The Afghanistan Conundrum

At what point does the US leave the battleground known as Afghanistan? Every president since the beginning of the US involvement has said that our troops were not there indefinitely…and yet 18 years on and they are still there….

And very little with change with this next election…..candidates are asked about keeping troops in Afghanistan and the canned response is….”not indefinitely but a realistic approach to withdrawal”……and that has been the answer for 15 years maybe longer….

Afghanistan is a conundrum…….

In January 2018, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani publicly admitted that without American support, his government and the Afghan National Army couldn’t last very long. That remains the case today: the government is in disarray and the ANA is barely holding out against the Taliban-led insurgency.

Yet US President Donald Trump understandably wants to disentangle America, if possible through a political settlement, from what has become an unwinnable war. As such, the Taliban and their supporters have no compelling reason to let the Afghan government and the United States off the hook easily. And given the complex web of conflicting interests in Afghanistan, separate US and Russian efforts to reach an enduring settlement may not succeed.

Afghanistan’s problem is not primarily a military one. Despite the ANA’s heavy losses (more than 45,000 personnel since mid-2014) and increased insecurity in the country, the army has managed to prevent the Taliban from taking over any major city on a lasting basis. US funding of the ANA to the tune of some US$4 billion per year, together with allied operational assistance, has been crucial in this regard.

 
Before Trump’s Acing SecDef left office he announced a possible break through in negotiations with the Taleban…….
US negotiations with the Taliban have been making substantial progress in recent months, and there seem to be high hopes that a meeting next week in Doha would be a breakthrough moment. Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen suggested the deal is already effectively made.

Shaheen announced on Twitter Tuesday that the US had pledged to accept a full military withdrawal from Afghanistan, and furthermore to never again interfere in Afghan affairs.

That is certainly the direction the talks have been going, but US military spokesman Col. Dave Butler denied that any such deal was made, saying that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.”

But the basic framework has always been a US withdrawal and the Taliban keeping ISIS and al-Qaeda out of Afghanistan. Further details may need to be worked out to finalize everything, and it’s not clear where they are in that process.

Still, for the US to completely deny that a deal is agreed to seems dishonest, even if technically it isn’t finalized. The US likely just isn’t ready to make this part of the deal official, because of the backlash from Congressional hawks who want to keep troops in Afghanistan forever.
 
(antiwar.com)
Bits and pieces released to give the illusion of looking for a solution to the continuing problem of our stay in Afghanistan……
 
Will our weary troops ever see home again?
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Here Comes A War Again

To be sung to the tune of “Here Comes The Rain Again” by the Eurythmics……a blast from the past!

Pompeo is doing his part to pretend that a war is not wanted….

While continuing to be the public face of the US response to the Gulf of Oman tanker attacks, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is maintaining that the US focus is diplomacy, and that “we don’t want war.”

Pompeo has been seen as one of the more hawkish voices in the administration on Iran, both before and after the tanker incidents. He echoes Trump’s position on opposing a war, but also continues to emphasizes that military options are also being considered.

Pompeo went on to say that “President Trump has done everything he can to avoid war.” He added that the US was prepared to take all actions “diplomatic and otherwise” to achieve their goals in the region.

(antiwar.com)

And yet a close personal friend to Pompeo and past candidate for either State or Defense, Tom Cotton has a different take on the situation…..

Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) joined Margaret Brennan on Face the Nation to speak on the attacks of the two tankers last week in the Gulf of Oman. Cotton said, “These unprovoked attacks on commercial shipping warrant a retaliatory military strike.”

Brennan asked the Senator if he believes the President could attack Iran without getting authorization from congress first, to which Cotton replied, “Yes, Margaret. Going back to President Washington and all the way down to President Trump, the fastest way to get the fire and fury of the U.S. military unleashed on you is to interfere with the freedom of navigation on the open seas and in the air.”

Cotton referenced an inconclusive, grainy, black and white video released by U.S. Central Command last week as proof the Iranians were responsible for the attack, “Everybody can see with their own two eyes, those Iranian sailors going up to a ship and taking a mine off of it.”

The Senator repeated another unsubstantiated claim the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made, “they’ve increased their support on attacks on American troops by supporting a Taliban attack in Afghanistan.” The attack in question is a car bomb blast that occurred on May 31st, targeting a convoy of U.S. troops. The Taliban took responsibility immediately after the attack, and Pompeo offered no evidence that Iran was involved. The Taliban using car bombs against U.S. troops is nothing new.

(antiwar.com)

Now were have new pics of those “Iranians” removing that mine….to me it is just colorized pics that have already been presented…..I have a problem with the location of this “mine”……

Limpet mines float, and attach to the underside of a ship to explode, causing holes below the waterline. That all the holes were above that line, some of them substantially so, suggests these couldn’t have been limpet mines. The Japanese crew, aboard the Kokuka Courageous, claimed their ship was hit by a projectile, not a mine.

Now that brings me to my point…the media.

I have a problem with the MSM for they do nothing but force feed the governmental lies to the public who use to trust them to tell the truth……the media was a factor for the 2003 invasion of Iraq and now they are at it again…this time Iran…..

“Do U.S. reporters, anchors, and editors really want more Middle Eastern blood on their hands? If not, they need to fix their rather credulous and increasingly hawkish coverage of Iran—and fix it fast.”

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/06/14/think-us-media-wont-help-lead-nation-war-iran-based-flimsy-or-false-intelligence

My candidate of choice has made a statement that reflects the way I feel on this situation……

……worlds away from the Middle East, congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has been framing her presidential candidacy on avoiding this type of sabre rattling. While some of her better-known Democratic rivals have focused on healthcare or climate change as the number one concern, the army veteran has instead cited nuclear war and US regime-change policy as the number one threat to the the country she hopes to lead.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/tulsi-gabbard-2020-democrat-iran-us-regime-change-war-oil-a8959586.html

Do Not believe the lies…..search for the answers to your questions….

Closing Thought–19Jun19

Recently our beloved supreme leader issued his dictum that all aid would be cut off to the Central American countries of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras because they are doing little to curb the amount of immigrants headed to the US border……

His, Trump’s, slobbering supporters were all down with him on this unilateral use of his powers……but what the MSM has not done is tell the the rest of the story to his supporters…..

The Trump administration said Monday it is easing previously announced cuts in hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the Central American nations of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala but will not allow new funding until those countries do more to reduce migrant flows to the United States.

The State Department said that after a review of more than $615 million in assistance that President Donald Trump ordered in March to be cut entirely, it would go ahead with $432 million in projects and grants that had been previously approved. The remaining amount will be held in escrow pending consultations with Congress, it said.

That $432 million, which comes from the 2017 budget, is being spent on health, education and poverty alleviation programs as well as anti-crime efforts that many believe help reduce migrant outflows from the impoverished Northern Triangle region. About $370 million in money from the 2018 budget will not be spent and instead will be moved to other projects, the State Department said.

“Previously awarded grants and contracts will continue with current funding,” department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said. She added that assistance “to help the Northern Triangle governments take actions that will protect the U.S. border and counter transnational organized crime will also continue.”

(yahoo news)

Just to let his supporters know that his tough talk is just that…TALK!

And as they say…Talk is cheap!

A Call To Democracy

Once you got past the lies spread by our president you may heard about the protests going on Hong Kong……

Hong Kong citizens marched for hours Sunday in a massive protest that drew a late-in-the-day apology from the city’s top leader for her handling of legislation that has stoked fears of expanding control from Beijing in this former British colony, the AP reports. Nearly 2 million of the city’s 7 million people turned out, according to estimates by protest organizers. Police said 338,000 were counted on the designated protest route in the “peak period” of the march. A week earlier as many as 1 million people demonstrated to voice their concern over Hong Kong’s relations with mainland China in one of the toughest tests of the territory’s special status since Beijing took control in a 1997 handover. Well after dark, crowds gathered outside the police headquarters and Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s office.

On Saturday Lam suspended her effort to force passage of the bill, which would allow some suspects to be sent for trial in mainland China. The move did not appease Hong Kong residents who see it as one of many steps chipping away at Hong Kong’s freedoms and legal autonomy. In a statement issued late Sunday, Lam noted the demonstrations and said the government “understands that these views have been made out of love and care for Hong Kong,” adding: “The chief executive apologizes to the people of Hong Kong for this and pledges to adopt a most sincere and humble attitude to accept criticisms and make improvements in serving the public,” it said. Not enough, said pro-democracy activists, who demand that the Lam administration retire the proposed amendments and not bring them up again for passage at a later stage.

Now the MSM and its pundits are telling the world about the ruthlessness of the Chinese government…how they are doing they can to dash any hopes of a democracy movement….

How nice!

And yet people trying for their democratic rights elsewhere are ignored by the MSM…..take the state of Israel as an example…..they do all they can to subvert the movements in the West Bank and Gaza

You know I have hard time seeing a group of people with rocks as the aggressor in that situation….rocks against airstrikes, artillery, tanks etc……and the Palestinians are the aggressors…..and that is how lies get started.

Rush To Condemn

By that I am talking about the West’s belief in anything said about North Korea…..and then the lack of correction by the media after they make a false report….for instance….recently it was reported that North Korea’s Kim had executed his negotiator on nukes because of the failure of the Hanoi “summit”….and then the person in question was spotted a week later very much alive,,,,and that false report was not corrected by most of the MSM.

I have often question some of the claims by the government and their propaganda arm, the Mainstream Media….

Why do we so easily believe the false reports? Have we been programed to do so?

The American Conservative answers this question……

Perhaps the greatest bottleneck in creating a stable and self-sustaining peace regime on the Korean Peninsula isn’t North Korea’s nuclear weapons or missiles but something much simpler: making peace with what we feel in our hearts is “evil.”

Case in point: last week, a right-leaning South Korean publication, The Chosun Ilbo, published a bombshell story that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had “purged” Kim Hyok-chol, Pyongyang’s lead negotiator in working level talks leading up to the Hanoi summit, executing him a month later. Another even more senior official close to Kim himself, Kim Yong-chol, was “sent to a labor and reeducation camp.”

That’s big news. And from there it gets even more interesting. Kim Jong-un’s sister, Kim Yo-jong, had “not been spotted in public since the Hanoi summit” some 50 days ago, said a South Korean government official. She was reportedly ordered to “lay low.”

 
Americans are easy to rush to condemnation…..they have had years even decades of programming to get the society pleasingly numb to reality.
 
The real story is the “Squid Wars”……this is a battle for squid harvest in the Sea of Japan…..
The Japanese coast guard says its patrol boats have been pushing back hundreds of North Korean boats trying to poach in fishing grounds rich with squid off Japan’s northern coast. Coast Guard officials say they have forced more than 300 North Korean boats out of Japan’s exclusive economic zone near Yamatotai since May, the AP reports. The patrol boats used water cannons on 50 North Korean boats that ignored warnings. Coast Guard footage obtained Tuesday showed North Korean crewmen on a wooden boat abandon a fishing rope after being sprayed with water. Japanese authorities have stepped up patrols in the area as North Korean poaching has surged in recent years. Experts say Pyongyang’s campaign to boost fish harvests has increased poaching by North Korean boats.
Have you ever smelled dried squid?

Closing Thought–17Jun19

Something we hear very little about these days, with all the election and legal wrangling to news of our War on Terror……believe it or not we are still trying to counter terrorism across the world………and as a law the president must inform Congress of our efforts as a national security thing…..

The text of the letter sent by President to the Congress outlining the US military efforts across the world……

Dear Madam Speaker:    (Dear Mr. President:)

I am providing this supplemental consolidated report, prepared by my Administration and consistent with the War Powers Resolution (Public Law 93-148), as part of my efforts to keep the Congress informed about deployments of United States Armed Forces equipped for combat.

MILITARY OPERATIONS IN SUPPORT OF UNITED STATES COUNTERTERRORISM EFFORTS

In furtherance of counterterrorism efforts, the United States continues to work with partners around the globe, with a particular focus on the United States Central and Africa Commands’ areas of responsibility. In this context, the United States has deployed United States combat-equipped forces to conduct counterterrorism operations and to advise, assist, and accompany security forces of select foreign partners on counterterrorism operations. Specific information about counterterrorism deployments to select countries is provided below, and a classified annex to this report provides further information.

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/text-letter-president-speaker-house-representatives-president-pro-tempore-senate-6/

This is a good idea but my question is…what about the troops in Central Asia….are they not armed and ready for combat?

Is It Is Or Is It Ain’t?

If you have been paying attention to the news these days then you will know that we may be inching closer to a war with Iran……..

Pompeo has gone on the Tube and accused Iran of an attack on tankers in the Persian Gulf….without any proof other than his word……the problem there is that the captain of one of the attacked tankers does not agree with Pompeo….

The owner of the Japanese tanker that was attacked on Thursday in the Gulf of Oman, the Kokuka Outrageous, contradicted the US military’s claims about the attack. Central Command reported that the two tankers were hit with limpet mines, a type of mine that is attached to the hull of a ship below the waterline using magnets. But Yutaka Katada, the owner of the Kokuka Outrageous, said he received reports a projectile hit the ship.

“We received reports that something flew towards the ship,” Katada said at a press conference, “The place where the projectile landed was significantly higher than the water level, so we are absolutely sure that this wasn’t a torpedo. I do not think there was a time bomb or an object attached to the side of the ship.”

(antiwar.com)

All this reminds me of the 1980s…..the old “Tanker Wars”……

Mysterious attacks on oil tankers near the strategic Strait of Hormuz this week show how one of the world’s crucial chokepoints for global energy supplies can be easily targeted, 30 years after the U.S. Navy and Iran were entangled in a similarly shadowy conflict called the “Tanker War.”

While the current tensions are nowhere near the damage done then, it underscores how dangerous the situation is and how explosive it can become.

The so-called “Tanker War” involved American naval ships escorting reflagged Kuwaiti oil tankers through the Persian Gulf and the strait after Iranian mines damaged vessels in the region. It culminated in a one-day naval battle between Washington and Tehran, and also saw America accidentally shoot down an Iranian passenger jet, killing 290 people.

https://www.apnews.com/ceb6e7a86bf14a9a8d8ecf81c9dcc7ef

Plus the MSM has been hyping the incident to fan the flames of war….trying to get the public lathered up so they will fully support an illegal war….

If there were any lingering hopes that the corporate media learned from its role in perpetuating the lies that led to the 2003 invasion of Iraq and would never again help start a Middle East war on the basis of false or flimsy evidence, the headlines that blared across the front pages of major U.S. news websites Thursday night indicated that such hopes were badly misplaced.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/06/14/think-us-media-wont-help-lead-nation-war-iran-based-flimsy-or-false-intelligence

It is getting so bad that Pompeo even blames Iran for attacks by the Taleban….

In the violence in Kabul broached by Pompeo, the Taliban claimed responsibility for a suicide bomb attack on a U.S.convoy on May 31 that killed four Afghan pedestrians and wounded four American servicemen and at least three civilians. Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid boasted of the attack in a phone call with The Associated Press.

But on Thursday, as Pompeo slammed Iran, he called the Kabul bombing one of “a series of attacks instigated by the Islamic Republic of Iran and its surrogates against American and allied interests,” the Post reported.

The characterization of the Kabul attack as linked to Iran surprised experts and a former U.S. diplomat, the Post reported. Besides the Taliban’s claim of responsibility, they said it would be unusual for Iran to launch an attack inside Kabul.

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/tanker-attacks-iran-pompeo-taliban_n_5d0581b2e4b0dc17ef0aed60

These warmongers are itching for another fight and will use or blame whoever they must to get their war.