"He Said Bad Stuff"

I am as most already know that I like foreign policy and conflict management…..I have studied many forms of the execution of foreign policy but I have never heard of one that is actionable because of Rhetoric.

Most Americans know that we recently killed a top Iranian general in an airstrike…..there is a story that there were plans to attack American embassies and a couple of other reasons for the assassination.

But Trump has said now that he was killed because he said “bad things”……seriously?

President Trump has struggled with legal justifications for the US assassination of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, failing to back up claims of an “imminent” threat, claiming that didn’t matter because of bad things he’d done. On Friday, Trump suggested to donors that Soleimani was killed not because of what he did, but because of what he said.

Trump made the comments at a Mar-a-Lago fundraiser, saying that he heard Soleimani’s comments, and asked “how much of this shit do we have to listen to?” Trump made no mention of any threats in his decision to kill Soleimani.

This is particularly noteworthy because it represents another example of the president changing his story on the controversial assassination, one which very easily could have led to a major war with Iran.

Claims of an “imminent threat,” true or not, are always made by the US military after an attack because it is one of very few legal pretexts established for carrying out an otherwise aggressive attack. Being insulted by what Soleimani was saying, naturally, is not a legal justification of any sort.

That in less than two weeks the president has repeatedly changed his justification isn’t a good sign, and that this most recent narrative was offered only during a private dinner to his donors, suggests that this was neither meant for public consumption, nor a very good justification at all.

This also came just a day after Trump warned Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei to “be careful with his words” after a critical sermon. In this new context, we are clearly meant to understand that if Trump didn’t like what he said, it might easily be a reason for him to be killed.

(antiwar.com)

If they is an adequate reason to assassinate a leader then h why have we not done so for North Korea’s Kim, who has said more “bad stuff” than just about anybody?

I truly would like to know just what style of foreign policy does Trump subscribe to….that is besides the “Pasta Technique”……

I Read, I Wrote, You KNow

“lego ergo scribo”

Afghanistan

Going on 19 years of troop deployments and conflict and what have we got to show for it?

The American people have lied to for at least 15 years on the progress of our exercise in regime change (a post on that coming)…..

So let us consider what exactly they are hiding from us. It began with last year’s announcement that the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) – the congressionally mandated watchdog on all aspects of this war – would no longer report Afghan Security Force (ASF) casualty data. It’s now classified. I wonder why. Could it be that the US trained and equipped (to the tune of some $70 billion) Afghan military is suffering unsustainable casualties, is losing troops faster than it can recruit? Maybe its because Washington finds it inconvenient to admit that the ASF is nowhere near its target personnel strength, that desertions and absence without leave are rampant in the ranks, and that the Afghan GDP is insufficient to pay for its own security forces.

After all, every president from Bush to Obama to Trump has told us that advising the ASF is America’s number one priority and the key to a successful exit. Given that, one would think it rather important to face the truth about the utterly insufficient Afghan military and police force. Instead it’s classified. You’re no longer allowed to know that discomfiting truth.

Classifying Defeat: Hiding Data on the Losing Afghan War

This country has spent billions on the training of the Afghan police and military and for damn near two decades and what is the prognosis?

“The Afghan military – and particularly the Afghan police – has been a hopeless nightmare and a disaster,” Sopko told lawmakers on Wednesday. “And part of it is because we rotate units through that aren’t trained to do the work, and they’re gone in six-to-nine months. I don’t blame the military, but you can’t bring in a Black Hawk pilot to train an Afghan policeman on how to do police work. And that’s what we were doing — we’re still doing.”

Sopko testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday following the Washington Post’s publication of the “Afghanistan Papers,” a series of interviews that SIGAR has conducted in which top U.S. officials have privately conceded that the war in Afghanistan has provided few — if any — tangible successes.

https://taskandpurpose.com/afghan-troops-police-disaster-sopko

So we have got NOTHING in return for our money spent…is that about right?

It is time to cut our losses on a hopeless endeavor….and I am not alone with this feeling…..

Even conservative veterans are now calling for an end to Afghanistan…..

Those two voices were among five unveiled Thursday in a 30-second television ad that will air in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, urging voters to demand their lawmakers put an end to “endless wars.” As part of that effort, the first order of business for the sponsor of the ad, Concerned Veterans of America, is to get America out of Afghanistan.

“We would like to see a full withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan as soon as possible,” said Nate Anderson, an Army Green Beret and executive director of CVA, a conservative veterans’ group.

“The reality for us is that leaving our forces there only puts them at further risk in a country where we don’t have a strategic objective that we have not already met,” Anderson said, recalling the death of Osama bin Laden, punishing the Taliban for harboring al Qaeda, and largely uprooting the terror group from the country. “All those things happened,” he said.

And yet, 18 years, 3 months, and 9 days after Operation Enduring Freedom officially launched, the war continues to grind on, albeit under a different name. This past weekend, two American service members were killed and two others were wounded after their vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device. Their deaths were the first in the new year.

https://taskandpurpose.com/cva-ad-endless-wars

A new ally for the call to end our endless wars……slowly but slowly the antiwar movement is gaining popularity….

Yes, Conservative Vets Want Out of Afghanistan, Too

The question is….is anyone listening?

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Closing Thought–17Jan20

I think most Americans agree that this Iranian general was a “bad guy”….and it is a matter opinion on whether he deserved assassination….my opinion is that he did not especially since he was carrying some peace offering to the Saudis.

There seems to be a disconnect between the officials and the American people…..a new poll shows the divide…..

A new poll from Politico-Morning Consult shows the American public substantially less on board with escalatory violence against Iran than media coverage of the situation would generally lead one to believe.

The poll showed the decision to assassinate top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani was highly controversial. Despite weeks of vilifying Soleimani, only 44% support his killing, and 38% continue to disapprove.

There was a lot more unity on the response to Iran’s retaliation for the killing, with 71% approving of not responding militarily to that, and only 14% disapproving. It seems further escalating the conflict is something almost nobody wanted.

(antiwar.com)

That said….the president and his boyz have said that the US embassies were in danger is one reason he was taken out…..okay but so far their explanations have been far short of convincing…..and since their story has fallen apart the Pentagon has decided that Congress does not need that briefing they were promised…..

The State Department’s cancellation of two classified congressional briefings to address embassy security and Iran policy sparked lawmakers’ ire in Wednesday, according to Politico.

“This briefing is required by law every month, and today’s was the most important we’ve had scheduled in a long time,” a House aide told the publication. “The State Department has given us no explanation whatsoever.”

Several senior Foggy Bottom officials — including Brian Hook, special envoy for Iran, and David Schenker, assistant secretary of State for the Middle East — were scheduled to brief the Senate Foreign Relations Committee prior to the cancellation, Politico reported, citing a Senate aide.

Initially the embassy security briefing was to address conditions in the East African nation of Burundi, but the topic was broadened to general facility security amid U.S./Iran tensions following the U.S. killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike.

The White House initially claimed the strike was in response to an unspecified imminent threat posed by Soleimani, but President Trump later told Fox News host Laura Ingraham that Soleimani was plotting attacks on four U.S. embassies, which contradicted a briefing that administration officials gave lawmakers in the aftermath of the strike. Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Sunday conceded that he had not seen intelligence showing an imminent embassy attack.

(thehill.com)

Just thought you might like to know the rest of the story……

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Wanna Talk With North Korea

We have had a back and forth with the two sillies that control NK and the US….Kim has made some deep statements of rebellion towards Trump……and yet Trump still looks for ways that they can come to terms for more talks….

The Trump administration has continued to seek contact with North Korea in an effort to reinstate working-level talks to discuss the country’s nuclear weapons program, a senior U.S. official has said.

Robert C. O’Brien, the assistant to the U.S. president on national security affairs (APNSA), told Axios in an interview that the United States has been actively making efforts to return to working-level talks with North Korea.

The administration has “reached out to the North Koreans,” O’Brien said. “We’ve been letting them know, through various channels, that we would like to get those [negotiations] back on track and to implement Chairman Kim’s commitment” to denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” he added.

Working-level talks between the two sides have not resumed since an attempt in October 2019 when U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen E. Biegun met Kim Myong Gil, North Korea’s appointed negotiator, in Stockholm, Sweden.

https://thediplomat.com/2020/01/us-official-confirms-efforts-to-restore-working-level-talks-with-north-korea/

Seriously?

Wants to have talks with a country that has nukes already but will not have talks with a nation that is in search of nukes…..a reversed logic?

I do not know of what technique this is other than to use the Chaos Method….or maybe we should call it the “Pasta Method”

Look for further claims and further international situations….news will be needed to change the discourse in the very near future.

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Closing Thought–16Jan20

I read a post by a fellow blogger and friend John about the troops in West Africa and thought I would expand on his thought.  https://linesbyliming.com/2020/01/15/islamist-militants-threaten-africa/

After several deaths of US troops in West Africa and the scandals of Americans killing Americans in drunken stupors the Pentagon is considering pulling US troops from West Africa…..

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper is interested in seeing a substantial reduction in troops and operations ongoing in Western Africa, with the troops being redeployed to areas closer to Russia and China.

This comes, ironically, amid speculation about the Islamist factions in the Sahel, and suggestions this might be a growing priority for the US. Esper, however, has made much of wanting to have more troops directly lined up against Russia and China for “Great Power” competitions.

Among the pullouts in West Africa would be ending US operations in Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso. The end of US involvement in Niger would include abandoning the $110 million drone base that the US just got finished building and bringing into operation.

After West Africa, the plan is that the US will also draw down forces in Latin America, and subsequently then cut troop levels in Iraq and Afghanistan, all as part of a new pivot to Eastern Europe and the Pacific.

Exactly how many troops are going to be involved isn’t clear, and indeed how many troops are in some of these areas is not publicly known any longer, given the Pentagon’s recent opacity on such figures.

The eagerness to make such moves at all represents Esper having only recently taken over the Defense Secretary post, and wanting to put his stamp on it.

(antiwar.com)

I thought this was just wishful thinking but now a top general is calling for the same thing…..

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told reporters on Monday that the US intends to reduce its military presence within Africa, saying its possible the troops could either return to the continental US or be shifted to the Pacific.

Shifting troops to the Pacific is a long-standing goal of the US military, but has tended to get derailed as plans to draw down forces elsewhere fall apart. It’s not clear exactly how many troops the US have in Africa, but Milley is just the latest to say they could end up in the Pacific.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper talked about drawdowns in Africa, Afghanistan, and Iraq to get troops to send to the areas near China and Russia. The US, however, is resisting the Iraq pullout now, since Iraq wants it.

France is opposed to the US drawdown, since they are increasingly committed militarily to the Sahel, and are keen to have the US participate in those open-ended operations.

(antiwar.com)

I would like to see these troops come home but for the reasons I have mentioned many times before…..but just a passing thought to gain some attention is not the way to position one self as a person of power and knowledge.

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Sanctions For Iraq

We know that Trump’s favorite tool is economic sanctions…..easy to install and have very little effect…..that sums up his presidency.

I bring up sanctions because it seems to be the next step in the battle with Iraq.

Yes I said Iraq.

Recently the Iraqi government passed a non-binding solution to have US troops leave the country.

The Trump administration has started drafting sanctions against Iraq over its push to expel US troops from the nation, a White House official who requested anonymity confirmed to Business Insider on Tuesday.

President Donald Trump first threatened economic penalties over the weekend after the Iraqi parliament passed a nonbinding resolution to urge the US military to leave, a rebuke of the lethal drone strike that targeted a top Iranian general in Baghdad late Thursday. Along with Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, an Iraqi militia official was also killed in the escalation.

The Washington Post reported late Monday that senior administration officials had initiated preliminary talks on the potential sanctions, which the US has not yet decided to move forward with.

https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/trump-administration-preparing-economic-sanctions-against-iraq-military-withdrawal-iran-2020-1-1028801079

Sanctions and now the idea of cutting military aid to Iraq……

In addition to bankrupting Iraq by seizing the entirety of their oil revenue account, the Trump Administration is now also threatening to cut military aid to Iraq, if the Iraqi government formally asks the US to leave.

The US State Department and Pentagon have discussed the matter, with the State Department working on cutting all $250 million from the 2020 military aid budget already approved, and asking the budget office to cut $100 million from the 2021 request.

While US officials insist they have no intention of leaving Iraq, the continued threats to punish Iraq with sanctions and cuts suggest that they are taking seriously the possibility that Iraq will actually order them out, and that the US may not be able to just ignore it.

While $250 million in aid is substantial, it is likely well down Iraq’s priority list with the oil revenue account containing 90% of Iraq’s annual budget. Iraqi officials haven’t indicated what their intentions are since the threats began, but parliament already voted 170-0 to expel all foreign troops, US included, as soon as possible.

(antiwar.com)

What will all this chest thumping do with ISIS waiting in the shadows?

https://lobotero.com/2020/01/10/isis-in-the-shadows-2/

Now Iraq is worried about a total economic co;;apse if sanctions and such go into effect….

Iraqi officials are warning that they would face almost immediate economic collapse if President Trump follows through on sanctions against them for asking US troops to leave. Iraq’s parliament voted on January 5, 170-0, to order the government to expel all foreign troops.

President Trump has threatened massive sanctions against Iraq, and more recently, suggestions are that the US would freeze Iraq’s bank account at the New York Federal Reserve, where all of Iraq’s oil revenues go.

Which is also 90 percent of Iraq’s budget. Iraqi officials have confirmed “threatening calls” from the US over the troops, insisting that they have no intention of leaving Iraq just because Iraq is asking.

The collapse of their entire economy, while still theoretical at this point, isn’t a healthy thing to have hanging over Iraq going forward. Siemens CEO Joe Kaesar warned he believes that “putting sanctions on something just because you don’t get your will is maybe also not always helpful.

Siemens has a $15 billion electricity development contract for Iraq. While they say they don’t intend to scale back the project, there is a risk for them, like everyone else, that the US will just take all of Iraq’s money and leave them unable to pay.

(antiwar.com)

So just to retaliate Trump will econ0mically ruin a country like Iraq…..someone that is suppose to be a “friend”…..someone who is a “partner” in the war on ISIS……

Sorry do not see the logic in all this ignorance.

A country swimming in oil and yet it could face economic collapse…..funny but that would be because the oil belongs to corporations and not the Iraqis……if problems then a case for nationalization of the oil could be waiting for a test run.  And that would mean more war….after all oil is why we are there in the first place.

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

VP Pence

Let’s say that Trump is removed from office….not saying he should be or will be…..just a supposition here…..if he leaves then Pence as VP will take over as president and what would his admin look like if this happened?

The U.S. House of Representatives, after several months of hearing testimony on the potential abuse of executive power within the Trump administration, voted along party lines, with the Democratic majority succeeding in impeaching the President of the United States for just the 3rd time in the nation’s history.

Taking charge after Barack Obama, analysts wobbled this way or that on what sort of policy Donald Trump would implement. A complete lack of a voting record, combined with the “drain the swamp” rhetoric of his campaign in the run-up to his election, suggested to some that Trump would not preserve the Bush-Clinton status quo of ever-increasing government spending, revolving occupational doors in Washington and seemingly endless warfare.

However the early appointments into his cabinet suggested business as usual, with several key positions being given to neo-conservative politicians who fit right in among the Karl Rove and Dick Cheneys of yesteryear.

State went to Michael Pompeo, while several neo-cons have cycled through Secretary of Defense and National Security Advisor, each more hawkish than the last. Finally the Vice Presidency was given to Mike Pence, who would take over the presidency if Trump is removed.

How Would a Pence Oval Office Look on the World Stage?

Personal opinion…..I cannot support a theocrat as president of the US…….religion should not be a motivator for government….I think this would be disastrous for the nation.

I may not like Trump much but I like Pence even less….he is a clown in royal robes…..a jester with an agenda.

I Read, I Wrote, You KNow

“Lego ergo scribo”