The Boltoning Continues (Memo To Self: Start Digging That Shelter)

Not even through his second day on the job and John Bolton is making real progress in his effort to fully crazify the US  national security apparatus:

[Homeland Security advisor] Tom Bossert was an ideal Trump administration official – a man with the résumé of an Establishment Republican, and the capacity for sycophancy of a Trump crony.

…In a West Wing beset by chaos and dysfunction, Bossert was regarded as one of the few competent aides still standing.

And John Bolton just got him fired. As Homeland Security adviser, Bossert would have been a subordinate of the incoming, mustachioed White House national security adviser; and Bolton would prefer to assemble his own team. [links in the original]

Official portrait of that new band of all-stars:

This is really Adam and Cheryl’s turf, of course, so I won’t foist my amateur analysis on the jackals; I hope they’ll weigh in on Bolton early and often.  But I will go so far as to say that so far the new National Security Advisor is behaving exactly as advertised: he’s the boss from hell, and no independent minds or voices will be allowed anywhere near power.  It’s all mustache all the time.  Given his wretched record as anything but a bureaucratic infighter, the US — and the world — should be damn nervous.

Open thread.

Image: Adriaen Pietersz. van de Venne, Fools have the most fun1661



You Call That a Cat? THIS is a Cat…(With a Depressing Postscript)

Tikka has been in fine form lately, so I thought I’d share the force of his personality on a blog that can always use some more afternoon thread.

Here he is recently, showing some signs of mental wear and tear:

Tikka does not like strangers. And by strangers he means just about everyone who isn’t me.  He’ll tolerate my son and spouse, but after that?  We’ve had a lot of relatives staying over the last month or so, my wife’s sister for one, who is very much a cat person, and my own sister, likewise — she’s a pillar volunteer at the local pet shelter and all that good stuff.

My S-I-L has learned not to engage Tikka, and in his turn he now merely growls when she passes, and only very rarely whacks her as she goes.  My sister knows Tikka hates her, but can’t resist making eye contact. The result is increasing cat madness.  Those two bipedal monsters have both returned home now, and my fair feline is calming down quite a bit.  Hence this, taken about an hour ago:

A Cat In Full — and don’t you ever doubt it.

And now to some heavier material.  I’m very much looking to the next posts in Cheryl’s series on gender and national security (first one here). As we wait for those, you might want to check out this by Andrew Bacevich [corrected link], a professor at B. U. (and a retired U.S.A. Lt. Col.) focusing on national security.

A taste:

What makes a Harvey Weinstein moment? The now-disgraced Hollywood mogul is hardly the first powerful man to stand accused of having abused women. The Harveys who preceded Harvey himself are legion, their prominence matching or exceeding his own and the misdeeds with which they were charged at least as reprehensible.

…As far as male sexual hijinks are concerned, we might compare Weinstein’s epic fall from grace to the stock market crash of 1929: one week it’s the anything-goes Roaring Twenties, the next we’re smack dab in a Great Depression.

…All of this serves as a reminder that, on some matters at least, the American people retain an admirable capacity for outrage. We can distinguish between the tolerable and the intolerable. And we can demand accountability of powerful individuals and institutions.

[But] compare their culpability to that of the high-ranking officials who have presided over or promoted this country’s various military misadventures of the present century.  Those wars have, of course, resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths and will ultimately cost American taxpayers many trillions of dollars.  Nor have those costly military efforts eliminated “terrorism,” as President George W. Bush promised back when today’s G.I.s were still in diapers.

…war has become a habit to which the United States is addicted.  Except for the terminally distracted, most of us know that.  We also know — we cannot not know — that, in places like Afghanistan and Iraq, U.S. forces have been unable to accomplish their assigned mission, despite more than 16 years of fighting in the former and more than a decade in the latter…

Bacevich isn’t quite talking about what Cheryl’s begun to lay out.  But it seems to me that the two may be striking some of the same notes.  Anyway, I am as I have long been astonished, angered, and deeply saddened by the way so many of our leaders — lately but not always mostly Republicans — have been so profligate with other people’s kids.

 

The old Lie.

Damn — that’s a downer ending for a cat post.  Sorry. The times are what the times contain.



War Pigheadedness

“Any forces that would impose their will on other nations will certainly face defeat.”

I just read President Carrot top’s speech from last night, and the usual suspects are, predictably, participating in the usual “presidential pivot” mutual masturbation society after party:

Ugh. To the speech. What the fuck does this mean:

But to prosecute this war, we will learn from history. As a result of our comprehensive review, American strategy in Afghanistan and South Asia will change dramatically in the following ways.

A core pillar of our new strategy is a shift from a time-based approach to one based on conditions. I’ve said it many times how counterproductive it is for the United States to announce in advance the dates we intend to begin or end military options.

We will not talk about numbers of troops or our plans for further military activities. Conditions on the ground, not arbitrary timetables, will guide our strategy from now on. America’s enemies must never know our plans or believe they can wait us out.

I will not say when we are going to attack, but attack we will.

Another fundamental pillar of our new strategy is the integration of all instruments of American power — diplomatic, economic, and military — toward a successful outcome. Someday, after an effective military effort, perhaps it will be possible to have a political settlement that includes elements of the Taliban in Afghanistan. But nobody knows if or when that will ever happen.

Did I miss Bush and Obama announcing our attacks from a podium or something? And learning from history? How in the fuck is sending in a paltry force of 4k troops and expecting anything different learning from history. A refresher- Bush’s “surge” in Iraq was about 20k troops, but it may have amounted to more in theater briefly because they also extended the tour for folks already there. Trump is sending 4k more.

And just what does 4k troops mean?

Basically, nothing. Whenever you hear of troop numbers, you need to understand that sending 4,000 more soldiers somewhere does not mean you are sending 4,000 more trigger pullers. The vast majority of these 4,000 soldiers will be logo toads dealing with supply and logistics and maintenance and signals and what not. This probably amounts to about 800 actual combat troops being sent there. That’s basically a batallion. They’ll be able to do what- build another firebase? And you can’t have all of them on patrol at once, because soldiers need sleep and rest, they need to pull security, etc.

Again, I have not been in the military for almost twenty years, so I am not an expert and my numbers may be wrong, but from where I sit, this isn’t a fucking plan. It’s a blood sacrifice.

If the most abrasive, arrogant, and imperious President we have ever known thinks all he can get is political support for 4k more troops, it’s game over, man. I heard McMaster pushed for 50k more troops and was rejected, and that wouldn’t have been enough.

This is bullshit. After sixteen years, the American people have moved on. We have lost the will to fight in Afghanistan, as we should have. It’s just a waste of blood and money. All we are doing now is feeding the war pig. Stop sending Americans off to slaughter for no reason. Bring home the troops now.



London Bridge Terror Attack?

Twitter is reporting something is going down on London Bridge:








How Many Terrorists Did We Just Create?

What happens when you take the “gloves off,” unlike that sissy boy Obama:

The U.S. military acknowledged for the first time Saturday that it launched an airstrike against the Islamic State last week in the densely packed Iraqi city of Mosul where residents say more than 100 people were killed.

“An initial review of strike data … indicates that, at the request of the Iraqi security forces, the Coalition struck ISIS fighters and equipment, March 17, in west Mosul at the location corresponding to allegations of civilian casualties,” the task force leading the coalition said in a statement.

Previously, the U.S.-led coalition had said that officials were unsure whether the United States had conducted air attacks targeting the affected site in Mosul al-Jadida where local officials say they have so far pulled at least 60 bodies from one destroyed building.

This is a disaster on so many levels. Hopefully Adam can discuss what is happening in Yemen, which is also being dialed up and will lead to more incidents like this.



Let’s Extrapolate

We all know the situation in Dallas, and here is another in Tennessee:

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has released the name of the suspect behind Thursday morning’s random shooting in Bristol, TN that claimed the life of an area newspaper carrier and injured three others, including a local police officer.

The TBI says 37-year-old Lakeem Keon Scott was armed with at least two weapons, an automatic-style rifle, a pistol and a large amount of ammunition, reports CBS statation WJHL in Tennessee.

Preliminary findings indicate Scott may have targeted people and officers after being troubled by recent events involving African-Americans and law enforcement officers in other parts of the country.

Let’s ignore the similarities regarding the guns, because I’ve basically given up on gun control in the US. It’s never going to happen in my lifetime. Let’s look at the fact that they were radicalized by events that didn’t involve anyone they know personally being killed or hurt.

Now, think for a second. How many terrorists do we think we create every time we bomb someone in the middle east and kill a bunch of innocents?








The Battle for Fallujah (Has Once Again) Begun!

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Earlier today, which is already tomorrow in Iraq, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi announced that Iraqi Forces (regular Iraqi Army and [most likely the National] Police, as well as irregular forces from the sectarian and tribal militias) had begun their operations to retake Fallujah. From the Iraqi perspective, specifically the Iraqi leadership’s perspective, this is necessary to take the remaining Islamic State pressure off of Baghdad. This is because Baghdad as the seat of government is the core of Iraq for the Iraqi leadership, whether it makes strategic, operational, or tactical sense.

What should be of great concern to everyone is whether the fate of Fallujah is similar to that of Ramadi. The Iraqis retook it, but it was reduced to rubble. And as Major Mohammed Hussein, a member of the counter-terrorism battalion that was first into Ramadi at the start of the offensive remarked: “All they (Islamic State) leave is rubble. You can’t do anything with rubble.” Islamic State has, apparently, mined and wired explosives throughout Fallujah as they did in Ramadi and there is a large civilian population trapped within the city and behind the enemy lines. The Iraqi’s have conducted an Information Operation informing these civilians to fly white flags from their buildings so they won’t be targeted by the Iraqi Forces. Unfortunately if they do so they will be targeted by the Islamic State Forces for collaboration.

Here’s what Ramadi looks like now:

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* Image from Voice of America.

** Images found here.