MACV-SOG Anniversary

Closing Thought–25Jan19

Most of my readers know that I served 2 and half years in Vietnam and that I am always throwing some history of my war into my posts….

Thursday, January 24th was the 55th anniversary of the activation of the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, Studies and Observations Group (MACV-SOG) in the Republic of Vietnam. Formed in 1964, MACV-SOG functioned as a joint special operations task force (JSOTF) in Southeast Asia.

Means very little to anyone that was not part of the conflict in Southeast Asia….but since this is my history lesson for the day….

The Military Assistance Command, Vietnam Studies and Observations Group (MACV-SOG) was a highly classified, multi-service United States Special Operations Forces unit which conducted covert unconventional warfare operations prior to and during the Second Indochina War, aka Vietnam War. Established on 24 January 1964, the unit conducted strategic reconnaissance missions in Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam), the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam), Laos, and Cambodia; carried out the capture of enemy prisoners, rescued downed pilots, and conducted rescue operations to retrieve allied prisoners of war throughout Southeast Asia; and conducted clandestine agent team activities and psychological operations against that country.

The unit participated in most of the significant campaigns of the Vietnam War, including the Tonkin Gulf Incident which precipitated American involvement, Operation Steel Tiger, Operation Tiger Hound, the Tet Offensive, Operation Commando Hunt, the Cambodian Campaign, Operation Lam Son 719, and the Easter Offensive. The unit was formally disbanded and replaced by the Strategic Technical Directorate Assistance Team 158 on 1 May 1972. fuse trackers.

There were three “studies”….Water, air and land…..I was a grunt so I was part of the “Land Studies”……

Most people know little to nothing about SOG but they are probably familiar with the patch…..

Your history lesson is complete.

Learn Stuff!

Class Missed!

Making America Great Again–Part 25

This has nothing to do with the outlandish slogan from 2016… is a look at American history and what has made this country great….even with the flaws we have had.

The series is written by Maj. Danny Sjursen a historian…..and in case if you have missed the other 24 parts I can help…..

Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9; Part 10;Part 11; Part 12; Part 13; Part 14; Part 15; Part 16; Part 17; Part 18; Part 19; Part 20; Part 21; Part 22; Part 23; Part 24.

Now for Part 25……

Isolationism. Appeasement. Few words in American history have a more pejorative meaning than these. To this day, anti-war political figures are broadly described as naive isolationists ready to let the world burn in chaos; furthermore, current attempts at diplomatic compromise often are likened to British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s perceived appeasement of Germany’s Adolf Hitler in 1938. At times such comparisons hold water. Usually they don’t. Each era and its prevailing context carry along contingent events and millions of decision makers with agency of their own. Rarely does one period bear any real resemblance to another. Few if any contemporary adversaries constitute the threat and pure evil of a Hitler. Fewer international compromises are as ill-fated as that made at Munich in 1938.

Still, we are told, the era between World War I and World War II continues to offer supposedly incontestable truths and lessons to be learned. In 1945 most Americans left the Second World War convinced—for the first time in our national history—that the U.S. must engage with and lead the world of nations. Furthermore, never again could a democratic nation compromise with or placate an authoritarian adversary. This, we are told, is the key lesson of the 20-odd years separating the two wars (1918-39). In certain instances, perhaps, the internationalists have been proved right. Then again, with the United States now engaged in countless wars and operating military bases around the globe, one must admit that the triumph of interventionism has had its cost, both to the budget and our republican ideals.

This has proved to be a popular history lesson….hopefully all will check it out.

Lear Stuff!

Class Dismissed!

Outta Touch Much!

The big story for about a month now has been the government shutdown….of course many horrific stories have come out…..and as usual the boyz in DC have no clue….they are as out of touch as always.  (remember you voted for these unfeeling slugs)

For many years I have been saying, even yelling, that people that run this country from the White House are out of touch completely…..I use when Hillary was running against Obama and she wanted to look like an “average person” stopped into a service station and tried to pump her own gas….the problem was on camera she could not find the gas cap.

That was a good example but the other day our Sec. of Commerce topped Hillary……

Wilbur Ross just could understand why so many are so upset about the shutdown……

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says he does not understand why federal employees who are furloughed or have been working without pay during the partial government shutdown would need assistance from food banks.

Several credit unions serving workers at federal departments and agencies have been offering stopgap loans, as they have during previous shutdowns. But it’s not clear how even those loans would be sufficient as the shutdown enters its second month.

“I know they are, and I don’t really quite understand why,” Ross said Thursday when asked on CNBC about workers getting food from places like shelters. “Because, as I mentioned before, the obligations that they would undertake, say borrowing from a bank or a credit union, are in effect federally guaranteed.”

This can be expected when millionaires are part of the governance…..Ross is just the only one that said what most of the Trump cabinet are thinking.

This illustrates why we need to get money out of the elections and find people will govern with the people of this country in mind.

Outta Touch!

But then after a day of being beat to crap by the press Ross had to “clarify” what he meant……

Commerce secretary Wilbur Ross took much grief on Thursday when he said he didn’t “really quite understand” why furloughed federal workers were showing up at food banks when they could take out a loan instead. Given that Ross is worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $700 million, the comments were immediately seized upon by critics as being out of touch. Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, for instance, both described them as the modern equivalent of “let them eat cake,” reports the Daily Beast. Later in the afternoon, however, Ross did another interview in which he took pains to say that he knew furloughed workers were struggling, reports the Hill. “We’re aware, painfully aware, that there are hardships inflicted on the individual workers,” Ross said on Bloomberg TV.

“All I was trying to do is make sure they’re aware there are possible other things that could help somewhat mitigate their problems,” said Ross. He was referring to the fact that banks and credit unions have begun offering low- and zero-interest loans to federal workers, loans that can be paid off when back pay arrives. Ross said his earlier comments were to “make sure that workers who are experiencing liquidity crises know that may be a source that they could go to.” However, as the Hill notes, not all federal workers will be getting back pay. The Washington Post, meanwhile, reports that the Commerce Department’s own federal credit union is charging 9% interest for emergency loans.

Sorry but he still sounds like a person without a clue……loans are really nice but that puts the worker further in debt when the next temper tantrum of a president comes around again.


Take It To The Streets–Again

Americans know the problems we are having with the government shutdown that has 800,000 people out of work and many many other losing their jobs maybe forever.

I wrote a piece the other day asking Americans ti take it to the streets and do some substantive protests…kinda like the “yellow vests” of France.

After I wrote that a similar post was put up on the website,, they are calling for massive protests in the streets of this country…..

Here are seven things you won’t hear much if anything about in the reigning corporate media regarding the ongoing record-setting partial shutdown of the United States federal government:

1: The Longstanding Neoliberal War on “Big Government”:  a proper understanding of the shutdown in relation to the longstanding capitalist project of what the leading corporate-neoliberal champion Grover Norquist called “starving the beast,” with “beast” taken to mean “big government.”  Norquist wanted, he said, “to cut government down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.”

I agree it is time for the people to take to the streets and demand a government of the people and not one of corruption, and for the rich only.

This situation illustrates perfectly how badly a strong labor movement is needed……and needed badly!  (redundancy used for effect…trying to head off the grammar police)…..

What Of Afghanistan?

We have heard that Trump wants all the troops home from Syria and half the troops from Afghanistan…..but what about this Afghan thing?  Is it a necessity?

One of the primary problems with our endless debates over (seemingly) endless American conflicts with jihadists overseas is that we rarely go back to first principles. We rarely take a step back and accurately define our strategic and tactical challenge. We don’t do this in debates between pundits, and we don’t do it in public arguments. Instead, all too often we resort to sloganeering and sniping, with serious pieces like those of my colleagues Andy McCarthy and Michael Brendan Dougherty (who disagree, by the way, with my counsel to stay in Syria) the welcome exceptions to the dreary rule.

Moreover, there is a distressing tendency to sweep together the last several Republican and Democratic administrations as if they’re all part of the same foreign-policy establishment that tries to do the same things the same way and then falls prey to the same temptations to turn to American military force as a first resort in the face of persistent Middle Eastern challenges. In reality, however, different approaches have confronted a series of difficult realities, and those realities have necessitated military intervention.

Let’s analyze our challenge as clearly and concisely as we can.

AS it is there are many that are agonizing our continuing stay in Afghanistan….and the voices are getting louder…..

After more than 17 years, the time has come to accept two important truths about the war in Afghanistan. The first is that there will be no military victory by the government and its American and NATO partners. Afghan forces, while better than they were, are not good enough and are unlikely ever to be capable of defeating the Taliban. This is not simply because government troops lack the unity and often the professionalism to prevail, but also because the Taliban are highly motivated and enjoy considerable backing at home and from Pakistan, which provides them critical support and sanctuary.

The second truth is that peace negotiations are unlikely to work. Talks have taken place on and off over the years, but diplomacy is never far removed from facts and trends on the ground. Both work against a negotiated settlement.

With all that said the question becomes….should Trump withdraw fro Afghanistan?

Almost immediately after President Trump directed the Pentagon withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria, he ordered a reduction of U.S. forces in Afghanistan—more than 7,000 soldiers, which is about half of the current force. Given the hysterical reaction of Washington’s foreign policy establishment about the president’s Syria decision, there will certainly be an even more shrill “the sky is falling” chorus regarding Afghanistan. But whatever one thinks of the president’s temperament, his management style, and the decision-making process (or lack thereof), his decision about Syria was the right thing to do, and so is his decision to pull back in Afghanistan. After more than 17 years, it’s well past time to wind down America’s longest war.

Finally let’s look at the cost of withdrawing from Afghanistan…..

First it was Syria, then came Afghanistan. Two days ago, President Trump shocked the foreign policy community by announcing the withdrawal of US troops from Syria, wrongly claiming the Islamic State has been defeated. Within the last 24 hours, reports have emerged that the US military will quickly pull nearly half of its forces from Afghanistan, and likely withdraw the rest by the end of 2019.

Trump’s decision is unsurprising to us. We’ve reported since October that the order to withdraw from Afghanistan could come at any time.

Many are celebrating the move, pointing to the length of the conflict (17 years), the enormous sunk cost and the inability of the Afghan government to stand on its own. Careful readers of this website will note that we have been critical of the war effort, and especially the rosy rhetoric employed by US military officials. We could easily pen another biting critique of the US-led war.

My thought is……screw all the BS declare mission over and bring the troops home….they need a rest….anything else is just wasting money and soldiers for little gain…..a Law of Diminishing Returns……