Death Comes To Helmand(Afghanistan)

What was the headline in your preferred news source yesterday?

Was it about the idiot swimmer that gives a whole new definition to the term “Ugly American”?  Perhaps it was the health of a candidate or two…….or even some celeb did something they always do…something stupid…..what was your headline?

It should have been the story about the death of an American soldier in Afghanistan……

The US military says an American soldier has been killed and another wounded by a roadside bomb during an operation in Afghanistan’s southern Helmand province, the AP reports. A statement says their patrol was struck by a roadside bomb on Tuesday in Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital, and that six Afghan soldiers were wounded. The attack came a day after officials said that 100 US troops had been sent to Lashkar Gah to help defend the city, which appears to be at increasing risk of falling to the Taliban. Afghan officials say the insurgents effectively control around 80% of the province. The US military says the unidentified soldier was killed while “conducting train, advise, assist activities with Afghan counterparts under NATO authorities.”

He died in a region that has a major uptick in activity, armed activity….it is so bad that the US is sending more troops…..

With gains in the Helmand Province mounting for Taliban forces, and the Afghan military struggling to defend both that and the other provinces around the country which the Taliban are advancing into, the Pentagon has announced an additional deployment of US ground troops into the Helmand capital of Lashkar Gah.

Officials are trying to present the deployment as primarily a “training” operation, in keeping with a policy of claiming that everything they do is “non-combat,” but the reality is that there are very limited Afghan forces in Lashkar Gah, and a deployment of around 100 troops by the US is almost certain to mean direct combat roles.

Brig. Gen. Charles Cleveland insisted US forces were committed to not allow the loss of Lashkar Gah, and clearly they can’t do this with a little idle encouragement to Afghan forces who are increasingly out-numbered and have been beaten by the Taliban time and again in the area.

More troops….more activity….the chances are rising for the possibilities of more American deaths and injuries…

When will this ever end?

Really!  When?

Maybe never….why?  It seems that the rise of the Taleban may not be the only problem that our military will have to face…….

The U.S is monitoring Daesh and its affiliated groups in Afghanistan besides helping the latter’s security forces to fight out the terrorist organization which is trying to expand its base in Afghanistan, a top American official has said.

“We are always looking at ISIL’s (Daesh) ability to find safe haven and then expand to work with, these affiliate groups, factions of groups such as the Taliban that they might be able to exploit. We are monitoring it very closely,” State Department Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner told reporters on Wednesday.

Source: US is Monitoring Islamic State Presence in Afghanistan: State Dept Official | World Affairs Journal

As long as we continue our deployments the more problems we will have to face…..and the chances for more American causalities….

America’s Forgotten War

That would be Afghanistan…..that little war that No one seems to give a crap about….a war that still has Americans in harm’s way……a war that Americans will continue fight….a war that few know why we continue to fight…..

It is Summer and the Taleban has decided to make another push in southern Afghanistan…..

With the Taliban controlling most of the southern Afghan province of Helmand, the capital city of Lashkar Gah has looked less and less secure. It looks like that city could be facing another direct offensive quite soon, as major battles were reported just south of the city.

The Afghan government is rushing military reinforcements into the area, and insists the district of Nawa, where the fighting is ongoing, has yet to fall. US officials have similarly insisted they will “not allow” the city of Lashkar Gah to be captured, but whether they can do anything about it is unclear.

The largely rural Helmand Province is the center of the lucrative opium poppy farming operations in Afghanistan, and Taliban control over many districts, including the districts bordering neighboring Pakistan, allow them to control the flow of opium traffic out of the country

we have de-fanged Al-Qaeda and the Taleban can only operate one region at a time without massive losses…..just what was our objective in Afghanistan…..the boss of the group that did the 9/11 attacks is dead…dead….dead…..

Afghanistan is a money pit…..do you know what that is?  A hole in the earth into which you pour money.

What the US needs is a way out of this quagmire, right?

The failure of U.S. policy in Afghanistan has been obvious for years, but neither President Bush nor President Obama wanted the defeat hung on them, so the bloody folly goes on, a test for the next president, says Alon Ben-Meir.

Two weeks ago, President Obama announced that the U.S. will draw down its troops in Afghanistan from 9,800 to 8,400, altering his original plan to reduce the number to 5,500. His decision suggests that conditions on the ground are not as promising as he expected them to be, and maintaining a larger number of troops is important as he believes “it is in our national security interests … that we give our Afghan partners the best opportunities to succeed.”

The President, however, did not spell out what success actually means. If he meant that Afghanistan will eventually become a stable and functioning democracy, he is fundamentally mistaken. Indeed, even if the U.S. stations three times as many troops for another 15 years or more, given the multiple conflicts, ruthlessness and duplicity of the players involved and the country’s long history, the U.S. cannot rescue Afghanistan from the quagmire in which it finds itself.

Source: Needing an Exit from Afghan Quagmire – Consortiumnews

This election will bring NO relief for our troops and their families and most Americans will just keep thumping their chests and waving their flags and the troops keep living dangerously….

Time for someone to step up and make the government face reality….we had such a person, Chuck Hagel, but he would not play ball with the M-IC so he had to go in favor of the bobble head yes man Carter.

If not your grandchildren will be fighting this unwinnable war….is that what you desire?

Vacation To Die For

My weekend begins and it is Summer…what better time to think about a vacation, right?

From time to time I read something in the news that takes me aback and makes me ask…..WTF?

I do not understand some people’s choice for a overseas visit…you know those idiots that go to North Korea or Iran knowing full well that there is no love lost for Americans….but that does not matter it is the trip of a lifetime, right?

I saw one the other day about an attack on a tourist bus in Afghanistan…seriously?  A bus full of tourists in Afghanistan?

Foreign tourists being escorted by an army convoy in western Afghanistan have been ambushed by gunmen in an attack that left at least seven people wounded, Afghan officials say.

Twelve tourists from the UK, the US and Germany were attacked in the Chesht-e-Sharif district of Herat province on Thursday while on their way to Herat from Bamiyan and Ghor provinces.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement. Spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi said the foreigners were killed – a claim the governor’s office denied.

“A group of Taliban fighters conducted the attack on the tourists, injuring at least six,” Jalani Farhad, spokesman for the Herat governor, told Al Jazeera. “However, no one is dead.”

Al Jazeera’s Qais Azimy, reporting from the capital, Kabul, said the tourists’ vehicle had been hit by an RPG.

He described the convoy’s route as a “dangerous one”, adding that “even Afghans would avoid travelling on that road.

“This journey is three days long by road, and most of it is controlled by warlords, thieves and, of course, the Taliban,” our correspondent said.

“All these things are raising lots of questions; why did these foreigners, in the first place, decide to travel on that road,” he said, adding that “no embassy, in no country, would recommend to their citizens to take that road. Everyone knows about the risk.”

(AL Jazeera)

WTF?

Sorry I just cannot understand the ignorance of some people….scratch that…the STUPIDITY of some people…..just what was so goddamn important that one would risk their life to visit?

Just what happens to one’s brain chemistry to make then say….gee hon why not go for 2 weeks in Afghanistan this Summer.

Who the Hell booked this visit?  Do they have guided ours of Syria?

I think I will just stay in place and bitch about the heat.

The Ghosts of Direct Action

Always in war we hear about some atrocity committed by this side or that…..so when I read this story I thought that I would post it….I do not know whether this is some sort of propaganda tool or not…..if it is not then it is disturbing….

At first I thought it was a piece about some sort of protests where the participants are directly involved in the shaping of the protest……I was mistaken.

This is a report by a Ranger about some of the things he did in Afghanistan….like I said originally…if true then it is too disturbing for words…..

In early 2009 I was walking away from a compound a platoon from the Second Ranger Battalion had just assaulted when a staff sergeant I knew held up something in the dark.  I couldn’t tell exactly what it was.  It was small and he was bragging about it.  I tried to make it out but was soon distracted.  It wasn’t until I got back to Forward Operating Base Salerno and saw his pictures that I realized that he had been showing me a square piece of flesh that he had cut out of a dead woman’s neck.

Mutilating the corpse of a female noncombatant was just the final act in a horror show that night put on by this young Ranger.  He had killed several people.  One was a military-aged male, the rest were women; one looked to be about thirteen.

Source: The Ghosts of Direct Action – Antiwar.com Original by — Antiwar.com

I know for a fact that shit happens during war….however there needs to be a point where things are not tolerated…..I realize that this may not be an accurate depiction of the situation….but it is one person’s first hand account of what happened…like it or not…

I cannot wait to see how the mentally challenged will try and spin this into something positive….that is what knuckle draggers do.

Professor’s Battlefield Reports

In case anyone is interested….the US lost NO troops in last weeks actions…..

I try to help my readers understand that our troops are being spread thin and that the powers in control just keep finding ways to stretch them even thinner….

The Saudis war on Yemen is over a year old…..and since they, the Saudis, are our greatest ally (not sure why) US troops are being used in the country of Yemen…..

U.S. troops have been on the ground in Yemen for about two weeks, the Pentagon revealed on Friday.

The special operations troops are supporting Yemeni, Emirati and Saudi troops against al Qaeda militants near the city of Mukalla.

Davis said the U.S. is providing a “small number” of military personnel, as well as medical, maritime and intelligence support to the forces, who are fighting al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen considered to be the group’s most dangerous.

It’s not the first time U.S. troops have been in Yemen.

Special operations forces operated in the country last year, before they were evaculated after Houthi rebels supported by Iran unseated President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi from the capital in Sana’a in March 2015. Hadi’s government is now based in Aden.

Davis said the troops now in Yemen would help advise the Arab ground forces and assist with operational planning.

(the hill)

The problem is their definition of a “small amount of troops” is different than mine or yours…..yet another place for our noses to show up…….

Just recently Washington has issued a call for more troops for Afghanistan…..but there is more to this report……

The decision to place troops outside the country raises questions about the actual reduction in troop totals, since any number of the hundreds could be moved quickly in and out of the country on any given day.

Army Gen. John Nicholson told reporters that about 400 of the forces deployed outside Afghanistan will be part of the U.S. commitment to the NATO advise-and-assist mission.

“I’m very comfortable with them being where they are and we can call them forward if necessary, and we can reach back for support,” Nicholson told reporters at a briefing during Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s visit to Afghanistan Tuesday. “I’m very comfortable that we’re going to be able to accomplish both of those missions with this level of manning. And it provides me all the capabilities that I need to get the job done.”

(Yahoo News)

We have killed him again!  ISIS Minister of War that is……

His death – purportedly at the hands of the US – was falsely reported in the past but the claim is now being supported by a number of analysts and pro-Isis social media accounts. However, The Independent has not been able to verify the information.

Abu Omar al-Shishani, a high ranking Isis commander, has been confirmed as dead by pro-Isis propaganda outlets.

The Chechen-born, hugely popular ‘minister of war’ was killed in fighting close the the beleaguered Iraqi city of Mosul.

Isis media outlet Amaq announced the news on Wednesday evening, saying al-Shishani was killed in combat in the Iraqi city of Shirqat, south of Mosul.

Shishani, also known as Omar the Chechen, ranked among America’s most wanted militants under a US programme that offered up to $5 million for information to help remove him from the battlefield.

(The Independent)

Who gets the cash?

Finally more news from Iraq……

Just days after announcing another significant deployment of ground troops into Iraq, Pentagon officials are saying they fully expect to seek even more ground troops in future deployments, though they declined to offer any specifics on numbers or timetables.

This is in keeping with what the Pentagon has done throughout the ISIS War, getting a few hundred more troops here and there, and following each deployment up with an almost immediate request for another deployment. It is in this way that the US went from “no boots on the ground” to an official force of about 4,600, and an actual force of about 6,000, in just a couple years.

Pentagon officials insisted that near-term further deployments would be needed to rebuild the Qayara Air Base, which was recently captured by the Iraqi military. The last deployment was also supposed to be to repair the base, which was largely destroyed in US airstrikes over the past two years

Slowly we are returning the massive amounts of troops that we removed just last year….

Were We Truly Prepared?

Do you remember those words?

They are words that most of us try to live by…..especially if you live where I live…..in the path of a hurricane.  If you do then you are well aware of what “be prepared” means.

But for this post I am not going to go on about a hurricane….nope this time I want to talk about our longest war…..Afghanistan and the Taleban.  Now with the mission extended indefinitely….are we more prepared now?

Were we as a nation ready to fight the Taleban?  Were we prepared?  I mean they, Taleban, are having some amazing successes….why is that?

I know that we, at least to some, have an unbeatable military….but the problem is we were fighting with the tactics of our last war…..Gulf War in 1991.

For instance in the 1960’s when the CIA and the Bolivian government were hunting down Che they made it mandatory that his book on guerilla warfare was “must” reading and they used his tactics against him….he was captured and murdered.

Vietnam is an example where they were employing the wrong strategy….the Viet Cong and the NVA were masters at guerilla warfare….it was a winner against the French….but for some reason we did not take their tactics seriously and look where that lead the country.

If our “leaders” had spent a little time reading the book by Giap, “People’s Army People’s War” then were would have been more successful….for in his book he outlines the best strategies to use against a larger more powerful enemy….

This brings me to our 2001 invasion of Afghanistan……it is true that we routed the Taleban in a very short time….but it was NOT defeated and has been a hit and run pain in the ass for 15 years.

I know hindsight is 20/20 but it also can be very telling of inadequacies….

Are you scratching your head yet?

In 1995 a book was published entitled “the Other Side Of The Mountain” about the Afghan guerilla warfare….it is choked full of tactics used by the Mujahideen fighters against the Russians in the 1980’s…..

The book is full of detailed tactics that were used….the same tactics that are being used today by the Taleban against the forces that are occupying the country.

I believe that we would be having greater success against the Taleban if this had been required reading of those that were leading the fight in Afghanistan….

Remember:  Reading is Fundamental!

Obama Alters Plan

In case anyone is interested….NO American troops died on foreign soil last week….

I have been reporting that the troop levels in Afghanistan, due to wind down this year, would stay in place or be expanded….well the prez has made it official….

President Obama is slowing the drawdown of US troops in Afghanistan, leaving 8,400 troops there into next year, he announced Wednesday. Originally he had planned to drop troop levels from 9,800 to 5,500 by the end of 2016. The numbers reflect a compromise between Obama’s original plan and what many military commanders had recommended given a Taliban resurgence, reports the AP. Obama says the security situation in Afghanistan remains precarious and that Afghan security forces are not as strong as they need to be.

Last month a group of more than a dozen former US ambassadors and former commanders of US forces in Afghanistan wrote to Obama urging that he sustain the current level of troops through the remainder of his term in office, per the AP. “Unless emergency conditions require consideration of a modest increase, we would strongly favor a freeze at the level of roughly 10,000 US troops through January 30,” they wrote in a June 1 letter. “This approach would allow your successor to assess for herself or himself and make further adjustments accordingly.”

That was the news out of Afghanistan and now how about the news out of Iraq?

The US will send 560 more troops to Iraq to help recapture Mosul from Islamic State militants, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Monday on an unannounced visit to the country. Most of the new troops will be devoted to the buildup of the newly retaken Qayara air base, about 40 miles south of Mosul, and include engineers, logistics personnel, and other forces, Carter said in Baghdad, per the AP. They will help Iraqi security forces planning to encircle and eventually retake the key city. “These additional US forces will bring unique capabilities to the campaign and provide critical enabler support to Iraqi forces,” Carter said. He revealed President Obama’s decision during a talk to troops at the airport in Baghdad.

Carter called this weekend’s recapture of Qayara a key strategic victory. Speaking to reporters before he arrived in Baghdad, he said US advisers are prepared to accompany Iraqi battalions, if needed, as those units begin the siege of the key northern city, which was taken by ISIS in the summer of 2014. “That’s its strategic role, and that’s its strategic importance,” he said of the air base’s proposed function as the hub. US officials said a team of American troops went into Qayara for a quick site assessment Sunday and left. One potential job is helping Iraqi troops use highly technical bridging capabilities to get across the river into Mosul. The troop increase brings the total US force authorization in Iraq to 4,647 and comes just after Obama slowed the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

All this goes unnoticed….why?  NO ONE cares as long as it does not effect them directly……for they like scratching at that one scab until it becomes infected….

We Americans can be proud that we will have yet more chances for Americans to die for no other reason than the M-IC profits….and the next president can do the right thing or extend our troops even further….my money is on the later.

How about you?