18 Years And No One Cares

While a bipartisan array of “experts” rails against Trump’s Syria withdrawal, the Afghan War enters in 19th year to the sound of crickets.

We recently passed a milestone….Afghanistan and 18 years of war…..

On the 18th anniversary of the war in Afghanistan, President Donald Trump said on Twitter, “… it is time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home.” He added, “WE WILL FIGHT WHERE IT IS TO OUR BENEFIT, AND ONLY FIGHT TO WIN.” But rather than referring to the U.S. war in Afghanistan, Trump was actually talking about the role of U.S. troops in northern Syria, about which he had just made a serious decision. One wonders whether Trump would take greater interest in the longest official war in U.S. history if he had real estate interests in Kabul. He made absolutely no mention of Afghanistan on the anniversary of the war. But neither did most members of Congress.

There was a near blackout of the anniversary in the media as well. Of the major newspapers, only the New York Times paid some attention to it with a lengthy special called ‘We Are Inside the Fire’: An Oral History of the War in Afghanistan. While the report centered on the voices of Afghans, the paper minimized the role of the U.S. For example, the first section covering 1989 to 2001 was described in this way: “After the Soviet occupation, Afghanistan fell into a civil war between factions that were mostly bound by personal loyalties.” The Times did not see fit to add the civil war was largely fueled by U.S. weapons and cash flooding into the hands of the anti-Soviet jihadi warlords the CIA had deployed against the USSR. Those warlords and weapons set the stage for the Taliban and the brutality that followed. Still, the Afghan voices in the narrative consistently mentioned the futility of the U.S. war, with one doctor in Kandahar saying:

It would be better if Americans had never come here. Fewer people would have died. This war is not Afghanistan’s war; it is the war of the world, but they are fighting it in Afghanistan.


Plus the Taleban, the bane of the US, has gone from pariah to a diplomatic mission…..

Sitting face to face with top Pakistani officials at the country’s spacious Foreign Office under the glowing lights of a conference hall that regularly hosts meetings between visiting diplomats and Pakistani officials, the 12-member Taliban delegation seemed no less than a foreign mission carrying out state business.

The only exception was their dress – the neatly-pressed black waist-coats over white shalwar kameez with white and black turbans in instead of suits with matching ties. 

Adding warmth to the “brotherly” ties with hugs and beaming smiles, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi also donned a shalwar kameez, although the color of his dress was not as brightly white as that of his Taliban interlocutors.


Afghanistan is a mess…is there any chance we could do any better?

fghanistan held its elections on September 28. Although we won’t know results for weeks, a relatively low turnout underscores the shortcomings of the U.S.’ approach to peacebuilding and security in the troubled state. Voter concern about Taliban attacks and electoral fraud led many to stay at home. It’s not controversial to assert that security and institutional trust are essential in bringing stability to a fragile democracy, but for both the Afghan government and the U.S., a strategy for achieving these aims has proven elusive. The news isn’t all bad, though. There is a relatively young—but active and growing—set of civil service organizations (CSO) in Afghanistan looking to support community-building and democratic activities. And there is a clear strategy the U.S. can take to support CSO success.

Before 2001, most CSO activity was either involved in traditional governance or humanitarian aid pursuits. After the Taliban was removed from power, international NGO support and funding for CSO activity boosted dramatically and they’ve taken on an accordingly broader spectrum of development activities.


I can agree with Trump on something he said recently…..“… it is time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home.” 

Fine words but actions would be a better thing to write about.

18 years is enough for our troops to endure.

“Farm boys with guns.” That’s how then Captain Sjursen described average Taliban fighters while serving in Kandahar province. I was speaking to a Reuters reporter that shadowed me for a few days – since I was a New Yorker – to mark the then 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks way back in 2011. Much to the chagrin of my commanders, I was just frustrated enough, and had buried just enough troopers to give the reporter a real story. “When I see this place, I don’t see the [Twin] Towers,” I’d said when asked about the connection between 9/11 and my own mission in Afghanistan during the Obama “surge.” I was right then, but even now, eight more years into America’s longest war, the same old tired arguments are trotted out to justify perpetual military intervention.

Endless Afghanistan: War Without Justification

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”


Closing Thought–14Oct19

By now the whole world and even FOX News watchers know that Turkey is invading Northern Syria in search of the Kurds.

First, Kurds?

The Kurds are mostly Sunni Muslims who share a common language, customs and cultural traditions. But they don’t share a nationality.


And the Kurds DID assist the Allies in WW2…..


The #Kurds DID fight on the Allied side in WW2. They helped break the siege after the 1941 pro-Nazi Coup d’état in Iraq & were part of the (pro-Allied) Iraq Levies. In 1942 Kurds made up 25% of the force. By 1943, 10 of the 44 companies of Iraq Levies were Kurdish.

Now that you have been brought up to date on the Kurds….

My problem is that Turkey has invaded a sovereign nation in this case Syria……I do believe that this is frowned upon by most international treaties.

Like treaties the US has signed over the years Trump is null and voiding most of them in his narcissistic rampage through our foreign policy.

I believe that this invasion is a violation of the United Nations Charter Article 2…..

  • The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members.
  • All Members, in order to ensure to all of them the rights and benefits resulting from membership, shall fulfill in good faith the obligations assumed by them in accordance with the present Charter.
  • All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.
  • All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.

I wish I could say that Turkey is the sole violator…but that would be a LIE.

Now we wait to hear what the UN will have to say and/or do…..

What about NATO…since Turkey is a NATO memeber and Syria were to attack them…..the US would be compelled to enter into this conflict….

  • Collective defence means that an attack against one Ally is considered as an attack against all Allies.
  • The principle of collective defence is enshrined in Article 5 of the Washington Treaty.
  • NATO invoked Article 5 for the first time in its history after the 9/11 terrorist attacks against the United States.
  • NATO has taken collective defence measures on several occasions, for instance in response to the situation in Syria and in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine crisis.
  • NATO has standing forces on active duty that contribute to the Alliance’s collective defence efforts on a permanent basis.

All the confusion in and around Syria made me thonk of a song from my past…..

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Deadliest Battle For The USA

I have been studying World War One for a very long time……it has been 100 years since the end of this war and what have we learn?

To be honest…we have learned very little.

To Europe the war was a “Big Deal” because they lost so many young men that a whole generation was damn near wiped out.

It is not so important to us Americans…..but since we did participate in this conflict then what was the deadliest battle for our troops?

A century ago, the first shots were fired in one of the most important American military engagements ever — and the deadliest battle in U.S. history.

World War I’s Meuse-Argonne Offensive, which involved more than a million American soldiers and claimed the lives of 26,277, was launched in northern France on Sept. 26, 1918 to push the German army out of the country and reclaim a rail network vital to supplying enemy troops. The fight lasted a grueling 46 days and generated scores of stories of heroism and sacrifice.

But most notably, it helped bring an end to The Great War.


World War One, The Great War, The War To End All Wars, was considered by many as an accident brought about by events that spiraled out of control…..but to others including myself think that the war was NO accident…..

Not surprisingly, this has brought all sorts of stories and op-eds discussing the disastrous events that killed some 16 million people and wounded an additional 21 million others.

To this day, most observers continue to claim that World War I was an inadvertent war: that is, that none of the countries involved particularly wanted war but war came nonetheless. Some claim it was the major armament programs and offensive military doctrines adopted by European countries in the run-up to the war that made WWI inevitable. Others claim it was the hypernationalistic populaces that caused the war.  Still others blame the tight alliances that European nations formed in the years prior to WWI, which created an environment in which the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand by an anarchist could plunge the entire continent into a bloody war. And then there are those that blame the situation on the irreconcilable interests of a rising Germany and a declining Great Britain. Regardless of the particular explanation invoked, most seem to agree that the war was an accident.


AS I have said…I studied WW1 because of the scope….others study WW2 because of its result……as they say Idealists study WW2; realists study WW1…..

Scenario one: a dominant superpower, serving as the unquestioned head of an international alliance, and possessing unmatched military and economic strength. This superpower appears exceptionally led at the military, political, and bureaucratic levels, and possesses the time and space to conceptualize a focused strategy against a specific threat.

Scenario two: several powerful nations operating in a multipolar world, pursuing divergent interests, with none possessing an absolute advantage over the others. Exceptional political and military leadership is lacking, and the rapid pace of change means these nations are carried forward by events over which they exercise little control. Few are certain what a future threat or strategy may resemble.

Our first scenario describes the world of 1945; the triumphant United States at the head of a new international order and poised to combat a clear challenger. Our second describes the world of 1918: victorious powers fighting over diverging interests, squandering their opportunities of peace, but convinced in their conceit that the world could be ordered in their image.


Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

Class Dismissed!

“I Read, I Wrote and now You KNow”

“Lego ergo Scribo”

Breaking News: Syria

The Middle East just took a step closer to a full blown war….instead of the hunt for a “safe zone”…..

NATO ally has invaded a sovereign nation, Syria, in pursuit of a people they say are terrorists….the Kurds….

In a meeting the scales are weighted…..Syria has ageed to defend the Kurds from Turkish aggression…..

This might be a last-minute, desperation deal—but now Syrian Kurds have some protection. They said Sunday the Syrian government has agreed to send army forces to the nation’s northern border to try to curb Turkey’s assault, the BBC reports. Russia brokered the deal over three days between the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces and President Bashar al-Assad’s government, a Kurdish intelligence official tells the Washington Post. What the Kurds gave up in response is unclear, but Mazloum Abdi, leader of the SDF, described it as a necessity.

“We know that we would have to make painful compromises with Moscow and Bashar al-Assad if we go down the road of working with them,” he writes in Foreign Policy. But if we have to choose between compromises and the genocide of our people, we will surely choose life for our people.” Abdi expressed appreciation of America’s “generous support,” but said “Turkey would never attack us so long as the US government was true to its word with us. We are now standing with our chests bare to face the Turkish knives.” Indeed, Turkey attacked as President Trump ordered most or all US troops in the area to pull out.

This situation is leading to an old stand-off…..NATO vs Russia……Syria has help…Russia and Iran…..NATO has Turkey……

This should test the strength of the NATO charter.

On the other front in this….American troops…..

US officials had already made a big deal of withdrawing from northern Syria, but President Trump on late Saturday has finally ordered a full withdrawal from the area, covering about 1,000 troops that were still in potential combat areas.

Among the troops withdrawing were the personnel in a US base at Ayn al-Issa. Turkish forces were approaching the area, and had cut off US supply lines by seizing the highway. Keeping the base at that point seemed no longer feasible.

That the Pentagon is reporting this new order covers 1,000 troops in northern Syria is interesting, as just days ago the US claimed to have only 15-100 troops left there, when they came under fire from Turkish artillery. Even before that, Trump claimed the US had only ever had 50 troops there in the first place, as to downplay the pullback.

It is not clear from the reports where these 1,000 troops are going, though so far there is no indication that the US is actually leaving Syria. Rather, it is likely they’ll just move deeper south, as to give Turkey more room to operate.

With Turkey moving its troops deeper into Syria, and Syria’s Army advancing into the area to resist them, the fight could get very complicated very quickly. The US clearly doesn’t want to get directly involved, though these slow, incomplete pullouts mean the US is also determined to keep a toehold in the country.


The news will be daily around this situation…..I will be watching.

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

What About The Saudi-Iranian Mash Up?

Whatever happen to the brewing war in the Persian Gulf?

A week begins and this situation is a distant memory.

Just last month we were on the brink of an all out war (we seem to always be on the brink these days) with Iran over the Persian Gulf incidents…..and attack on a Saudi refinery and one on ma Saudi ship….

Saudi Arabia said on Monday that two of its oil tankers were among those attacked off the coast of the United Arab Emirates and described it as an attempt to undermine the security of crude supplies amid tensions between the United States and Iran.


With the situation between the Saudis and the Iranians it is always a tit for tat……and so it was recently…an Iranian tanker has been attacked…..

Two missiles struck an Iranian tanker traveling through the Red Sea off the coast of Saudi Arabia Friday, Iranian officials said, the latest incident in the region amid months of heightened tensions between Tehran and the US. Saudi officials didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment, per the AP. The state-run IRNA news agency, quoting Iran’s National Iranian Tanker Co., identified the stricken vessel as the Sabiti. Iranian state TV said the explosion damaged two storerooms aboard the oil tanker and caused an oil leak into the Red Sea near Jiddah. The leak was later stopped, per IRNA. “This latest incident, if confirmed to be an act of aggression, is highly likely to be part of the wider narrative of deteriorating relations between [the Saudis] and the US and Iran,” private maritime security firm Dryad Maritime warned.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi described the incident as an “attack” carried out by those committing “dangerous adventurism.” In a statement, Mousavi said the Sabiti was struck twice in the span of a half-hour and that an investigation was underway. “The oil tanker … sustained damages to the body when it was hit by missiles,” IRNA said. The agency didn’t say whom Iranian officials suspect of launching the missiles. Images released by Iran’s Petroleum Ministry appeared to show no visible damage to the Sabiti visible from its bridge, though they didn’t show the ship’s sides. A spokesman for the US Navy’s 5th Fleet overseeing the Mideast said authorities there were “aware of reports of this incident,” but he declined to comment further.

Tit For Tat!

The president and his troubles with the legal stuff has overshadowed a news report that should have been a headline……Iran and Saudis hold talks….

the Saudis appear to be resigned to the fact that they just aren’t starting that war. Their fallback plan, it seems, is to now try to get some indirect negotiations going with Iran to reduce tensions, after spending years bringing those tensions to a boiling point.

Exactly how this process got going is unclear, put Iraqi and Pakistani officials say they were brought into the matter by the Saudi Crown Prince, and both are now intending to serve as mediators for the indirect talks.

Iran is on board for the effort, but Saudi officials, despite being reported to have started the whole thing, are now saying they’re considering the idea, but want to make sure everyone thinks Iraq and Pakistan are acting unilaterally, and they never approached anyone.

An official Saudi statement also insists that since the escalation was all the fault of Iran, they need to begin de-escalation, and that it’s not up to the Saudis to do that. This is in keeping with the Saudis’ stance of trying to provoke every action in the Middle East, but also keep up a narrative where they didn’t actually do anything, and just react to everything that happens.

And while the Saudis usually turn to the US to drive whatever policy they want, it is noteworthy that the US seems uninvolved in this peace process. It seems even the Saudis are well aware that the US isn’t a nation to try to use to make peace.


This should have been a lead story since if these talks are successful then the war drums would be silenced and the the humanitarian crisis and war in Yemen could be negotiated to a halt.

This should have been the story of the week.

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”


Middle East: The Holy Land

A little archeology for a Sunday……

This is about the history of the region not some diatribe on religion or some other fanciful topic.

The Middle East is choke full of history….history that needs to be learned not from some myth but rather from the archeology of the area.

First there is a story that Babylon invaded and now evidence has been found…..

Researchers digging at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s ongoing archaeological excavation on Mount Zion in Jerusalem have announced a second significant discovery from the 2019 season—clear evidence of the Babylonian conquest of the city from 587/586 BCE.

The discovery is of a deposit including layers of ash, arrowheads dating from the period, as well as Iron Age potsherds, lamps and a significant piece of period jewelry—a gold and silver tassel or earring. There are also signs of a significant Iron Age structure in the associated area, but the building, beneath layers from later periods, has yet to be excavated.


Personally, that is where the Ark ended up…its gold was put in the treasury of the Babylonians.

Then from the history written in the Book….the Edomites, a foe of the ancient Hebrews have been identified……https://www.theblaze.com/news/archaeologists-ancient-biblical-kingdom-of-edom

A mysterious kingdom mentioned in the Bible underwent a massive technological leap nearly 3,000 years ago, perhaps because of the imperial ambitions of an Egyptian pharaoh. 

The kingdom, known as Edom, was in what is now known as the Arabah Valley, which falls within the boundaries of both Jordan and Israel. The area is the site of extensive copper-mining and smelting dating back to at least 4000 B.C.. 

The kingdom is also mentioned in the Hebrew Bible: The book of Genesis refers to the  Edomites, who were thought to be descendants of Jacob’s brother Esau, as “the kings who reigned in Edom before any Israelite king reigned” (Genesis 36:31). Later, the Biblical narrative holds that King David of Israel defeated the Edomites, and supposedly killed every male in the Kingdom.


Probably the biggest deal to come out of the region we call the Holy Land was the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls…..and now something new has been discovered about these scrolls…..

The Dead Sea scrolls have given up fresh secrets, with researchers saying they have identified a previously unknown technique used to prepare one of the most remarkable scrolls of the collection.

Scientists say the study poses a puzzle, as the salts used on the writing layer of the Temple scroll are not common to the Dead Sea region.

“This inorganic layer that is really clearly visible on the Temple scroll surprised us and induced us to look more in detail how this scroll was prepared, and it turns out to be quite unique,” said Assistant Professor Admir Masic, co-author of the research from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US.

“These salts are not typical for anything we knew about associated with this period and parchment making,” he added.


This is fascinating stuff for a lazy Autumn day….but if this is not your cup of tea then I am sure that an episode of Dr. Pimple Popper is on somewhere.

MoMo awaits.

Learn Stuff!

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego ergo scribo”

More Breaking News Saturday–Syria

Breaking News just keeps coming…….

We all know and have an opinion about Trump’s decision to stand down American troops in Syria….he has stated that there are NO American troops in Syria now….

To listen to President Donald Trump and his defenders, he’s ended a foolish and previously indefinite war in Syria. “We have no soldiers in the area, you know.  We’re getting out of the endless wars. We have to do it,” Trump said Wednesday in the Oval Office. “We are out of there. We’ve been out of there for a while. No soldiers whatsoever.” He added on Thursday, “We have no soldiers in Syria.” 

(Daily Beast)

Which to my ears is excellent news…..but the problem is the jest of the Breaking News…..but if there are NO US troops in Syria how can this happen?

Pentagon officials are reporting that US Special Forces troops came under fire in northern Syria, near the Kurdish city of Kobane. Turkish forces were accused of firing artillery forces at the US troops, though Turkey’s Defense Ministry denied that this was the case.

Pentagon officials say that there were no injuries, but at one point the Turkish fire was so heavy that they “considered firing back.” They did not fire back, and rather withdrew once the firing had stop.

This incident took place within the “safe zone” that Turkey has intended to take over, despite US officials reporting as recently as the day before that there were no US troops left in that area. Pentagon officials say 15-100 US troops are still in the area, and that Turkey has been informed “down to the grid” where those US forces are.


Trump in his wise and unmatched wisdom has drawn a line in the sand  in Syria…….

The great virtue of Twitter is that it forces users to be concise. One downside is that when an extremely powerful crazy person—the president of the United States, say—uses it, he can sound a bit like the Abrahamic God in one of his more wrathful moments. “If Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!),”


US Troops attacked!

What will the president do?  There has been a red line drawn….now either make good or slink away with his tail between his legs…..like an obedient cur.

We will see how his wise and unmatched judgment handles this attack on Americans.

I promise we will get back to the FYI stuff of normal.

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”