What Is The Point? – In Saner Thought

WARNING:  Strong words to follow….I seldom offer much of my personal life here in IST but from time to time I feel I need to do so…..so here would be a good place to stop reading if you have a sensitive nature.

It is a Sunday and I have nothing for a post today so I went back into my archives and found something from 2009…….(Archives are a great thing)…..

What made me think of this ancient post was a news item in the local paper that they were asking for people to work at a local Civil War re-enactment….that triggered a memory of something that I had written awhile back…..

A Daily Agitation

I read this article in the AP and just had to get some opinions on this.

We have Revolutionary War re-enactments….we have French and Indian War re-enactment….we have Civil War re-enactments……all which are nothing but  macho BS to help people feel more important than they really are……but is this a wise choice?

Source: What Is The Point? – In Saner Thought

I know I may sound bitter…well there is a good reason……. I AM!

VIETNAM VETERAN Sticker

2012 grimreaper remake F Square Car Magnet 3" x 3"

(these are all items that can be found on Cafe Press)

Back in 1985 the locals wanted to have a parade to welcome home the Viet vets…the parade they had not got before and when a friend asked if I was going I told him what I tell people to this day……”Hell NO!  It is too f*cking late!”  I was not and will not soothe a guilty conscience for these people.

Viet vets are kinda like that “Next Generation” episode about the soldiers that were used during a war and then came home to be segregated from the society that sent them to fight and die…..and treated them like 2nd class citizens…….most combat vets never fully return from their deployment…..years does not matter…..something of their souls stayed in country…..basically they knew when they returned home that NO one would care…….

We always got the same two questions…..what was it like?  And did you ever have to kill anyone?  My standard response was…FUCK OFF!

People have NO idea….and to think that d/bags want to play this war is just offensive and even disgusting.

This is why I seldom talk about my experience…I have a tendency to get angry…..

Finish out your weekend and prepare for the coming week….surely it will be a bigger joke than the past one…..peace out my friends….chuq

Coming Of A Police State?

If you follow the news, and most of the readers of IST do, then you will recall the Ferguson Missouri problems a few years ago…the protests and the reactions……..you will also recall the the police appeared to be a military force confronting the protesters….and this situation has occurred over and over…..the police armed and equipped like a military force…..

Like I said this appears to e the wave of the future……

Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “An injustice anywhere is a threat to just everywhere.” We should all be cognizant of King’s quote. In the 20th and 21rst centuries, U.S. policies around the world, both economically and militarily, have been questionable at best. They started with the Philippines in the beginning of the 20th century up to the Middle East today. These policies, more often incredibly violent, are coming back to haunt us. An example of this includes the U.S. international policy of “Low-Intensity Conflict” (LIC).

Source: The Militarization of U.S. Police Departments

What got me to thinking along this road was something the Trump said when he was addressing the Chicago wave of violence…..not the quotes about immigrants or thugs or anyhting along those lines….what it was was his statement that he would send in the Feds……”If Chicago doesn’t fix the horrible ‘carnage’ going on, 228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings (up 24% from 2016), I will send in the Feds.”

Send in the Feds?  Would that not be something akin to a police state?

It would appear that some of the folks who were hoping that Donald Trump was actually an isolationist “jobs” president, rather than the authoritarian white nationalist with imperial ambitions he clearly showed himself to be on the stump, are now being forced to face reality. Everything he has done since he was inaugurated proves him to be dead serious about unleashing the military and the police to enact his agenda, and he wants the other branches of government to understand that if they obstruct him he’s going to make sure his rabid followers know who to blame.

Source: Donald Trump’s Coming Police State: We Have a President Who Wants Unlimited Power and Won’t Respect the Rule of Law | Alternet

He may not have meant it in the way it was said….but that kind of talk is disturbing.

God I love it when a plan comes together!

‘Blackwater Air’

Like a bad penny they just keep turning up.

I have written many posts about the private army of mercenaries that use to be called Blackwater….after their problems with civilian deaths in Iraq Blackwater changed its name to Xe and fell off the grid…..but they really did not go anywhere….except back to war…..

Now they are an air force for hire….in Libya and now by US Special Forces……

I wrote about the re-surfacing in Libya……(there is lots of background in this post)

I have been a critic of the so-called “security contractors”….these people are nothing more than mercenaries….hired soldiers to fight wars for the rich and powerful…..…

Source: From The Ashes – In Saner Thought

A report has come out that “Blackwater” is now being deployed in the Central African Republic……

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the Sikorsky helicopter that The Daily Beast’s source observed in Central African Republic belongs to Illinois-based EP Aviation, LLC.

EP Aviation was once a subsidiary of Academi, the Virginia-based company that was formerly known as Blackwater. The “EP” stands for “Erik Prince,” Blackwater’s founder and the younger brother of billionaire U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. (Does this mean that Trump has a private army at his disposal?)

Source: ‘Blackwater Air’ Is Back, and Flying for U.S. Special Forces – The Daily Beast

Once again the private army/ air force of mercenaries returns after many name changes to keep their activities off the grid….they are back in action and this time as part of our Special Ops activities.

Modern day Hessian……mercenaries in service to empire…..

Why NATO Needs A European Pillar

If you followed the last election then know that our newly elected president has no love for NATO…..he even called it “obsolete”…..

There is a scramble going on the try and find a way to preserve the organization if the US somehow takes a powder and leaves the European allies high and dry.

Below is a opinion from the International Crisis Group (ICG) on the situation with NATO……

If Europe tries to protect the alliance only by ‘buying’ American commitment through increased defence spending, it will fail.

Europeans have every reason to worry about U.S. President Donald Trump. He has declared NATO “obsolete.” He’s spoken more glowingly about Russian President Vladimir Putin than about most Western European leaders. And he’s suggested he will apply his transactional vision of diplomacy to his country’s alliances. A president who has unabashedly made “America First” his guiding principle is telling Europeans America’s commitment to them will depend on their willingness to pay for it.

The Continent’s leaders should listen carefully. For too long, European countries have not been serious enough about their own defence; most spend much less than the two per cent of GDP goal set by NATO. If they do not change course, a president who has little understanding of soft power and, in his own words, only respects “strength,” will not take them seriously.

Source: Why NATO Needs A European Pillar | Crisis Group

Although it is early in the presidency of Trump….but so far the fate of NATO is still up in the air.

When Is Too Many Too Many?

With every incoming president there is the endless promises of budget cuts and easing of the deficit…..and almost always one of the first issues is the closing of military bases….of course the Congress people will protect the ones in their district because it is worth billions to keep them open.

Sadly there needs to be some reality injected into that debate…..and an opinion piece has been written and a realistic look at this issue……

Members of Congress have a hard time agreeing on virtually anything, and they’re already butting heads with the new president. But one issue should unite them: a new initiative to shrink the Pentagon’s massive overhead.

President Trump and Secretary of Defense James Mattis have pledged to cut waste. And key leaders in Congress have renewed their calls for rationalizing the Pentagon’s base structure. Now is the time for Congress to come together, put the national interest over parochial interests and finally support a new round of base closings.

Source: America Has Too Many Military Bases | The National Interest Blog

Anyone that comes here knows my feelings on this…..but in case you are new reader…I do not see why some of these bases cannot be closed….even some of the ones overseas….we have our troops stretched to the limit as it is…..plus the Pentagon budget never takes a hit….most times it is increased at the expense of other need programs….time for some realism in our approach to this situation….

They Always Need More

We hear that all is well in Afghanistan…..well here on IST I have been trying to give my readers the “rest of the story”……

And that story is that things are going to crap in Afghanistan…..

When he took over as commander of the ongoing US war in Afghanistan late last year, Gen. John Nicholson was seen as opposed to the drawdown, and there was even speculation he’d seek increases in troop levels there, though he initially said levels should just remain flat.

Today, however, during his testimony to Congress, Nicholson is starting to push a major new military buildup for Afghanistan, complaining to Congress that the war is in a “stalemate,” and that several thousand more US troops need to be sent to break that stalemate.

The assessment of a “stalemate” is not new, and is a very generous interpretation of the state of the Afghan War, over 15 years in, as the Afghan government has actually been losing ground left and right, holding less territory now than at any time since the occupation began.

It is always the need for “more troops”…..has anyone considered the possibility that that will not help?

Here is a unique concept……stop all ops in Afghanistan and bring everyone home……if things get worse or out of control we can always re-invade….

After all we have troops in 70% of the world……

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Although US elite troops typically only appear in the media when an event of particular relevance (such as the capture and murder of Osama bin Laden in 2011), this does not mean that they are not active. As this infographic above shows, elaborated by Statista, these forces were present in 138 States last year or 70 percent of the world’s countries according to official Special Operations Command data published by TomDispatch. 55.29 percent of deployments were in the Middle East, a 35 percent decease since 2006. In Africa, deployments of elite US forces skyrocketed 1,600 percent during the same timeframe.

Like I said…”we are everywhere!”

Always About The Body Count

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…..

The Pentagon’s transparency in its fight against overseas extremists is being questioned after a Military Times investigation revealed perhaps thousands of secret airstrikes in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria were never publicly disclosed. The US Air Force has an open-source database tapped by Congress, analysts, and others to figure out how costly war is, both on the financial and human fronts. But, per the Times investigation, nearly 460 Afghanistan airstrikes were carried out in 2016 by US combat aircraft, strikes that weren’t included in the database. Another major discrepancy, among others: A public Pentagon report on Iraq and Syria strikes has apparently left out 6,000 or so strikes since 2014. US Central Command, which supervises engagement in those three countries, isn’t sure yet how long these omissions have occurred and couldn’t give the Times a full accounting of all airstrikes.

These findings have critics worrying the military either hasn’t been forthcoming or has been sloppy on other data as well, including how many service members have been lost; what the fight against ISIS, the Taliban, al-Qaeda, and related offshoots is costing US taxpayers; and what our real progress against these groups is. But one US military official tells the Times that while some of the tracking omissions are “really weird,” it’s “unequivocally” not an attempt at subterfuge. “That is just the way it has been tracked in the past,” the official says. And another Army official at the senior level notes some close-to-ground maneuvers shouldn’t really be classified as airstrikes. Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, says, security reasons aside, “facts regarding the number of airstrikes and their civilian toll should always be disclosed promptly and faithfully.”

This is the technique now…..under report the deaths in that way they can keep any anti-war movement to a minimum…and it has been working….