Are The Generals Failing Our Troops?

I will not lie to my readers….I am an anti-war proponent and have been so since the 1970’s….I see our military personnel being pushed to their limits by the multiple deployments and the multiple wars been fought and to what aim?

In the past generals have gone to the president and told him what needed to be done and what wars we needed to fight….those days are gone with the promise of cushy jobs awaiting the generals upon retirement….

We need generals with a backbone that cares more about the troops than his retirement……

September 2006. Iraq was falling apart. Nearly 100 American troops were being killed a month. The war seemed hopeless, unwinnable (because it ultimately was). So the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Peter Pace, convened a “council of colonels’ – purportedly some of the brightest minds in the military – to recommend new policies. Only three, reportedly, had any combat experience in Iraq, but still, these guys were sharp. The group debated endlessly and eventually reached an impasse. They had three separate proposals and the group generally divided along service lines. Some Air Force and Navy guys wanted a phased withdrawal – the “Go Home” option – but their ideas were promptly dismissed. Other (mostly army and marine officers) wanted to “engage in prolonged conflict – the “Go Long” option. Finally, the most prominent army officers – including America’s current National Security Adviser, H.R. McMaster – wanted to “Go Big” and heavily reinforce the troops in Iraq with a “surge.” You can guess which side won out.

George W. Bush liked the can-do optimism of the “surge” team and doubled down. Violence briefly dropped, a couple thousand more American troops died, and the military promptly declared victory. We’re still dealing with the fallout.

We need generals that will do what is needed to keep the country from fighting unnecessary wars ….wars of profit……

Yes we now have entered into a time of perpetual wars…….the costs of these wars have made the country less safe and a falling apart infrastructure……

I’m in my mid-thirties, which means that, after the 9/11 attacks, when this country went to war in Afghanistan and Iraq in what President George W. Bush called the “Global War on Terror,” I was still in college. I remember taking part in a couple of campus antiwar demonstrations and, while working as a waitress in 2003, being upset by customers who ordered “freedom fries,” not “French fries,” to protest France’s opposition to our war in Iraq. (As it happens, my mother is French, so it felt like a double insult.) For years, like many Americans, that was about all the thought I put into the war on terror. But one career choice led to another and today I’m co-director of the Costs of War Project at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs.

Our generals should remember the old slogan from the 70’s…..”War  is good business….Invest your children”……


Iran In The Cross Hairs

We have a new SecState…..Tillerson is out and warmonger Pompeo is in….when he was in Congress he was a “Attack Iran Hawk” and now that he is at State I expect that his advice will be well received by a president that has no idea what an attack on Iran will mean.

For all the reasons to be concerned about President Trump’s nomination of current CIA director Mike Pompeo to replace Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, experts on Tuesday warn that an increase risk of a U.S.-initiated war with Iran should be at the top of the list.

In a reaction on Tuesday, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), worried openly that Trump’s nomination of Pompeo “could have profound implications for the fate of the Iran nuclear deal and the prospect of a new war in the Middle East.”

Jon Rainwater, executive director of Peace Action, also expressed grave concerns. “By tapping Mike Pompeo to be Secretary of State,” said Rainwater, “Trump is handing over the reigns of U.S. diplomacy to one of the most hawkish members of his administration. For all of Tillerson’s flaws, he served as a check on Trump’s more hawkish positions. With Pompeo, Trump’s worst instincts on Iran and North Korea will be reinforced.”

Every expert says that the deal with Iran is not perfect but a good deal…the people that do not like the deal would not like any deal and most have NO idea what is in the existing deal anyway.

Clinton And Terrorism

On that fateful day in September of 2001 when the Twin Towers came down from a terrorist attack we have been fighting terrorists wherever we find them…..but years before the attack there were many terrorist attacks that involved the US….the Twin Towers in the 1990’s, the Embassy attack in Kenya….these attacks were on Bill Clinton watch and he had several opportunities to give terrorists a black eye but he backed down time and time again…..

When it comes to Bill Clinton’s record on terrorism, there’s no need to invent fictional scenarios to show how ineffective he was; the truth is bad enough.  A few months after 9/11, Byron York went through the record — including the former president’s habit of taking polls to see how he should respond to terrorist attacks — and came up with this report, from the December 17, 2001 issue of National Review:

June 25, 1996, a powerful truck bomb exploded outside the Khobar Towers barracks in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, tearing the front from the building, blasting a crater 35 feet deep, and killing 19 American soldiers. Hundreds more were injured. When news reached Washington, Presi dent Bill Clinton vowed to bring the killers to justice. “The cowards who committed this murderous act must not go unpunished,” he said angrily. “Let me say again: We will pursue this. America takes care of our own. Those who did it must not go unpunished.” The next day, leaving the White House to attend an economic summit in France, Clinton had more tough words for the attackers. “Let me be very clear: We will not resist” — the president corrected himself — “we will not rest in our efforts to find who is responsible for this outrage, to pursue them and to punish them.”

There were several occasions where Clinton could have ordered a strike that would have killed Osama and for whatever reason that he had he chose not to act…..and possibly that failure to act lead to the massive attack on 9/11.


Free Trade Or Fair Trade

Just the other day Pres. Trump signed his EO on tariffs on steel and aluminum imports  in doing so he has started a debate on free trade….many do not see his tariffs as good for the notion of free trade and still others think that free trade is a cornerstone of conservatism…..but is it, that cornerstone?

The American Conservative spotlights this in a recent article….

According to a recent analysis in the New York Times, President Trump’s “isolationist” trade policy is “at odds with longstanding conservative orthodoxy about the benefits of free and open markets.” The reader is further told that the president is under pressure from his working-class base, which is obstreperously demanding that protectionist taxes be placed on imported steel and aluminum.

I say not so fast.

The Times presents the GOP base’s supposed impatience with free trade as a departure from almost sacred Republican beliefs, and free trade itself as a permanent conservative characteristic. Their evidence is that large corporations favor free trade while labor unions have generally been more protectionist.

TAC also takes a look, a historic look, at tariffs…..

America’s first great protectionist political figure was Alexander Hamilton, George Washington’s treasury secretary. And compared to later mercantilist politicians in our history, Hamilton wasn’t even that much of a protectionist. His original U.S. tariff bill imposed an average taxation level of just 8.5 percent on imported goods. And Hamilton argued that any protection encompassed in those duties, as opposed to revenue requirements, should be discontinued as soon as protected industries established themselves in the American economy.

Hamilton’s opponents, the early American free traders, feared he had created a monster, while northeastern industrialists, particularly in Pennsylvania, predictably argued that protection should be substantial and permanent to ensure national prosperity.

It is too early to tell if the Trump tariffs will be good for the country or not…..steelworkers union seems to think it will be but many economists see it doing the opposite for the country.

Trump has already exempted some countries from his tariffs….that right there tells me that he is not serious.  If you are going to impose tariffs then it should be on all involved not a select few.

Time will tell whether good or bad.


The Russians Are Coming!

I have been studying war for 40+ years and in doing so I read a lot of neocon sites….lots of war hawk studies and reports….

When one studies a countries capability to wage war one must look into their Order of Battle which gives one a look into the forces, tactics and weapons…..this report is of the Russian Order of Battle (it is a long report to read but if you are interesting in there capabilities then it is worth the time to read it)…..

U.S. leaders and their European allies are unprepared for the ways in which Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is poised to wage war in Ukraine and the Baltic. The Russian military is well positioned to launch a short-notice conventional war in Ukraine and a hybrid war in the Baltic States, the opposite of what Western leaders seem to expect in each theater. NATO leaders increasingly warn of the threat of a conventional invasion of the Baltic States (or even Western Europe). But Russian ground forces are not deployed or organized to initiate a short-notice conventional war in that region. They have, however, redeployed and reorganized since 2014 in a way that would support a rapid mechanized invasion of Ukraine from both north and east, while remaining well-prepared to conduct a hybrid warfare intervention in the Baltics similar to what they did in Ukraine after the Maidan Revolution. The United States and its partners should re-evaluate the most likely Russian courses of action and reconsider the mix of military and non-military tools required to defend NATO allies and Ukraine from potential Russian aggression.

Key takeaways from the ISW-CTP Order of Battle study include:

Russia is trying to build a military force optimized for large-scale combat as well as hybrid warfare. Russia is testing new asymmetric capabilities on the Ukrainian and Syrian battlefields and subsequently incorporating them into conventional force structures.

Russia’s ground forces are well positioned to conduct a very short-notice mechanized assault on Ukraine against which Kyiv’s military likely stands little chance, particularly if Russia combined the conventional invasion with an escalation in the hybrid war in Ukraine’s east, a distraction from the direction of Moldova, and Russian-fueled political unrest in Kyiv. Russia can try to leverage this threat to coerce the Ukrainian government.

The Russian ground forces’ disposition near the Baltics does not suggest an intent to conduct large-scale, short-notice conventional mechanized operations. Russia could concentrate significant conventional combat power against the Baltic states if it chose to, but its posture suggests it is prioritizing a hybrid approach. NATO has wisely deployed mechanized forces to the Baltics; it may need to deploy more and must remain constantly vigilant against the risk of a sudden Russian attack. Yet the U.S. and its allies must also be prepared for the kind of Russian aggression that mechanized forces alone cannot defend against.

The U.S. and its allies should not focus narrowly on any one form of possible future war with Russia. Putin and the Russian general staff are working hard to create options in all forms of warfare, while demonstrating a preference for low-cost approaches. Over-investing in conventional deterrence and defense can lead to ignoring hybrid threats that could achieve devastating effects. Ignoring the conventional threat, on the other hand, could leave U.S. allies and partners open to rapid decisive thrusts.

The United States should re-evaluate the most likely Russian courses of action and reconsider the mix of military and non-military tools required to defend NATO allies and Ukraine from further Russian aggression. America and its NATO allies must take a balanced approach to dealing with the multifarious threats posed by Moscow and avoid the oscillations between confidence and fear that have characterized the discussion of Russian military power.

I did the research into the Russian Order of Battle because of something I read of the war hawk site Defense One……

The Russian military may surpass U.S. military capability in Europe by 2025, Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, head of U.S. European Command, told lawmakers on Thursday. He emphasized that keeping up EUCOM’s modernization was key to keeping up and maintaining superiority.

“Given their modernization, the pace that it’s on … we have to maintain our modernization that we’ve set out so that we can remain dominant in the areas that we are dominant today,” said Scaparrotti. “If we were not to do that, I think that their pace would put us certainly challenged in a military domain in almost every perspective by, say, 2025.”

There is lots written about the Russians but most of it has something to do with election tampering….very little is reported on their desires for conquest…that has been overlooked for the most part since the collapse of the old USSR.

Regardless of the situation Russia is still our greatest opponent if another conflict breaks out on the European continent… to keep their capabilities in mind in case thde situation becomes more pronounced.


Hands Across The DMZ

While you were making sleep and dreams……Hell began to freeze (a bit)……..

After all the big talk….after all the threats….after all the macho posturing it appears as if the US/South Korea/North Korea nuke situation may have been tamped down  bit.

Li’L Kim has offered to talk…..Trump has accepted (at least for now) and South Korea can change their drawers now……

In a startling development, North Korea says it will halt its nuclear weapons program and Kim Jong Un will meet with President Trump in the coming months, the Washington Post reports. “[Kim] expressed his eagerness to meet President Trump as soon as possible,” Chung Eui-yong told reporters Thursday at the White House. “President Trump said he would meet Kim Jong Un by May.” The South Korean national security adviser was part of a delegation that arrived at the White House on Thursday to deliver a letter from Kim directly to Trump, according to CNN. Chung had led a delegation that met with Kim in Pyongyang on Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times reports. That meeting left South Korea feeling hopeful about a diplomatic solution to the ongoing nuclear crisis with North Korea.

There’s no information about where the meeting between Trump and Kim will take place, but it will be the first face-to-face meeting between a sitting US president and the leader of North Korea. In fact, no sitting president has even held a phone call with with the North Korean leader. Chung gave Trump credit for the breakthrough. “I explained to President Trump that his leadership and his maximum pressure strategy … brought us to this juncture,” Chung said. But analysts are split on whether Kim is agreeing to halt his nuclear program and meet with Trump because sanctions are working and he fears a US attack or because he now sees the countries as equal nuclear powers. Kim will meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in next month—only the third-ever meeting between the leaders of North and South Korea since 1953.

This is a great opportunity to solve a nagging problem of nukes on the Korean Peninsula….my worry is that there are not enough actual experts on the situation for any successful outcome.

However, this is a great chance for a peaceful conclusion to a tense situation…..then why do I have this uneasy feeling that it will go to crap before the meeting takes place?

There is not much time before the proposed meeting and with experienced diplomats many thing could go wrong….like…..

No location set. No location for the meeting has been set, though Mar-a-Lago is probably a long shot, the Guardian reports. Experts say that while there is a chance Kim could visit Washington or Trump could visit Pyongyang, more neutral potential venues include China, South Korea, or the DMZ.

A “real challenge” for diplomats. Analysts say it is going to be tough for the State Department to assemble a team that can support the historic summit. “The State Department has hemorrhaged Korean linguists and former negotiators” and North Korea “will send people with 30 years of experience, Douglas H. Paal at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace tells the Washington Post. “This is a real challenge.”

Trump optimism. Trump sounded optimistic about the meeting Thursday night. “Kim Jong Un talked about denuclearization with the South Korean Representatives, not just a freeze,” he tweeted. “Also, no missile testing by North Korea during this period of time. Great progress being made but sanctions will remain until an agreement is reached. Meeting being planned!”

Talks, not negotiations. A senior administration official tells the Los Angeles Times that at this point, “we’re not really talking about negotiations.” Trump “has been very clear from the beginning that he is not prepared to reward North Korea in exchange for talks,” the official says. “But he is willing to accept an invitation at this time to meet and to allow—and really expects—North Korea to put action to these words that were conveyed via the South Koreans.”

Is Trump being played? Analysts say the summit is a massive gamble—one that risks legitimizing one of the world’s worst human rights abusers. “We got nothing for it. And Kim will never give up his nukes,” Obama administration Asia adviser Evan S. Medeiros tells the New York Times. “Kim played Moon and is now playing Trump.”

Like I said… many things can go wrong…..

I wish I could be more optimistic….but after 12 months of the Reality Show in the White House I sadly cannot be so…..this is just a show for both sides.

And this is how you get “Stormy” off the front pages.


Yemen–Looking For The Solution

Another morning of doctors…..I may not be around much today…..hopefully everyone will have a good Friday.

The US has been entangled in the events in Yemen since the attack on the USS Cole….first we set about trying to find and punish those that planned the attack and after we have been fighting the Houthi tribesmen along with the Saudis.  This little conflict is causing a massive humanitarian crisis……starvation, epidemics, death and destruction…..

The US Senate has stepped up to try and end the US involvement in Yemen….surprise, surprise….it is a bi-partisan endeavor…..

Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Mike Lee (R-UT) unveiled the bipartisan Senate resolution which aims to force an end to the US military involvement in the Saudi-led invasion of Yemen.

The bill makes use of the 1973 War Powers Act, which allows any legislator to introduce a resolution which would compel a withdrawal from any conflict that was not specifically authorized by Congress in any Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF). Neither of the two extent AUMFs have anything to do with the attack on Yemen’s Shi’ite Houthi movement.

This is the first time the Senate will have ever made a War Powers challenge to a conflict. A previous effort at such a legal challenge in the House was derailed by the leadership, and replaced with a “non-binding” resolution noting the Yemen war was unauthorized, which overwhelmingly passed.

Centcom commander Gen. Joseph Votel confirmed to the House Armed Services committee only the day prior that the US does not have an AUMF for Yemen, and that America’s involvement is solely a function of having sold the arms to the Saudis in the first place, and promising to “provide support” for those arms.

Yet legally, Congress is supposed to have the war-making powers, and this Senate effort stands to be the first time in recent history that Congress looks like they might be reasserting that authority.


The US is fighting in too many countries ans this one is one that we need to remove ourselves from……

As early as the next few days, the Senate will have its best opportunity so far to end US support for Saudi Arabia’s devastating war in Yemen — a war that has sparked a humanitarian catastrophe that puts millions of lives at risk.

The vehicle for congressional action is a bipartisan bill introduced last week by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut. The bill would end US refueling and targeting assistance for Saudi Arabia’s bombing, aimed at Houthi rebels in Yemen, unless such actions are authorized by Congress
This is a good start….but it needs to be expanded to include the AUMF and the War Powers Act…..
The Senate started the ball rolling and now the House seems to want to join in……

Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), hosted a bipartisan hearing on the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) that for 17 years has been used to exercise executive military action abroad under multiple presidential administrations.

The hearing focused the congressional caucus members’ desire to repeal the 2001 AUMF, hold a congressional debate and vote on a new authorization. The hearing was composed of members from both the House Liberty Caucus and the Congressional Progressive Caucus. The caucuses say the vote on war isn’t a partisan issue.

“The overly broad and outdated AUMF represents a critical deterioration of congressional oversight of military operations,” a press release from Rep. Amash for the ad-hoc hearing read.

Republicans and Democrats join forces to call for repeal of 2001 AUMF war making powers

The old college try…..finally a glimmer of spines peeks out of the cowardly Congress…..I wish them luck.