Thursday 23rd of September 2021

milit'ry advice...


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.

Given this, it’s not surprising that opinion surveys showed that the majority of the U.S. military supported Donald Trump in the last election; Trump promised a rethink of America’s Iraq and Afghanistan’s adventures, while Clinton was derided as an interventionist, or in Pentagon parlance, “cruise missile liberal.” Trump had the edge over his opponent among both military voters and veterans, especially when it came to ISIS: “I would bomb the shit out of them” he said, a statement translated in the military community as “I would bomb the shit out of them—and get out.” A headline in The Military Times two months before the election said it all: “After 15 years of war, America’s military has about had it with ‘nation building.’”

As it turned out, the military weren’t the only ones who’d “had it with nation building”—so too did Donald Trump. Back in January 2013, two years before he was a candidate for president, Trump made it clear what he would do if he ever occupied the White House. “Let’s get out of Afghanistan,” he tweeted. “Our troops are being killed by the Afghanis we train and we waste billions there. Nonsense! Rebuild the USA.” Three days later, Trump was even more outspoken, explicitly endorsing Barack Obama’s Afghanistan strategy—which amounted to a troops surge, followed by a troop drawdown. “I agree with Pres. Obama on Afghanistan,” he wrote. “We should have a speedy withdrawal. Why should we keep wasting our money – rebuild the U.S.!”

Now, after addressing the American people Monday on his “new strategy in South Asia” (a purposeful trope used to signal his intention to shape a broader, regional policy), Trump appears to have embraced the military’s anti-nation building sentiments, while adopting a policy of “winning,” though without saying exactly how that would happen. The policy— which also includes not saying how many troops “winning” will take, or setting a timetable for victory—includes a pledge of help from America’s allies, and a new focus on Pakistan. Trump was also intent to signal that his new strategy (the war will be left in the hands of warfighters, he announced, and not “micro-managed from Washington”) is much different than the one adopted by his predecessors who, as he all but said, got it wrong.

In fact, though he would almost certainly deny it, what Trump has proposed is a reprise of what Barack Obama did in January of 2009.

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the original toon 2008... same result...

obama consults

business-as-usual rather than the art of the deal...


US President Donald Trump’s plans to increase the number of troops in Afghanistan risk alienating his base and are unlikely to win him any favor with the Washington establishment, says a prominent former member of Congress.

In an interview with RT, former Texas congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul questioned Trump’s contradictory approach to foreign policy.

“Even if he flip-flops and goes along with the neocons, which it looks like he has, he’s not going to win them over. The people who support McCain and Graham and Rubio aren’t going to support him,” Paul told RT, naming the senators from Arizona, South Carolina and Florida known for being foreign policy hawks. “I think he loses in a political way, he loses some of the support from his base.”

Trump’s decision to drop the ‘Mother of all Bombs’ on suspected Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) militants operating in Afghanistan in April has already undermined support he may have garnered among independents and libertarians. His current U-turn, however, may prove to be the straw that broke the camel’s back for many of his supporters - and won’t win Trump any friends among his critics, Paul said.

'No rapid exit': Trump's dramatic switch on Afghanistan strategy

— RT America (@RT_America) August 22, 2017

“There’s a lot of foreign anger directed toward us… [But] Americans don’t lie awake at night fearing that someone from Afghanistan will come and kill them… It hasn’t been happening, isn’t going to happen,” Paul added.

In addition, Trump’s repeated criticism of the US military’s Middle Eastern misadventures under both the Obama and Bush administrations are now coming back to haunt him, as he struggles to tease out an effective strategy for Afghanistan with his national security advisor, General H.R. McMaster.

“His goal isn’t to get it done inside six months or a year; he’s planning to be there for the long-term. He wants to increase the troop levels, and he will, but we don’t know exactly [by how much],” Paul told RT.

‘US will never leave Afghanistan and they have never had plans to do so’ - Russian senator

— RT (@RT_com) August 22, 2017

Paul believes that rather than adopt the hands-on approach promised by candidate Trump, the president will outsource the majority of the decision-making to his generals.

“It sounds to me like even he wants to give away some of his authority and say ‘some of the generals are in charge. Let them make all the decisions,’” Paul warned, calling it a “a recipe for disaster.”

“Generals are trained to kill people and Trump says we should be killing more people in Afghanistan,” the former congressman from Texas said, adding that it may be more a case of business-as-usual rather than the art of the deal.



With this intended Trumpish looniness, Trumble or whatever his name is, should not let Australia participate in this folly...




On Monday, President Donald Trump revealed many substantive changes to U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, but the longest war in U.S. history cannot be won without confronting narco-terrorism. After 16 years and billions of U.S. dollars spent, Afghanistan now supplies more than 75 percent of the world’s heroin and the region hosts the highest concentration of terrorist groups. Not only that, Afghanistan serves as a primary hub where the world’s largest drug trafficking groups directly support Islamic terrorism. There will be none of Trump’s promise of victory without confronting these dark truths.

Narco-terrorism describes the nexus between drug traffickers and terrorists. It manifests itself in four basic forms: 1) drug traffickers who engage in terrorist activity to further their drug trade; 2) terrorists who sell drugs to finance their operations; 3) organizations with equal interests in drug trafficking and terrorism; and 4) drug traffickers and terrorists who mutually support each other.

Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province has become the epicenter of this black market. Here, there is a strong symbiotic relationship between heroin traffickers and terrorist groups like the Haqqani network and the Taliban. Drug traffickers give a percentage of their drug proceeds to the Taliban as a form of zakat, an obligatory donation required as one of the five pillars of Islam. Taliban commanders also ask heroin traffickers to purchase weapons and supplies for them, and allow their fighters to stage at drug labs before attacks.

In exchange for this support, the Taliban agrees to protect heroin laboratories from the Afghan police and military. The Taliban intimidate or murder Afghan nationals who cooperate with authorities and wage active jihad against Afghanistan’s government, creating a lawless environment in which both drug trafficking and terrorism thrive.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), approximately 37 percent of all designated terrorist groups are linked to illicit narcotics trafficking. In recent years, the DEA and Afghan police have targeted top-level narco-terrorists using relatively new federal legislation. In 2006, the United States enacted a federal narco-terrorism law, under 21 United States Code 960(a). This legislation makes it a crime to engage in federally prohibited drug trafficking, with the intent to provide anything of pecuniary value to a terrorist organization or to those engaged in terrorist activities.

The first person ever convicted under this new law was Khan Mohammed, an Afghan national from Nangarhar province who was both a heroin trafficker and a member of the Afghan Taliban. He was recorded saying, “May God eliminate them (infidels) right now, and we will eliminate them too. Whether it is by opium or by shooting, this is our common goal.” Mohammed was arrested in 2006, after a joint investigation by the DEA and Afghan Counter Narcotics Police. He was brought to the United States and convicted in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on both drug and narco-terrorism charges. He received two life sentences.

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All this can be attributed back to Brzezinski... Zbigniew Brzezinski was also a supporter of Pol Pot — and admired by most mediocre mass media de shit, including Time Magazine for his vicious hate of Russia. Despite Zbigniew Brzezinski recent death, this hate is still staining the US views about Russia.


thirteen to the dirty dozen...


Mattis and other US defense officials perceive themselves “as guardians of the republic or the empire,” Hoh noted. These guardians of empire don’t see that responsibility extending to providing clear, relevant and correct statements to the press concerning the number of US personnel committed to counter-terrorism operations in Afghanistan, however. There’s a sense of “annoyance” among US defense leaders regarding press inquiries on the matter, the former Marine said. 

Such an attitude toward the fourth estate “is an aspect of their arrogance and of their own self-perceived station of their roles in society,” Hoh observed.

The discrepancy in troop numbers is attributed to rotational overlap between different teams, officials explained, as well as troops deployed in the war-torn nation on brief stints lasting under 120 days who are not listed in official troop tallies.

“Of course” the Pentagon will counter that keeping troop numbers confidential "is a matter of operation security,” Hoh anticipates, “but that is nonsense."

The US War in Afghanistan is the longest war the country has ever been engaged in: there has been a US military presence in the Central Asian country for nearly 16 years. Armed conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have also been “the most expensive wars in US history,” according to Linda Bilmes of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, who estimated in 2013 that $4 to $6 trillion in expenses had been racked up over the course of the conflicts.

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more trooooops...

US Defense Secretary James Mattis confirmed that over 3,000 new US troops will be headed to Afghanistan as part of President Donald Trump’s new strategy to win the war that has dragged on for almost 16 years.

"It is exactly over 3,000 somewhat and frankly I haven't signed the last of the orders right now as we look at specific, small elements that are going," Mattis told reporters on Monday afternoon.

US to send 3,000+ troops to #Afghanistan, says SecDef Mattis.

— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) September 18, 2017

Earlier in the day, Senator David Perdue (R-Georgia) referred to “3,500 more troops” in an article published by Defense One.

“For too long, America’s strategy in Afghanistan was driven by politics, leading to arbitrary troop caps and unreasonable timetables for troop withdrawal,” Perdue wrote, noting that enemies interpreted that as a lack of resolve. “Finally, the gloves are off.”

The new deployment would bring the total number of US troops in the country to about 14,500

— RT America (@RT_America) September 6, 2017

Perdue, who visited Afghanistan in July, praised Trump as a “commander-in-chief who listens to his military leaders and understands we need a better, wiser approach in Afghanistan.”

Trump announced his new strategy in late August, vowing “fast and powerful” retribution against terrorist organizations seeking a safe haven in Afghanistan. Instead of timetables, he said that victory would be predicated on “conditions on the ground.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov described the new strategy as a “dead end,” while Pakistan and China were critical of Washington’s approach, noting there was “no military solution” to the situation in Afghanistan.

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more drooooones?....


The New York Times, citing unnamed officials, reported on Thursday that Trump's top national security advisers have proposed relaxing two rules from administration of Barack Obama, the former US president.

The officials said the targets of kill missions by the military and the CIA would be expanded to include foot-soldier fighters with no special skills or leadership roles. 

The officials added that proposed drone attacks and raids would no longer undergo high-level vetting. 

The New York Times report comes after NBC News published a story on Monday about the Trump administration contemplating policy changes that will further expand the CIA's authority to conduct drone strikes in a number of countries, both in and out of war-zones.

NBC News cited officials at intelligence agencies, the Pentagon, Congress and the White House, who all requested anonymity to discuss the classified programme.

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There is more anonymity in this report than at Anonymous... Quoting "anonymous" source at this level smells of pissileaks or "testing the water" or pure and simple falsehoods... noting that this extension of droning was also on Obama's books...


Flaunting the UN Charter article 51 is a US/UK speciality...

On 3 October at the Senate’s Armed Forces Committee Hearing, Generals James Mattis (Defense Secretary) and Joseph Dunford (Chief of Staff of the Joint Armed Forces) have declared that the US armies would stay indefinitely in Afghanistan so that the Taliban could never hope to return to power [1].

Initially, the United States and the United Kingdom had entered Afghanistan on the pretext that they wanted to take out the Taliban, which was protecting Osama Bin Laden, the man responsible for the attacks on Sept 11 2001 [2]. The US and the UK had invoked UN Charter art 51 on the right to self-defence. 16 years later, the two countries declare that Osama Bin Laden has been dead for some time now and that the Taliban is no longer in power. So, from this moment on, their intention in remaining in Afghanistan is to prevent the Taliban returning to power, an objective that does not appear compatible with art 51 of the Charter.

In actual fact, the Office for Transforming the Armed Forces (Pentagon) has a plan that intends for Afghanistan in particular and Central Asia in general, to be occupied for an “infinite duration” [3].

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Flaunting the UN Charter article 51 is a US/UK speciality...

when the general carry his own M4 rifle around Afghanistan...

America Is Headed For Military Defeat in Afghanistan

It is time to acknowledge this is more than political. We can lose on the battlefield, and it's happening right now.

By DANNY SJURSEN • November 30, 2018

There’s a prevailing maxim, both inside the armed forces and around the Beltway, that goes something like this: “The U.S. can never be militarily defeated in any war,” certainly not by some third world country. Heck, I used to believe that myself. That’s why, in regard to Afghanistan, we’ve been told that while America could lose the war due to political factors (such as the lack of grit among “soft” liberals or defeatists), the military could never and will never lose on the battlefield. 

That entire maxim is about to be turned on its head. Get ready, because we’re about to lose this war militarily.

Consider this: the U.S. military has advised, assisted, battled, and bombed in Afghanistan for 17-plus years. Ground troop levels have fluctuated from lows of some 10,000 to upwards of 100,000 servicemen and women. None of that has achieved more than a tie, a bloody stalemate. Now, in the 18th year of this conflict, the Kabul-Washington coalition’s military is outright losing.

Let’s begin with the broader measures. The Taliban controls or contests more districts—some 44 percent—than at any time since the 2001 invasion. Total combatant and civilian casualties are forecasted to top 20,000 this year—another dreadful broken record. What’s more, Afghan military casualties are frankly unsustainable: the Taliban are killing more than the government can recruit. The death rates are staggering, numbering 5,500 fatalities in 2015, 6,700 in 2016, and an estimate (the number is newly classified) of “about 10,000” in 2017. Well, some might ask, what about American airpower—can’t that help stem the Taliban tide? Hardly. In 2018, as security deteriorated and the Taliban made substantial gains, the U.S. actually dropped more bombs than in any other year of the war. It appears that nothing stands in the way of impending military defeat.

Then there are the very recent events on the ground—and these are telling. Insider attacks in which Afghan “allies” turn their guns on American advisors are back on the rise, most recently in an attack that wounded a U.S. Army general and threatened the top U.S. commander in the country. And while troop numbers are way down from the high in 2011, American troops deaths are rising. Over the Thanksgiving season alone, a U.S. Army Ranger was killed in a friendly fire incident and three other troopers died in a roadside bomb attack. And in what was perhaps only a (still disturbing) case of misunderstood optics, the top U.S. commander, General Miller, was filmed carrying his own M4 rifle around Afghanistan. That’s a long way from the days when then-General Petraeus (well protected by soldiers, of course) walked around the markets of Baghdad in a soft cap and without body armor.

More importantly, the Afghan army and police are getting hammered in larger and larger attacks and taking unsustainable casualties. Some 26 Afghan security forces were killed on Thanksgiving, 22 policemen died in an attack on Sunday, and on Tuesday 30 civilians were killed in Helmand province. And these were only the high-profile attacks, dwarfed by the countless other countrywide incidents. All this proves that no matter how hard the U.S. military worked, or how many years it committed to building an Afghan army in its own image, and no matter how much air and logistical support that army received, the Afghan Security Forces cannot win. The sooner Washington accepts this truth over the more comforting lie, the fewer of our adulated American soldiers will have to die. Who is honestly ready to be the last to die for a mistake, or at least a hopeless cause?

Now, admittedly, this author is asking for trouble—and fierce rebuttals—from both peers and superiors still serving on active duty. And that’s understandable. The old maxim of military invincibility soothes these men, mollifies their sense of personal loss, whether of personal friends or years away from home, in wars to which they’ve now dedicated their entire adult lives. Questioning whether there even is a military solution in Afghanistan, or, more specifically, predicting a military defeat, serves only to upend their mental framework surrounding the war.

Still, sober strategy and basic honesty demands a true assessment of the military situation in America’s longest war. The Pentagon loves metrics, data, and stats. Well, as demonstrated daily on the ground in Afghanistan, all the security (read: military) metrics point towards impending defeat. At best, the Afghan army, with ample U.S. advisory detachments and air support, can hold on to the northernmost and westernmost provinces of the country, while a Taliban coalition overruns the south and east. This will be messy, ugly, and discomfiting for military and civilian leaders alike. But unless Washington is prepared to redeploy 100,000 soldiers to Afghanistan (again)—and still only manage a tie, by the way—it is also all but inevitable.

The United States military did all it was asked during more than 17 years of warfare in Afghanistan. It raided, it bombed, it built, it surged, it advised, it…everything. Still, none of that was sufficient. Enough Afghans either support the Taliban or hate the occupation, and managed, through assorted conventional and unconventional operations, to fight on the ground. And “on the ground” is all that really matters. This war may well have been ill-advised and unwinnable from the start.

There’s no shame in defeat. But there is shame, and perfidy, in avoiding or covering up the truth. It’s what the whole military-political establishment did after Vietnam, and, I fear, it’s what they’re doing again.

Danny Sjursen is a U.S. Army officer and a regular contributor to The American Conservative. He served combat tours with reconnaissance units in Iraq and Afghanistan and later taught history at his alma mater, West Point. He is the author of a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War, Ghostriders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge. Follow him on Twitter @SkepticalVet.

Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author, expressed in an unofficial capacity, and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.


Read from top though.