped out of the admin……

Brett McGurk, the US envoy to the global coalition fighting the Islamic State group, has resigned in protest over President Donald Trump’s abrupt decision to withdraw US troops from Syria, a US official says, joining Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in an administration exodus of experienced national security figures. Only 11 days ago, McGurk had said it would be “reckless” to consider IS defeated and therefore would be unwise to bring American forces home, per the AP. McGurk decided to speed up his original plan to leave his post in mid-February. Appointed to the post by President Barack Obama in 2015 and retained by Trump, McGurk says in his resignation letter that the militants were on the run, but not yet defeated, and that the premature pullout could be a boon to ISIS.

He also cites gains in accelerating the campaign against ISIS, but says the work was not yet done. His letter, submitted Friday to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, was described to the AP on Saturday by an official familiar with its contents. In a tweet shortly after news of McGurk’s resignation broke, Trump again defended his decision to pull all of the roughly 2,000 US forces from Syria in the coming weeks. “We were originally going to be there for three months, and that was seven years ago—we never left,” Trump tweeted. “When I became President, ISIS was going wild. Now ISIS is largely defeated and other local countries, including Turkey, should be able to easily take care of whatever remains. We’re coming home!” Click for the full story.

After McGurk resigned his position Trump did what Trump always does….he took to Twitter…….

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Brett McGurk, who I do not know, was appointed by President Obama in 2015. Was supposed to leave in February but he just resigned prior to leaving. Grandstander? The Fake News is making such a big deal about this nothing event!

Seriously?  He does not know who his top guy in the fight with ISIS is……does anybody else find that disturbing?

Yet another reason this person should be NO where near the presidency….he is an ignorant fool.

While I have agreed with Trump on a troop withdrawal…I will not agree the ISIS has been defeated only pushed to the brink……

A pro defense industry group has their opinion on the defeat…….

President Donald Trump tweeted earlier today, “We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency.” The tweet was accompanied by news reports saying that the president has ordered, or is considering ordering, a full withdrawal of American forces from Syria.

But has the Islamic State (ISIS) been “defeated” in Syria? The short answer is no.

An unknown number of the group’s top leaders, including presumably Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and middle managers remain alive. It is highly likely that thousands of fighters remain in both Syria and Iraq. They continue to fight as insurgents, biding their time for opportunities to surge. And the Islamic State’s media machine, which is assumed to be headquartered in the region, remains prolific, pumping out messages in multiple languages on a daily basis.

https://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2018/12/analysis-the-islamic-state-hasnt-been-defeated.php

Not everyone agrees with Trump on his newest Syrian policy…..

Trump supposedly “defied” his foes in America’s permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”) by ordering the “withdrawal” of American troops from Syria, which is being celebrated across the world as a pragmatic peacemaking gesture that’s long overdue. The fact of the matter, however, is that this isn’t the so-called “retreat” that some in the Alt-Media are portraying it as but is actually a cunning move for more cost-effectively advancing the US’ military, political, and ultimately strategic objectives in the Arab Republic and beyond.

On the surface, it appears to some that Trump flinched in the face of Erdogan’s threat to commence an anti-terrorist intervention east of the Euphrates in the US-occupied corner of Syria and basically betrayed America’s Kurdish allies there, but the “withdrawal” should instead be seen as keeping the Kurds in check and preempting a possible Turkish campaign against them there by getting them to curb their ambitions as part of a pragmatic US-brokered deal between them an Ankara. Still, even if Turkey does indeed intervene, then that doesn’t necessarily mean that the YPG-led SDF will be destroyed.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/dont-be-fooled-trumps-withdrawal-from-syria-isnt-what-it-seems/5663491

The Carnegie Endowment has a thought on what happens if troops come home……

There’s a grim joke in Washington that the end of the U.S. presence in northeast Syria was only one Trump tweet away. The sudden announcement, long promised by Trump, that the United States would withdraw its two thousand troops from Syria has proved it right.

For Beltway insiders this was predictable. The president has never been convinced that the United States needs a physical presence in a theater where it has had minimal influence and leverage.

https://carnegieendowment.org/2018/12/20/trump-leaves-syria.-what-happens-next-pub-78017

According to conservative National Review does what it does best….serves the M-IC as best it can…….

Donald Trump’s precipitous decision to withdraw American troops from Syria has shocked advisers inside and even allies outside his administration. Lindsey Graham called Trump’s declaration that we have “defeated” ISIS in Syria “fake news.” Graham followed up with a blistering appearance on CNN, where he indicated that Trump’s decision was contrary to sound military advice. Even his most staunch allies, men such as Mike Huckabee, were alarmed:

https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/defeating-isis-separating-fact-from-fiction/

Huckabee?  A Baptist preacher should stick to scripture and leave the war decision to people that actually fight in these conflicts……please he should show some concern for the American troops that have been doing the fighting…..I am sure there is a John “something” that covers remain silent and stick to prayer.

So far the pundits have given their worse case scenario with a troop withdrawal……not one person has shown any desire to take the troops into consideration….as usual the troops make good slogan material but their actual person is seldom in consideration.

Trump is right….bring those troops home…they and their families deserve a long quiet rest.