US Wars And Hostile Actions

That time again…..the IST history lesson…..

After listening to the speech given by Pres. Trump at the UN when he talked about those “rogue nations” that are a threat to the stability of the world….and it got me to thinking about the history of the US and I wanted to look back…..

Do you know how many wars or hostile actions the US has been involved with since World War Two?

I am sure that most everyone can name up to twenty conflicts…..but is this so much more than that…..

There is a reason that most countries polled in December 2013 by Gallup called the United States the greatest threat to peace in the world, and why Pew found that viewpoint increased in 2017.

But it is a reason that eludes that strain of U.S. academia that first defines war as something that nations and groups other than the United States do, and then concludes that war has nearly vanished from the earth.

Since World War II, during a supposed golden age of peace, the United States military has killed some 20 million people, overthrown at least 36 governments, interfered in at least 82 foreign elections, attempted to assassinate over 50 foreign leaders, and dropped bombs on people in over 30 countries. The United States is responsible for the deaths of 5 million people in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, and over 1 million just since 2003 in Iraq.

Source: U.S. Wars and Hostile Actions: A List – Let’s Try Democracy

Included in the lists above is the number of leaders the US has tried to assassinate…..

  • 1949 – Kim Koo, Korean opposition leader
  • 1950s – CIA/Neo-Nazi hit list of more than 200 political figures in West Germany to be “put out of the way” in the event of a Soviet invasion
  • 1950s – Chou En-lai, Prime minister of China, several attempts on his life
  • 1950s, 1962 – Sukarno, President of Indonesia
  • 1951 – Kim Il Sung, Premier of North Korea
  • 1953 – Mohammed Mossadegh, Prime Minister of Iran
  • 1950s (mid) – Claro M. Recto, Philippines opposition leader
  • 1955 – Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India
  • 1957 – Gamal Abdul Nasser, President of Egypt
  • 1959, 1963, 1969 – Norodom Sihanouk, leader of Cambodia
  • 1960 – Brig. Gen. Abdul Karim Kassem, leader of Iraq
  • 1950s-70s – José Figueres, President of Costa Rica, two attempts on his life
  • 1961 – Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier, leader of Haiti
  • 1961 – Patrice Lumumba, Prime Minister of the Congo (Zaire)
  • 1961 – Gen. Rafael Trujillo, leader of Dominican Republic
  • 1963 – Ngo Dinh Diem, President of South Vietnam
  • 1960s-70s – Fidel Castro, President of Cuba, many attempts on his life
  • 1960s – Raúl Castro, high official in government of Cuba
  • 1965 – Francisco Caamaño, Dominican Republic opposition leader
  • 1965-6 – Charles de Gaulle, President of France
  • 1967 – Che Guevara, Cuban leader
  • 1970 – Salvador Allende, President of Chile
  • 1970 – Gen. Rene Schneider, Commander-in-Chief of Army, Chile
  • 1970s, 1981 – General Omar Torrijos, leader of Panama
  • 1972 – General Manuel Noriega, Chief of Panama Intelligence
  • 1975 – Mobutu Sese Seko, President of Zaire
  • 1976 – Michael Manley, Prime Minister of Jamaica
  • 1980-1986 – Muammar Qaddafi, leader of Libya, several plots and attempts upon his life
  • 1982 – Ayatollah Khomeini, leader of Iran
  • 1983 – Gen. Ahmed Dlimi, Moroccan Army commander
  • 1983 – Miguel d’Escoto, Foreign Minister of Nicaragua
  • 1984 – The nine comandantes of the Sandinista National Directorate
  • 1985 – Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, Lebanese Shiite leader (80 people killed in the attempt)
  • 1991 – Saddam Hussein, leader of Iraq
  • 1993 – Mohamed Farah Aideed, prominent clan leader of Somalia
  • 1998, 2001-2 – Osama bin Laden, leading Islamic militant
  • 1999 – Slobodan Milosevic, President of Yugoslavia
  • 2002 – Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Afghan Islamic leader and warlord
  • 2003 – Saddam Hussein and his two sons
  • 2011 – Muammar Qaddafi, leader of Libya

Just a sampling of the info available in this article……Fascinating reading….I will leave you to it…..enjoy!

What must one do to be known as a “rogue nation”?

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One, Two, Three, What Are We Fighting For?

Well I don’t Give a Shit

Just Get us Out Of Tikrit

A take on an old antiwar song from Country Joe and The Fish……

With the news these days on Russia, North Korea, storms, etc…..you would think by the lack of any news that the War on Terror must be won or is over……well it is NOT either.

There has little to nothing about ISIS or Iraq or Syria in weeks…I guess it is true…..”outta sight, outta mind”….

I understand the desire for revenge against those that carried out the attacks…..we got the bastards that did this despicable act….why did it have to go any further than that?

So now the question begs being asked……(see title)…..or just what are we accomplishing?

I used to command soldiers. Over the years, lots of them actually. In Iraq, Colorado, Afghanistan, and Kansas. And I’m still fixated on a few of them like this one private first class (PFC) in Kandahar, Afghanistan, in 2011. All of 18, he was short, scrawny, and popular. Nine months after graduating from high school, he’d found himself chasing the Taliban with the rest of our gang. At five foot nothing, I once saw him step into an irrigation canal and disappear from sight — all but the two-foot antenna on his radio. In my daydreams, I always see the same scene, the moment his filthy, grizzled baby face reappeared above that ditch, a cigarette still dangling loosely from his lips. His name was Anderson and I can remember thinking at that moment: What will I tell his mother if he gets killed out here?

And then… poof… it’s 2017 again and I’m here in Kansas, pushing papers at Fort Leavenworth, those days in the field long gone. Anderson himself survived his tour of duty in Afghanistan, though I’ve no idea where he is today. A better commander might. Several of his buddies were less fortunate. They died, or found themselves short a limb or two, or emotionally and morally scarred for life.

Source: In the “War on Terror,” What Are We Killing and Dying For?

All I can see that is being accomplished is the rotation ordinance….the waste of billions….and the abuse of troops.

At what point does anyone care?

US First War on Communism

From time to time I do watch the idiot tube especially if the here is something historical being shown.  I occasionally watch the American hero channel, formerly known as the Military Channel…..most times these shows have a bit much propaganda attached to them.

Recently there was a documentary about he Korean War……Korea: America’s First War On Communism…..apparently this is, according to AHC, when Americas came face to face with Communism and turned it into a war.

The truth is the first war was in 1918 when the US and allies joined forces with the forces of the czar in Eastern Russia to combat the Bolsheviks (Communists).

Many Americans would be surprised to learn that the USA, along with Britain, France, and Japan, fought a campaign in Russia just after the Great War (World War I). The primary objective of this action was the re-establishment of an Eastern Front following the collapse of the Russian government during the 1917 Bolshevik revolution, but Allied fear of communist ambitions in other countries also played into the intervention as will be seen below. The overall campaign was named the Polar Bear Expedition, but was also known as the Northern Russian Expedition, the American North Russia Expeditionary Force – ANREF or the American Expeditionary Force North Russia – AEFNR.

These efforts are not mentioned in most history survey courses, and few texts even mention that US troops (or those of any other nation) fought against the Bolsheviks during this period. The presence of US Army units from Michigan in Vladivostok, Archangel, and other Russian locations is rarely noted although the University of Michigan maintains an archive of photographs and other primary evidence relating to the period.

Source: Allied War in Russia, 1918-22

And that was the FIRST war on communism by the US.

If you are going act like some historical authority then maybe get the facts right would help out your credibility.

Class Dismissed!

The Afghanistan Report

I have neglected my primary focus of international relations and conflict management….there has been so much drama flying around the president and the country that I felt it needed analysis.

I will try to return to my strength……

Afghanistan is America’s longest ever war and may well be the longest of all time….there is so much happening there but the media has fresh blood to chase…Russia, Harvey, etc…..

Trump recently gave a speech outlining his “new” Afghanistan policy.(sadly it sounds a lot like the “old” Afghanistan policy)…..

But they say it will be a new approach……..

On the morning of 31 May 2017, a 1,500-kilogram truck bomb was detonated outside the German Embassy in the Afghan capital of Kabul, only streets away from the US and Australian missions. Windows were smashed all the way from Great Massoud Square to the Haji Yaqub mosque in Shahr-e Naw, over 90 people were killed, and over 500 were injured. If ever there was an indicator that a fresh approach to dealing with the insurgency in Afghanistan was required, then this was it.

On 21 August, after a somewhat agonising series of discussions involving senior US military personnel plus a motley group of presidential associates, US President Donald Trump gave a speech at Fort Myer, Virginia, that sought to outline such an approach. President Trump’s speech was very well received in Afghanistan, met with some consternation in Pakistan, and was quietly welcomed by a satisfied Indian leadership.

Source: Washington’s New Approach to Afghanistan | RealClearDefense

The news reports lately have estimated the troop strength at 8400…..but that also was a lie (go figure)…….

Pentagon officials have finally acknowledged the actual number of American forces in Afghanistan after long camouflaging the total in misleading accounting measures and red tape. Senior Defense Department officials said Wednesday there are about 11,000 US forces currently deployed to Afghanistan—thousands more than the 8,400 that were allowed under the previous administration’s troop cap. Military officials have long quietly acknowledged there were far more forces in the country than the cap allowed, but commanders shuffled troops in and out, labeled many “temporary,” and used other personnel accounting tactics to artificially keep the public count low, the AP reports.

Pentagon officials refused to provide similar details for Iraq and Syria, where there also are thousands more US troops than the Pentagon publicly admits. The Afghanistan troop numbers announcement comes as the Pentagon is preparing to deploy several thousand more Americans to the country in order to expand the training and advising of Afghan forces and beef up counterterror operations against the Taliban and al-Qaeda-linked groups. Officials have said the US will send as many as 3,900 more troops to the war—which would bring the number of publicly recognized troops there to about 15,000.

With an increase of troops to Afghanistan Trump also gave Pakistan an ultimatum on their part in the fight in the country……

The Middle East was not mentioned in President Donald Trump’s major policy speech on August 20 — not even Iran, which has a common border with Afghanistan. The omission was curious given that the New York Times reported earlier this month that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was allying, perversely, given the Shia-Sunni divide, with Taliban fighters to keep the central government in Kabul destabilized. Instead, the focus of the new strategy, as laid out in the speech and the official talking points, was “South Asia,” with Pakistan, described as an “important partner,” being warned to change its behavior, while India is characterized as a “valued partner.” But though unmentioned, Gulf countries such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, longtime allies of Pakistan, are likely to have to choose where they stand. And Iran’s predilection for mischief will have to be thwarted.

Source: Trump’s Afghanistan Policy and the Gulf – The Washington Institute for Near East Policy

All this jockeying for position is NOTHING.  This war is the same song in every way.

A Look At War

After Vietnam I went to college and set my mind on the study of conflict (war)…..after experiencing it first hand I felt I need to take a look at it from all sides.

There are far too many people that view war from a distorted prism…there is nothing romantic or heroic about war…..war is barbaric, chaotic and ugly…..

I fear that policy-makers do not talk enough about the inherent ugliness of war. War is state sanctioned brutality, the outcome of which is death, destruction and suffering in order to achieve a political objective unobtainable through diplomatic means. It is a contest of wills settled through extreme violence where devastation is the rule, not the exception.[2] War is also based on a crude and cruel calculus where success usually relies upon the ability to both inflict and sustain greater casualties than the opposition. Its enduring features are friction, chaos, and chance; all of which lead to uncertainty, and none of which are natural allies of the delivery of precise violence or predictable outcomes, which seem increasingly to be what society, and in turn, policy-makers expect.

Source: War Isn’t Precise or Predictable — It’s Barbaric, Chaotic, and Ugly | RealClearDefense

We are sending more of our troops into a meat grinder and few seem to mind or even care…..has it become so common place that we brush off conflict with a flick to the channel changer?

More Thoughts On The New Afghan Plan

I see the generals have gotten to yet another president….generals always want more troops and usually the get what they want….and Afghanistan is NO different……

The American people don’t like long wars with uncertain outcomes—and never have. That was true in 1953, when the U.S. accepted a stalemate and armistice with the Chinese-backed North Koreans, and it was true again in 1975, when the U.S. suffered an ignominious defeat and 58,000 dead at the hands of pajama-clad guerrillas and the North Vietnamese army. “Never fight a land war in Asia,” General Douglas MacArthur famously said, and for good reason: in both Korea and Vietnam, the enemy could be endlessly supplied and reinforced.

The solution, in both cases, was to either widen the war or leave. In Korea, MacArthur proposed expanding the war by taking on Chinese military sanctuaries in China (which got him fired), while in Vietnam, Richard Nixon ordered the invasion of Cambodia and mined North Vietnam’s harbors, an expansion of the war that sparked a genocide and merely postponed the inevitable. America’s adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan have been as unsatisfying. A troop surge retrieved America’s position in Iraq, though most military officers now view Baghdad as “a suburb of Tehran” (as a currently serving Army officer phrased it), while the U.S. has spent over $800 billion on a Kabul government whose writ extends to sixty percent of the country—or less.

Source: How the Brass Talked Another President Into a Losing Strategy | The American Conservative

Even the conservatives can see the fruitless attempt at some form of nation building…..even Red State (a site I seldom visit has seen just how dumb this war has become…..even these guys are seeing Afghanistan turning into yet another Vietnam…..a worthless waste of time and treasure……

In 1999, two years before America’s longest war would begin in Afghanistan, Lewis Sorley published a seminal work titled A Better War about America’s last longest war that raged in the 1960s and 70s. The subtitle of this great work serves as the thesis of the book and says it all: The Unexamined Victories and Final Tragedy of America’s Last Years in Vietnam. Effectively beginning when the 88th Congress enacted the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in August, 1964, which authorized Lyndon Johnson to use military force in Southeast Asia, and continuing to the end of direct military involvement in 1973 with the fall of Saigon, the Vietnam War cost over 55,000 American lives over the course of roughly 9 years.

The ultimate loss of the Vietnam War after the expense of so much blood and treasure serves as a cautionary tale for what we are now witnessing in Afghanistan.

Source: America Cannot Afford to Have Afghanistan Become the New Vietnam

But to familiarize yourself more with this situation if you have not been paying attention…..always view a situation from both sides anything else is disingenuous….

Source: Trump Lays Out a Winning Strategy for Afghanistan

Source: Trump’s Bold New Afghanistan Strategy Isn’t Bold. Or New.

A New Day For Afghanistan

I waited all day for the president to come before the country and explain his “New deal” for Afghanistan.

So far I have not been impressed with any of our last couple of president’s plan for dealing with American’s longest war.  So far it looks like the only plan we have is “not losing” in Afghanistan…..

America’s adventures in Afghanistan – dating back to the 1980s – have led to one disaster after another with President Trump and other politicians afraid to finally admit failure.

“Let’s get out of Afghanistan. Our troops are being killed by the Afghanis we train and we waste billions there. Nonsense!” – Donald Trump, January 11, 2013

Taking a break from his defense of the “very fine people” who marched with Nazis in Charlottesville, President Trump will reportedly meet with his national security team today (Friday, August 18) at Camp David to discuss a far deadlier but ironically less controversial issue: the war in Afghanistan.

Source: The Goal of ‘Not Losing’ in Afghanistan – Consortiumnews

But all the speculation is for naught…..the Prez has outlined his
new plan” for Afghanistan….

President Trump made a rare formal address to the nation Monday night to reaffirm the US commitment in Afghanistan, but he declined to talk about troop numbers or deadlines. Those factors will be based on “conditions on the ground, not arbitrary timetables,” he said, adding that he doesn’t think it makes sense to tip off the enemy to specific plans. The US currently has about 8,400 non-combat troops in the country, and the president had been expected to green-light another 4,000 or so for the 16-year-old war. “I’m a problem-solver,” said Trump after outlining the situation he inherited in Afghanistan and Southeast Asia and faulting the decisions of his predecessors. But “in the end, we will win.”

Trump, speaking at Fort Myer military base in Arlington, Va., acknowledged that his “original instinct was to pull out, and historically I like following my instincts,” reports the New York Times. But he said he changed his mind after a long review and advice from his military advisers. He said the US cannot repeat what he views as the mistake of its “hasty” exit from Iraq in 2011, which he said allowed ISIS to gain a foothold, per USA Today. Trump also called out Pakistan and said the US will “no longer be silent” as that nation provides “safe haven” for terrorists. And he also warned that the Afghan government would be held accountable as a partner. “We are not nation-building again,” he said. “We are killing terrorists.”

There you have it….the US New Plan for Afghanistan…..

Same as it has always been.  And you thought we would get something different….foolish Americans!