Sick Call

Congrats to the USA Women’s soccer team which beat France 2-1 to go on to the semis against England on 02Jul19…..

My days of lounging in the garden have been curbed…..the temps here are hovering around 100 and the humidity between 80 and 90%…..so gives me lots of time to read….and that is dangerous for my readers they never know what will appear on IST…that is what gave me the idea for today’s posts.

Found memories from my days in the US Army…especially overseas…in my case it was Southeast Asia…..anyway……every morning after breakfast there would be a “sick call”…if you were feeling awful you would go and sit and wait to be called for an examination.

We would all sit around the lobby of our medical facility and people would come out an call out…shots and you would get up and go for your scheduled shots or they would call “x-rays” and you would get up and go with that person and on and on until they came to most popular of “sick call” ailments…..penicillin shots and all the VD suffers would stand and go to get their shot for the varied diseased picked up in the back street.

What on Earth got me thinking about those days and those memories?

Cases of some sexually transmitted diseases, including chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis, are rising in the U.S. armed forces, a trend that mirrors the general population but alarms military health officials who treat affected troops.

According to a report released earlier this year by the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch, incidence rates of chlamydia in service men and women more than doubled from 2013 to 2018, gonorrhea infection rates also doubled for men and rose by 33 percent for women, and diagnoses of syphilis were nearly three times the number just 10 years ago.

Defense Department officials said the increases can mean negative consequences for military readiness.

“From a military standpoint, sexually transmitted infections can have a significant impact on individual readiness, which in turn impacts unit readiness, which then leads to a decrease in force health protection,” said Maj. Dianne Frankel, an Air Force internal medicine physician, in the release.

Nearly 350,000 troops were diagnosed with a sexually transmitted illness between 2010 and 2018. According to the report, that included 212,405 cases of chlamydia, 32,987 cases of gonorrhea, 4,674 cases of syphilis, 28,295 cases of genital herpes and 71,138 cases of HPV

https://www.military.com/daily-news/2019/06/26/chlamydia-syphilis-cases-rise-among-us-military-members.html

Interesting what can be labeled a National Security issue, right?  Who knew a case of the “Clap” could be of NatSec concerns?

Amazing things you read make memories of younger days flood back into your brain…..

“Lego Ergo Scribo”…..(I Read; Therefore I Write)

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Afghanistan–Exit Stage Right

I have been writing about our intervention of Afghanistan since 2005……I understand the 2001 attacks…it was to punish those that killed many Americans…..but to remain 17 more years was just lunacy…..

There have been talks with the Taleban lately trying to find a way out of Afghanistan for American troops…..and it looks like these talks may have been successful at least according to Pompeo…..

During a surprise visit to Kabul, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed that the US is prepared to remove its troops from Afghanistan, ending 18+ years of military presence in the country.

Pompeo says that the US has “made clear to the Taliban” that they are prepared for such a pullout, but said the two sides still have not agreed on a timeline for the exact withdrawal.

This echoes what the Taliban was saying last week, ahead of the Doha talks, which oddly US officials contested at the time. The Doha talks are meant to shore up an exact date for the US exit.

This has been the broad framework of a deal reported for months, that the US would leave and the Taliban would keep ISIS and al-Qaeda out of Afghanistan. Other aspects of the final deal, including a permanent ceasefire and reconciliation between the Taliban and the US-backed government, are expected to come later.

(antiwar.com)

Wait!  Is this an exit strategy?

In talking up how ready he was for an Iran war, Trump dismissed questions about what his exit strategy would be, declaring “I don’t need exit strategies” to a gathering of reporters. He did not elaborate on what that actually meant.

Is that just for Iran?

What a dynamite diplomatic ploy dazzle them with confusion and baffle them with Twitter.

Closing Thought–27Jun19

More sad news to report…..2 more American soldiers have died in Afghanistan in a firefight with the Taleban…..

Two US soldiers were reported killed Wednesday in a firefight in Afghanistan. This brings the number of US soldiers killed in Afghanistan this year to nine.

Details are somewhat conflicting, with the two soldiers, part of a Special Forces team, killed by small arms fire in a fight with the Taliban. US officials claimed the fight was in southern Uruzgan Province, while the Taliban said it was in eastern Wardak Province.

It isn’t clear why the two sides offered different accounts of where the fight happened, and it’s worth noting that the two provinces in question don’t even border one another. Early reports suggested that the Taliban had ambushed the US troops.

With 9 US troops killed in only the first half of 2019, their casualties are tracking a multi-year high. 13 were killed in 2018, and 11 more were killed in 2017. Though this is below the highs of early in the war’s first decade, the tolls have been rising over the past couple of years.

This reflects the Trump Administration’s decision to escalate the war in 2017. The war continues to rage,

(antiwar.com)

For more information about these deaths we go to the Stars and Stripes……https://www.stripes.com/two-soldiers-killed-in-afghanistan-were-special-forces-in-close-quarters-fight-according-to-report-1.587645

Enough is enough…..it is time for war to be put to bed as a foreign policy technique……it is an election in about 18 months and what better time to make the cessation of war a prime policy for the candidates?

When will the American start to care about the deaths our presidents have ordered?

As the old song says….”Give Peace A Chance”……

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

“Lego Ergo Scribo” (I think therefore I write)

The Afghanistan Conundrum

At what point does the US leave the battleground known as Afghanistan? Every president since the beginning of the US involvement has said that our troops were not there indefinitely…and yet 18 years on and they are still there….

And very little with change with this next election…..candidates are asked about keeping troops in Afghanistan and the canned response is….”not indefinitely but a realistic approach to withdrawal”……and that has been the answer for 15 years maybe longer….

Afghanistan is a conundrum…….

In January 2018, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani publicly admitted that without American support, his government and the Afghan National Army couldn’t last very long. That remains the case today: the government is in disarray and the ANA is barely holding out against the Taliban-led insurgency.

Yet US President Donald Trump understandably wants to disentangle America, if possible through a political settlement, from what has become an unwinnable war. As such, the Taliban and their supporters have no compelling reason to let the Afghan government and the United States off the hook easily. And given the complex web of conflicting interests in Afghanistan, separate US and Russian efforts to reach an enduring settlement may not succeed.

Afghanistan’s problem is not primarily a military one. Despite the ANA’s heavy losses (more than 45,000 personnel since mid-2014) and increased insecurity in the country, the army has managed to prevent the Taliban from taking over any major city on a lasting basis. US funding of the ANA to the tune of some US$4 billion per year, together with allied operational assistance, has been crucial in this regard.

 
Before Trump’s Acing SecDef left office he announced a possible break through in negotiations with the Taleban…….
US negotiations with the Taliban have been making substantial progress in recent months, and there seem to be high hopes that a meeting next week in Doha would be a breakthrough moment. Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen suggested the deal is already effectively made.

Shaheen announced on Twitter Tuesday that the US had pledged to accept a full military withdrawal from Afghanistan, and furthermore to never again interfere in Afghan affairs.

That is certainly the direction the talks have been going, but US military spokesman Col. Dave Butler denied that any such deal was made, saying that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.”

But the basic framework has always been a US withdrawal and the Taliban keeping ISIS and al-Qaeda out of Afghanistan. Further details may need to be worked out to finalize everything, and it’s not clear where they are in that process.

Still, for the US to completely deny that a deal is agreed to seems dishonest, even if technically it isn’t finalized. The US likely just isn’t ready to make this part of the deal official, because of the backlash from Congressional hawks who want to keep troops in Afghanistan forever.
 
(antiwar.com)
Bits and pieces released to give the illusion of looking for a solution to the continuing problem of our stay in Afghanistan……
 
Will our weary troops ever see home again?

Afghanistan…The Way It Is

We hear a lot these days about the US Troops in Afghanistan…..just what will it take for the war to be declared a success and the troops brought home.

One thought is that as soon as we can get the Afghan troops into a place where they can take control then ours can come home. Yet another is that the talks with the Taleban could bring about a cessation of hostilities and the troops can come home…..and yet another says we are there for the foreseeable future with NO chance of our troops coming home.

And then there is one more aspect that is usually missing from these calculations…..ISIS remember them?

ISIS has lost its caliphate in Syria and Iraq, but in the forbidding mountains of northeastern Afghanistan, the group is expanding its footprint, recruiting new fighters, and plotting attacks on the United States and other Western countries, according to US and Afghan security officials. Nearly two decades after the US-led invasion, the extremist group is seen as an even greater threat than the Taliban because of its increasingly sophisticated military capabilities and its strategy of targeting civilians, both in Afghanistan and abroad, the AP reports. Concerns run so deep that many have come to see the Taliban, which has also clashed with ISIS, as a potential partner in containing it. A US intelligence official based in Afghanistan says a recent wave of attacks in the capital, Kabul, is “practice runs” for even bigger attacks in Europe and the US.

“This group is the most near-term threat to our homelands from Afghanistan,” the official tells the AP, speaking on condition of anonymity to preserve his operational security. Their “core mandate is: You will conduct external attacks” in the US and Europe. “That is their goal. It’s just a matter of time,” he says. “It is very scary.” He says ISIS fighters captured in Afghanistan have been found to be in contact with fellow militants in other countries. Authorities have already made at least eight arrests in the United States linked to the IS affiliate in Afghanistan. “One of the hopes of a negotiated settlement is that it will bring the Taliban into the government and into the fight” against ISIS, the official says. “They know the mountains, they know the terrain. It’s their territory.”

Read more…….https://www.apnews.com/0a4f38c0ead84ecba2e0102c8b3b0b40

Let’s face reality…..US Troops are there for the long run …..the troops may never come home in my lifetime…there will always be an excuse for them to stay in country.

At least the Russian had the good sense tp get out when they could….but our MIC is just too powerful to allow the troops to leave……the profits would cease and we cannot have that no matter how many lives it costs.

Must We Stay In Syria?

Just a few short months ago our president stated that our troops would be leaving Syria because ISIS had been defeated…..first ISIS has not been defeated just given a bloody nose and second, the MIC did not give Trump permission to take troops out of Syria….but I wrote about it back then……https://lobotero.com/2019/01/21/then-there-is-syria-5/

Now that the MIC has gotten their way and US troops will remain in Syria to protect Israel what will be the hidden costs of such a decision?

President Donald Trump was right to want to pull U.S. troops out of Syria and should not have let his advisers overrule him. The rationales the administration gives for keeping U.S. forces in Syria are impossibly ambitious, and vehicles for escalation. Elements of the administration, starting with John Bolton, the national security adviser, seem eager to use U.S. forces in Syria and Iraq as bait for a war with Iran.

We have occasionally hoped that Congress might bestir itself to vote on the U.S. war in Syria, or even end it. Instead, its members mostly criticized the possibility of withdrawal, avoided any vote on the war, and now have sponsored an expert report setting out an extravagant set of missions for the small U.S. force remaining there.

Last December, when Trump suddenly announced the withdrawal of all 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria and declared ISIL militarily defeated, foreign policy pundits across the political spectrum were appalled. The nation’s major op-ed pages wailed. With a few exceptions, most of whom are running for president, the Senate overcame its partisan divide to condemn the withdrawal of troops. Trump’s own secretary of defense, Jim Mattis, and his special envoy to the “Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS,” Brett McGurk, resigned in protest over the decision.

 
This should be the lesson for lawmakers…..once the US starts a war it is incapable of ending it.
 
Just saying!

 

Troops Out Of Iraq?

AS an opponent of war I want our weary troops out of Iraq….but of course I am pretty much alone since the government, M-IC and the media will do whatever it takes to see that our troops remain…..

Do not get me wrong it there was a good reason for the troops to be there then I would reconsider my stand….but I do not see that good reason.

Besides the media and the M-IC would go batcrap crazy at the thought of our troops coming home…….does anyone remember 2008…Obama is president and troops were being pulled out…..and the M-IC turned to the media to help the GOP fight to keep the troops in country…..most of their stuff was lies….but I expect that from the GOP…..but I wrote about in 2008……https://lobotero.com/2008/06/15/iraq-may-ask-us-to-leave/

I know who care about something that was a mere blip on the geopolitical radar?

Well the Iraqis may be in the process of throwing the US out of the country……

Iraq has spent the better share of the last 16 years under US military occupation. Despite this, time and again US-Iraqi relations have come to be defined by US hostility toward neighboring Iran, and Iraq’s desire to not get mixed up in that.

So while Iraq’s parliament was already bristling under Pentagon talk of staying in Iraq, and Trump saying that the US was staying in Iraq to “keep an eye on Iran,” the recent escalation of US rhetoric about a war against Iran has sparked action within parliament.

It has been said for awhile that Iraq will be voting on a bill that would aim to expel all foreign troops from Iraqi soil, and singles out US troops in particular as needing to leave. The bill is endorsed by Iraq’s top two Shi’ite blocs, and is expected to pass fairly easily. Exact timing of the vote is unclear, but it is expected to be sooner rather than later.

What happens then is the real question. Iraq’s parliament is already being spun as “pro-Iran factions,” and it’s been a long time since US officials, Pentagon or otherwise, gave any indication that they thought staying in Iraq was up to the Iraqi government.

So while the Iraqi Prime Minister is warning the US that they can’t use Iraq to launch a war on Iran, the US is browbeating Iraq over its government-aligned Shi’ite militias, and doing everything they can to try to portray that Shi’ite-dominated Iraqi government as effectively in league with the Iranians, and subsequently a threat to US interests. No matter what happens, it seems certain US-Iraqi ties will suffer for it.

(antiwar.com)

Deja vu all over again!

How will the M-IC and media spin this to have it overturned?

If it happens there will be a massive attempt to change the narrative.