“A Nation at War”

I have been writing about our continuous state of war for decades….usually it falls on deaf ears or ears that have all sorts of justifications for this situation….

Last week, Army General Raymond “Tony” Thomas, head of U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM), expressed his dismay about the Trump administration. “Our government continues to be in unbelievable turmoil,” Thomas opined.  “I hope they sort it out soon because we’re a nation at war.”

If the U.S. is now “a nation at war,” when, do tell, will we return to being a nation at peace? If the answer is, “When the last terrorist is eliminated,” say goodbye right now to what’s left of American democracy.

What does that mean, we’re a nation at war?  Many will think that a dumb question, but is it?  Sure, we have roughly 10,000 troops in Afghanistan, and that war isn’t over.  Sure, the U.S. is still helping Iraqi forces (notably in Mosul) against ISIS and related terrorist groups. Yes, the U.S. and NATO (joined by Russia?) are seeking to corral and eventually to end ISIS and “radical Islamic extremism/terrorism.”  But do these efforts constitute a world war, like World Wars I and II?

Source: “We’re a Nation at War” – LA Progressive

Yes, I have been antiwar for damn near 50 years and this country should be also….how many Americans are dead because of all this adventurism?

We remain a nation at war because the government and the media are working in concert to keep negative images off the web and front pages….images like this…..

In a moving scene, an Army wife met her husband on the airport tarmac last week—but he was in a coffin. The heartbreaking reunion between Tara and Shawn Thomas was caught on video by Lisa West Williams, who was traveling in the plane that transported Shawn Thomas’ body home to North Carolina. The video she took out her window shows members of the military removing Thomas’ flag-draped coffin from the plane before Tara, dressed all in black, approaches and rests her head against the coffin. “There was not a dry eye around me,” wrote Williams on Facebook. The video has been viewed nearly 10 million times since she posted it Tuesday.

Shawn, 35, was a Green Beret who was killed in a vehicle accident in Niger Feb. 2, during his eighth deployment, according to the Army Times and his obituary, which says that he died “defending our freedom while doing a job that he loved.” His unit had been deployed to Africa to train locals to counter the spread of terrorist groups; he had previously deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Williams says that she spoke to his wife, a mother of four, after taking the video: “She did thank me for the video and she wanted it to be shared,” Williams tells WNCT. “She wanted people to realize that this goes on every day. There are many men and women that come home in a casket and they’ve made the ultimate sacrifice for us.”

Images like this would go a long way to opening the eyes of the public to the horrors of war and in return open our eyes to the need for a robust antiwar movement.

War On Terror: A Rethink Is Needed

I know that we hear daily just how well we are doing in our fight against terrorism…..daily reports on amount of baddie dead or just how well our “allies” are proceeding…..

Personally, I feel that the tactics we are employing are stale…there may be other tactics in the making but from where I sit we are spinning our wheels on the War on Terror……

Trump is now in command…..but the people he has put in charge are champions of the stale policies of the past….we need a rethink and soon……

Although Donald Trump had good inclinations on some foreign policy issues during his campaign and transition period — for example, staying out of unneeded brushfire wars, reexamining U.S. alliances, and pushing wealthy allies to do more for their own security — his policy toward “radical Islamic terrorism” always needed some work.

Now, having been president for only a short time, this policy — including slamming the door shut on the legal immigration of refugees (including desperate Syrians fleeing from the country’s civil war) and entry of people from seven predominantly Muslim countries — needs a lot of work.

In the meantime, to show that he is doing at least something for Syrian refugees, he is talking to Arab allies not affected by the ban — Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — about setting up safe zones in Syria to keep refugees there.

Source: Trump Needs to Rethink Terror Policies – Consortiumnews

Keep in mind…we cannot defeat terrorism….for terror is a tactic not a entity…..

This should take priority….something that should not be decided over brunch at some golf club…..if not it will only get worse…..

Flynn Gone, McMaster Cometh

In Like Flynn is no longer with us in the capacity of NSC head……and the search went on….Patraeus said NO…..Odierno said NO…..someone even said the idiot of the Right John Bolton was being considered….but hew was passed over….(a fine decision by the president)….and finally a name came up that was agreeable to most…..

President Trump has picked his new national security adviser: Army Lt. Gen. HR McMaster. He is “a man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience,” Trump said in announcing his decision Monday in Florida, per Politico. McMaster replaces Michael Flynn, who was asked to resign over his conversations with the Russian ambassador about sanctions before taking office. The Los Angeles Times calls McMaster “one of the military’s most prominent intellectuals.” Some related coverage:

  • A blogger at Foreign Policy who knows McMaster calls him “smart, energetic, and tough,” and he maintains that McMaster has written one of the best books on the Vietnam War: Dereliction of Duty: Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam.
  • McMaster talks about life in the military in this 2014 interview with the Ledger-Enquirer of Columbus, Ga. Among the quotes: “Some people think, hey, you’re in the military and everything is super-hierarchical and you’re in an environment that is intolerable of criticism and people don’t want frank assessments. I think the opposite is the case. In the Army, because the stakes are so high—right?—you can’t just be a yes-man and say, ‘Great idea, boss!’ if you don’t believe it—right?—because lives are at stake.” Read it in full here.
  • The New York Times says McMaster’s thinking on counterterrorism served as the basis for Gen. David Petraeus’ strategy that shifted momentum toward the US against insurgents in Iraq.
  • Last year, McMaster warned that the Army needed to stop shrinking, notes Heavy.com in its five-things-to-know feature on the general.
  • McMaster participated in the Battle of 73 Eastern during Desert Storm in which US troops were outnumbered but still prevailed because Iraqi soldiers were using outdated equipment. He wrote about the battle and its lessons at the Strategy Bridge.

This man is an intellect to be dealt with….yes he is a hawk but a hawk with a brain and sound rational thought.  His cheerleaders are many……

  • Politico describes McMaster, author of a 1997 book on America’s mishandling of the Vietnam war, as “one of the military’s leading warrior-scholars” and predicts that he will help Trump build bridges with GOP defense hawks like John McCain, who praised McMaster on Monday as “a man of genuine intellect, character, and ability.”
  • Retired Lt. Gen. David Barno tells the Washington Post that he knows McMaster well and he believes the general will excel at coordinating policy. “I don’t see HR as director of an orchestra; I see him as someone who is getting all the instruments to play together,” Barno says.
  • Cosmopolitan rounds up eight things to know about McMaster, including the fact that he “is known for standing up for his beliefs” and was chosen as one of Time’s “100 Most Influential People” in 2014.
  • National Review reports that Charles Krauthammer, one of Trump’s fiercest conservative critics, described the choice as encouraging, noting that McMaster’s willingness to go against prevailing opinion of the time when planning the Iraq troop surge shows “this is a guy who will say what he thinks and promote what he wants.”
  • At Business Insider, Paul Szoldra praises McMaster as a “fantastic choice,” not least for the great deal of respect he commands from the troops
  • The AP notes that McMaster has a “reputation for being willing to speak truth to power”—and he “appears to hold a much dimmer view than Trump of Moscow’s military and political objectives in Europe.”

The MSM seems to think it is a wise choice……

Below is his opinion on the US approach to war……this is from a speech he gave in 2015……

Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, who spends his days trying to figure out the future of conflict and has gained wide respect for speaking his mind, told an audience at the University of South Florida on Wednesday that the United States needs to do a better job of learning lessons and adapting because of its “narcissistic approach to war.”

And, echoing outgoing President Dwight David Eisenhower’s farewell to the nation in 1961, McMaster urged renewed caution about the military-industrial complex and its influence on how America wages war.

Source: General dissects U.S. approach to war in speech at USF | TBO.com

My personal observation—-I was very impressed in his book on the Vietnam War, Dereliction Of Duty, he was very critical of the leadership during the war and hew was spot on in his analysis…..he is outspoken and has a great intellect….that will make for a good NSC chair if he does not compromise for a cushy posting…..

A Staggering Record Of Failure

Today we celebrate the American presidents and what better subject than the one that they must make the involves millions…both in dollars and in lives?

I know why don’t we talk about a subject that most Americans refuse to think about for any reason….WAR!

Why, with what we believe is the greatest military in the world, is the United States’ record in war and military interventions so failure-prone?

Think not?

Then when was the last time we actually won a war?

Don’t hurt yourself…..1991….Desert Storm (not a win in the official sense but close enough for government work).  Before that it was 1945….World War 2……

The official end of the Cold War came in 1991 with the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the creation of the Russian Federation. Since then, remarkably, the United States has been at war or engaged in significant conflicts and military interventions in which tens of thousands of its soldiers, marines, sailors and airmen have been killed or wounded for over two-thirds of the intervening years. Iraq in 1991; Somalia in 1992-93; the global war on terror and Afghanistan 2001-present; Iraq 2003-present; and Syria and Yemen since 2016 represent a total of 19 of the past 26 years.

Using the end of World War II in 1945 at a starting point and including the Korean War (1950-53) and Vietnam Wars (from 1959 when the first Americans were killed to withdrawal in 1974), Americans have been in battle for 37 of the past 72 years or well over 50 percent. And the record has not been impressive. Korea was a draw. Vietnam was an ignominious defeat vividly portrayed by the poignant image of the last Huey helicopter lifting off the roof of an apartment building in Saigon.

Source: Why does the U.S. military have such a staggering record of failure? – UPI.com

WE continue to fail…..these wars that we engage in are more about the profits than the principle….this cycle will never end until the American people start caring about the waste of life and funds…..and that will not happen until the people learn the realism of war.  And that cannot happen until they, the people, remove their heads from the sand.

When Is It a Humanitarian Crisis?

A new year and the plight of the Palestinian people has not changed much since 1967 with the exception of the loss of land, crops and lives.

The Plight of the Palestinians hits close to home for me….when I was working in the Middle East I worked with a Palestinian named Rafiq, he was my interpreter and friend….when we would go on vacation we would go to his family’s home in Hebron….so I am have been doing my part to help the world understand the plight of the Palestinians in their desire for the nation to return….

As of today the countries that recognize Palestine as a Nation are in green……

Image result for countries that recognize Palestine

Look at the map….notice anything about the countries that do not recognize Palestine?

Last year I was asked to write for a site, Legationes, and my first op-ed was about the state of Palestine…

Source: Let the Wall define Palestine – In Saner Thought

Israel is building an apartheid wall around the West Bank….

Image result for Palestine Wall images

Do you remember the Berlin Wall?

Image result for Palestine Wall images

Image result for Palestine Wall images

I know the wall is a wall of separation….but why not let it define Palestine from the rest of the region……please just read my Legationes op-ed for further clarification.

But with that intro out of the way I want to talk about the humanitarian crises that the US has gotten involved in recently….

The US has used a humanitarian crisis to start a war…Syria, Iraq and Libya come to mind……

Iraq it was a couple of thousand Yazidis trapped on a mountain top without food , water or shelter and the US used airstrikes to keep ISIS at bay so that aid could make its way to those that needed it….then there is Libya….Qaddafi was poised to use airstrikes against his people who were up in arms and demanding more freedoms….the US used airstrikes to stop the airstrikes and eventually ended the life of Qaddafi

I bring this up because there is a real humanitarian crisis in Gaza……

After the total destruction wrought by Israel in 2014…not much has been done to repair the damage done by massive airstrikes and tank attacks…..

Image result for Gaza images

Since 2014 there is no food, fishermen prevented from fishing, water supplies are contaminated or none existent, building material banned by Israel and aid is help up in Israel…..all in all this is a humanitarian crisis.

If the US truly wants to do the humanitarian thing then this would be the perfect spot to practice what they preach.

Image result for Gaza images

Here’s my plan……since Gaza borders on Egypt then the US should put together an aid convoy with water, food and building supplies then drive in from Egypt……have the convoy with tanks and armored vehicles accompany the trucks and air cover from Cobras and A-10s.  Supplies would be those from aid NGOs…the US would be providing security only.

Unlike most Westerners I do have plans…none of which my country will sign onto….but at least they are plans…..this one is an op-ed that I wrote for an Italian site……

Source: Let the Wall define Palestine – Legationes

It is 2017….time for the Palestinian people to go global with their pleas and concerns…….the US has deaf ears…..

Another op-ed of mine this one was for Ace News Room……

Source: Palestine–2017 | Ace News Room

The Palestinian people have suffered much in 60 years….time for a realistic plan to end the cycle of violence and bring peace to a troubled land.

America’s Lost Tradition on Non-Intervention

My regulars know of my interest in foreign policy and international relations.  After my stint in Vietnam (2 1/2 years) I went to university and majored in international relations and after my war experience I became one who believes in non-intervention……that is diplomacy should be exhausted before the consideration of going to war is even on the table……

From the beginning of this country we were following a non-interventionist road….and after WW1 that path became closed and the interventionists, war profiteers, have rule foreign policy ever since……

I found an interesting article that covers this situation from a historical perspective (and you know how I enjoy those?)….

By implicitly criticizing U.S. interventionism, President Trump’s inaugural speech drew denunciations from the Washington establishment as a dangerous deviation, but his message actually fit with U.S. traditions

Although the media trashed Donald Trump’s inaugural address as radical and scary to the United States and the world, his views on American security policy nevertheless may be closest to that of the nation’s founders than those of any U.S. president since the early 1800s.

In his speech, the new president pledged that, “We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to follow.”

Source: America’s Lost Tradition on Non-Intervention – Consortiumnews

I still believe that diplomacy should be the first order of any international policies….even in the age of ISIS (please I am NOT talking about negotiating with terrorists…if you cannot understand that the move the Hell on)……

The only people that profit from the state of the world these days are the war profiteers…..the rest if us are just scared.

Body Count Is Back

The first of this week I wrote a post how the body count of enemy combatants has changed from my days in Vietnam…….(read it for yourself)

I remember back during my days of “blood and mud”, the Vietnam War, the big deal of the day was the body count of the bad guys from the day’s action….they were reported and used to justify so many other things that the brass wanted to do….

The concept of body count has lost some of its allure these days…instead of a high body count the government downplays as much of the deaths as possible…to the point of actually lying to the American people…..

Source: Always About The Body Count – In Saner Thought

I had to re-visit this subject because after my saying that a low body count, especially civilians, was a sign that the US was winning the war against ISIS….I had to re-visit this subject because the general of special ops has issued a statement about the deaths of militant terrorists….

Speaking at a defense industry conference today, Gen. Raymond Thomas announced that the United States has killed 60,000 ISIS fighters, insisting this proved US troops had been “pretty darn prolific” in their killing of ISIS people.

This figure is noteworthy for two reasons. Firstly, the Pentagon had claimed 50,000 ISIS fighters were killed just back in December, meaning that the general is effectively claiming the US has directly killed 10,000 more ISIS fighters in just two months, a staggering figure.

Perhaps more importantly, the Pentagon had estimated last summer, while bragging about having ruined ISIS’ recruitment abilities, that there were only about 15,000 ISIS fighters left. Despite having killed well more than 15,000 ISIS since then, it appears ISIS isn’t out of troops or even visibly any more short-handed in Iraq and Syria than they had been.

Gen. Thomas’ take was that the killings showed the US making “great progress,” though it also raises questions about why the Pentagon is killing way more ISIS fighters than it ever believed to have existed in the first place, and why ISIS always seems roughly the same size every time the US offers these counts.

(antiwar.com)

We are reverting back to the days of Vietnam….the higher the body count the better we are winning…and that was a good indicator of how we did in Vietnam, huh?

But as usual most Americans do NOT care!  They have too much other crap on their minds….