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Saturday, January 23, 2016

America’s Mercenary Army Making US More Unsafe on a Daily Basis




The Pentagon’s Progress
Will American “Successes” Lead to More Iraqi Military Failures? 

By Nick Turse
 Tom’s Dispatch
There’s good news coming out of Iraq... again. The efforts of a 65-nation coalition and punishing U.S. airstrikes have helped local ground forces roll back gains by the Islamic State (IS). 
Government forces and Shiite militias, for example, recaptured the city of Tikrit, while Kurdish troops ousted IS fighters from the town of Sinjar and other parts of northern Iraq. Last month, Iraqi troops finally pushed Islamic State militants out of most of the city of Ramadi, which the group had held since routing Iraqi forces there last spring.
In the wake of all this, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter touted “the kind of progress that the Iraqi forces are exhibiting in Ramadi, building on that success to… continue the campaign with the important goal of retaking Mosul as soon as possible.”  Even more recently, he said those forces were “proving themselves not only motivated but capable.”  I encountered the same upbeat tone when I asked Colonel Steve Warren, a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, about the Iraqi security forces.  “The last year has been a process of constructing, rebuilding, and refitting the Iraqi army,” he explained. “While it takes time for training and equipping efforts to take effect, the increasing tactical confidence and competence of the ISF [Iraqi security forces] and their recent battlefield successes indicate that we are on track.”
“Progress.”  “Successes.”  “On track.”  “Increasing tactical confidence and competence.”  It all sounded very familiar to me.

By September 2012, after almost a decade at the task, the U.S. had allocated and spent nearly $25 billion on “training, equipping, and sustaining” the Iraqi security forces, according to a report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.  Along the way, a parade of generals, government officials, and Pentagon spokesmen had offered up an almost unending stream of good news about the new Iraqi Army.  Near constant reports came in of “remarkable,” “big,” even “enormous” progress for a force that was said to be exuding increasing “confidence,” and whose performance was always improving.  In the end, the U.S. claimed to have trained roughly 950,000 members of the “steady,” “solid,” Iraqi security forces.
And yet just two and a half years after the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, that same force collapsed in spectacular fashion in the face of assaults by Islamic State militants who, by CIA estimates, numbered no more than 31,000 in all.  In June 2014, for example, 30,000 U.S.-trained Iraqi troops abandoned their equipment and in some cases even their uniforms, fleeing as few as 800Islamic State fighters, allowing IS to capture Mosul, the second largest city in the country. 
Blaming the Victim
“When U.S. forces departed Iraq in 2011, it was after helping the Iraqi government create an entirely new Iraqi Security Force following the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime,” Major Curtis Kellogg, a spokesman with U.S. Central Command, explained to me last year.  It almost sounded as if the old regime had toppled of its own accord, a new government had arisen, and the U.S. had generously helped build a military for it.  In reality, of course, a war of choice -- based on trumped up claims of nonexistent weapons of mass destruction -- led to a U.S. occupation and the conscious decision to dissolve Iraqi autocrat Saddam Hussein’s military and create a new army in the American mold.  “[T]he Iraqi security forces were a fully functioning element of the Iraq Government,” Kellogg continued, explaining how such an Iraqi military collapse could occur in 2014.  “However, the military standards established and left in place were allowed to atrophy following the departure of U.S. troops.” 
More recently, Colonel Steve Warren brought up another problem with Iraq’s forces in an email to me.  “The Iraqi army that we left in 2011 was an army that had been trained for counterinsurgency. That means route clearance, checkpoint operations, and IED [improvised explosive device] reduction, for example.  The Iraqi army that collapsed in 2014 was... not trained and... not ready for a conventional fight -- the conventional assault that ISIL brought to Mosul and beyond.”
Both Kellogg and Warren stopped short of saying what seems obvious to many.  Kalev Sepp, the adviser to two top American generals in Iraq and a former deputy assistant secretary of defense for special operations and counterterrorism, shows no such hesitation. “We had 12 years to train the Iraqi Army... We failed.  It’s obvious.  So when this lightly-armed insurgent group, the so-called Islamic State, invaded the country, the Iraqi army collapsed in front of it.” 
It’s taken billions of dollars and a year and a half of air strikescommando raids, advice, and training to begin to reverse the Islamic State’s gains.  According to Warren, the U.S. and its partners have once again trained more than 17,500 ISF troops, with another 2,900 currently in the pipeline.  And once again we’re hearing about their successes. Secretary of Defense Carter, for example, called the fight for Ramadi “a significant step forward in the campaign to defeat this barbaric group,” while Secretary of State John Kerry claimed the Islamic State had “suffered a major defeat” there. 
Still, the tiny terror group seems to have no difficulty recruiting new troops, is ramping up attacks in the district of Haditha, carrying out complex attacks in Baghdad and the town of Muqdadiya, and continues to hold about 57,000square miles of Syrian and Iraqi territory, including Mosul. With questions already being raised by Pentagon insiders about just how integral the Iraqi security forces were to the retaking of Ramadi and doubts about their ability to clear cities like Mosul, it’s worth taking a look back at all those upbeat reports of “progress” during the previous U.S. effort to build an Iraqi Army from scratch. 
Nothing “Succeeds” Like “Success” 
After the U.S. toppled Saddam Hussein's government in April 2003 as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the Bush administration began remaking the battered nation from the ground up.  One of the first acts of L. Paul Bremer III, the top American civilian official in the occupied country, was to dissolveIraq’s military.  His plan: to replace Saddam Hussein’s 350,000-man army with a lightly armed border protection force that would peak at around 40,000 soldiers, supplemented by police and civil defense forces.  In an instant, hundreds of thousands of well-trained soldiers were unemployed, providing a ready source of fighters for a future insurgency.
"In less than six months we have gone from zero Iraqis providing security to their country to close to a hundred thousand Iraqis... Indeed, the progress has been so swift that... it will not be long before [the Iraqi security forces] will... outnumber the U.S. forces,” Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld suggested in a cheery assessment in October 2003. 
Major General Paul Eaton, tasked with rebuilding the Iraqi Army, similarly articulated his upbeat vision for the force.  Schooled by Americans in “fundamental soldier and leadership skills” and outfitted with all the accoutrements of modern Western troops, including body armor and night-vision equipment, the new military would be committed to “defend[ing] Iraq and its new-found freedom,” he announced at a Baghdad briefing in January 2004.  Soon, Iraqis would even take over the task of instruction.  “I would like to emphasize that this will be an Iraqi Army, trained by Iraqis," he said. "As Iraq is reborn,” he added, “we believe that her armed forces can lead the way in unifying" the country. 
“Paul Eaton and his team did an extraordinary amount for the Iraqi Security Force mission,” his successor Lieutenant General David Petraeus would say a couple of years later.  “They established a solid foundation on which we were able to build as the effort was expanded very substantially and resourced at a much higher level."
Retired Special Forces officer Kalev Sepp, who traveled to Iraq as an adviser five times, had a different assessment. “General Eaton was direct in letting me know that he wanted to be remembered as the father of the new Iraqi Army,” he told me. “I thought his approach was conceptually wrong,” Sepp recalled, noting that Eaton “understood his mission was to create an army to defend Iraq from foreign invasion, but he completely overlooked the internal insurgency.” (A request to interview Eaton, sent to the American Security Project, a Washington D.C.-based think tank with which the retired general is affiliated, went unanswered.) 
General Eaton would later blame the Bush administration for initial setbacks in the performance of the Iraqi Army, thanks to poor prewar planning and insufficient resources for the job.  "We set out to man, train, and equip an army for a country of 25 million -- with six men," General Eaton told the New York Times in 2006.  He did, however, accept personal responsibility for the most visible of its early failures, the mutiny of a freshly minted Iraqi battalion en route to its first battle in April 2004.
In the years that followed, America’s Iraq exploded into violence as Sunni and Shiite militants battled each other, the U.S. occupiers, and the U.S.-backed Baghdad government.  On the fly, U.S. officials came up with new plans to build a large, conventional, heavily armed force to secure Iraq in the face of sectarian strife, multiple raging insurgencies, and ultimately civil war.  “The Iraqi military and police forces expanded rapidly from 2004 to 2006, adapting to the counterinsurgency mission,” according to a report by the U.S. Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.  As chaos spread and death tolls rose, estimates of the necessary numbers of Iraqi troops, proposals concerning the right types of weapons systems for them, and training stratagems for building the army were amended, adjusted, and revised, again and again.  There was, however, one constant: praise. 
In September 2005, as violence was surging and more than 1,400 civilians were being killed in attacks across the country, General George W. Casey Jr., commander of Multinational Force-Iraq, reported that the security forces were "progressing and continuing to take a more prominent role in defending their country."  He repeatedly emphasized that training efforts were on track -- a sentiment seconded by Defense Secretary Rumsfeld.  “Every single day, the Iraqi security forces are getting bigger and better and better trained and better equipped and more experienced,” he said.
“I think we did a very effective job of training the Iraqi military recruits that were brought to us,” Casey told me last year, reflecting on U.S. efforts during his two and a half years in command.  The trouble, he said, was with the Iraqis.  “The political situation in Iraq through 2007 and even to this day is such that the leadership of the Iraqi government and the military never could instill the loyalty of the troops in the government.”
At the time, however, American generals emphasized progress over problems.  After Petraeus finished his own stint heading the training effort, he was effusive in his praise. “The bottom line up front that I'd like to leave with you today is that there has been enormous progress with the Iraqi security forces over the course of the past 16 months in the face of a brutal insurgency,” he boasted in October 2005, adding that “considerable work” still lay ahead. “Iraqi security force readiness has continued to grow with each passing week.  You can take a percentage off every metric that's out there, whatever you want -- training, equipping, infrastructure reconstruction, units in the fight, schools, academies reestablished -- you name it -- and what has been accomplished... would still be remarkable.”  (Messages seeking an interview sent to Petraeus at Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts & Co., the investment firm where he serves as chairman of the KKR Global Institute, were not answered.) 
In November 2005, President Bush voiced the same sentiments.  “As the Iraqi security forces stand up, their confidence is growing,” he told midshipmen at the Naval Academy.  “And they're taking on tougher and more important missions on their own.”  By the following February, General Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was similarly lauding that military, claiming “the progress that they've made over this last year has been enormous.”
The next month, Lieutenant General Martin Dempsey, who succeeded Petraeus as commander of the Multinational Security Transition Command-Iraq (MNSTC-I) and later served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs, chimed inwith glowing praise: “What we're seeing now is progress on a three-year investment in Iraq's security forces.  It's been a big investment, and it's yielding big progress.”
I asked retired Army Colonel Andrew Bacevich, a professor of history and international relations emeritus at Boston University’s Pardee School of Global Studies, how so many American officials could have seen so much progress from a force that would later collapse so rapidly and spectacularly.  “I think there’s a psychological need to see progress and, of course, it’s helpful to parrot the party line.  I do think that, psychologically, you need to be able to persuade yourself that your hard-earned efforts -- this time spent away from home in lousy conditions -- actually produced something positive.”
Kalev Sepp, who traveled all over Iraq talking to the commanders of more than 30 U.S. units while conducting a seminal counterinsurgency study known simply as the “COIN Survey,” told me that when he asked about the progress of the Iraqi units they were working with, U.S. officers invariably linked it to their own tour of duty. “Almost every commander said exactly the same thing.  If the commander had six months left in his tour, the Iraqis would be combat-capable in six months.  If the commander had four months left, then the Iraqis would be ready in four months.  Was a commander going to say ‘I won’t accomplish my mission.  I’m not going to be done on time'?  All the other units were saying their Iraqis were going to be fully trained.  Who was going to be the one commander who said ‘I don’t think my Iraqi unit is really ready’?”
Official praise continued as insurgencies raged across the country and monthly civilian death tolls regularly exceeded 2,000, even topping 3,000 in 2006 and 2007.  “The Iraqi security force continues to develop and grow, assisted by embedded transition teams,” Lieutenant General Ray Odierno, commander of the Multinational Corps-Iraq, announced to the press in May 2007.  “Yes, there are still problems within the Iraqi security forces -- some sectarian, some manning, and some to do with equipping.  But progress is being made, and it's steady.”  A 2008 Pentagon review also indicatedremarkable progress with 102 out of 169 Iraqi battalions being declared “capable of planning, executing, and sustaining counterinsurgency operations with or without Iraqi or coalition support,” up from just 24 battalions in 2005.
Years later, Odierno, still in charge of the command, then known as United States Forces-Iraq, continued to tout improvement.  “Clearly there's still some violence, and we still need to make more progress in Iraq," he told reporters in July 2010. "But Iraqi security forces have taken responsibility for security throughout Iraq, and they continue to grow and improve every day.” 
The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, Stuart Bowen, was also upbeat, noting in 2010 that the $21.3 billion already spent to build up the then-660,000-man security force had “begun to pay off significantly.”  Don Cooke, head of the State Department's Iraq assistance office, agreed.  “We have built an Iraqi security force which is capable of maintaining internal security in Iraq... And four or five or six years ago, there were people who were saying it was going to take decades." 
In October 2011, as U.S. forces were preparing to end eight years of occupation, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta offered up his own mission-accomplished assessment.  “You know, the one thing... we have seen is that Iraq has developed a very good capability to be able to defend itself.  We've taken out now about a hundred thousand [U.S.] troops [from Iraq], and yet the level of violence has remained relatively low.  And I think that's a reflection of the fact that the Iraqis have developed a very important capability here to be able to respond to security threats within their own country,” he said of the by then 930,000-man security forces.
Winners and Losers
As the U.S. was training recruits at bases all over Iraq -- including Camp Bucca, where Iraqi cadets attended a U.S.-run course for prison guards -- another force was also taking shape.  For years, U.S.-run prison camps were decried by many as little more than recruiting and training sites for would-be insurgents, with innocents -- angered by arbitrary and harsh detentions -- housed alongside hardcore militants.  But Camp Bucca proved to be even more dangerous than that.  It became the incubator not just for an insurgency, but for a proto-state, the would-be caliphate that now lords over significant portions of Iraq and neighboring Syria.   
Nine top commanders of the Islamic State did prison time at America’s Camp Bucca, including Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the group’s leader who spent nearly five years there.  “Before their detention, Mr. al-Baghdadi and others were violent radicals, intent on attacking America,” Andrew Thompson, an Iraq War veteran, and academic Jeremi Suri wrote in a 2014 New York Times piece. “Their time in prison deepened their extremism and gave them opportunities to broaden their following... The prisons became virtual terrorist universities: The hardened radicals were the professors, the other detainees were the students, and the prison authorities played the role of absent custodian.”
So how could U.S. officials have so successfully (if inadvertently) fostered the leadership of what would become a truly effective fighting force that would one day best the larger, far more intensively trained, better-armed military they had built to the tune of tens of billions of dollars?  “The people we imprisoned didn’t leave with skills when they finally got out of prison, but they did leave with will,” says Andrew Bacevich.  “What we were doing was breeding resentment, anger, determination, disgust, which provided the makings of an army that turns out to be more effective than the Iraqi Army.”
General George Casey, who went on to serve as Army Chief of Staff before retiring in 2011, sees the failure of Iraq’s Shiite government to reach out to minority Sunnis as the main driver of the collapse of significant portions of the country’s army in 2014.  “You hear all kinds of reasons why the Sunni forces [of the Iraqi military] ran out of Mosul, but it wasn’t a surprise to any of us who had been over there.  If your country doesn’t support what you’re doing, there’s no reason to fight for them,” Casey explained in a phone interview last year.  “People probably give short shrift to what we in the military call ‘the will to fight.’  When it comes right down to it, that’s what it’s all about.  And we can’t instill the will to fight in the heart of a soldier from another country.  We just can’t do it.”
“We can talk about how appalling Daesh is,” adds Kalev Sepp, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State, “but their fighters believe in what they’re doing and that adds a particular steel to one’s backbone.”  Bacevich, who has recently finished writing a military history, America’s War for the Greater Middle East, echoed this sentiment, noting the stark difference between U.S.-trained Iraqi forces and their brutal opponents.  “Whatever else we may think of ISIS, their forces appear to be keen to fight and willing to die in order to promote their cause.  The same cannot be said of the Iraqi Army.”
And yet, in the wake of the implosion of Iraq’s security forces, the United States -- as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, its campaign against IS -- began a new advisory and training effort to assist and re-rebuild Iraq’s army.  In June 2014, President Obama announced that up to 300 advisors would be sent to Iraq.  The size of the U.S. presence has increased steadily ever since to roughly 3,500. 
“As per policy we do not disclose specific numbers of troops and their roles,” Colonel Warren, the U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, explained to me.  He did, however, note that there are approximately 5,500 Coalition personnel from 17 partner nations including the United States conducting advise and assist missions and training at “Building Partner Capacity sites.” 
Despite the poor results of the prior training effort, even some of its critics are hopeful that the current mission may succeed.  “American advisors could have a positive effect,” Sepp, now a senior lecturer in defense analysis at the Naval Postgraduate School, told me.  He explained that a pinpoint mission of training Iraqis to take back a particular city or defend a specific area stands a real chance of success.  Casey, his former boss, agreed but insisted that such success would not come easily or quickly.  “This is going to take a long time.  This is not a short-term thing.  People want to see ISIS defeated -- whatever that means -- quickly.  But it’s not going to be ‘quickly’ because the problems are political more than military and that’s going to take the Iraqis some time to come to grips with.”
Doomed to Repeat It?
History suggests that time is no panacea when Washington attempts to prop up, advise, or build armies.  In the early 1950s, the U.S. provided extensive support to the French military in Indochina -- eventually footing nearly 80% of the cost of its war there -- only to see that force defeated by a less advanced, less well-equipped Vietnamese army.  Not long after, the U.S. began an expensive process that continued into the mid-1970s of building, advising, equipping, and bankrolling the South Vietnamese military.  In those years, it ballooned into a million-man army, only to disintegrate two years after the U.S. ended its own long, unsuccessful combat effort in that country. 
“The assumption that we know how to create armies in other parts of the world is a pretty dubious proposition,” Andrew Bacevich, a veteran of that war, told me.  “Yes, Vietnam was a vivid demonstration of a failed project to build an effective army, but you don’t even have to cite Vietnam.  Iraq obviously is another case.  And more generally, the Pentagon exaggerates its ability to create effective fighting forces in parts of the developing world.” 
Indeed, recent U.S. training efforts around the globe have been marked by a string of scandals, setbacks, and failures.  Last year, for example, the Obama administration scrapped a $500 million program to train anti-Islamic State Syrian rebels.  It was supposed to yield 15,000 fighters over three years but instead produced only a few dozen.  Then there’s the 13-year$65 billion effort in Afghanistan that has yielded a force whose rolls are filled with nonexistent “ghost” troops, wracked by desertions, and hobbled by increasing casualties.  It has been unable to defeat a small, unpopular, Taliban insurgency now growing in strength and reach. The short-term loss by U.S.-backed Afghan forces of the city of Kunduz late last year and recent Taliban gains in Helmand province have cast a bright light on this slow-motion fiasco.  
These efforts have hardly been anomalies. A U.S.-trained Congolese commando battalion was, for example, implicated by the United Nations in mass rapes and other atrocities.  One effort to train Libyan militiamen ended up stillborn; another saw militants repeatedly raid a U.S. training camp and loot it of high-tech equipment, including hundreds of weapons; and still another saw advisers run out of the country by a militia soon after touching down. Then there were the U.S.-trained officers who overthrew their governments in coups in Mali in 2012 and Burkina Faso in 2014.  In fact, a December 2015 report by the Congressional Research Service noted:
“Recent events, particularly the battle between the Afghan government and the Taliban over K[u]nduz, the inability of [Department of Defense]-led efforts to produce more than a ‘handful’ of anti-Assad, anti-Islamic State (IS) forces in Syria, and the collapse of U.S.-trained forces in Iraq in the face of the Islamic State, have called into question -- including in the Congress -- whether these [building partner capacity] programs can ever achieve their desired effects.”
Despite all of this, the Pentagon remains committed to creating another Iraqi Army in the American mold with, as Colonel Warren recently explained to me, “modern American equipment, modern conventional training, and of course, supported by air power.”  The U.S. has, he notes, already spent $2.3 billion arming and equipping this new force. 
Andrew Bacevich once again sees crucial flaws in the American plan.  “Our trainers, I suspect, are probably pretty good at imparting technical skills... I’m sure that they can teach them marksmanship, how to conduct a patrol, how to maintain their weapons, but I can’t imagine that we have much of a facility for imparting fighting spirit, sense of national unity, and that’s where Iraqi forces have been deficient. It’s this will versus skill thing.  We can convey skills.  I don’t think we can convey will.”
For his part, Secretary of Defense Carter seems singularly focused on the skills side of the equation. “ISIL’s lasting defeat still requires local forces to fight and prevail on the ground.  We can and will continue to develop and enable such local forces,” he told the House Armed Services Committee in June 2015.  “That’s why [the Department of Defense] seeks to bolster… Iraq’s security forces to be capable of winning back, and then defending and holding the ISIL-controlled portions of the Iraqi state.”  Last month, Carter assured the Senate Armed Services Committee that he was still “urging the Iraqi government to do more to recruit, train, arm, and mobilize Sunni popular mobilization fighters in their communities.”
This presumes, however, that there is a truly functioning Iraqi state in the first place.  Andrew Bacevich isn’t so sure.  “It may be time to admit that there is no Iraq.  We presume to be creating a national army that is willing to fight for the nation of Iraq, but I don’t think it’s self-evident that Iraq exists, except in the most nominal sense.  If that’s true, then further efforts -- a second decade’s worth of efforts to build an Iraqi army -- simply are not likely to pan out.” 
Nick Turse is the managing editor of TomDispatch and a fellow at the Nation Institute. He is the author, most recently, of Tomorrow's Battlefield: U.S. Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa, as well as Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam. He has written for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Nation, and is a contributing writer for the Intercept.

60 comments:

  1. The video was Samarra in 2004. Any guesses about what happened to Samarra since then?

    ReplyDelete
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    1. It's just a job the boys say.

      Thank you for your service! OOORah!!

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  2. Having given up on the mid-east, I've turned to worrying that Quirk might be drinking and driving without snow tires.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Rufus at the end of the last thread has come out of the closet and forthrightly and honestly admitted he might vote for the most dishonest and criminal person on the entire political scene - Hillary Clinton.

    There is no remedy for people like this.......



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wanna bet?
      Nobody said it has to be legal.
      (Pledge to) Vote for a criminal, pay the price.
      ...preventive elimination.

      Delete
  4. Well, that was quite a plate-full.

    Meantime, however, the Iraqi Army Has retaken Tikrit, and Ramadi, and Baiji, (I didn't add in Sinjar, since that one was, primarily, a Peshmerga operation,) and Has Successfully Defended Haditha.

    This Iraqi Army is Not one of the great, all-time armies, But

    might I remind our readers of The Continental Army in their first Battle of New York, or of Gen. Eisenhower's troops when they first met the Germans in North Africa.

    I think the Iraqis are getting a bit better. Abadi has fired a whole flock of Officers, from General on down, and even that negative asshole Sunni Defense Minister, Obeidi, seems to have dropped out of the picture, recently.

    ReplyDelete
  5. As for "Sammarah," the last I heard, ISIS still hadn't been able to conquer it.

    ReplyDelete
  6. .

    Every 'public' statement on military actions starting from the president to the SOD to the Joint Chiefs to the Area Commanders to the military spokesmen right down to the daily briefings out of theater command have to be taken with a huge grain of salt as all are more political than military. They are designed to emphasize the positive and minimize (or even ignore) any negatives.

    It is foolish to take them as fact without further confirmation. It is legitimate to assume that they only present us with an incomplete picture.

    The only thing worse is when we hear nothing at all.

    Has anyone heard anything about our efforts in Libya lately?

    Anyone?

    Bueller?

    .

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Staff writer, Al Arabiya News Saturday, 23 January 2016

      Dozens of British, Russia and American troops have arrived in Libya in support for the weak internationally-recognized government in Tobruk, London-based daily Asharq al-Awsat reported.

      The daily also said French troops are expected to arrive soon for the same purpose.

      The officers and soldiers are currently stationed in Jamal Abdulnasir military base south of Tobruk where the parliament is holding its sessions in the city.

      Witnesses in the base, meanwhile, said the number of foreign troops mounts to 500 troops in the past three weeks, but a security official, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, said they are just dozens.

      However, a small group of Americans have arrived west of Tripoli, where the opposing government is.

      On Friday, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford said a decisive military action is needed to halt the spread of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Libya, saying the group wanted to use the north African nation as a platform to coordinate activity across the continent.

      A spokesman for Libya’s recognized government in the east told AFP it was requesting a “limited intervention by the international community to "protect oil fields from ISIS attacks.”

      Hatem el-Ouraybi said the government wanted “air strikes against ISIS positions” in Libya.

      The government has previously called for an air campaign against ISIS, like in Iraq and Syria, but world powers are first waiting for rival sides to endorse the unity administration.


      http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2016/01/23/Report-UK-U-S-Russian-troops-in-Libya.html

      Delete
    2. US-Russian marines set up bridgehead in E. Libya for campaign against ISIS
      DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 23, 2016, 6:25 PM (IDT)


      http://www.debka.com/article/25183/US-Russian-marines-set-up-bridgehead-in-E-Libya-for-campaign-against-ISIS

      Delete

    3. US, allies set on action against ISIS in Libya


      WASHINGTON • Worried about a growing threat from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant group in Libya, the United States and its allies are increasing reconnaissance flights and intelligence collecting there, and preparing for possible air strikes and commando raids, senior US policymakers, commanders and intelligence officials said this week.

      While no decision has been finalised about when the US and its allies will formally expand action in Libya against ISIS, also known as ISIL, administration officials indicated that it might be very soon. A decision probably will come in "weeks" but "not hours", General Joseph F. Dunford Jr, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Friday.

      "It's fair to say that we're looking to take decisive military action against ISIL in conjunction with the political process" in Libya, he said. "The President has made clear that we have the authority to use military force.


      http://www.straitstimes.com/world/us-allies-set-on-action-against-isis-in-libya

      Delete
    4. "The President has made clear that we have the authority to use military force."

      Since the Congress has not authorized the use of force against the Islamic State, the President must have determined that they are responsible for the attack on NYCity and Washington DC, back in 2001.

      Delete
    5. .

      As 'they' (hard to tell who exactly from the above) talk about action the only government recognized by the international community is holed up on the northwestern coast, ones assumes to facilitate their escape if the shit hits the fan.

      .

      Delete
    6. I saw ISIS Supporters dancing in New Jersey.

      Delete
  7. NON-COLLEGE-EDUCATED WHITE

    Whites without college degrees are now the bedrock of the Republican coalition: They voted for Mitt Romney 62 percent to 36 percent in 2012.

    However, their share of the electorate is rapidly shrinking: They skew older and more rural, and we project that their share of the national vote will fall to 33 percent in 2016, down from 36 percent in 2012.

    Nonetheless, they still factor heavily in battleground states such as Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio and Wisconsin.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. COLLEGE-EDUCATED WHITE

      In 2012, Barack Obama performed 6 percentage points better among white voters with college degrees than those without them, up from a 5-point gap in 2008. Most prominent in suburbs and in swing states like Colorado, Minnesota and Virginia, this growing segment turns out to vote much more reliably than any other group,

      and Democrats have been on the upswing with these voters. In 2012, Obama carried 257 of the 673 majority-white counties where over a third of residents ages 25 and older hold at least a bachelor's degree.

      In 2000, Al Gore carried just 169 of these same counties.

      538 Interactive Demo Tracker

      Delete
    2. The effectiveness of the Propaganda Mills known as "Higher Education" continues to improve.
      ...as does the cost.

      Delete
    3. Free Pre-K to Phds for Everyone!
      ...for the children.
      Of any age.

      Delete
    4. And after the Ph.Ds are given out, employment opportunities for everyone, too.

      Five months of summer vacation, and one month of Winter Holiday vacation included.

      No 'publish, or perish' requirements, either. (click, click, click)

      Delete
  8. U.S. Relies Heavily on Saudi Money to Support Syrian Rebels

    WASHINGTON — When President Obama secretly authorized theCentral Intelligence Agency to begin arming Syria’s embattled rebels in 2013, the spy agency knew it would have a willing partner to help pay for the covert operation. It was the same partner the C.I.A. has relied on for decades for money and discretion in far-off conflicts: the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

    Since then, the C.I.A. and its Saudi counterpart have maintained an unusual arrangement for the rebel-training mission, which the Americans have code-named Timber Sycamore. Under the deal, current and former administration officials said, the Saudis contribute both weapons and large sums of money, and the C.I.A takes the lead in training the rebels on AK-47 assault rifles and tank-destroying missiles.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/24/world/middleeast/us-relies-heavily-on-saudi-money-to-support-syrian-rebels.html

    FEBRUARY 21, 1945
    U.S. Warship Becomes Arab Court In Miniature for Ibn Saud's Voyage

    Aboard an American warship, complete with a lavishly decorated tent and sheep for slaughter, King Ibn Saud prepared to meet with President Franklin D. Roosevelt to secure an agreement providing oil in exchange for military support.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Did that long drawn out piece (didn't finish it) ever mention that dissolving the Iraqi Army provided and instant armed insurgency of hundreds of thousands?
    Pure brilliance.
    ...and the one organization in the country that included both Sunni and Shia was dissolved in an instant.
    A Nobel Peace Prize should be awarded posthumously to Iraq.

    ReplyDelete
  10. These finger clickin' co-ed gals, first pointed out by Quirk, are, indeed, idiots.

    What is really scary is that they will be themselves running for office someday.

    I hope to be dead by then.

    ReplyDelete
  11. We wish you well on your hopes and dreams.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And thank you so very much.

      I had a hunch you might come up with such a charitable thought.

      As for ourselves, we are still offering you the free one way ticket to Gaza under the conditions mentioned earlier.

      Delete
  12. Rufie's Girl


    Why the Justice Department Won’t Work with the FBI on Clinton’s E-mail Case -- Andrew Caballero-Reynolds


    So Obama is hedging his bets. He is letting the FBI investigate, but on its own, without Justice Department prosecutors and the grand jury. This frees the administration and the Clinton campaign to be, by turns, ambiguous and disingenuous about whether there really is a formal investigation going on. As long as it is only the FBI doing the digging, everyone can play along with the farce: The investigation is very “preliminary,” it doesn’t even have “subjects,” and it may even be a Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy sabotage (in which, somehow, the saboteurs are Obama appointees and non-political law-enforcement agents). I don’t think it’s going to work. More Clinton E-mail Scandal State Department Seeks to Delay Release of Final Clinton E-mails until After Iowa & New Hampshire Hillary Clinton’s E-Mail Scandal: Far Graver than First Thought Hillary Clinton Is Trying to Pull a Fast One The FBI may not have a Justice Department prosecutor convening a grand jury, but it so happens that Director James Comey (whom I have known since we were pup prosecutors under Rudy Giuliani nearly 30 years ago) is a more accomplished government lawyer than anyone at the Justice Department. In fact, his own decorated DOJ career includes a term as deputy attorney general of the United States under President George W. Bush. Besides working under administrations of both parties, he has overseen prosecutions of both Republicans and Democrats. I’ve known no one in law enforcement more capable of navigating through a political maelstrom. Jim is tough, he is smart, and if there is a case to be made here, he will make it. And if he makes it, it will be bulletproof. Of course, making the case would not mean the FBI could force attorney general Loretta Lynch — and the president to whom she answers — to pursue the case. The FBI cannot convene a grand jury and present an indictment. But you’d best believe the FBI can make the Obama administration look very bad if it shrinks from doing so. Then it will be a matter of how far Barack Obama is willing to stick his neck out for Hillary Clinton. I’m betting: not that far.

    Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/430211/hillary-clinton-email-fbi-department-justice-obama

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Doesn't Hillary make a wonderful role model for our youth ?

      Especially our female youth, standing by her man as he raped women, molested women, exposed himself to women, time and time and time again ?

      Delete
    2. .

      I’m betting: not that far.

      I'm betting you're wrong. IMO, there is no way Obama let's this thing move ahead until after the election. No way.

      .

      Delete
    3. Well, who knows.

      Hillary and Bill may have some real goods on Obama.

      Maybe they have his school files that show he applied to college as a foreign citizen.

      Maybe both sides have their fingers on the mutual suicide bomb buttons....

      Heh

      Delete
    4. .

      Or, you can employ Occam's Razor and (and common sense) and realize that in his last year in office at a time when he is trying to complete his legacy there is no way in hell a Dem president (or a GOP president for that matter) is going to hand the election to the other party.

      .

      .

      Delete
    5. Does Occam ship to Idaho?

      Delete
    6. I use Harry's razors.

      They're great.

      Delete
    7. Occam's Razor has a very bad flaw.

      The simplest explanation is often wrong.

      I would have thought a gentleman that affirms correlation isn't always causation would have realized this.

      Delete
  13. .

    Trump: "I could 'shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters'"

    The sad truth is that given Trump's base, he is probably right. There is no doubt that much of Trump's support is firm; however, it still remains to be seen how deep it actually is. Starting in a couple weeks we should see.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. You can't link from Blogger anymore?

      Anyway here's a REVEALING Trump Video:

      https://www.trumpquestions.com/

      Delete
    3. Hillary seems to have violated the Espionage Act, and few of her supporters seem to care.

      Delete
    4. I agree.

      Further, she profited financially from her position as Secretary of State, and so did Bill.

      Corruption charges are in order too.

      Delete
    5. The management of the Des Moines Register do no care about any of the rumors ...

      The Des Moines Register on Saturday endorsed Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Democrat Hillary Clinton for their parties' presidential nominations

      Delete
    6. .

      You can't link from Blogger anymore?

      Sorry, Doug. I just thought that anyone here who keeps up on politics or watches the news would probably know about the quote.

      .

      Delete
    7. It was a dialog with myself, it turns out.

      ...it had been so long, and I had become careless, and my mistake didn't work, so I blamed blogger.
      Then I noticed it.

      Delete
    8. ...and please check out that link.
      Farmer Bob ain't gonna like it.

      Delete
  14. Trump: "I could 'shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters'"

    Using a razor, I read this to mean there are no Trump voters out there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson said he supported Trump, that is after he supported Dr Carson, and after he supported himself through identity theft and bank fraud.

      Delete
    2. Dead Beat Dad can't help himself.

      I said I supported some of things Trump has put forward, like stopping moslem immigration (until we can figure out what's going on) and building a fence on the Mexican border.

      Rather than worry about me, Dead Beat Dad, you ought to have supported your daughter, which you did not do.

      The Jews are much better people than you.

      They wouldn't leave the daughter without lunch money.

      Delete
    3. I was not worried about you, Issac, except that you thought that Trump had no voters "out there", and I wanted to remind you that our very own draft dodger, Robert Peterson, had claimed to now be a Trump supporter.

      So there you have it.

      Delete
  15. Casino time here.

    Saturday Night wampum.

    ReplyDelete
  16. .

    Occam's Razor has a very bad flaw.

    The simplest explanation is often wrong.

    I would have thought a gentleman that affirms correlation isn't always causation would have realized this.



    Sorry, Ike, but once again you are shooting from the lip without really reading or at least understanding what was actually said.

    The key words in my post from above,

    'Or, you can employ Occam's Razor and common sense and realize that...'

    First, with regard to Occam's Razor it actually posits two things, one an observable result and the other a process for getting to the truth. When trying to explain something, it suggests:

    1. That the simplest explanation is often the right one, and

    2. That when trying to explain something it should be done by making the fewest assumptions possible.

    While it's hard to argue with the general principle, admittedly the rule can allow for some subjectively which could lead to different answers. That's why I used the words 'Occam's Razor AND common sense' in my original post.

    It is passing strange that an English major could fail to see the coordinating conjunction, AND and the stipulation it implies. Harder still to understand that you could fail to register the significance of the words common sense.

    When searching for an explanation as to why you might miss the reference to 'common sense' in my original post, I can only assume it is because of your unfamiliarity with term combined with your apparent aversion to actually using it as illustrated in the posts you put up here.

    You will note that my explanations fits nicely with the principle of Occam's Razor.

    .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nice try but no cigar. No even a cigarette butt.

      Your razor is called "Q's" Bullshitting Shaver.

      If you had any common sense you'd easily see that O'bozo pulled the troops out, against the advice of the Generals, and Iraq collapsed because of it.
      ***********

      O'bozo and Hillary in some historical context -


      January 24, 2016

      Juxtaposing Hillary’s Antics to the Reality of National Security

      By James Longstreet


      You won’t see Democrat candidates for President concern themselves with national security. There will be no questions at the Democrat “debates” regarding the safety of the nation, the guarding of our borders or the guarding of our intelligence secrets.

      In fact we get quite the opposite. Bernie Sanders announces that the email scandal is not up for discussion. The importance of the topic seems to be lost on Democrats. It must be an inconveniently complicated topic sans any emotion, that oh so necessary element for any Democrat issue.


      To watch a historically accurate movie or read about the lengths and efforts that our and the allied intelligence communities have exerted in the past to procure valuable information from our “unfriendlies” yields a stark contrast to the reckless treatment of our nation’s sensitive and classified materials by Hillary Clinton.

      Our President announces troop withdrawals or deployment schedules for his political purposes, but the same also serves as a convenience for our enemies. Our troops are hamstrung by rules of engagement, restrictions fully played upon by the opposition.

      The Japanese Naval Code of WWII was broken by the efforsts of Joseph J. Rochefort and others. Reading about the Pacific War or watching an accurate movie such as Midway reminds us of the importance of intelligence gathering and intelligence protecting. This information can win wars and save lives.

      Likewise, in the movie The Imitation Game Alan Turing and others at Bletchley Park are recalled as breaking and then protecting information garnered from Nazi transmissions via the Enigma code machine. Both incidents remind us of the massive efforts, the brilliant work, and the exhausting exertions by very smart people.

      Now compare and contrast the cavalier and sloppy handling of our national top secret materials by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in which her personal convenience trumped national security. No smart people here. No regard for national security, only narcissistic decision making by the Secretary. She embodies a diametrically opposite attitude regarding the importance and concern for national security than that possessed by the code breakers of WWII.

      We can speak in clichés about the greatest generation. However, there can be no doubt that the resolve, the intelligence, the ability to grasp the gravity of the situation has been lost on the likes of Hillary and Obama. They seem to consider themselves to be that which is important. Just ask them.


      Delete
    2. You won’t see Democrat candidates for President concern themselves with national security. There will be no questions at the Democrat “debates” regarding the safety of the nation, the guarding of our borders or the guarding of our intelligence secrets.

      In fact we get quite the opposite. Bernie Sanders announces that the email scandal is not up for discussion. The importance of the topic seems to be lost on Democrats. It must be an inconveniently complicated topic sans any emotion, that oh so necessary element for any Democrat issue.

      To watch a historically accurate movie or read about the lengths and efforts that our and the allied intelligence communities have exerted in the past to procure valuable information from our “unfriendlies” yields a stark contrast to the reckless treatment of our nation’s sensitive and classified materials by Hillary Clinton.

      Our President announces troop withdrawals or deployment schedules for his political purposes, but the same also serves as a convenience for our enemies. Our troops are hamstrung by rules of engagement, restrictions fully played upon by the opposition.

      The Japanese Naval Code of WWII was broken by the efforsts of Joseph J. Rochefort and others. Reading about the Pacific War or watching an accurate movie such as Midway reminds us of the importance of intelligence gathering and intelligence protecting. This information can win wars and save lives.

      Likewise, in the movie The Imitation Game Alan Turing and others at Bletchley Park are recalled as breaking and then protecting information garnered from Nazi transmissions via the Enigma code machine. Both incidents remind us of the massive efforts, the brilliant work, and the exhausting exertions by very smart people.

      Now compare and contrast the cavalier and sloppy handling of our national top secret materials by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in which her personal convenience trumped national security. No smart people here. No regard for national security, only narcissistic decision making by the Secretary. She embodies a diametrically opposite attitude regarding the importance and concern for national security than that possessed by the code breakers of WWII.

      We can speak in clichés about the greatest generation. However, there can be no doubt that the resolve, the intelligence, the ability to grasp the gravity of the situation has been lost on the likes of Hillary and Obama. They seem to consider themselves to be that which is important. Just ask them.


      http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2016/01/juxtaposing_hillarys_antics_to_the_reality_of_national_security.html#ixzz3y993JwRJ

      Delete
    3. If you had any sense at all you'd agree with Gary Kasparov, and by-pass me.

      That way you'd have it right and not have to give a nod to my razor at the same time.

      Delete
  17. BC Alexis

    In Argentina of the 1950's and 1960's, there were two factions opposed to Juan Peron. One faction opposed Juan Peron for ideological reasons congruent with the Radicals (small government liberals who are called “conservatives” now). The other ”Blue” faction hated Juan Peron personally, and its slogan was Peronismo sin Peron – Peronism without Peron. The United States faces a similar question with Barack Obama. Do Americans oppose Barack Obama's agenda, or do Americans want Obamaism without Obama? This is the question facing the Republican Party now.

    There are varieties of “conservatism” that are big government, big taxing, and big spending. Their most prominent modern incarnations have been Integralism in France and Latin America, and the pre-Thatcher ideal of the “One Nation Tory” in the United Kingdom. It is a testament to the work of Barry Goldwater, Margaret Thatcher, and Ronald Reagan that we perceive classical liberalism to be conservative at all. What some people call Crony Capitalism, others would call Mercantilism – a good term for it might be Paleoconservatism.

    Donald Trump's support for Eugenics and particularly Infanticide is morally reprehensible, but it hardly represents a departure from conservatism when one considers that Winston Churchill was once an ardent supporter of Eugenics. The Rockefeller Foundation (and the Ford Foundation and the Carnegie Foundation...) was so critical to promoting Eugenics that Planned Parenthood should be considered to be the apotheosis of Rockefeller Republicanism. As Governor of New York, Nelson Rockefeller campaigned very hard to legalize abortion. So, Donald Trump cannot be regarded as anything other than a Rockefeller Republican on the question of
    state-sanctioned infanticide.

    Donald Trump is not a leftist of any stripe unless Rockefeller Republicans are leftist. Rather, he is a throwback to what the Eastern Establishment once stood. Even Donald Trump's lowbrow affectations are a reflection of his preppy background. His moral code appears to be Social Darwinism as popularized by the ideal of Superman prior to 1933. 1933 was a turning point in world history because Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster published a subversive comic book called Superman presenting a hero as something other than a well dressed bully.

    I have made it abundantly clear that I oppose Donald Trump. I regard him to be a vulture who preys upon the weak and then gloats about it, and I doubt that he would feel offended by such a remark if I said it to his face. My moral code unequivocally conflicts with his.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I liked The Donald's comment about the banks:

      "They're killers!"

      heh

      He plays amongst a group of folks that plays hardball.

      How is he a 'vulture' ?

      I can't even imagine the amount of real estate taxes that guy pays....

      And what's wrong with building buildings ?

      Deuce does the same.

      No one calls Deuce a 'vulture', certainly not me.

      Delete
  18. Hmmm...The Donald seems to get it from both barrels.

    I've read he was for single payer for awhile.

    Which doesn't sound like social Darwinism.

    Given much more money to the Democrats than the Republicans.

    I know I've grown tired of listening to the guy.

    Good salesman though. Simple, repetitive, sloganistic..

    But sure do like the idea of keeping the Mooselims out.

    I like the idea of excluding those who wish to kill us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Obama is for putting those who survive abortions into 'comfort rooms' till they die.

      Forgetting that they have Constitutional rights.....

      Delete
  19. I'd call Bernie a 'vulture'.

    He wants to pick the last ounce of quivering financial meat off the bones of those who have something.

    He wants the Deuce Limo.

    Of course, Bernie's never done a damn thing in his stupid life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 'of those who have done something'

      Of course, anyone who has anything, too.

      Delete
  20. .

    Your razor is called "Q's" Bullshitting Shaver.

    If you had any common sense you'd easily see that O'bozo pulled the troops out, against the advice of the Generals, and Iraq collapsed because of it.



    Once again, you offer up proof of your troubled mind. You can’t seem to hold a thought; you can’t take an argument to its logical conclusion; you can’t help but jump from subject to subject like a kitten chasing a catnip ball. You jump from a discussion on whether Clinton will be indicted before the election to the subject of Occam’s Razor to the collapse of Iraq with no transition, no logical segue or progression, simply one non-sequitur followed by another. The only purpose apparently is to get away from the arguments you have just lost and the only result is to introduce another subject on which you are hopelessly mistaken.

    On the subject of the loss of Iraq, I have pointed out how wrong you are on numerous occasions. The fact that you bring up your silly position again would indicate that you continue to exhibit the short-term memory problems you have become known for here; that, or you are suffering from the ‘stabbed in the back’ syndrome so evident in the neocons, international interventionists, and other right wing English majors as they try to explain away their past mistakes, a process that only guarantees they will continue attempting to make those same mistakes in the future.

    I won’t repeat the reasons you are wrong on the causes for the fall of Iraq. I’ve done it numerous times before. You don’t think. You emote. In your defensiveness, you would ignore them anyway and in your infirmity you would likely forget them in a day or so. I will simply leave you with this article from The Atlantic which outlines the case I made though in far more measured terms than I would use for you.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2016/01/obama-republicans-iraq-war/425127/

    Read it or don’t read it. I don’t really care. I fear you are hopeless and I despair of ever bringing you into the light especially given your age and obvious deficiencies.

    .

    ReplyDelete