Posts Tagged Military

WHO WILL DONALD TRUMP HAND-OFF THE MOST DANGEROUS PROBLEM CONFRONTING THE WORLD TODAY? NORTH KOREA! WILL IT BE R. C. McMASTER, OR STEVE BANNON?

North Korea’s nuclear arms have advanced beyond the primitive state.  Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un now has real nukes, and he is in the process of improving the range and accuracy of his missiles, while continuing to miniaturize the warheads to extend the range.  And then, he will be ready to build an arsenal!

China does not want to place anymore political pressure on its failed neighbor; because, that would cause millions of destitute North Koreans to stream across its border, and Beijing would then have to care for the refugees.  Additionally, an invasion would also set-up a potentially disastrous confrontation with the United States.

In a webcast discussion, between Robert Litwak, Vice President at the Wilson Center, and one of the world’s foremost authorities on North Korea, and NY Times National Security Correspondent David Sanger, the topic was “Preventing North Korea’s Nuclear Break-Out.”  The proximity of U. S. Forces, both in South Korea and nearby Japan, along with our allies, turns a potential confrontation with China into a powder keg.

Mr. Litwak suggested, during the discussion, that the likely options—all bad ones—are: “bomb, negotiate, or acquiesce… “   Bombing, which would usually be followed by a ground attack, would merely anger China, and would draw them into the war.  Beijing certainly doesn’t want the U. S. Military just across their border, nor would we want theirs!   That would leave two intolerable situations: facing an unlimited Chinese force, virtually in their backyard; or going nuclear.  Either way, we would not want to see that scenario play out!

Acquiescence is also a terrible option.  North Korea’s Supreme Leader, 33 year-old Kim Jong-Un runs a dynastic dictatorship and, judging by the living conditions that his people must endure, he seems to care little about them.

So, if we merely allow Mr. Kim to maintain the status quo, he will surely begin considering his next move—going even more bellicose.  The North Korean “Leader” is unstable, and cannot be trusted.  And don’t count on regime change; because, Kim has already eliminated the prior military leaders, and replaced them with his generals.

This leaves us with the only one acceptable option:  to negotiate some sort of Iran-like Nuclear Agreement—along with, say, South Korea, Japan, China and Russia.  Similar to the Iran Deal, North Korea must be required to:  dismantle its nuclear program and ship, say 95% of the plutonium and centrifuges out of the country, perhaps to China, before the negotiations even begin.

There must be a slight easing of restrictions initially, mostly for humanitarian purposes, and the IAEA must be able to make unannounced inspections.  The negotiating team, and perhaps others, must provide North Korea with increasingly necessary supplies.  The DMZ, between North and South Korea, should be widened, from two and a-half. to 20 miles.  At least, that will eliminate offensive broadcasts and sniper fire, back and forth, between the two korean armies.

The one immediate question that comes to mind is:  would Donald Trump agree to an Agreement similar to the one that President Obama, and five other nations, entered into with Iran?  So far, Trump has appeared to be intent on eliminating anything that Obama had accomplished.  Yesterday, Secretary of State Rex Tellerson said that the U. S. might consider a pre-emptive attack on Pyongyang, rather than a retaliatory attack.  That concerns me!

I believe that National Security Advisor, R. C. McMaster, and Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, might agree to the merits of a Nuclear Agreement, similar to the one with Iran.  Secretary Tellerson, however, the former CEO of Exxon-Mobil, is a veritable novice when it comes to National Security.  So far, Donald Trump has been more willing to hand-off the most important problems to the loyalists among his Regime Staff.  Steve Bannon?  OMG!

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DON’T ASK ME TO ORGANIZE MY RECOMMENDED BOOK TAB!

I’m sure that some people would find the “Books that I recommend” list much easier to use if everything were organized into quite distinct categories, such as: Politics; History; Science—or, at least, Fiction and Non-Fiction.  But, that’s not how my mind works.  It’s just too cluttered!

Consider the most recent addition (and yesterday’s post): “Three Days in January”. President Eisenhower left the Presidency 57 years ago; but the real story, I believe, is a combination of:  World War II and Early Cold War History; reflections back to our Founding Fathers, and what their intentions were, with regard to the Constitution; contrasts of the Leadership styles between Ike and JFK, and the lack thereof with Trump. and, lastly, the peril which the Military Industrial Complex might present today, especially in the hands of a Fool.   Now tell me, how would you categorize that NY Times Best-Seller?

“Freeman” is a well-researched historical novel about Racism in post-Civil War rural Mississippi.  That book, not only depicts the reality of how both blacks and whites regarded one another, at the time; but, it also provides some insight as to Racism, as it is today in America today, and particularly, in the rural South.

“Moneybag” is nominally a book about baseball; but, it is really more about the use of statistics in player personnel management.  The Oakland A’s had one of the very smallest budgets in Major League Baseball; however, for a time, they compiled better Win-Loss records than all but a few of the league’s 30 teams.  The A’s realized that some of the more pedestrian statistics, such as: on-base average; total bases and “small ball”, won more games than often considerations: physical looks: home runs and fielding.  For the owners, that approach was more “cost-effective”.

Statistics has also played an increasingly important role in general decision-making theory.  Much of what is pointed-out, by Michael Lewis, the author of “Moneyball”, is based on the insight of the two Israeli Psychologists, who are his main subjects in “The Undoing Project”.  Those psychologists won the Nobel Prize for, get this, Economics, in 2003.  Their research has led to: the creation of the new field of Behavioral Economics; revolutionized Big-Data studies; advanced evidence-based medicine, and helped rationalize government regulation.

NOTE:  If anyone can devise an algorithm, which will organize my “Books That I Recommend” tab, please send me the “For Idiots” version, so that it can install itself.

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WE SHOULD BEWARE WHEN A FOOL CONTROLS OUR ALREADY OVER-BLOATED DEFENSE BUDGET! YES, DONALD J. TRUMP.

After I finished reading “Three Days in January”, by Brett Baier, I realized that it was a book of contrasts.  The Three Days refers to the period between President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s televised Farewell Address to the Nation, on January 17, 1961, and President John F. Kennedy’s Inauguration, three days later.  “Ike”,  had been the oldest President, at the time of his Inauguration, while JFK was the youngest.

The book is a juxtaposition of an autobiography of “General” Eisenhower, which he prefers to be called, and his efforts to convey some wisdom, to his successor.  The General had both planned for the Allied Forces Invasion of Normandy (France) in 1945, as well as commanded them.  So Ike was both a strategist as well as an experienced President, by then.  But, the young President-Elect felt strongly about his own ways.  But, three months into his Term, once the “Bay of Pigs Invasion”, in Cuba, turned into a disaster, JFK sought the older man’s counsel on a number of occasions.

President Eisenhower often reflected on the writings and speeches of another old general, our First President, George Washington.  Both presidents felt strongly that military might should be used primarily as a tool with which to Wage Peace!  Following the Revolutionary War, the Continental Army had been disbanded, and a small national army was not subsequently established until 1787.  And both men warned about the consequences of building too large of a military, lest it begin to control the nation’s policies.

In fact, General Eisenhower warned about the burgeoning Military Industrial Complex, during his Farewell Address.  Defense corporations generate profits by selling weapons systems to he Pentagon.  The corporations hire retired generals and admirals to introduce their sales staffs to former colleagues at Defense, and the companies seal the deal by making campaign contributions to members of Congress, while promising jobs in heir districts.  Oftentimes, the sales process trumps any rational need for more and more weaponry!

The difference between President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Donald J. Trump would be light years apart.  Ike, the simple Kansan, led the multinational Allied Expeditionary Force against Nazi Germany, during World War II.  And then, he led the New World Order against the Soviet Union, during the newly developing Cold War.  Trump has spent his whole life in privilege, he inherited his father’s family owned business, has he has been a lifelong huckster,  The general knows the horror of war, and the huckster thinks of it only in a frivolous manner. and as someone else’s war to fight.

Authoritarian governments:  control their national media, through state ownership or tight-fisted censorship; nationalize corporations—especially the military hardware—or bribe them into following government agendas; and they shift significant vital resources to enhance the already over-bloated Military (Industrial) Complex.  Does this seem to be Donald Trump’s game plan?

If we already have significantly more fighters, missiles, etc, than China or Russia, why should we deplete vital domestic resources to fund what is no longer necessary? And, how might that larger-than-necessary Military be used, in the wrong hands—Donald Trump’s hands?  No one tells the People that the excess is merely superfluous!

NOTE:  The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), a British think tank, headquartered in London, founded in 1958, and is focused on International Affairs. It reported that the 2015 Defense Budgets, for the U. S., China and Russia were as follows: $597.5 billion; $145.8B and $65,6B, respectively. Also, 10 of the 12 remaining nations in the Top 15 are all U. S. Allies, leaving only Brazil ($24.3B) and India ($48.0B) out.

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HISTORICAL NOTE: When Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower left newly Inaugurated President John F. Kennedy, on that chilly January day in 1961, they left some papers with him.  The General had left paperwork for the new President to request Congress to re-call President Dwight D. Eisenhower back to active duty, as a General-of-the-Army (five stars).  That Bill was passed unanimously.  At the farm in Gettysburg, the red flag of a General immediately went up, and General Eisenhower was buried in his World War II uniform. This is why I generally referred to Ike as General, more so than President.

 

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CONGRESS MUST RE-AFFIRM ITS SOLE AUTHORITY TO DECLARE WARS–ESPECIALLY NOW, DURING THE TRUMP REGIME!

Although Health Care and Immigration are currently receiving the bulk of the media coverage—and rightfully so—I am gravely concerned about our National Security, as well.  Donald Trump didn’t create the current situation; however, under his Regime, he can only make it worse!  I am referring to the informal, even frivolous manner in which America wages war today, and Congress has apparently ceded that responsibility, over past decades, to the Executive Branch.

Only Congress is authorized to Declare War, under the U. S. Constitution (Article I, Section 8), and that Authority cannot be delegated.  Beginning with Vietnam, our wars have been entered into in a most informal manner, and generally for spurious reasons.  When we send men, and now women, to War, it should only be when America or its allies are in danger, when all else has been tried, and with the complete support of the American People!

I was one of those pawns who went to Vietnam, in the 1960s,  for dubious participation in someone else’s civil war.  It began when 3,500 Marines were deployed in 1965, and it grew to a massive army of 500,000 Americans, at its highest point.  And, for every infantry “Grunt”, there were four (like me) who were not in the actual fight.

Perhaps, worst of all, it was an Open-Ended War, with no means of knowing if and when our side won or lost.  We didn’t win!  As North Vietnamese Special Envoy, Le Duc Tho, told Henry Kissinger, after the Paris Peace Talks in 1973: “You won the battles, but you lost the War!”

Then, in 2001 why did President George W. Bush send an initial 35,000 American troops into Afghanistan, assumedly to kill or capture one man—Osama bin Laden?  As usual, too large a force is counter-productive.  And, the extra men did, in fact, get into trouble!

Bush also allowed the (Dick) Cheney-(Donald) Rumsfeld Cabal to fabricate the need to invade Iraq in 2003.  “Rummy” and Company forced the Army Chief-of-Staff, General Eric Shinseki, to retire. Then, they overruled the Generals, by forcing an inconsistent “Battle Plan”, to wage war on the cheap.  In that situation, politics trumped protocol and experience, and this sets the stage for the, perhaps even more dangerous Donald Trump Regime.

The failed raid, in Yemen on January 29, which took the life of one Navy SEAL (husband and father), and caused the deaths of numerous Yemenis, was ordered and carried-out prematurely, and with insufficient Intelligence.  So far, Trump has shown a preference for loyalty, over experience and competence.

In fact, Donald Trump has rebuked our Intelligence Community on numerous occasions.  And more recently, he appointed Steve Bannon, his Chief Political Strategist, as a permanent member of the National Security Council.  In essence, Donald Trumps appears to be politicizing National Security–and that can be dangerous!

Given the current insane manner in which the U. S. wages War, Congress must, at a minimum: re-affirm its sole discretion to Declare War; formalize the process through an actual Declaration of War; require the National Security Advisor and the Secretary of Defense to consult with both Houses of Congress, to review a fully drawn-up Battle Plan, before a declaration is even voted on; and lastly re-enact the Military Draft—without any deferments, whatsoever—as a means for the entire Nation to share in the Burden of War, including the children of Congress, as well as those of all of America!

NOTE:  A prior blog post, “Re-Enact the Military Draft!”, provides a more detailed explanation of how the Draft might serve to deter Congress from declaring questionable Wars of Convenience, and to insure the engagement of the American People.

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WHO CARES FOR THE DEAD AT NORMANDY (Re-sent from June 5, 2014)

Last night, as I was turning-off my computer, I noticed that one of my visitors had read the following post, from the eve of the 70th Anniversary of the Normandy Invasion.  That Landing turned the tide in World War II.   Afterward, the Allies, on both sides of the Atlantic, worked so hard to create an everlasting Alliance, which has promoted Peace through Economic Cooperation ever since.

I wish that Donald Trump, and like-minded demagogues, across the Atlantic, would visit Normandy, sit on that bench (mentioned in the poetic Reuters article) and reflect on what might have been–if the Allies had lost that War!

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Many of the Western Leaders will gather at Normandy, France this Friday to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Landings, by American, British and Canadian Forces, on June 6, 1944. Those Landings–at a considerable loss of Young Lives–turned the tide in World War II. The Survivors from that Fateful Day–at least those who can still travel–will be there, as well. Since they are now in their 90s, however, this will probably be their last chance to commemorate that Day–and honor their fallen comrades.

The linked article, by Alexandria Sage, from Reuters, provides a touching description of what goes on at the several Cemeteries (American, British and Canadian), day-in, and day-out. Although this article is specific to the American Cemetery, the same care and devotion is given the burial places of the other Allied Heroes, as well.  Be sure to read this most touching, poetic story:   http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/05/30/us-d-day-cemetery-idUSKBN0EA1CH20140530,

As I read Ms. Sage’s article, it makes me think of those splendid words from President Abraham Lincoln’s speech at Gettysburg, Pa., some eighty years before, when he said: “…The World will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but can never forget what they did here…” The story of the successive generations of French who have cared for the Gravesides is quite enthralling, and reflects the love and devotion which they provide.

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IF DONALD TRUMP WANTS TO BE A LEADER, HE’S GOT TO ACT LIKE ONE—AND NO EXCUSES!

Secretary of Defense James Mattis, was confirmed and sworn in the afternoon of Donald Trump’s Inauguration, Friday, January 20.  As a Retired Marine Corp General, who only retired three and a-half years ago, new SecDef Mattis did not require any orientation regarding the U. S. Military, or the operations of the Pentagon.  On January 24, he read a memorandum about the proposed raid in Yemen, and sent it back to the White House, conveying his support.

Trump was briefed by National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, along with the entire National Security Council, which recommended the raid, and discussed it in great detail, on January 25.  Donald Trump authorized the raid on either January 26 or 27, depending on whether he signed the order on Thursday or Friday.  Navy SEAL Team Six carried-out the raid on Saturday, January 28.

Afterward, it was reported that Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens, 36, had been killed, three other SEALs were wounded, and numerous Yemeni civilians had also been killed, as were 14 AQAP (al-Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula) fighters.  Media reports of the raid, however, alleged that the it had been carried-out with insufficient intelligence.  (The source of such reports would normally be from Defense Department leaks.)

Trump’s Press Secretary, Eric Spicer, asserted that the Plan had been approved by the Obama National Security Team, back in early November.  A spokesman for Obama disputed that unsubstantiated claim!  There had been an overall plan for Yemen, during the Trump Administration, but none specifically for that particular location.

“TOC’s” (Tactical Operations Centers) always have plans on their radar screens—past ones being reviewed, current operations being monitored for on-the-fly changes, and future ones for authorization and updating.  But the Commanders can never shift responsibility, nor project the blame elsewhere!

It is truly ludicrous to believe that a SecDef, who had been a four-star general himself, would not have immediately taken full-control of all Defense Operations, whatever the stages they were in.  Was Secretary Mattis, perhaps, encouraged to pull a successful action out of his hat, sort of suggesting that Trump was the “New Sheriff in Town?”  If so, might such bravado have been intended to remove some of the heat, which Trump was feeling:  the Women’s March; negative media coverage and reports of confusion within the Trump Regime?

In a recent post, I had pointed-out that Donald Trump had taken opposite sides of last Friday’s Jobs Report.  in a NY Times article, he took credit for a strong economy, although he had only been in office for ten days.  Then, in a Washington Post article, on the same day, he made an outrageous claim, suggesting that the true, on-going employment statistics were much worse.

Mr. Trump apparently was unsure of what he was saying; but, either way, he wanted to prove his superior intelligence.  Along these same lines, however, Donald Trump has recently been attacking a Federal Judge; claiming that he would be responsible “…if anything happens.”   But Donald has already created the danger with his ignorant Muslim Ban, the Judge is merely trying to diffuse his incompetence!

NOTE:  AQAP was formed, in Iraq, following the initial Bush Invasion and dissolution of its military.  It is somewhat related to al-Qaeda, and its breakaway offshoot, ISIS.

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PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU SHOULD CAUTION DONALD TRUMP NOT TO FOLLOW THROUGH ON HIS ABSURD PROMISES IN JERUSALEM!

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is a fragile patchwork of numerous small parties, many of which are hard-line conservatives, who are dedicated to preserving Israel as One Jewish State!  That’s why Netanyahu never saw eye-to-eye with President Barack Obama, who believed that it was in the best interests of the American People to seek a Two-State Solution.  And perhaps, it was best for all!

It is ironic that Mr. Donald Trump and the Republican Party have been trying to side with the Israeli Hard-Liners, as a means of currying favor with the American Jewish Community, which tends to vote Democratic.  President Obama, on the other hand, seems to have been working toward a Two-State Solution, with the conviction that it would better provide for the human rights of all people—Arab and Jew!

Donald Trump, however, had pledged to Prime Minister Netanyahu, back in September, to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem.  Following the Six-Day War in 1967, Israel had moved its capital to Jerusalem; but, only a handful of foreign embassies followed.  By 1982, all but two—Costa Rica and El Salvador—had returned to Tel Aviv.

General John Mattis, Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Defense suggested, in Senate Hearings, that the American Embassy should remain in Tel Avid, especially since many key Israeli government offices—such as Defense and the IDF—are located there.  If Trump were a rational man, wouldn’t he re-consider moving the Embassy, while thinking about why no other nations had done so?  And what the implications might be?

General Mattis further predicted that a One-State Solution would probably result in Israel becoming an Apartheid Nation.  This coincides directly with the Analysis column in today’s Jerusalem Post, which suggested that the U. S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capital, and the movement of the U. S. Embassy, would lead to a “New Intifada”.

Moderate Arab Leader, King Abdullah of Jordan, is quoted as having predicted such a war.  That J-Post Analysis is linked, as follows: http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Analysis-If-the-US-Embassy-moves-to-Jerusalem-are-we-looking-at-a-new-intifada-478535.

If Trump does push forward with such a move, a dangerous situation would prevail for Israel and the Palestinians, and for the United States, regarding our diplomatic standing in the Middle East.  America would also risk any hope of ever being considered an honest broker or negotiator, in the future, between Israel and the Palestinians.  Lastly, considering the vital role that the U. S. plays, as a backstop to Israeli National Security, Prime Minister Netanyahu should also think long and hard, and perhaps discourage Donald Trump from taking the actions that he had promised!

NOTE:  I would like to welcome my readers from Guam.

 

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