An Afghanistan Update

I reported earlier today about the death of another American soldier….at the time his name had not been released……that has changed and I would like to update my report……

A Special Forces soldier, SFC Jeremy Griffin, was killed on Monday, September 16, 2019 in Afghanistan. He died of wound from small arms fire while engaged in combat operations in Wardak province, Afghanistan. He was a member of the 3rd Battalion, 1st special Forces Group based at Joint Base Lewis-McCord, Washington.

Jeremy Griffin was born in Cristobal, Panama in December 1978. He enlisted into the U.S. Army in 2004. He deployed to Iraq in 2006 and Afghanistan in 2009 with the 82nd Airborne Division. He had also served with the 7th Special Forces Group. After attending and graduating from the Special Forces Qualification Course in 2014 as a Special Forces Communication Sergeant he was assigned to 1st SFGA.

Our thoughts go out to the family.

May Sgt. Griffin Rest In Peace.

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Closing Thought–13Sep19

Once again out elite fighting force, the SEALs, have made the news……I wrote about the events that lead to to action taken just recently….https://lobotero.com/2019/08/15/seals-have-a-problem/

Appears the new commander of the SEALs has made good on his promise to “clean house”……

The top admiral in charge of Naval Special Warfare has fired the entire leadership team of SEAL Team 7 over a “breakdown of good order and discipline,” a Navy official told Task & Purpose on Friday.

Cmdr. Edward Mason, the commanding officer of ST7; Lt. Cmdr. Luke Im, the executive officer; and Command Master Chief Hugh Spangler were all relieved of their leadership posts on Friday, said Capt. Tamara Lawrence, a spokeswoman for Naval Special Warfare Command.

The relief was carried out by Rear Adm. Collin Green, the commanding officer of NSW. Lawrence said their relief was “due to a loss of confidence that resulted from leadership failures that caused a breakdown of good order and discipline within two subordinate units while deployed to combat zones.”

https://taskandpurpose.com/navy-seal-team-7-relief

May be a good start but Team 6 seems to be the one with the most problems….why not start there?

JUst a thought.

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

That Foggy Mountain Breakdown–Afghanistan

There is a wealth of opinions on the breakdown of the talks between the US and the Taleban…..all said the common opinion is that Trump was right cancel these talks for it gives the US time to revamp its Afghan strategy…..

U.S. President Donald Trump announced on Saturday that he had called off talks with the Taliban at Camp David. The meeting had probably been arranged to finalise a deal for the start of a U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The deal apparently had four main pillars: a Taliban guarantee not to allow foreign fighters to use Afghanistan to launch attacks outside the country; the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces; an intra-Afghan dialogue; and a permanent ceasefire.

The question marks over that plan are the credibility of any Taliban commitments, the exclusion of the Afghan government from the peace talks, and what happens next.

These problems are well known to any observer of Afghanistan and certainly to the U.S. lead negotiator, Zalmay Khalilzad. He may well have reached the best deal he could with the Taliban, but that doesn’t mean it was one worth taking. Fortunately, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Trump seem to have a perspective that’s different from the negotiating team’s.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2019/09/11/the_breakdown_of_ustaliban_talks_buys_time_to_reset_the_afghanistan_strategy_114737.html

Was Trump right to cancel these talks?

The new peace agreement thus far, painstakingly negotiated by U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad – a skilled former ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and the United Nations – was between the U.S. and the Taliban only. The Camp David meeting was supposed to be a turning point, wherein the Afghan government of President Ashraf Ghani and the Taliban could come together, echoing former President Bill Clinton’s bringing together of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the government of Israel in 2000, also at Camp David. (That attempt, too, died stillborn.)

The deal on the table reportedly included a U.S. withdrawal of its 14,000 troops, including a down-payment of around 5,000 leaving within a few months after the accord was completed. The Taliban were to provide guarantees that there would be no return to creating “safe havens” for groups like al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (which is rising in prominence within Afghanistan). There was also a provision to free thousands of Taliban prisoners being held by the Afghan government. All of this was to be cemented with a prolonged cease-fire – and it was that portion of the agreement that the Taliban failed to honor, continuing their attacks and killing another U.S. service member last week.

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-09-09/trump-was-right-to-cancel-the-taliban-talks

One of the media’s main sticking points is that there was NO Afghan government representation…..but once the US takes it on the lame the Taleban will once again become the government in power in Afghanistan.

Really the only thing to worry about is to take measures to assure the US that there will be no safe haven for terrorists like AQ and ISIS.

The governmental form matters not….for Afghanistan will be Afghanistan.

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

9/11 Never Happened!

This is NOT some lame ass conspiracy…it is a ‘what if’……so it should be ‘what if 9/11 never happened”?

Today is the day when we take a few minutes to observe a silence for those people that perished in the attacks….

I do like to look at history and thinking of some sort of alternative…..9/11 is no different…..

How different would the world be today if there had been no 9/11? What if the attacks had been foiled or bungled? One obvious answer is that Americans would probably care a lot less than they do about the rest of the world.

Back on the eve of destruction, in early September 2001, only 13 percent of Americans believed that the U.S. should be “the single world leader.” And fewer than a third favored higher defense spending. Now those figures are naturally much higher. Right?

Wrong. According to the most recent surveys, just 12 percent of Americans today think the U.S. should be the sole superpower—almost exactly the same proportion as on the eve of the 9/11 attacks. The share of Americans who want to see higher spending on national security is actually down to 26 percent. Paradoxically, Americans today seem less interested in the wider world than they were before the Twin Towers were felled.

https://www.newsweek.com/what-if-911-had-never-happened-67373

What would the news have been if the attack had not happened?

Everyone remembers exactly where they were and what they did on 9/11.

But what do you remember about the day before — or the news the early-morning of?

Not much, we’re guessing.

Nothing that happened the day before 9/11 — and nothing that was set to make news before 8:47 a.m. on 9/11 — seemed remotely relevant in the aftermath.

If the attacks had never happened, here’s what you would have been talking about on 9/11.

https://www.businessinsider.com/september-11-2001-2011-9

Now that was interesting…….. the crap that would have made the morning news if the 9/11 attacks had been canceled or thwarted….

Learn Stuff!

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Aftermath Of 9/11

Today we set about remembering the deadly attacks on 9/11…..

We always try to remember those that have perished in the dastardly attacks on 9/11 and we seldom think about those that have been ass deep in fighting since that day.

You could say that we have a Veterans Day to remember our vets but that is for ALL vets and the vets from the War on Terror have few that remember their sacrifices….with the exception of the families that have to pay for the damage these wars have done.

Those who went to war after Sept. 1, 2001, are different than the generations of veterans who went before them, and are “more likely to bear the scars of battle,” both physical and mental.

“Their collective experiences — from deployment to combat to the transition back to civilian life — are markedly different from those who served in previous eras,” according to a unique survey by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center, released Tuesday on the eve of the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

“Roughly half of post-9/11 veterans (49%) have had combat experience, compared with 24% of veterans who served only before 9/11,” the survey found.

The survey of more than 1,200 veterans and, separately, more than 1,000 adult civilians examined the veterans’ own assessments of what they experienced in battle and the transition out of uniform, contrasting that with the civilians’ views of the returning service members.

https://www.military.com/daily-news/2019/09/10/post-9-11-vets-bear-more-mental-physical-battle-scars-prior-generations-pew-study.html

Sadly the American people will remember the attacks but little thought for those people that are fighting these endless wars.

The soldiers that fight these wars should have their say….

An important new consensus is forming against America’s endless wars, shaped by an important constituency: the military veterans who have sacrificed so much to fight them. A Pew Research poll of veterans released contained results that contradict the cherished talking points of the bipartisan Washington foreign policy blob that sees “leadership” and “engagement” as being synonymous with bombing and regime change.

Sixty-four percent of veterans said the war in Iraq was not worth fighting when the costs to America are weighed against the ostensible benefits to the region and our national security. Just 33 percent concluded that George W. Bush’s Baghdad democracy adventure was worthwhile in retrospect.

That’s not much different than the prevailing view among the American public, where 62 percent said the Iraq war wasn’t worth it versus 32 percent who still think it should have been fought. Perhaps more surprisingly, 58 percent of veterans believe the Afghanistan war—now America’s longest, despite two consecutive presidents of both parties advocating retrenchment—wasn’t worth fighting. That’s only a point behind the 59 percent of Americans as a whole who say the same.

Veterans Reach Their Tipping Point Against Our Post-9/11 Wars

If you are going to remember the attacks and the deaths on 9/11 then please take a few moments to think about those brave souls that have been fighting and dying for 18 years because of those attacks.

And we fight on….and on……

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/sep/10/another-unhappy-september-11-anniversary/

They say (whoever they are) that 9/11 changed everything…..but is that accurate?

America’s news media have focused for days and more on the 10th anniversary of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. The dominant, inevitable, yet misleading theme of the coverage: 9/11 “changed everything.”

“When Everything Changed,” the Washington Post declares on its front page today.

“The Day Everything Changed,” says the Star-Telegram of Fort Worth, Texas.

“A Decade of Change,” declares the Press of Atlantic City.

“Forever changed?” asks the lead headline in today’s Chattanooga Times Free Press.

That interrogative is inadvertently perceptive, suggesting as it does an important if largely ignored counter-narrative about 9/11:

It is striking how little, fundamentally, has changed in American life because of the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in lower Manhattan, at the Pentagon, and near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

A counter-narrative: 9/11 did not ‘change everything’

A few weeks ago Congress finally passed a bill that benefited the first responders…sadly just in time for some political advantage…..think not?

Then why did it take so long to do the right thing?

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

More On Afghanistan

The news has centered on Afghanistan in the last week because of some secret meeting at Camp David with the Taleban ….cancelled to avoid the embarrassment for the president…….

President Trump surprised many over the weekend with the revelation that he had canceled secret peace talks that were about to take place at Camp David with Taliban and Afghan leaders. Trump said he called off the meeting following a Taliban attack in Kabul that killed an American soldier. Now the big question is what happens next in regard to US plans to scale down its presence in Afghanistan. A look at coverage:

  • The talks: The New York Times has an in-depth look at how the Camp David meeting nearly came to be, reporting that Trump himself suggested using the coveted locale. Some background: The US has been negotiating separately with the Taliban for some time, and a deal is close. Those talks have not included Afghanistan, however, and it was Trump’s idea to invite Afghan leader Ashraf Ghani to the US to sign off on an agreement.
  • Trump’s style: The Washington Post reports this via an official: “Comparing the initiative to Trump’s personal meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and his stated desire to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, this official said Trump thinks his personal style can persuade anyone, and that he has seen the possibility of a substantial Afghan withdrawal as a major plus for his reelection campaign.”
  • Critic’s view: Don’t buy the president’s explanation that he called off the meeting over the death of an American service member, writes Chas Danner at New York. “Last week’s deadly suicide bombing was not some final straw for Trump, as he and Pompeo have claimed, but rather a politically palatable excuse to save face after the administration’s plan for a peacemaking grand finale fell apart,” writes Danner. He has a lengthy analysis.
  • How it allegedly fell apart: The Times reports the Taliban did agree to come to Camp David, but only if the peace deal was announced prior to their arrival there. That was a “fundamental dividing point.” Trump “wanted to be the dealmaker who would put the final parts together himself, or at least be perceived to be,” per the story.
  • So now what? Not only is the Camp David meeting off, but those US-Taliban talks also have been suspended. The AP reports that it’s not clear when they might resume, and the Timesthinks it could be “several months.” Also up in the air is the timeline for the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. About 14,000 are currently there, and Trump promised last month to bring that number down to about 8,600. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo laid out two conditions for any drawdown on Sunday: reduced violence and the pledge that Afghanistan would not be used as the base for an attack on the US.
  • A rift: The Afghanistan strategy has exposed a rift between national security adviser John Bolton, a hawk who wants no part of a deal with the Taliban, and Pompeo, who backs the negotiations, reports the Post. Bolton maintains that Trump can keep a campaign pledge of reducing the US troop presence without a Taliban deal.
  • Taliban threat: A Taliban spokesman warned that the cancellation will result in American deaths, reports Reuters. “This will lead to more losses to the US,” he said. “Its credibility will be affected, its anti-peace stance will be exposed to the world, losses to lives and assets will increase.”

Trump wants to get out of Afghanistan because he promised to do so and because it will look good on his re-election rhetoric…..

Do we have a moral reason to stay in the country?

Since 9/11, U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan have fluctuated between a high of 100,000 in 2011 and about 14,000 today. Until 2014, they were part of a NATO mission that at its height had 130,000 troops from 50 countries; NATO transitioned it from a combat mission to a “train, equip and advise” mandate in 2014, aiming to shift responsibility to Afghan security forces. The U.S. contingent is now the major part of a force of 17,000 from 30 countries. Close to 3,500 coalition personnel have been killed since 2001, including 2,300 Americans.

No one would argue that this 18-year-long Western commitment has solved Afghanistan’s security problems, but some changes in Afghan life offer modest hope for the future. Despite endemic corruption, Afghans continue to stumble fitfully toward a functioning electoral system, with a presidential election set for Sept. 28. Perhaps most important, in a country of 36 million people, USAID says about 9 million children are now in school, one-third of them girls. Under the Taliban, few children had access to school, and no girls were permitted to attend.

https://www.ozy.com/opinion/afghanistan-in-a-precarious-position-as-us-prepares-to-leave/96643

Or do we stay….and stay….and stay……?

After 18 years of waging war in Afghanistan, the Trump administration is attempting to pull back. But critics have responded with outrage. What’s the point of trying to reach a deal with the execrable Taliban? How can we contemplate abandoning the Afghan government when the country could be plunged into civil war or worse?

The implication of these objections is clear: Eighteen years has been insufficient. The U.S. should be willing to guarantee Afghan security and stability — including playing Whack-a-Mole with Taliban insurgents — with no end in sight. Anything less than such an open-ended commitment is tantamount to a surrender — and surrendering to America’s enemies should be considered unacceptable, no matter the cost in blood and treasure.

https://theweek.com/articles/862985/does-america-have-moral-imperative-stay-afghanistan-forever

As usual there is a wealth of reason why the US cannot leave Afghanistan….sadly none hold up to the reality.

One last thought……

according to the US Department of Defense, the total military expenditure in Afghanistan (from October 2001 until March 2019) was $760bn.

But it doesn’t include spending in Pakistan, which the US uses as a base for Afghan-related operations.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-47391821

That is cash that could have been used in the US on education, health or infrastructure….instead fighting a war that we cannot win was the use for those dollars.

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Why Camp David?

Closing Thought–09Sep19

There was an attempt to hold secret talks between the US and the Taleban on the possibility of a peace agreement…..and dear Mr. Trump decided to cancel the meeting…

Many months of tough negotiations between US and Taliban officials came to a draft agreement which some analysts believe was going to be formally finalized as a peace deal this weekend. That will not happen.

President Trump took to Twitter on Saturday announcing that he has “called off peace negotiations” with the Taliban, citing anger over one of the Taliban’s car bombings in Kabul last week.

Trump also revealed that he had planned secret talks with both Afghan President Ghani and Taliban leaders at Camp David, but that in the course of his new decision, he had canceled those meetings as well.

It is unclear, then, whether Trump’s saying he “called off” the negotiations just refers to this weekend, or to the entire process. The US State Department was unclear, and referred questions to the White House.

(antiwar.com)

Everybody scrambled to defend the president’s decision……of course they are spin it to the point that they, Taleban, has been killing Americans and to hold such a meeting with a group that [protected the group that attacked on 9/11.

Now there is the reason…….it was a political decision nothing else.

It would have been used against Trump in the upcoming 2020 election….so all the “reasons” were just fluff…the real reason was a electoral decision.

The spin is to cover the fact that the president is a moron for even considering such a meeting just days before any 9/11 remembrances…..these meetings would appear to be a spit in the faces of those that died on 9/11….just think of the ammo he would give to his opponent in 2020….

Learn Stuff!

“Lego Ergo Scribo”