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Total number of comments: 893 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:39)

Brian

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  • Syria After Trump's Withdrawal: Top Reasons an "Arab Force" will Fail
    • .
      the prospect of the Saudi Army occupying a big part of Syria seems to have sharpened thinking about what the US Air Force did in Eastern Syria over the last 4 years.
      IIRC, the Train and Equip Mission started in mid-2014.
      acknowledging mass movement of locals and imposition of Kurdish suzerainty is short of naming ethnic cleansing, but it is also a long way past "well, the Kurds deserve that territory. They earned it."
      .
      by the way,
      except for the "White Army, "
      what ground troops could Prince MbS put there ?
      I think this is a job for Erik Prince.
      He knows this landscape.
      .

  • European Union: Turkey further than ever on Human Rights, Rule of Law
    • This news is important to a project I'm working on.
      I wouldn't have heard about it until Tuesday if I hadn't seen it here.
      Thnx.

  • Protests won't stop Trump derailing Mueller Inquiry; Putting the Left in Congress Will
    • I admit to being a whacko who voted for a 3rd Party candidate.
      But there is another type of voter who voted 3rd Party: the ones who assessed the character and promise of each candidate, and then voted for the best one.
      If you vote for the lesser of 2 evils, you are still voting for evil.

  • Geographical Warfare?: Saudi plans to make Qatar an Island
    • .
      Qatar is already an island, effectively, much like Bahrain.
      Both are limited to one causeway to the mainland of KSA.

      the only folks this canal will interdict are the pastoral Badw people.
      Maybe they are the ones MBS fears ?
      .

      the lost opportunity costs of a 60-km canal with no economic benefit are staggering.
      why not build a better port at al-Sila'a ?
      .

  • Kurds of Afrin looted by Turkey-backed Arab Militias, as Syria blocks Kurdish Exodus
    • .
      even more desperate than the Syrian forces,
      decimated by sniper fire,
      are the beltway bandits who fear the war might end.
      They are trying to resurrect ISIS, without much luck.

      How lucky that, against his best interests,
      al-Assad is using chem weapons,
      the one thing most likely to get Trump back on board.
      .

    • .
      with so little context,
      is it fair to guess that Syrian government forces are blocking ethnic Kurds from entering Aleppo, Nubl and Zahra,
      which are under their control,
      to force Kurdish people to flee further Eastward toward Manbij and eventually across the Euphrates into Rojava ?

      while that still seems to be a war crime,
      at least that might make some strategic sense from al-Assad's point of view.
      .
      posted by a pretzel-twisted troll who isn't pro-Assad, but is skeptical of what appear to be black flag operations.
      Good to see you asking, "Why ?"
      May I suggest you next explore, "Cui bono ?"
      .

  • Oceania and Eastasia? New Cold War, this Time against both Russia and China?
    • this analysis, while substantial and helpful, neglects two continents.

      In South America,
      the Pentagon assumes that the two potential challengers accept our hegemony and wouldn't dare encroach.
      Not a good assumption.
      China is already challenging us there, but it ise economically, not militarily. And since we've all but closed our State Department, we won't see it coming.

      More interesting,
      the Pentagon has conceded that China has beat us there. The Pentagon no longer wishes to compete in a landscape where all we have for allies are Tyrants and dictators,
      who themselves face overthrow by their own people
      (unlike the "uprisings" in Libya, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, &tc. where the rebels were on the CIA payroll.
      .

  • Donald Trump and the Art of the Arms Deal (for Everyone)
    • when US Air Force Generals are about to retire,
      it's not unusual for them to take a "farewell tour" of air bases across the country or even around the world.
      When I say "retire," that often really means to go through that revolving door.
      .
      Anyways, I attended a briefing by such a VIP today.
      He was extolling the virtues of the current administration and berating the unnamed predecessor.
      And he specifically mentioned the leadership in ramping up arms exports.

      These guys take an oath to support and defend the Constitution. But they seem to not know what the country stands for.
      They seem to think our core value is making money.
      But they always end with "put family first."
      I considered pensively those Arab families in (or from, after being ethnically cleansed) from Northeastern Syria.
      This same US Air Force has dropped more tons of bombs in this area in the last 3 years than during the entire WW II, in all theaters.

      this man even bragged that Secretary Mattis is taking FMS responsibilities from the Army and switching them to the AF, because the Army was too careful.
      .

  • John Bolton Skewed Intelligence, Say People Who Worked With Him
    • In it's 1 April edition,
      the Fox News Bulletin is reporting that President Trump has reconsidered and withdrawn the selection of John Bolton for National Security Advisor as "not helpful in Making America Great Again."
      .

  • Inside the US war in Yemen
    • .
      A google search of “Saudi Arabian National Guard contract”
      shows that the US Army has $ Billions in contracts in place,
      and the US Air Force has additional $ Billions in place,
      with all the major DoD contractors (Vinnell has been the leader for decades)
      to serve as the labor and supervision that keeps this force operating.
      There are more $ Billions in contracts for weapons systems.
      These contractors are not working directly for the dictators that control KSA.
      That would be against the law.
      Instead,
      the Contractors have contracts with the DOD under what's called “Foreign Military Sales.”
      But if Congress finally did somehow decide to protect American core interests and uphold American values,
      and cut those tyrants off,
      overnight those contractors would spin off subsidiaries to keep the SANG running, without missing a beat.

      What you will not find on the public Internet are the arrangements between the Pentagon and Riyadh for our combat support,
      like Intel and aerial refueling,
      which I assure you are high-profit services that do not involve appropriated funds,
      and thus do not fall under the purview of Congress.

      Some very senior folks in DOD are getting rich off of this,
      while still holding a government position and getting a salary paid by the taxpayers.
      .
      .

  • China met Carbon Intensity Goals 3 Years Early, but it Isn't Nearly Enough
    • Curt,
      I believe that the future of nuclear is small, local generators that leverage advances like pebble-bed or other approaches that eliminate the 3-Mile Island, Fukushima and Chernobyl-type risks.

      and i think the future of electricity Transmission is local grids. The national integrated smart super grids are just too vulnerable.

  • Afghanistan: How a Shrine Bombing in Kabul tells us Trump's Surge won't Succeed
    • .
      It might help Americans to understand Pashtuns better if we don't limit ourselves to only taking a headcount of Pashtuns Northwest of the "Durand Line, "
      but also consider that they do not really accept the border that England tried to impose.
      They consider their cousins and uncles in the Khyber-Pakhtun Province of Pakistan, and in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, to be part of the Afghan population.
      By that calculation, Pashtuns are a clear majority.
      And yet,
      we are still there trying to force the Pashtuns to accept rule by the "Northern Alliance" of Dari-speaking Hazaras, Uzbeks and Tadjiks, whom they consider to be interlopers or foreigners.
      The name "Afghan" refers to the ethnically Pashtun people.
      .

  • Turkey takes Afrin, pulls down Statue Now-Ruz Revolutionary Kaveh
  • Iran bans Dollar for import Trade in anti-Sanctions Campaign
    • .
      another country in the region proposed a similar measure in 2002,
      and was invaded by the USA in 2003.
      .

  • Saudi High Command fired by King over Yemen Quagmire
    • .
      who could stop this war ?
      King Salman and his son, obviously.
      Donnie Trump, if he were to devote serious attention to that end state.

      I don't think any Yemenis are in a position to stop it.
      the notional President, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, was selected by President Obama's CIA and/or Secretary of State, and installed by the GCC, but has never been elected by the Yemeni people at large (though he has a fiercely loyal niche following.)
      He has almost no military forces under his command, save for his personal security detail. He is de facto a puppet of KSA.

      Factions on the ground who are being attacked by the GCC and "Friends of Israel" cannot stop the attacks they are suffering, and they are not likely to think that laying down their arms would lead to favorable outcomes,
      so there is nothing they can do to stop the war.

      Iran isn't a party to the war. They can't stop it.
      .
      .
      I conclude that these 3 people that could stop the war do not want it to end.

      People who want the war to end need to act to change the calculations of one of these 3 people.
      .

    • .
      And just a few years ago,
      the biggest problem Yemenis had was that there wasn't enough water to drink.
      Some blamed the diversion of water to growing the narcotic "khat," perhaps their most important agricultural export.
      Maybe that was the biggest part, but it was more than that.
      .
      My one and only Yemeni friend, an American citizen, said that he never wanted to return - though he also said that, if he did, he would not be allowed to return to the US again.
      .
      The ties that bind the Arab Nation seem to fray when it comes to helping brothers / Umma in Sudan, Somalia (yes, many people from both claim Arab identity) and Yemen.
      .

  • The Age of Total War in Syria
    • .
      #Simo Hurtta
      You say, "Alone the 'liberation' of Iraq has caused death and misery which is certainly smaller in numbers than what is happening in Syria."
      .
      I think you are wrong about that.
      There has never been an honest comprehensive accounting of the damage that the US invasion did to Iraq.
      I have developed estimates of just the deaths caused by the hundreds of thousands of Mercenaries employed by the US in Iraq, 2003 - 2009, and I'm convinced they caused over 1.2 Million deaths.

      Never saw a credible estimate of the number killed by aerial bombardment, which greatly exceeded the 70,000 deaths the Pentagon acknowledged were killed by uniformed ground troops, itself a low-ball estimate.

      While the 2006 Lancet study, which placed the number of civilian excess deaths at over 1 Million, was disputed, it was not refuted.
      An accurate accounting would have to be done by Iraqis. It is still possible. It should be paid for by the same US taxpayers who supported the invasion and destruction in the first place.
      Secretary of State Rice rejected a $60 Million proposal to have such an accounting done in 2006.
      We surrendered in December 2008 to the puppet Iraqi government that we installed, going on 10 years ago. We "left" in 2011.
      When will Americans hold themselves accountable ?
      .

  • Turks Threaten al-Assad if he sends Army to Defend Syrian Kurds
    • Americans do not want accountability,
      particularly if it means taking another look at the casualty count in Iraq, 2003 - 2009.

  • Is the Syria War over and has Putin won it?
    • .
      The Syrian government's victory is not complete.

      The al-Assad government lost control over more than a quarter of the territory of Syria as it existed in 2010, and are they not likely to regain control of this land in 20 years, or 50 years, or however long it takes for the US military to leave.

      This includes the Northeast quarter, which the US-backed forces wrested from folks whose families lived there for generations, which the USA then gave to the PKK fighters on the ground who exploited the US Air Focre bombing campaign.
      It also includes “Rojava” along the border with Turkiye.

      Presidents Obama and Trump have set the military-industrial complex up for growth far into the future, by ensuring that there is an endless supply of aggrieved irredentists willing to avenge our malign interference with asymmetric attacks on Americans.
      .

  • Turkish Helicopter Downed by Syrian People's Protection Units
    • Background.
      .
      it takes ground troops to occupy land.
      In the typical battle in WW II, opposing ground forces duked it out,
      until one side convinced the leaders on the other side to withdraw.
      Aerial bombardment was massive,
      but not accurate enough to be integrated into the fight being waged on the ground.
      Aerial bombardment was most significant in disrupting reinforcements and resupply, miles from the front lines (“forward edge of the battle area,” in military jargon.)

      That is not how the fighting is going in Syria today, at least not the fighting involving US forces and US proxy forces.

      In today's war,
      the US Air Force does massive bombardment –
      – more bombs in Syria in the last 3 years than in all of WW II, I've read –
      with a precision that was unthinkable even during the first Gulf War, 1990-91.
      In Raqqa, Tel Afer, Mosul, Idlib, you name it,
      before we sent in our Kurdish proxies,
      we turned those cities into rubble.
      Most buildings were destroyed,
      and the few left standing were unrepairable.

      During the bombing, our proxies,
      and the US military personnel accompanying them,
      waited at a distance, giving feedback that was used to adjust the bombing.
      Only after every living thing was presumed dead did our forces enter the cities and occupy them.

      No longer does the infantry “close with and destroy the enemy.”
      no need for taking the risks of close combat.
      That's why its so great to have not just “air superiority” but “total air dominance.”

      This method of war is really tough on civilians, but today's military classifies everyone in the battlespace as “terrorists,” so no need to worry about collateral damage or civilian casualties.
      .
      One adversary that we went after in this manner was ISIS.
      But my guess is that we spent more effort, more than 50%, going after other parties in Syria.
      .
      .
      The official number of US military personnel in Syria is between 500 and 2,000.
      But in September 2017 there were, by my estimate, from personal observation, at least 5,000 US Army personnel operating in Northern Syria, and many (?most?) of those were on Special Forces Operational Detachments (A Teams.) That number has only gone up.
      If a unit, say a Ranger Battalion, is sent into Syria for less than 90 days, say 80 days,
      and replaced by another Ranger Battalion who only is in country for 80 days,
      then those 700+ soldiers don't count as being assigned to or deployed to Syria.

      These 5,000+ soldiers, plus maybe a smattering of Delta Force, and Marines, and SEALs, and AF pararescue and combat controllers, in addition to the force necessary to secure and operate at least 2 expeditionary airbases and maybe 24 Combat Outposts, get their medical, logistical and other support from US activities on a string of bases in Southeast Turkiye. Command and Control is in Turkiye. ISR is launched from Turkiye. Personnel Recovery is based in Turkiye.
      And I'm not even counting the CIA and Department of State personnel there, or the support Contractors there.
      .
      analysis.
      .
      The Turkish helicopter looked to me – I'm an old guy – like it was made in the USA.
      My guess, the rocket that shot it down was also made in the USA, and made its way into Syria by way of Turkiye. Does it really matter who paid for it, or who gave it to the Kurdish forces who used it ? The USA knew about and didn't stop the transfer.
      We have some culpability for that shoot-down.

      Turkish intelligence knows this.

      Unless the USA does something drastic to change the tune,
      like maybe extraditing Gulen,
      there is going to be some disruption in how the US military operates in Turkiye, affecting how we operate in Syria.
      .

  • Russia-aided Syria shoots down Israeli F-16 after downing of Iranian Drone
    • .
      the S-300 air defense systems are mobile.
      the missile launchers have several hiding positions,
      and move to different positions to fire.

      The vehicle-mounted target acquisition, tracking and missile guidance radars are located remote from the firing batteries.
      multiple fake emitters should be deployed and operated to simulate the various radars and firing batteries.

      If employed properly,
      the threat to Israeli aircraft is probably mostly intact.
      if not,
      the Israelis may have put the ADA system out of commission, probably for months,
      before new equipment can be brought from Russia.
      Since the Israeli AF operates routinely over Syria,
      we should find out soon - within days - if the balance has truly shifted.
      .

    • Israel flies drones at will throughout Southern Syria.
      That's what Syria really wants to stop.

    • this comes days after a US-proxy militia shot down a Russian aircraft. mentioned for context.

  • Another Reason for Renewables: Growing Israel-Lebanon Conflict over Gas
    • can someone post a link to a graphic that illustrates the disparity between Israeli claims and Lebanese claims ?

  • Did the Pentagon's War on Drugs Confound Counter-Terrorism?
    • the projects discussed in this article are NOT military missions.
      They should instead be undertaken by the Department of State or, if it had better management, USAID.
      .
      there is ample precedent for DOD to hire State (or USAID) to implement these projects.
      .

  • Russia Mounts intensive Syria Air Campaign in Response to Downed Jet
    • .
      there are probably 15 different countries who have the capability to produce such weapons.

      generally these weapons only work out to about 5 to 7 miles,
      so that the effects can be controlled.
      Anything flying above 25,000 ft is probably safe.

      After the operator actuates the weapon, the more sophisticated ones first lock on to a specific target,
      then they contact the target to ask if it is friendly,
      and only then does the missile launch.
      Generally, unless modified, a Russian SA-18 will not shoot down a Sukhoi aircraft.
      .

  • The Nunes Memo, Spirit Cooking and Pizzagate
    • the only way that a committed 36% of the population can hold sway
      is if a majority of the population is so disenchanted with the choices for President
      that they simply don't bother to vote.
      I blame the Democrats for choosing to not run an inspiring candidate.
      .

  • US general defies Turkey, says not planning Manbij troop withdrawal
    • the CNN video accompanying this article was produced under the escort and protection, and maybe censorship, of the Turkish military.
      That should have been mentioned in the video.

  • US Pentagon will Keep fighting in Syria until they win the Vietnam War
    • .
      the 2 most important US Army Generals over the last 40 years were John K. Singlaub and Eric Shinseki.
      Neither of these fine officers thought they needed to cover themselves in glory through self-promotion. Rather, they decided to do what was best for the defense of the nation, even if it was unpopular or risky.
      .
      Singlaub was a true cold warrior,
      even teaching the CIA about the Intel business.

      He was in Command of US troops in Korea in the late 1970's when President Carter, whom I also greatly admire,
      decided that we should pull troops out of there.
      Singlaub thought that was the wrong thing to do. I happen to think Carter was right, after commanding troops in the DMZ myself; irrelevant.
      Singlaub decided to give up the power and prestige of command at a high level in order to speak out when he thought the higher-ups were not fulfilling their duties.

      Shinseki had the gall to tell Congress in an open hearing before the illegal US invasion of Iraq that the Neocon morons beating the drums for war simply did not understand what war was, or what war did, and that we were not prepared as a nation for what would certainly result. He sacrificed his career for the good of US national defense.

      I'm having trouble thinking of another General or Admiral over the last 40 years who contributed materially to the defense of our nation. The others are better known for contributing to the taxpayer largess lavished on contractors that they expect to employ them after retirement.
      .

    • .
      I was an Air Force civil service employee in 1995-96, when McPeak was CSAF. Senior AF leaders generally held him in contempt; now I understand why.
      .
      I knew he was an honest man, for imposing what he called "Aspirational Values" on the Force.
      Integrity first;
      service before self;
      excellence.
      He was saying "we're not there yet, but we have a destination."

      Shortly after the senior AF leadership got rid of him,
      those were rebranded as the AF's "core values,"
      as if the Service got there already.

      .

      This is a great article.
      I enlisted in the Army at the tail end of the War, April 1972,
      and I vomit to think that the candy-ass generals like Petraeus -
      none of them has seen front line ground combat as an infantryman, by the way --
      get to experiment with American and Iraqi lives to try to prove their hare-brained theories.

      .

      This is but one side of the corruption that has swallowed the DoD. Another side is the quadrupling of DoD spending so that we can finally win.
      In fact, this just emboldens badly advised Presidents to use our magnificent military to enrich their financial supporters.
      .

  • Many in Press fall for Trump's non-apology on retweet of anti-Muslim Hate
  • An Empire of Graveyards
    • .
      If, as our Pentagon boasts,
      this is truly the most "precise" war ever,
      why aren't there any reporters on the ground to observe that precision ?
      .
      the military assures us that they no longer kill innocents or civilians. Surely there should be witnesses to confirm that ?
      .

  • In blow to Trump, Syrian Kurds call on al-Assad to Save them from Turkey
    • .
      from this limited perspective, it appears that all Kurdish success in battle these last couple of years was tied directly to massive bombing by the US Air Force.
      So,
      are you predicting that Turkiye will allow the USAF to launch bomb attacks from Turkish AF bases onto Turkish forces in Afrin ?
      Seems unlikely.

      .

  • Turkey launches Land invasion of Syria, Calls France opposition "Terrorism"
    • .
      Turkiye does not have F-16's based at Incirlik.
      These attacks are launched from somewhere else.
      .

    • .
      FWIW,
      a government spokesman from Turkiye has stated that he recognizes the Kurdish nature of Afrin,
      and that Turkiye only seeks to restore historically Arab towns and villages to Arab control.
      That includes towns he named to the Southeast of Afrin itself.
      .

  • Is China coming into Syria for its "One Belt, One Road"?
    • Trump is going to punish post-war Syria for not dumping al-Assad
      by refusing to participate in their reconstruction.

      China's Xi responds:
      "go ahead, punk. Make my day."
      .

  • As US throws Kurds under the Bus, Is Turkey preparing to invade Syria?
    • .
      Hizb'Allah was pretty effective in fighting ISIS.
      Didn't the YPG Kurds wait out the fighting several times as part of their negotiations with their US backers ?
      .

  • ‘Shithole countries’: Trump uses the rhetoric of dictators
    • .
      a roster of the people who were in attendance when Trump allegedly disparaged some countries as "s---holes" is emerging.

      We know Trump was there.
      and his Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
      and GOP Senators David Perdue and Tom Cotten.
      and GOP Senator Lindsey Graham.
      and allegedly the only Democrat in the room, Dick Durbin.
      .
      these are the people who have made public statements about the alleged insult.
      .
      Durbin and Graham acted like men (sorry, that's the best way I know how to say it, with my limited vocabulary.)

      All the others, as far as I can tell, have denied Trump used that exact word, but refuse to tell us what they heard. Not a man among them.
      .
      As an American citizen and voter,
      I am entitled to know who was in the room.
      Anyone who has not yet spoken out against Trump on this matter needs to be identified.
      Then it is up to each individual, how they respond.
      I'm pretty sure that nobody who declined to speak out will get re-elected in 2018.
      Then again, Senators onlt face elections every 6 years.
      Maybe not having any personal integrity or a formed adult conscience will be forgotten in 3 or 5 years.
      .
      but there needs to be a website created specifically to assemble this roster,
      and to document the responses
      (or lack thereof.)
      .

    • .
      This hardly started with Trump.
      Consider what the US did to sovereign countries that rejected US hegemony in the time of GW Bush.
      We labeled them "rogue nations;" part of an "axis of evil."

      we praised those who fought against German Nazi occupation in WW II as "Resistance fighters;"
      now we hate the people who fight against US invasion and occupation and wanton killing and destruction as "terrorists."

      Governments are going to twist language to suit their needs and values, it's inevitable.
      But the media and the people do not need to accept thier lies.
      It is up to us,
      on a daily basis,
      to use precise language,
      and thereby deny this weapon to fascism and wrongful governance.
      .
      We need furthermore to acknowledge the role of the CIA (and the US military before them) in turning developing countries into "s---holes."
      many of the countries on that list has been invaded or occupied by us, for the benefit of the 1%'ers.
      Who is going to call Trump out on basic facts ?
      Again,
      it is up to us.
      .

  • Did Trump just Paint a target on backs of US Diplomats & Businessmen?
    • if I understand Team Trump correctly,
      the problem isn't Trump's attitude.
      the problem is the disloyal media reporting the truth about that attitude.
      .

  • The US Role in Turning Countries into Shitholes and provoking Immigration
  • White Nat'list Trump Adviser Miller Bounced from CNN after Sit-in
  • Bannon's Game: White Supremacist takeover of GOP
    • he can afford another one.
      don't write him off just yet.

    • you watch too many movies.
      the locution, "if and when we achieve our goals" reveals that you think this is a one-time battle,
      and upon achieving victory,
      the threat subsides.
      not so.
      .

  • 16 yr old Ahed Tamimi indicted for slapping an Israeli soldier
    • .
      as bad as this sounds,
      many Palestinians have been shot and killed for lesser offenses.
      This girl enjoys the protection of having her actions,
      and how she is treated in response,
      recorded and broadcast.
      This is an improvement.

      little by little, things get better.
      it IS too slow,
      but progress moves the situation forward.
      .

  • US counter terror air strikes doubled in Trump's first year
    • .
      the US Air Force really doesn't know who they are killing with these bombs dropped from drones,
      any more than they knew who they were killing when bombing from manned aircraft.
      If you believe what the Pentagon is saying about civilian casualties,
      you are being punked.

      To the people on the ground under those USAF drones overhead,
      the USA is the terrorist enemy.
      .

  • Congressional Efforts to Expand NSA Spying on Americans are still a Danger
    • the USA needs MORE surveillance internally, not less.
      The oligarchs need to keep track so that they can take appropriate measures,
      in case the general population ever figures out what their government is doing to them,
      on behalf of our superiors.
      .

  • The Mideast has a Militia Problem: Does Iraq's Ayatollah Sistani Have the Answer?
    • war loosens the strictures of accountability,
      which is why it is so badly wanted by politicians and Generals.
      And a few dangerous soldiers.

  • The GOP Tax Plan Will Complete the Destruction of America’s Middle Class Wealth
    • the consequences of foisting an unpopular candidate on the opposition party just snowball.

  • Solar & Wind: How free electricity would change the world (Economist Video)
    • granted this is just a thought experiment,
      but until we outgrow this limiting concept of a hugely interconnected and interdependent nation-wide grid,
      then T&D costs are never going to permit free electricity.

  • Putin's talk of Draw Down in Syria isn't about Russia leaving, but staying
    • .
      Rumsfeld's decision to substitute Mercenaries for disciplined uniformed infantrymen cost the US military the war in Iraq. The Dogs brutally slayed almost 2 million innocents, compared to fewer than 100,000 killed by uniformed Soldiers and Marines on the ground, and fewer than 250,000 killed from the air by the US Air Force.
      Our stated purpose was to win over the local population; that goal was rendered unattainable through the use of Mercs.
      .
      But the Russians were not in Syria to win hearts or minds;
      they were there to destroy ISIS.
      Letting lawless, undisciplined wanton killers loose on the civilian populations did not hurt their war aims.

      As far as I could tell,
      there were almost no Mercenaries supporting the US military in Syria. Maybe we learned our lesson ?
      .

  • When Will America's Wars have their Harvey Weinstein Moment?
    • Colonel B doesn't say why he holds up Generals Nicholson, Petraeus and McChrystal as examples of military competency.
      Without a doubt, those are politically astute operators who have done quite well for themselves.
      But none of them has ever achieved anything like a military victory.

      In fact, all the notable "victories" in Iraq that I recall - Faloojah, Tel Afer, Diwaniah -
      involved US military leaders choosing to commit war crimes.
      .
      The DOD is lost.
      There isn't one moral leader in the Department.
      Where is today's Shinseki, or Singlaub, who can speak truth to power ?

      We are not in A'stan to help the majority of the Afghan people.
      We are there to subjugate the Pashtun majority under the bootheels of the "Northern Alliance" minority.
      If you understand that,
      you understand the futility of trying to impose our foreign, brutal will on an independent people.
      .
      We are stuck on "stupid."

  • The Rapture of Dominionists: Now Evangelicals are Dictating US Mideast Policy
    • I think I know why we Papists cannot get on board with this modern version of christianity.
      We see God as very powerful, even all powerful.
      But these "christian zionists" see themselves as able to manipulate God into doing what they want. making their God somewhat weak.
      .

    • but this dominionist millenialist evangelical fundamentalism stuff, while truly a mainstream religion,
      is not the same stuff taught by Jesus and spread by Paul.
      .
      please don't think of it as christianity, any more than LDS or Jehovah's witnesses.
      .

  • Why Redneck Revolt Says Deal With Racism First, Then Economics
  • Will the Mideast's New Power Matrix spark Iran-Saudi War?
    • not an expert on military strategy or operational arts,
      but it seems to me that this would be mostly an air and missile war.
      Early on Netanyahu would order US Nukes (not Israeli) to strike dozens of civilian targets (and a half dozen military ones.)
      Yes, I believe he can do that.

  • Will Trump manage to stab both Syrian Kurds and Turkey in the Back at same time?
    • maps have been published from time to time showing a couple dozen US "bases" in Nineweh and Salahaddin Provinces and the 3 Kurdish provinces in Iraq; in Syria; and in Southeastern Turkey
      that were supporting US Special Ops and conventional forces in Syria.

      The large base on the outskirts of Adana is well-developed, but the US military could get by without it.

  • US-Led Bombings in Iraq Killed 31 Times More Civilians Than Reported: NYT
    • Now maybe somebody will count the number of Iraqis we killed when we invaded and occupied their country ?
      You scoff at my estimate of 2 million; the DOD says it was fewer than 70,000.
      Now who do you believe ?

      The USA has a duty to account for the destruction we wrought. We should pay to stand up a Commission of Iraqis to do this accounting.
      .

  • Former Trump NSC Adviser Flynn Accused of $15M deportation Deal with Turkey
  • Trump's Bluster meets the Afghanistan Reality amid Troop Escalation
    • you have a much better grasp of the relevant facts than me.
      But I think I remember something about the Taliban telling us to provide evidence that al-Qaeda was behind the 9/11 attacks before they would consider extradition.
      .
      link to irishtimes.com

    • There's a lot of interesting stuff in this article.
      It starts by giving an overview of the reasons that we have not yet won the war in A'stan,
      then focuses in on one central reason that explains all the other failures: the Opium problem.
      But overall the article is fundamentally false, wrong, misleading.
      It misrepresents what the war is about.
      .
      It is hard for someone, anyone who supported the invasion of A'stan at first to reassess that debacle. We invaded with the intention of righteously avenging the attack on the USA on 9/11.
      But instead of attacking the folks who attacked us,
      we attacked the then-functioning government of A'stan, the Taliban.
      These are the same folks that we supported in their insurgency against Soviet occupation 1979-1989.
      .
      The Taliban didn't attack us on 9/11.
      In fact, the Taliban said they would consider extraditing the leadership of al-Qaeda to the USA, if we would just provide evidence that they were the ones who attacked us.
      Maybe they would have, maybe not.
      But for reasons not acknowledged by our government, we chose to destroy A'stan rather than follow the rule of law.
      .
      This article says that we teamed up with “Afghan warlords” to depose the Taliban. Actually, we teamed up with the Northern Alliance. Gloss that over and you will never understand what's happening in that country.
      This article refers to the Pashtuns who oppose our occupation and colonization as “insurgents.” In reality, they are a legit Resistance.
      .
      We have done all we could to instigate and sustain an ethnic conflict, between the majority Pashtuns and the minority Northern Alliance of Tadjiks, Hazaras and Uzbeks. What you refer to as the “government” of A'stan is the puppets we installed and continue to prop up. This is the Dari-speaking minority.

      It is time to stop trying to subjugate the Pashtun people. They will never give up and allow us to give their land to their adversaries. Let our puppets sink, or swim, or move to a place where they will be safe.
      .
      So, will this solve the Opium problem ?
      What the article fails to mention is WHY poppy growing was so low when we invaded.
      Remove the cancer of brutal foreign occupation military forces and the body politic in A'stan will slowly return to normal.
      .

  • Syria: If ISIL is dire threat, why isn't its Defeat bigger News?
  • Lebanon PM Hariri Resigns in fear for Life, Slamming Iran
    • I read elsewhere (?) that President Aoun said he would not accept the resignation as long as Hariri was still in KSA,
      that he would have to return to Lebanon first.

  • U.S. Soldiers Died in Niger. What on Earth Are We Doing There?
    • up until a couple weeks ago,
      about 8,000 of those soldiers whose location is not reported were in Syria.
      While the government was telling us that there were about 1,000 there.
      .
      I don't know what's happened in the last few weeks; maybe with the collapse of the notional adversary ISIS they will be withdrawn ?
      Or if the mission was actually to give Syrian Arab land to Kurds, we might see that number go up.
      .

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