Send In The Cavalry

Remember back in the days of the black and white Westerns when the homestead was being attacked and then the cavalry would ride in and save the day?

The USA has been fighting in Afghanistan for 16 years and things are not going well at all….so what do we do?  We send in the cavalry…….

The Pentagon will send almost 4,000 additional American forces to Afghanistan, the largest deployment of US manpower under President Trump’s young presidency, reports the AP. The decision by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis could be announced as early as next week, said a White House official. It follows Trump’s move to give Mattis the authority to set troop levels and seeks to address assertions by the top US commander in Afghanistan that he doesn’t have enough forces to help Afghanistan’s army against a resurgent Taliban insurgency. The bulk of the additional troops will train and advise Afghan forces, according to the administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

A smaller number would be assigned to counterterror operations against the Taliban and the Islamic State, the official said. A spokesman for Afghanistan’s defense ministry was reluctant to comment on specifics Friday but said the Afghan government supports the US decision. “We want to finish this war in Afghanistan with the help of the NATO alliance.” Former President Obama set a cap a year ago of 8,400 troops in Afghanistan after slowing the pace of what he hoped would be a US withdrawal. Nevertheless, there are at least another 2,000 US troops in Afghanistan not included in the official count. These include forces that are technically considered temporary even if they’ve been in the war zone for months.

The sad part is that this will do nothing to change the direction of the war……

Usually when a president agrees to send more troops to a war zone, it’s part of a broader strategy. George W. Bush approved the surge of forces to Iraq as part of a population-centric counterinsurgency war plan. Barack Obama did the same in his first year when it came to Afghanistan, though he eventually regretted the decision, and spent most of his presidency trying to end that war.

For Donald Trump it’s different. On Tuesday, he agreed in principle to send more troops to Afghanistan, but he has yet to agree to the broader strategy for winning America’s longest war.

That strategy is still technically in development, but its broad outlines — an increase in special operations forces to train, advise and assist Afghan forces; a more robust plan to go after elements in Pakistan that aid the Taliban; the deployment of more air power and artillery; and a political commitment to the survival of the current government in Kabul — have been in place since April.

Source: Trump’s Afghan Push: More Troops, No Plan – Bloomberg

Of course people will ask if a mere 4,000 troops will make a difference…..not to worry…..

The US is definitely going to be sending more ground troops to Afghanistan soon, but the exact number is yet to be determined, with the Pentagon today backing away from media reports yesterday that they’d settled on a figure of 4,000 more troops, saying no final decisions have been made yet on numbers

That might suggest they’re leaning toward an even bigger number, with influential retired Gen. Jack Keane suggesting that the US needed to send up to 20,000 more ground troops if they wanted to win the war, saying he believed the 4,000 figure was not likely to change the direction of the war

More fodder for the fire……

Same game plan will have the same outcome.

I bet Einstein has something to say on this plan.

Will The Longest War Ever End?

Best answer is…….. No Time Soon!

I have been trying to keep my readers attention on America’s longest war and how nothing improves year after year…..

For the most part Americans try hard to ignore the war and its impact….even when we lose more troops as we did last week….we lost 3 more US troops in Afghanistan.

So some, mostly me it seems, keeps asking…how much longer must we endure the agony of the longest war in our history?

America’s Long War or Global War on Terror has taken some ugly turns as the West’s continued war-making in the Muslim world leads to new terrorism against Western targets, with no end in sight,

Source: Will the Neocons’ Long War Ever End? – Consortiumnews

Every year we prove that Afghanistan cannot be fixed….so why not admit it and get the Hell out?

Months have passed since we first heard the Trump administration is considering a new surge of United States forces in Afghanistan, and if the president is any closer to a decision than he was in February, mark that down as the one secret the White House has yet to leak to the press.

Trump’s unpredictability makes it impossible to define what this delay might mean, but perhaps the wait can offer opportunity for more prudent and realistic counsel to prevail. Sending more U.S. soldiers to Afghanistan cannot and will not produce anything resembling a win—it will only protract the failed status quo of the country’s longest war.

Source: The US can’t fix Afghanistan, and it should stop trying

Many see the futility of staying in Afghanistan….why cannot the slugs in DC see the big picture as well?

I realize that war equals more profit…but there should be a time when reality and sanity enters into the equation…..but not soon enough,,,

All indications are that Mattis, and the other former generals in Trump’s cabinet, are all in favor of the larger escalation proposals among the options presented to Trump, while Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was among the few skeptics.

Mattis had told the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier today that a decision on Afghan troop levels was still weeks away, but it is unclear if that was based on the assumption that Trump was still going to have to decide. Now that he gets to decide himself, such a decision is likely to be faster.

Mattis promised to “correct” the lack of winning with the new strategy, but indications for months have been that the proposals center around slight increases in direct US involvement in fighting, and likely thousands of additional troops being sent to the country.

Senators, however, expressed increasing annoyance at not hearing any sort of coherent strategy from the administration, with Sen. John McCain (R – AZ) warning that if the Pentagon didn’t provide a strategy for the war, the  Senate would end up providing one for them.

The reality is that the Taliban have been seizing territory from the Afghan government for months, and hold more territory now than at any time during the 16-year US occupation. The US has dramatically increased its number of airstrikes in recent months, trying to slow the losses a bit, but so far that appears to be the best they can really do, slow the inevitable defeat in an unwinnable war.

(antiwar.com

There you go…new plan…throw more troops at the problem.

Damn that does not sound all that new to me.

More news……

Tora Bora, the mountain redoubt that was once Osama bin Laden’s fortress, fell to the Islamic State early Wednesday, handing the extremists a significant strategic and symbolic victory, according to Afghan officials and local elders and residents. – New York Times

A key Republican lawmaker criticized Pentagon and administration officials on Tuesday for failing to deliver a timely strategy for victory in Afghanistan. – Military.com

The World Bank has approved a $520 million package of funding for projects to boost Afghanistan’s economy, build critical infrastructure, and support Afghan refugees sent back from Pakistan. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

There is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan that is forcing record numbers of people from their homes, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday, during an unannounced visit to the war-torn country. – Reuters

Some in DC please ask…..why are we still in Afghanistan?

Why are we still there? We went into Afghanistan after 9/11 to get Osama bin Laden and to punish the Taliban for harboring al-Qaeda. Now bin Laden is dead; al-Qaeda is dispersed; the Taliban has been battered. Afghan civilians have been killed, wounded or displaced in increasing numbers. The United Nations reports that there were more than 11,000 war-related civilian casualties last year, and 660,000 Afghans were displaced, adding to the country’s massive refugee crisis.

The war has now cost us over $1 trillion, making it the second-costliest U.S. war, after World War II. In fiscal year 2017, the war will cost about $50 billion, nearly a billion every week. We’ve lost over 2,350 soldiers, with 20,000 more suffering injuries. And as Trevor Timm of the Guardian noted, in a couple of years, there will be soldiers fighting in Afghanistan that weren’t even born at the time of 9/1

Source: The US-led Coalition Will Never Win the War in Afghanistan

Enough is enough!  Bring the troops home!

Why Is the World So Unsettled?

Has Anyone noticed the world becomes more and more unstable with every passing year?

A new conflict pops up almost monthly…..and the US seems to have to throw troops and money at each and everyone…..

There was a time when the world thought things would get better….especially after the fall of the USSR….all antagonism would be lessened.

It just did not work out that way now did it?

U.S. foreign policy is likely to be wracked by crises in the coming years. Yet crises are often symptoms of deeper structural transformations, and the fundamental fact of international politics today is that the post-Cold War era has reached its end. That period was defined by uncontested U.S. and Western primacy, a marked decline in ideological struggle and great-power conflict, and a historically remarkable degree of global cooperation in addressing international disorder. Today, however, the international system has reverted to a more contested state. The core characteristics of the emerging era are the gradual but unmistakable erosion of U.S. and Western primacy, the return of sharp great-power competition across all three key regions of Eurasia, the revival of global ideological struggle, and the empowerment of the agents of international strife and disorder. Moreover, the impact of these forces is magnified by growing uncertainty about whether the traditional defenders of the post-Cold War system will be able and willing to play that role in the future. Dealing with the dangers and dilemmas posed by the new global politics will be a generational task. Yet understanding the basic nature of the age is the critical first step.

Source: Why Is the World So Unsettled? The End of the Post-Cold War Era and the Crisis of Global Order | CSBA

WE need an adequate foreign policy but since we got a new prez we also got a crappy State Department…..seems the prez does not think that diplomacy and foreign policy are important when you have a military that will travel the world looking for a fight.

This will be a disastrous 4 years for our standing in the world…..so bad that it will take a generation for the country to recover.

Closing Thought–12Jun17

Death Comes To Afghanistan!  (Again)

Sad news to report……more US deaths in Afghanistan at the hands of a “friend”……

Three US soldiers were killed Saturday when an Afghan army solider opened fire on them in eastern Afghanistan, US officials tell CNN. One other US soldier was wounded in the attack, which took place in the Achin district. An Afghan official said the Afghan soldier was killed after the attack. The AP reports the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement that a Taliban loyalist had infiltrated the Afghan army “just to attack foreign forces.”

A statement from the US military said merely that the military was “aware of an incident in eastern Afghanistan.” White House spokesperson Raj Shah told reporters traveling with President Trump in New Jersey that Trump was “following the emerging situation in Afghanistan.” Such insider attacks have happened before in Afghanistan. In March, another Afghan soldier was killed after he opened fire on foreign forces at a base in Helmand province, wounding three US soldiers.

My sympathies go out to their families…….

Time for the war hawks to step aside and let saner minds prevail….time to come home.

Day is done and I will go quietly into the night….’til the morrow my friends….chuq

War Without Fear

One of the characteristics of war that helps prevent more of them is the emotion of fear.

Fear of a war will help all parties to come to an agreement that could avoid the spilling of blood and the loss of life.

However these days war is fought more and more by drones and satellites and eventually with AI…where there could be little to no soldiers involved in the fray…..

“The nature of war is all about a collision of will, fear, uncertainty, and chance, Work said, summarizing Clausewitz. “You have to ask yourself, how does fear play out in a world when a lot of the action is taking place between unmanned systems?” Human fallibility is central to Clausewitz and to classic theories of war as far back as Sun Tzu. But if machines start making the decisions, unswayed by fear, rage, or pride, how does that change the fundamental calculus of conflict? “Uncertainty is going to be different now,” Work went on. While he didn’t use the utopian language of millennial Revolution in Military Affairs — whose promise to “lift the fog of war” with high-tech sensors failed utterly in Afghanistan and Iraq — Work did argue that computerized decision-making aids could help commanders see with greater clarity. “Clausewitz had a term called coup d’oeil,” Work said, essentially a great commander’s intuitive grasp of what was happening on the battlefield. It’s a quality Clausewitz and Napoleon considered innate, individual, impossible to replicate, but, Work said, “learning machines are going to give more and more commanders coup d’oeil.”

Source: War Without Fear: DepSecDef Work On How AI Changes Conflict « Breaking Defense – Defense industry news, analysis and commentary

We remove the emotion of fear and then wars will become more and more brutal and barbaric….if we let the machines do the thinking as well as the fighting then all is lost of our humanity.

Civilization will become nothing more than a word.

Carry A Big Stick Or Be Quiet

I have been writing for years about the disconnect between the public and the military.  It is so bad that war and troops deaths is nothing more than a fluff piece in the evening news.

The public turns a blind eye to all the conflicts we are fighting these days because there is NO shared experience…..it effects less than 5% of the population.

Although I am antiwar ….I have come down on the side of returning to the days of conscription (that is the draft for you Trump supporters)……

Source: Would a Return to Conscription Substantially Reduce the Probability of War? – In Saner Thought

Source: Time To Re-Think Conscription? | Ace News Room

Source: Time For Americans To F*cking Stand Up!! – In Saner Thought

As the wars drag on more and more people are starting to see the need to return to the days of conscription…..

Each year as they testify before congress, America’s armed service chiefs roll out pleas for the latest technology ‘essential’ to confront a predictable cast of global boogeymen. A pessimist could accuse them of using such testimony to scare congress and the public into supporting their slice of annual defense budgets. A pessimist could justify his position by pointing out the testimony’s conspicuous omission of conscription, essential to victory against any one or combination of Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran. While the technology of warships, aircraft and combat vehicles trotted out during testimony season is impressive, it can only give America an edge. Nations win wars on an irresistible wave of resources. America must therefore either include conscription into any discourse about confronting Russia, China, North Korea or Iran, or stop talking about confronting them.

America’s approach to warfare has changed for the worse. Current conflicts indicate a disturbing satisfaction with stalemate as a substitute for victory. America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan offer abject lessons about a national strategy unready to win a global war, much less isolated regional engagements. The stalemate in both conflicts betrays America’s inability to translate success and sacrifice at the tactical and operational level into anything close to strategic victory. America’s powerlessness to generate the political will for victory emboldens adversaries and exposes significant strategic vulnerabilities.

Source: Carry a Big Stick or Be Quiet: A Case for Conscription | Small Wars Journal

If we must fight these damn silly wars then we need to make the sacrifice of our troops and their families a shared experience….I am NOT a warmonger!  Something has to give….we are asking too much of the pool of soldiers we now have…….

That means a return to the DRAFT!

Death Of Children Is Unacceptable

The recent cowardly attack on the concert in Manchester England…killed and wounded many children and the world went crazy in its condemnation of the bastards that killed these children and rightly so.

Anytime that civilians are targeted for some sort of attack should be met with condemnation around the world……should be called what it is…..a war crime….a crime against humanity……NO matter who the perp is!

I say that because of recent news……

Exemplified by the hundred and some odd people they’ve killed in the last 48 hours, the US is struggling mightily with the narrative that they are taking extraordinary care to limit the number of civilian casualties in the air war in Syria, and are rapidly losing any pretense of a moral high ground.

Indeed, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is noting that the soaring death toll from US airstrikes has now surpassed the civilian toll of the Assad government’s own airstrikes, which the US and other Western nations have condemned as indiscriminate and irresponsible.

Oftentimes, US officials have been so outraged at Syria’s “indiscriminate” air strikes that they’ve demanded regime change, and has railed at Russia and Iran for tolerating their tactics in bombing civilian targets. Obviously, the US never sees the same problem with its own massive killings.

That’s probably because officially, they don’t even recognize the overwhelming majority of the civilian deaths they cause, as the Pentagon’s official death toll for the air war in Iraq and Syria omits virtually all major incidents, and tends to be at most 10% of the toll reported by NGOs.

(antiwar.com)

Civilians should be off limits….even if they are family members of “bad guys”…I do not believe in the only “Guilty by association” bullshit.

You can pick your friends but you cannot pick your family….it is a crime to punish a whole family for the action of one person…..where will the US draw the line….since we are so found to drawing those lines…..?

The US is always using children and civilians to gin up some sort of action…and yet we are just as guilty as anyone in the deaths of civilians especially children…..and yet that is somehow acceptable.

Using civilian deaths that is until it is the deaths they cause……those deaths are under reported……

The Pentagon continues to offer “official” civilian death tolls from the US air war in Iraq and Syria that is only a tiny fraction of the killings documented by private NGOs, but even this deliberate undercount is rising at a growing rate, reflecting what is in reality a precipitous spike in civilian deaths.

The last report, from early May, only confirmed 23 civilians killed in the entire first quarter of 2017. That’s been revised upward to 128, as the Pentagon finally admitted to killing 105 civilians n a March 17 incident in Mosul. All indications from independent sources are that the Mosul incident actually killed around 220 people.

The Pentagon added another 27 civilian deaths in their new report, which includes April, with almost all of these deaths also happening in Mosul. This once again is far below the many hundreds reported killed everywhere else, but dramatically more than the single-digit monthly tolls they usually admit to.

Civilian deaths are never acceptable…..unavoidable but never acceptable.