The Bodies Continue To Mount Up

I feel like I am alone here on the blogosphere hen it comes to our troops fighting so many wars it is almost uncountable.  But I continue to follow the sites that keep me up to date on the conflicts and most of all the soldiers that are killed in service to their country.

I will admit the these deaths made the news….15 seconds of coverage…..

We can add two more to the ever expanding number of combat dead….this time it is in Afghanistan…….

The Pentagon says two US service members were killed in Afghanistan overnight Wednesday, reports the AP. Navy Capt. Jeff Davis says they were killed during an operation against the Islamic State in Nangahar Province in the eastern part of the country, the same area in which the US dropped the “mother of all bombs” on an ISIS complex two weeks ago. That bomb killed several dozen militants just days after a US Army special forces soldier was killed in the region. Davis says the US is still gathering details on Wednesday’s incident. The US estimates that the group has about 800 fighters in Afghanistan.

It amazes me that these people mean NOTHING to the average American….instead they had rather worry about the freshness of their breath or what the bathroom smells like after a dump or how fresh their ass is after a TP use……

This is pathetic….that is right I called all you PATHETIC!

Anzac Day

I am always going on about the American vets and have pretty much ignored other countries and their vets….I apologize.  The ugliness of war effected more than just Americans…..and ALL vets deserve their recognition.

Today is Anzac Day……25 April

It is their equivalent to the US Veterans Day….an observant of the Great War (WW1)…….a day to honor those that fought and died.

When war broke out in 1914 Australia had been a federated nation for only 13 years, and its government was eager to establish a reputation among the nations of the world. When Britain declared war in August 1914 Australia was automatically placed on the side of the Commonwealth. In 1915 Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of the expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula in order to open the Dardanelles to the allied navies. The ultimate objective was to capture Constantinople (now Istanbul), the capital of the Ottoman Empire, an ally of Germany.

The Australian and New Zealand forces landed on Gallipoli on 25 April, meeting fierce resistance from the Ottoman Turkish defenders. What had been planned as a bold stroke to knock Turkey out of the war quickly became a stalemate, and the campaign dragged on for eight months. At the end of 1915 the allied forces were evacuated from the peninsula, with both sides having suffered heavy casualties and endured great hardships. More than 8,000 Australian soldiers had died in the campaign. Gallipoli had a profound impact on Australians at home, and 25 April soon became the day on which Australians remembered the sacrifice of those who died in the war.

Although the Gallipoli campaign failed in its military objectives, the actions of Australian and New Zealand forces during the campaign left a powerful legacy. What became known as the “Anzac legend” became an important part of the identity of both nations, shaping the ways in which they viewed both their past and their future.

Source: Anzac Day: Remembering the Soldiers on Unexpected Battlefields | RealClearDefense

Take a few moments and think about the sacrifices that all war veterans make for the country…..they deserve far more than they are given.

I will attempt to rectify my oversight,,,,again I am sorry for my thoughtlessness.

Afghanistan: Land Of The Proxy

My old farts that visit IST will remember the days of yore, 1979, when the USSR entered Afghanistan…..I use “old farts” because few seem to want to remember that we have been doing “business” in Afghanistan for over 25 years.

The USSR entered neighboring Afghanistan in 1979, attempting to shore up the newly-established pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. In short order, nearly 100,000 Soviet soldiers took control of major cities and highways. Rebellion was swift and broad, and the Soviets dealt harshly with the Mujahideen rebels and those who supported them, leveling entire villages to deny safe havens to their enemy. Foreign support propped up the diverse group of rebels, pouring in from Iran, Pakistan, China, and the United States.

It was a proxy war between the USSR and the US and the people of Afghanistan were caught in the middle of the 9 years of death and destruction……The US armed the opposition to the Russian occupation and today it appears that Russia is arming the opposition to the American occupation…..

The Afghan War is going extremely poorly, 16 years in, and the US military needs someone to blame for its failures. The first choice among a lot of top military figures seems to be Russia, and while they offer no evidence to back up their claims, several have alleged that Russia might conceivably be arming the Taliban.

US commandeer Gen. John Nicholson appeared to be joining that camp today during comments in Kabul, complaining about the “malign influence” of Russia in the country, and insisting that he was “not refuting” allegations of Russia shipping weapons to the Taliban.

(antiwar.com)

I bring all this up because there seems to be another proxy war between Russia and the US brewing…..and yes Afghanistan will be caught in the middle once again.

If recent developments are any indication, Russia is becoming increasingly focused on and active in Afghanistan. The Russian government has held several consultations with Tajikistan on expanding security cooperation on the Tajikistan-Afghanistan border and has explored increasing the scope of its Central Asian military bloc, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). It has also increased its diplomatic engagement with the Taliban and, according to Afghan and U.S. officials, may even be providing security assistance to the group. Long a consideration for Russia, Afghanistan is growing in importance to Moscow at both the tactical and strategic levels. And as it does, it is becoming an increasingly important theater for the U.S.-Russia competition.

Source: Afghanistan: The Next Big U.S.-Russia Proxy Battle | RealClearDefense

This is what the US and Russia are very good at doing……using proxies so they do not have to get their hands dirty….as it were……

Russia is a great power that retains muscle memory (and a strategic arsenal) from its past superpowerdom. In the Ukraine and Syria, Russia has challenged the United States—its former peer and a hesitant hegemon in decline—through direct military interventions. Additionally, Moscow has impressively deployed hybrid warfare tactics to create the perception that it has influenced the U.S. presidential election and forged a rift between the incoming commander-in-chief and elements of the U.S. intelligence community.

Surprisingly, Afghanistan is emerging as another arena in which Moscow is pointedly working at odds with Washington’s interests. Indeed, recent moves by Russia now represent a pivot toward Afghanistan, posing a set of challenges that have been unanticipated by U.S. observers of the region. The incoming Trump Administration ought to be aware of Russia’s newfound assertiveness vis-à-vis Afghanistan, both in the threats it poses as well as the potential opportunities it may present.

Source: Russia Returns to Afghanistan | The National Interest

What is left to say….some tactics never change….and that could very well be the problem.

There is one more thing to say…..

Mattis did meet with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, and offered the same assessment that US officials have been offering on the Afghan War for the past 16 years, that it’s “going to be a tough year” in Afghanistan, and that the US appreciates the major problems facing the country.

There you have same song, different year.

After I wrote this draft another Afghan story came to my attention……

The use of a large conventional bomb against an Afghan tunnel complex occupied by Islamic State militants recently captured the media’s imagination. Talking heads rushed to discern the meaning of the decision. Was it President Donald Trump sending a message to North Korea? Was the president even involved in the decision? It turns out that he wasn’t.

The U.S. Commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Nicholson, says he ordered the use of the MOAB (Massive Ordnance Air Burst Bomb, known colloquially as the “mother of all bombs”) for purely tactical reasons: “This is the right munition to reduce these obstacles.” The jubilation expressed by U.S. media in purely tactical destruction, however, sent a strategic message to some Afghans: that the United States considers their country a collection of targets to destroy rather than a country with a history and, hopefully, a future. A senior pro-government political analyst in Kabul whom I have known for decades points out that even if the Islamic State flees the area, the government’s weakness means the Taliban, who pose a greater threat to the government, will fill the vacuum.

Source: It’s Much Bigger Than Afghanistan: U.S. Strategy for a Transformed Region

The song is FAR from over!

It’s Looking A Lot Like “Groundhog Day”

I am referring to our wars of conquest of those barbaric groups AQ and ISIS…..

We have been fighting one or the other for about 20 years…the other is a fairly recent add to the War on Terror…..

The problem is that we keep doing the same thing over and over and spinning our wheels in the process….kinda like the movie “Ground Hog Day”…..only with guns, bombs, death and destruction.

The current situation in Syria reminds us again that we are failing in our post-9/11 wars. We have accomplished neither the strategic objectives set forth by the Bush administration nor those of the Obama administration. Both administrations have had notable successes and achieved periodic tactical and operational progress, but neither created sustained strategic success. The jury on the current administration is still out, but on the campaign trail the President suggested we can defeat ISIS with military force alone—bombing the *@#! out of them. To put it kindly, this approach misses the mark. America has led a concerted leadership decapitation campaign against both al Qaeda and ISIS for a decade and a half. Such a campaign is necessary, but not sufficient. How much longer will we take this approach before we learn that we are waking up to the same day over and over again?

Source: U.S. Strategy for al Qaeda and ISIS: It’s Groundhog Day | RealClearDefense

I keep waiting for all those brilliant minds in the government to come up with something new and innovative…..so far there is NOTHING new under the table at the Pentagon.

And this new administration is definitely not the group to end this war with a victory….they, like their predecessors, are nothing more the hammer to help the M-IC nail down massive profits with NO intention of ever ending this gravy train.

Let’s Debate Syria

Yesterday in class a student requested a substantive talk on the Syrian situation….and since I encourage my students to research a situation I decided to closed down my lesson for a half hour to have a debate on Syria….( I have the power)…..

The young lady started with that she understood why we were in Syria but was confused why so many people compare it to Iraq.  She was not sure why.

I spent about 10 minutes explaining the mash up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq…that apparently it was started on lies.

She then asked if not doing something in the face of humanitarian crisis would have been the right thing……I asked her she was talking about non-intervention….she was…..after about 5 minutes of back and forth I asked her where she had got her info for the questions….

This is the report that she had read…….

It’s remarkable just how little the basic contours of the Syria debate have changed, despite more than five years of brutal civil war. The same perceptions and misperceptions about intervention dominate today. In some ways, they are even worse now because of the distorting figure of President Donald Trump. Is it possible to separate one’s feelings about the man from the recognition that he is, whether we like it or not, our commander-in-chief?

Source: A practical guide for avoiding fallacies on Syria | Brookings Institution

After we talked for awhile longer and I told her that Brookings did some good research and papers….but that they have an agenda….like most think tanks….they say they are non-partisan but most consider them a liberal think tank…in so it has been known to change views depending of politics…..that it is a good place to start but not to end.

I decide to forgo the lesson plan for the day and to talk to the class about Syria…in the headlines but few know why…..

Below is a good synopsis…..

As the Syrian conflict enters its seventh year, more than 465,000 Syrians have been killed in the fighting, more than a million injured and over 12 million Syrians – half the country’s prewar population – have been displaced from their homes.

In 2011, what became known as the Arab Spring revolts toppled Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Source: Syria’s civil war explained from the beginning | News | Al Jazeera

After 5 years and an all out assault on a Syrian airbase……what should come next?

Whether one believes they were the long-overdue response to the Syrian regime’s brutality, a one-off event that will not affect the conflict’s trajectory, a risky step that could prompt military escalation or all of the above, the 7 April U.S. missile strikes on Syria’s Shayrat air base in response to the regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons should be seized upon as an opportunity to jumpstart diplomatic efforts. The strikes have heightened tension between Moscow and Washington. Yet, this added volatility and the risks attached to it could and should prompt more serious pursuit by the two countries of their purportedly common interest: de-escalating violence sufficiently to establish a meaningful political track. This can be best achieved by deepening rather than breaking off U.S.-Russian cooperation.

Source: Syria after the U.S. Strike: What Should Come Next | Crisis Group

I have said a couple of times that I am disturbed on how the media has framed this…..they are basically a cheerleader for military action…..and has uplifted Trump from “Dud to Dude”……

It is pretty amazing how quickly the media and suck-up politicians can transform a mendacious, hypocritical, amateurish, ignorant, incoherent, bigoted buffoon who is way, way out of his depth into a man of courage, which is what they did to President Trump this past weekend. All it takes is some saber rattling and launching a few dozen missiles. Granted, the Trump brand is already so tarnished that he didn’t get the bounce or the adulation that the Bushes, pere and fils, got when they began their wars. According to one poll, only 51 percent of Americans approved of Trump’s action, but given that Trump’s favorability rating has hovered around or even south of 40 percent, this is an improvement.

Source: Why Trump Was Able to Sucker the World on Syria | By Neal Gabler | Common Dreams

Trump has drawn his little line in the sand (the problem with those lines is a wind blows up and they disappear) and all the king’s boyz have had their say on Syria….but really what is next?

Since World War II, every war America started without just cause it lost. Vietnam and the second Iraq War are tragic proof of this conclusion. But America also failed when it intervened with military force for similarly flawed reasons. The reasons are obvious. First, America failed to exercise sound strategic thinking and judgment. Second, America lacked sufficient knowledge and understanding of conditions in which force was used.

In other terms, White Houses never answered the fatal “what next?” question. Congresses never demanded answers. And the public was too often disengaged and disinterested to demand accountability.

Source: Does America ever learn? What next in Syria? – UPI.com

All in all a good session in class…..BTW the young lady that started the class down this path will be getting a favorable grade for showing initiative on the Syria situation…..(I need more like her)……

MOAB……The “Big Bang”

Before I go any further on this “Big Bang”….there is important news coming out of Afghanistan that the media chooses to ignore…..

Any American soldier has been killed in Afghanistan……An Army Green Beret…..

Staff Sgt. Mark de Alencar, 37, was killed by “small arms fire” in Agarhar Province Saturday, the Department of Defense

de Alencar was married and had five children.

And NO one cared.

I have waited before I posted more on the MOAB explosion…..I wanted to see what others had to say about this “big bang”…

The “mother of all bombs” dropped on the Islamic State in Afghanistan Thursday not only killed 36 militants but also destroyed their base within a 1,000-foot-long network of tunnels and a stockpile of weapons, says the Afghan defense ministry. A presidential spokesman tells the BBC that ISIS commander Siddiq Yar was among those killed as the GBU-43/B Massive Ordinance Air Blast bomb detonated in the Momand valley of Achin in Nangarhar province.

Officials say civilians had previously left the area and weren’t affected by the blast, which the district governor described as “the biggest I have ever seen.” President Trump says the strike was “another successful job,” per CNN, which notes the US military had pegged the number of active ISIS militants in the area at up to 800. They had been launching attacks on Afghan troops from the tunnels. One person who was displeased by the move: former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who called it “an inhuman and most brutal misuse of our country.” Read more about the specifics of the bomb here.

Here it is…The “Big Bang”…….30 seconds of ecstasy (if you are a lover of destruction)……

According to the intel there were about 800 ISIS fighters in the area…..and this huge ass bomb killed 36….at what cost?

My economics is not very good but I do not believe that is a sound return on investment…..just a thought.

Is India Next?

America has had an off again, on again relationship with India….at one point we hated them for they were aligned with the USSR…then they were I buddies….now it is pretty much up in the air who likes who…..

Everyone knows how the US feels about AQ….well that is everywhere but in Syria……it looks like AQ is spreading its influence into the sub-continent, India to be more accurate….

: In the region, AQIS is a highly significant group. This is an assessment that’s shared by top officials within the U.S., such as General John Nicholson, Commander of American and NATO troops in Afghanistan, who talked about this recently in an interview with CTC Sentinel.

AQIS was formally announced in September 2014, but its origins go back before the formal announcement. Al Qaeda has had longstanding relationships in the region for some time, as is well known. The center of gravity for al Qaeda, and for its senior leadership, was in Afghanistan-Pakistan and South Asia for around 15 years, so the group maintained longstanding relationships, not just in the post-9/11 world but also prior to the 9/11 attacks. They were able to cultivate strong ties with sectarian and Kashmir-focused militant factions, and the network spans several countries, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh.

Source: AQIS Fits Into al Qaeda’s Global Strategy | The Cipher Brief

This could a conflict in the making especially after the president and his cronies have made it clear that the US would use troops wherever needed….does that mean that we will be sending special ops people to the sub-continent any time soon?