War on the Sub-Continent! The Indian Air Force Has Attacked Across the Line of Control

(Line of Control Separating India and Pakistan)

While this specific response may not have been what was anticipated, those of us who follow security measures on the sub-continent have been expecting India to retaliate for a Jaish e Mohammed attack against Indian police officers earlier this month.

India said a Pakistan based militant group, Jaish-e Mohammed carried out Thursday’s deadly attack on an Indian police convoy in disputed Kashmir, and demanded that its neighbor act against militant groups operating from its soil.

A car laden with explosives slammed into the convoy, killing at least 44 soldiers in the deadliest attack on security forces in decades in the region, raising tensions with Pakistan which claims the territory.

“We demand that Pakistan stop supporting terrorists and terror groups operating from their territory and dismantle the infrastructure operated by terrorist outfits to launch attacks in other countries,” India’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

While The Reuters reporting states the Indian casualties were soldiers, subsequent reporting clarified they were police officers.

As of right now we know that the Indian Air Force (IAF) struck well past the Line of Control. Everyone is now waiting on Islamabad’s response. Apparently, the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has their F-16s on combat air patrol (CAP) over Islamabad, which is to be expected.

The spokesman for the Pakistan Armed Forces is making the following statements about the attack, which contradicts some of the reporting above:

And this reporting from NDTV:

As of right now, there is nothing posted by either the Indian Ministry of Defense or the Indian Air Force on social media about the attack. Though both the Congress Party and Rahul Ghandi have responded:

Something that is important to keep in mind, just as in the case in the Levant, because of the geography of the region, where basing is located, and the capabilities of modern fighter jets, time to station for either the IAF or the PAF is well below the ability of the other side to respond to a quick strike. I would expect that right now the Pakistani Prime Minister Imram Khan is being pulled in at least three different directions: one by his civilian advisors, one by he military, and one by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

According to NDTV’s live feed:

Feb 26, 2019
10:04 (IST)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is meeting with top ministers in the cabinet committee on security at his home in Delhi to take stock of the situation.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Minister of Defence Nirmala Sitharaman, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and other top officials of the government are attending the meeting.

Feb 26, 2019
09:55 (IST)
Indian Air Force has put on high alert all air defence systems along the International Border and Line of Control, reports news agency ANI.

Now we have to wait and see what happens. India’s response to the 11 February 2019 attack on its paramilitary police is unprecedented. As Ankit Panda indicates below, no nuclear weapons state has used conventional air power to attack another nuclear weapons state’s territory before.

All we can do now is wait for Pakistan’s response and then India’s response to that if any.

Open thread!

Get Them Birthday Cards Ready!

Courtesy of commenter Mary G bringing this to everyone’s attention:

Here’s the full picture of Joe holding his poster:

You all know what to do!

Open thread!

Operational Security is Painless, It Brings on Many Changes, and John Bolton Can Take or Leave It if He Pleases…

Ambassador John Bolton, the Assistant to the President – National Security Advisor (APNSA) and the Frank Burns of American national security professionals, is also a master of operational security!

For those that can’t quite make that out:

And now the close up!

That says:

3) Afghanistan -> welcome the talks; 5,000 troops to Colombia

Nothing like the element of surprise when violating the War Powers Act!

Bolton has to be one of the absolutely stupidest national security professionals ever. Anyone want some action on whether he was one of the 30 people that were denied a clearance by the professional adjudicators and then granted one by Carl Kline, just like Jared Kushner was? He makes Alcibiades pushing the Athenian government to invade Sicily look like a military genius fusion of Pericles, Julius Caesar, Sun Tzu, and Clausewitz! And I don’t want to hear from you Jomini fan boys in the comments either! Keep it to yourselves you freaks!

Open thread!

The Supreme Court Lifts the Nationwide Injunctions Preventing the President’s Ban on Transgender People from Serving in the US Military

Amid all the other hullabaloo today, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to lift the nationwide injunctions that were preventing the President’s ban on transgender people serving in the US military.

From The Associated Press:

The Trump administration can go ahead with its plan to restrict military service by transgender men and women while court challenges continue, the Supreme Court said Tuesday.

The high court split 5-4 in allowing the plan to take effect, with the court’s five conservatives greenlighting it and its four liberal members saying they would not have. The order from the court was brief and procedural, with no elaboration from the justices.

The court’s decision clears the way for the Pentagon to bar enlistment by people who have undergone a gender transition. It will also allow the administration to require that military personnel serve as members of their biological gender unless they began a gender transition under less restrictive Obama administration rules.

The Trump administration has sought for more than a year to change the Obama-era rules and had urged the justices to take up cases about its transgender troop policy immediately, but the court declined for now.

Those cases will continue to move through lower courts and could eventually reach the Supreme Court again. The fact that five justices were willing to allow the policy to take effect for now, however, makes it more likely the Trump administration’s policy will ultimately be upheld.

Both the Justice and Defense departments released statements saying they were pleased by the Supreme Court’s action. The Pentagon said its policy on transgender troops is based on professional military judgment and necessary to “ensure the most lethal and combat effective fighting force.” Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said lower court rulings had forced the military to “maintain a prior policy that poses a risk to military effectiveness and lethality.”

Before beginning to implement its policy the administration is expected to need to make a procedural filing in one case in Maryland challenging the plan. That request could be made this week.

Groups that sued over the Trump administration’s policy said they ultimately hoped to win their lawsuits over the policy. Jennifer Levi, an attorney for GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, said in a statement that the “Trump administration’s cruel obsession with ridding our military of dedicated and capable service members because they happen to be transgender defies reason and cannot survive legal review.”

More at the link.

Today’s lifting of the nationwide stay on the President’s policy is frustrating, but it is not the end of the case. The Supreme Court majority – its five conservative/GOP appointed justices – were willing to lift the nation wide stay, but not consolidate and fast track the separate cases wending through the Federal court system. This means that these separate suits to overturn the policy will continue through the courts and it is possible that as they proceed through the appellate phase that new injunctions will be implemented. As disturbing and discouraging as today’s ruling is, it is not the last word on this issue. It is entirely possible that the various suits take so long to get through the Federal courts, which will largely close on Monday because of the partial government shutdown, that a Democratic administration will come into office and reverse the ruling. That is small comfort, but the fight isn’t over.

And it is very important to continue this fight. Especially because the President’s decision to do this was not driving by a request from then Secretary of Defense Mattis. This was a completely unnecessary policy change. It will actually have real negative effects on readiness by making it harder to make recruiting quotas and by driving Americans who feel called, for whatever reason, to serve in the military away from that service. There’s no way to know for sure, but the President’s decision to change this policy on the fly was likely driven by the Vice President and his senior policy advisor Stephen Miller. This type of pointlessly cruel policy is just their speed.

It is also important to know that important, high visibility veterans, both cis and transgender, are planning to fight on.

Here’s Senator Duckworth’s response:



[WASHINGTON, D.C.] — In response to the Supreme Court’s order this morning allowing Donald Trump’s discriminatory ban on transgender servicemembers to take effect, combat Veteran and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) released the following statement:

“When I was bleeding to death in my Black Hawk helicopter on that dusty field in Iraq, I didn’t care if the American troops risking their lives to help save me were gay, straight, transgender, black, white, male or female. All that mattered was they didn’t leave me behind. If you are willing to risk your life for our country and you can do the job, you should be able to serve—no matter your gender identity or sexual orientation.

“Today’s decision is disheartening not only because it will help the Trump Administration discriminate against an ever-shrinking portion of our population who are willing to serve in uniform, but also because it enables the Administration to further disrupt to our military and weaken our national security.

“I hope the Court takes up this case and loudly and clearly tells the Administration that this sort of discrimination has no place in our military, and I hope my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in Congress will send the same message and show our servicemembers that we have their backs.”

And here’s retired Senior Chief Special Warfare Officer and former member of Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU) Kristin Beck’s response:

Senator Duckworth and Chief Beck are fighting, in the words of the DEVGRU motto, For Something Greater.

Open thread!


‘Junkets’ Under Fire Open Thread: Calling Trump’s Cronies Amateurs Is An Insult to People Who Don’t Get Paid

Guess Trump really *did* enjoy his SooperSekrit Iraq drop-in… he got to hang around with real live G.I. Joes, and some of them were properly thrilled when he signed MAGA hats for them. Not sure his minions understood that normal people might have different reactions…