Patriot Day?

Tomorrow marks 20 years since the national travesty known as Operation Enduring Freedom and later, Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

Tomorrow also marks the cost of those 20 years:

American Service Members killed in Afghanistan through April: 2,448. American Contractors: 3,846. That doesn’t include the number of wounded, limbs lost or Veteran suicides.

And for what? To fight against an insurgency that didn’t attack us? To fight another nations civil war?

9/11 was planned in an apartment in Hamburg, Germany…..and in Florida. Yet we followed Osama bin Laden’s strategy to the letter.

We’ve spent $21 trillion on foreign and domestic militarization in those 20 years, and the number of terrorists and their backers/sympathizers has grown exponentially since 2001. It’s as if the term blowback is in a foreign language….

But tomorrow….is Patriot Day?

*edited to correct Patriot’s to Patriot, as the singular is the correct title, and there is a state level holiday [in a handful of states] that commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord, as Patriot’s Day.

One of our Long National Nightmares is Over

We have officially ended the travesty that had been known as Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

Almost as many who died on 9/11, have perished in that forsaken place……mostly, fighting against an entity that didn’t attack us on 9/11. And for a nation building cause that has not made the homeland and safer.

Good riddance. Let China become embroiled in that quagmire next.

Reasons Why I Carry – Example#….OK, I Lost Count

“I’m going in there with 20 strong men, I’m going to speak to the school board and I’m going to give them an option. They can leave or they can be removed ” said Steve Lynch who is running for PA Governor, “Make men men again”, he said during Freedom Rally today.

And….

At protest in Santa Monica today before the vote on mask-mandate, Jason Lefkowitz has the home addresses of each LA City Council member on his sign. He says they are going to the homes of whoever votes for it, and if it passes, it’s “civil war, get your guns.” From @chadloder

Soon is coming the time for patriots to grab muskets from over the mantle, secure shot and ball, and prepare to defend our nation from the Cult of the Unmitigated Asshole. Those self-aggrandized snowflakes who allow their impotent rage to convince them that they’re victims because of <insert baseless reason here>.

A reckoning is indeed coming, but they mistakenly reckon that the cause of Patriots is on their side.

They will be proven wrong.

Good Riddance to Afghanistan *Updated*

The inevitable happened a bit earlier than anticipated. Kabul and the Ghani regime, have fallen to the Taliban.

We invaded Afghanistan in 2001 for revenge. I’m fine with that. We stayed for 20 goddamn years, for no discernible purpose….losing American men, women and trillions in the process. And the inevitable still happened. And we should be ashamed.

I’ll borrow some apt words from John Cole at Balloon Juice:

We’ll see a lot of blame thrown at Joe Biden over the next couple of months, and no doubt right-wingers will blame him for “losing” Afghanistan, but most of it is bullshit. Are there some things that could possibly have been done better? Sure. Much of the bitching by our warrior class is focused on the timing of the withdrawal (often ignoring the fact that it was Trump who set the original date), saying we should have waited until the winter when the majority of the Taliban will be at home and it won’t be “the fighting season,” the name for what you and I know as summer and fall. And I suppose he could have. And then we would be reading all of these headlines next spring and summer instead of right now. That’s the thing about delaying the inevitable, it is, in fact, just a delay. This was going to happen no matter when we left and there is nothing anyone can say that will convince me otherwise.

The inevitable happened for a variety of reasons, all known and prophesied by rational and astute people……instead of the faux patriots and armchair commandos that are garnering much of the online and media attention today.

Those who seek to blame certain politicians [in the interest of their party’s narrative], conveniently forget about the ‘peace process’ with the Taliban [thought we didn’t negotiate with ‘terrorists’?], where we saw said Taliban receive 5000 of their captured fighters back into their fold…….and a reneging on nearly every aspect of the process. Those who would wail about us ‘abandoning’ the Ghani regime…..also seem to forget that we negotiated with the Taliban unilaterally, without the partnership of the Kabul regime, at the behest of the Taliban. Nice.

The Taliban, as horrific an entity they are…..are not a national security threat to then U.S. homeland, and never have been. Our Afghan satrapy [and our likewise fools errand in Iraq] has largely denuded our armed forces of the ability to resist actual threats, whether in the form of ISIS worldwide, as well as that of Russia and China.

Good riddance, to a misadventure that should have expired 19 years ago.

*Update* A worthy link from 2014 Iraq that explains well the inevitability of the fall of Kabul: Investing in Junk Armies: Why American Efforts to Create Foreign Armies Fail

Worth your time……

So, we have a date for the Coup?

“The morning of August 13, it will be the talk of the world, going, ‘Hurry up! Let’s get this election pulled down,” he told Brannon Howse of Worldview Weekend Broadcast Network. “Let’s right the right. Let’s get these communists out, you know that have taken over.”

Link

We’ll……that’s helpful I suppose. Maybe all of the idiot seditionists will conveniently gather, wearing their airsoft finest of course.

Addendum- Open question (again): can anyone who supports this notion that Trump will somehow be ‘reinstated’ in August (or ever), explain the Constitutional mechanism that allows for this scheme? I have yet to see anyone, anywhere proffer such an explanation. Go figure……

Iran and Letters of Marque and Reprisal

I’ve been supporting our military and intelligence efforts in Iraq since 2011, working for the same agency [no, not that Agency, but very much related], with multiple deployments to Iraq…..and nothing makes me happier in the offensive sense, than to see Qasem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis [as well as others] killed with extreme prejudice. I know intimately the imminent threat that prompted the timing of this strike, and had it not been authorized, a loss of American life in a short window would have occurred that was rivaled only by 9/11. Full credit to POTUS for giving the green light, and full credit to the dedication of the teams of analysts and operators who made this happen.

Muhandis, with Soleimani’s blessing, ordered a consistent series of rocket attacks against US and Coalition locations within Iraq since April of this year….ignored by the American media; not to mention the IRGC-QF technical and operational assistance to Shi’s militia’s during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Countless American and Coalition lives were lost as a direct result of the IRGC-QF.

A 2012 Army War College paper that I’ve had in my digital library for many years, highlights a Constitutional, yet unfashionable approach to dealing with State, proxy-force and terrorist actors in the current age – Letters of Marque and Reprisal.

By the time the Constitution was ratified in 1789, the practice of privateering had been a legitimate part of Western warfare for over 500 years. Letters of marque and reprisal had been important tools for the Continental Congress under the Articles of Confederation during the American Revolution, and this power granted by the Constitution would maintain its significance in the years following its ratification. The Framers placed great import on the federal government’s role in protecting maritime commerce and enforcing the common law of nations. While changes in warfare and developments in international law during the last century have largely vanquished the role of privateering, the Congressional authority to issue Letters of Marque and Reprisal remains, having never been repealed.

As the U.S. and the international community contemplate a host of difficult security concerns modern extraterritorial threats such as piracy, terrorism, and cyber exploitation, U.S. policymakers and legal scholars should contemplate the conceptual merit of letters of marque and reprisal as a means of combating these threats short of “war.” This is not to say that the Constitutional power to grant letters of marque and reprisal should be taken lightly. As Thomas Jefferson explained, “The making of a reprisal on a nation is a very serious thing. Remonstrance and refusal of satisfaction ought to precede; and when reprisal follows, it is considered an act of war, and never yet failed to produce it in the case of a nation able to make war.”

Read the rest here: Resurrecting Letters of Marque and Reprisal to Address Modern Threats

It’s a concept that’s time has come to consider, again.

Still Dancing to bin Laden’s Tune

In 2001, al Qaeda consisted of only 400 ideologues in the far corners of the world. After the recent regime change wars in Iraq, Yemen, Libya and Syria, typical estimates place their membership at around 20,000. To top it all off, the American economy is out $5.6 trillion dollars for the whole failed project. This is not the legacy of a war to spread, or even protect, liberty and prosperity. Instead it is the legacy of an evil but gifted tactician, al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Contrary to the popular misunderstanding of al Qaeda’s motives and strategy, bin Laden and his partner Ayman al Zawahiri were not trying to scare America away with the September 11th attacks. They were trying to provoke an overreaction. Al Qaeda’s leaders wanted the U.S. to invade Afghanistan in order to bog our military down, “bleed us to bankruptcy,” and force a worn-out, broken empire to leave the region the hard way, and permanently, just as they had done to the Soviet Union in the 1980s with American support. Only then could they hope to launch the revolutions they sought in their home countries without interference from the American superpower.

Source: Breitbart

I like me some job security, but enough is enough. When will our disastrous foreign policy ambitions be thwarted by rational Americans?

Okay…that was rhetorical. We all know that answer is never. Even as we now prop up the Saudi regime in Yemen, and enable their pursuit of war with Iran.

When will Citizens and wake the fuck up? Patriots already have….but are far too few in number, and led by charlatans like fish on a hook.

Another Deployment in the Books

I sit here once again, in the land of milk and honey, and in that most ubiqituous symbol of American commercialism – Starbucks [I might have said Walmart, but that’s really more a Chinese symbol….]; and reflect on where Iraq is at present.

An enemy, at once both foreign and domestic, has largely been vanquished, and the Iraqi’s held their own theater of “mission accomplished” in the form of a parade, that from the rooftop of our SCIF, we could make out some of the assembled forces readying themselves to march past the Prime Minister. Yet, just as in 2011 as coalition forces withdrew as mandated by the 2008 agreement between the Bush and Maliki governments….the Shi’a factions hold no small amount of power, this time in the official form of the Popular Mobilization Forces, integrated into the Iraqi Security Forces apparatus.

Yep, the same Shi’a blocs that were and remain Iranian-backed; who did and still aspire, attack U.S. forces within Iraq. To put a fine point on the last sentence, Shi’a Militia elements killed one U.S Solider and critically wounded another on October 1st, 2017.

While domestic political theater still revolves around blaming Bush for invading Iraq without a definitive plan for occupation, or blaming Obama for adhering to the 2008 withdrawal agreement……the American polity is largely unaware of the drivers of Iraqi politics, and how that effects it’s security….and contributes to the rise of radical Islamic terror groups.

Make no mistake….though ISIS has lost it’s vast swaths of territory once held, it remains committed to an insurgency that will only succeed when the Shi’a blocs increase their oppression of the Sunni minority. It’s already occurring. In several ‘liberated’ locations across Iraq, ISIS cells are engaging in “Phase II Insurgency” activities [loosely based on the Maoist model]. We will be back again….of this I have no doubt. Iraqi governance, or lack thereof….will create the space needed for Islamic insurgency to continue to grow, or re-grow as it were.

Through all of this, I’m saddened by what the American polity [writ large, I’m generalizing] focuses on. Not the actual drivers of instability, not the actual issues facing the Iraqi people [much of which wrought by our 2003 invasion]….but rather, the narratives that can be used to bludgeon the political opposition here at home. This is particularly insulting as they [by and large] profess to the heavens that they “support the troops”. This reached critical mass for me, when the current POTUS all but claimed victory for the “defeat” of ISIS……ignoring the hard work of U.S. and Coalition forces during the preceding years….as he did nothing more than continue the policies of the previous Administration. Most Americans seem completely unaware that beyond airstrikes and special operations raids [which they know very little about for obvious reasons] we’re not actually doing the fighting in Iraq.

Is this the fault of our media? Certainly partially, as our media completely avoids educating the public on world events, in life of giving uninterrupted space for the two major parties to propagandize. But it’s not all the fault of the media. Reporting of the problems highlighted above, can be found if one really wants to look. But you’re not going to be educated by your favorite sock puppet cable opinion show.

After spending the last several months away from this theater, and in the company of Americans and Coalition partners who understand the dynamics at play….my bliss comes to an end of sorts. But I know that I’ll probably have another deployment in my near future….in another place that we shouldn’t still be, supporting a cause that our taxpayers don’t really understand.

Some links worth reading for deeper context to my paltry overview above:

New Masters of Revolutionary Warfare: The Islamic State Movement (2002-2016)

The New ISIS Insurgency – What Jihadists Do After Losing Territory