Sad News On T’Giving Day

While we were enjoying our day with family and food it is easy to forget that our troops do not have the luxury that we are experiencing….

Once again sad news must be given to a family…..

The first American combat death in Syria happened on Thanksgiving. US officials say the service member was fatally injured in a blast from an improvised explosive device, the AP reports. The New York Times reports that officials say the American died in Ayn Issa in northern Syria, where Americans are assisting Arab and Kurdish fighters seeking to drive ISIS out of Raqqa, the capital of their “caliphate.” “The entire counter-ISIL Coalition sends our condolences to this hero’s family, friends, and teammates,” Lt. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, commander of Combined Joint Task Force—Operation Inherent Resolve, said in a statement. “On this Thanksgiving, please be thankful that there are service members willing to take up the fight to protect our homeland from ISIL’s hateful and brutal ideology.”

“I am deeply saddened by the news on this Thanksgiving Day that one of our brave service members has been killed in Syria while protecting us from the evil of ISIL,” Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in a statement. “It is a painful reminder of the dangers our men and women in uniform face around the world to keep us safe.”

A shitty message to be delivered on a day of joy and family.

It is time for America to remove ourselves from this situation and let our country set about making it “Great Again”…(if you care to believe the hype)

Making War Safer

My Saturday begins and all is right with the world…..damn!  I cannot say that without laughing……most of us are trying to decompress from the rigors of the election…..

Yesterday we celebrated our veterans….something we should do everyday…..but we do not have time for that…..once a year suits our bust schedules just fine…..how sad is that?

Since my younger days I have been an antiwar person….I witnessed the obscenity of war first hand as a soldier in Vietnam….when I came home I worked hard to end that war and to bring the troops home where they belong….

And since those days I have not faltered from the path of antiwar…..I believe there is always another option to the horrors of battle.

Now we are fighting terrorists everywhere around this globe…..since those days began about 7500 American troops have been killed and many many more have been wounded……

Most recently the war with drones has been used to propagandize war by saying that drones are used so that American troops will not have to be used and possibly killed……

In case you have been under a rock for the last 15 years and not aware of the drone program this short vid can help……

Drones do save lives built they also are indiscriminate killers of civilians also……

But in our rush to make war easier and safer for our troops we are making it possible that it will be here for a very long time to come……

The newest thing to “protect” our troops is the “Iron Man” exoskeleton for the front line troops……

In developments which have seen reality mimicking science-fiction, new technologies have enabled military scientists and research teams to develop robotic armoured suits for warfighters or military exoskeletons, like those seen in Hollywood films such as Ironman, Avatar and The Matrix.

Military exoskeleton suits, designed to fit around a dismounted soldier to give them almost-superhuman capabilities, can be fitted onto the body of a soldier in order to improve physical characteristics, such as strength or endurance, creating huge advantages for inboth combat and carrying out logistical tasks.

Although previous programmes, such as the Handiman project co-developed by General Electric and the US Military, suffered from serious limitations due to weight and mobility issues, companies including Raytheon and Lockheed Martin are now taking advantage of new materials and technologies to make science-fiction become science-fact.

Source: Military exoskeletons uncovered: Ironman suits a concrete possibility – Army Technology

But if that is difficult to get your head around then maybe this vid will make it easier……

Don’t get me wrong…I am all for keeping the troops safe from harm….but I believe that these programs are not doing that in any way….all they are doing is making extended war so much more easy to call on…..

On a side note…..the military is practicing a dangerous thing when it is experimenting with the brains of soldiers…..

Air crew, drone operators, and other personnel serving in the military’s most demanding roles may soon get a non-pharmacological boost: brain stimulation. Devices that use five electrodes to shoot weak currents into very specific targets in the cortex have performed very well in studies investigating performance under pressure, boosting cognitive ability in a way that could be safer than prescription drugs, reports the Guardian. Both modafinil and ritalin are said to be used off-label to enhance performance in the military.

In the latest study, scientists asked participants to keep a crosshair inside a moving circle on a screen while juggling three other tasks on the same screen for 36 minutes. One group had a constant two milliamp current beamed into their brains, while the control group only had 30 seconds of stimulation at the start. The constantly stimulated group began performing better just four minutes in—a “profound effect” that provides “new evidence” of a “human operator” having enhanced multitasking abilities via brain stimulation, the researchers write in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. Not everyone is thrilled. “Even for those jobs where attention is absolutely critical, you want to be very careful about making it compulsory,” one ethicist tells the Guardian

This is a dangerous precedent……stop experimenting on our troops!

Do not misunderstand me…I want our troops to be as safe as possible……but they would be a lot safer without having to fight endless wars…..

US Troops Just Keep Dying

It is always a sad story when news of more US troops are killed….especially in a war that has never been voted on…..just last week 3 more American soldiers were killed in Jordan….why they were killed has not been released just yet….but it is odd because Jordan is a staunch ally of the US…..

Two American military trainers were killed and a third wounded in a shootout with security guards at a Jordanian military base south of the capital, reports the AP. No official explanation has emerged about what happened, but a Jordanian military source tells Reuters that the Americans failed to heed orders to stop at the base’s entrance gate. A source confirms that version of events to CBS News, which notes that Jordan is a strong US ally and attacks on Americans there are rare. A Jordanian military officer was reportedly wounded in the shootout. No identities have been released.

Since this report was issued the 3rd soldier that was wounded has died…..

In a statement, it identified the dead soldiers as Staff Sergeants Matthew C. Lewellen, 27, of Lawrence, Kansas; Kevin J. McEnroe, 30, of Tucson, Arizona; and James F. Moriarty, 27, of Kerrville, Texas.

IST offers our deepest sympathy for the families and pray that no more have to die for whatever reason they offer.

News From Afghanistan–2 American Deaths

I know this close to the election and everyone is on the edge of their chairs hoping that their candidate will pull out the win….

But for those that actually care…..two more American soldiers were killed in Afghanistan fighting the Taleban…..and unlike the media I will NOT put the troops on the back shelf for any reason……

Two US service members were killed Thursday battling Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan alongside local troops, reports the AP, rare combat deaths for American forces who largely handed over securing the nation to Afghan troops some two years ago. NATO described the Americans killed and two other Americans wounded in the assault as being part of “a train, advise, and assist mission” in Afghanistan’s Kunduz province. They have not been identified. Kunduz officials later said they were investigating claims that local civilians also were killed in the fighting, possibly in a retaliatory airstrike.

Taliban fighters briefly overran the city of Kunduz in early October, a show of strength by the insurgents that also highlighted the troubles facing local Afghan forces 15 years after the US-led invasion of the country. The Taliban captured and held parts of Kunduz a year earlier as well before the city was fully liberated weeks later with the help of US airstrikes. Though US combat operations are officially over, thousands of US troops remain in Afghanistan, and special forces routinely accompany Afghan forces on missions, notes Reuters.

IST wishes to give our heart felt sympathy to the families of these slain soldiers……

With the deaths of these two brings up the subject of money spent and results accomplished in Afghanistan……after 15 years…..

If there is one thing that is certain in this tumultuous presidential election, it is this: Whoever replaces Obama will have to deal with the mess in Afghanistan that he leaves behind – the one he inherited from George W. Bush almost eight years ago and was unable to clean up.

Billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars have been spent trying to build up an Afghan army and instill Western values in a hard-bitten land of warlords and tribal hostilities that has never been successfully controlled or changed by a foreign power.

Now a new report by the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR) that points to a resurgent Taliban and failing social programs – including improving the plight of Afghan women — begs the question, “Why are we still there?”

In a story Monday, the Times says that the Taliban has stolen a page from ISIS and is actively using social media as a propaganda vehicle to trumpet its victories and taunt the government. One video, for example, showed Taliban fighters cruising around the outskirts of Lashkar Gar, the capital of a southern province, in a captured American Humvee; the government has said there were no insurgents near there. In recent days, the Times said, the Taliban released video footage – shot from cameras mounted on a drone — of a suicide-bomb attack in Helmand Province.

A bumper crop of opium poppies this year is helping to fuel the Taliban resurgence. The SIGAR report says that since 2002, the U.S. has spent $8.5 billion on counter-narcotic efforts “yet this year saw a 43% increase in opium production, according to the United Nations. Eradication results are the lowest in a decade because of security challenges, namely in Helmand Province.”

(yahoo news)

In case you are interested….we have spent $780 billion….that is just over 3/4 of a trillion dollars that is trillion with a “T”……

What part of this sounds like a success?

Afghanistan: 15 Year War

We do not hear much about Afghanistan these days even though it is our longest war….EVER!

But for those that are interested…..another American soldier has died in defense of their country…..

A U.S. service member and a U.S. civilian died Wednesday after an attack near a coalition base in Kabul, according to a U.S. Forces Afghanistan news release.

The attack was carried out by an unknown assailant, who was later killed, according to the release. The release does not elaborate on the nature of the attack.

In addition to the two deaths, one U.S. service member and two U.S. civilians were injured. They are in stable condition.

The two people who were killed were carrying out unspecified duties associated with the NATO mission to train, advise and assist Afghan forces, according to the release.

I realize that few seem to care about the death of an American soldier…that is until it can be used as a political prop (a practice I find distasteful and pathetic)…….but I will be the conscience of the country if I must……

There is more about Afghanistan……we here that the Afghan army is doing well just they need more planes and such to be successful…..but is that true?

15 years into the NATO occupation of Afghanistan, the Taliban controls more territory now than at any other time during the war, and the losses continue to mount for the Afghan government. The war has never been going “well,” exactly, but the losses are becoming a lot more visible.

the NATO nations involved in the war invested heavily in capturing and holding certain key cities, and as they began to draw down their forces, many nations sold these territorial gains, however limited they were, as their chief military accomplishments. Now, they’re watching those cities fall.

These stories exist everywhere around Afghanistan, as NATO spent billions to build up an Afghan military which is falling apart at the seams, unable to properly defend much of anything, and likewise unable to recruit enough people to make up for their losses.

Afghan officials are downplaying the losses, insisting they are temporary. Yet they are losing an estimated 10,000 police a year just to casualties, above what they’re able to recruit, and in the military, force levels have always been dubious, given the widespread corruption and existence of tens of thousands of “ghost troops” created by crooked officials just to collect salaries.

(antiwar.com)

So as you can read….Afghanistan is NOT the success that some would have you believe……after 15 years it is time for the US to consider whether they want to invest more lives and money in a cause that is falling apart as I type.

Is it worth further investment?

Iraq: Battle For Mosul Update

The battle to take back Mosul from ISIS has begun and the story is that it will be the Iraqis in the lead and in the fighting….

Really?

“No boots on the ground” has evolved into over 6,000 US troops in Iraq, and pledges that they would play no combat role in the war against ISIS has now given way to US ground troops being deployed on the front lines in Iraq’s largest invasion to date, the ongoing attack on the massive city of Mosul.

The troops are special forces who are being used as “forward air controllers,” and are meant primarily to do targeting for US warplanes that are constantly pounding the city from above. Officially, these troops are still being classified as “non-combat.”

Pentagon officials later insisted that “most” of the troops in Iraq, which again is over 6,000 of them, aren’t on the front lines in Mosul. The ones that are, however, seem like they’ll inevitably end up participating in combat, whether they’re classified that way or not.

Now for the update on the Iraqi situation……

Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi announced the launch of operations to retake Ninewa Province and Mosul from ISIS at dawn on October 17. PM Abadi named Deputy Army Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Abdul al-Amir Jarallah as commander of the operation. The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and Peshmerga began offensives on the Khazar-Gwer axis, southeast of Mosul, and moved north from the Qayyarah airbase, retaking several villages. ISIS offered minimal resistance to the joint forces’ advance and may elect to withdraw the bulk of its forces to Mosul to await the city offensive.
Security forces over the past several weeks have moved into position to begin a multi-axis offensive to encircle the city. Units from Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) and Iraqi Army moved to locations in Kurdish-held territory north and northeast of the city, where they have begun to work in parallel with Peshmerga forces around Khazar and Gwer. Units from the Peshmerga affiliated with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) also moved into primarily Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) terrain around Khazar. Coordination between the KDP and PUK Peshmerga is rare and was likely the result of a still undisclosed agreement. Shi’a militias, including Iranian-backed groups, have deployed into the vicinity, primarily around Qayyarah and Shirqat, where they will likely shadow militia-friendly ISF units northwards. Turkey also responded to the launch of the Mosul operation, moving military forces along the Iraqi border as Turkish President Recep Erdogan maintained Turkey’s right to intervene in Iraq. Coordination between forces in Iraq remains high, although complications may ensue as these forces near the city itself and prospects for Mosul’s post-ISIS administration become more immediate.
Mosul will be a tough nut to crack, at least that is the feeling among those fighting this battle……
Iraqi and regional actors are preparing to assist with or spoil the Iraqi Security Forces’ (ISF) operation to retake Mosul and its environs from ISIS. Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi announced the start of operations to retake the city on October 17. The ISF began shelling ISIS-held villages south of Mosul, Iraqi Army armored units and Federal Police advanced towards Mosul near Gwer, southeast of Mosul, and Peshmerga units began advancing towards Mosul from Khazar, east of Mosul. The ISF’s operation against ISIS will require security forces to isolate Mosul before it can begin a block-by-block clearing operation in the city itself. The ISF recaptured Shirqat, the last major ISIS-held city on the Mosul-Baghdad highway, on September 22, thereby setting the operational conditions to launch operations for Mosul. The ISF will need to continue its line of effort up the highway while also encircling the city from the north and northeast. ISIS will seek to conduct attrition warfare against the ISF before it arrives in Mosul, leveraging its remaining lines of communication in Anbar, Ninewa, and Syria to shift people and supplies. ISIS will also use the sparsely populated areas on both the eastern and western sides of the Tigris River to launch attacks against recaptured areas and the ISF.
Will a win in Mosul be all that they want?
The fight to liberate Mosul has begun. In fact, it began with a new round of U.S.-led air strikes before the Iraqi announcement that the various elements of Iraqi ground forces were ready to engage. It will be one of the most critical elements of the U.S. military effort to defeat terrorism and violent Islamist extremism, as well as help determine the success of future U.S. efforts to bring some elements of stability to an increasingly more unstable Middle East.
There are so many outcomes to this that not all will be good for the US and its allies…..

Even More Troops For Iraq

Slowly but slowly the US has been sending more and more troops to Iraq and the media ignores this….what is more important than our troops in a war zone?

Not Kim and her fucking diamonds……not Trump and his propensity for vulgarity……NOTHING is more important!

Since I reported last month that more US Troops were to be deployed in Iraq ahead of the battle for Mosul……more news has been ignored…..

From the moment he announced, when the latest US war in Iraq began, that there would be “no boots on the ground,” President Obama was not being honest with the American public. Yet after years of trying to revise that to mean something short of no US ground troops, the sheer numbers appear to have overwhelmed the discussion.

Officially, the US had somewhere around 4,500 troops in Iraq. The actual numbers are in excess of 6,000, the discrepancy being the result of an attempt to brand certain troops as “temporary,” despite having no end date for their deployment, as a way to add troops above and beyond caps they’ve long since blown through.

Now, with Pentagon officials openly talking about US troops playing a substantial role in the imminent invasion of Mosul, there is no room for pretense, and officials are just adding more and more troops all the time, hyping them as part of this “vital” invasion.

(antiwar.com)

As the deployments rise the chances of death returning to Americans grows…especially when given the go ahead……

Powerful Shi’ite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr instructed his followers on Sunday to target U.S. troops deploying to Iraq as part of the military campaign against Islamic State.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Monday the Pentagon would dispatch 560 additional troops to help Iraqi forces retake the northern city of Mosul in an offensive planned for later this year.

Sadr, who rose to prominence when his Mahdi Army battled U.S. troops after the 2003 invasion, posted the comments on his official website after a follower asked for his response to the announcement.

Source: Iraqi Shi’ite cleric tells followers to target U.S. troops fighting Islamic State | Reuters

Another news item that the MSM in the US seem to overlook……

I find it very pathetic that the lives of the troops means NOTHING to most Americans…..only when it is politically expedient.