Iraq–17 Years Of Chaos

My writings on foreign policy have suffered while I try to help my readers come to grips with this virus thing……but I still read my international news daily……

Our second longest war started with chaos and has done little to change that diagnosis.

We went to Iraq to help the people achieve democracy……that is the government’s story and they are sticking to it.

Actually that is one of the biggest lies….but Hell what’s new?

It all started with a take down of Saddam….then it fell into chaos that lead to the creation and the fight with ISIS….then they were all but defeated and the people started protesting the treatment of the government……and 17 years later Americans are still dying.

Let’s look at those 17 long years…..

Last week saw the seventeenth anniversary of the ill-fated US-led invasion of Iraq that led to the reported deaths of millions of Iraqis, the destruction of much of the country’s infrastructure, and the establishment of an unstable democratic system.

Iraq’s political system has been fraught with instability and has incubated almost two decades of corruption leading to several protest movements and the rise of violent Islamist militant groups, including many Shia militias who operate as part of the state security apparatus.

The Islamic State group was also born out of the sectarianism and violence that has been emblematic of the Iraqi political process since 2003, which has seen a succession of weak governments and a legislature divided along sectarian quotas.

Today’s protest movement – ongoing since October of last year – has aimed to disrupt the cycle of corrupt political appointments, nepotism, and political actors who are beholden to both Iran and the United States.

https://english.alaraby.co.uk/english/indepth/2020/3/23/iraq-still-in-chaos-17-years-after-us-invasion

But what has been learned from this adventure?

One man’s look that originally supported the war…..

“Man’s real treasure is the treasure of his mistakes, piled up stone by stone through thousands of years,” according to Jose Ortega y Gasset, the great Spanish philosopher of the early twentieth century. For to remember the past in all its searing complexity is what separates us from the apes, Ortega goes on. By that logic, the Iraq War, which started seventeen years ago this month, should constitute among the crown jewels of knowledge and insight in American foreign policy circles.

What lessons do I take away from my support of the Iraq War?

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/middle-east-watch/9-lessons-iraq-war-134567

But did the government learn from these things? 

My thought is NO!

We learned nothing from Vietnam and I feel we have learned nothing from our Iraq misadventure.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Closing Thought–17Mar20

52 years ago yesterday one of the first massacres in American war history happened…..I am talking about the deaths of about 500 Vietnamese men, women and children at the hands of US soldiers.

Fifty-two years ago today, in one of the most heinous and grisly acts against civilians during wartime, as many as 500 unarmed men, women, children, and the elderly — nearly the entire population of the South Vietnamese hamlet of My Lai — were slaughtered, raped, and brutally tortured by United States troops.

As the U.S. military continues to deploy boots on the ground in additional nations — and as specters of totalitarianism and even greater militarism materialize as if pulled from a century ago — the lessons of My Lai should not be relegated to history’s ignominious dust bin.

History, after all, doesn’t repeat itself — ill-fated actions are carried out like déjà vu, by those who refuse to examine past mistakes as if they are sleepwalking through life.

“The My Lai hamlet, part of the village of Son My, was located in Quang Ngai province, which was believed to be a stronghold of the National Liberation Front (NLF) or Viet Cong (VC) and was a frequent target of U.S. and South Vietnamese bombing attacks,” History.com explains. “In March 1968, Charlie Company [or, C Company] of the Americal Division’s 11th Infantry Brigade received word that VC guerrillas had taken control of Son My. Led by Lieutenant William L. Calley, the unit was sent to the village on a search-and-destroy mission on March 16.”

Never Forget, 52 Years Ago the US Slaughtered 500 Unarmed Men, Women, & Children

A Horrible chapter in the history of Americans at war….but that is NO reason to write it out of our conflict histories….

Learn Stuff!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Recent US Deaths Update

I reported the other day about 2 more Americans being killed in Iraq as well as a soldier of them UK……https://lobotero.com/2020/03/11/iraqi-deaths-update/

Lance Corporal Brodie Gillon. A British service member was killed in the Taji rocket attack. She served as a reservist with the Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry, having joined in 2015 as a Combat Medical Technician.

May she rest in peace and her family find some peace…..

The two American deaths ……

The Americans that were also killed in this attack……

The military on Friday identified the two U.S. troops killed in a rocket attack on Camp Taji in Iraq as Army Spc. Juan Miguel Mendez Covarrubias, 27, of Hanford, California and Air Force Staff Sgt. Marshal D. Roberts, 28, of Owasso, Oklahoma.

Mendez Covarrubias was assigned to 1st Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.

Roberts was assigned to 219th Engineering Installation Squadron of the Oklahoma Air National Guard’s 138th Fighter Wing.

“The international military coalition is capable and credible because of warriors like Juan, Brodie, and Marshal,” said Lt. Gen. Pat White, commanding general of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, the coalition to defeat the Islamic State. “They volunteered to serve the United States and United Kingdom to improve their lives and help keep the world free from ISIS terrorism. Our fallen comrades have a legacy that will never be forgotten.”

4 deaths of US soldiers in 3 days time…..not something that looks good for our time in Iraq.

May they find peace….and may their families find the closure that we all search for….

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Afghanistan In The News (As Always)

Yes we have a deal with the Taleban…..and the best news possible is that the US has already started withdrawing troops from the conflict…..

Just over a week after the signing of the Afghan peace deal, the first few hundreds of US troops are rotating out of the country. The rotation was planned before the deal, but in keeping with the US withdrawal, the troops will not be replaced.

This is just the first few hundred troops leaving out of an estimated 13,000 US troops present in Afghanistan. The plan is to cut troops in the near-term to about 8,600, and officials say this is the official start of a pullout. After this, the goal would be to cut troop levels to zero, ending a 19 year US occupation. The peace deal says this should happen in nine and a half months.

The Trump Administration wanted the troop cuts, deal or no deal, by the 2020 election. Going from 8,600 to zero, under the deal, however, is based on metrics. Indications are that a secret annex to the deal makes this very vague, allowing the US to withdraw from the rest of the pullout at will.

Still, with uncertainty ongoing, the fact that the US is moving forward with the pullout as planned, indications are that the US is at the very least moving to continue its existing position, and isn’t immediately rethinking things.

(antiwar.com)

Hopefully they all make it home before something goes to crap.

As a student of conflict I would love to read the agreement the US signed with the Taleban…..but I cannot……WHY?

The details of how the U.S. military will withdraw from Afghanistan – including the types of attacks U.S. troops and the Taliban have agreed to not conduct – are part of two classified annexes to the recently signed withdrawal agreement, according to the New York Times.

While some members of Congress will be able to read the annexes, the vast majority of the American public will have no idea what their government has agreed to as part of the deal to end the war in Afghanistan, which is in its 19th year.

The U.S. military has “legitimate reasons” why it does not want some information to become public knowledge, Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said on Tuesday.

https://taskandpurpose.com/analysis/afghanistan-peace-deal-secrets

What could the reasons for the public not having access to this document?

Could it have anything to do with November?

Just Asking!

But there are a few analyses on the agreement….

Hundreds of dedicated diplomats, intelligence and military officers from numerous nations have been helping to shepherd the Afghan and U.S. governments towards the agreements signed February 29. I have been working on it since May 2009 and wanted to explain what the US-Afghan and US-Taliban agreements mean with my context of knowing the original plan devised over a decade ago by the Afghan government.

Deciphering the Afghanistan Peace Agreements: How the Afghan Government Got the Taliban to Enter Peace Talks

There is more……

The agreement outlines two sets of commitments. The US has pledged to withdraw one-third of its approximately 13,000 troops in 135 days, and the remaining 8,600 before the end of April 2021. America’s coalition partners would withdraw their troops by then as well. The US further agreed to withdraw all ‘private security contractors, trainers, [and] advisors’ from the country and work towards removing sanctions on the Taliban and releasing Taliban prisoners.

For its part, the Taliban has committed to doing all it can to ensure that terrorist organisations don’t use Afghan territory to target the US or its allies. The Taliban also agreed not to cooperate with or support individuals associated with such groups, including al-Qaeda, which was based in Afghanistan when the Taliban were in power and used the country to train those responsible for the 11 September 2001 attacks on the US that killed nearly 3,000 people. The Taliban did not agree, however, to any limits on their military capabilities now or in the future. Nor did they agree to recognise the legitimacy of Afghanistan’s current government.

How to leave Afghanistan

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

More American Deaths In Iraq

Just two days ago I wrote about the two Marine Raiders that were killed in Iraq and now more sad news for two more Americans have been killed in Iraq….as well as a British soldier as well…….

Two American soldiers and one British soldier were killed Wednesday evening when 15 small Katyusha rockets hit Iraq’s Camp Taji. The Pentagon reported 10 other people of various nationalities were wounded.

Details are still emerging, with the US quickly dismissing the idea that this was an ISIS attack by doubting they had the capability, even though Katyusha rockets are virtually ubiquitous among Middle Eastern armed factions.

Instead, officials say they suspect Shi’ite militias in general, and Kataib Hezbollah in particular. The militia is part of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) of Iraq, whose leader was killed in a January US airstrike in Baghdad.

I will post more as the facts become known..

Watch This Blog!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Iraqi Deaths Update

I recently wrote that two deaths have occurred in Iraq….https://lobotero.com/2020/03/10/us-deaths-in-iraq/

I can now report the names of those killed….

Captain Moises Navas, 2nd Marine Raider Battalion, MARSOC, KIA Iraq

Captain Moises Navas, a special operations officer assigned to the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion, was killed in Iraq on March 8, 2020. He died from wounds suffered while accompanying Iraqi Security Forces during a mission to eliminate an ISIS stronghold in a mountainous area of north central Iraq. He was 34 years old.

Another Marine Raider – Gunnery Sergeant Diego Pongo – was also killed. Four other U.S. service members were wounded. Pongo was also assigned to the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion.

Navas died in an operation that took place in the mountains of northern Iraq more than 35 miles south of Erbil. The target was a terrorist training camp located in a tunnel and cave complex in the Qara Chockh mountains. Four other U.S. service members were wounded. The raid on the terrorist base was described as a partnered company-sized operation by ISOF.

The families have the condolences of IST and a wish for their loved ones to Rest in Peace.

I Read, I Write You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

US In The Sahel

The Sahel?  That is Africa in case you were dashing for the Google button.

Image result for sahel

For years now the US has been in the region assisting local governments in their efforts to fight the specter of growing terrorism.

What got me thinking about our involvement in the Sahel was the announcement of a special envoy….

The United States has created a special envoy for Africa’s Sahel region, a State Department spokesman said on Friday, to counter rising violence from groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State which are expanding their foothold.

Envoy Peter Pham, started his new role earlier this week, the spokesman said. He has been serving as U.S. Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa since November 2018.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-sahel/u-s-creates-new-envoy-position-to-counter-rising-terrorism-in-sahel-idUSKBN20T2ZJ

But are US troops necessary?

A Review of the necessity for US troops in the region is on-going…..

Facing skepticism from members of Congress about plans to alter force posture in Africa, Defense Secretary Mark Esper told members of the House Armed Services Committee that he remains committed to keeping U.S. forces on the continent.

“There are no plans to completely withdraw all forces from Africa,” Esper said Wednesday.

As part of a broader review of the force structure for the combatant commands, Esper has been considering moving forces out of U.S. Africa Command’s area of operations. Reports emerged at the end of 2019 that the department was looking at removing several hundred forces from Niger, Chad and Mali.

https://www.defensenews.com/pentagon/2020/02/26/heres-what-espers-africom-review-has-decided-so-far/

Why do we continue to fight and die in this region?  I mean our so-called NATO allies are there as well then why not let them handle the hard lift in Africa?

For Washington’s foreign policy establishment, no nation is too unimportant to be considered vital to America’s security. No territory is too insignificant for the United States to dominate. No spot on earth is too distant to station an American soldier. How else to judge the hysterical criticism of the Trump administration’s proposed military drawdown in Africa?

Despite the fiscal crisis, strategic overreach, endless war, and political division, “the Blob,” as Washington’s foreign policy community is known, refuses to consider a world where Uncle Sam does not treat every region and nation as his personal sphere of interest. Washington is determined to protect more than a score of rich allies in Europe, multiple wealthy clients in Asia, and a gaggle of Middle Eastern nations.

Roughly seven thousand American personnel are stationed across Africa, primarily in Djibouti, Niger, and Somalia. Defense Secretary Mark Esper is considering rebalancing U.S. defense resources, shifting toward containment—not that he has used that word—of China and Russia. To advance that process, last fall the Pentagon asked each regional command for its resource needs. Explained Esper: “We’ve begun a review process where I’m looking at every theater, understanding what the requirements are that we set out for, making sure we’re as efficient as possible with our forces.”

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/skeptics/americas-africa-enigma-why-us-troops-are-taking-unnecessary-risks-126031

Personally I say end this deployment of US troops…..we already have enough war in other spots why make a new one?

As the United States sensibly backs its military out of Afghanistan and considers drawing down the remaining 5,000 American troops in Iraq, it is time to review the expanded U.S. military presence in West and East Africa (~7,000 troops), particularly counterterror operations. Such a review was announced by Secretary of Defense Mike Esper in December 2019.

Our African deployments were practically invisible until October 2017, when four American soldiers died in an ambush in Niger. Suddenly Americans — including at least one U.S. Senator — realized that the U.S. military was in Africa getting the U.S. into deeper and deeper trouble.

It is time to pull back these forces. They reflect a militarization of U.S. foreign policy that has accelerated since 2001. Claims to the contrary, the military does not do these operations particularly well and there is growing evidence that they are counterproductive, generating more terrorists than they eliminate and exacerbating instability. They do nothing to counter Chinese or Russian influence in Africa, despite claims that they do. The threat they target is not a vital U.S. interest. In sum, by militarizing U.S. engagement in Africa, security assistance, training, and operations are harming U.S. security interests.

The U.S. military should end its counterterror operations in Africa

Time to end at least one armed conflict….I am sure that we will find another to replace the profits for the M-IC.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”