IST’s US Troops Report

I try to keep my readers up to date on the happenings with our troops deployed overseas…..I feel that since most blogs ignore them it was the least I could do.

First, more good news….(that’s sarcasm)…..

With officials saying that the planned invasion of the city of Mosul could begin as soon as October, the Pentagon is once again requesting more US ground troops be deployed into the area around the city, The Pentagon has already deployed several hundred troops multiple times in the last two months on the same basis.

The Pentagon is seeking another 500 “permanent” US troops in Iraq, which would bring the official figure in the country to 4,900. In practice, the Pentagon already is believed to have in excess of 6,000 troops in Iraq, but labels many of them “temporary” and doesn’t count them, despite their deployments not having any specific end date.

The new deployment, as with the previous few, would have the troops sent to Qayara Air Base, which Iraqi forces occupied back in July. Despite presenting the capture of the base as a great military victory, ISIS had abandoned it long ago, and the hundreds of US troops already there are mostly just helping fix the damage of years of US airstrikes on the base.

Has anyone bothered to ask the troops what they think of all this nation building and interventionism?

Why yes they have!

A majority of active-duty troops stringently oppose nation-building efforts abroad, according to a new poll, preferring instead that the military focus on doing what it does best: killing terrorists and keeping the homeland safe.

Commissioned by Military Times and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University, the poll found that 55 percent of respondents either “strongly” or “somewhat” oppose “the U.S. government’s continued involvement in nation-building efforts, establishing democracies in the Middle East and North Africa using U.S. military and financial support.”

Just 23 percent responded positively to the idea of using troops to continue a mission of nation-building around the world for the purpose of setting up democracies.

But it is still the number one task being asked of our troops…..is anyone listening?
We hear some good reports about our adventure in nation building in the last 15 years…Afghanistan…..but just how glowing is our time in country?
US commander Gen. John Nicholson today reported that Afghanistan’s government has lost control of about a third of the country’s overall territory, with the Taliban having claimed over 10%, and at least 20% of other territory in a “contested” state.

Nicholson reported heavy fighting, mounting casualties, and up to 1,300 ISIS fighters in Afghanistan, receiving direct aid and guidance from the leadership in Syria. Incredibly, he presented the overall situation as a “positive” one, noting that the Afghan government still controls the majority of the population, and all the biggest cities.

Still, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joe Dunford described Afghanistan as “stalemated” in his own remarks to the Senate, and while Nicholson tried to put a more positive spin on it having reached “equilibrium,” that’s 15 solid years of upbeat Pentagon assessments that have left the Taliban in control of more territory than at any time since the war began, and no realistic possibility of an end.

Forgive my sarcasm but I feel that any American deployment of troops should get more coverage than the media is willing to provide.

Restore American Leadership

Guess what?  IST although an opinion blog prides itself at giving everyone that visits the whole story around an issue…..I try to read all thoughts on the different issues and try to pass them on to my readers…..I refuse to be a one trick pony blog.

These days the US foreign policy is ruled by the neolibs and the neocons….or what is smilingly called the “war hawks”…..but not all Americans see our continuing interventionism as a good thing…..

In  all fairness I read a paper in “World Affairs Journal” that illustrates the neoliberal vision for US foreign policy…..

U.S. foreign policy today is failing every test by which a great power’s foreign policy can be judged. America is not feared by her enemies, nor trusted by her friends. Neither the American people nor the world-at-large understand any more the purposes of American power, or, even worse, the principles that shape them. Indeed, after a decade and a half of conflict in the Middle East and South Asia, some Americans have concluded that the best thing to do is to pull back from the world and its troubles. Some argue that America’s role as guarantor of global order is no longer necessary, history having “ended” with the Cold War; others think that “nation-building at home” is some kind of alternative to engagement abroad.

Source: Presidential Priority: Restore American Leadership | World Affairs Journal

Both of our major candidates in one form or another believe that this report is the fact by which our foreign policy should be ruled.

Will The Future Be Conflict?

The truth is that I am about as sick of politics as I can get…..foreign policy is also at a basic stand still until after the election…..I am sooooooo Borrrrrrrrred!

And then I read an article about a region that I know from past experiences….Western Sahara…..

Western Sahara is a disputed territory on the northwest coast of Africa bordered by Morocco, Mauritania, and Algeria. After Spain withdrew from its former colony of Spanish Sahara in 1976, Morocco annexed the northern two-thirds of Western Sahara and claimed the rest of the territory in 1979, following Mauritania’s withdrawal. A guerrilla war with the Polisario Front contesting Morocco’s sovereignty ended in a 1991 cease-fire and the establishment of a UN peacekeeping operation. As part of this effort, the UN sought to offer a choice to the peoples of Western Sahara between independence (favored by the Polisario Front) or integration into Morocco. A proposed referendum never took place due to lack of agreement on voter eligibility. The 2,700 km- (1,700 mi-) long defensive sand berm, built by the Moroccans from 1980 to 1987 and running the length of the territory, continues to separate the opposing forces with Morocco controlling the roughly 80 percent of the territory west of the berm. Local demonstrations criticizing the Moroccan authorities occur regularly, and there are periodic ethnic tensions between the native Sahrawi population and Moroccan immigrants. Morocco maintains a heavy security presence in the territory

My interest comes from having been in the country back when I was working overseas and I fell in love with the region and the people.

I have written many posts about the country but there a a few that go better with the happenings these days……

Source: Western Sahara–Will Violence Return? – In Saner Thought

And a little later……

Source: Western Sahara: A New Direction – In Saner Thought

After reading those posts you will see that the people are seeing NO other option than armed conflict….the world especially the US has turned their backs on the old stand-by “The Right Of Self-Determination”…….

There is an old saying…..”Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

“The seed of revolution is repression.”
The people of Western Sahara are beginning to see that they have no other choice but a rebellion……

After evaluating 25 years of peace, Sahrawi officials and some civil society players agree that armed struggle is the only option they can depend on to reach their goal of independence.

Sept. 6 marked the 25th anniversary of the United Nations-sponsored cease-fire agreement in Western Sahara between Morocco and the Polisario Front, the Sahrawi independence movement. The peace accord was supposed to be followed by a referendum in which the Sahrawis would choose their system of governance from three options: integration with Morocco, autonomy or independence. But the planned vote was canceled after Morocco refused to allow any process that would include independence as a choice. The dispute is still ongoing, with continued tension.
It is only a matter of time before the world will have to face the situation in Western Sahara…..the simple solution is for the US to step the Hell up and demand Independence for Western Sahara…if they would do that then the rest of the world would follow suit….Morocco would be pissed but they will be alright once the swelling goes down.
(My apologies for missing the anniversary of the accord)

The Decentralization Equation

Let me see….we have been trying to mop up the crap in Iraq since 2003….then there is the manure pile that is Syria since 2011….no matter what we try…..it is wrong.

In the beginning of the war in Iraq there was a couple of plans that would bring federalism to Iraq…..so far none of them have gone very far but the Iraqi military has had its hands full for a few years now…..I am sure it is still on a back burner some place.

The there is Syria and some have floated a similar plan of partitioning of Syria….. to save time and space…….

Source: Would Partitioning Syria Be Folly? | Ace News Room

So far these plans have been all talk……and now there is new talk about a plan for both Syria and Iraq….it is called “decentralization”……

The term “decentralization” embraces a variety of concepts which must be carefully analyzed in any particular country before determining if projects or programs should support reorganization of financial, administrative, or service delivery systems. Decentralization—the transfer of authority and responsibility for public functions from the central government to subordinate or quasi-independent government organizations and/or the private sector—is a complex multifaceted concept. Different types of decentralization should be distinguished because they have different characteristics, policy implications, and conditions for success.

Source: Different Forms of Decentralization

I bring this issue up because of several articles I found while doing research…..these writings bring up the possibility of Iraq and Syria being able to profit from a program of decentralization…….

Source: Iraq’s regional decentralisation debate is heating up – Al Jazeera English

Source: No Going Back: Why Decentralization is the Future for Syria | World Affairs Journal

Could this truly be a godsend for these two countries?

But the one thing to keep in mind…..this is not a cure all…..

Obstacles will be many….but if a workable plan can come to light then why not give it a try?  I mean could not be any worse than the situation these days….

Once again…it should be the people that decide the future not the powers that are looking for some sort of benefit….whether is is natural resources or location…..the people will know what is best and the people will make any plan either work or fail…….

Dangers of an Impulsive President

During this election process I have spent more time researching my options than I normally do…..for one reason is that the two major candidates are nothing for the future of the US…….

I have listened to all the crap spread by the GOP candidate and I think he is too impulsive to be a good president…..I read a good example of why this is in a blog entitled Nomadic Politics……..I press it here for your reading enjoyment….or disdain if you want….

Raw Story recently ran a piece about American Republican political consultant and policy advisor Karl Rove’s take on Donald Trump. On Friday afternoon’s Fox Business News, Rove had a lot of bitter whiny things to say. The term used was an “epic rant.”
He dared to ask the question whether Trump actually wants to win. If so, how can anybody explain the daily gaffes and the misjudgments and, well, the nonsense? What the hell is going on? In particular, the former George W. Bush chief-of-staff deplored how easily Trump could be distracted and baited.
Rove cited example after example in which the GOP nominee could (plausibly) have turned his campaign around. Visibly angry, Rove pointed out that Trump squandered those opportunities, picking an unwinnable fight with Gold Star families, and making outrageous and ignorant claims about Obama and ISIS.

Source: Forethought and Consequences: Trump, Rove and the Unimaginable Dangers of an Impulsive President | Nomadic Politics

Don’t know if I would trust Rove as far as I can spit him…..

An article I found interesting….I hope you did also.

Fool Me Once, Then Fool Me Twice……

Did anyone out there watch Obama’s speech to the UN General Assembly yesterday?

Yea….me either.

The US has a long history of “fooling” the pubic in favor of war….The Gulf of Tonkin attack 2, Gulf War 1, Iraq 2003, Libya in 2011 and now it is Russia that is getting the full nelson…..

I appears that the UK is suffering from this deception as well……

After the British report exposing falsehoods to justify invading Iraq in 2003, a new U.K. inquiry found similar misconduct in the 2011 attack on Libya, but no lessons are learned for the West’s new propaganda about Russia, writes Robert Parry.

A British parliamentary inquiry into the Libyan fiasco has reported what should have been apparent from the start in 2011 – and was to some of us – that the West’s military intervention to “protect” civilians in Benghazi was a cover for what became another disastrous “regime change” operation.

The report from the U.K.’s Foreign Affairs Committee confirms that the U.S. and other Western governments exaggerated the human rights threat posed by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and then quickly morphed the “humanitarian” mission into a military invasion that overthrew and killed Gaddafi, leaving behind political and social chaos.

Source: Getting Fooled on Iraq, Libya, Now Russia – Consortiumnews

The media is working long and hard with the governments to make the case against Russia…..Russia has been responsible for many things but could they be getting a “bum’s rush” these days?

Check out my past post on how to recognize propaganda and tell me what you think this is all about……

Propaganda 2.0

What Is Propaganda?

Jill Stein on U.S. Policy in the Mideast

My regular readers know that I am thinking Green and that I firmly believe that foreign policy will be the most telling of issue in this election….

I have written extensively about the positions of the two major candidates and their issues on foreign policy….but I have written very little on the stands of the Green Party candidate, Dr. Jill Stein……and then I found an interview with her on this subject…..

The foreign policy positions of third-party candidates haven’t received a great deal of media attention in the 2016 presidential election, but that could change in the weeks ahead as polls continue to tighten in crucial battleground states.

“[M]ost voters think/assume that Clinton is going to win. That can de-motivate turnout, or shift votes to [third] parties,” tweeted elections analyst Nate Silver.

RealClearWorld had the opportunity this week to discuss a variety of foreign policy issues with Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein. This email interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Source: Jill Stein on U.S. Policy in the Mideast | RealClearWorld

Nothing in this interview would change my mind on Dr. Stein…..her answers to the few questions were commonsense answers that I can live with….

Voters need to look at all aspects of their candidates positions….just to follow someone because of rhetoric is sheer lunacy…..look what it has wrought in the last 50 years…..

These may not make sense to you….but to anyone that knows about international relations they make perfect sense and are positions that could end many of the conflicts we do NOT need.

That’s it for today my friends…I am off to lecture…..will be back tomorrow….