Is This Country Addicted To War?

Almost every time the president speaks on foreign affairs he basically threatens someone.

After listening to Fearless Fosdick I had a thought……is this country addicted?  Well we are addicted to crappy news coverage……and I think we are addicted to war….why else would we be fighting in so many countries……but someone agrees with me…….

It’s been going on for so many years – Predators cruising, looking for their prey. Some attention has since been paid to the phenomenon and to the devastating effect their actions have had on their victims, but it hasn’t really mattered. The predation has only spread.

Oh, before I go any further, let me clear up one possible bit of confusion. I’m not talking about Charlie Rose, Roy Moore, Donald Trump, Harvey Weinstein, or any of that crew of predators. I’m talking about America’s robotic killers, the drones that long ago were grimly named Predators (retired this year) and their more advanced cousins, the Reapers (as in Grim…), who have taken a once-illegal American activity, political assassination, and made it the well-respected law of the land and increasingly of huge swaths of the globe.

http://original.antiwar.com/andrew-bacevich/2017/12/10/country-addicted-war/

Let me say here that I am anti-war and have been since 1972…….I truly believe that we are addicted to war…..I have seen that another question was asked by the American Conservative……who among us would support an indefensible war?

The war on Yemen has de facto support from both parties in Washington and has been enabled reliably by both the Obama and Trump administrations, but very few people seem willing to defend that policy publicly. Except for occasionally publishing propaganda pieces by Saudi government representatives, the reliably hawkish Wall Street Journal editorial page says virtually nothing on the subject. There is not much of the usual cheerleading that we are used to seeing when a U.S. client government is waging an unjust war on its neighbors. The war is simply ignored here in the U.S. for the most part, and its tacit supporters are no exception. It is understandable that there would be few people interested in publicly trying to defend the indefensible, but it is still somewhat remarkable that a war that no one can honestly justify commands so much automatic backing.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/larison/who-would-support-an-indefensible-war/

To my chagrin I find myself agreeing with a lot of what the American Conservative magazine has to say…..never did I think that was possible in the past……but these days they are making some outstanding observations…..like the most recent article in the magazine…….

“We will never accept Russia’s occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea,” declaimed Rex Tillerson last week in Vienna.

“Crimea-related sanctions will remain in place until Russia returns full control of the peninsula to Ukraine.”

Tillerson’s principled rejection of the seizure of land by military force—“never accept”—came just one day after President Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and pledged to move our embassy there.

How did Israel gain title to East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights? Invasion, occupation, colonization, annexation.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/buchanan/what-should-we-fight-for/

While Buchanan writes little that I agree with I do however like what he wrote in the above article…..

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Foreign Policy Round-Up–Dec2017

I realize that it is that time of year where people like to think of peace and good will toward men….well that is not happening…..while we are wishing people the best of the season the rest of the world is going to crap…..so you feelings of goodwill mean nothing in the larger scheme of things.

Let me give you the rundown of what is happening during your lapse into a joyous season……..

1–ISIS-AQ Conflict……

After a more than four-year absence, Jund al-Islam (JAI) has returned to the forefront in Sinai, marking a new chapter in the fierce conflict between al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (Daesh, ISIL, ISIS). The group published an audio recording in which it took credit for an attack targeting ISIS affiliates in Sinai known as Wilayat Sinai (WS). Jund al-Islam deemed them Kharitjites or those that defected from the group, and demanded that WS leaders turn themselves in. This attack raises many questions related to the sudden timing of Jund al-Islam’s emergence, its relationship with al-Qaeda, and the likely impact of the renewal of old hostilities between Wilayat Sinai and Jund al-Islam.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2017/11/30/a_new_chapter_in_the_conflict_between_al-qaeda_and_isis_112700.html

Libya has not made the news lately….let me catch you up……….

When the Obama administration led a 2011 NATO military intervention on behalf of rebels seeking to overthrow Libyan dictator Muammar el-Qaddafi, there was considerable optimism that the move would produce a much better country. Although U.S. officials and their media cheerleaders acknowledged that significant challenges remained for a post-Qaddafi Libya, they argued that the outcome could scarcely be worse than the oppressive status quo. Events over the past six years have proven their assumptions spectacularly wrong. Libya is now a cauldron of turmoil and Islamic radicalism.

http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-skeptics/libya-failed-state-its-americas-fault-23325

Syria has some dealings with the peace process and as usual the US is not there…..

Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to Sochi on Tuesday to discuss efforts to end the Syrian civil war. The presidents of Iran and Turkey are scheduled to meet Putin on Wednesday as Russia promises to scale back its military presence in Syria and push for a diplomatic solution.
https://www.usip.org/publications/2017/11/will-russian-peace-efforts-pay-syria

But wait there is more……

As 2017 comes to a close, the warring parties in Syria are moving towards reconciliation—but the U.S. is not among them.

The Islamic State is all but defeated, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies are now closing in on the few remaining pockets occupied by other extremists, and Iranians, Russians, and Turks are mapping out the peace to come.

Then there’s America. Donald Trump may have hinted at changes up his sleeve, but he’s treading the same tired path as his predecessor on Syria.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/in-syria-mideast-peacemaking-is-no-longer-made-in-america/

The aftershocks of the combat deaths of four U.S. special operations soldiers in Niger on Oct. 4 are still shaking the Pentagon two months later.

The deaths prompted a familiar refrain from the American public: “Why are we there?” This expected, if fair, question reminds us of the precisely opposite question asked about Afghanistan after the shock of 9/11: “Why aren’t we there?”

To be there or not to be there? Either way you answer, you’ll find risk.

The devastating ambush in west Niger occurred on the 24th anniversary of another bloody day in modern military history. The Battle of Mogadishu in Somalia occurred on the third and fourth day of October 1993, leaving 18 American soldiers dead and 73 wounded. This ambush also triggered surprise, then outrage, then investigation — the “why are we there?” inquiry. As the grim tactical details of this mission-gone-bad come to light, a broader strategic question looms: Where exactly does the United States need to project power abroad to prevent strategic surprise?

https://warontherocks.com/2017/12/playing-zone-defense-niger-risk-vs-reward-remote-operations/

Now to Afghanistan……

President Ashraf Ghani looks set to mobilize a new 20,000-strong militia to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan. The story of militias loyal to his former running mate and current vice-president, Abdul Rashid Dostum, should give him pause. Many of Dostum’s former commanders, who were armed to fight the Taliban, are now joining both the Islamic State and the Taliban.

Such defections are hardly the exception. Militias, once mobilized, are hard to disarm. When resources dwindle, they often seek new patrons and switch sides. By mobilizing a new force Ghani risks reinforcing, over time, the ranks of the very enemy he hopes to defeat. Today’s allies risk becoming tomorrow’s insurgents.

https://warontherocks.com/2017/12/afghanistan-todays-pro-government-militias-tomorrows-insurgents/

There is so much more….there is always more……to be continued in another post…..chuq

Will There Be War With North Korea?

Lots of rhetoric between Fearless Fosdick and Li’l Kim…..I am sure that everyone reading IST is well aware of the situation between the US and North Korea…..but with all the rhetoric is there anyone that thinks this will spiral beyond the rhetoric?

Looks like the Chinese are taking all the threats as the possibility of a war……why?

With a conflict on the Korean Peninsula looking increasingly possible, China is reportedly preparing. The country is said to be laying the groundwork for refugee camps for thousands of prospective migrants along Jilin province’s border with North Korea, reports the New York Times, citing a document produced by a state-owned telecom company. The China Mobile document describes recent inspections of five planned refugee camps—in the cities of Tumen and Hunchun and three villages in Changbai County—for the purposes of verifying Internet access there. Though China’s government hasn’t confirmed the plan, a local businessman tells the Times that temporary housing is already under construction on state-owned land.

The camps were ordered “because the situation on the China-North Korea border has intensified lately,” according to the China Mobile document, which was shared last week on microblogging site Weibo before it was deleted, per the Telegraph. In an exchange erased from the official transcript of a press briefing on Monday, a rep for China’s Foreign Ministry said he was unaware of any such plan, per the Guardian. But analysts say China would be foolish not to anticipate such future needs, particularly in an area that lies just 60 miles from North Korea’s main nuclear test site. The Korean Peninsula is “on the brink of war,” a Beijing specialist on North Korea tells the Guardian. “As a major power and a neighboring country, China should make plans for all eventualities.”

But maybe there is a bright light in all this craziness…..what would that be?

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the US is ready to talk to North Korea at any time about any subject Pyongyang wants to talk about—without preconditions. “Let’s just meet and let’s talk about the weather if you want and talk about whether it’s going to be a square table or a round table, if that’s what you’re excited about,” Tillerson said in a speech at the Atlantic Council policy forum on Tuesday, per the BBC. “Then we can begin to lay out a map, a road map, of what we might be willing to work towards.” But the US has previously demanded that North Korea give up its nuclear weapons before talks begin, and it’s not clear whether that policy has officially changed, NPR reports.

President Trump’s “views on North Korea have not changed,” the White House said in a statement after Tillerson’s speech. “North Korea’s actions are not good for anyone and certainly not good for North Korea.” Tillerson said that before talks could begin, there would need to be a “period of quiet” without nuclear or ICBM tests. Reuters reports that United Nations political affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman, whose trip to North Korea last week was the first of its kind since 2011, said Tuesday that Pyongyang did not commit to talks, but they “left the door ajar” for future negotiations.

Talking is good……but will this ever make it to reality?

With North Korea sending out feelers in recent days about the possibility of direct talks with the US, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson struck a conciliatory tone Tuesday, saying the US is now also ready for talks with North Korea with no preconditions.

The White House apparently wasn’t too happy with that, and today went to a very public point of issuing a correction to Tillerson’s statement, insisting that the US very much is not ready for talks with North Korea.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huakabee-Sanders insisted President Trump’s position on North Korea hasn’t changed,

Fearless Fosdick is a moron that will lead this country into the deep end of the pool.

To answer the question……who the Hell knows?  Since there is no direction from the State Department and a loud mouth president…….anything is possible.

Where The Hell Are The Troops?

I have been writing about the deployment of our military for many years……we have troops basically fighting all over the world…..we have about 800 military bases in 70 countries…..but there is 44,000 troops deployed and no one knows where the Hell they are…..I know….say what?

When the Pentagon wants to mislead the public about where US troops are, generally speaking, they just lie. Yet sometimes the number of troops is just too big to claim as a rounding error, and questions start happening.

This week, the focus is on over 44,000 US military personnel deployed to “unknown,” which immediately raises red flags, because that’s not a place. Pentagon officials, however, say there is “no good way” to describe where they are.

Pentagon spokesman Col. Rob Manning, on the one hand, presented this as an “operational security” and “denying the enemy any advantage,” including, it seems providing any specifics on who “the enemy” at this point even is.

At the same time, Manning presented this as simply a limitation of the Pentagon’s current capabilities, and that there is literally “no personnel system” in the Pentagon that tracks where everyone is, and they just stick everyone else in “unknown” so the number of troops they officially have balances out with the number of troops deployed in actual, real places.

Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon went a step further, saying that the figures are flat out fiction, and were “not meant to represent an accurate accounting of troops currently deployed to any location. They should not be relied upon for a current picture of what is going on.”

Secretary of Defense James Mattis suggested that the situation was complicated, but also that he wasn’t entirely comfortable with the lack of accounting for troops abroad, saying at some point he was going to try to put everything together and figure out where everyone really is.

(antiwar.com)

Now we will wait to see if someone in the bowels of the Pentagon knows where these troops are…..maybe Fearless Fosdick has an idea…..I mean that moron has knowledge that no one else has……

Somebody Screwed Up

I wrote several posts about the deaths of 4 special ops troopers in the West African nation of Niger…..(in case you have not been watching this situation)…….

https://lobotero.com/2017/10/30/niger-wtf/

https://lobotero.com/2017/10/27/niger-more-news-more-questions/

https://lobotero.com/2017/11/20/deaths-in-niger-update/

Finally more info aboiut this attack and the deaths…..but as usual the Pentagon states the obvious……

The deaths of eight soldiers, including four U.S. soldiers, in Niger in early October could have been prevented and were the result of an improperly executed mission to collect information on high-ranking Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants, a new report claims.

Sources told BuzzFeed News that the deaths at the village of Tongo Tongo could have been avoided if the mission was better planned and that it is not known whether decisions were made by the soldiers or their commanders back at the base.

http://thehill.com/policy/international/364095-deaths-of-american-soldiers-in-niger-were-avoidable-report

Someone screwed up.  Seriously?  That is the best the Pentagon can do….stating the obvious is not “getting to the bottom” of this situation.

Requiem For Middle East Peace

Last week the US did what it has been doing for decades only this time they came out of the closet and proved that it had NO intention of settling the problems in the Middle East….problems that it helped create……problems that it feed for 70 years.

For years the US has been the harbinger of ill will towards the Palestinian people…..for years it has said that the only answer to the problems was that of a two state solution……and the if one knee jerk decision Fearless Fosdick has ended any hope of a peaceful solution.

Defying dire, worldwide warnings, President Trump on Wednesday broke with decades of US and international policy by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Trump declared that he was ending an approach that for decades has failed to advance the prospects for peace, per the AP. “I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” he said in a White House address, calling it “overdue” and in the best interests of the US. He said recognition acknowledged the “obvious”—that Jerusalem is the seat of Israel’s government despite the disputed status that is one of the key elements in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “This is nothing more or less than the recognition of reality,” Trump said.

There are many questions that normal Americans will probably ask…..and there is some great answers to these questions….

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/12/trump-jerusalem-move-key-questions-answered-171206074533021.html

In policy terms, a central question is what President Trump recognised as Israel’s capital. Was it West Jerusalem, thereby leaving open the possibility that East Jerusalem would be the capital of a future state of Palestine? Was it present-day municipal Jerusalem within its unilaterally expanded borders, thereby essentially pre-empting the final status of the city? Or was it some third variant? His statement was not clear.

On the one hand, Trump specifically cited the Jerusalem Embassy Act as the basis of his decision, which refers to the “undivided” Jerusalem that Israel considers to be under its sovereignty. In justifying his decision, he mentioned locations not just within West Jerusalem (the parliament, Supreme Court, and prime minister’s residence) but also within the occupied Old City, including Al-Aqsa Mosque, without stating that he was or was not recognising Israeli sovereignty in the East.

https://www.crisisgroup.org/middle-east-north-africa/eastern-mediterranean/israelpalestine/counting-costs-us-recognition-jerusalem-israels-capital

The big question now is how this stupid decision will effect the Palestinian struggle?

https://972mag.com/is-jerusalem-forcing-a-new-direction-for-the-palestinian-struggle/131340/

The world has now got to take sup the slack….the US has left a gaping hole in the fabric of the planet……

https://shareblue.com/world-leaders-forced-to-hold-emergency-meeting-because-of-trump/#.WiwW87qQdpY.twitter

The plight of the Palestinian people is up to the world…..maybe now it will step up and do the right thing…..it has for too long bowed to the US….now te world needs to PUT UP OR SHUT UP!

 

North Korea And Beyond

We  all know the machismo of Fearless Fosdick and his rhetoric aimed at North Korea and its leader……but has Li’l Kim had to say in the past couple of days……

War on the Korean Peninsula is now inevitable thanks to America’s “confrontational warmongering remarks,” North Korea warned late Wednesday. A statement from the country’s foreign ministry said the outbreak of war is an “established” fact and the only remaining question is when it will happen, Reuters reports. “We do not wish for a war but shall not hide from it, and should the US miscalculate our patience and light the fuse for a nuclear war, we will surely make the US dearly pay the consequences with our mighty nuclear force which we have consistently strengthened,” the statement said.

The statement also slammed US officials including CIA Director Mike Pompeo for “impudently criticizing our supreme leadership, which is the heart of our people.” The statement came as the “Vigilant Ace” military drills involving hundreds of American and South Korean aircraft continued, with a US B-1B supersonic bomber flying over the peninsula Wednesday, the AP reports. The South Korean military said the drill, in which the US bomber simulated land strikes, “displayed the allies’ strong intent and ability to punish North Korea when threatened by nuclear weapons and missiles.” (On Tuesday, a senior UN official visited North Korea for the first time since 2011.)

Everybody involved in this situation has blasted the other……everybody has the idea of what should be done…..and it looks like war could be inevitable….heavy hard words but what is wrong with the US and NK actually talking to each other?

Anyone who says talk is cheap hasn’t tried getting President Trump to talk with his North Korean counterpart, Kim Jong Un. Not even the specter of a war that could kill millions of people on the Korean peninsula, Japan and now even the continental United States seems sufficient to push the two leaders into negotiations. Both sides insist on unacceptable preconditions before they will even consider holding formal talks to reach a peaceful settlement.

Successful negotiations might end Washington’s economic sanctions and military preparations against North Korea, but Pyongyang demands that outcome before it even starts talks. Two weeks ago, North Korea’s ambassador to the United Nations, Han Tae Song, said, “As long as there is continuous hostile policy against my country by the U.S. and as long as there are continued war games at our doorstep, then there will not be negotiations.”

https://consortiumnews.com/2017/11/30/whats-wrong-with-talking-to-north-korea/

Talking is far better than bullets…..

The Russians have delivered a message from NK…….

With its nuclear and missile programs having advanced substantially over the past several months, North Korea is now ready for direct nuclear negotiations with the United States, according to a message delivered to US officials by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Details of the plan delivered from Lavrov to Rex Tillerson weren’t totally clear, though in recent weeks North Korea has suggested they envision Russia being involved in any such talks as well. Lavrov says North Korea’s main goal in the talks is security guarantees.

This is unsurprising, as North Korea’s foreign policy seems to be built more or less entirely on the notion that a US invasion could happen at any moment, and they’ve been very public about their nuclear program being designed to deter the US from launching a costly war.

There was no word out of the State Department on any US response to such talks. Though Tillerson has advocated diplomacy with North Korea, they’ve also suggested that any direct talks would require unilateral North Korean disarmament as a precondition.

(antiwar.com)

It appears that talk is cheap but what would the results be if there is no talks?

In a nuclear standoff with North Korea more than two decades ago—long before the reclusive government had atomic weapons that could threaten America—US officials planned for war. Declassified documents published Friday show the United States believed its military and South Korea’s forces would “undoubtedly win” a conflict on the divided Korean Peninsula, with the understanding it would cost many casualties. The Pentagon estimated at the time that if war broke with Korea, some 52,000 American service members would be killed or wounded in the first three months. South Korean military casualties would total 490,000 in that time. And the number of North Korean and civilian lives claimed would be enormous.

Today, with North Korea almost able to directly threaten the US mainland with nuclear strikes, the possibility of conflict looms as it had in 1994. Twenty-three years ago, the stakes were different, reports the AP. At that time, President Bill Clinton’s administration considered a cruise missile strike on a North Korean nuclear complex after it began defueling a reactor that could provide fissile material for bombs for the first time. Former President Jimmy Carter headed off a conflict, meeting with founding North Korean leader Kim Il Sung and helping seal an aid-for-disarmament agreement. The pact endured for nearly a decade, despite frequent disputes and periodic flare-ups on the peninsula. The AP has more.

Do we want a war or do we want a world that is safe from bullies and warmongers?

Do we talk or do we walk?