Closing Thought–05Feb20

Time to vote ALL warmongers out of office as quickly as possible.

WHY?

All the money spent and what do we have to show?

Our 17 year war in Iraq has cost the US lots of blood and treasure…….to be exact the total in cash is $1.9 trillion…..

Even if the U.S. administration decided to leave — or was evicted from — Iraq immediately, the bill of war to the U.S. to date would be an estimated $1,922 billion in current dollars.

This figure includes not only funding appropriated to the Pentagon explicitly for the war, but spending on Iraq by the State Department, the care of Iraq War veterans and interest on debt incurred to fund 16 years of U.S. military involvement in the country.

Since 2003, the Department of Defense has received about $838 billion in “emergency” and “overseas contingency operation” funding for operations in Iraq through fiscal year 2019. This includes, from 2014 on, money dedicated to the fight against the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS or IS, in a region including both Iraq and Syria.

The Pentagon “base” budget — money needed to keep the department running on an ongoing basis — has also ballooned while the U.S. has been at war. War-related increases to the base budget include heightened security at bases, enlistment and reenlistment bonuses, increased military pay, and the healthcare costs of soldiers. I estimate nearly $800 billion in such increases since 9/11, with Iraq’s share about $382 billion.

Add to this approximately $59 billion spent by the State Department and USAID on Iraq and Syria for democracy promotion, reconstruction, training, and removing unexploded bombs.

(Defense One)

What a waste of taxpayer money….Iraq was stable and secure pre-2003 invasion and the US turned it into into the death trap it is today.

Time for the American people to make their voices heard to end this useless waste of people and money….

Beside US troops is not the answer for Iraq….

It is by now well-chronicled that the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 was based on shockingly bad intelligence. Bush administration officials routinely claimed Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and would use them against America if we didn’t act. As error-ridden, the decision to invade was, our failure to withdraw once the mistake had been made plain began a vicious cycle that has yet to be broken.

With Saddam deposed, the Bush administration could have worked with the existing Iraqi military to maintain public order and set the conditions for the Iraqi people to form a new government. The U.S. military could then have withdrawn beginning in late 2003. Instead, some in Washington wanted to try remaking Iraq in America’s image.

https://thehill.com/opinion/international/481142-keeping-us-troops-in-iraq-wont-solve-the-chaos-there

VOTE Antiwar!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Closing Thought–23Jan20

I have been an opponent of the massive amount of spending that tghe country does on its so-called defense.

We have American citizens starving and dying of inadequate health care but yet we can spend trillions on worthless endless wars.

Those damn defense contractors! (Let me state here that not all contractors for the defense department are crooks….but there are too many as it is now)…….

Shell companies….tjose techniques used by drug dealers and terrorists to hide their money are also employed by some defense contractors…..

Shell companies have come under attack for obscuring illicit money flowing into real estate. But it turns out they’re also a problem for the Pentagon.

Some Defense Department suppliers have used such front companies to fraudulently win manufacturing bids, according to a U.S. Government Accountability Office study of Defense Department contractors.

In some cases, the shell companies helped contractors obscure that they were making U.S. military equipment abroad, the GAO said, posing a risk to national security and quality control. More often, they were used to win contracts meant for companies owned by disabled veterans or minorities, it said.

The government watchdog reviewed 32 cases that made their way to criminal prosecutions or lawsuits between 2012 and 2018. Taken together, they illustrate how the Pentagon’s $350 billion in annual contracting can be gamed using companies that exist largely on paper.

The problem could be far bigger, since the GAO’s study wasn’t intended to gauge its scope. The watchdog said the Pentagon had made only spotty efforts to pierce the secrecy of shell companies.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-01-04/how-the-pentagon-was-duped-by-contractors-using-shell-companies

32 cases and $350 billion…….

Whatever happened to “oversight”?

Apparently that is a thing of the past as long as the Congress gets most of the cash from lobbyists and corporations.

This is a pathetic sytory that plays out every budget and the American people just shrug and allow their money to be pissed away on crap and politicians.

Plus the M-IC can get away with murder…..

According to the Washington Post, General Dynamics is “the fourth-largest corporate recipient of US government contract dollars” and Mattis himself one of at least 50 “high-level government officials” hired by defense contractors since the Trump era began. In fact, on the very board that Mattis rejoined sit six other former military officers and officials, including a former Navy admiral, a former Air Force general, a former deputy secretary of defense, and Novakovic herself who once worked for the CIA and the Pentagon. And while we’re on the subject, don’t forget about all those figures from the world of the weapons makers who have headed the other way like Mark Esper, the current secretary of defense, who was previously a lobbyist for Raytheon.

How The Military-Industrial Complex Gets Away With Murder

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Closing Thought–29Aug19

I have not been a fan of the newest super jet fighter that the defense industry is making and selling around the world….personally I think it is a worthless waste of money and I have written as much…..https://lobotero.com/2016/11/03/f-35-the-flying-turd/

After $1.45 trillion….. yep that is trillion with a “T”….and this brick still cannot get off the ground….

The fleet of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters flying in the critical operational testing phase is struggling to stay airborne, which could delay the troubled program’s great leap forward into mass production.

As I recently reported for the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), a document from the program’s test force shows that the fleet’s test aircraft, housed at California’s Edwards Air Force Base, have netted an average 11 percent “fully mission capable rate”—the key measure of how often an aircraft can perform all of its assigned missions—since the process began last December. 

Why the $1.45 Trillion F-35 Still Can’t Get Off the Ground

This plane is the state of the art in electronic devices and weaponry….and yet we let the Chinese make parts for the “super fighter”…..

On Jun. 14, 2019 Sky News reported that a Chinese-owned company has been manufacturing key circuit boards for F-35 Lightning II fifth generation fighters flown by the U.K. and U.S.

Exception PCB, based in Gloucestershire, southwest England, which produces the parts was acquired in 2013 by its Chinese parent, Shenzhen Fastprint.

The circuit boards control many of the F-35’s core capabilities, including its engines, lighting, fuel and navigation systems, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) said in a press release.

However the MoD said Exception PCB is an established manufacturer and presents no risks to the fighter F-35’s supply chain.

Chinese-owned company produces parts for F-35 Fifth Generation Fighters

Let me get this straight….on the most sophisticated fighter jet in the world and we out-sourced the production of needed parts?

Seriously?  We go to the Walmart of the defense industry for the top secret parts?

Wonder why NO infrastructure then look no further than this piece of crap…..now ask why?

Where were the so-called “deficit hawks” on this one?

God I love this stuff!

Learn Stuff!

“Lego ergo Scribo”

Why Do We Fight?

This is yet another in a series that I write as part of my antiwar campaign.

The title is an excellent question that has many answers but only one to my way of thinking.

This is not the world of World War 2…….and there is no major threat, military threat, to speak of for the US to keep a watchful eye upon….yes there is China….or Russia….or ….that is about it these days.

But let us look at what The American Conservative had to say on the question……

Today’s political and military leaders have no choice but to project technology and strategic conditions into the future while they develop their forces today. However, before such multi-billion dollar investments are made, critical questions should be answered.

What is the real mission set? In other words, whom do we fight? Where do we fight? How do we fight? And how do we get there? On Memorial Day, we must take a step back to properly address these questions because right now it’s not so clear. What we do have is a military spending strategy that is out of whack with reality and setting us up for failure when real threats arise.

The United States is primarily a global maritime and aerospace power, not a global land power. Washington is known for exaggerating threats, but is the notion of spending to fight a near-simultaneous war with Russia and China in 2030 a realistic goal? Wars with continental powers like Russia, China, or even Turkey or Iran, demand the persistent employment of large and powerful ground forces projected over thousands of miles. U.S. military advantages at sea and in the air are relegated to supporting roles as seen in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.

 
These days our foreign policy is more about meddling than trying to head off war……
But let me mention just a few of the things that we didn’t learn from the Mueller report. We didn’t learn that Russian agents appeared at Republican Party headquarters in 2016 with millions of dollars in donations to influence the coming election. (Oops, my mistake!  That was CIA agents in the Italian election of 1948!) We didn’t learn that a Russian intelligence agency in combination with Chinese intelligence, aided by a major Chinese oil company, overthrew an elected U.S. president and installed Donald Trump in the White House as their autocrat of choice. (Oops, my mistake again!  That was the CIA, dispatched by an American president, and British intelligence, with the help of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, later BP. In 1953, they overthrew Mohammad Mossadegh, the elected prime minister of Iran, and installed the young Shah as an autocratic ruler, the very first — but hardly the last — time the CIA successfully ousted a foreign government.) We didn’t learn that key advisers to Russian President Vladimir Putin were in close touch with rogue elements of the U.S. military preparing to stage a coup d’état in Washington, kill President Barack Obama in a direct assault on the White House, and put the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in office. (Sorry, again my slip-up and full apologies! That was President Richard Nixon’s adviser Henry Kissinger in contact with Chilean military officers who, on September 11, 1973—the first 9/11—staged an armed uprising during which Salvador Allende, the democratically elected socialist president of that country, died and army commander-in-chief Augusto Pinochet took power.) We didn’t learn that, at the behest of Vladimir Putin, Russian secret service agents engaged in a series of plots to poison or in some other fashion assassinate Barack Obama during his presidency and, in the end, had at least a modest hand in encouraging those who did kill him after he left office. (Oh, wait, I was confused on that one, too. I was actually thinking about the plots, as the 1960s began, to do in Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba.) Nor, for that matter, did we learn that the Russian military launched a regime-change-style invasion of this country to unseat an American president and get rid of our weapons of mass destruction and then occupied the country for years after installing Donald Trump in power. (Sorry one more time! What I actually had in mind before I got so muddled up was the decision of the top officials of President George W. Bush’s administration, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, to launch a “regime-change” invasion of Iraq in 2003, based on fraudulent claims that Iraqi despot Saddam Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction, and install a government of their choice in Baghdad.)
 
States use war, or the threat of war, as a last resort to solve political disputes. For every state, the ability to make war is an indispensable tool to ensure its security. However, war cannot rebuild trust. War cannot separate truth from lies. War cannot defeat attacks on the social structures currently seen in the West. We must look elsewhere.
 
If war is not the answer why is there war?
 
This from Smedley Butler……

Excerpt from a speech delivered in 1933, by Major General Smedley Butler, USMC.  

War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses.

I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to fight, then we’ll fight. The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.

I wouldn’t go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket. There isn’t a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its “finger men” to point out enemies, its “muscle men” to destroy enemies, its “brain men” to plan war preparations, and a “Big Boss” Super-Nationalistic-Capitalism.

It may seem odd for me, a military man to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to. I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country’s most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.

I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service.

I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912 (where have I heard that name before?). I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested. During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.

This article was originally published on the author’s blog site: Paul Craig Roberts Institute for Political Economy.

Our foreign policy should be….DO NO HARM……

We would have fewer opponents if we adopted this idea.

I Have More Space Force News

That time again….a Saturday and time for IST News from Space…..

I know this does not interest most of my readers…but I feel obligated to keep informing my readers and trying to make sense of the space force thingy……

Besides the bureaucracy the cash needed to fund this new branch of the military will be staggering….cash needed elsewhere in the society…health, infrastructure, education, et al….but for some reason a Space Force is a priority.

The House Armed Services Committee voted to establish a United States Space Corps within the Department of the Air Force. The vote came in the overnight hours Thursday. The committee began its markup of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act Wednesday morning. After a nearly 21-hour session, the committee passed the NDAA 33-24.

The Space Corps amendment was offered by the HASC Strategic Forces subcommittee leaders Chairman Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) and Ranking Member Mike Rogers (R-Ala.). The proposal is similar to what the committee proposed in the 2018 NDAA, including the name of the new space service, U.S. Space Corps, rather than the Trump administration’s preferred name, U.S. Space Force.

Like the Marine Corps, the Space Corps would be led by a four-star Commandant who would be a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

House Armed Services Committee votes to create a U.S. Space Corps

Space will be something to watch for it will siphon off more taxpayer money…..meaning that social services will be the first to suffer with cuts to pay for this adventure.

FYI

It will be hot here today…..I wrote this draft at 0300 hrs and it was already 94…..we already have heat advisories and it is only the second day of Summer…..gonna be a long Summer for us down here.

But We Cannot Afford It!

It is a new voting cycle and we will hear and see so much total BS that your head will spin. The Green New Deal, Medicare For All, etc etc……for now I shall let others handle those (I said for now!  There is always tomorrow!)…….the biggest lie is that we cannot afford these policies for there is not enough money…..

I want to talk about the Pentagon in this thought……Our defense budget just keeps growing and growing and our wars just keep expanding and expanding…….and we cannot afford any policies that help our citizenry or the country any good……..

Pentagon spending is on track to grow significantly for the fifth consecutive year, but “very few in Congress are questioning” how the U.S. can afford it.

That’s according to the Washington Post‘s Jeff Stein and Aaron Gregg, who reported Thursday that “the United States is expected to spend more on its military in 2020 than at any point since World War II, except for a handful of years at the height of the Iraq War.”

In his 2020 budget request, Trump called for $750 billion in Pentagon spending. Democrats countered with a $733 billion offer, which would still represent a substantial increase over the Pentagon’s 2019 budget.

Either number would bring U.S. military spending to “near-historic highs,” according to the Post.

 
Time for someone, a candidate, to step up and demand that the Pentagon budget be reduced and more spend on the nation….wait!  We have one of these candidates, Tulsi Gabbard.  She does not get the coverage she deserves because media favorites like Biden and Mayor Pete are sucking all the air out of the early days of the campaigns.
 
If she is not elected then the cycle of endless, worthless wars will continu and Americans will continue to die and be maimed….and the tax dollars will be thrown away as they are today.
 
Use your vote to send a message…..choose a candidate and help them win…..
 
As they say…”it is your choice….choose wisely”……

The Adventures Of “Space Command”

That title sounds like one of the Fabulous Thunderbirds episodes or maybe a chapter in the saga of G.I. Joe….whatever……

IST is one of the few blogs or sites that is taking this whole Space Force thing seriously…..I have written many posts on this issue…..

https://lobotero.com/2019/02/21/space-where-no-one-hears-you-scream/

https://lobotero.com/2019/03/08/space-command-or-space-force/

The wheels have been set in progress for the development of a US Space Force…..

President Donald Trump signed Space Policy Directive-4, directing the Department of Defense to draft a legislative proposal to establish a Space Force by 2020 as a sixth branch of the armed services under the Department of the Air Force — similar to how the Marine Corps is its own military service under the Department of the Navy. The directive makes clear this is an interim step toward eventual full independence for the Space Force: “As the United States Space Force matures, and as national security requires, it will become necessary to create a separate military department, to be known as the Department of the Space Force.”

Organizational design theory predicts several worrisome outcomes of a Space Force created either as a separate service or an independent department. The granting of independence to the U.S. Air Force in 1947 and the establishment of U.S. Special Operations Command in 1987 share striking similarities with the Space Force debate in terms of the general security environment and the specific re-organizing proposals. In each case, unique mission sets were differentiated at the highest levels — that is, they were insulated from outside control and elevated within the organization.

Slowly but slowly Trump is expanding our presence in space……Trump is hedging his bets in case Congress does not give into his desire…..

The Trump administration may not ultimately get to create the highly-anticipated Space Force — that will fall on congressional shoulders — but the White House has made strides in expanding the U.S. military’s role beyond the Earth’s atmosphere anyway.

Per CNN, defense officials confirmed on Tuesday that four star Air Force general, John Raymond, will head up the newly established U.S. Space Command.

https://theweek.com/speedreads/831494/trump-administration-slowly-building-military-presence-space-without-space-force

I have always pointed out the cost to taxpayers for this decision……and it continues to grow…..

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan on Wednesday said his pitch to skeptical lawmakers on the need for a U.S. Space Force is that the Pentagon needs to move fast to keep up with pacing threats from Russia and China in space.

But could the sixth military branch eventually grow to better execute its purpose?

Speaking to audiences during a Center for Strategic and International Studies event in Washington, D.C., Shanahan said he envisions “15,000 to 20,000” individuals defending and protecting U.S. interests in the domain. In its fiscal 2020 budget proposal, the Pentagon said the branch will have 15,000 people, making it the smallest of any service.

While the Space Force will not need roughly $12.9 billion over five years to resource personnel and infrastructure for the branch like the Air Force originally proposed, Shanahan said the $2 billion over the same timeframe proposed to Congress is a “parametric estimate,” meaning one that uses historical cost information and analysis of previous conditions to arrive at a figure.

https://www.military.com/dodbuzz/2019/03/20/cost-manning-space-force-may-grow-shanahan-says.html

I have posted on this earlier…..China and US in a race for space domination……

Fifty years after the first moon landing, an American triumph that gripped the world, China marked the start of 2019 with its own lunar achievement. Chang’e-4, a Chinese probe, landed on the far side of the moon in early January, broadcasting – for the first time in human history – images of the cratered surface that faces away from Earth.

Chang’e-4 has been billed as a friendly explorer, the latest step in humanity’s mission to better understand and exploit the universe around us. But space exploration has always been about power. Beijing’s lunar feat represents the latest development in the space race between China and the United States – a conflict that will be “important to modern warfare,” according to a US Defense Intelligence Agency report released in January that identified China as a “threat”. The Chinese foreign ministry responded by calling the report “reckless” and “totally groundless,” insisting that China “opposes militarisation and an arms race in space.”

https://www.wired.co.uk/article/china-america-space-race

All this “urgency” for a Space “unit”….could this be another war prep by the US?

Staying ahead of space trends – from satellite manufacture to new launch options – is daunting. Six trends – at least – are at work. To what exact end they vector is unclear, but watching is important. These trends will affect American investment in space, national security, our modern standards of living, and our wider economy.

First, heavy satellites are getting heavier, as more capability is attached to each satellite. Capabilities are commercial to national security, communications to climate prediction, crisis response to territorial protection, real-time analysis to event anticipation.

https://defensemaven.io/warriormaven/future-weapons/how-america-is-revving-up-preparations-for-massive-space-war-2rtXpfBedUejXD-YlCidxA/

All this talk about a Space Force……will it be legal according to international treaties?  Of course Trump can do what he always does disregard any treaties he does not like…..stay tuned I will be posting on “Space Law” soon.  (There are laws about space….believe it or not….)