Another History Lesson

(gasp…choke…cough….)

By now the usual posts have hit the internet about the attack in Barcelona……everyone has the same opinion…a dastardly deed committed by barbaric cowards.

And then our president had his say so about the attack as well……

President Trump’s first public reaction to the Barcelona van attack was to tweet a response: “The United States condemns the terror attack in Barcelona, Spain, and will do whatever is necessary to help. Be tough & strong, we love you!” His second public reaction was to spread a rumor that’s been debunked, CNN reports. “Study what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught,” he tweeted. “There was no more Radical Islamic Terror for 35 years!” CNN says Trump was probably talking about the rumor that Gen. John J. Pershing shot Muslims with bullets dipped in pig’s blood, or buried them with pigs’ bodies, during the Philippine-American War as a deterrent to insurgents. It’s a rumor that multiple media outlets, Fox News included, are pointing out has no evidence supporting it.

Trump definitively referred to that rumor during the presidential campaign, telling the audience at a rally that Pershing’s forces lined up 50 Muslim prisoners, shot 49 of them with pig’s-blood-dipped bullets, and told the last person, “‘You go back to your people, and you tell them what happened.’ And for 25 years, there wasn’t a problem.” But both Snopes and Politifact have deemed this rumor to be false. Pershing did write about another commanding officer in the war who supposedly buried Muslims with pigs, but, per Politifact: “There is no evidence that Pershing himself committed these acts … and most important, there is no evidence to support Trump’s claim that this tactic was effective in stopping violence.” Not to mention, as a religious expert told Huffington Post in 2013, there is no penalty in Islam for simply coming into contact with pork products.

That is right…this NEVER happened!  Just more of the “real” news that some like to report.

If I am not mistaken the incident in the Philippines that Trump mentioned ended with Pershing sitting down with the rebels and reading from the Quran and praying with them….and a dispute was avoided. (If  could remember where I read that piece of info I would give you a link…old age and brain farts prevent me from doing so)

I can appreciate it when someone uses a little historical context when making a point….but at least they could do is get it right.  At least he could have shown a little more compassion and actual concern.

Closing Thought–09Aug17

Another Soul Finds Its Way Home!

We will soon find ourselves on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in NYC and the Pentagon.

Many Americans were killed on the fateful day….some still have not been identified….but there is some good news to report (if anything can be said to be good after that attack)……

Almost 16 years after the 9/11 attacks, another family has been given the news that the remains of their loved one have been identified. New York City’s medical examiner said Monday that the man has been identified as the 1,641st person killed at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, PIX11 reports. The medical examiner’s office says the man’s name is being withheld by request of his family. This is the first time another victim has been identified since March 2015, when Matthew David Yarnell, a 26-year-old who worked on the 97th floor of the South Tower, was identified with the help of DNA, the New York Daily News reports.

The 1,641th victim was identified through DNA retesting of remains recovered from the site, reports NBC News. Out of the 2,753 people killed in the New York attacks, 1,112, or around 40%, are still unidentified, but the medical examiner’s office says it plans to keep using the most modern methods to identify as many as possible. The medical examiner’s office says it has been retesting remains found during the original recovery operation at Ground Zero.

May the spirit now rest in peace and the family can have the closure that they have needed for these long years.

Time for me to call it a day……I have a couple of buffalo steaks for the grill and a bottle of good Spanish red wine…..now that is how you end the day….with a perfect meal.

Tomorrow my friends……chuq

Team America Versus Jihad

We as a nation have been fighting a jihad for almost 20 years….and what have we really learned from the experience?

The outcome if studied carefully screams….NOTHING!

War serves itself if there is no strategy to guide and constrain it. The purpose of strategy is to fulfill a political purpose and that purpose should relate to an end that sees a better peace than before the war began. The means and methods, or the instruments of power and the ways they are employed, should align to achieve the political object sought at the costs and duration the state is willing to bear. If war brings more enemies and perpetual war, strategy is flawed.

The U.S and its allies have been fighting terrorists and insurgents for almost 16 years. America has the best-equipped, most-seasoned, and best-led forces in its history. The forces of Team America have won a number of battles, conducted a host of strikes, and killed or captured many terrorists, including Osama bin Laden. Yet there are more murderous Islamist groups around the globe today than there were on 11 September 2001, and there is a strategic stalemate in Afghanistan. Team America is adept and upbeat about doing lethal actions to kill and capture militants. But, Team America does not have a viable strategy.

Source: Team America versus Jihad | The National Interest Blog

I have been harping for years that we need to understand the jihad mindset….not worry about other aspects….learn what they are thinking to better fight their creeping ideas….

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed on July 20, Maj. John Spencer wrote:

“The battle for Mosul represents the future of warfare — and it wasn’t pretty … A rag-tag army of a few thousand Islamic State fighters managed to hold the city for months against some 100,000 U.S.-backed Iraqi security forces.”

Source: Thinking Clearly About ISIS | RealClearWorld

There are a few myths about the US declared War on Terrorism….the reality is that this “War” is not as successful as some would have us believe….

As I argue in my recently published policy analysis here at Cato, the American-led war on terror has clearly failed. Unfortunately, rather than accept the obvious fact that the campaign was badly misguided and focusing homeland security efforts in more fruitful areas, the Trump administration appears ready to embrace, and perhaps even to escalate, the American commitment in the Middle East. Though President Trump himself has frequently voiced concerns about nation building in Iraq and the mission in Afghanistan, few of his senior advisers appear to share his worries. And sadly, few voices from the foreign policy establishment have questioned the need for continued American intervention.

The near total lack of debate begs a simple question: Why do so many smart people support the continuation of a strategy despite its abject failure over sixteen years and in the absence of anything even remotely approaching a new theory of victory?

Source: Fatal Fallacies in the War on Terror | Cato @ Liberty

The one aspect that all should remember…..we can kill the body but not the idea.

Maybe there is a good starting place for the formulation of a plan.

Middle East–One Day At A Time

I have neglected my reports on the Middle East because the sideshow in DC these days is just too damn entertaining to ignore…..I shall try to rectify my oversight.

The wars in Iraq and Syria against the arch enemy ISIS are wearing down….ISIS has all but lost the Iraqi city of Mosul and in Syria they are losing ground faster than a speeding bullet.

The ISIS bunch will be digging in and fighting a more traditional guerilla war in and around Mosul….

Islamic State militants began reinventing themselves months before U.S.-backed Iraqi forces ended their three-year reign of terror in Mosul, putting aside the dream of a modern-day caliphate and preparing the ground for a different fight.

Intelligence and local officials said that, a few months ago, they noticed a growing stream of commanders and fighters flowing out of the city to the Hamrin mountains in northeast Iraq which offer hideouts and access to four Iraqi provinces.

Source: After Mosul, Islamic State digs in for guerrilla warfare

What is really the future for the ISIS held territories?

Can we cheer the defeat of ISIS in Syria and Iraq?

What really matters is the even the “defeat” of ISIS will not bring about a peaceful region……

The fight against the Islamic State appears to be going well. On July 9, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory in Mosul after the city was finally retaken. The same day, the United States and Russia agreed to a cease-fire in southwestern Syria, ostensibly giving government forces and Syrian rebels a freer hand in fighting the Islamic State – not that the rebels have ever fought IS. Then on July 10, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told Reuters that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was dead, as had been rumored a month ago.

These are welcome developments for the enemies of the Islamic State. But the fight is far from over.

Source: What Really Matters in the Middle East – Geopolitical Futures

The one thing we can say for certain is that the “defeat” of ISIS will give Trump a positive talking point…..something he has needed for months now….

Trump will be able to make the Middle East anew….something in his image….(now that is a scary thought for NO one has any idea what that image would be)….and toss in a little history and maybe an idea will make an appearance…(but do not hold your breath)……

President Trump got excited over a Saudi-Israeli scheme to combat Iran, but Trump’s cooperation with Russian President Putin on Syria goes in a profoundly different direction.

In the early 1920s, an ambitious young British official, Harry Philby, urged a Saudi leader (not then a king) to be bold: He could seize the leadership of the Arab world (using fired-up, Wahhabist forces), and become a true “king.” But first, it was absolutely essential he win British government support for his project; and secondly, the Saudi leader would need to change the image of his peripatetic, mounted marauders – the murderous Ikhwan. Abdul Aziz (in the West, often called Ibn Saud, the first king of Saudi Arabia) succeeded in both (though the latter, he simply had murdered by the British).

Source: Trump and the New Mideast Paradox – Consortiumnews

The Middle East is about to become more volatile than in the past (and you thought that was not possible)……

Messy will be the best description from today forward.

The Middle East Next War

ISIS is sliding from the headlines (for now)……Assad is still fighting rebels (for lack of a more accurate term)…..Turkey is fighting anyone not a Turk but especially the Kurds….Iran is propping up anyone not a friend of Saudi Arabia…..so when the guns of ISIS fall silent….what will be next?

There are a few things that needs to be known before any declaration of victory is announced…..

With the retaking of Mosul in northern Iraq, the Islamic State (ISIS) could soon be a thing of the past. But the defeat of ISIS and the demise of its self-proclaimed Iraqi-Syrian caliphate won’t bring peace to the Middle East, or even an end to the Syrian tragedy. Rather, it is likely to open a new chapter in the region’s bloody and chaotic history – one no less dangerous than the previous chapters since the fall of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I.

The continuation of this violent pattern seems almost certain because the region remains unable to resolve internal conflicts on its own, or to create anything like a resilient framework for peace. Instead, it remains trapped somewhere between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Western powers are hardly blameless for the Middle East’s woes. Any mention of the Sykes-Picot Agreement, by which Great Britain and France partitioned the post-Ottoman territories, still incites such rage in the Arab world that it seems as if the plan, devised in secret in 1916, had been conceived only yesterday.

Source: The Middle East’s Next War by Joschka Fischer – Project Syndicate

And there is another thing that needs to be known before there are too many smiles of victory……ISIS is a group…terrorism is an idea that cannot be be beat with guns…..

The short response is yes. Crime forever? Also, yes. Turbulence, terror, pestilence, famine, love, procreation, taxes, families, sunsets, rain, shine, etc.—all are components of the human condition. There is no arc toward perfection in human nature.

The jihadists will remain our mortal enemy; no negotiations or deterrence theories will alter their murderous intent. Unlike in the case of the Vietnam War, there is no strong, unified domestic political opposition to waging a low-level war against terrorists. The mainstream press acknowledges that the jihadists are abhorrent. We are at war against Islamist terrorists. As Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has repeatedly said, the goal should be their annihilation.

Source: The Middle East: Terrorism Forever? | RealClearDefense

Just of couple of things to keep in mind while we pat ourselves on the back because we defeated ISIS and its minions.

Where, Oh Where Has Al-Qaeda Gone?

Does anyone remember Al-Qaeda?

That was the group that masterminded the 9/11 attacks that killed thousands of Americans.

Their leader Osama evaded the US troops for years before we tracked him down and removed his face…..

What has AQ been up to since 9/11 attacks and the death of Osama?

I am so glad that you asked that question.

Despite ostensibly being the United States’ “Public Enemy No. 1” following the 9/11 attacks, the international terror group al-Qaeda has instead been a beneficiary of U.S. military aid in the post-9/11 world, particularly in Syria. With the Syrian conflict well into its sixth year, al-Qaeda’s active branch in that war, widely known as Jabhat al-Nusra or the al-Nusra Front, has continually received arms and military protection from the United States, an outcome that is clearly counterproductive to the U.S.’ global “War on Terror.”

Yet, while the arming and propping up of al-Qaeda in Syria may not serve the U.S.’ fundamental goal of eradicating terrorism, it certainly has helped the U.S. political establishment pursue a decades-old goal of regime change in regionally strategic Syria.

Source: Al-Qaeda And The United States An Unlikely Alliance In The War On Terror

That’s right sports fans…….the US arch enemy is now our butt buddy in the fight against ISIS….

But a decision made by the cracker jack foreign policy team of the Trump admin has decided to end one of their many successful programs….

President Trump has decided to halt the CIA’s years-long covert program to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels battling the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Russia had long pushed the United States to end the program, per the AP. The phasing out of the secret program was reported by the Washington Post on Wednesday. Officials told the newspaper that ending the operation reflects Trump’s interest in finding ways to work with Russia. The program was a key component begun by the Obama administration in 2013 to put pressure on Assad to relinquish power, but even its supporters have questioned its usefulness since Moscow sent forces to Syria two years later.

Russia long saw the anti-Assad program as an assault on its interests. Ending the plan is in part an acknowledgment of the United States’ limited ability to remove Assad from power. The White House had previously condemned Assad and just three months ago Trump launched dozens of airstrikes against a Syrian air base after the United States accused the Syrian regime of using chemical weapons on its own people. White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders declined to comment on the report and said she did not know if the move was discussed during a pair of conversations—including one just revealed on Tuesday—that Trump had with Putin at an international summit earlier this month.

With this program ending will the US return to the sights of AQ?

Think about it!

AQ in Syria is fighting Assad….Russia is an alloy of Assad….Trump recently had an impromptu meeting with Putin

As I have said on numerous occasions…the Middle East will get messy in the months and years to come…..even with the defeat of ISIS.

Whatcha think?

Make It Dirty!

Geez!  The title could lead this post down some interesting and even disgusting paths…..but no this time……

But the big story was who won the British Open golf classic…..seriously?  That is the best the media can do?

For years I have writing about the different occasions where nuke material was found or missing from some inventory and I said that it would be only a matter of time before some nut job terrorist got their hands on the material and would make and use a dirty bomb.

A report has come out of Iraq……the battle for Mosul to be exact……

The Washington Post has a scoop on a terrifying near-miss in Mosul, Iraq. When the Islamic State seized Iraq’s second-largest city in June 2014 it came into possession of two caches of cobalt-60, one of the key ingredients for making “dirty bombs,” the paper reports. At the time, Western intelligence agencies were aware of the cobalt-60, a substance with deadly levels of radiation that, in peaceful hands, can be used to destroy cancer cells. What they weren’t sure of is whether ISIS knew about them. Those agencies, along with independent nuclear experts, appraised the potential damage the two caches could cause and reported to the US government and the Iraqi military about them, but otherwise kept their reports private in case ISIS didn’t know what they had in their possession.

Earlier this year, when Iraqi military soldiers entered the college campus storage room where the cobalt was last seen, they found it untouched. Experts says they don’t know why ISIS didn’t use the substance to make dirty bombs but speculate that they didn’t have the knowledge to dismantle the machines holding it without exposing themselves to radiation. And while the two caches are now safe in Iraqi government hands, officials warn that similar caches exist in hundreds of cities around the world, some of them in conflict areas. The Post reports that it learned of the cobalt-60 in Mosul last year but agreed to a US government request not to report on it until Mosul was retaken.

Any sane person this report would give you a shiver…..to think that ISIS was that close to a dirty bomb……

Now my question is….if they had the material for a dirty bomb why then did they not use it?

What gave them pause after all their barbarity knows no bounds….why the hesitation?

Oh By The Way——remember the deceased leader of ISIS, al-Baghdadi?

Well he may not be as dead as everyone thought……

Defense Secretary James Mattis today said he continues to believe that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is still alive, and that he will assume Baghdadi is alive until he sees confirmation that the US has killed him.

The US, of course, has claimed to have killed Baghdadi several times. His most recent death was at the hands of Russia, which had US officials particularly skeptical. There were multiple “confirmations” that he was likely dead again, though recently the indications have been that he is alive.

Gotta love the games these people play.