Anzac Day

I am always going on about the American vets and have pretty much ignored other countries and their vets….I apologize.  The ugliness of war effected more than just Americans…..and ALL vets deserve their recognition.

Today is Anzac Day……25 April

It is their equivalent to the US Veterans Day….an observant of the Great War (WW1)…….a day to honor those that fought and died.

When war broke out in 1914 Australia had been a federated nation for only 13 years, and its government was eager to establish a reputation among the nations of the world. When Britain declared war in August 1914 Australia was automatically placed on the side of the Commonwealth. In 1915 Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of the expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula in order to open the Dardanelles to the allied navies. The ultimate objective was to capture Constantinople (now Istanbul), the capital of the Ottoman Empire, an ally of Germany.

The Australian and New Zealand forces landed on Gallipoli on 25 April, meeting fierce resistance from the Ottoman Turkish defenders. What had been planned as a bold stroke to knock Turkey out of the war quickly became a stalemate, and the campaign dragged on for eight months. At the end of 1915 the allied forces were evacuated from the peninsula, with both sides having suffered heavy casualties and endured great hardships. More than 8,000 Australian soldiers had died in the campaign. Gallipoli had a profound impact on Australians at home, and 25 April soon became the day on which Australians remembered the sacrifice of those who died in the war.

Although the Gallipoli campaign failed in its military objectives, the actions of Australian and New Zealand forces during the campaign left a powerful legacy. What became known as the “Anzac legend” became an important part of the identity of both nations, shaping the ways in which they viewed both their past and their future.

Source: Anzac Day: Remembering the Soldiers on Unexpected Battlefields | RealClearDefense

Take a few moments and think about the sacrifices that all war veterans make for the country…..they deserve far more than they are given.

I will attempt to rectify my oversight,,,,again I am sorry for my thoughtlessness.

Afghanistan: Land Of The Proxy

My old farts that visit IST will remember the days of yore, 1979, when the USSR entered Afghanistan…..I use “old farts” because few seem to want to remember that we have been doing “business” in Afghanistan for over 25 years.

The USSR entered neighboring Afghanistan in 1979, attempting to shore up the newly-established pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. In short order, nearly 100,000 Soviet soldiers took control of major cities and highways. Rebellion was swift and broad, and the Soviets dealt harshly with the Mujahideen rebels and those who supported them, leveling entire villages to deny safe havens to their enemy. Foreign support propped up the diverse group of rebels, pouring in from Iran, Pakistan, China, and the United States.

It was a proxy war between the USSR and the US and the people of Afghanistan were caught in the middle of the 9 years of death and destruction……The US armed the opposition to the Russian occupation and today it appears that Russia is arming the opposition to the American occupation…..

The Afghan War is going extremely poorly, 16 years in, and the US military needs someone to blame for its failures. The first choice among a lot of top military figures seems to be Russia, and while they offer no evidence to back up their claims, several have alleged that Russia might conceivably be arming the Taliban.

US commandeer Gen. John Nicholson appeared to be joining that camp today during comments in Kabul, complaining about the “malign influence” of Russia in the country, and insisting that he was “not refuting” allegations of Russia shipping weapons to the Taliban.

(antiwar.com)

I bring all this up because there seems to be another proxy war between Russia and the US brewing…..and yes Afghanistan will be caught in the middle once again.

If recent developments are any indication, Russia is becoming increasingly focused on and active in Afghanistan. The Russian government has held several consultations with Tajikistan on expanding security cooperation on the Tajikistan-Afghanistan border and has explored increasing the scope of its Central Asian military bloc, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). It has also increased its diplomatic engagement with the Taliban and, according to Afghan and U.S. officials, may even be providing security assistance to the group. Long a consideration for Russia, Afghanistan is growing in importance to Moscow at both the tactical and strategic levels. And as it does, it is becoming an increasingly important theater for the U.S.-Russia competition.

Source: Afghanistan: The Next Big U.S.-Russia Proxy Battle | RealClearDefense

This is what the US and Russia are very good at doing……using proxies so they do not have to get their hands dirty….as it were……

Russia is a great power that retains muscle memory (and a strategic arsenal) from its past superpowerdom. In the Ukraine and Syria, Russia has challenged the United States—its former peer and a hesitant hegemon in decline—through direct military interventions. Additionally, Moscow has impressively deployed hybrid warfare tactics to create the perception that it has influenced the U.S. presidential election and forged a rift between the incoming commander-in-chief and elements of the U.S. intelligence community.

Surprisingly, Afghanistan is emerging as another arena in which Moscow is pointedly working at odds with Washington’s interests. Indeed, recent moves by Russia now represent a pivot toward Afghanistan, posing a set of challenges that have been unanticipated by U.S. observers of the region. The incoming Trump Administration ought to be aware of Russia’s newfound assertiveness vis-à-vis Afghanistan, both in the threats it poses as well as the potential opportunities it may present.

Source: Russia Returns to Afghanistan | The National Interest

What is left to say….some tactics never change….and that could very well be the problem.

There is one more thing to say…..

Mattis did meet with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, and offered the same assessment that US officials have been offering on the Afghan War for the past 16 years, that it’s “going to be a tough year” in Afghanistan, and that the US appreciates the major problems facing the country.

There you have same song, different year.

After I wrote this draft another Afghan story came to my attention……

The use of a large conventional bomb against an Afghan tunnel complex occupied by Islamic State militants recently captured the media’s imagination. Talking heads rushed to discern the meaning of the decision. Was it President Donald Trump sending a message to North Korea? Was the president even involved in the decision? It turns out that he wasn’t.

The U.S. Commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Nicholson, says he ordered the use of the MOAB (Massive Ordnance Air Burst Bomb, known colloquially as the “mother of all bombs”) for purely tactical reasons: “This is the right munition to reduce these obstacles.” The jubilation expressed by U.S. media in purely tactical destruction, however, sent a strategic message to some Afghans: that the United States considers their country a collection of targets to destroy rather than a country with a history and, hopefully, a future. A senior pro-government political analyst in Kabul whom I have known for decades points out that even if the Islamic State flees the area, the government’s weakness means the Taliban, who pose a greater threat to the government, will fill the vacuum.

Source: It’s Much Bigger Than Afghanistan: U.S. Strategy for a Transformed Region

The song is FAR from over!

It’s Looking A Lot Like “Groundhog Day”

I am referring to our wars of conquest of those barbaric groups AQ and ISIS…..

We have been fighting one or the other for about 20 years…the other is a fairly recent add to the War on Terror…..

The problem is that we keep doing the same thing over and over and spinning our wheels in the process….kinda like the movie “Ground Hog Day”…..only with guns, bombs, death and destruction.

The current situation in Syria reminds us again that we are failing in our post-9/11 wars. We have accomplished neither the strategic objectives set forth by the Bush administration nor those of the Obama administration. Both administrations have had notable successes and achieved periodic tactical and operational progress, but neither created sustained strategic success. The jury on the current administration is still out, but on the campaign trail the President suggested we can defeat ISIS with military force alone—bombing the *@#! out of them. To put it kindly, this approach misses the mark. America has led a concerted leadership decapitation campaign against both al Qaeda and ISIS for a decade and a half. Such a campaign is necessary, but not sufficient. How much longer will we take this approach before we learn that we are waking up to the same day over and over again?

Source: U.S. Strategy for al Qaeda and ISIS: It’s Groundhog Day | RealClearDefense

I keep waiting for all those brilliant minds in the government to come up with something new and innovative…..so far there is NOTHING new under the table at the Pentagon.

And this new administration is definitely not the group to end this war with a victory….they, like their predecessors, are nothing more the hammer to help the M-IC nail down massive profits with NO intention of ever ending this gravy train.

Political Ignorance Or “Axis Of Adults”?

During the 2016 campaign I will admit that there were some issues that Trump voiced that I could get behind…not to the point that I would have ever considered voting for him…..but he did have a few stands that I liked…..such as staying out of Syria with ground forces…..a possible overhaul of NATO….and his idea to keep America safe without intervention.

The problem is when he got elected and began to put together a cabinet I was concerned because he was appointing many generals to positions of power.  Trump was avoiding the use of real diplomats in positions of diplomacy…to me this was a force of ignorance that would lead to a path of destruction……

The truth is the Trump was in no more position of knowledge than the last couple of presidents…but his predecessors at least attempted to find people with the knowledge to run the foreign policy of the US…Trump not so much…..

It is what we might call ‘the consensus judgment’ that President Trump is a deeply ignorant man and perhaps a profoundly ignorant President. But it is worth stepping back and considering just what this means, the different kinds of ignorance that exist and how they differ.

Without making a direct comparison, it is worth remembering that each of the last three Presidents came to office with a steep learning curve about the modalities of the presidency and many aspects of the challenges and issues they would face. Clinton, Bush and Obama were each, in different ways, pretty green. Bush’s father, since he had served in Congress, as head of the CIA and especially because he had served as a fairly active Vice President for the previous eight years, came in knowing quite a lot about the specifics of the Presidency.

Source: Trump and The Problem of Militant Ignorance

Then the Syrian situation presented itself and after a couple of missiles and a bomb the media is starting to take a more positive look at the foreign policy of Trump…..

There’s a new band in town that’s guiding national security by quietly tutoring the most powerful man in America. Never-Trump Republicans who’d been apprehensive about President Donald Trump are celebrating the trio’s influence, calling Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and Homeland Secretary John Kelly the “Axis of Adults.”

Through near daily contact with the trio, as well as Trump’s National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster and CIA director Mike Pompeo, Trump’s world view appears to be morphing more closely to match hawkish conservatives of the Bush administration.

Source: New Power Center in Trumpland: The ‘Axis of Adults’ – The Daily Beast

While the MSM may have a positive attitude toward Trump…I do not…..his reaction and those of his subordinates is nothing new…..his reaction to the situation was the same as Obama and Baby Bush…..the neocons win…..

Donald Trump won the 2016 nomination and general election largely because he was able to pose as a populist and anti-interventionist “America Firster.”

Barack Obama won the 2008 election in good part because he promised “hope and change” and because he gave a speech years earlier against the then-impending invasion of Iraq.

Short of disclosure of diaries or other documents from these politicians, we won’t know for certain if Obama and Trump planned on reversing much of what they promised or if the political establishment compelled them to change. Either way, they both perpetrated massive political fraud. And what is perhaps most striking is how quickly each of them backtracked on their winning core campaign messages, particularly since they were both proclaimed as representing “movements” meant to shake up the system.

Source: Deceivers in Chief: How Donald Trump and Barack Obama Are Alike – Truthdig

Amazing how all this works out….when it comes to foreign policy then campaign promises mean nothing.

Closing Thought–24Apr17

Celebration update:  For all those redneck toads out there….today is Confederate Memorial Day…..

“Unwanted Politician Removal”

One way of ridding ourselves of a politician that is no longer “lovable” is resignation…..another way is through the process of impeachment…..this one was tried with Bubba Clinton and his blowjob scandal…..and we all remember the resignation of Nixon, right?

Well it seems that all this mash up with Pres. Trump over his business dealing, his taxes, his people and probably his bathroom tissue and the Dems are licking their chops….

A new introduction in Congress could make it easier to rid ourselves of an unwanted person…..

A House Democrat has introduced legislation to enhance the Constitution’s presidential removal procedures in response to concerns about President Trump’s behavior.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) filed the bill during the House’s two-week April recess to empower former presidents and vice presidents of both parties, in coordination with the sitting vice president, to determine if a president is fit for office.

“It is hard to imagine a better group to work with the vice president to examine whether the president is able to discharge the duties of the office. When there are questions about the president’s ability to fulfill his or her constitutional responsibilities, it is in the country’s best interest to have a mechanism in place that works effectively,” Blumenauer said in a statement.

Source: House Democrat introduces bill to amend presidential removal procedures | TheHill

Trump supporters….not to worry…the Congress is a dysfunctional mess so this will probably go no where…

If that does not interest you…then how about some music….in my opinion it is Johnny Rivers best album…….

TTFN……will see you guys tomorrow….chuq

STOP! Treating War As Entertainment

From time to time I will post a petition that I think is worth my readers attention and this is one of those petitions…..

Tell traditional corporate media outlets: Stop glorifying war

“I am guided by the beauty of our weapons.”

That is the Leonard Cohen quote that MSNBC’s Brian Williams used last week to wax poetic about Donald Trump’s decision to illegally drop dozens of Tomahawk missiles on Syria.1 He described the “beautiful pictures of fearsome armaments” that were emerging of the strike with reverence and awe, demonstrating the horrifying and dangerous attitude that traditional corporate media outlets too-often take when reporting on war.2

War is not beautiful. Military action should be taken as a last resort and recognized for the sacrifice and loss that comes with it. It is a problem when the people and institutions tasked with keeping the general public informed of our actions in the world hide behind flowery language and lies to keep from having to report on the reality of war.

Source: Tell traditional corporate media outlets: Stop glorifying war | CREDO Action

Please consider the possibility of adding your name to those that oppose war…..especially when it seen as entertainment..

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Libya: What To Do?

Libya has been in the news, not so much in the US but the rest of the world is watching, at every turn the news is that ISIS is taking it in the butt…..however the divisions among the different factions is still a kettle at boiling point.

But let’s say the shooting is over and Libya becomes a calm region….but what would be the government that would protect this calm?

Well there is the typical answer when dealing with the Arab world….a federal government.

I say typical because it has been proposed for two other countries at war….Iraq and Syria……(check out the proposals)

Source: How About a Federalized Iraq? – In Saner Thought

Source: The Partition Of Syria – In Saner Thought

And now there is talk of a partitioning of Libya…..

History repeats itself, it is often said. The strife facing modern-day Libya—strife largely born of and fueled by internal, sometimes tribal divisions—is only the latest iteration in a longstanding pattern. As the Italians discovered during their colonization of Libya, and as ISIS discovered when it conquered Sirte, and as the international community has recently discovered in a multitude of ways, Libya is a deeply divided country. Without a real approach to that reality—including perhaps creating a confederal model for Libya—Libyans themselves will continue to be their own worst enemies.

Source: A house divided: Why partitioning Libya might be the only way to save it | Brookings Institution

This idea was floated by an adviser of Trump…one Gorka….Politico covered his proposal written on a napkin…..

Dear Dr. Gorka,

So I hear you’re interested in being Donald Trump’s envoy to Libya. You even sketched a plan on a napkin to partition the country. The plan would divide Libya into three provinces that date back to the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century, and thereby solve Libya’s current crisis. If it were only that simple.

Source: So You Want to Partition Libya … – POLITICO Magazine

Some, like myself, do know think that partitioning is the answer….it is not a good idea for Iraq nor Syria….and Libya fits into that disapproval nicely…..

In their final communique at the end of their two-day meeting in Italy on April 10, the foreign ministers of the Group of Seven yet again expressed their unequivocal support of the Libyan political agreement and its transitional government headed by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, while calling on all armed groups in the Libyan capital to “desist from actions that would exacerbate internal division and fuel further conflict.”

What is worth noting in the statement on Libya is the clear expression of support to the country’s territorial integrity and unity, which clearly rejects any idea of a possible breakup of the country as a way of stabilizing it, since its quarreling factions have failed to accept any form of a political solution. The statement read, “We reaffirm our commitment to preserving the sovereignty, integrity and unity of Libya.”
Libya will have its problems after the hostilities….but breaking the country up is NOT the best answer.