Report On US Troops

Everybody is up in arms about Trump and his “birther” comments…both then and now….who cares what he thinks…he is an idiot…..and as usual the candidates are NOT talking about issues and solutions but rather the mundane crap of insults toward the other….and the media feeds this lack of true discourse just to gain ratings…..

This post is for all those “sunshine patriots” that wrap themselves in the flag and spout crap…….

I have pissed and moan about the population of this country cares little about our troops except when they are needed for some purpose….day to day they care little…….

For instance…..last week another US soldier died in the Middle East….just in case you people actually care…..

The U.S. Defense Department says a soldier from Mill Creek, Washington, died from a noncombat-related injury in Kuwait.

The department says 1st Lt. Jeffrey D. Cooper, 25, died Saturday.

The WDRB TV station in Louisville, Kentucky, says Cooper was killed in a rollover vehicle accident while traveling from Camp Buehring in Kuwait to the Ali Al Salem Airfield. The department says Cooper was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

WDRB reports that Cooper’s awards include a National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Army Service Ribbon.

True it was a non-combat death….but any death of an American soldier should be news and reported.

Now in Syria we are supporting the “Free Syrian Army” in their fight against Assad…..we give them cash, weapons and other support….but as usual nothing buys loyalty……

US special forces soldiers got a chilly reception from Syrian rebel troops when they showed up to help them fight ISIS in the town of al-Rai on Thursday, UPI reports. According to the Telegraph, a video posted to social media shows US troops fleeing the town “under a barrage of abuse and insults.” The special forces soldiers were in Syria to assist Turkish troops working with the Free Syrian Army rebel group, themselves financed and supported by the Pentagon, in their efforts against ISIS. But it seems technically being an American ally doesn’t necessarily mean you want to work alongside actual Americans.

In the video, members of the Free Syrian Army could be heard chanting “down with America” and calling the US soldiers “crusaders, RT reports. They also called Americans “dogs and pigs.” “We won’t accept any American here—we’re Muslims, not infidels,” one rebel says. “Christians and Americans have no place among us,” says another. In the face of this protest, the US soldiers left town in trucks and headed back for the Turkish border. A spokesperson for the US State Department calls the response of the Free Syrian Army “not appropriate.” And US Central Command says it’s looking into the incident.

Once again more troops to Iraq and the MSM missed it in favor of some hair crap…….

Reports out of the area around Qayara say that hundreds of additional US ground troops have arrived at the Qayara Air Base, to join several hundred troops already there. The troops are expected to provide “logistic support” for the Mosul invasion.

Plus….do you think that the military is all in favor of our involvement in Syria?  Think again!

The deal for U.S. military cooperation with Russia would expand the current mission in Syria far beyond it’s exclusive focus on the Islamic State group.

And the Pentagon is not happy about it.

The agreement forged by Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart could, for the first time, broaden the American-led air campaign’s target list to include al Nusra, the notorious al Qaida-linked group that is a major actor in the multi-sided Syrian civil war. Until now, the two-year-old U.S. air campaign in Syria has been limited to ISIS.

“This could be massive mission creep,” said Josh Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma. “The military is pissed off because they’re being asked to do two jobs now. They were asked to do one job, which is kill ISIS. Now John Kerry is asking them to do another job, which is cooperate with Russia and kill al Nusra.”

(Military Times)

Finally, a week ago the “good news” in the Middle East was that the US and Russia have brokered a ceasefire….with the hope that the humanitarian crisis could be lessened somehow…..wishful thinking……

In the defense of the Deir Ezzor Airport, the Syrian military has long depended on an army base in Jebel Tharda to repel ISIS advances. That base has been lost this weekend, after a disastrous series of US-led airstrikes killed a large number of Syrian troops defending the base, and ISIS quickly overran what was left.

After going into effect Monday and providing one of the calmest five-day spans of the entire Syria Civil War, the US-Russia brokered ceasefire now appears to be on the brink of collapse, following US airstrikes on Saturday and subsequent Syrian airstrikes against rebels in the far south of the country.

Once again we are spinning our wheels in the Middle East….why not say “Fuck It” and bring our troops home and let the players decide this “war” for themselves……

Until then I shall keep pointing out the fallacies of this insanity……if anyone cares….

I’m off young eager minds await…see you guys tomorrow….

2016: Commander-In-Chief Forum

I hoped that Americans would finally take vets issues seriously….but if the posts that I have written in the past and their responses (as anemic as they were) then their “patriotism” is nothing more than a convenient slogan that they trot out whenever needed.

This 2016 election has become the most exhaustive election I have ever been a part of in my (state secret) years.

The dialog between the candidates is about emails, health, Trump U, on and on…..lots of totally irrelevant subjects….neither talking issues and solutions….the closest we get is a pile of platitudes and applause lines……

I have been looking forward to this deal…..the candidates will answer (or what passes for answers) regarding national security and vets issues……….Maybe this will bring out some actual campaign issues…….or so I thought.  I was disappointed in the way that it was moderated….Lauer let too much bullshit slide…it was mostly talking points for the two candidates.

Last night the first ever Commander-in-chief forum was held…..it was sponsored by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Association (IAVA)…..the candidates will have 30 minutes to answer questions about national security and veterans issues asked by vets and military people…..

How about a quick recap for those that abstained from watching……

In what many saw as a preview of the Sept. 26 debate, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump set out very different positions on foreign policy in a national security forum Wednesday night. The “Commander-in-Chief” forum, hosted by NBC and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America at the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum in New York, was hosted by the Today Show‘s Matt Lauer. Clinton and Trump fielded questions and spoke back-to-back, with Clinton going first after winning a coin flip. A round-up of coverage:

  • According to NBC, the night will be remembered for Donald Trump offering more praise for Vladimir Putin than for America’s “embarrassing” military leadership. Putin has “been a leader, far more than our president has been a leader,” said Trump, who praised the Russian leader’s 82% approval rating. “We have a divided country.”
  • Clinton cast herself as a model of “absolute rock steadiness” in foreign policy compared to Trump, reports the Washington Post, which notes that she seemed “guarded, even stilted” when dealing with questions about her email server and her vote for the Iraq War.
  • Clinton said the Iraq vote and the email server were both mistakes, but insisted that she had never sent or received material with a classified header on her private server. “Classified material has a header which has ‘top secret,’ ‘secret,’ ‘confidential,'” she said, per Politico. “Nothing—and I will repeat this, and this is verified in the report by the Department of Justice, none of the emails sent or received by me had such a header,” she added.
  • Trump said that under Obama, the US has pursed “the dumbest foreign policy” he has ever seen, the Guardian reports. Asked about his claim that he knows more about ISIS than the generals, he said the generals “have been reduced to rubble” under Obama.
  • Trump claimed that he had always been against the 2003 invasion of Iraq, but repeated that he thought the US should have taken the country’s oil. Asked about his plan to defeat ISIS he said: “I have a substantial chance of winning—make America great again. If I win, I don’t want to broadcast to the enemy what my plan is.”
  • Clinton, asked about her foreign policy record, said she viewed the use of force as a last resort, CNN reports. “We are not putting ground troops into Iraq ever again and we are not putting ground troops into Syria,” she said, arguing that ISIS could be defeated with air power and regional alliances. She said that no matter what he says now, her and Trump had the same position on both the Iraq War and the Libyan intervention, NBC notes.
  • Clinton and Trump were both asked about veterans’ mental health issues, and both promised to do more to reduce suicides. “We’re going to speed up the process, we’re going to create a great mental health division,” Trump said. “They need help.”
  • Vox reports that Lauer is taking a lot of flak from both sides for his moderations, with critics accusing him of asking lightweight questions and failing to fact-check the candidates.
  • The Washington Post fact-checks the forum, and has plenty of Pinocchios to award to both Clinton and Trump.

Tim Mak at the Daily Beast gives terrible reviews to both the “defensive and lawyerly” Clinton and the “huckster” Trump. They were supposed to show how they were qualified to be commander-in-chief, but “both showed themselves to be both terribly flawed candidates,” he writes.

Personally, neither candidate won….but then I do not support either of them….to me their answers were canned responses….but here is a recap of the night for both candidates…..read then you decide who won this thing…..

Source: POLL: Who Won the Commander-In-Chief Forum? | Heavy.com

Then the next  question was….how honest were the candidates answers?

Source: Fact-checking the NBC ‘commander-in-chief’ forum | PolitiFact

I still have grave concerns on what these two see as the problems and the solutions….they were not asked the important questions…like why did you not serve?  Would you let your children serve?  What are the complexities of the Syria situation?  I have more…..but those would have been a question that would have forced an answer and not allowed the canned responses to continue.

Source: Rachel Maddow’s part of NBC forum had the questions veterans should have been able to ask

I feel this was a good thing and should be required with every election to come.  But it needs to be expanded in time and expanded to include alternative candidates….this would show that it is not a partisan thing…..it failed this time around.  But what did I expect from a forum put on by the MSM?

All in all….an good first attempt.  A little tweaking needs to be done before the next one.

Trump Is Leading In The Polls

Ever noticed polls are crap until they reinforce one’s views?

I have been reading blogs of my Right wing brethren and they were telling me just how skewed they were….that their results we never reliable…on and on…..

And then this poll’s results hit the news……

Donald Trump leads Hillary Clinton by 19 points — 55 percent to 36 percent — among voters who are currently serving or have previously served in the U.S. military, according to the latest NBC News|SurveyMonkey Weekly Election Tracking Poll.

Now they, Right wing brethren, have something they can point to and say that Trump will win this thing without a problem….the problem is that the ones saying that are the ones that said Romney would win big……

The Forum on national security is tonight and Trump got some much needed assistance before the thing begins…….

National security is the theme of Election 2016 this week, with an NBC-MSNBC forum on that topic Wednesday night and lots of apparent new support on that front for Donald Trump. The New York Times reports that 88 retired military figures—described by retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn as a group of “national security professionals”—have placed their John Hancocks on an open letter set to be released Tuesday and endorsing the GOP nominee. “The 2016 election affords the American people an urgently needed opportunity to make a long-overdue course correction in our national security posture and policy,” which can only be done by someone who hasn’t been complicit in the “hollowing out of our military,” notes the letter, which was coordinated by Holocaust survivor and Army veteran Maj. Gen. Sidney Shachnow and the Navy’s Rear Adm. Charles Williams.

The letter seems to be Trump’s way to “blunt the edge,” as the Times puts it, of possible support for Hillary Clinton from foreign policy aces who have already rejected him. The signatories, who seem to support Trump’s past and present stances on a variety of issues, include everyone from a retired Air Force lieutenant general who happens to be an Obama birther to an ex-Army official known for making inflammatory remarks about Islam. “We support Donald Trump and his commitment to rebuild our military, to secure our borders, to defeat our Islamic supremacist adversaries, and restore law and order domestically,” the letter says. “We urge our fellow Americans to do the same.” In a campaign statement, Trump called the endorsements a “great honor,” per Politico. (Trump’s foreign policy speech in August did not get rave reviews.)

There is a retired general, Hertling, that kinda crapped on the list…….

Hertling said he was surprised by the letter praising Trump.
“I didn’t recognize many of those names as being there in the fight with me over the last 16 years,” Hertling said. “There aren’t a whole lot of names in the fight against al Qaeda or several of the other forces.”
He said most of the names on the list are Navy admirals who were not on the ground during the war against terror.
Hertling served in the Army for 37 years.
Of course this guy may be a Clinton supporter and what would we expect him to say?
We will see just how much Mr. Trump has for national security when he meets the veterans and active duty personnel during tonight’s forum…..this may well be ground breaking…..a new tradition in the making.

Wasted Time And Wasted Money

For a couple of years I have been drawing attention to the stupid at the Pentagon when they wanted to replace the close combat support plane, A-10 Warthog, with a gold plated brick, the F-35……a plane that has had nothing but problems….and the list of problems is extensive…..here read the problems for yourself……

The F-35, which comes with an estimated $1.5 trillion pricetag over the life of the program, has faced numerous hurdles and delays. Most recently, there have been concerns over its computer systems’ vulnerability, and Chinese hackers have possibly stolen classified data related to the project.

The F-35’s construction has continued, and it is being manufactured across multiple states and different countries. For better or worse, it’s going to be the US and its allies’ main warplane for decades to come.

Source: Pentagon: Here are all the problems with the F-35 – Business Insider

But guess what?  The Air Force is not the only service that has a piece of crap for equipment……the Navy is having similar problems with their newest warship…..

When a branch of the US military starts rolling out a new pet project, it is rarely either cost effective or literally effective. The US Navy’s littoral combat ship (LCS) program is really underscoring that recently, with more ships breaking at seemingly random, meaning four nearly brand new ships have broken down in less than a year.

Just yesterday, the Navy discussed problems with its first LCS, the USS Freedom, which inexplicably was put out of commission back in July when seawater got into the engine and the oil system and started rusting things out. Limping back to home port, the USS Freedom now needs an engine replaced outright, with no timetable for the fix, or the cost.

Today, officials reported the USS Coronado, which only got commissioned back in 2014, has suffered an unspecified “engine casualty” and is struggling back to Pearl Harbor for repairs. It had just left Pearl Harbor on Friday.

That makes four LCS ships that have broken down in the past year, which is a pretty disastrous track record considering that even the oldest ship, the USS Freedom, was commissioned in late 2008, and the US only had a total of six active duty LCS ships in total.

The LCS is a product of the US Navy’s efforts, in the wake of the Cold War, to shift its priorities away from having more large capital ships than the Soviet Union toward just having a lot of stuff that floats about in the water, so they could have a nominal presence more or less anywhere.

The idea was that the LCS would be a low-cost, reliable ship for limited missions around coastlines, but the reality is that upkeep on the ships has been dramatically higher than initial estimates, and an LCS ends up costing more than a larger, and more combat-ready ship like a frigate.

Still, with several billion dollars sunk into the plan and the Navy’s priorities still squarely on quantity over quality, the LCS fleet is being constructed in earnest, even as the few already completed stumble back into the docks, because they didn’t do so great on the reliability front either.

(antiwar.com)

The more we try to improve our equipment for our troops the more we screw up everything……what could possibly be the reason?

Defense contracts……it is about the bucks not the quality of the equipment….

Maybe they should adopt a new slogan…..”plan smarter….not cheaper”

Thoughts?

How Veterans Are Losing the War at Home

I have been writing about the plight of our veterans since I began this site…..the US is NOT a friend to the American vet…..

Vets make great campaign props or to soothe the conscience of those that pretend they care and by saying “thank you” then they can sleep at night.

Veterans get lots of lip service but NONE of it translate into action that they desperately need…..I read this article in Truthdig from TomDispatch and it tells the real story of the American people and the veterans…..

A Vietnam vet told me about a veteran of the Iraq War who, when some civilian said, “Thank you for your service,” replied: “I didn’t serve, I was used.” It got me thinking about the many ways today’s veterans are used, conned and exploited.

Near the end of his invaluable book cataloguing the long, slow disaster of America’s War for the Greater Middle East, historian Andrew Bacevich writes:

“Some individuals and institutions actually benefit from an armed conflict that drags on and on. Those benefits are immediate and tangible. They come in the form of profits, jobs, and campaign contributions.  For the military-industrial complex and its beneficiaries, perpetual war is not necessarily bad news.”

Source: How Veterans Are Losing the War at Home – Truthdig

I know first hand how much the American people care about their veterans….and it is NOTHING like the persona that they want to protract……all that is just so much BS to make themselves feel better.

I for one am sick of all this faux patriotism……it is time for this country to stand up for the veteran as they have done for the country.

Now You See ‘Em….Now You Don’t

I would like to state something that I have been saying for several years….that the American care little about the plight of our troops fighting these useless wars…..last week I posted a piece about the recent combat death of a US soldier in Afghanistan….sadly very few read it or commented on the post….it was disappointing but it kinda proved my point……I had to get that off my chest.

We have been up to our fat ass in the Middle East for 13 years….and there is NO evidence that it will ever be over…..EVER!

Stuff sent to Iraq has a tendency to disappear down some rabbit hole……like after our invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq the Pentagon sent millions of dollars to Iraq to pay for the “reconstruction” on palettes and somewhere down the line some of it disappeared…..and now news has come out that we are sending weapons to Iraq to help arm the Iraqi military…..and other allies……

The Pentagon has spent billions of dollars since 2001 funneling roughly more than a million assault rifles, pistols, shotguns, and machine guns into Iraq and Afghanistan, helping to fuel lasting conflict there, according to a new report by a London-based nonprofit research and advocacy group Action on Armed Violence.

At least 949,582 of these small arms were given to security forces in Iraq, and at least 503,328 small arms were given to local forces in Afghanistan, the group said. They called this an “under-estimate” based on the information they were able to acquire.

Source: The Pentagon has shipped more than a million small arms to Iraq and Afghanistan’s defense forces | Center for Public Integrity

To be fair some of these weapons are bound for Afghanistan as well….

But now news has come out that some of these weapons are missing in action (sorry for the pun)…….

More than 190,000 AK-47 assault rifles and pistols distributed to Iraqi forces by the US are missing, feared fallen into the hands of insurgents, a congressional watchdog warned today.

The highest previous estimate of missing weapons was 14,000, but a new report from the government accountability office (GAO) said US military officials did not know what had happened to 30% of the weapons the US had given to Iraqi forces since 2004.

“They really have no idea where they are,” Rachel Stohl, a senior analyst at the Centre for Defence Information, told the Washington Post, which reported the GAO’s findings. “It likely means that the United States is unintentionally providing weapons to bad actors.”

Source: 190,000 US weapons reported missing in Iraq | World news | The Guardian

All this is NOTHING new….the US is notorious for their shoddy practices….

Should not the people, the taxpayer, demand more accountability in our practices?

This government keeps pissing money away and keeps slicing budgets…….does anyone else see the stupidity in all this?

The people that worry about the so-called “fraud” of welfare recipients should be more worried about the sloppy practices of the Pentagon….don’t you think?

Chinese presence in Africa shows global ambition

While everyone is playing Pokemon (off topic observation–could NSA be using Pokemon to gain entry into your system?) the world is getting more polarized………

Every body that watches international situations will know about the Chinese build-up in the South China Sea…..a build-up that got the US attention to the point of dispatching a flotilla to the region for….”just in case”…..

But while they were freaking out over the South China Sea the country, China, was quietly establishing itself in East Africa….that is establishing itself militarily in East Africa…..

China has begun construction for a military post at a key location in eastern Africa, right next door to a US one. A 90-acre plot which is due for completion next year, the the naval outpost is expected to feature weapons stores, ship and helicopter maintenance facilities and possibly a small contingent of Chinese marines or special forces, according to foreign officers and experts monitoring its development.

China has invested huge amounts in East Africa, especially in Ethiopia, one of the world’s fastest growing economies — wants to be able to protect its interests and investments throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

Source: Chinese presence in Africa shows global ambition | Africa | Worldbulletin News

Chinese presence in Africa shows global ambition

I thought I had heard this before and may have written about it so I checked my archives and there it is……..about 2 years ago I wrote on this situation here on IST……..(in case you missed the original)

Source: While You Were Otherwise Distracted – In Saner Thought

But that aside the US is watching this situation I am sure ….but if we have any troops in the region it may be a good idea to put them on some sort of alert or watch or whatever they do these with potentially dangerous situations….