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”

Closing Thought–14Jan20

Should the US Troops be used to protect a foreign dictatorship?

Why would I ask that question?

Trump said in an interview with Fox News’s Laura Ingraham the day before that he had pressured Riyadh to compensate the U.S. for a recent deployment to the Middle East. 

“We have a very good relationship with Saudi Arabia. I said, listen, you’re a very rich country. You want more troops? I’m going to send them to you, but you’ve got to pay us. They’re paying us. They’ve already deposited $1 billion in the bank,” he said.

https://thehill.com/homenews/house/477837-amash-accuses-trump-of-selling-military-support-to-saudi-arabia

Seriously?

Should our troops be used to protect another country?

What happened to all the training and weapons paid for by the Saudis?

If the Saudis cannot defend themselves then where did that money go that was suppose to bem for weapons and training?

Our military has enough on their plate to launch into a mercenary force at the whim of a president.

This is bullshit….and a large pile of steaming BS…..

But let’s be real…most Americans have NO use for the Saudis…..

Everything that happens in the US-Iran relationship is profoundly structured by America’s longtime alliance with Saudi Arabia, a major regional rival of Iran.

That US-Saudi alliance has long been an unquestioned priority of the Washington foreign policy community, though in recent years elite support for Saudi Arabia has come under strain because of the humanitarian disaster in Yemen and the Saudis’ murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, whose children are American citizens. But even by the standards of American presidents, Donald Trump has clung unusually tightly to the Saudis while sharing nothing with the public about his financial relationship with the Saudi government.

It’s also worth noting that while a strong alliance with Saudi Arabia has long been a mainstream position for American foreign policy elites, it’s very unpopular with the American public.

https://www.vox.com/2020/1/6/21050019/saudi-arabia-poll-unpopular

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

I Want American Troops Home

I am one of those shameless antiwar people that thinks diplomacy should replace bullets and drones as a foreign policy tool.

I also like so many others are weary of the troops being used to police the world……our troops are stationed all over the globe and not one of them is there to protect the US homeland…..they are there to protect regimes and such….

The military of the United States is deployed in more than 150 countries around the world, with approximately 170,000 of its active-duty personnel serving outside the United States and its territories.

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/06/us-military-bases-around-the-world-119321

Just in the Middle East we have approaching 100,000 troops…..

The U.S. has maintained a costly presence in the Middle East for decades, with at least 60,000 troops currently stationed around the region, according to United States Central Command

https://www.axios.com/where-us-troops-deployed-middle-east-5e96fdb2-c7ba-4f26-90b4-7bf452f83847.html

But an article by John Whitehead says it better than my puny attempts…..

It’s time to bring our troops home.

Bring them home from Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. Bring them home from Germany, South Korea and Japan. Bring them home from Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Oman. Bring them home from Niger, Chad and Mali. Bring them home from Turkey, the Philippines, and northern Australia.

That’s not what’s going to happen, of course.

The U.S. military reportedly has more than 1.3 million men and women on active duty, with more than 200,000 of them stationed overseas in nearly every country in the world. Those numbers are likely significantly higher in keeping with the Pentagon’s policy of not fully disclosing where and how many troops are deployed for the sake of “operational security and denying the enemy any advantage.” As investigative journalist David Vine explains, “Although few Americans realize it, the United States likely has more bases in foreign lands than any other people, nation, or empire in history.”

Don’t fall for the propaganda, though: America’s military forces aren’t being deployed abroad to protect our freedoms here at home. Rather, they’re being used to guard oil fields, build foreign infrastructure and protect the financial interests of the corporate elite. In fact, the United States military spends about $81 billion a year just to protect oil supplies around the world.

Come Home, America: Stop Policing the Globe and Put an End to Wars-Without-End

Enough is enough!

Time to use our resources to rebuild this country and let others worry about their problems.

This election will do NOTHING to stop them march of endless wars…..because the voter will pick the candidate that has his/her hands deep into the M-IC pockets.

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

VOTE!

I Read I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

More US Deaths

Closing Thought–13Jan20

Sad news from Afghanistan…..two more Americans have been killed in country…..

The Department of Defense announced today the death of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

Both soldiers were killed in action yesterday when their vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device (IED) in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan. The soldiers were conducting operations as part of NATO’s Resolute Support Mission. The incident is under investigation.

The deceased are:

Staff Sgt. Ian P. McLaughlin, 29, of Newport News, Virginia.

Pfc. Miguel A. Villalon, 21, of Joliet, Illinois.

Both soldiers were assigned to 307th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

For more information regarding Staff Sgt. Ian Paul McLaughlin and Pfc. Miguel Angel Villalon, media may contact Lt. Col. Mike Burns, 82nd Airborne Division Public Affairs Officer at (910) 432-6189 or michael.j.burns34.mil@mail.mil.

I am so sorry that these families have to go through this…..the thoughts and well wishes from IST go out to the families.

Hell NO! I Won’t Go!

Recent events have me thinking about days of yore and how they equate with today.

The title is a  familiar chant if you are an old fart that remembers the Vietnam War.

Read On!

But what about these days when there is NO draft for the young to worry about?

Could that change?

Today, however, the chances for great state conflict are high. As the threat of interstate warfare increases, America’s small expeditionary force (which is wearing thin from decades of constant deployments) will be insufficient to meet the challenges that rival great powers, such as China or Russia, pose to the U.S. military. This is especially true, considering the focus of America’s enemies on depriving U.S. forces of their aforementioned technological advantages.

U.S. policymakers should start planning now for the inevitable need to reconstitute the draft and should start anticipating how best to prepare for the demands placed upon its future force—and the country overall—in the event of another world war. When God told Noah to build the ark, he did not wait until the rain began. Similarly, U.S. policymakers have a moral duty to better prepare the country for the coming storm right now. A lack of planning will ensure the worst possible scenario befalls the United States when a great power war begins.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2020/01/07/the_next_world_war_is_comingand_so_is_the_draft_114963.html

Just so happens that a poll has been done and the question asked was if they would try to avoid the draft if necessary?

… a lottery was held to begin drafting Americans into military service for The Vietnam War. This lottery marked the first time since World War II that the US drew numbers to determine who would serve in the military, and it came amid anti-war protests that showed how opposed young people were to selective service. There was no legal avenue to avoid the draft, but many young men tried to find excusable reasons.

Young men today would do the same if there was a draft, according to data from YouGov. 

Three in 10 (31%) male Millennials say that they would “try to avoid being conscripted into the armed forces.” Since all males between ages 18 and 25 must enroll in the US draft, this group is the most likely to be impacted by selective service. Women and older generations were more likely to select “Not Applicable – I have good reason to believe the armed forces would not try to conscript me (e.g. because I am too old, have a disability).”

https://today.yougov.com/topics/politics/articles-reports/2019/11/27/50-years-after-vietnam-war-draft

Millennials would try and avoid serving if possible.

See the full YouGov survey results about conscription

Americans think it’s “very likely” or “somewhat likely” that America will send troops into a new war within the next 40 years. Other YouGov data from June 2019 found that a majority (59%) of Americans believe another “world war” is likely to take place in the next 40 years.

My thought is …REALLY?

Then maybe get off your ass and look up from that damn phone and become the voice to end these goddamn wars of intervention…..endless wars….

Hope I am around  to see how fast these little shits turn to antiwar movement to help save their butts…they will become what they laugh at these days….Boomers.

But if the House has its way they will do away with the Selective Service….once and for all…..

H.R. 5492 (text of bill) would:

  1. Repeal the Military Selective Service Act (thereby eliminating Presidential authority to order men to register with the Selective Service System for a possible military draft and eliminating criminal penalties for failure or refusal to register);

  2. Abolish the Selective Service System (thereby ending contingency planning by the SSS for the Health Care Personnel Delivery System or any other form of special-skills draft);

  3. Prohibit all other Federal agencies from imposing civil sanctions (denial of Federal student financial aid, Federally-funded jobs, etc.) for nonregistration or using nonregistration as a basis for other adverse determinations (denial of naturalization as a US citizen, etc.);

  4. “Preempt” (and thereby override and prohibit) all state sanctions for nonregistration (denial of drivers’ licenses, state financial aid, state jobs, etc.); and

  5. Preserve the rights of conscientious objectors under other laws and regulations (such as applicants for reassignment to noncombatant duties or discharge from the military on the basis of conscientious objection).

(antiwar.com)

Bill Introduced To End Draft Registration

But with Trump’s fanning the fires of war with Iran the Selective Service had so many panic visitors that it crashed the service…..

In the aftermath of the US drone strike that killed the Iranian general Qassem Suleimani in Baghdad, the phrase “World War III” began trending on social media.

More startlingly, a US government agency which registers young men for a potential military draft saw its website crash.

Related: Iranian Americans on edge as tensions surge: ‘The fear is palpable’

“Due to the spread of misinformation,” the Selective Service System (SSS) tweeted on Friday, “our website is experiencing high traffic volumes at this time … We appreciate your patience.”

It added that it was “conducting business as usual” and emphasised that a return to the draft is not imminent: “In the event that a national emergency necessitates a draft, Congress and the president would need to pass official legislation.”

https://sg.news.yahoo.com/us-government-agency-website-crashes-212942668.html

Once again…if you are that afraid then maybe becoming part of the solution would be in order…..well at least Idaho has tried to make a difference…..

Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and arguably the most influential foreign policy voice in Congress, Saturday returned home to Idaho, only to find himself under growing public pressure from veterans and even his own party to end America’s ground troops presence in the Middle East.

Initiated by a group of veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars in the heavily Republican state, whose efforts have quickly spread to other states, the Idaho Republican Party’s state central committee Saturday approved two resolutions urging Risch to support President Trump’s efforts to withdraw U.S. troops from the Middle East, hold public hearings to spotlight recent revelations of “constant lies” by U.S. government officials and corruption by military contractors in Afghanistan, and return to a doctrine of deploying U.S. troops for long-term combat duty overseas only after Congress has approved a formal declaration of war as provided by the Constitution.

Idaho Republican Party Passes Antiwar Resolutions

Finally the antiwar protesters have come out of the shadows…….https://www.usatoday.com/picture-gallery/news/nation/2020/01/04/anti-war-protestors-organize-after-us-killed-iranian-general/2813297001/

It is good to see that the American people have not lost their courage or their concern.

Could antiwar become more pronounce?

Today, as we spiral perilously toward direct military confrontation between the U.S. and Iran, it is worth reflecting on the failures to rein in Trump’s aggression along the way. Given the obvious signs that Trump has been keen to escalate the United States’ many wars — and begin new ones — the complicity of other institutions in Trump’s belligerence, particularly Congress, is stunning.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/01/08/we-need-strong-anti-war-movement-yesterday

Time to return to those days of yore and protest….you may not like them but they have been effective in the past….why not try again?

Their signs were much as anticipated, likewise the chants, the word and curse “imperialism” hardly ever absent from either. But most everybody else with an interest in sign-carrying brought their own, hard-made or a few dozen of the same item offset, like the 8×5” sheet handed to me with the DSA messaging. Looking around, I saw a diorama of the Madison Left—the former leader of the state AFL, a city council member or two, youngsters that I’d never seen before and oldsters that I had seen many times. Only days since New Years, “Auld Lang Syne” went though my head as I took note of the absent-because-dead, generations of lefties and peaceniks since I first got to town in 1967. My favorite home-drawn sign, seen now many times over the years, was probably “Who Would Jesus Bomb?”—the tone of the legislature being dominated by hypocritical white evangelical Republicans. Even better is the one I did not see at this demonstration, “What Would Bob La Follette Do?” because hardly anyone even now fails to recognize the visage and message of our great antiwarrior, 1917 style, sometime governor and Senator to boot.

The Return of the Antiwar Movement: Memories and Intimations

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

The Dumbest Military Orders

I have heard some really stupid orders given by military commanders……I never understood why someone would order a bayonet charge when the enemy still had bullets…….and these are the 10 dumbest orders issued……

Obviously, soldiers have amongst the most dangerous jobs in the world. When it’s not the enemy, friendly fire, weather, or disease that gets them, their commanding officers step in to endanger them through stupidity.

Now imagine being one of the soldiers under the commanders who ordered things this stupid:

10. Build Those Defenses… Backwards!

The War: Mexican-American War, 1846

The Leader: General Gideon Pillow

Pillow was appointed general because he was a friend with then President James Polk from when then practiced law together, so the likelihood he would do something really embarrassing was pretty high from square one. During the war, his most notorious mistake took place when he was stationed at a Mexican village called Camargo. There, he ordered entrenchments built, but had them built so awkwardly that the defenses were backwards, leaving his troops exposed to the enemy.

The incident would have been the most embarrassing incident of his career, but he seemed determined to top it. In 1847, Pillow wrote letters to Washington crediting himself with winning the war, rather than commanding General Winfield Scott; something so blatantly treacherous and false he was arrested for it. He was called back to active service during the American Civil War (luckily for the Union, he fought for the South). There, the most significant thing he did was lose a fortress with 12,000 soldiers to General Grant in 1862. In 1863, he managed to top even that by his actions at the Battle of Stony Creek: one of his subordinate generals found him hiding behind a tree instead of leading his soldiers. (Source: southernhistory.net)

https://www.toptenz.net/top-10-dumbest-orders-in-military-history.php

If you know of other equally stupid orders then please share….

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Is The Military Ready?

Those drums are muted…for now.

There is no doubt that the US has the strongest and best equiped military on the planet……this post is more about strategy than ability…..the two can be separated.

With the assassination of the Iranian general there seems to be an uptick in the concern that the US may be approaching a coming war with Iran with its eyes closed.

Is war coming?

That will depend on the idiots around the table.

But say it does…..The US should not be too cocky…..think back to the 1980s and the Iran-Iraq War…..

Too young to remember that far back?

A short reminder.

We have had our nacho president Tweeting ignorance almost daily….keep the 1980s in mind when plotting  the insanity of a war…..

The president deployed the stereotype of Iranian cunning to imply that they tricked a naïve president, Barack Obama, into signing a flawed nuclear deal. According to the world’s foremost nuclear security experts, however, the accord was ensuring Iran’s compliance, thereby preventing a nuclear weapons program—that is, until Trump subverted the agreement in 2018.

More importantly, Trump’s words underscore the idea that Iranians are cowardly and militarily ineffectual, but make up for such unflattering character flaws by swindling their foes during negotiations to achieve victory.

Iran’s last war, however, should dispel any notion of cowardice and military weakness—a history President Trump and anti-Iran hawks like National Security Adviser John Bolton must face with clear eyes if the United States is to avoid another needless, catastrophic war in the Middle East.

Don’t Underestimate Iran’s Ability to Fight a Bloody War

Keep that in mind and now I want to pass on something I read about our military……

While the Army exhausted itself fighting two frustrating and inconclusive wars in Afghanistan and Iraq over the last 19 years, both Russia and China embarked on grand strategies of regional hegemony designed to undermine the rules-based international order that emerged after World War II under American leadership. Both of these rising powers have developed myriad ways to sew discord and dissent in America’s network of alliances and to expand their spheres of influence.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-us-armys-worst-tradition-never-ready-for-the-next-war

Let me say right here…I am NOT saying we have a crappy military…..what I am saying is that the leadership depends too much on past accolades never preparing for the next war with fresh thinking.

Iran will be NO different.

Chest thumping is not fighting a war…..a macho display is just a cowards way to try and lather up the public.

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”