Thursday, July 20, 2017


And I'm proud to be an American
Where at least I know I'm free
--God Bless the U.S.A.,
Lee Greenwood

There ain't no good guy, there ain't no bad guy
There's only you and me and we just disagree
--We Just Disagree,
Dave Mason

God help your men.
They'll be torn apart by the wily Pathan.
--How I Won the War (1967)

We ended SITREP I saying that wars were based on objective facts which underlie and precede the action.

In contrast, the War on Terror (WOT) is based primarily upon false assumptions and cruel cynicism. Prior to the initiation of the WOT proper in 2002, we had the Iraqi - Kuwaiti event known as Gulf War I, named as though to lend the WOT a provenance which then-President George H. W. Bush's Most Excellent oil adventure most certainly had not.

Saddam Hussein was kicked out of Kuwait, but it was not a strategic victory for the United States. The U.S. gained nothing beyond a show of power politics. Kuwait was never liberated and will never be a democratic society.

Of course, neither will be Iraq, Afghanistan or Libya, but many have yet to see the failure as they do not have the benefit of an end date which would allow a perspective to see the failure that is. (The Marines returned to Helmand Provence this year, and so it goes.)

The U.S. has precision weapons and artillery and mortars with GPS fuses, but we cannot fix the enemy. We cannot even define the enemy. Is he "militant", "insurgent", "terrorist", "militia"? Is he an amorphous and fungible pool of "Bad Guys"?

It is a poor way to conduct a war.

If we cannot define the Bad Guys, then how do we identify the Good Guys? He is a squidgy enemy on a non-linear battlefield.

The U.S. and battle buddies (do we still have them?) can kick the baddies out or kill them, but that does not cut their main supply and support routes which are remote from the battlefield.

Clearly, the battlefield has never been isolated in the WOT. The best that can be achieved is local tactical security. There has been no strategic thought or action in the WOT because this is not a war.

If this was a war, we would have allies that were not disingenuous and duplicitous.

Neither Iraq, nor Afghanistan, Libya, Saudi Arabia or any other country in the mix share our values or our goals, either military or political. Our NATO ally Turkey is at odds with our policy regarding the Kurds whom we support, though they have no value to the U.S. as allies.

We have no friends in the region and our actions are at cross-purposes to our interests. There are no moderates in any of the regional equations.

So, if there is no war to be won and no chance of political accommodation, then what is it that we hope to achieve in the region?

Remind me: why are we back in Afghanistan?

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Anonymous David said...

In fairness, the only reason Turkey is our ally is because it once seemed strategically convenient, the same reason the Kurds are supposedly our ally now.

Big, complex structures like states take a long time to collapse so it seems to happen in slow motion when watched from a distance. I suspect the State and Defense Departments are dimly aware enough of this to imagine that what they're doing is necessary, but not nearly perceptive enough to realize they are causing problems instead of solving them.

So far, since 2001, we've been able to destroy two nation-states and are hard at work on a third. Then, once that's done, it'll be Iran's turn.

Thursday, July 20, 2017 at 10:09:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My whole life - or at least since I've been at least marginally aware of world events; say since 1972 +/- , I've been hearing about the need for the US to be in the MENA to protect it's "vital interests". I do not think that I have ever heard an explanation of just what those interests are. Not once that I can recall. We were always left to assume (never a good idea) that those interests involved access to cheap oil.

However, now it is clear that oil cannot account for all of our military activities in the region. Certainly not Afghanistan. And now that the US, Canada and S. America are major oil production centers, the assumption does not hold that oil has anything to do with any of it.

Incredible that no one has explained and how we blindly follow them as leaders despite lack of explanation and despite the fact that these people were elected by us to represent us.

More recently even the meme of "get them over there before they get us at home" has given way to simply, "We need to pound on them b/c they are bad guys". No one questions if the cost of pounding them is worth the temporary "fun" of doing so.

One main reason that Trump was elected is that he called BS on the whole thing. and has promised to end it. Time will tell.

It seems weird to me that progressives are all for more pounding of hook nosed bad guys. That seems like progress is reverse. AKA "regress".


Friday, July 21, 2017 at 10:39:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

afgh is/was about pipelines and natural gas.
at least thats what istm.
all the early us players had/have oil connections.

Friday, July 21, 2017 at 1:39:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One problem; If about oil/gas/other valuable commodities, then why do we not have a pipeline or whatever, in A-stan after all these years? AFAIK, the Chinese are getting any goodies that A-stan has to offer. In the MENA, I am not aware that any additional control of oil has arisen post Iraq invasion. Maybe I'm missing it, but I've been looking.

So if that is the motivation, then we really are piss poor at achieving our objectives and should play another game.


Friday, July 21, 2017 at 1:53:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous David said...


Perhaps the logical conclusion from what you are saying is that the U.S. should also invade Canada.

Jim is right that the major players had oil and gas connections, but I think the second part that convinced the foreign policy "expert" class to get onboard was the idea that even if America didn't need to import this oil and gas for its own use anymore, it was at least worth denying the oil and gas to anyone else, namely China.

Even if it was working, which as you point out it isn't, I wonder what price in blood it is worth paying to ensure that China has a modestly harder time getting access to fossil fuels.

Saturday, July 22, 2017 at 1:03:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

To All,
i have realized that i left a salient point out of Sitrep.
here goes- regime change always works against us. we change leaders ans then they screw us.
it happened in iran with the shah, perpetuated with diem , and yadi yadi yadi.
we have lost the ability to react in a truthful manner in all our policies.
we are ruled rather than led.

Saturday, July 22, 2017 at 10:02:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a bizarro belief amongst our intelligentsia that foreigners will not act in their own self-interest, both collectively and individually. IMO, the think tankers live in a room full of mirrors.


Saturday, July 22, 2017 at 11:43:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous David said...

Strangely, at least in the long term, I've noticed that countries seldom act in their own self-interest. I guess it depends on which collective is being served. NAFTA, for instance, served elites in all three countries and the working class in one at best.

That said, it probably shouldn't surprise us that the people handpicked by outsiders to lead their countries will turn out not to be very good leaders, especially when the wellspring of Western aid starts to dry up and they're left to their own devices.

Sunday, July 23, 2017 at 9:49:00 PM GMT-5  

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