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.


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….


“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.


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.

News From Afghanistan

As usual the news is NOT about the deaths of Americans… one seems to care that our soldiers are still dying….well most everybody.

Yet again… American soldier has been killed while on ops in Afghanistan… case anyone is interested….this is the 7th death of an American soldier in 2016…..

The seventh death of a US soldier in Afghanistan so far in 2016, the Pentagon today announced an unidentified US service member was killed in an operation against the nation’s ISIS affiliate. The operation was in the Nangarhar Province, just a few miles from the Pakistan border.

Officials say an investigation is still ongoing to determine exactly what happened, but the soldier reportedly died during a foot patrol, as the result of an improvised explosive device (IED). It is unclear, according to those familiar with the situation, if the device was detonated remotely or not.

I guess only American deaths that we care about are the ones that can have some sort of political weight….kinda like Benghazi…..

I recall all the criticism of the 10 year Vietnam War as a failure and a waste of American lives……with that said….what about a 15 year war in Afghanistan?

There is a perverse symmetry on display in Afghanistan right now. Fifteen years ago, American warplanes bombed targets there, beginning an offensive against the Taliban government and al-Qaida precipitated by the 9/11 attacks. This week, they were in action once again.

There was, of course, a big difference in the two operations. In 2001, our forces were opening a campaign that would end quickly in victory. Today, they are part of a war that has no victory, or conclusion, in sight.

The original triumph came quickly. By the end of 2001, the Taliban had surrendered in the capital; a new, pro-American government was in place; and Osama bin Laden was running for his life.

Source: In Afghanistan, a 15-Year Failure –

Just maybe now is the time to re-think some of our involvement overseas…..what say you?

This is it….gotta bounce and visit my doctors…oh goody!


Increase The Risk Of PTSD

We have been sending our troops to fight in Afghanistan for 15 years and Iraq for 13 years and in all that tine the one thing that is the most dangerous for them are the IEDs and other assorted explosions.

Once these troops return home they often suffer from PTSD which at times leads to suicide…..mainly because they are not getting the help they need when it is needed.

Then the GOP candidate had this to say about those vets that suffer from PTSD……..

“When you talk about the mental health problems, when people come back from war and combat — and they see things that maybe a lot of the folks in this room have seen many times over and you’re strong and you can handle it, but a lot of people can’t handle it,” Trump said. “And they see horror stories. They see events that you couldn’t see in a movie. Nobody would believe it.”

I do hope that he did not mean the way his response sounds……
Speaking of PTSD.

A recent study has shown that part of the problem could be concussions from these explosive devices……

Troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are far more likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder if they have suffered a concussion. The reason may be a change in the brain’s fear circuits.

There’s growing evidence that a physical injury to the brain can make people susceptible to post-traumatic stress disorder.

Studies of troops who deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan have found that service members who have suffered a concussion or mild traumatic brain injury are far more likely to develop PTSD, a condition that can cause flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety for years after a traumatic event.

And research on both people and animals suggests the reason is that a brain injury can disrupt circuits that normally dampen the response to a frightening event. The result is like “driving a car and the brake’s not fully functioning,” says Mingxiong Huang, a biomedical physicist at the University of California, San Diego.

Source: Concussions May Increase The Risk Of PTSD : Shots – Health News : NPR

With some more research it is possible that there could be a breakthrough in treating and analyzing PTSD before the person feels it necessary to end his/her life.

An Obsolescent Military

Since Vietnam the US has depended on air power to turn the tide of the war/conflict….today we not only have highly qualified pilots but also depend on drones to do some of the heavy lifting…..

But after multi-million ordinances deployed and thousands on thousands of sorties….what have we gained?

But first let’s look at the word “obsolescent”…….meaning basically…no longer useful……

What, precisely, is the US military for, and what, precisely, can it do? In practical terms, how powerful is it? On paper, it is formidable, huge, with carrier battle groups, advanced technology, remarkable submarines, satellites, and so on. What does this translate to?

Military power does not exist independently, but only in relation to specific circumstances. Comparing technical specifications of the T-14 to those of the M1A2, or Su-34 to F-15, or numbers of this to numbers of that, is an interesting intellectual exercise. It means little without reference to specific circumstances.

For example, America is vastly superior militarily to North Korea in every category of arms–but the North has nuclear bombs. It can’t deliver them to the US, but probably can to Seoul. Even without nuclear weapons, it has a large army and large numbers of artillery tubes within range of Seoul. It has an unpredictable government. As Gordon Liddy said, if your responses to provocation are wildly out of proportion to those provocations, and unpredictable, nobody will provoke you.

Source: An Obsolescent Military – The Unz Review

Unz Review has a decidedly Libertarian point of view…..when reading that take it into consideration before going off on some worthless tangent.

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… 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.