Trump’s Syrian Decision

Many will criticize President Trump’s decision to withdraw all US ground forces from Syria as soon as possible.  The argument is that it will allow Iran to cause trouble in the region.  There is also fear the Syrian Kurds will be at the mercy of Turkey. 

Perhaps, but my question is how long do we stay?  What is the end state?  It seems that if we place one foot on foreign soil we must stay forever these days. Are we required to help those that have questionable alliances with the US in perpetuity? Can we afford or desire the dependence that continual support brings? (Much like a welfare state does)

We have been in Afghanistan for 17 years. For what?  A corrupt government?  An inept Army? Does anyone think it will actually get better?  No, not one “expert” makes that claim.  Even with decades of US presence in Afghanistan the Taliban currently control approximately 60% of Afghanistan.  The President of Afghanistan has often been called the Mayor of Kabul since he can’t leave the capital without US protection. We know Pakistan continues to harbor Taliban yet other than cutting off some funding (finally under Trump) nothing has been done. Oh, and how is that poppy eradication program going?

Will ISIS arise again?  Maybe.  So what?  What are our national interests?  We can maintain a Counter Terrorism role without troops permanently stationed on the ground. We can strike from Land, Sea, or Air at any time and if we can’t, well that’s just another reason to come home and rebuild our forces.

Iran is already trouble in the region.  They have been since 1979.  Syria has been run by a dictator Assad for years and controlled by Russia.  So, what?  How does putting our troops on the ground in the middle of this mess help further US security?  Are we, the American people willing to remove Assad, push out Russia, destroy Iran and thump Turkey on the noggin?  I don’t think so.  But we are willing to give vague missions to SOF forces then hang them out to dry when they kill the enemy.

This strategy that the military leadership appears to supports only enhances government contracts (money in someone’s pocket) and keeps our troops in harm’s way for no clear reason. Ask any General or Politician what victory looks like in either Syria or Afghanistan and they cannot tell you.  Oh, throw in Africa also.

Until the US Congress starts declaring wars and defining victory as either total destruction or unconditional surrender of a clearly identified enemy, we need to turn our war funds into national infrastructure funds.


Afghan Strategy 2018

The US Afghanistan strategy is not just flawed, it’s effectively non-existent.  The current strategy appears to be to pull back from the outlying areas and concentrate on the city centers hoping to create a situation where the Taliban will negotiate a peace deal.  This was the strategy used when a complete pull-out was proposed during the Obama administration.

As the US pulled back our forces and tried to increase the ANA’s input into their own defense the Taliban has taken back much of the countryside.  The Afghan government doesn’t have the capability after 17 years to hold terrain.  They can barely protect the key cities.  Remember there aren’t many of these “key” locations, Kabul, Kandahar, Mazari Sharif, etc.

There are other factors, however, that a coherent strategy must address.  It’s been an open secret that the Pakistani’s have harbored and continue to harbor the Taliban in the Waziristan region (probably other regions as well).  The Taliban have, since the beginning of the Afghanistan war, fought in Afghanistan and regrouped in Pakistan unabated. Remember Osama Bin Laden was discovered just down the road from the Pakistan Military Academy in Abbottabad. While President Trump has openly questioned Pakistan’s commitment and cut $30 million in aid.  It is unclear what effect these sanctions have or will have.  Is it enough?

Taliban funding? Has the US stopped the large-scale production of Opium that supplies the Taliban? The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reported a record-setting Opium harvest in 2017.

“According to the latest survey report released today by UNODC, last year’s record levels of production has led to unprecedented levels of potential heroin production. From the 2017 opium harvest, some 550-900 tons of heroin of export quality (purity between 50 and 70 percent) can be produced.”

Remember the poppy eradication program? Yeah, neither do the Afghan farmers or the Taliban.  It wasn’t real.  Just a show.  One acre burned while ten left alone. Photo OPS then they are gone! Military and civilian leaders claimed they couldn’t really stop the poppy growth as it would hurt the farmers and turn them to the Taliban.  The Taliban that they already grow for.  It must be political logic.

Then there is the challenge of the Afghan government’s corruption? The US was in such a hurry to turn the Afghan government back over to the Afghans that the US didn’t ensure the individuals that were put into power were reliable.  Corruption is a natural state of the Afghan culture. It isn’t easy just put someone in place (or allow a vote) and not monitor and correct the actions of the new officials.  If they are as corrupt as the last what have gained?  It’s understandable to an extent that if US officials actually run the show then the Afghan officials will simply be puppets.  This is true but how else does one implement a concept as foreign as honest government without such a plan.

The US has had 9 Afghan campaign commanders.  This is not that way to “win” anything.  This has become just another rotation.  Check one more block. What is the incentive for a commander to take decisive action?  Why take the risk?  Just maintain what we have had and move on up. This also applies to the idea of Unit rotations.  This is a great plan for Congress who isn’t held accountable for a real “WAR”.  They just continue to fund without declaring war thus continuing the combat in decreased numbers but without end.

“What we’ve got here is a .. failure to communicate.” “Some men you just can’t reach.” (The Captain, Cool Hand Luke-1967)


Surprisingly good move!

So my wife and I were looking for a movie to watch last night. Both of us wanted something different, a change from the normal Hollywood formula scripts. After opening Amazon Prime we decided on an Indian film “Padmaavat”. Now, having been assigned to some locations in the general vicinity of India (although never actually there) I have had the chance (nothing else to see on local TV) to watch some “Bollywood” films before. They are known for some silliness and lots of music and dancing right in the middle of some drama scenes. It always led to some laughs. The problem was most of these movies were pretty low budget and not very good. Granted I don’t watch a lot of Indian films so there may be many very good films that I simple don’t see in America.

So what is it all about? It’s set in India/Afghanistan in 1303AD. Alluaddin (Bad Guy) a tyrant of the Khilji who marries his cousin the Sultan of Khilji’s daughter then kills his uncle to be the new Sultan. He must possess everything precious.

Meanwhile, the king of Chittor Maharawal Ratan Singh (good guy) meets and marries Padmaavat a beautiful princess. The devious royal priest Raghav Chetan is caught watching Ratan and Padmaavat in a private moment and is cast out of the kingdom. This apparently pisses him off and he vows revenge.

So the turd Chetan travels to Delhi and tells Alluaddin about Padmaavat’s beauty and convinces Alluaddin that his destiny is tied to Padmaavat. Alluaddin spends the rest of the movie trying to destroy the kingdom of Chittor until he’s able to see Padmaavat.

Yes it sounds kind of like a chick flick at this point. But I took it more like an Indian Shakespearian movie. Love, tragedy, treachery, warfare etc…

It has a lot of stunning visual shots although the CGI can be a bit cheesy, but overall not bad. It’s filmed in an epic style which Hollywood is sorely missing these days.

There is no nudity which is amazing, a film of desire and passion with no nudity. Yes, all that can be displayed without graphic sex.

There’s fighting and a little beheading, hey its set in Afghanistan/India. But it’s not overly graphic. It is however an Indian movie so there are a few times when they do break out into dance. I mean really, this is mandatory for “Bollywood” films isn’t it? The dance scenes do kind of fit in though. So it’s not as bad as that may sound.

The overall theme and ending was ideologically wrong for me but still a good movie. I’m not a peace love and lets all die for the cause kind of guy.

Still a good movie. Rotten Tomatoes which I don’t really pay attention to, gave it a 71 % fresh. Google reviews were like 84% like.

Oh yeah and it’s subtitled.

Infinite war

Check out Michael Walsh’s article What Price Victory? What Cost ‘Infinite War’?

I hear this side of the argument more and more these days. Once again the question must be asked, “are we the world’s Police?” Walsh indirectly asks that question.

Give it a read.


“The reaction from the proponents of endless war was illustrative of why, going on 17 years after 9/11, America still finds itself embroiled in Muslim-bred conflicts in which it has no material interest other than strictly punitive…”

…”The moral of the story is: finish the job. So good for Trump for giving the Pentagon a strategic objective and a time frame in which to accomplish it. The Post article quotes another officer, Air Force General Mike Holmes, in a speech earlier this year: “It’s not losing,” he explained. “It’s staying in the game and . . . pursuing your objectives.”

How terrifying to know that, for some senior military officers (who, by the way, are not necessarily on the Right politically), warfare is about “staying in the game.” Both Left and Right have vested interests in keeping conflicts going—progressives get an extended opportunity to effect “social change” on a culture of “toxic masculinity,” while so-called conservatives keep the procurement pipelines open and flowing…”

…”The Germans and Japanese learned that lesson in 1945. Will Islam? If we’re not prepared to teach it to them, then be prepared for infinite war. Because victory is obviously too expensive to contemplate…”

Of course, the reality is that infinite war in very expensive in money and lives.

Stand your ground. #Schumershutdown


The #Schold the linehumershutdown is upon us.

The, up until now, conventional wisdom has been that a Government shutdown is always bad for the GOP. But is it?  Has it ever been that in the past?  I submit that the reason the GOP has been blamed successfully in the past has been its own weakness in allowing a shutdown then ultimately caving. The GOP Senators specifically are scared of shadows to the extent they can’t come together on anything and hold the line.  Many still don’t understand the current electorate.

This year is a bit different, however.  With Donald Trump, a President that is willing to take heat for the GOP, as much as a President can, one can hope a bit of a backbone will be seen.  The argument is so obviously on the GOP side of the rhetoric war this year.

Illegals or citizens (military, first responders etc.)  The commercials make themselves.

It will only be to complete capitulation that will see the GOP lose this Shutdown debate.

I wouldn’t touch that button

There appears to be a lot of disruption everywhere these days.  The Democrats of telling on each other, the Republicans (so-called) are shooting down their own bills and paying for opposition research on their own side, and Hollywood’s own activism is biting them in the ass. So far I don’t see a downside. A house cleaning has been in order for a long time.  Oh, the real culprits will escape the purge but perhaps a number of useful idiots will fall by the wayside.  There will be new ones of course.

When it’s over will things be better or worse?  Most likely the same.


Kneeling and firing

President Trump has stated that NFL players that disrespect the American Flag and National Anthem should be fired. He also says fans should “pick up and leave” if it continues.

The NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says that the President is disrespecting the NFL and its players. I guess disrespecting the country is ok though.

The NFL Commissioner is probably more pissed at the “pick up and leave” comment more than anything. NFL ratings and attendance are already down. But my heart simply can’t bleed for these millionaires. Pressure can work both ways.

I doubt many of the people have any idea what exactly they are protesting. Injustice? So, disrespecting our flag and national anthem helps?

If I were an NFL owner I wouldn’t require standing, but I also wouldn’t allow the politicizing of my team. If you have a cause, great, work it on your own time. I have no issue with any player in any league protesting on their time. There is nothing wrong with that. But don’t complain if you do it at work and there are consequences. If you’re an owner don’t be surprised if your income streams falls.

It is all divisive? Sure but that’s what the left always says when someone stands up to them. You see it’s divisive because it disrupts their narrative.

I personally won’t pay to see any NFL games, mostly because the price is too damn high for normal working class people. I also don’t subscribe to any ESPN or NFL television packages or buy NFL merchandise. Again, the price of the items are outrageous.

I’d rather spend my money on quality cigars and time in the woods.

Interesting Crime map

I found this interactive refugee and migrant crime map for Europe. There are a couple of interesting points to this site. On their FAQ page they explain what they are about.

1. Who is behind this project?

This project is solely supported by people that feel very concerned about their own and their families’ safety. We are not organized in any political party but form a network of average citizens that engage together via the internet – voluntarily and without pay in our leisure time. In doing so it is irrelevant how many time the individual is able to spend for this project. Some are there just for a few minutes a week whereas others take part several hours per day to collect and evaluate criminal offences committed by immigrants and asylum seekers. Our goal is not to defame or offend people. We just close the gap the mainstream media leave due to their flawed and incomplete coverage of this issue. We also want to encourage other people to join us as the torrent of the mentioned criminal offences is incredibly high and our database is overflowing.

8. How do I know that the listed crimes are genuine?

For each crime registered in our database we always quote the source. To convince yourself of the correctness of the evaluations you can randomly select crimes from our database and compare them to the original reports. In case the original report is not accessible anymore there is an archive link for each crime under which the source is secured by us after publishing.

9. Do you really publish refugee crimes only?

We do not confine ourselves to crimes that are committed by so-called “refugees” but at the same time document acts that are committed by immigrants who do not flee from war and persecution. Unfortunately those increasingly are perpetrators from the East and Southeast European area. We’ve been noticing for some time that especially Romanians and Georgians but also North Africans have been entering our country to enrich themselves with criminal intent. Perpetrators who rob, defraud or physically abuse the inhabitants of their host country do not come here to integrate and become part of our society. Ultimately it is our objective to illustrate the impact of this unregulated immigration – for that reason it must be allowed to call things as they are.

One wonders just how much is acceptable.



Trump rescinds DACA as he promised

You may not like all of the policies President Trump has put forth but you can’t say he hasn’t pushed what he promised on the campaign trail. Isn’t that what many Americans have been complaining about with past politicians? DACA is an issue Trump could have easily push to the side. Even die hard controlled immigration activist realize the issue with children brought here illegally by their parents or others is a tough call.

That said the executive order probably wouldn’t have withstood a judicial review. President Obama’s own administration admitted the executive order was not constitutional.

This best part of this announcement is that congress will now be able to do their jobs or let DACA go away completely. They have six months to come up with real legislation. The legislation branch had numerous chances in the past to pass laws that would addressed this issue but failed to act. DACA was an unconstitutional workaround. Unless congress wants the President to have nearly unlimited power this is a good move.


Trump’s Afghan speech was on point but…

I had to take a few days to reflect on President Trumps Afghanistan speech. There were parts of the speech I liked a lot and other parts that still left questions. One of the first issues is did Trump flip flop? He had on numerous occasions in the past stated we need to leave Afghanistan. But then I’ve said the same thing. My position was that if we aren’t going to actually fight then let’s leave. The people of Afghanistan are too tribal and corrupt to create and run a competent central government. It’s in the culture. If on the other hand, our primary purpose is to kill terrorists than Afghanistan is in the heart of the enemy and has prime real estate to launch attacks from.

When President Trump came into office one of the first items on his agenda was to have the “Generals” review the Afghanistan strategy. This was the correct thing to do. President Trump does not have military experience and asking for a complete review and new plan was the right move.


Our previous plans for building the central democracy and not killing terrorist was flawed. Not only was it impractical with the culture of the region but we didn’t actually enforce democratic rules or fight the obvious corruption (see poppy eradication plan- a complete lie – fact the Taliban are the only ones willing to eradicate). We made so many compromises to our democratic ideals and rule of law that what resulted resembles neither democracy nor a competent dictatorship. It is just chaos.

Trump’s cabinet completed the review and presented the conclusion recently at Camp David. Trump makes the point that campaigning and being in office is different. This is a lesson many learn however it should not necessarily change their views unless solid evidence is produced. This review many have had that information.

Trump points out that like Iraq, should we just up and leave, a vacuum would be created most likely filled by terrorists. This would only lead to us returning at a later date after Al-Qaeda, ISIS or some other radical Islamic group has had time to build a foundation for its organization again. This is most likely true but could we not just bomb them once they congregate at their bases? We could but would we? That hasn’t really been done since 2002.

President Trump also stated that the US will not announce its intentions prior to operations. This is a great point. Something President Obama was clueless about. You can’t set a time table or pre-determined troop strength without regards to the needs on the ground. The Taliban are regressive but not dumb. They understand the waiting game and can hit and run till your timetable runs out. Trump left open the possibility of talking with the Taliban but not at this time. You must wait till they are softened up and hurting before we talk. They will be ready. If this policy is carried out the Taliban may beg to be at the table one day.


Then there is Pakistan. Trump’s words on Pakistan have been a long time coming. Pakistan has taken millions or more and we watched as insurgents ran back across the border with impunity. Pakistan has been playing to both sides since the beginning yet we have been too weak to confront them in any meaningful way. If Trump is willing to put real pressure on Pakistan I’m all for that.


The lifting of the restrictive ROE sounds encouraging also. Although it’s not clear just what the new ROE is. This has been a sore spot for many in the military again since the beginning. While there have been times when the ROE was less restrictive as soon as progress was made the handcuffs went right back on. The ground commander must have the authority to run his campaign. If he fails then fire him but give him an opportunity to win.

Finally we get to another potential big issue. Nation building. According to President Trump we will no longer use American military might to construct democracies. This is a good point. I’m not opposed to building democracies that are trying and have the basic culture where democracy is possible but for the most part in South West Asia you must be willing to take complete control of the country as we did in Germany or Japan. Run the institutions ourselves until they get the concept then leave. This may take decades that I would bet Americans wouldn’t be up for. So lets just stay away from nation building.

Overall I liked the speech but talk is cheap and we will have to wait and see. I, like most people don’t have a complete or even good answer for Afghanistan.  But if we are there let our people fight.