Are There Spines Being Grown?

I have complained many times about the lack of action and yes the lack of a spine by our elected officials when it comes to committing our troops in harm’s way.

They have allowed the president to go to war without any intervention from the Congress that is suppose to be the last word on war.

Their lack of action is driven by elections and not the rule of law….just like so much in our society the rule of law means NOTHING.

So I was surprised when I read of at least two attempts to limit the president’s reach when war is concerned……

A bipartisan resolution was introduced in the House of Representatives Wednesday under the War Powers Act. If the bill is passed, it would formally end US military involvement in the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

The war in Yemen was never authorized by Congress, and US participation has become increasingly controversial, as Saudi airstrikes kill staggering numbers of civilians. This has led to growing resistance within Congress, though Congressional leadership has often sought ways to circumvent the votes.

Last year, the House offered a very similar War Powers Act resolution. Such resolutions are legally required to come up for a vote, though the leadership managed to block that one, and bargain their way down to a non-binding resolution.

Indeed, that bill and a Senate version came with the Pentagon claiming there were no US ground operations in Yemen involved in the war, a claim which later proved to be a lie. That in particlar has added calls for a re-vote.

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), the lead sponsor, says he is confident that the new version of the bill won’t suffer the same fate, noting that support for the bill has expanded since then.

The support for ending the war both reflects incidents like the Saudi attack on a school bus in August, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s overt circumvention of the 2019 NDAA clause which obliged the US to halt aid to the Saudis until they did more to reduce casualties. Pompeo immediately declared they’d done enough, though the death toll has continued to rise.

(antiwar.com)

And the second attempt concerns a possible attack on Iran……..

With National Security Adviser John Bolton threatening to “come after” Iran this week and President Donald Trump accusing the country of sowing “chaos, death, and destruction,” Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) was joined Wednesday by several other members of the Democratic caucus in urging Congress to ensure that the U.S. avoids yet another prolonged war by passing legislation affirming that a preemptive attack on the country would be illegal.

The Prevention of Unconstitutional War with Iran Act of 2018 demands that the president obtain congressional approval for any military action in Iran. Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) signed on as co-sponsors.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/09/27/avoid-repeating-catastrophic-mistake-iraq-invasion-senate-bill-would-forbid-attack

These attempts may not meet with success but at least someone is trying to break the cycle of endless interventions that recent presidents have put this country in….we can only hope that sanity will soon return.

Could the election results in 2018 play into this narrative?

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Should US Troops Take Control Of The Mission?

A loyal reader of IST writes a good blog about East Africa, https://africommons.com/ …..recent he wrote he wrote a post that ask a question.

Since I write a lot about war and other conflicts I thought I would put his post on here and see if there were any answers from my readers…..

This is in the nature of a “thought experiment” rather than an actual suggestion at this point, but here goes rough sketch of the basic points:

1) We all recognize–whether we are willing to publicly admit it–that Somalia is in a “permanent” war state although progress has been made from the lowest ebbs over the years. Somalia is like Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen in the sense that it is a place in which perpetual fighting appears indefinitely sustainable pending some major change.

https://africommons.com/2018/09/24/should-the-united-states-offer-to-replace-ugandan-and-burundian-troops-in-amisom/

My response was that the US was slowly doing just that……we keep adding troops to the fight against the insurgents in Somalia.  But my personal feeling is that we should NOT expand any further…..for we are fighting a “War” on a tactic….a war that cannot be won.

We have too many feet in a fire……we could use the money here in this coungtry.

Please let my friend know you opinion on his question.

Thanx for helping out……chuq

A DC Who Dunnit?

Hopefully this will be my last post on this fiasco, that is unless something really big breaks…..I must add my voice to all the analysis of the situation.

Reporters yelling questions at the president….TV pundits speculating on the author of this now infamous op-ed.

There is a list circulating that predicts a few that are the likely authors…..

Tucker Carlson of Fox News think he has a “pretty good idea” who wrote the anti-Trump op-ed now in wide circulation, but he’s awaiting confirmation before going public, reports the Hill. At the Weekly Standard, Michael Warren has narrowed it down to four likely suspects:

  • Larry Kudlow, chair of the National Economic Council, whose free-market views don’t always go over well in the White House.
  • Kevin Hassett, chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, whose views on issues from tax reform to the military generally line up with those of the op-ed writer.
  • Dan Coats, director of National Intelligence, who’s near the end of his political career and would have little to lose from the fallout.
  • Mike Pompeo, secretary of state and former CIA chief. “As someone fond of, and thought fondly of, by CIA agents, Pompeo could be particularly irked by the suggestion by Trump and his supporters that a ‘deep state’ is at work against the president,” Warren writes.

Slate rounds up those who’ve issued denials, including Coats, Pompeo, Homeland Security chief Kirstjen Nielsen, Treasury chief Steve Mnuchin, and VP Mike Pence, whose fondness for the term “lodestar,” used in the op-ed, has raised eyebrows. (See what Jimmy Kimmel and other late-night hosts think.)

Why?

Just about everyone knows exactly what is in the op-ed…there is nothing new in it.  What is the purpose of the op-ed?  If things are that fucked up why not resign instead of whining in the shadows?  Does the person want the 25th amendment to be invoke?  If so he/she will be sorely disappointed for their is NO spine for such a bold move.  What will change with this op-ed?

A reader of IST left a comment the other day…….what if Trump did this under one of his personas from the past…after all he loves seeing his name in lights and repeated ad nauseum plus it lathers up his supporters and helps FOX with ratings.  Is this in the realm of a possibility?

And the play continues.

Turn The Page!

Tribute To John McCain

Over the weekend we got the sad news that Sen.John McCain had passed away…..as a radical I seldom agreed with the man on policy…..as a Vietnam vet I respected the man……and I am sure that my reader will be seeing many tributes to McCain’s memory and his legacy…..

I share one that I read to his memory….

I did not join in the rather ghoulish anticipation of John McCain’s death indulged in by some war opponents. On Twitter, one aspiring attention-seeking pundit was suspended for her tasteless display of disdain for a dying man, and while there was an outcry (she was reinstated) I was not among the out-criers. For once I agreed with @jack, although I’m sure this meeting of the minds was purely coincidental and not likely to happen again: a little old-fashioned respect for the dying never hurt anyone. Far be it from me to cheer on the effects of cancer on a human being: I won’t do it, no matter who is involved.  This disrespectful rudeness was also indulged in by our President, another class act, who has more in common with his left-wing enemies than either is ready to acknowledge. (Trump eventually did his duty, however, albeit laconically.)

In his person, and his public pronouncements, McCain was the perfect representative of the nascent imperial class: born in the Panama Canal zone, the son of an Admiral, he was almost fated to become what he did indeed become – the archetypal Praetorian, the veritable embodiment of America’s post-World War II empire. A paladin of the cold war while it lasted, and a tireless advocate of post-cold war hegemonism, his favorite phrase was “boots on the ground,” and he championed this as a policy option for virtually every foreign policy problem confronted by US policymakers.

https://original.antiwar.com/justin/2018/08/26/john-mccain-and-the-warrior-spirit-in-american-foreign-policy/

In these days to stupid a man of logic and truth will be sorely missed.

Good bye John and thanx for everything.  chuq

Iran Action Group

Looks like the Neocons have truly taken the policy….just as in the days prior to the invasion and then the occupation of Iraq in 2003….the State Department has put together a group to use all tools at its disposal to make some sort of war on Iran…..

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Thursday the establishment of the Iran Action Group, a task-force to coordinate all of President Donald Trump’s efforts against Iran.

The group will be led by Brian Hook, a State Department official who served as an adviser to John Bolton in 2006, when the Iran hawk was US ambassador to the United Nations.

“The Iran Action Group will be responsible for directing, reviewing and coordinating all aspects of the State Department’s Iran-related activity, and will report directly to me,” Pompeo said at a news conference.

https://theantimedia.com/iran-action-group/

This smells like a deja vu moment.

Something to consider….the media will be used to help start a war if a war is in the cards……they have always been a great propaganda tool….

Donald Trump has again stirred the wrath of his critics by charging that the media can cause wars. His opponents immediately howled that he’d launched another salvo in his ongoing campaign to vilify journalists as the “enemy of the people.” They also ridiculed his contention as factually absurd. Fox News reporter Chris Wallace bluntly asked National Security Advisor John Bolton: “What wars have we caused?” Princeton University historian and CNN analyst Julian E. Zelizer epitomized the view that Trump’s charge is unfounded with a piece in The Atlantic titled, “The Press Doesn’t Cause Wars—Presidents Do.”

Zelizer and similar critics are technically correct, of course. Media outlets have no power to launch attacks on foreign countries or order U.S. troops into combat. But that view is much too narrow. As Zelizer himself admits, the new media have considerable ability to influence public opinion. Such a capacity to shape the overall narrative is not a trivial power. An irresponsible press can, and has, whipped up public sentiment in favor of military actions that subsequent evidence indicated were unnecessary and even immoral.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/yes-the-press-helps-start-wars/

Keep an eye on the rhetoric coming from the media….it will signal the path the US will embark on when dealing with Iran.

Enter “Starship Troopers”

We all remember the scifi classic and the subsequent movie….but our dear fearless leader has proposed just such a part of our armed forces…..a Space Corps.

There has been many to crap on the idea to include me and there are some that see the need for such a force…..so to be fair I want to give that point of view……

President Trump’s recent declaration of a new Space Force was met with ridicule in many quarters. Yet, the reality is that the United States does urgently need a dedicated military space branch that is separate from its Air Force.

While the United States has somewhat neglected its space program over the past twenty-five years, China has escalated its efforts in this area, including launching numerous manned space flights, landed a rover on the moon, and deployed multiple unmanned space stations. This has spurred a regional space race with India, Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Taiwan, and Iran and more besides. The goal for the most ambitious of these states is not merely to equal American accomplishments, but to push past them, including establishing permanently manned space stations, landing astronauts on the Moon and Mars, and building lunar habitations. If achieved, these feats could knock the United States out of the lead in space for the first time since Soviet Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin orbited the earth in 1961.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2018/07/11/why_america_needs_an_independent_space_force_113595.html

Okay then if we need this new “Force” where will the funds come from?  Will it expand the budget of the Pentagon or will they work within their large amount of funds already?  Which programs will suffer to pay for this new “Force”?

Enter The Congressional Circus

Finally!  Proof we have all searched for…….we have watched these pathetic losers for a long painful time……and not being amused at their lies and antics and now they have done what I thought they could not possibly do……

On many occasions I have called the Congress a circus…..and yesterday in a 9 and half hour tear proved my point beyond a shadow of  doubt…..I watched most of it (as much as I could stomach) and have never been more proud of the GOP for showing their true face…..

The FBI agent who got caught up in a texting scandal over his views about President Trump testified on Capitol Hill Thursday, and it was volatile from the very start. “Heated and sometimes chaotic” is how the Washington Post describes it, and the AP had the same vibe with “bitterly contentious and occasionally chaotic.” Peter Strzok testified that he regretted sending those anti-Trump texts, including one infamous one in which he says “we’ll stop” Trump’s election, but emphatically insisted that his personal views in no way affected his work on two investigations in 2016 of Hillary Clinton and Trump. Republicans, however, weren’t buying it. Details:

  • Opening statement: “Not once in my 26 years of defending my nation did my personal opinions impact any official action I took,” Strzok said in his opening statement. “There is simply no evidence of bias in my professional actions.” He also said the hearing by the House judiciary and oversight committees “is just another victory notch in (Vladimir) Putin’s belt and another milestone in our enemies’ campaign to tear America apart.” Read the full text via Politico.
  • Versus Gowdy: GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy went after Strzok quickly. “Agent Strzok had Donald Trump impeached before he even started investigating him,” he said. “That is bias. Agent Strzok may not see it but the rest of the country does, and it is not what we want, expect or deserve from any law enforcement officer much less the FBI.” At one point, Strzok accused Gowdy of twisting his words and said he didn’t appreciate it. “I don’t give a damn what you appreciate,” responded Gowdy. “I don’t appreciate an FBI agent with an unprecedented level of animus working on two major investigations in 2016.”
  • Contempt threat: When Strzok said he wouldn’t answer questions about the FBI investigations, GOP Rep. Bob Goodlatte threatened to hold him in contempt. Democrat Eric Swalwell then countered about holding Steve Bannon in contempt for refusing to answer questions at an earlier hearing, reports Fox News. In the end, nobody was held in contempt. Throughout the hearing, however, “Democrats tried to run interference for Mr. Strzok, using parliamentary points of order and other tactics to protect him from Republican prying,” per the New York Times.
  • Video: Mediaite has a clip of the “absolute chaos.”
  • Notorious text: “I don’t recall writing that text,” Strzok said of the one in which he wrote “we’ll stop” Trump’s election, reports Axios. “What I can tell you is that text in no way suggested that I or the FBI would take any action to influence the candidacy of candidate Trump.” Strzok also said the text came after Trump’s criticism of the family of a US soldier in Iraq. “You need to understand that was written late at night, off-the-cuff,” he said, per the Wall Street Journal. “My presumption, based on that horrible, disgusting behavior, [was] that the American population would not elect somebody demonstrating that behavior to be president of the United States.”
  • Lisa Page: Strzok is under internal investigation by the FBI and is on what amounts to administrative leave. The FBI lawyer with whom he shared anti-Trump texts, Lisa Page, left the agency. She will meet behind closed doors Friday and Monday with members of Congress, reports CNN. Trump tweeted about her on Wednesday. “What can she possibly say about her statements and lies,” he wrote.

I would like to thank the GOP especially the slugs in the Tea Party’s Freedom Caucus for proving that I was correct when I called US Congress a silly unprofessional circus.  Thank you for proving my point!  It’s Miller Time!