Neocons Chest Thumping

The news these days is how close the US is coming to a shooting war with Iran…..but it is not the first time in recent history……

https://lobotero.com/2006/12/27/how-will-an-iranian-war-begin/

https://lobotero.com/2015/04/16/a-really-bad-idea-a-limited-war-with-iran-the-national-interest/

Keep in mind that the architect of the 2003 invasion of Iraq on false information was John Bolton, among others…..and now he is in a position that gives him more influence than in 2003……

All I can say is…here we go again!

An Iraq-War redux is now in full play, with leading roles played by some of the same protagonists – President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, for example, who says he still thinks attacking Iraq was a good idea. Co-starring is Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The New York Times on Tuesday played its accustomed role in stoking the fires, front-paging a report that, at Bolton’s request, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has come up with an updated plan to send as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East, should Iran attack American forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons. The Times headline writer, at least, thought it appropriate to point to echoes from the past: “White House Reviews Military Plans Against Iran, in Echoes of Iraq War.”

Pretexts for an Attack on Iran

John Bolton is in “Wonderland” at this time……

John Bolton has a Haig-sized ego. (one must be an old fart to appreciate the Haig reference) He aspires to control the ebb and flow of foreign policy in the Trump administration. He is often at odds with his colleagues from the State Department and Pentagon. And he is dealing with a president who, if not asleep much of the time, is only intermittently focused on national security issues.

Recently, Bolton too seemed to have his “I’m in control here” moment. With the conflict intensifying in Venezuela, the national security advisor leaked the opposition plan for the army to defect en masse from the Maduro government in favor of challenger Juan Guiado. Bolton’s tweets reportedly angered President Trump, who felt “boxed into a corner,” particularly after the defections didn’t materialize and Nicolas Maduro did not flee the country.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/05/16/bolton-in-wonderland/

Time for all parties to step back and think what they are doing. Once the “brink” has been breached then coming back becomes much more difficult.

Perhaps these actions are a prelude to negotiations: the U.S. is exerting “maximum pressure”, it says, to bring a more compliant Iran back to the table; in like manner, should Tehran conclude that it has no choice but to reach a new deal with Washington in order to relieve unsustainable economic strain, it will want to enter such talks with a stronger hand. Resuming its nuclear activities, making its presence felt in the region, and disrupting Saudi or Emirati oil exports could all be ways of enhancing its bargaining power. But if these manoeuvres are a diplomatic game, it is a dangerous one: either side could misinterpret the other’s intentions. Any Iranian move could easily lead to U.S. and/or Israeli strikes which, in turn, could lead to an Iranian counter-response. Or vice versa. Escalation comes easily; de-escalation is a much taller order, especially in the absence of direct channels of communication that can pre-empt misunderstandings or miscalculations.

 
This could become a major war since we have a president that sows chaos in his wake….this needs a steady hand and commonsense to prevent this from exploding.
 
But until then….the Neocons in Trumpland are trying to sell this as a “Just War”…….a Just War?
 
Just war theory deals with the justification of how and why wars are fought. The justification can be either theoretical or historical. The theoretical aspect is concerned with ethically justifying war and the forms that warfare may or may not take. The historical aspect, or the “just war tradition,” deals with the historical body of rules or agreements that have applied in various wars across the ages. For instance, international agreements such as the Geneva and Hague conventions are historical rules aimed at limiting certain kinds of warfare which lawyers may refer to in prosecuting transgressors, but it is the role of ethics to examine these institutional agreements for their philosophical coherence as well as to inquire into whether aspects of the conventions ought to be changed.
 
To me a Just War is a silly notion that only applies in a very limited reasons…..
 
And then we have those that a “Preventive War” is the only answer…..to that I say Bullshit!
 
The Neocons are working overtime to find a justification for a war……most are based on LIES and propaganda……PERIOD!
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Bring ‘Em Home!

I remember in Trump’s SOTU speech this year (yes I am one of those geeks that would watch a Trump speech) and I applauded him when he stated that “Great nations do not fight endless wars”!

The hope was finally an American president that would bring our troops home and give them a much deserved rest…..to Trump’s credit he tried to bring them home from Syria and Afghanistan…and the M-IC went batcrap crazy! So bad that Trump had to pull back from his bold statement….which kinda amazed me since he claims to be his own man and would do what he thought was best….(well apparently that claim is total bullshit).

I bring this up because a veterans group has taken on the president, a Koch Brothers group, Concerned Veterans of America…….

A Koch backed advocacy group focused on veterans issues is launching a new effort to pressure President Donald Trump to make good on his campaign commitment to pull US troops out of Afghanistan and Syria.

During his State of the Union speech earlier this year Trump declared “Great nations don’t fight endless wars.”That quote will be prominently displayed on a new website and used in a digital advert as part of a campaign from the group, Concerned Veterans for America.

The group is investing six figures in the campaign which will initially focus on pressuring the White House and lawmakers in Washington to withdraw US troops from the frontlines. CNN is first to report on their campaign.”This will be a full-spectrum, integrated issue campaign. It is going to be nationwide. We are going to do a lot of work in DC and work on leveraging our grassroots army across the country,” said Dan Caldwell, a CVA senior adviser.

https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/09/politics/koch-veterans-trump/index.html

I am pleased to see someone with more resources than me trying to bring our weary troops home where they belong.

Is it possible that conservatives hate war as much as I?

Could be.  Let us look at history.

Conservatives’ detestation of war has no “touchy-feely” origins. It springs from conservatism’s roots, its most fundamental beliefs and objectives. Conservatism seeks above all social and cultural continuity, and nothing endangers that more than war.

Why Conservatives Hate War

If this is true then the GOP cannot claim to be conservative…is that not the logical conclusion?

Learn Stuff!

Military Sexual Assault

This is a story that should not exist…..

There is a long history of sexual assault in our military and most of it has gone under-reported and in recent years this situation has come to the forefront of reporting (usually when there is little happening on the world stage and it is used as a filler)

Even a US Senator had been assaulted when she was in the military….

Sen. Martha McSally, the first female fighter pilot to fly in combat, said Wednesday that she was raped in the Air Force by a superior officer, the AP reports. The Arizona Republican, a 26-year military veteran, made the disclosure at a Senate hearing on the armed services’ efforts to prevent sexual assaults and improve the response when they occur. McSally said she did not report being sexually assaulted because she did not trust the system, and she said she was ashamed and confused. McSally did not name the officer who she says raped her. “I stayed silent for many years, but later in my career, as the military grappled with the scandals, and their wholly inadequate responses, I felt the need to let some people know I too was a survivor,” she said, choking up as she detailed what had happened to her.

“I was horrified at how my attempt to share generally my experiences was handled,” she continued. “I almost separated from the Air Force at 18 years of service over my despair. Like many victims, I felt like the system was raping me all over again.” McSally’s revelation comes not long after Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, detailed her own abuse and assault, and at a time of increased awareness over the problem of harassment and assault in the armed forces. Reports of sexual assaults across the military jumped nearly 10% in 2017—a year that also saw an online nude-photo sharing scandal rock the Defense Department. McSally said she shares in the disgust of the failures of the military system and many commanders who have failed to address the problems of sexual misconduct.

Even with special reports and testimony from those abused you would think that the military would clean up their act……you would think, right?

Figures show 20,500 instances of unwanted sexual contact occurred in 2018, up from 14,900 in 2016 which is the last time a survey was conducted.

Alcohol was involved in one third of cases, and female recruits ages 17 to 24 are at the highest risk of attack.

On Thursday, Acting Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan directed the military to “criminalise” sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment can fall within other legal violations of military behaviour, but is not yet a “stand-alone” criminal offence.

The directive from Mr Shanahan was among a series of other recommendations, released in a memo on Thursday.

“Sexual assault is illegal and immoral, is inconsistent with the military’s mission and will not be tolerated,” he wrote.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-48125906

I am glad to see someone trying to make a difference….but sadly I am not so sure that it will help.

Sadly the regurgitation of AG Barr was more important that the fact that our female soldiers are NOT safe even in our own military…the same puke from Barr over and over and over…..

Can Afghanistan Be Saved?

The US went to Afghanistan after the cowardly attacks of 9/11 to get the mastermind of the attacks…..we failed originally but we stayed to save Afghanistan from the brutality of the Taleban…..to be honest…we are failing at that attempt as well.

There are peace talks these days between the government of Afghanistan and the Taleban and the US is playing a minor role (or so we are told)…..but all indications are that the US wants peace much more than the Afghans…..

I recently read that only a little over half of Americans are even aware the U.S. is, after 17 years, still fighting a war in Afghanistan. Since the beginning of the war, the U.S. has spent more than $900 billion dollars in military and civilian support. This does not include the human toll of those killed and the tens of thousands wounded.

Unfortunately, there is little to show for all this expense.

Yes, Afghanistan has an army, but without U.S. forces they would quickly succumb to the Taliban, who today control more than half of the country. On the civilian side, the Afghan government, despite proven reserves of valuable minerals including lithium and rare earth (estimates are over a trillion dollars worth) remains dependent upon a constant stream of donor dollars.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2019/04/27/afghanistan-trump-taliban-opium-corruption-column/3589562002/

Basically we Americans are trying to save Afghans from themselves….and in the long run (if that benchmark has not been met yet) do Afghans want to be “saved”?

After nearly two decades of bloodshed, meaningful progress is finally being made towards a conclusion of the war in Afghanistan. Negotiations with the Taliban in Qatar have achieved an uncommon consistency. On the domestic front, a bipartisan resolution matching the Taliban’s proposed timeline has emerged in the U.S. Senate. The main voices opposing peace originate from within the Pentagon and the Afghan National Unity Government. In a departure from their constitutionally mandated subordinate role, top generals are calling for yet another extension on murky grounds. Afghan president Ashraf Ghani has also urged against a timely withdraw, claiming that the government in Kabul lacks the strength required for independence. Whether by incompetence or corruption, neither contingent should have the credibility to dictate the plan for removing U.S. forces from Afghanistan.

The conditions Washington and Kabul point to as requirements for a withdraw cannot be met. The National Unity Government does not represent a plurality of the Afghan people, and with former warlords in its ranks, it will continue to lack the requisite legitimacy to govern. In spite of the nearly $900 billion dedicated to reconstruction and governance efforts since 2001, Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) suffer from infiltration, ineptitude, and high casualty rates. It is unclear how additional years, lives, and billions of dollars will guide Afghanistan toward a stable future. The peace talks in Doha represent gradual yet genuine progress, and they warrant all the support Washington can muster. Alternatives to this current opportunity for peace represent a continuation of the same failed strategies toward an even more shameful, inevitable departure.

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/middle-east-watch/america-cannot-save-afghanistan-55142

If Afghanistan cannot be saved then why must the US continue to pour cash and blood into the country?

There is a question for your next president or supreme leader (the title may change by next election.

What Happened?

Closing Thought–24Apr19

Every president especially the poser we have now likes to thump their chest about the military and its possibility of being the best and well equipped. Well it is true that our Army is the best equipped in history…but the problem is…..the basic war skills.

There is a report that tells a tale about our Army squads and their abilities…….

The U.S. Army says it will meet its readiness goals by 2022, but young sergeants in most infantry and close-combat units don’t know how to maneuver their squads or do basic land navigation, Military.com has learned.

For example, sergeants in the majority of the Army’s active brigade combat teams (BCTs) don’t know the importance of gaining a foothold when leading squads on room-clearing operations, according to a series of report cards from the service’s Asymmetric Warfare Group, known as the AWG.

The findings come at a time when the Army is racing to transition from the counter-insurgency mindset that existed in Iraq and Afghanistan to one focused on preparing combat units to fight in large-scale, conventional battles against a foe of equal strength.

Since March 2018, the AWG — a special, operational advisory unit involved in training brigade combat teams in subterranean (Sub-T) warfare operations — has submitted reports to Army leaders on several occasions identifying trends that show small-unit leaders lack proficiency in key skills required for any type of combat, a Defense Department official with knowledge of the reports told Military.com on the condition of anonymity.

 
I am not sure that I agree……I believe that our troops will continue to fight small units in other words an asymmetric war…..so to say that our Army infantry units are unprepared for the future is just not accurate…..I know that I am not privy to classified info on our military….but I just do not see the results the report issued.
 
I think the bigger danger to an all volunteer military is the American people…..

Donald Trump’s three-quarters-of-a-trillion-dollar defense budget request submitted to Congress last month contains a dirty secret, one that should make us all think twice about perpetual war and public support for it.

The youth of America don’t want to serve in the military any more.

The situation has become so dire that just to maintain America’s ground forces – the army and Marine Corps – the two services are resorting to unprecedented pay raises, bonuses and socialist trappings.

And things are going to get worse. This year, for the first time ever, Americans born after 11 September 2001 will be able to enlist in the armed forces. It’s a sobering reminder both of how long we’ve been at war but also how distant those very wars have become from America’s youth. And yet official military polling shows that fewer and fewer young Americans consider the military as a career or as a transitional step – only some 12.5% – the lowest number in a decade.

 
There is the bigger concern in my book.
 
Turn The Page!

Ending Afghanistan

Our longest war has been raging for nearly 18 years and our troops have had multiple deployments with multiple chances to being killed or maimed…….it is time for this insanity to end……

I read where SecState Pompeo is trying to end this war…….

Speaking at Texas A&M University, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that US negotiations with the Taliban are trying to end the longest war in US history, and that a goal is trying to “broker peace between the Taliban and the Afghan government.”

Negotiations have been ongoing for months, and have established a growing understanding with the Taliban. The US and Taliban have the framework of a deal, where the US withdraws from Afghanistan and the Taliban keeps the ISIS and al-Qaeda out.

Pompeo’s talk of brokering peace between the Taliban and the Afghan government is unusual, as the US has largely kept this on the back-burner, and the Taliban has shown no interest in talking with the Ghani government.

There have been some talks involving an Afghan committee this week. The Ghani government has been reluctant to endorse the US negotiations so far, complaining that the US isn’t directly including them in decision-making.

Seriously?

If anyone in DC wanted this war to end…then it would! It is that damn simple.

Or maybe some sort of international solution….I mean after all we have international partners in Afghanistan……

We cannot fight our way to peace and stability in Afghanistan. If we have learned anything after 40 years of continuous war there, it is that a myopic focus on military solutions will not lead to peace. The path to stability does not depend on the number of U.S. troops in the field or the number of Taliban leaders killed.

Sustainable peace in Afghanistan requires an economy that can satisfy the needs of its people. While Afghanistan is rich in natural resources, it cannot harvest them to the fullest without the stability and good governance required for business to grow and thrive.  

 
Or  better idea is that the US get out of everywhere…..bring the troops home for a well deserved rest…..

Many commentators argue that the U.S. political system has become increasingly polarized, pointing to the prolonged shutdown of the federal government as evidence. However, the difference between Democrats and Republicans in Washington is one of style, not substance, as revealed by the history of bipartisan support for U.S. intervention and occupation abroad. Republican administrations may be more frequently associated with U.S. invasions, but establishment Democrats have long backed the policies of U.S. imperialism. 

This is, in part, because U.S. interventionist foreign policy is driven by capitalist ideals, shared across the aisle by those in power in Washington. In order to sustain a profitable capitalist economy, there must be a continuous expansion of markets and increase in consumption. This capitalist imperative has been influential in shaping a U.S. foreign policy of invasion, destruction and resource extraction during open-ended wars. In 1971, the Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano famously described this extractive relationship as “the open veins of Latin America.” The rhetoric of defending democracy, which was used to justify the invasion of Syria as well as the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, has always been a cover story for neo-colonialism.

http://inthesetimes.com/article/21846/war-militarism-imperialism-invasion-iraq-syria-afghanistan-isis-troops

We must end our useless wars……but how to do so?

After decades of catastrophe, the same basic strategy endures. Donald Trump’s presidency makes plain that global supremacy has become an end in itself, unmoored from the interests of the American people and most of humanity. “Our military dominance must be unquestioned,” Trump has declared, “and I mean unquestioned.” Trump has stripped supremacy of ethical pretense and strategic justification. He values it for its own sake, as a gesture of brute domination.

What have liberals to say about this? Scandalously little. For decades, they have failed to stop war and violence for the same reason they have failed to reverse soaring inequality. At best, they have offered solutions inadequate to the scale of the problem. At worst, they have denied there was a problem, casting endless war as “global leadership.” Few Democrats will admit, for example, that not one power in the Middle East poses an existential threat to the United States, not one merits devoting precious lives and scarce resources to such misadventures as Saudi Arabia’s proxy war in Yemen.

https://newrepublic.com/article/153239/end-endless-war-case-against-american-military-supremacy

All in all….make peace as profitable as war and we will see an end to these conflicts…..yes, Irene, it is that f*cking simple!

Here We Go Again!

The US has started many useless wars and our Dear Supreme Leader Trump has just decided we have not had enough war…so why not just start another drawn out affair?

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: The U.S. is committing itself to a long-term stabilization mission in a chronically unstable country. The mission involves training and equipping the local government forces to fight against jihadi insurgents and won’t end until those local forces are capable of fighting on their own. Unfortunately, recruitment is low and the training is slow going, in part because the local U.S.-backed government is weak and commands little public support. Under the pretext of fighting international terrorism, the U.S. is taking on a group that poses little direct threat to the United States, is being drawn into local conflicts unrelated to its ostensible mission, and risks creating more radicalization through civilian casualties.

It could be Iraq or Afghanistan (or substitute communist for jihadi and it could be any number of Cold War proxy conflicts), but in this case it’s Somalia.

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/04/trump-somalia-executive-order-military-national-emergency.html

We have Iraq, Syria, Yemen and now an extension of our commitment to Somalia……of goody….HERE WE GO AGAIN!

When will the American people hit their saturation point for war?  We keep allowing these “leaders” (I use the term loosely) to send our citizens into wars that serve no purpose other than making profits for some and death for others…..

Why is this?