Sunday, January 6, 2019

Trump Pulls Troops Out of Syria and Afghanistan

Mattis, a superb combat warrior, disagrees with a  superb strategist
They're both right! 

We may take a bit of flack from pseudo-hawks and NeoCons, but we support Trump's decision 100%.

Old Military and Intelligence guys have wondered at the rationale of keeping our troops in the Middle East.
Saddam is dead,
Osama bin Laden is still dead.

We have no stake in the Middle East other than to assist governments to stabilize, which does not include the massive presence of Central Command Forces. Nor does it require keeping massive US Military forces in Europe under the European Command -- a relic of the Cold War. Let the Europeans fund and populate NATO; we're tired of taking their lip and funding their exquisite tastes.

As necessary, we have the capability of transporting a fully equipped combat division, with combat support aircraft from the US to a crisis site within hours via our Transportation Command's  C-5 and
C-17 cargo planes.  We can deploy supersonic bombers and fighters from the US to arrive over the Middle East with minimal flight time with maximized combat effectiveness.

We should learn from history [an odd idea, now, isn't it?]

We've been involved in these faux wars for decades, the purpose of which always remains vague - other than to support the Military-Industrial Complex -- as detailed by General/POTUS Eisenhower.

As the Soviet Empire was crumbling, we sat with Bill Clark, then the Assistant Secretary of the Army [General Mark Clark's son] as he bemoaned the future/demise of the Military without a defined enemy.

Specifically, without a definable enemy, we would have no reason to maintain a large, standing Military; and if a new global crisis arose, how could we mobilize in time to meet that crisis?

We've spent a few years in combat in a variety of countries, supposedly to "defend our country", only to learn the enemies we fought were once our friends, and our current friends were once our enemies.

Worse, we learned our "leaders" [e.g., Kissinger, Bush-1, W, Robert Gates, Obama, Billary] were the actual enemy we've come to know as the Deep State, all leading us into senseless wars.

After we [personally] were able to defeat the insurgency in Northeast Thailand, we gloated until we learned the insurgency had been sponsored by the Chinese who coopted the anti-government movement protesting the government's confiscation of farmlands in order to build a hydro-electric dam, funded by our very own Agency for International Development [USAID].  The dam construction devastated famers by claiming their fertile land and relegating this once prosperous group to generations of poverty and government subsidies.

But, the "greater good" prevailed as the region received electricity -- although few could use it.

That revelation in 1974, got us to thinking about our major Military commitments.

China and Vietnam [Ho Chi Minh] were some of our greatest supporters in WW2, establishing OSS spy networks (which we inherited during the Vietnam War) and recovering our downed pilots; but now, that enemy, Japan - the invading force, is our close ally in the Pacific, and China is now our enemy.

Ho Chi Minh worked in England and in France, and on the docks in Baltimore, so he was fluent in English as well as the US culture.

He led the movement for independence from France and formed the Indochinese Communist Party, and following WW2, sought Eisenhower's support for Vietnam's independence - which Ike declined.

LBJ initiated the war with North Vietnam by sending our warships into their territorial waters, drawing fire, thus convincing Congressional hawks to declare war.

As it turns out, the Tonkin Gulf Resolution was drafted a full six months before the attacks on US vessels occurred.

While we valiantly fought that war until 1975, Henry Kissinger, without the knowledge of Nixon, was selling us out to the Chinese in 1972, in exchange for a trade agreement.

But, throughout that war, we were often reminded of the heroin trade, via the Golden Triangle, through US Military transport, to the US.  Some folks are convinced that trade was sponsored or conducted by the CIA.

Iraq, for decades before we invaded to depose Saddam, was our closest Middle East Arab Ally [see our colleague, #Rick Francona's book "Ally to Adversary"], as well as our principal oil supplier.

Dick Cheney's Defense Contractors made a fortune exploiting the war -- and our soldiers, and we then had a generation of soldiers succumb to the Gulf War Syndrome [attributed to the oil vapor from burning wells, or, depleted uranium munitions, but in fact, derived from the Anthrax vaccine immunizations in 1990 by order of the Department of Defense on all Army troops who "might" be deployed to Iraq -- Bush's friends in the Pharmaceutical Industry profited mightily from that requirement -- even though it had not been through more than one (incomplete) trial.

Theoretically, the US would use oil sales from Iraq to pay for that war, but, in the end, the oil fields went under the control of other countries, and the US got not a cent!  On the other hand, US Defense contractors made fortunes.

Estimates by Reuters put the estimated total cost of the Iraq War at more than $5.6 Trillion.  
The war killed an estimated 150,000 Iraqi civilians, with unconfirmed estimates ranging up to 600,000, including security forces, insurgents, journalists, and humanitarian workers!  Bush demonstrated US power by publicly executing Saddam by hanging him, by the neck, until dead.
[Rumor has it that W faced that same sentence in Gitmo in December, 2018]

The social impact in Iraq included the reinvigoration of Islamic militants, reversal of women's rights, and a weakened an already precarious healthcare system.  The multi-billion reconstruction effort was regarded a failure as most of the monies spent on security was lost to waste or fraud.

Keep in mind that the basis of George W Bush's invasion of Iraq was based on his announcement that Saddam Hussein held "Weapons of Mass Destruction" [WMD] a claim discounted by Rick Francona who was/is an expert on the region and acted as General Schwartzkopf's personal Arabic interpreter and Intelligence Advisor.

Schwartzkopf, opposed by Dick Cheney later became critical of the rationale behind the war once he learned the "WMD" claim was fraudulent and handed in his retirement papers rather than remain on Active Duty.  No evidence was ever substantiated of WMDs in Iraq.

Our legacy in Iraq was, perhaps, to create the subsequent regional terrorist factions which represent our current global threat.

The Afghans were our closest allies in their battles against the Soviets, as we helped create and aided the Mujahiden; but, there were even allegations that the CIA created Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, via Operation Cyclone, -- and then, once the Soviets were defeated, we abandoned our Afghan colleagues, allowing religious zealots to control the Taliban who were then dubbed terrorists; they're now our enemy because bin Laden was reportedly hiding out in Afghanistan.

In spite of the Special Operations assault on bin Laden's Pakistan hideout and his assassination, he has been repeatedly reported in sightings vacationing in the Caribbean with his family.

The faux assassination of bin Laden was conducted by Admiral McRaven's Special Operations units under the guise of Operation Neptune Spear as a public relations event for then-POTUS Obama.  McRaven reportedly was one of the flag rank officers who signed on to Obama's requirement that they agreed to fire on US Civilians if so ordered.

Contrary to all Intelligence protocols, bin Laden was killed and his [supposedly his] mutilated body was dumped in the ocean, sparking Muslim outrage throughout the world, and leaving professional Intelligence officers bewildered that he was not taken captive [he was unarmed] and interrogated to obtain his knowledge of regional and global terrorist groups.

Notably, SEAL Team Six, the lead on the bin Laden assault, later suffered 38 casualties, to include 15 participants of the bin Laden raid when their Chinook helicopter was shot down on August 6, 2011IN [Extortion 17] -- not long after members of the Team lampooned Obama as in Clint Eastwood's Empty Chair soliloquy.

Loading 38 SEALs aboard a chopper in a combat zone strains credulity, but, apparently, the orders came down from McRaven -- an officer we all respected until too many of these incidents surfaced, and he has recently become a highly vocal critic of President Trump.

The chopper was allegedly shot down by a Surface to Air [SAM/MANPAD]

But, why are we in Afghanistan now?

Most experts remain bewildered, other than the US now tacitly protects the poppy/heroin trade.

And, we learned that ISIS, our Enemy-du-Jour, has been led and funded by senior officers of our closest Mid-East Allies, apparently so we would have an officially recognized enemy.

Later, we learned that Benghazi was all about covering up Hillary's arms deals with ISIS and al Qaeda by overthrowing Qadafi and transferring the contents of Libyan armories to al Qaeda -- who just might be tempted use those weapons against US forces.

Of late, we received from an anonymous donor, the complete [unclassified] war-plan designed by [former General] Wesley Clark [Clinton's protege and commander of the Military raid on Waco] in which Clark planned a war between Ukraine and Russia, into which US forces would be inserted and engaged.
[It was difficult to determine who would have been the enemy in that war, but US engagement would guarantee profits for our Defense Contractors.]

In Central America, a grouping of 'banana republics" and a hotbed of corruption, the US built up the Southern Command [SouthCom] headquarters from a Military retirement vacationland to a highly energized and blossoming combat command, focused on defeating the communist threat to Nicaragua, which Jimmy Carter had turned over to the Sandinistas by pulling support from the "evil despot", Somoza - [a West Point graduate] and allowing communist Daniel Ortega to come to power and who then ushered in the Cubans and Soviets -- who presented The Threat.

We were assigned as the Special Intelligence Advisor to SouthCom, a thinly staffed regional headquarters which could respond to any regional crisis, and watched it mushroom into a bloated, top heavy bureaucracy which justified its existence by toppling our host and ally, Noriega with a massive invasion, built a huge Military force in Honduras and El Salvador, created a war zone in El Salvador, and essentially destabilized an entire sub-continent by becoming the common enemy of all, and a seeming ally of the Drug Cartels, thanks to Bush-1, Clinton, Bush-2, and Obama.

The US militarized El Salvador, Honduras, and Costa Rica, and headquartered Army and Air Force bases in each country, and supported Panama's Noriega as a "benevolent despot", who profited by accepting payments from the KGB, the CIA, Army Intelligence, -- and the Chinese.

[We managed HUMINT programs in CentAm following a by-name request by the CIA DDO-LA [D Clarridge] and the former DCI [V Walters] to restructure both the CIA and the Military Intelligence HUMINT operations in Latin America]

Noriega was also a drug runner and arms dealer; but, then we created an intelligence program that revealed that Noriega was not just a tin-horn dictator, but masterminded a global network of hundreds of front companies through which he moved drugs, arms, and laundered money -- a sophisticated network CIA/Deep State coveted, so Noriega was declared evil, and the US invaded Panama, and the CIA took control of all the Noriega Front Companies to carry on their global, Black enterprises.

But, all that is hidden in the background, and Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria are sort of enemy strongholds, but, we're not sure who are the good guys, or the bad guys.

So, now, who will the US have to identify and combat "The "Threat"?
Afghanistan for another 10 or 15 years? or Syria, for another 10 years!

We have the highly skilled and specialized Special Forces [the Special Operations Commmand (SOCOM) designed for insertion into hostile zones to address "Terrorists".

We have a Cyber Command which theoretically can combat hacking by all our Cyber enemies, and even the Russians, if we can admit that the US targets the successor to the USSR
[the Cyber Command apparently includes Spookdblog as an enemy since they have bombarded our residences with impulse waves, hacked our cell-phones and texted Clapper's threats to us, along with excerpts of our highly classified Officer Evaluation Reports (OER)-- just to let us know they could do it.]

Notably, there are several other Unified Commands [AfriCom, SouthCom, Strategic Command, etc.,] which serve no purpose other than to create command slots for unnecessary generals and bureaucrats, and to fund NATO.

But, let's not forget the Defense contractors who provide that expensive support for our Military forces deployed in those regions. The massive expansion of our Military and Intelligence organizations under Bush and Obama have created a huge financial burden, and a bloated Military hierarchy unseen in the history of the US -- even at the peak of World War 2.

These Commands waste manpower and equipment, and create the scenarios for regional wars - usually backing the wrong elements; they augment their forces by deploying National Guard units from the US at great expense. It's time to rethink our Military from top to bottom.

Do we need to remain in Afghanistan or Syria?

Lots of senior Military officers will state adamantly that the US must live up to its commitments in both areas of operation [AO].  But, precisely what commitment is there?

1) Afghanistan: 
After 17 years, our accomplishments consist of:
   a) Trillions of dollars spent,
   b) Deployment of countless National Guard units in six month deployments barely long enough
        to familiarize them with the environment before coming under attack,
    c) Countless suicides during, and after deployments, abominable leadership, massive
        post-deployment illnesses,
    d) Assassination of US personnel by Afghan allies, and
    e) Absolutely no positive results other than protecting Poppy fields for local drug lords,
    f) Bad guys control most of the country and the Afghan Government [our Ally] controls
        a few acres
    g) Most Afghans regard us as their enemy

2) Syria:
We've only been engaged in Syria for seven years, since 2011, and here's a list of accomplishments:
   a) Roughly 500,00 people are dead
   b) Dozens of countries are involved
   c)  Many [exact number unknown] terrorist groups are involved -- on both sides
   d)  Syrian President Assad is backed by Iran and Russia [our current "enemies"] and Pakistan
   c)  Opposition to Assad includes
        (1) hundreds of "militias" from an estimated 85 countries,
        (2) Syrian Democratic Forces [Kurdish-led coalition of Arab and Kurdish Militias],
              (a) led by the Kurdish Worker's Party (PKK)
              (b) regarded by the US and the UK as a Terrorist group although the US provides
                   them air support against ISIS]
              (c) BUT, Turkey fights the Kurds fearing they will use a victory to declare an independent
                    state along the border
        (3) Miscellaneous Arabs, Sunnis, Christians, Druze, and Kurds],
        (4) Islamic extremists -- some of which have been declared terrorists,
              including the Syrian version of al Qaeda [armed by Hillary from Libyan
              military warehouses]
        (5) ISIS- supposedly local Islamic extremists, although manpower derives from a variety
              of countries including Canada, the US, Australia, Israel, the UK, Iraq, etc.
        (6) Official backing by outside nations includes the US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Turkey

Mr Trump has stated he will pull out of Syria, but, given the complexities listed above, he faces a great deal of opposition from Allies, the Democrats, the Pentagon, the GOP, and all those who anticipate profiting from the continuation of this conflict.

Essentially, Trump is removing his "Boots-On-The-Ground" units and still maintaining a protective shield by creating a "No-Fly-Zone" in the Northeast of Syria which is rich in Agriculture, Water, and Energy resources - the target of all the Bad Guys.

The US can remove its primary units deployed by Obama, but tactically, can still respond, as needed from other Middle East areas, or,  from the US with Special Operations units and A-10 Warthogs, the close-air support aircraft Obama was intent on eliminating.

Assuming the reports of satellite enabled weaponry [Star Wars], bad guys [if accurately identified] could be targeted and blasted into oblivion in seconds using the Directed Energy Weapons developed back in the 1970s, or lasers developed during the 1960s, now significantly enhanced, with targeting via sophisticated technology developed since then.

In the ancient words of Walt Kelly's POGO,
"We have met the enemy, and he is US!"
Trump has an uphill battle to fix this.