Where Is Afghanistan?

I heard the question asked when I was eating a gyros in a cafe….the guy was about 20 and his question just made me frown……how could this be?

So I guess I have been missing the point on all my writing…

So I keep trying……

Is our efforts in Afghanistan really helping the people gain some form of security?

A nighttime raid left a family home in flames. Two brothers and one of their wives were executed on the spot; the woman shot three times in the head. A little girl, just three years old, was found burned to death in a bedroom.

The scene might be at home in the erstwhile Soviet Union or a gang-run region of El Salvador today, but it is Afghanistan. And the raiding party was not communist secret police or a drug lord’s foot soldiers but an Afghan strike team managed by the CIA.

These teams have for many Afghans become the public face of the United States’ 18-year intervention, and the teams’ brutality toward civilians has made that face an ugly one. An extensive New York Times investigation uncovered stories of shocking violence against innocent people, a carelessness which makes the strike forces’ effectiveness look less like precision targeting than a shotgun spray hitting everything that moves, militants sometimes included.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2019/01/21/americas_war_in_afghanistan_fostering_anger_not_security_114123.html

Trump has said that we are fighting endless wars (I agree)….so there are rumblings that the US and the current Afghan government are in talks with the Taleban….should we trust the Taleban?

Reports from Washington suggest that US President Donald Trump is pushing for a quick military withdrawal from Afghanistan and that the defence establishment is attempting to reduce the number of troops pulled out and the speed of the withdrawal. However, given Trump’s maverick decision-making style, a US departure is likely to happen sooner rather than later.

It’s imperative that any analysis of the future of Afghanistan factor in the variable of Pashtun nationalism now primarily represented, even if in distorted fashion, by a resurgent Taliban. What has given the Taliban’s appeal potency is their ability to couch in religious terminology traditional Pashtun aspirations for dominance in Afghanistan and the tribes’ aversion to foreign interference.

https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/pashtun-nationalism-and-the-american-withdrawal-from-afghanistan/

Are the Taleban trustworthy?

US needs to find an exit point….maybe it is time to trust the Taleban if it brings our weary troops home.

But I think that the US needs to come to term with the fact that they failed in Afghanistan……

The United States failed in Afghanistan. The only points of debate left for analysts and historians are by how much and who is to blame. With negotiations and withdrawal plans still in the air as of early 2019, nearly 18 years after September 11, 2001, the true extent of American failure remains to be determined, but it is not too early to examine where our institutions and leaders fell short.

Over the course of the war in Afghanistan, pundits have laid the blame at the feet of successive administrations. The arguments were that President George W. Bush was distracted by Iraq, that President Barack Obama gave a timeline that allowed the Taliban to “wait out” the efforts of coalition forces, and that President Donald Trump simply does not have a strategy. Each of these critiques may hold some truth to them and ultimately the commander in chief is responsible for the execution of American foreign policy, but unexamined in these critiques is the limiting factor of American military capabilities.

https://warontherocks.com/2019/02/coming-to-terms-with-americas-undeniable-failure-in-afghanistan/

Face it!  Afghanistan is just not worth it anymore!

Will it end?  Can it end?

President Donald Trump said in his State of the Union address that “great nations do not fight endless wars.” It was a clear signal that his administration has scaled back its objectives for Afghanistan and is headed for the exit. The only question now is whether the Taliban and their Pakistani sponsors will settle for a partial victory by participating in an Afghan government they do not wholly control, or whether they will bide their time until the occupation ends, then turn on those Afghans who have been fighting alongside U.S. forces and triumphantly return to power, governing as they did before the war.

The smart money is on the latter.

Trump is not the first American president to try to bring a “forever war” to an end. President Barack Obama promised to end the war in Iraq, and he did. But America’s adversaries there took the opportunity to reconstitute a threat significant enough that Obama had to reengage.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/02/how-end-war-afghanistan/582310/

This is a glimmer of hope for us that want this war to end….no matter what!

But I refuse to believe that these toads in DC really want to end this war.

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FLASH! Troops Coming Home!

But first did you see the major news story on Sunday?  Prince Philip will give up his drivers license ….Seriously? This is the best the MSM can do? Now there is a story that NO ONE gives a sh*t about!

Sorry let’s talk troops.

There has been a back and forth about our troops in Syria….prez sez they come home…..DOD sez maybe but not now…..prez sez there is no time table…..DOD sez…………..

More news (but it could change before I finish typing) about our weary troops in Syria…..

The most specificity any officials have offered on the US plan for Syria, Pentagon officials confirmed Thursday that the current in-military timeline is to have all US troops out of the country by the end of April.

Officials confirmed this could be altered by policy changes in the future, but that for now the intention is to withdraw a significant number of the forces by mid-March, and the rest by the end of April.

The State Department was quick to contradict on this matter, saying that there is no timeline for withdrawing from Syria, and that the US is still committed to protecting the Kurdish YPG, and expelling all Iranian troops from Syria.

The White House did not directly comment on this matter, but it seems that the military is not interpreting Trump’s call for an “orderly pullout” as an excuse for an indefinite delay, while the State Department is still waiting for further changes in policy before admitting that troops are leaving.

This may, for the administration, prove to be the best of both worlds, as it allows the Pentagon to carry out the withdrawal that Trump ordered in December, while everyone else keeps up the pretense that nothing is finalized.

This is good news if it is true…..but it is also a chance that it is a con job like everything else this president does.  (I admit that I do not like or trust Trump but I do agree with his plan to bring the troops home)

Now ask….why is Congress dead set against the troop withdrawal?

In Syria Washington chose to enter a civil war of minimal security concern to America. Syria was allied with the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Washington’s previous forays in similarly imploding Middle Eastern nations—Lebanon and Libya—turned out badly. The executive branch concocted ever more outlandish duties for American military personnel: extirpate ISIS, exclude Iran, confront Russia, pacify Turkey, protect Kurds, and pressure Damascus. Yet Congress never voted on the continual usurpation of legislative power.
Members also sat like potted plants as presidents illegally made war in Libya, Syria, and Yemen and threatened to unilaterally strike Iran, North Korea, and now Venezuela. Legislators preferred to avoid committing themselves. If the ensuing conflict goes well, then they will applaud the president; if it goes badly, then they will criticize his impetuous incompetence. They routinely refuse to live up to their constitutional responsibilities, unless forced to do, as when President Barack Obama tossed the issue of bombing Syria to Congress.

https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/capitol-hill-cowards-why-congress-trying-undermine-trumps-troop

The news is that the last stronghold for ISIS is under attack and the battle is going well……soon all the territory lost to ISIS will be retaken……(lost territory does not mean the group is defeated)…..

But Syria is a history of lousy excuses……

When former president Barack Obama authorized the invasion and occupation of Syria in 2015, he did so in complete defiance of both US and international law. Congress had not then declared war on Syria and has not since then offered any formal legal basis for Obama’s actions. And since Syria is a United Nations member state which has never attacked the US nor indicated any intent to do so, the invasion/occupation constitutes a war of aggression – “the supreme international crime,” as Nuremberg Tribunal judge Norman Birkett called it.

Despite the complete absence of any compelling military or political reason for invading and occupying Syria, and despite the complete illegality of that invasion and occupation, these Senators believe that Trump should reverse his decision and keep US troops at risk in a land whether they’re neither needed nor welcome.

After all, if US troops aren’t there, US troops can’t be killed there, and US troops need to be killed there every once in a while to justify keeping them there in perpetuity. The Senators’ campaign donors in the “defense” industry need them kept there. Government contracts and stock dividends depend on it!

That’s the caliber of mind and morality the voters of South Carolina, Florida, Oklahoma, and Rhode Island send to Washington, DC. Can’t say I blame the voters for wanting those guys to go somewhere, anywhere other than South Carolina, Florida, Oklahoma, or Rhode Island. If nothing else it probably raises those states’ average IQs and reduces their petty crime rates.

(antiwar.com)

Syria has been a cluster fuck for decades and Obama onward did nothing to change that…..PERIOD!

All Those Wars!

We have a couple of wars that most have no dear why any longer.

A couple months ago Trump said troops would be leaving Syria and a partial draw down for Afghanistan…….and the Neo cons went batcrap crazy with the MSM joining into the chorus….

Trump then stepped back from his pronouncements.

Having drifted back and forth a few times on the US withdrawals from Syria and Afghanistan, President Trump seemed solid on leaving last week, but facing growing opposition from the Senate now shows signs of backtracking once again.

Previously talking up how the wars in Afghanistan and Syria can’t last forever, Trump is now saying he wants a “smaller number” of troops to stay in Afghanistan, despite the Taliban already making it clear that was a non-starter for the peace deal.

In Syria, Trump is now focused on the idea that the pullout can only happen after assuring that “Israel is protected,” which is as close to a recipe for permanent warfare as one can get. Israeli officials have made clear they want the war to be about Iran, not ISIS.

https://news.antiwar.com/2019/02/03/trump-backtracks-on-syria-afghan-withdrawals-facing-growing-senate-pressure/

Then Trump had a SOTU where he taunted the ending of use less wars….

The Congress seems to be a big obstacle for the president……instead of caving to the warmongers in Congress he should push back on the cowardice…..

Who says Democrats and Republicans can’t agree on anything? Washington closed ranks Thursday behind two wars President Donald Trump has proposed winding down as the Senate voted 68-23 to advance a resolution warning against “precipitous withdrawal” from Afghanistan and Syria.

Afghanistan is now the longest war in U.S. history, making any withdrawal seem anything but “precipitous.” Syria hasn’t even been authorized by Congress. In both cases, our men and women in the armed forces have already achieved the goals that are militarily attainable. “It doesn’t get much more pathetic,” Congressman Justin Amash, a Michigan Republican, said of the Senate vote.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/trump-should-call-congresss-bluff-on-our-endless-wars/

 

Do We Have An Obligation?

Closing Thought–05Feb19

Conversations With my Granddaughter

In this case the obligation is that of military service.

I have been having an internal debate (was hoping there would be an expanded debate…but it did not work out that why) on the necessity for some form of conscription for military service…..an easy term would be ….the Draft.

Should I give a short synopsis?  Not a chance because this topic is more complex than a simple short synopsis.  The posts that I have written in the past…..

https://lobotero.com/2015/10/05/would-a-return-to-conscription-substantially-reduce-the-probability-of-war/

https://lobotero.com/2007/04/10/why-no-draft/

https://lobotero.com/2018/02/26/conscription-is-not-the-answer/

But what are the pros and cons of a military draft?

First the pros……

1. It eliminates multiple re-deployments and provides a stronger military.
With more soldiers, there can be a sufficient number of fresh reserves ready to defend the country in case war breaks out. Aside from that, since there are more troops there is less tendency for individuals to be re-deployed several times during their service period, allowing them more ‘down time’ and hopefully decreasing the number of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) cases.

2. It promotes stronger national unity.
A large number of individuals who volunteer for the United States army are in need of a career or money for higher education. Conscription can diversify the military since people from all classes of society should enlist. This removes the disproportionate amount of burden from ethnic minorities and the poor, and creates better integration of races and economic class and stronger national unity.

3. It creates a more competitive workforce.
Military training equips young people with skills and knowledge that make them better equipped and more competitive even when transitioning to a career outside the armed forces.

4. It promotes discipline and public service in the youth.
Youth who have no direction or drop out of school due to bad behavior can learn essential life skills when joining the military. They learn about responsibility, working for a greater cause, and protecting freedom.

Now the cons…….

1. It violates individual liberties.
Freedom of choice is a right that many Americans firmly believe in. By taking away this liberty, citizens can feel resentment towards the government and even towards the armed forces.

2. It can cause civil unrest.
It won’t be just those who are forced to enlist who will harbor negative opinions about the government and military. Loved ones and anti-war advocates will also be disapproving of the idea, especially since they know it is putting the lives of so many young citizens at risk. Rallies and demonstrations were very common during the Vietnam War draft.

3. It demands more financing from the national budget.
Currently, the military already takes more than half of the national budget. By increasing the size of the armed forces, more funds are required. So, more money will be taken from other government sectors and projects, affecting social resources and programs.

4. It increases the number of wartime injury cases.
Even if troops can have more down time, it does not guarantee that they won’t incur physical and emotional injuries during deployment. Cases of PTSD are still highly common among current volunteer military and veterans, and they will most likely increase as more individuals witness the ravages of war first hand.

With all that info at hand….what prompt me to write this post was something I read about the “obligation of military service”…..

In 1778, Samuel Johnson said that “every man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a soldier,” but should that still be the case today? John Stuart Mill claimed:

a man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for…is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

Was Mill right? Does every able-bodied citizen have an obligation to put him or herself in harm’s way if needed? Should the United States compel such service by a draft? Perhaps most importantly, is a fully-informed discussion about these issues overdue in America?

https://warontherocks.com/2018/06/can-we-talk-the-obligation-of-military-service/

What had me going to rite about something I detest was the simple fact that our troops are stretched too thin……all have multiple deployments as many as ten times…..and the society does not care…..time for the nation to share the burden…..

I hate to admit that as an antiwar person for over 50 years I would support a re-introduction of conscription as an obligation to this society.  Why?  The Society needs to share the experience of wars on families.

Those Shifting Poles

There has been a murmur in the conspiracy world of the shifting of the magnetic poles will end all life on Earth and then NASA got involved…..https://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/2012-poleReversal.html

Now you can believe the hype or the science it is up to you.

My shifting poles are the poles in politics and especially with war.

For decades the GOP has been home to what we call the “war Hawks” and the Democratic Party has been the home of those that tried to push back on war we called the “peace-niks”….in the past couple of months there seems to be slight changing of the political poles.

I am not saying that the GOP has become anti-war…..only that Trump is pulling the party in that direction….

Imagine if, during President George W. Bush’s occupation of Iraq, someone had predicted that in about a decade, Republican voters would oppose war more than Democrats. Few would have believed it.

Yet according to new polling, it’s happening. It might even be President Donald Trump’s greatest accomplishment to date.

The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald broke down this new data in a recent piece in which he claims Democrats are “becoming far more militaristic and pro-war than Republicans.” Greenwald says that while the overwhelming majority of Washington elites opposed—or, more accurately, had a total meltdown over—Trump’s December announcement that he would withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, polling data from Morning Consult/Politico shows that 49 percent of Americans support the decision while 33 percent oppose it.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/hawkish-democrats-anti-war-republicans-thank-trump/

What this year has shown is that the Dems are becoming more war-like….just look at their reaction of Trump’s announcement of pulling troops from Syria and about half the troops from Afghanistan……the MSM went batcrap crazy and the Dems joined in…..

The GOP has not become totally anti-war….but their numbers are dwindling as Trump tries to move his “policies” forward.

Closing Thought–31Jan19

A-10 vs F-35  Mash Up!

The Pentagon has had a brain fart and wanted to replace the close support plane A-10 with this high tech brick, the F-35.

The A-10 Warthog…..

I have been following this story in support of keeping the A-10 as the primary close troop support plane…….some of my thought…..https://lobotero.com/2018/03/05/a-10-vs-f-35-remix/

There has been an evaluation going on with the A-10 and F-35…..and the next stage will begin soon…..

The Pentagon-led F-35 vs. A-10 Close Air Support assessment is nearing its next phase of evaluation, following an initial “first wave” of tests in July of this year — designed to test which of the two aircraft might be best suited to confront heavy enemy fire when performing high-risk CAS missions.

“Mission performance is under evaluation,” Vice Adm. Mat Winter, Program Executive Officer, F-35 program, told reporters earlier this year.

Pre- Initial Operational Test & Evaluation test phases, are currently underway at Edwards AFB and Naval Air Station China Lake, officials said.

https://defensemaven.io/warriormaven/air/pentagon-f-35-vs-a-10-close-air-support-evaluation-hits-next-phase-qXj6tgp6g06nCJvtEMrzKg/

Personally, there is NO contest….the ‘Hog has been saving troops lives for decades and should keep doing what it does best.  I mean the Pentagon keeps upgrading the old B-52 and the same can be done with the A-10 and it would be cheaper than a fleet of flying bricks, F-35.

The A-10 does not need a replacement…..it carries out its duties just fine.

Giving Respect

Closing Thought–29Jan19

Recently I wrote a post about the respect shown to an “Unclaimed” veteran……..https://lobotero.com/2019/01/22/those-unclaimed-veterans/

And again an outpouring of respect for the “Unclaimed” veteran…..

When the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery announced that 72-year-old Joseph Walker was to be buried as an “unaccompanied veteran,” with nobody present but cemetery workers, the response was overwhelming. Roads around the cemetery were jammed and the service had to start late to accommodate the estimated 2,000 to 5,000 people who showed up to honor the Air Force veteran Monday, CNN reports. The cemetery said it had been unable to contact any relatives of the Vietnam-era vet, who served from 1964 to 1968 and received an honorable discharge. “If you have the opportunity, please come out and attend,” the Killeen cemetery said in a Facebook post. “We do NOT leave Veterans behind.”

Sen. Ted Cruz and CNN’s Jake Tapper were among those spreading word of the funeral. It was officiated by Marc George of the Christian Motorcyclists Association, NPR reports. “Today, we’re not strangers; today, we are family,” he said. “This is our brother, Joseph Walker.” Cemetery staff say the turnout included airmen and veterans from all over Texas. “It’s completely overwhelming,” Texas General Land Office communications director Karina Erickson tells the Killeen Daily Herald. “It really sends the message that this is Texas, and we don’t leave our veterans behind.” She says the agency, headed by George P. Bush, changed policies in 2015 to ensure that all veterans are buried with recognition of their service. (In New Mexico, a funeral home paid for a full military funeral for a veteran whose body was unclaimed in a hospital morgue.)

Bless the people that showed such respect….for NO veteran should be buries without people in attendance.