Words Matter, Mr. President

Leaving aside the inane use of adjectives and qualifiers [both verbally and tweet based], one would think that by now, POTUS would either have a grasp or keep somebody close at hand, to avoid making empty, false or confusing statements.

Donald Trump said he has given the military “total authorization.” That may sound great, but “total authorization” has no meaning. The military’s dictionary, (yes, it has its very own) includes “diplomatic authorization” and “letters of authorization,” but does not include “total authorization.” Perhaps Mr. Trump chose a non-existent term when he actually meant to say that he, as the commander in chief, had issued an order giving the military specific authorization to conduct operations limited in time and space.

Alternatively, perhaps Mr. Trump simply wanted Americans to know that he will exercise less oversight and control of the U.S. military as compared to his predecessors. Without clarification, we cannot be sure. There are at least fifteen different types of orders that the President, Secretary of Defense and military commanders can issue to those under their charge. They cannot, however, issue “total authorization.”

In the same vein, Mr. Trump’s characterization of recent military operations as “so successful” reveals that he has little idea what military success looks like. Trump’s crowing over a single missile strike against Syria or the use of the “Mother of All Bombs” in Afghanistan suggests that he equates action and aggression with success. As history has made clear, nothing could be further from the truth.

President Trump owes the nation – and the world – more careful language. Trump’s empty words may thrill his supporters, but they will not defeat the Islamic State or bring peace to a troubled region. If the American public is to trust him and intelligently support his foreign policies, especially with lives on the line, he must communicate coherently. The president should weigh his words before he speaks, provide clear explanations for his actions and measured assessments of progress. In short, Trump’s words need to mean exactly what they seem to mean.

Why Trump’s Words Matter, RealClear Defense – http://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2017/04/20/why_trumps_words_matter_111211.html

It’s About Time…

Now copy/paste to the other 49 States……and end the enforced ignorance of firearm safety and the demonization of one of the salient tools that built and defends this nation, from enemies both foreign and domestic.

House Bill 612, filed this week by Representative Jay Adams, would give the state room to develop a firearms education course and allow the class, which would include “firearms safety education as recommend by law enforcement agencies or a firearms association”, to be offered as an elective to high school students.

The course, which would be developed by the North Carolina Board of Education, would not allow live ammunition in the classroom and would also cover the history and mechanics of firearms with a firm emphasis on the importance of gun safety.

From Bearing Arms

 

 

The CNN-Trump Doctrine

The eminent Max Boot has weighed in on the Clintonian missile strike by our current POTUS, highlighting not only the limp ineffectiveness of the action, but also the rank hypocrisy of the ‘decider’.

The Trump Doctrine Was Written By CNN

Of all the reactions to President Donald Trump’s cruise missile strike on Thursday, the least convincing was the impulse by supporters such as Sen. Marco Rubio and John Bolton to label this a “decisive” act. Hardly. In fact, Trump’s strike was reminiscent of the kind of low-risk cruise missile attacks that Bill Clinton favored against Sudan, Iraq, and Afghanistan — and that Republicans mocked for their symbolic, ineffectual nature. After 9/11, you’ll recall, President George W. Bush vowed, in a swipe at his predecessor, “When I take action, I’m not going to fire a $2 million missile at a $10 empty tent and hit a camel in the butt. It’s going to be decisive.”

Looks like we’re back to killing camels. Far from decisive, Trump’s decision to fire 59 cruise missiles against a single air base in Syria was considerably smaller than the action that President Barack Obama was considering to enforce his “red line” in 2013 before he lost his nerve. Obama was on the verge of approving an air campaign to destroy Bashar al-Assad’s air defenses and air force — what Secretary of State John Kerry described at the time as an “unbelievably small, limited kind of effort.” Trump, by contrast, merely took one air base out of operation for less than a day.

This is hardly the only reversal evident in this cruise missile strike — in fact, the psychological impact of this attack was greatly heightened because it was so unexpected. It was ordered, after all, by the same man who tweeted back in 2013: “AGAIN, TO OUR VERY FOOLISH LEADER, DO NOT ATTACK SYRIA – IF YOU DO MANY VERY BAD THINGS WILL HAPPEN & FROM THAT FIGHT THE U.S. GETS NOTHING!” And the same man who, as recently as last October, warned that Hillary Clinton’s plans for greater involvement in Syria would “lead to World War III.” And the same man who has shown so little interest in the suffering of the Syrian people that he has attempted to issue an executive order ending all refugee admissions from that country. And the same man who ran on a quasi-isolationist, “America First” platform that disdained the use of military force for anything but the defense of American interests, narrowly defined.

Updated – Peeling back the Trump-Russia Onion

A long read, posted at Just Security……but worth it, to get at the multiple ties and circumstances of Trump financial dealings with Russian entities. Ties that must be taken into consideration given the House, Senate and FBI investigations of potential Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.

While names like Carter Page, Roger Stone and Michael Flynn dominate headlines amidst allegations of possible collusion with Russia, there’s another angle to Donald Trump’s connections to the former Soviet Union that’s only beginning to receive the attention it deserves. This is the series of murky financial dealings that often make little business sense. Taken on their own, many of these transactions appear perfectly legal. Viewed together, they show patterns suspicious enough that they should qualify for investigation under U.S. laws aimed at combatting money laundering, tax evasion, and other hard to track financial misdeeds. One particularly good example of this pattern involves Trump’s billionaire Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross, and his former role as vice chairman of the Bank of Cyprus. His case is just one piece of the puzzle that may be reflective of other dealings that warrant much closer scrutiny.

Read the rest here: https://www.justsecurity.org/39409/money-russia-cyprus-trump-teams-odd-business-dealings/

Another article speaking to the same set of issues, at War is Boring: https://warisboring.com/trump-aides-and-russian-mobsters-pulled-strings-in-putins-massive-ukraine-gas-scheme-2ec3e6cef803

Before Donald Trump was president or a candidate, and when he was hurting for investors as Wall Street had all but shut down loaning operations to him, his businesses established extensive ties to Russian oligarchs, including some allegedly affiliated with organized crime.

At the same time, associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Russian government and future associates of Trump — most notably Paul Manafort, his future campaign chairman — were allegedly involved in a massive Eurasian natural gas and money laundering scheme worth billions of dollars, and part of Putin’s grand plan to control Ukraine.

At best, Trump may have had no knowledge of this scheme and these ties, but even this scenario highlights serious deficiencies in Trump’s judgment in terms of who he did business and politics with — and it is of urgent interest to the American people as Trump manages the nation as president.

 

The Myth of the Iraqi Surge

We are enduring the fallout today, of the myth that the Iraqi “Surge” was successful…along with the myths surrounding the withdrawal of US forces. These events, lived by the men and women on the ground….have become political memes, myths and talking points…without substance or experience from those who employ them. Having served 15 months in Baghdad during the Surge, I can attest to the sentiments of the author of this article…as well as the whitewashing that continues to this day.

CFR’s three guests — retired Gen. Raymond Odierno, former commander of Multinational Forces in Iraq and now a senior adviser to JPMorgan Chase; Meghan O’Sullivan, former deputy national security adviser under president George W. Bush; and Christopher Kojm, former senior adviser to the Iraq Study Group — had remarkably similar views.

No dissenting voices were included. All three had been enthusiastic promoters of the surge in 2006–2007 and continue to market the myth of its success. While recognizing the unmistakable failure of the post-surge American effort in Iraq, each still firmly believes in the inherent validity of that “strategy.”

I listened for more than an hour waiting for a single dissenting thought. The silence was deafening.

………………………….

In an orgy of killing in Baghdad and many other cities, the two main sects ethnically cleansed neighborhoods, expelling each other into a series of highly segregated enclaves. The capital, for instance, essentially became a Shiite city. In a sense, the civil war had, momentarily at least, run its course.

In addition, the U.S. military had successfully, though again only temporarily, convinced many previously rebellious Sunni tribes to switch sides in exchange for money, support and help in getting rid of the overly fundamentalist and brutal terror outfit, Al Qaeda in Iraq.

For the time being, AQI seemed to the tribal leaders like a bigger threat than the Shiites in Baghdad. For this, the Sunnis briefly bet on the United States without ever fully trusting or accepting Shiite-Baghdad’s suzerainty. Think of this as a tactical pause — not that the surge’s architects and supporters saw it that way.

America’s man in Baghdad, Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki, was already in the process of becoming a sectarian strongman, hell-bent on alienating the country’s Sunni and Kurdish minorities. Even 60,000 or 90,000 more American troops couldn’t have solved that problem because the surge was incapable of addressing, and barely pretended to face, the true conundrum of the invasion and occupation — any American-directed version of Iraqi “democracy” would invariably usher in Shia-majority dominance over a largely synthetic state.

The real question no surge cheerleaders publicly asked, or ask to this day, was whether an invading foreign entity was even capable of imposing an inclusive political settlement there. To assume that the United States could have done so smacks of a faith-based as opposed to reality-based worldview — another version of a deep and abiding belief in American exceptionalism.

From MAJ Danny Sjursen  at War is Boring

 

The End of an Era

As a former Army Pathfinder, this hits close to home…I’m sad to see the capability and tradition officially case it’s colors.

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Capt. Steven J. Orbon, the commander of F Company, 2nd Assault Helicopter Battalion, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, and Herbst, the company first sergeant, cased the unit guidon as a final act for the 82nd Airborne Division’s pathfinder company.

“For many, today is a sad one,” Orbon said to an audience that included family, friends and veteran pathfinders whose service dated to 1957.

The deactivation was part of a larger Army transformation that saw other pathfinder units shutter last year and also marked the end of other small and specialized units known as long-range surveillance companies. But it won’t end the pathfinder story, the captain said.

“It is simply the closing of a chapter,” Orbon said.

The company included paratroopers as well as rangers, jumpmasters and experts in fast-rope insertions and extractions, he said. Among their ranks they counted expert rappellers, climbers, scuba divers, medics, snipers, switchblade operators and the 82nd Airborne combatives champion.

Read the rest here….

A Lesson for the Trump Bloc

From “Trolling Brilliance” at: Shall Not Be Questioned:

I have to hand it to whoever thought this up. Seriously, this was brilliant. In this, the Era of Trump, this is the smartest bit of opposition activism I think I’ve seen so far. My hat is truly off to you.

For the people who fell for this: shame on you. Educate yourselves. They weren’t passing these flags off to ordinary people on the streets: they were passing them off to what are considered “core conservative activists.” And hey, you waved them with all the red white and blue passion we’d expect from people who only give a fuck about cheering their own team and not a damned thing beyond that.

The stakes are going up folks. If conservatives wants to be taken seriously, it’s time to start acting like that’s the case. Educate yourselves. If you took half the time and resources you spent cheerleading and tried to actually learn something, you might get somewhere.

The GOP would do well to abandon the pursuit of victimhood and political correctness and act like the rational adults they claim to be. For anything else is no better than being  Leftist.