Afghanistan–Well Duh!

It has been 17 years that our troops have been fighting in Afghanistan……I was never in favor of a continued presence after the first 2 years….I felt it would be an irritant and just a replay of the Vietnam scenario…..and so far I have seen NOTHING that would warrant us staying this long or another minute longer……..

But Hell I am a crotchity old fart but I am NOT wrong……and now so says the Pentagon’s Inspector General……

The inspector general has issued a new report openly scorning Pentagon claims of progress in the war in Afghanistan, noting the continued large attacks from the Taliban and ISIS, and that available data simply doesn’t show progress in much of anything.

That’s been a recurring theme in the war, now 17 years in. Pentagon officials have claimed in recent months that they see progress being made, and that they’ve “turned the corner,” but they’ve made similar claims dozens of times with nothing to show for it.

Meanwhile, ISIS and the Taliban are able to carry out major attacks even in supposedly secure districts. The Taliban controls broad swathes of the country, and only yesterday the Afghan senate admitted that roughly half of the country is outside their direct control.

That’s all bad news that’s been growing markedly worse in the past couple of years. The US has increased their own presence in Afghanistan, and is launching a soaring number of airstrikes, but neither of those has changed the underlying reality that the war is being steadily lost.

(antiwar.com)

This is not the first report that has shitty news about Afghanistan….if so then when will a spineless bunch of Congresspeople do something.  Time for these cowards to stand up and demand that our overworked and over-deployed troops come home and leave Afghanistan to the Afghans?

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Closing Thought–22May18

I am posting this because there way too many people that think I hate everything that our president does….that is not accurate…..just as I did not agree with everything Obama did…..

I have been a staunch opponent of the Electoral College for many years….I really started bad mouth this archaic practice after the 2000 election.

Recently Trump has made a comment about the EC……a comment that I can agree with……

Pres, Trump argued that he’d rather see the presidential election be determined based on the popular vote than the current Electoral College system, claiming it would be “much easier to win.”

“They also like to always talk about [the] Electoral College. Well, it’s an election based on the Electoral College. I would rather have a popular election, but it’s a totally different campaign,” Trump said during an interview with “Fox & Friends.”

“It’s as though you’re running — if you’re a runner you’re practicing for the 100-yard dash as opposed to the one mile,” he continued. “The Electoral College is different. I would rather have the popular vote, because it’s — to me, it’s much easier to win.”

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/385022-trump-i-would-rather-have-presidential-election-based-on-the-popular

Given his track record lately he may change his tune next week….but for now I can agree with what he has said…

May your day be good and safe…..chuq

Good News For Net Neutrality?

There has been a war going on for net neutrality….Trump’s boy at the FCC does not want it to be all that free….the good news is that the Senate has voted to restore the neutrality, which is good but will the House do the right thing or just be another rubber stamp Trump?

The Senate has voted to kill a Federal Communications Commission rule that repealed the Obama administration’s ban on internet providers blocking or slowing down certain content. Back in December, in an effort to deregulate the internet, the FCC repealed “net neutrality” rules that ensured equal treatment for all web traffic. The Obama-era rule prevented providers such as AT&T, Comcast and Verizon from interfering with internet traffic and favoring their own sites and apps. Three Republicans joined with Democrats in voting to repeal the FCC rule that is scheduled to go into effect next month, the AP reports. The final vote was 52-47.

Telecommunications companies lobbied hard to overturn net neutrality, and critics, including the Trump administration, said over-regulation was stifling innovation. CNN says the measure to reinstate net neutrality will now “be sent to the GOP-led House, where it’ll likely go nowhere,” noting that Trump isn’t likely to back it either. Still, the AP notes, Democrats see their effort as something that will energize young voters who value unfettered access to the internet.

Will this bring about a happy ending……I think not Trump’s lackeys in the House will defeat net neutrality…..there is no way that these toads will do the right thing….

Keep those cards and letters flowing into the House….maybe someone will listen.

The Bomber Has Landed!

As a foreign policy wonk that is analyzing conflicts around the world I do a lot of research and I found something this morning that needs attention.

So far today there has not been much news about the Chinese long range bomber that landed on China’s island in the South China Sea…..

The Chinese air force has landed long-range bombers for the first time on an airport in the South China Sea, a state newspaper said on Saturday, in a move likely to further fuel concerns about Beijing’s expansive claims over the disputed region.

The China Daily newspaper reported that the People’s Liberation Army Air Force conducted takeoff and landing training with the H-6K bomber in the South China Sea.

China is pitted against smaller neighbours in multiple disputes in the South China Sea over islands, coral reefs and lagoons in waters crucial for global commerce and rich in fish and potential oil and gas reserves.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/china/china-lands-bomber-on-south-china-sea-island-for-first-time/articleshow/64232552.cms

Not a big deal, right?

Well that may be an understatement for I also read a piece about what this event could mean for the future of the region…..

….on Friday, reports emerged that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army-Air Force (PLAAF) had, for the first time, landed an H-6K strategic bomber on one of the country’s South China Sea islands. China’s state-run People’s Daily shared footage of the bomber landing on an airstrip.

The island in question was Woody Island, China’s largest military outpost in the South China Sea. Woody Island sits in the Paracel Islands, but Chinese military activity there has foreshadowed possible moves in the seven artificial islands that Beijing also possesses in the Spratly group.

In addition to permanently stationing military personnel on Woody Island, China has deployed J-11 fighters, HQ-9 surface-to-air missiles, YJ-62 anti-ship cruise missiles, and other materiel there.

https://thediplomat.com/2018/05/south-china-sea-what-chinas-first-strategic-bomber-landing-on-woody-island-means/

This fell through the cracks with the hoopla of some royal nuptials….this region is becoming more contentious as the years go by……this needs attention and soon!

North Korea: As The Date Draws Near

June 12, 2018 is the date for the new efforts to make the Korean Peninsula nuke free…Trump is suppose to meet Kim in Singapore…..but there may be a snag seems that both leaders are pushing back at each other as the date draws near……

North Korea is ratcheting up its threats—and potentially inching away from the table. After canceling high-level talks with South Korea planned for Wednesday and warning the US it could cancel Kim Jong Un’s meeting with President Trump over joint military exercises between the US and South Korea, another wrinkle. The Guardian reports Pyongyang is adding to the list of things that could imperil the planned June 12 summit: A statement released by KCNA on Wednesday says the North would bow out if the US maintains its “one-sided demand for us to give up our nukes.” The report quotes first vice minister of foreign affairs Kim Kye Gwan, and the New York Times has the statement in full. More on what it says, and reaction to it:

  • The statement references the “so-called Libya mode of nuclear abandonment” on more than one occasion, saying US comments about complete denuclearization amount to “a manifestation of awfully sinister move to impose on our dignified state the destiny of Libya or Iraq which had been collapsed due to yielding the whole of their countries to big powers. … It is absolutely absurd to dare compare [North Korea], a nuclear weapon state, to Libya which had been at the initial state of nuclear development.”
  • Time addresses the Libya angle, explaining the fact that Moammar Gadhafi “was toppled with US backing despite acquiescing to demands to denuclearize has long been a thorn in US efforts to reach a deal with North Korea—one likely sharpened by Trump’s recent decision to nix a hard-fought denuclearization deal with Iran.”
  • Reuters notes the statement also offered harsh words about US national security adviser John Bolton, who has been promoting a Libya-style denuclearization. “We shed light on the quality of Bolton already in the past, and we do not hide our feeling of repugnance towards him,” it read, with Reuters recalling North Korea having called Bolton “human scum” when he worked for the Bush administration.
  • At the Times, Gerry Mullany sees “a pattern by the unpredictable regime,” and outlines five other times when North Korea “did a sudden about-face.” Read them here.
  • A senior fellow at the Federation of American Scientists offers his take to the Guardian: “The North Koreans know how to make an explicit threat. By their standards, this is pretty circumspect. It could very well be a play for additional leverage or to see how the Trump team reacts.”
  • At Time, Korea expert Professor Stephan Haggard echoes that but sees a second possibility: That Kim has “gotten cold feet—they just want an out.”
  • As for the South, Yonhap reports South Korea Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “held emergency phone talks Wednesday in a show of solidarity against North Korea’s renewed brinkmanship.” The Guardian reports the joint US-South Korean military exercises, codenamed Max Thunder, started Friday and will continue.

The theater of the absurd continues….a tit for tat…..each trying to out tat the other……but how could a denuclearization be achieved?

The Brookings has a plan……

The recent news about the upcoming summit between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un on June 12 in Singapore is exciting and encouraging. It would not have seemed remotely possible a year ago—or even six months ago. Back then, war seemed much more likely. It is impossible to know whether the decision to hold a summit is primarily due to Kim’s newfound confidence in his missile and nuclear capabilities, or his fear of Trump’s military threats, or a result of the pain his country has endured from U.N.-imposed economic sanctions, which have cut North Korea’s external trade in half. Perhaps the charm offensives that Kim, Trump, President Moon, and Secretary Pompeo have been showering on one another led to the summit. In truth, it is probably some combination of most of those factors.

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2018/05/14/a-step-by-step-plan-for-denuclearizing-north-korea/

The point is that if people are waiting for an instant “art of the deal” moment then they will be sadly mistaken.

Time will tell.

Closing Thought–21May18

Well we had another mass school shooting this time in Texas….but I will not cover that for that is an effort in futility trying to change a culture of violence, guns and killing…..something we Americans excel at……

A Rifle To Kill Americans

There is a new Russian sniper rifle that is designed to kill NATO troops and that includes Americans….the odd part of this story is that this deadly rifle was promoted by the NRA…..

In late 2016, the US Army released a report noting that the Russian military, through experience gained during fighting in Ukraine, was undergoing a transformation and becoming a more potent battlefield threat to American forces. One troublesome development identified by the report’s authors was the increased proficiency of Russian snipers. “The capabilities of a sniper in a Russian contingent is far more advanced than the precision shooters U.S. formations have encountered over the last 15 years,” the study noted. One reason for this was the Russian military’s recent adoption of the ORSIS T-5000, a relatively new Russian-made firearm that the report called “one of the most capable bolt action sniper rifles in the world.” As one military technology expert noted, after reviewing this report, the US Army faced “being outgunned” by foes armed with the T-5000—which can be accurate at a distance of 2,000 yards—and these Russian rifles were showing up in Iraq and Ukraine. That is, this weapon posed a threat to US troops and those of its allies. Yet the National Rifle Association—which boasts it is identified with American patriotism—has helped promote Moscow-based ORSIS and its sniper rifle.

https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2018/05/the-pentagon-considers-this-russian-sniper-rifle-a-big-threat-to-us-soldiers-the-nra-helped-promote-it/

A fascinating story……but it probably matters not…..

A Short Break

Just wanted to let my regular readers know that I will be posting only one or maybe two posts a day…..I need to get to work on my health and returning to some sort of normalcy.

Plus the situation in this country has gone from crazy to all out bonkers…any time that personal BS becomes more important than the country at large then it is time for me to step back and let the idiots duel it out.

This change will take effect today and last for as long as it takes for me to reclaim some mobility and health…..

Please stop by daily there will always be something to ponder here on IST.

I would like to thank all my regulars for their loyalty and their comments…..I will still be with you every day just not as often….please do not hold that against me…….

Peace Out my friends……chuq