Trump’s Troop Withdrawal

I have been writing on one issue that I agree with defeated Trump…..I agree that we should be ending these forever wars and bring our troops home.

Now there is more news on that front…..

The Trump administration is expected to cut the number of US troops in Afghanistan almost in half to 2,500 by Jan. 15, US officials said Monday. The order would stop short of outgoing President Trump’s goal to have all troops withdrawn by the end of the year, which had faced opposition from military and diplomatic advisers. The Pentagon also expects to cut the number of troops in Iraq to 2,500, the AP reports, a reduction of more than 500. The decisions come in the wake of Trump’s shakeup of the Pentagon leadership last week, in which he installed loyalists who share his frustration with the continued troop presence in the war zones. The cuts would give Trump an accomplishment in his final weeks in office. The officials said military leaders were told over the weekend about the planned withdrawals, and an executive order is in the works but has not yet been delivered to commanders. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. There are 4,500 to 5,000 troops in Afghanistan, and more than 3,000 in Iraq.

Under the order, the troop cuts would be completed just five days before President-elect Joe Biden takes office, leaving him with a smaller military footprint in the two key war zones. Military commanders have expressed less concern about pulling more troops from Iraq, where the Iraqi forces are better able to maintain their nation’s security. Trump’s new Pentagon chief, Christopher Miller, hinted at the withdrawals over the weekend in a message to the force that suggested compromise. He said that “we remain committed to finishing the war that Al Qaida brought to our shores in 2001.” But he also made it clear that “all wars must end.” The accelerated withdrawal goes against longstanding advice from Trump’s military leadership, including Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, top commander for the Middle East. But officials suggested this week that commanders will be able to live with the partial pullout, which lets them to keep counterterrorism troops in Afghanistan and allows more time to remove critical equipment.

The GOP may be the Party of Trump now but there are still issue they will not help Trump achieve…..

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) warned against a withdrawal from Afghanistan on Monday amidst reports that say the Pentagon is planning for a drawdown in the country.

McConnell, a staunch ally of President Trump, was careful to praise the administration’s foreign policy record before slamming the idea of an Afghanistan withdrawal. “A rapid withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan now would hurt our allies and delight the people who wish us harm,” McConnell said on the Senate floor.

McConnell went through the typical talking points for arguments against the US ending the 19-year-old war. He said a US withdrawal would “embolden the Taliban,” hand al-Qaeda a “propaganda victory,” and would be “welcome news” to Iran.

(antiwar.com)

What about those troops in Syria?

I know not much said lately about them but make no mistake they are there….even some confusion on just how many are there…..

Four years after signing the now-infamous “Never Trump” letter condemning then-presidential candidate Donald Trump as a danger to America, retiring diplomat Jim Jeffrey is recommending that the incoming Biden administration stick with Trump’s foreign policy in the Middle East.

But even as he praises the president’s support of what he describes as a successful “realpolitik” approach to the region, he acknowledges that his team routinely misled senior leaders about troop levels in Syria. 

“We were always playing shell games to not make clear to our leadership how many troops we had there,” Jeffrey said in an interview. The actual number of troops in northeast Syria is “a lot more than” the roughly two hundred troops Trump initially agreed to leave there in 2019. 

https://www.defenseone.com/threats/2020/11/outgoing-syria-envoy-admits-hiding-us-troop-numbers-praises-trumps-mideast-record/170012/

Keep in mind that Trump ordered the troops home in 2018…..but changed his mind (as he often does)…..

The withdrawal in my opinion is something positive coming from Trump……but I fear that they will (the M-IC) never allow this to succeed…..not to worry after all we have a new president that owes much to the high dollar donors…..in other words….the wars will continue.

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Those Asymmetric Wars

The battlefield no longer looks like it did in the 18th century or even the mid-20th century….the wars today are fought in irregular units….or as it is now called “asymmetric” warfare.

My day it was called guerilla warfare….but times change and terms get moved around to suit those with letters after their name.

To start let us define “asymmetric warfare”……

Asymmetrical warfare, unconventional strategies and tactics adopted by a force when the military capabilities of belligerent powers are not simply unequal but are so significantly different that they cannot make the same sorts of attacks on each other.

Guerrilla warfare, occurring between lightly armed partisans and a conventional army, is an example of asymmetrical warfare. Terrorist tactics, such as hijackings and suicide bombings, are also considered to be asymmetrical, both because they tend to involve a smaller, weaker group attacking a stronger one and also because attacks on civilians are by definition one-way warfare. War between a country that is both able and willing to use nuclear weapons and a country that is not would be another example of asymmetrical warfare.

(Britannica)

If this is the true future of warfare then high is the Army shutting down its Asymmetrical Warfare Group?

For nearly 15 years a little known but highly influential Army group has been in the middle of how the Army learns immediate lessons from combat, adapts to the evolving battlefield and saves soldiers’ lives.

It’s called Asymmetric Warfare Group, and the Army is shutting it down next year.

The Army made its official announcement today that by mid-2021, AWG will be discontinued.

An Army statement to Army Times:

“The functions of AWG, including the solutions to current and emerging threats, will transition to other Army organizations. Also, to ensure the utility of the organization’s work over the past 14 years is not lost, all lessons learned will be maintained by the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center (CAC), via the Center for Army Lessons Learned (CALL), Centers of Excellence (COEs), and other TRADOC enterprise stakeholders.”

https://www.armytimes.com/news/your-army/2020/10/02/the-army-is-shutting-down-its-much-lauded-asymmetric-warfare-group/

The Defense News has reported that the military is moving past special forces in dealing with irregular conflicts…..

The Pentagon has begun to shift the focus on irregular warfare away from the specific counterterrorism missions of the last two decades and toward a broader effort that includes information warfare and gray zone operations, a top special operations official said Friday.

Joe Francescon, deputy assistant secretary of defense for special operations and combating terrorism, told reporters that the shift is needed to counter China, Russia and Iran.

Francescon was speaking as part of a rollout of an unclassified version of the Irregular Warfare annex of the National Defense Strategy. The strategy was rolled out Jan. 19, 2018, under then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, but the annex was not completed until early 2019 and took “a long time” to declassify to the point where even the 12-page summary could be shared with the public, Francescon said.

https://www.defensenews.com/pentagon/2020/10/02/irregular-warfare-strategies-must-move-beyond-special-forces-pentagon-says/

If the US will be fighting small groups in the future…why close down the “Group” that will perfect the tactics?

Or is the fear of China in the future driving all this re-organizations?

Just Asking.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Let The Kids Do It

Some of those apocalyptic films have wars being fought for generations and generations….well fact is not so far off…..

Just last week our war inn Afghanistan entered into its 20th year……and soon the children of the original warriors will be fighting this conflict…..

The longest war in US history now spans generations. Service members who were deployed to Afghanistan, starting 19 years ago last week, are turning the mission over to their children. Since 2002, Master Sgt. Trevor deBoer has served three tours in what the government called the war against terrorism, Stars and Stripes reports. Spc. Payton Sluss has been deployed there as well, stationed at a base where his father served. “My feet were walking the same land you were,” Sluss told deBoer. His father said he often wondered during his tours if the US effort was making any progress. “When we started this, people asked why I was going, and my response was, ‘So my sons don’t have to fight this war,'” deBoer said. His son sees progress, however incremental, citing changes in women’s rights, free speech and education. “An inch is an inch, progress is progress no matter what,” he said. The US still suffers casualties in Afghanistan.

The job is different for this generation. Operation Enduring Freedom ended in 2014, per the New York Post. With the Taliban protecting al-Qaeda, Americans now concentrate on training local forces and rebuilding the country. “Afghanistan didn’t have a functioning toilet when I showed up,” said Capt. Bajun Mavalwalla, who arrived in 2002. When he returned as an adviser in 2012, he was amazed by the improvements. His son, also Bajun Mavalwalla, who was deployed in 2012, is more discouraged. “I wanted to go out and help people, serve my country. … I just sort of contributed to this deepening mire,” he said. The elder Mavalwalla’s view is across generations. “You have to have seen what it was 20 years ago, and then see it again 10 years later, to appreciate the improvement,” the father said. Another veteran whose son has served in Afghanistan said he just hopes his grandson won’t someday have to go fight the same battles “for the same reason.”

And yet Americans do not see the problem they are allowing to develop…..the media is to blame for making war seem somehow patriotic and romantic…..and try to ignore the conflict as often as they can.

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More Good News From Trump?

Yes I know I have been a critic of Trump since he took office….but I have also stated that I approve of his attempts to end our endless wars……and now he has made another statement that I can support….( I shall qualify that shortly)…..

He is attempting to bring home the troops from Afghanistan and Iraq….and moving some out of Germany…..

Pres. Trump wants to bring our troops home from Somalia…..Somalia?  Think Blackhawk Down…..

Bloomberg published a story on Wednesday that cited anonymous sources who said President Trump is looking to withdraw hundreds of US troops from Somalia, a war the administration has significantly escalated since 2017.

The sources said the Pentagon has begun drafting plans for the president, and discussions have involved Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley.

According to the Congressional Research Service, the US currently has 700 troops in Somalia. Mostly special forces who train Somalia’s army. Most of these troops were sent to the African country by President Trump, according to the Bloomberg story.

The US is engaged in Somalia as part of its war against the militant group al-Shabab. In 2017, President Trump loosened the rules of engagement for the drone war and his administration has dropped a record number of bombs on Somalia.

In 2019, the US conducted 63 airstrikes in Somalia, the most in a single year. The first seven months of 2020 saw more US airstrikes in Somalia than were conducted during both the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama, combined.

The war in Somalia is extremely underreported, and it is tough to know how damaging it has been to the civilians on the ground. US Africa Command usually claims its airstrikes only kill militants and only occasionally have to admit to civilian deaths if there is enough outcry.

(antiwar.com)

Now is this just election posturing or is he serious?

He has made promises before an election that he has not carried forward once he was placed in the seat of power for the United States.

So I ask again….can we trust him to do what he says?

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Should US Troops Remain In The Middle East?

My first reaction to that question is…Hell NO!  Their families have suffered many years and it is time for them to be reunited with their soldiers.

Bring our troops home…..and the reasons are clear.

  1. The Middle East is a small, poor, weak region beset by an array of problems that mostly do not affect Americans—and that U.S. forces cannot fix. The best thing the United States can do is leave.
  2. The immense cost and evident fruitlessness of U.S. wars in the Middle East are widely lamented in American politics, but not enough to extricate U.S. troops. And even beyond the wars, U.S. policy in the region is an expensive and unnecessary disaster.
  3. The cost of maintaining forces to protect the Middle East from itself is extraordinary, even in peacetime. Conservatively, attempting to control the Middle East costs Americans on the order of $65–70 billion dollars each year, apart from the trillions spent on wars there. The number should be closer to zero.
  4. Nothing about the Middle East warrants the U.S. investment there over the past 30 years. The few important interests there—preventing major terrorist attacks, stopping the emergence of a market-making oil hegemon, curbing nuclear proliferation, and ensuring no regional actor destroys Israel—do not require American troops.
  5. The roughly 60,000 U.S. troops in the region should leave. American efforts to manage the Middle East make nothing about oil, Israel, or terrorism better. The United States would be better off withdrawing all forward-deployed troops from the region, while maintaining access agreements for naval ports with the consent of host countries.
  6. Withdrawing ground forces from the Middle East will make it harder for the United States to start or join any wars there. Shrinking the U.S. armed forces to reflect the lack of threat from the Middle East will free up resources for any number of higher priorities at home or abroad.

Six excellent reasons for pulling US troops out of the Middle East…..[

Why are we still there?

Is it to protect Israel?  If so I say fuck them let them do their own security.

Is it to protect oil?  Again I say screw it…we do not need their oil any longer.

Is it to keep the M-IC in defense contracts and their profits rolling in?  I think I have hit on the the true reason we are still there.  The industry spends billions on Congress they want their money to be well spent….if not they move on to the next corrupt politician that will do their bidding.

Why are we still in the Middle East?

(Insert your thoughts here)

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“Home By Christmas”

That is the latest promise issued by the president about our weary troops in Afghanistan.

President Trump made a new comment on the pullout of Afghanistan, saying that it is now his intention to have all remaining US troops out of Afghanistan by Christmas. That’s substantially sooner than previous statements on the matter.

This seems to be a very recent policy change. Just hours before Trump’s comments, the national security adviser said that there would still be 2,500 US troops left in Afghanistan by early 2021. This is roughly in line with previous comments on the matter.

Troop cuts in October and November are intended to get troop levels to around 4,500 in November, a goal that the Trump Administration has pushed for some time. With troop cuts ahead of schedule, even more cuts were possible.

Having the last troops out of Afghanistan by Christmas puts even more pressure on the Afghan government and Taliban to make good on efforts to make a deal, at least on a framework, or risk a new round of violence.

(antiwar.com)

After almost 20 years it is time for us to rid ourselves of this conflict….15 years too late……

Even the most enthusiastic interventionists must now recognize that the war is militarily unwinnable. The hopes of a peace agreement between the Taliban and Afghan government should not delay the end of American involvement in the war and our full withdrawal. Anything less confirms Washington’s unwillingness to recognize two decades of failure and condemns yet more American troops to pointlessly sacrifice their lives and limbs.

https://outline.com/3MSMVw

People like me have been calling for this very thing for a decade maybe longer.

I worry that this is a promise in words only for after all it is the election season and our president has made many many promises that have not been kept.

Or could there be what some call a “surprise” that would require the US to extend their presence…we will be told it is for awhile….and we know we have heard all this before.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Asian NATO

Looks like the US is getting more worried about China becoming aggressive….but why?

China is accomplishing a lot by diplomacy and agreements than by military intervention….at least for now.

Looks like the Trump boyz are thinking about another use for the US military beyond their missions in the Middle East…..

This is a wet dream for Neocons after their wars are trying to wind down by Trump just before an election.

There’s a general consensus in Washington that Beijing is the number one threat to US global hegemony. This has led some administration officials to consider forming a NATO type alliance in Asia to counter a rising China.

US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun recently suggested that the informal partnership between the US, Australia, Japan, and India could be the beginning of a NATO-style alliance in the Indo-Pacific.

The four countries, known as the Quad, already regularly hold military drills together in the Pacific. On August 31st, Biegun spoke at the US-India strategic dialogue and discussed the possibility of forming such an alliance with the Quad.

“It is a reality that the Indo-Pacific region is actually lacking in strong multilateral structures. They don’t have anything of the fortitude of NATO or the European Union,” Biegun said. “There is certainly an invitation there at some point to formalize a structure like this.”

On Friday, senior officials from the Quad held a virtual meeting, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke with Japan’s newly appointed Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide.

India’s Ministry of External Affairs released a statement on the Quad meeting. “The officials reaffirmed their commitment towards a free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region based on shared values and principles and respect for international law,” the statement said.

(antiwar.com)

First, I thought Japan could use its military only in a defensive mode since 1945….could this violate some international ruling?

Second, this idea was floated by a Dem representative, Moulton back in 2019…..but it was called a Pacific NATO…….so it is not an original idea for the Trump lackeys…..

You guessed it…..I wrote about it at the time……https://lobotero.com/2019/03/07/a-pacific-nato/

An Asia NATO would fly in the face of another agreement of Asian countries…..ASEAN……whose desires is for diplomatic and a renunciation of violence…

In their relations with one another, the ASEAN Member States have adopted the following fundamental principles, as contained in the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) of 1976:

  1. Mutual respect for the independence, sovereignty, equality, territorial integrity, and national identity of all nations;
  2. The right of every State to lead its national existence free from external interference, subversion or coercion;
  3. Non-interference in the internal affairs of one another;
  4. Settlement of differences or disputes by peaceful manner;
  5. Renunciation of the threat or use of force; and
  6. Effective cooperation among themselves.

Not something NATO is noted for….a peaceful settlement of disputes.

To me this smells like an idea the M-IC came up with incase they lose the wars profits from Middle East.

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Closing Thought–28Sep20

On this day in 1904 a woman is arrested for smoking a cigarette in NYC….just think if that was to go before the newest SCOTUS nominee…..

Just a thought!

Now for the heart of this post…..

I have been writing about the suicide rate among our military people since the very beginning of this blog……..a story that does not get much play in this minute by minute reporting of the 24 hour news cycle….

Just last week even more bad news has been released about the steep rise in the suicides within our military…..

Military suicides have increased by as much as 20% this year compared to the same period in 2019, and some incidents of violent behavior have spiked as service members struggle under COVID-19, war-zone deployments, national disasters, and civil unrest. While the data is incomplete and causes of suicide are complex, Army and Air Force officials say they believe the pandemic is adding stress to an already-strained force. And senior Army leaders—who say they’ve seen about a 30% jump in active duty suicides so far this year—said they are looking at shortening combat deployments, the AP reports; soldiers; 10-month deployments have been stretched to 11 months because of the two-week coronavirus quarantines at the beginning and end.

Such a move would be part of a broader effort to make the well-being of soldiers and their families the Army’s top priority. The Pentagon refused to provide 2020 data or discuss the issue, but Army officials said Defense Department briefings indicate there has been up to a 20% jump in overall military suicides this year. The Army Guard is up about 10%, from 78 to 86. The Navy total is believed to be lower this year. Pointing to increases in Army suicides, murders, and other violent behavior, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said: “We cannot say definitively it is because of COVID. But there is a direct correlation from when COVID started, the numbers actually went up.” When calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 800-273-8255, military veterans should press 1. They also can go to woundedwarriorproject.org, or call the project at 888-997-2586.

I think that zeroing in on the virus as a cause is a bit wrong……the virus is a convenient excuse and gives them an out to explain the rise in the deaths of service people.

I believe that a deep examination needsw to be had and as far as “doing all” to help prevent these deaths is the same thing they say every time and so far these “attempts” have failed.

Maybe it is time for a new approach.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

It Is All So Much Bullsh*t!

It is election time and Trump has gone on record as promising to end our endless wars…..he likes to call himself the “ender of endless wars”.

Sorry sports fans but it is idle bullsh*t…just election rhetoric that holds on truth…..

I wrote a piece recently about all these promises…..https://lobotero.com/2020/09/14/ender-of-endless-wars/

Nice rhetoric too bad it is so much bullsh*t……and now why would I make such a claim?

Trump may be moving troops around and out of Iraq and Afghanistan….but those are not the only wars we have going (in case you were unaware)……what a bout Syria?

Glad you asked!

The US is sending additional forces into Syria after a series of incidents between US and Russian troops in the country, according to three unnamed Pentagon officials speaking to NBC News. The force will consist of six Bradley Fighting Vehicles and fewer than 100 soldiers, who will be operating in northeast Syria on a 90-day deployment.

The US-led anti-ISIS coalition Operation Inherent Resolve said that the Bradley Fighting Vehicles arrived in eastern Syria on Friday.

The unnamed officials told NBC that the additional soldiers and vehicles will serve as a “show of presence” to discourage Russia from entering the eastern security zone where US forces and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces operate.

US troops have had multiple encounters with the Syrian government and Russia inside Syria throughout the year. Some of the more serious confrontations occurred last month.

One incident took place on August 17th at a Syrian army checkpoint and resulted in US attack helicopters firing on the position, killing at least one Syrian soldier. A few days after the checkpoint incident, US and Russian military vehicles collided, injuring at least seven US soldiers.

US commanders blame the encounters on Moscow and Damascus, but while the US maintains its presence in the country against the will of the Syrian government, confrontations are bound to happen. These additional forces will only make similar incidents more likely.

(antiwar.com)

These wars are not ending…..just a reallocation of troops to give the appearance of a cessation of hostilities.

Dear Mr. Trump…use your magic pen and end these goddamn wars!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

P.S.

Citing increased complexity in the US operation in Syria, the Pentagon has announced they will send a small contingent of mechanized infantry, and several Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles back into NE Syria.

Officials are describing this as a “force protection” mission, and are linking it to an incident last month in which a US vehicle was side-swiped by a Russian vehicle. The US forces in Syria are confined to a small area, and officially they are there as part of a mission to take Syria’s oil.

There are currently an estimated 500 US troops in Syria, and this deployment will see an estimated 100 more troops sent to the country. Though media reports are calling this a show of force, it’s not clear that an extra 100 troops are going to mean that much in the grand scheme of things.

These troops will be moving in through Kuwait. Though the US presence in Syria is fairly small, even 100 additional troops could be quite expensive, and make this war for oil even less economical for the Trump Administration.

“Ender of Endless Wars My Ass!

Those Bounties Again

Those alleged “bounties” that Russia and possibly Iran have been accused of paying for the deaths of US troops is still making the rounds with those corporate stoolies that called themselves journalists.

When the story broke I let my readers know about the report and of course what I thought of the BS…..

https://lobotero.com/2020/07/02/mutiny-of-the-bounties/

https://lobotero.com/2020/08/25/more-bounties-claim/

If you read my two posts then you will know why I have not been consumed with these stories as major stories…..

Finally the intel community has stated that these accusations cannot be verified…..

Months after The New York Times reported that Russia secretly offered bounties to the Taliban to kill US troops in Afghanistan, a top US commander says a detailed review of all available intelligence found no corroboration of the story.

Gen. Frank McKenzie, commander of US CENTCOM, spoke with NBC News about the matter. “It just has not been proved to a level of certainty that satisfies me,” McKenzie said. “We continue to look for that evidence. I just haven’t seen it yet.”

An unnamed military intelligence official also told NBC News that after reviewing the intelligence of attacks on US forces in Afghanistan over the past several years, none had been linked to any Russian bounty payments.

McKenzie’s comments reflect statements made by other top military officials shortly after the Times story broke. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper took the position that the Pentagon did not have “corroborating evidence” to support the Times report back in June.

In a hearing in front of the House Armed Services Committee in July, Esper said all the defense intelligence agencies have been “unable to corroborate this report.” In that same hearing, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley took the same position. Both Milley and McKenzie vowed to keep investigating the intelligence, and now, two months later, there is still no evidence to back up the claims.

Other intelligence agencies have strongly dissented from the claim that Russia was paying bounties to the Taliban, most notably the National Security Agency (NSA). The National Intelligence Council produced a memo in July that showed the NSA only gave “low” confidence to the Russian bounty intelligence.

Intelligence agencies use confidence levels to reflect the scope and quality of the intelligence they are assessing. There are three confidence levels, “high,” “moderate,” and “low.” The same memo that said the NSA gave the bounty intelligence “low” confidence also revealed the CIA gave it “moderate” confidence, which still leaves plenty of room for doubt.

(antiwar.com)

This is just noise…..political rhetoric…..

So far nothing about this continuing report can be proven….and yet the media continues to use it to belittle the president…..and they (whoever ‘they’ are) say the MSM is unbiased……my ass!

I am by NO means a fan of the president but he has done so much that is wrong that a lie is not needed to accuse him.

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