• Pulling Out of Afghanistan: Coitus Invadus

    April 27, 2015 // 7 Comments »

    Love

    It is widely reported that the U.S. would like to keep additional troops in Afghanistan past the previously announced withdrawal date. Secretary of Defense Carter is now in Afghanistan negotiating.

    We listened in:

    Afghanistan: Hey, thanks for the invasion and for staying these 14 years. It’s been fun and I hope we can still be friends and all…

    Carter: We can invade anyone we want to you know, but hey, we picked you. You’re special to us and we want everyone to know that. Here, take this permanent base full of troops as a sign of our commitment.

    Afghanistan: But that’s what you said to all the other countries you invaded! And even while you’re saying these nice things to us, you still have bases in Japan, Germany and Italy, and they’re like 70-years-old.

    Carter: Sure, I have other… friends… but I have to keep those bases there for family reasons. You’re my new bestest friend. How about a base? Just one, a little one?

    Afghanistan: But I saw on Facebook that you are flirting with Yemen and Syria and even Somalia. And don’t think I don’t know what you did in Sudan! And please, Iraq again? You guys broke up, “for forevers” Obama said on Instagram, and now look at you, back involved again. That bitch.

    Carter: Hey, that’s not fair. Iraq is a just a friend with benefits. It doesn’t mean anything. I love you. Didn’t I promise you freedom and democracy in 2001? And then in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015? Besides, you were asking for it.

    Afghanistan: You made a lot of promises, but I think you only like me for my big bases. You say nice things to me, but you really just want your hands on a base for when you are ready for Iran.

    Carter: Aw, you know Iran and I are just good friends. I might fool around a bit with Syria, and yeah, Yemen looks pretty hot some days, but you’re the real one for me.

    Afghanistan: OK, maybe you can have just one. But do you promise to pull out?

    Carter: Of course baby. Would I lie to you?




    Related Articles:




    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

    Posted in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria

    Here a billion, there a billion…

    October 13, 2011 // Comments Off on Here a billion, there a billion…

    … And pretty soon you’re talking real money. No one is really sure exactly how much the war in Iraq actually cost the United States (in dollars; in prestige and our good name, well, priceless). Estimates vary by a trillion dollars over/under and there is a whole web site with a spinning dollar amount to check. The Army has lost a bunch of the receipts, and some stuff was paid for with Paypal, and then the credit card got stolen and…

    Anyway, since most of the American troops will be leaving Iraq over the next few months, and because shipping charges are so damn high, it is cheaper for us to leave behind most stuff we brought to Iraq. We’re saying it is all being transferred to the Government of Iraq, but in fact we’re really just leaving most of it the same way you left the old couch behind when you blasted out of that off-campus apartment without paying the last month’s rent.

    The always-prescient Dan Froomkin on HuffPo has the story. Dan tells us:

    With just over two months until the last U.S. troops are currently due to leave Iraq, the Department of Defense is engaged in a mad dash to give away things that cost U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars to buy and build. The giveaways include enormous, elaborate military bases and vast amounts of military equipment that will be turned over to the Iraqis, mostly just to save the expense of bringing it home. “It’s all sunk costs,” said retired Army Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton. “It’s money that we spent and we’re not going to recoup.”

    Check. War is a bad investment. Hear that Cheney– we aren’t going to recoup that investment. Iraqi oil did not, now officially, pay for the war.

    When the Iraqis take over a Forward Operating Base they also get the things that go with it, such as containerized housing units, water and fuel tanks, air conditioning units, generators, refrigerators, porta-johns, beds and mattresses, office equipment, fences, dining facilities and so on. According to Lt. Col Melinda F. Morgan, a Pentagon spokeswoman, excess defense items worth $70.5 million have been turned over to the Iraqis, with more, worth about $40 million, to go. U.S. forces have also given the Iraqis non-excess military items worth $47.7 million.

    Let’s see, that adds up to a jazillion dollars including shipping and handling. Luckily, the Chinese have loaned us their Dad’s VISA card, so it’s cool, right? Maybe not says HuffPo:

    I’m thinking about the size of what was wasted there, and thinking about how what we spent in Iraq was all borrowed. In a crazy way, what we left in Iraq was our good credit rating.

    Oops. Everyone, please write your Congressperson and demand that the defense budget not be cut. Not one penny. They’re gonna have to replace all that stuff left in Iraq before the next war, and that is going to be expensive. Demand Congress not fund, well, everything else. Whatever, our country is so screwed.

    Read the whole article if you can stand to on Huffington Post.



    Related Articles:




    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

    Posted in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria

    What Will All Those Soldiers Do in Iraq?

    September 22, 2011 // Comments Off on What Will All Those Soldiers Do in Iraq?

    (This article below by Peter Van Buren originally appeared on Huffington Post)

    SecDef/CIA/Chief of All Washington Leon Panetta and Admiral Mullen testify today before the Senate Armed Services Committee, and will in part answer the question of what any American troops left in Iraq next year will do there. My answer to that question appeared on HuffPo last week; let’s see how close my answer and theirs are in the end.

    If you’re at home, please feel free to invent a drinking game of your own while watching the testimony on C-Span. Maybe a shot for every point of agreement, or two shots for every disagreement, or maybe just get depressed that this war will never end and kill the fucking bottle.

    ——————————————-

    In Iraq today, diplomats, military officials, and Washington busybodies are involved in a complex game of maneuvering into place American troops meant to remain in Iraq long past the previously 12/31/2011 negotiated deadline for full withdrawal. Iraq will eventually agree, probably in some semi-passive way, such as calling them trainers, or visiting students, or temps. There will be endless argument over numbers — should it be 3000 soldiers or 10,000? The debate over whether troops should stay on, or how many should stay, begs the real question: What will all those soldiers do in Iraq?

    Special Operations
    The U.S. has already tipped its hand on the most obvious thing some of them will be doing: Special Forces operations. Vice Admiral William McRaven, who heads up JSOC, the Joint Special Operations Command, told a Senate committee that a “small force” of special operations types should remain in Iraq after the end of the year. Some Iraqis, specifically Iraqi special forces who don’t want to face the bad guys alone, have asked that the US operators stick around as well.

    So what will all those bad boys be doing in Iraq? They would undoubtedly just keep on keeping on with what they are already doing — hunting down individuals and killing them. The bin Laden raid was a varsity-level operation of this type, but night after night such raids, albeit on a much smaller scale, are taking place in Iraq (as in Afghanistan) to pop bomb makers and local cell leaders. Why do you think we’ve had no new prisoners found for Gitmo recently? Dead men tell no tales.

    Estimates are that almost two thousand targeted killing missions have been conducted over the last couple of years, to the point that one DOD official likened the routine of evening raids to “mowing the lawn.” On May 1 alone, the night of the bin Laden raid, special-operations forces conducted twelve other missions.

    The fighting in Iraq has moved from mass operations to very specific killings on both sides. A Shiite militia has no need to target a marketplace when what they really want to do is whack one specific Sunni police captain hassling them. The US, with its vast, frightening and ever-growing electronic search and surveillance machine, doesn’t need to carpet bomb a village when a ten man special ops team can motor in one night, knowing the Shiite militia commander they want to whack is at home, second floor, back bedroom, on the phone to his Qods Force controller (also being whacked simultaneously somewhere else). The array of electronics needed to do this kind of thing will stay with the special forces in Iraq and/or be quietly slipping through the night sky far, far above the whacking.

    Such whacky hijinks will continue post-12/31/2011 whether Iraq and the US work out a deal for a permanent troop presence or not, as special ops seem to find their own way to where they want to go. The targeted killings will be much, much easier however if the guys can be based locally, and if there is less need for the Iraqis to look the other way. Now as in the future, sometimes the Iraqis are involved, sometimes the Iraqis know about what’s going down but conveniently look the other way, and sometimes our guys just go out and do it whether the Iraqis like it or not. Call it privilege of empire.

    Training

    Since for political purposes (can you imagine a Malaki-Obama conversation? “Barack, my brother, my domestic numbers are killing me; can we just call them trainers?” “I agree, I agree Nouri my friend, every time I call them ‘troops’ Fox jumps my ass.”) many if not all of the Americans in uniform will be labeled “trainers,” it is a good thing that in fact some large subset will indeed train Iraqis.

    (more…)

    Related Articles:




    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

    Posted in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria

    Where Have We Heard This Before?

    July 26, 2011 // Comments Off on Where Have We Heard This Before?

    Ryan Crocker used to be the US Ambassador to Iraq when in 2008 he negotiated the deal that would have all US troops leave Iraq by the end of 2011. He said “The agreement will not establish permanent bases in Iraq, and we anticipate that it will expressly forswear them.” Here in 2011, the US is desperately negotiating with Iraq to allow those troops to stay on, in permanent bases.

    Ryan Crocker is now the US Ambassador to Afghanistan. In 2011 he said “We have no interest in permanent bases in Afghanistan… We will stay as long as we need to and not one day more… We have no interest in using Afghanistan as a platform to project influence into neighboring countries.”

    Better yet, that line about “not one day more” has a history. George Bush said of Iraq in 2003 “American troops will stay in Iraq as long as necessary and not a day longer.” Mmm, credible.


    Psssst… hey, Afghanistan… he might not be telling you the truth… better keep your hand on your wallet when the guy who looks like a Muppet is in the room!



    Related Articles:




    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

    Posted in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria

    So Uncool to Beg

    April 22, 2011 // Comments Off on So Uncool to Beg

    Creepy Easter BunnyHappy Easter! In honor of the holiday, Prime Minister al Maliki said no to permanent US bases in Iraq for the 4023rd time on Thursday, during a meeting with Admiral Mike Mullen, chair of the joint chiefs of staff. Mullen sought to resurrect the idea, hoping for divine intervention.

    Mullen’s pilgrimage comes on the heels of recent begging trips by SecDef Gates, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R – Boner) and Chief of Staff of the Army Martin Dempsey.

    Guys: Desperation never works. Be cool, hang out first, let her come to you. If it isn’t meant to be, just move on, ‘Kay? Plenty of fish in the sea.



    Related Articles:




    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

    Posted in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria

    Happy Birthday

    April 19, 2011 // Comments Off on Happy Birthday

    birthday wishesMusings on Iraq shares this cartoon marking the start of the ninth year of US occupation of Iraq. This may suggest a bumpy road toward convincing Iraq to allow the permanent basing of US troops.



    Related Articles:




    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

    Posted in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria

    You and Whose (State Department) Army?

    April 15, 2011 // Comments Off on You and Whose (State Department) Army?

    (R - The Closet) Closeted friend of all Lindsey Graham answers the question for us of “Yeah, you and whose army?”:

    “I do not believe the State Department can carry on their mission of helping the Iraqi government and people reconstitute their society without American forces there to provide security, air power, logistical support for the Iraqi army,” Graham argued. “This idea that we’ll have a State Department army, I will not vote for that. I will not support that.”

    “If all military forces have withdrawn from Iraq in 2011, the State Department has to come to the Congress and say, ‘We’re going to need over 50 mine resistant vehicles. We need a fleet of helicopters and thousands of private security guards,'” Graham said. “I think that is a losing formula. I do not believe the State Department should have an army, that’s not the way to provide security.”




    Related Articles:




    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

    Posted in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria

    109,738

    April 14, 2011 // 1 Comment »

    Free Iraqi ChildSimon Peres said “America is unique. One nation in history laid down hundreds of thousands of lives and took no land — no land from Germany, no land from Korea, no land from Japan.” Colin Powell added, “The only land we took after the last great conflict was enough land to bury our dead.”

    Both Simon Peres and Colin Powell lied.

    (more…)

    Related Articles:




    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

    Posted in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria

    Iraqi Base Bingo

    April 13, 2011 // Comments Off on Iraqi Base Bingo

    Fort ApachePicking up on my post below about which bases the US would want to retain after the “withdrawal” of troops on December 31, Foreign Policy’s Best Defense blog continues the conversation.

    I have to admit in hindsight I should have included a facility in Kurdistan on my list. Southern Iraq is still Indian country, which requires a Fort Apache. The current bases down under are not isolated and thus far enough under the radar and defensible enough to fit our needs. Maybe work out of Kuwait and commute to next spring’s Shia uprisings?

    Related Articles:




    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

    Posted in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria

    Location of Permanent Bases

    April 10, 2011 // 3 Comments »

    Iraq Base Locations With all the talk of SecDef Gates in Iraq trying to secure some sort of US military presence after the official “withdrawal” date of New Year’s Eve 2011 (“Mother of all New Year’s Eves,” MONYE, pronounced “money”), I’ll lay down a marker on which bases will be kept alive:

    (more…)

    Related Articles:




    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

    Posted in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria