Where Does The Money Go?

We all have asked that question when we look at our cash balances and our bills……it would be nice if the toads in Congress would ask the same question about taxpayer funds…..

For instance…..did you know how much the US spends on war?

A “near-constant state of war” is just one of the reasons the US spends more than any other country in the world on its military—by a long shot. If the next seven major military spenders combined their funds, they still wouldn’t measure up, according to a list compiled by 24/7 Wall St., though China is making strides. The 10 countries that spent the most on war in 2017:

  1. USA: $610 billion (3.1% of GDP)
  2. China: $228 billion (1.9%)
  3. Saudi Arabia: $69.4 billion (10%)
  4. Russia: $66.3 billion (4.3%)
  5. India: $63.9 billion (2.5%)
    1. France: $57.8 billion (2.3% of GDP)
    2. United Kingdom: $47.2 billion (1.8%)
    3. Japan: $45.4 billion (0.9%)
    4. Germany: $44.3 billion (1.2%)
    5. South Korea: $39.2 billion (2.6%)

    Click for the full list

That is a lot of cash that could be used elsewhere in this country….like our failing infrastructure, or that cheap health care the Trump promised….but instead there could be a raise coming to defense spending…..

The American defense-industrial base needs Pentagon budgets to grow at least 5 percent per year to remain healthy and stable, the industry’s leading trade group said in a report released Wednesday.

The report by the Aerospace Industries Association blames Budget Control Act cuts and Congress’ repeated deferral to continuing resolutions for a steep drop in the market’s number of prime vendors. It’s unclear exactly how smaller suppliers have been impacted, but “the detrimental impact of budget cuts have been felt throughout the supply chain,” the report reads.

https://www.defensenews.com/congress/2018/04/25/defense-industry-needs-5-percent-annual-budget-growth-to-stay-healthy-says-new-aia-report/

That is the answer….bigger and better guns and bombs….then if all this money is supposedly well spent then why cannot the US win the wars it starts?

Almost 17 years after Washington’s war on terror was launched, déjà vu all over again hardly sums up the situation. Still, it’s a place to start. Take a headline from nearly a decade ago – July 2009, to be exact. By then, the American war in Afghanistan (the second Afghan War of our era) was already years old and not exactly going well. “U.S. Marines pour into Helmand,” went that headline, “in biggest offensive against Taliban for five years.” That July, in the first year of the Obama administration, more than 4,000 Marines were being dispatched to the heartlands of Helmand Province to secure Afghanistan’s major opium-poppy-growing region. That was, of course, nearly eight years after the Bush administration had declared the country “liberated” by an American invasion. By the fall of 2014, after five more years of fighting the Taliban and advising Afghan security forces in Helmand – and hundreds of American deaths – those troops were finally withdrawn from “one of the few bright spots in the Afghan war.” However, a corrupt Afghan government and its security forces, filled with “ghost soldiers” and “ghost police” (mostly paid for with U.S. funds), couldn’t even hold onto their paychecks, no less the parts of the province that had been “liberated” from the Taliban and the remarkably irrepressible opium trade that went with it. Slowly, much of the province fell back into Taliban hands as opium farming only spread and flourished.

https://original.antiwar.com/Arnold_Isaacs/2018/05/01/why-cant-the-worlds-best-military-win-its-wars/

If you want answers more than this article then may I suggest a book written by Harlan A. Ullman, “Anatomy Of Failure”…..

Questions with few answers.

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Operation Eagle Claw

I will wait a moment for all those too young to remember anything past the release of the first Apple phone to dash to Goggle and get the answers they search….

Times up!

Yep it was an attempt to rescue the hostages held by Iran….the Right loves to belittle Carter for this failed attempt making him out as some sort of wimp…..well nothing could be further from the truth…

The meeting began with Jimmy Carter’s announcement: “Gentlemen, I want you to know that I am seriously considering an attempt to rescue the hostages.”

Hamilton Jordan, the White House chief of staff, knew immediately that the president had made a decision. Planning and practice for a rescue mission had been going on in secret for five months, but it had always been regarded as the last resort, and ever since the November 4 embassy takeover, the White House had made every effort to avoid it. As the president launched into a list of detailed questions about how it was to be done, his aides knew he had mentally crossed a line.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2006/05/the-desert-one-debacle/304803/

If one would like a more detailed description of this operation then this is a good source…..

http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/apjinternational/apj-s/2006/3tri06/kampseng.html

Jimmy Carter has been made a failed presidency by so many on the Right over the past decades…..but if he had won his re-election there would have been a good chance that a peace could have been negotiated between Israel and Palestine….but the election of Reagan crapped on his attempt at a peace.

Personally, the world would have been a better place if he won re-election.

Your history lesson is complete…..for today…there is so much more to come….

Death Among The Scrub

At the end of last year, 2017, word came out of the death of an American Green Beret possibly at the hands of some SEALs……I wrote about this situation awhile back….

https://lobotero.com/2018/01/13/death-in-mali-2/

So far not much info has come out of the so-called investigation that is until over this past weekend when a new twist was announced……instead of two SEALs being held there seem to be a couple Marines that are getting some scrutiny….as well.

The military is investigating whether two special forces Marines played a role in the choking death of a Green Beret in Mali last year and the possible cover up of how it occurred, according to five U.S. defense officials.

Two Navy SEALs from the famed SEAL Team 6 are already under investigation for their involvement in the strangling death of Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar during the predawn hours of June 4, 2017. Melgar, 34, died in embassy housing he shared with other service members in Bamako, capital of the West African nation.

A September 2017 Army Criminal Investigative Division report about the incident quotes Navy SEAL Tony DeDolph saying he and Army Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar were wrestling at 4 a.m. when a fellow SEAL Adam cranston Matthew came in and joined in the horseplay. According to the SEALS, the men fell down together and when they stood up Melgar wasn’t breathing.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/africa/military-investigating-if-two-marines-played-role-green-beret-s-n873141

A new twist….but the part that fascinates me is that the MSM has pretty much ignored this story….a story of Americans killing Americans……I guess the Hollywood image of the SEALs must be upheld at all costs, right?

This gets no coverage and soon we will be bombarded with a royal wedding….which has NO news value whatsoever…..and its entertainment value is dubious at best.

Closing Thought–15May18

There are many examples of how government kicks the can down the road.. …on spending, budgets, immigration ans war…..but the one part of the government that you do not expect waffling is from the judiciary….

Well we cannot depend on them to do the right thing…

A while back a lawsuit was brought forth challenging the legality of the so-called war on ISIS……

Federal Appeals Court judges are hoping to continue to dodge ruling on a lawsuit in which a soldier challenged the legality of the unauthorized war on ISIS. The judges now are asking the lawyers to tell them whether or not the lawsuit even matters anymore.

Capt. Nathan Michael Smith filed the lawsuit back in 2016, claiming the war is illegal. The judges say that now, since Smith will be leaving the military later in May, his own personal interest in the case is essentially gone. Moreover, they argue that the war seems to be wrapping up.

Of course, Smith filed this case way back in 2016, and had to appeal after the first judge refused to rule on it. The current panel took the case in October, and has effectively just sat on the case since then. Now, they too seem set to refuse to rule on the case.

There are, of course, serious legal reasons to challenge unauthorized US wars. Federal judges are so unwilling to rule on these questions, however, as to make the courts effectively useless as a check on power.

(antiwar.com)

I see the cowardice of the Legislative Branch is nothing exceptional….it also extends to the Judicial Branch as well.

In other words we have a government of cowards from the Executive to the Legislative to Judiciary….

We can be so proud of what we have created over the past couple of decades…….a government of do-nothing toads.

My Tuesday postings is a wrap….I can go now and call Hannity for some sage advice. (Sorry I could not keep a straight face after that statement)

Gotta bounce…do stop by later tomorrow…..be well, be safe….chuq

Hill 397

Hill 397?…..maybe if I give a movie reference (movies that I will not watch….. I was there I do not need to remember the insanity) Hamburger Hill……..an exercise in futility.

Sorry children time for your history lesson so that maybe you will not make the same mistakes as your elders….

The battle was the result of a renewed effort in early 1969 to neutralize the North Vietnamese forces in the A Shau, a 45-kilometer-long valley in southwestern Thua Thien Province along the border with Laos. The A Shau sheltered enemy Base Area 611 and had long provided a major infiltration corridor for Communist forces from the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos to the coastal cities of northern I Corps Tactical Zone.

The valley’s formidable terrain was dominated at its northern end by what local Montagnard tribesmen called the “mountain of the crouching beast,” Dong Ap Bia. On military maps it was simply Hill 937, so labeled for its height in meters. Several large ridges and fingers ran out from its summit, one of the largest extending southeast to a height of 900 meters and another reaching south to a 916-meter peak. The steep slopes of Dong Ap Bia were cloaked by a heavy undergrowth of sawtooth elephant grass, thick stands of bamboo, and double-and-triple canopy jungle. It was an area long occupied by the NVA and it was fortified with bunkers, spider holes, deep tunnels and trenches.

http://www.historynet.com/hell-on-hamburger-hill.htm

Made for a good movie for Hollywood but war is anything but a source for entertainment.

I want my readers to remember the men and women that fought and died in Vietnam do not let them be removed to the dust bins of history.

Niger (But It’s Classified)

When I was in the hospital for surgery special ops troopers were killed in the West African nation of Niger…of course there was much confusion and false info circling around the deaths of which I wrote several post on…..https://lobotero.com/2018/03/20/explain-niger-please/

The Pentagon promised to have an answer to everyone’s question by January of 2018…..and four months later an explanation has been issued….

The Defense Department found no single cause, but rather “individual, organizational and institutional” errors, including insufficient training and preparation, caused the death of four US soldiers and at least five Nigerien soldiers in a bloody Special Forces mission in Niger, according to an eight-page summary report. The Oct. 4 ambush took the lives of Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson, Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright, and Sgt. La David Johnson. In all, the investigative team interviewed 143 witnesses, reports the Washington Post. It “examined documentary, photographic, audio, video and testimonial evidence,” per CNN. One survivor even returned to the battlefield with the team. The patrol was submitted and approved as a low-risk recon assignment, but the team was actually on a high-risk mission searching for Islamic State leader Doundoun Cheffou; their true mission was never approved by the proper chain of command, though the team notes this was a result of “sloppiness” rather than an intent to deceive.

The patrol, which did not rehearse the mission before setting out and was missing key equipment and training, encountered light fire at first but then was engaged by a larger group of militants on motorcycles and in trucks mounted with machine guns. The report found that the arrival of French Mirage planes disrupted the fight and may have saved lives, reports the New York Times. The remains of three of the US soldiers who were killed were retrieved quickly, but the body of La David Johnson was not retrieved until the evening of Oct. 6. The delay in recovering Johnson’s body had led to speculation that he had been taken captive. That speculation was bolstered by locals who said that they saw the body and that Johnson’s hands appeared to be tied behind his back. The report, nevertheless, concluded that his hands were not bound and he was killed in action while “actively engaging the enemy.” The full report remains classified

As usual the American people may NEVER know the truth about these deaths for the report will be classified.

The Pentagon’s newly released 8-page report on the Niger incident had a very clear narrative. From the moment local commanders endorsed the mission to the recovery of the four bodies of slain US soldiers, the report goes out of its way to lionize everyone’s actions, and downplay errors.

This makes sense, because underlying these conclusions is the fact that the Pentagon has no intention of holding anyone to account for the mistakes made. Yet the summary report’s decision to tread very lightly on a lot of potentially embarrassing specifics means that it ultimately raises a lot more questions than it answered.

http://theantimedia.com/pentagon-report-niger-raises-questions/

I will be dead and gone if the truth is ever known.

Wars We Don’t Know

WE all know about our endless wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria and some even believe that is the extent of our involvement overseas….well that naivete is so cute…..we are ass deep worldwide in all sorts of warfare.

Just a couple off the top of my head…..

Somalia….

The U.S. military is dramatically expanding its operations at a former Soviet air strip in Somalia, constructing more than 800 beds at the Baledogle base, VICE News has learned. The construction at the secretive base marks the latest example of America’s growing and controversial shadow war in Africa.

Baledogle’s expansion is one part of what appears to be a massive U.S. military infrastructure development project in the Horn of Africa country that will see at least six new U.S. outposts built this year, according to multiple defense contractors who spoke to VICE News.

https://news.vice.com/en_us/article/xw7nw3/somalia-is-looking-like-another-full-blown-us-war

Then there is Yemen…..

The Saudis and its Peninsula allies have been bombing Yemen for several years…..now there is a new twist…the US has troops helping the Saudis destroy Yemen…..

The US military is more deeply involved in the Saudi War in Yemen than officials ever admitted. In fact, new evidence suggests the Pentagon lied to Congress during the March debate about US involvement, presenting the US role at present being limited to targeting and mid-air refueling of Saudi warplanes.

The New York Times is reporting on Thursday that there are actually a small number of US special forces on the ground at the Saudi border with Yemen. Those troops have not only been on the ground since late 2017, but are there on a mission to help the Saudi military fight Yemen’s Shi’ite Houthi movement.

No public debate took place with respect to this deployment. Indeed, the Pentagon appears to have gone to great lengths not to tell the American public or the Congress about the Green Berets they sent to the border. The Green Berets are intended to help the Saudis “locate and destroy” Houthi missile caches, and attack Houthi launch sites inside Yemen.

This has been going on despite the Trump Administration telling Congress that America’s involvement in Yemen was purely “non-combat,” and again, despite the Pentagon repeatedly saying that America’s sole involvement in Yemen was logistics and support for the air war.

(antiwar.com)

Lies to fight a war….go figure!

http://theantimedia.com/us-army-special-forces-secretly-fight-houthis-yemen/

American mercenaries, like Blackwater, maay be the saving graces of the US military…..

The Pentagon is interested in having contractors provide two fixed-wing aircraft and two helicopters on call to rescue wounded American special operators in and around Yemen if necessary, as well as to perform various other missions. The announcement comes as it becomes increasingly clear that the U.S. military’s own aerial casualty evacuation capabilities are stretched thin and just months after it weathered serious criticism over relying heavily on private companies for these services following a deadly ambush in Niger.

http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/20598/us-special-operators-scattered-across-yemen-might-soon-rely-on-contractors-to-rescue-them

Wait!  Wait!

You mean the best trained, best equipped military in the world…a military that got a huge increase in their budget will need the help of mercenaries?

A study showed that there is not enough able bodied recruits for our numerous endless wars….they are unfit to serve.

Huh?

The state of physical fitness in the United States has long been a topic of concern among the nation’s leaders. Declining fitness measures on the part of military draftees played an important role in prompting President Dwight Eisenhower in 1956 to establish the President’s Council on Youth Fitness. In 1960, John Kennedy, then the president-elect, felt so strongly about the subject that he wrote a multipage article, “The Soft American,” for Sports Illustrated.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2018/05/07/not_fit_to_fight_rethinking_military_recruitment_standards_113413.html

Time to re-think this war thing…..somebody is f*cking the pooch……we can NO longer afford endless war.