This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

U.S. Airborne Firepower

"This is not an attempt to bring more forces in, but it is an attempt to actually clarify a very confusing set of reporting rules that has the unintended consequence of forcing commanders to make readiness trade-offs." 
"So what it does is, it actually lets the American people know what their sons and daughters are doing in Afghanistan."
Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie, joint staff director, Afghanistan, U.S. Armed Forces
An Army carry team moves a transfer case containing
An Army carry team moves a transfer case containing the remains of Staff Sgt. Aaron R. Butler at Dover Air Force Base, Del. on Aug. 18, 2017. According to the Department of Defense, Butler, of Monticello, Utah, died Aug. 16, in Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained from an improvised explosive device while conducting combat operations.  Steve Ruark
At the U.S. regional air headquarters in Qatar giant screens are set up to view in real time a 24/7 action choreography which includes B-52s, U-2s, F-16s, F-22s, F-35s, F-15s, A-10s, C-17s, V-22s, U-28s, C-130s, JStars, AWACs, satellites and unmanned Reapers and Predators. That is a massive amount of airpower, all fuelled in the air with the standby action of a fleet of KC-10 and KC-135 'gas stations' in flight. A massive number of forays have gone out, some 23,934 in number striking Islamic State targets in both Iraq and Syria. 84,585 precision-guided bombs have been dispensed since 2014.

By anyone's reckoning all that flying hardware, the monumental cost, the time spent, the dangers encountered and surmounted and the casualties taken, represents a massive investment in stabilizing two countries in the Middle East that exploded in cataclysmic paroxysms of tribal and sectarian violence, a never-ending slaughter that deprived tens of thousands of their lives, most of them civilians, when their governments failed the most elemental responsibility due their citizens; security, safety, equality, freedoms, purpose in life.

There is this inescapable fact about nations of the Middle East, Muslim countries forever at odds with one another; they always teeter on the brink of collapse, their administrations are tyrannical in nature and their populations have no voice in civic, political and social conventions where custom and tradition and heritage weigh heavily on the scales of injustice and a casual attitude toward human rights. Another inescapable fact is that whenever these countries run into problems they turn not to their own resources to attempt to solve those problems, but express their reliance on the United States.

And when the United States, the traditional authority on stabilization goes into action, the very nations that cried out for its presence, bitterly decry that presence as an invasion and an occupation they resent. Now, its presence in the Middle East is mostly for the purpose of destroying the aspirations of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, yanking its geographic caliphate out from under, restoring the geography to the governments that allowed it to be taken, whose armed forces though armed and trained by the U.S., chose to shrink from a confrontation with the terrorist horde.
U.S. Marines run to load their gear as they prepare
U.S. Marines run to load their gear as they prepare to fly to a new position somewhere near Kandahar, Afghanistan on Dec. 10, 2001. U.S. Marines moved troops and heavy weapons closer to the fallen Taliban stronghold of Kandahar on Monday to cut off escape routes for Taliban leaders and fighters from Osama bin Laden's terror network.  Earnie Grafton, San Diego Union Tribune via AFP

Under the tutelage of American military trainers, alongside trainers from other NATO countries collaborating in an agreement to boost regional armed forces' capabilities to take responsibility for the security within their own borders, U.S.-led warplanes have been softening up ISIL sites and weapons depots to enable the Arab troops taught best conflict practises to regain their honour as fighting forces protecting their own, retaking ISIL-captured towns realizing slow and steady progress in ousting ISIL from its caliphate territory, shrinking it enormously.

The mystery also is that with all that air power and the destruction accompanying it to ISIL's forces and their munitions, that it still persists. The new Trump administration has announced an intended increase in American troops in hopeless Afghanistan, yet another failed Muslim country more accustomed to violent chaos and foreign invasion than most through the centuries. And it has been revealed finally that there is a greater presence of U.S. troops in that country than was previously admitted. To train and mentor Afghan police and military.

Both of whom demonstrate a larger penchant for going AWOL and deserting in droves than committing themselves to the responsibility of protecting their country and its people from the predations of the Taliban, even while al-Qaeda and Islamic State both have an additional presence as a threat to the country. While there is hope for Iraq and Syria to wrench themselves out of the fearful thrall of Islamic State, they will still be mired in mutual distrust erupting now and again in slaughter, Sunni against Shia and the reverse. ISIL is partially comprised of foreign fighters eager for jihad, a condition that host countries see them as foreign invaders.

Not so in Afghanistan where it is the majority Pashtun who form the corps of the Taliban, never short of conscripts dedicated to reinstalling their version of Islamist rule of despotic terrorism in the country. Afghanistan is a wild card, not only ethnic and tribal and sectarian bloody disputes reign there, but their neighbour Pakistan is more comfortable plotting continued destabilization in Afghanistan. Linked to its irrational hatred of India, seeing it as a competitor for influence in Afghanistan, among other things.

Into this Medieval barbarism comes the United States with a rational purpose in an irrational human landscape. Expending energy, lives, treasury and time in an impossible mission. When all is said and done, and time comes for the U.S. to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, the major beneficiary will be the Islamic Republic of Iran, ready and expectant, prepared to step into liberated landscapes which it has groomed to be part of its growing Shiite sphere of influence.
A handout photo made available on May 2, 2017 by the
A handout photo made available on May 2, 2017 by the US Army and taken by US Army combat photographer Spc. Hilda I. Clayton showing an Afghan soldier as a mortar tube accidentally explodes during an Afghan National Army live-fire training exercise in Laghman province, Afghanistan on July 2, 2013. The US Army report on May 2, 2017 that Spc. Hilda I. Clayton, who was assigned to the 55th Signal Company (Combat Camera), 21st Signal Brigade, took the image a moment before she died as the mortar tube accidentally exploded during an Afghan National Army live-fire training exercise in Laghman province. Hilda Clayton, and an Afgahn Army photojournalist died in the blast along with three Afghan soldiers taking part in the mortar training. Clayton's family approved the release of the photographs.   Hilda Clayton , US ARMY via European Pressphoto Agency

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