Trump, Troop Withdrawals, and Winning the 2020 Election

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President Trump with Defense Secretary Mattis

W.J. Astore

Good news: President Trump is withdrawing troops from Syria and Afghanistan.  While the President’s stated reason for the Syrian withdrawal — that Isis is totally defeated in the region — is dubious, it’s hard to tell how the presence of a couple of thousand U.S. troops is either needed or desirable for counter-terror operations there.  In Afghanistan, Trump has ordered the withdrawal of seven thousand U.S. troops, or roughly half the force there.  One can only hope he’ll withdraw the remaining troops by the end of 2019.

Trump’s moves are consistent with his campaign promises about ending costly troop deployments and wasteful overseas wars.  Despite this, he’s being castigated by Republicans and Democrats for putting America at risk by leaving Syria and preparing to leave Afghanistan.  Ostensibly, the U.S. has two major political parties, but they often act together as a single war party.  Trump knows this and is unafraid (so far) to confront them.

Indeed, it’s possible Trump won in 2016 because he outspokenly denounced the waste of America’s wars.  Evidence suggests that pro-Trump sentiment in rural areas especially was driven in part by people who agreed with his anti-war critique: by people who’d either served in these wars or whose sons/daughters had served.

Compare this to the Clintons and mainstream Democrats (and Republicans), who’ve worked hard to suppress anti-war forces, the McGovernite wing of the party, so to speak.  Recall that it was Hillary the Hawk who warmly and proudly embraced Henry Kissinger in 2016, and look where that got her.

Adding further intrigue and disruption is Secretary of Defense James Mattis’s announcement of his resignation, effective in February 2019.  I never thought Mattis was the right candidate to serve as America’s civilian Secretary of Defense; Trump apparently sees him as too conventional in outlook (almost a Democrat, Trump has said).  Mattis has disagreed with Trump’s boorish treatment of America’s allies, especially of NATO, and there’s no doubt that Trump has been crude, rude, and socially unacceptable, as we used to say as teenagers.  But that is Trump’s prerogative.  The Americans who elected him, after all, knew they weren’t getting a glad-handing soft-talking diplomat.

Finally, Trump is still fighting for five billion dollars to extend the wall along the southern border with Mexico.  He’s threatening to shutdown the government for a very long time and (at least partially) to own the blame.  It’s a waste of money, of course, though $5 billion is a drop in the bucket when you consider the Pentagon’s budget of roughly $716 billion.

I’m a huge Trump critic (I was very critical of Obama as well), but I give him credit for taking unpopular stances even as he tries to honor campaign promises.  Pulling ground troops out of Syria and Afghanistan is the right thing to do.  The wall is a ridiculous boondoggle, but even here, Trump is willing to fight for it.  Would that Democratic leadership show similar resolve over issues like affordable health care, a living wage, and climate change.

Bring the troops home, Mister President.  End the wars and reinvest in America.  If you do these things, it’s likely you’ll be reelected in 2020.  It pains me to write that, because I’m no fan of Trump’s mendacity and greed, among his many other faults, but I think it’s true.

35 thoughts on “Trump, Troop Withdrawals, and Winning the 2020 Election

  1. Well, there’s some good news ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis resigned. I’m not rich, but can anyone take my bounty of $1000 to a war this clown has ‘won’ in “40 years of ‘service”.? (Sorry gamblers: Granada & Panama don’t count!) OK; I’m a rigged gambler.
    Now he has to get rid of Bolton & Pompeio! Agent Orange is so unpredictable for sure. I have no hope in him, But living in Europe, he also better get rid of his daughter & Zionist husband in the Cabinet. This expense is KILLING Western economies!

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  2. From The Duran:

    “… the usual hawks and pundits act as if the sky is falling, as Eric Jones, a former US Army soldier and Afghan war combat veteran rightly puts it:

    ‘To interventionists, the US military is used as a strategic fire-and-forget weapon: deploy forces somewhere, then react hysterically to an impending apocalypse when someone calls for the troops to be withdrawn. Both parties are addicted to military force as a first and only foreign policy option.’

    And further on Wednesday’s surprise Syria decision out of the White House, Jones slams the commentariat current gnashing their teeth over Trump’s draw down:

    ‘It is always enjoyable to see people who cannot be bothered to pay attention to the longest war in US history, Afghanistan, suddenly jump to provide their uninformed opinions on military deployments way back in the civilian rear when it comes to demanding US forces fight in Syria.'”

    As a veteran of the Nixon-Kissinger Fig Leaf Contingent (Vietnam 1970-72) I resemble those above remarks by Eric Jones.

    See: Ron Paul: Warmongers Upset With Trump’s Syria Decision (December 21, 2018)

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    1. As I wrote seven years ago upon the occasion of President Barack Obama’s rumored “withdrawal” of U.S. military forces from Iraq (who somehow still remain there today):

      Another Catastrophic Success

      With their tails tucked proudly ‘tween their legs
      Advancing towards the exit march the dregs
      Of empire, whose retreat this question begs:
      No promised omelet, just the broken eggs?

      Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright 2011

      Broken “eggs” (i.e., human lives and limbs) all over the place but never any omelets (i.e., Peace). Hopefully, this promised retreat from typically American military disaster will actually occur. Naturally, I would warn the good people of Grenada to look out for yet another U.S. president hauling ass from one military blunder (like occupying the Beirut Airport) while looking for a quick and easy political “win” somewhere on the way home.

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        1. Interesting clip about that war on women, wouldn’t you say ? So very , how shall I say, insightful to a certain mindset. No ?

          Did you see what happened after the first stone was thrown ?

          Just had breakfast, so I am currently not hungry.

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  3. For some odd reason, this comment didn’t appear the first time I posted it. Whatever, I need to write a better version anyway.

    There is an interesting paradox regarding military spending: fighting a war costs more than preparing for it, owing to defense contractors adopting the GMB (Gillette Business Model). Combat pay, increased fuel consumption, and high-tech munitions all cost more than developing new weapons. I should know, I used to be part of the problem when I worked as an inspector that made parts for said munitions, among other things. As soon as we heard about another missile strike, we immediately knew what parts we would be getting orders for. Sometimes, it was even the other way round. Now that I’m no longer employed by the Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex, I’d like to see the Pentagon’s budget shrink drastically just as everyone else here. Likewise, I think modernising is preferable to perpetuating the same wars, if those are the only choices.

    Look, we all know that none of these Middle Eastern wars are in the best interest of the United States. However, I don’t think the warhawks realise that we know. Either that, or they’re trying to convince us that we’re wrong. The action in Syria, for instance, is being treated like a proxy war, since, as was correctly pointed out in the comments on a previous post, Russia contributed far more to the destruction of ISIS that the US did. Bear in mind that a lot of the doddering old warmongers are stuck in the Cold War, and so their foreign policy is basically “stop Russia.” Putin allies with Assad, Assad must be ousted, that sort of thing. Sorry if I sound like I’m wearing a tinfoil hat, but the pattern is fairly clear to my eyes. Perhaps the most damning piece of evidence is the ousting of Russia-friendly Viktor Yanukovich in favour of Petro Poroshenko, who is just as corrupt but was more friendly to the Obamas. Then again, this conspiracy was relayed to me by a friend who’s originally from the Donbass region and refuses to refer to herself as Ukrainian, so there may be some bias there.

    Back to the topic at hand, I’ve heard people demand politicians dress like racecar drivers, this way we know who their sponsors are. As hilarious as that would be, I don’t think it’s necessary. The “actions” of the mainstream politicians are enough to show whom they are in bed with. It’s not about national security, it’s about profit.

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    1. “I don’t think the warhawks realise that we know. Either that, or they’re trying to convince us that we’re wrong”. I think it’s both simpler and worse than that : they couldn’tt care less about what we do or do not think. They know they usually can get away with murder without any accountability and apparently are willing to gamble that the extremely rare possibility of being punished ‘happens only to others’, as the French so aptly put it.
      But in the end you answered that question yourself : “it’s about profit”.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. No, You’re not “wearing a tin foiled hat” Kaja: you just divorced yourself from the ‘Presstitutes’.
      Tired tonight, I’ll leave you with 2 quotes; one by economist Michael Hudson. “Financial Capitalism is taking over Industrial Capitalism”. Translation: slushing money around is more profitable for Banksters than actually producing things. Sears, ToysR’Us, were not money losing operations; they were looted by Wall Street, leaving white shoe boys with huge pension funds, screwing the workers. Sadly, what they did was “legal”, but that doesn’t make it right. Thus the fury of Clinton cancelling Glass-Steigal laws.
      Best is a forgotten named author (by me). He said: “Syria was NEVER a Civil War! It was a Western funded monetary mercenary war to overthrow a government they didn’t like”. Translation: The little social discord Syria had, (as does any democracy) was blown to the skies and destroyed this once beautiful country. I watched last week at UN the fraudulent ‘White Helmets’ exposure. With cynics who dream up and fund such terrorists, I say, “That’s not democracy!” “Brexit” is not the reason UK is in the mess it’s in; it’s the TOTAL end of their ‘Empire’. Homeless on the streets, yet plenty for ‘White Helmets’ and wars in ME.
      America must be VERY careful!

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  4. Heres another angle, that the introduction of Russian air defence systems has made the risk not worth the reward.
    http://www.voltairenet.org/article204433.html

    Also, a Turkey Shoot by Turkey on the Kurds to hand them some territory to stop them leaving NATO and joining up with the Russians, China and Iran.

    Major setback for Israel on the surface.

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  5. I’d love to believe the withdrawal rhetoric, but haven’t we heard all of that before? After which we witnessed a surge? But I’ll cheer when it will happen. Might it be a Christmas goodie offered to all those vets and families of troops abroad, to be forgotten and ignored by January? Could his willingness to end those wars possibly indicate that he has no investments in arms manufacturing I wonder, after seeing an excellent documentary on Al Jazeera about the – ‘official’ governmental – arms trade, including the billions paid in bribes. With well chosen quotes from various implicated politicians, from Thather to Rumsfeld et al. and their arrogant cynicism. And with sad comments by Eduardo Galeano.
    ‘Shadow World’, two parts (not yet available off-line, next scheduled screening of first part this Saturday 12:00 GMT). Don’t miss it.

    As for Mathis, I suppose the million dollar question will now be who will take his place.
    Bet Petraeus & Mc Christal would LOVE to do that and would be convinced that they could tame that raging bull. No risk of any withdrawal with either of these. I used to think that T’s unceremonial bluntness actually could be refreshing, if only he had any sense of ethics and morality (not to mention brains). That minimal credit has dwindled to zero though.

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    1. Hm, suppose I was naive. Having secured an ever increasing Pentagon budget, T. does not need war to get the dividends of armament investments and can have it both ways : financial gains and making good on campaign promises and increased popularity among opponents of the wars. Maybe he’s not that stupid after all?

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      1. He’s bought the Pentagon off with record budgets ($716 billion this year, followed by $750 billion in 2020). And he’s pushing arms sales around the world, keeping the Complex happy. So Trump actually has the latitude to withdraw troops, but even then he’s facing Mattis’s resignation and a storm of criticism from neo-cons and other imperialists,

        But in this case, I say, You go, Trump.

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  6. One thing I’m relearning from the mainstream media in the USA: there is never a right time to downsize military commitments and to withdraw troops. Apparently, Trump’s troop withdrawals are helping the Taliban, or the Turks, or Iran, or Russia, or Isis. And so on.

    At the same time, as Mike Murry noted above, the people advocating for keeping the troops overseas are those who, up to the time Trump ordered them to leave, were basically ignoring the Afghan war and the stalemated situation in Syria.

    I’d add this to the mix. Any American who’s against Trump’s decision to withdraw troops: Are you in favor of donning a uniform and going yourself to “train” Afghan troops and Syrian “rebels”? And, if you’re too old to go, are you then in favor of sending your sons and daughters or other loved ones to take the place of those troops being withdrawn by Trump?

    How much you wanna bet the answer is, not only no, but hell no?

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  7. Okay, okay, okay. And now it’s time to stop talking about this. Trump is pulling troops out of Syria and hopefully all the troops will be pulled out of everywhere immediately as we have effectively “won” against Isis and I will be shocked if Trump doesn’t claim victory against the Taliban and all the others as well. Such claims serve his political agenda and the continual need to feed is brain dead “base”.

    So it’s time to forget all about the pros and cons of withdrawal. It’s really old theater now just as the withdrawal of troops from Vietnam was those years ago. We “declared” victory whether or not it was real, the theater of it was needed for one reason or another and filled body bags, emptied treasury and depleted armories were merely a cost of “victory”.

    Now the next step in any sort of logical scheme of leadership in our democratic republic should be to NOT merely shoot without asking enough questions first. We as a nation should have learned by now that merely armed with an all volunteer military does not mean that those volunteers volunteered to be a substitute for responsible leadership formatting a mature, reasoned policy and manner of dealing with other human beings as though we recognized that they really were. It’s time to sheath the swords and take off the noise attenuating headsets that silence all commentary or thought that isn’t originating from our own ignorant intolerance and imperialistic arrogance.

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  8. Not withdrawing troops from the other dozens of active deployments around the world, of course. Or ending nuclear weapons proliferation. Or ending the drone wars. Or, or, or.

    I’m as happy as anyone else to see troops coming home from Syria and Afghanistan. But I can’t help but see this as another step towards a strike on Iran. The Trumpists are amping up military budgets and, with this, moving assets vulnerable to Iranian retaliation out of the area.

    Trump’s backers aren’t isolationist. They’re fully imperialist. They’ll opt out of a fight at the drop of a hat if they don’t see the cost-benefit coming out their way, but they remain ideologically committed to perpetual war – just with the ‘right’ enemy, and with minimal risk of US casualties.

    The dichotomy between Trumpist isolationism and Clintonian globalism is a myth. They just target different enemies. The liberals want to fight Russia, because Russia is far weaker than it looks. The conservatives want to fight China, because they fear an imperial rival.

    Both have betrayed the Constitution and the American Dream. Both will continue to do so until someone figures out a third option – or nukes the Capitol during the next State of the Union.

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    1. That’s the question I have. Exactly how many other troops are stationed throughout the world? I’m interested in troops dealing with active military situations. I’d like to know how many troops are in Africa dealing with major issues? I’m guessing the Pentagon does not make this public information. But it’s great that trump is getting some troops out of harms way. This is the ONLY thing I can say I approve of him so far.

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  9. Observation by bmcks – “Financial Capitalism is taking over Industrial Capitalism”. Translation: slushing money around is more profitable for Banksters than actually producing things. Sears, ToysR’Us, were not money losing operations; they were looted by Wall Street, leaving white shoe boys with huge pension funds, screwing the workers. Sadly, what they did was “legal”, but that doesn’t make it right. Thus the fury of Clinton cancelling Glass-Steigal laws.

    Back when I received my Bachelors Degree in Finance in the mid 1970’s, there was the old saying – “Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door”. The de industrialization of America along with NAFTA and other schemes meant the mousetraps would now be built off shore. The Proles in America lost their jobs, but the financial institutions were able to shift capital around from one pocket to another, taking a commission or fee on capital movements. Nothing was produced/manufactured during these transactions from one pocket to another.

    Some how “Junk Bonds” became if not a dangerous investment a legal one.

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    1. Well ML, thanks for the compliment, but the line ain’t from me but Economist Michael Hudson. Bright & decent fellow. His newest book is “….and forgive them their debts”. Quite appropriate at Christmas: Jesus Christ Himself said that! He claims it’s in the original Lord’s Prayer, till the Banksters had it changed to “and forgive them their trespasses”.
      Regardless, he writes debt ‘Jubilee’ (forgiveness) goes back to Babylonian Times. Sensible: Why have farmers in debt prison because of a drought? Bad marriage, sickness, etc. Have them as productive members of society…including soldiers…
      Yes, the old adage about mousetraps still works. I was in the creative fields, and fortunately had good bosses. Us ‘youngin’s’ would be so pleased with our 1st drafts! Till ‘they’ reviewed them and asked, not what’s ‘right’ with them, but what’s ‘wrong’. It hurt!
      But going home on a subway, or in a sandwich shop, you’d “get” what they were saying. Projects ended up FAR better than we originally imagined.
      I think that’s what’s going on with “weaponising” the $, and all these unnecessary wars. In my view, if any country today is following my old bosses advice, it’s China. From cheap T-shirts to high tech industry – enough to have the blasphemous arrest of a high executive arrested over nonsense.
      Obviously, my dead bosses spirits moved to China! Merry Christmas! Though some were Jewish, they had no time for religious differences! But plenty of time to make something better!

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  10. At least from my look at the crystal ball or Ouija Board, I am not certain President Agent Orange will survive in office until 2020. It does seem the Mueller Investigation is closing in around President Agent Orange and his vulture family. I suspect financial schemes including money laundering and tax evasion will be the problems, rather than Putin personally being in the mix.

    President Agent Orange has not only caught the Wall Street-Security-Military-Industrial Complex off guard with his withdrawal talk (It is just Tweets at this point). The chaos he is causing in the financial markets, with his wall talk, trade war babble and a government shutdown is something the 1% are not going to tolerate or forgive.

    He has with his government shutdown administered a hard public bitch slap to Mitch McConnell. The Democrats in 2019 after Mueller has issued his report will be looking for grounds for Impeachment. Now that President Agent Orange has made an enemy of Mitch McConnell his suitability to remain as President will be put to the test. 2019 is an off year so the Republicans will not have to worry about getting primary-ed.

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    1. They said Reagan was the Teflon president because nothing stuck to him. Everything sticks to Trump, but he just seems to shrug it all off, joined by his base. They just don’t seem to care. Impeachment seems beyond the weak-kneed Democrats; they’re hoping Trump implodes or collapses under his own weight. And even if Trump’s impeached, the Senate won’t convict. Trump will sell impeachment as a political conspiracy — a hit job by Democrats against him.

      So, I think Trump does survive until 2020, but like all things Trump, who really knows?

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      1. Maybe, maybe not. Now there is the shutdown to complicate Trump’s survival chances. Let’s suppose the shutdown extends well into 2019 with the democrats now firmly in control of the house. I wonder if there might just be balls enough in the House and balls enough in the Senate not only to impeach but to convict. The grounds being other than corruption. The new grounds being just plain incompetence and failure to lead providing the necessary “high crime and misdemeanor”.

        And as has been said, 2019 is an “off year” and the quivering Republicans who WANT Trump GONE but are afraid his departure wake will drown them out, too, might well feel they can tread water until the voters forget in 2020.

        But then, I’m a fiction writer.

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        1. The Mike Pence dream scenario.

          I don’t think the GOP turns on Trump so long as his approvals stay consistent. 538 routinely employs sleight of hand to make their data tell the story they want it to tell, but the raw data they collect is usually great.

          Anyway, his approvals remain around 40%. They never go lower than ~33%. That’s Gerald Ford levels of approval (why again is there a USS Gerald Ford? I need to remember to blow it up in some future fiction…) Only around the inauguration were they higher.

          Sooner or later the Trump re-election team will note that the start of a war boosts approval ratings by 10-20%. That plus voter suppression in Michigan and Wisconsin and Florida plus the Dems probably imploding in 2020 (the ‘blue wave’ stuff around the midterm is effectively BS – media cherry picks the data they use to write stories) makes a Trump second term as likely as not, in my view.

          Truth is, Trump can do whatever he wants, and no one seems to have the spine to stop him. There should be a perpetual encampment around the White House, nonstop protests. That might make a Resistance. But all we’ve got is more ‘trust the system, there is no alternative’.

          This is why I identify as a Cascadian.

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    1. I really believe we need to do away with the concept of the “all volunteer force”. I think it is in ours and the world’s best interest to restore the draft. I think it is important that we demand of all young people four years of their lives devoted to national service and give them a choice: one of the armed services or four years of service to the nation in some other manner that requires SERVICE of some sort.

      Perhaps there are several benefits to this nation and the world from this. First of all, generations of young people after their service would be able to go forward into life perhaps knowing one thing that they did NOT want to do with the rest of their lives.

      It would also meant that before vectoring American military force willy-nilly every which way for not real good reason, any president would need to seriously contemplate just what the hell he was doing and perhaps actually consult and reason with Congress. As it has been for some time if the Prez thinks he sees a need, with the wave of a hand he can send off a division or fleet or squadron of his “volunteers” to bomb, strafe or knock down doors of some mud hut and offer justifications and explanations to the general public afterward without apology.

      Sixty years ago I watched the visions of Vietnam on television during the dinner hour. I read about it, thought about it, knowing that war in a rice paddy was likely in my future all the while unsure if the domino effect was a “thing”. In the end I chose an approved kind of national service with its attached draft deferment. I felt good about doing that right up until it because clear that some of my adolescent students would have no such opportunity but would likely be offered up as fodder in some rice paddy in a place they had no knowledge nor understanding of.

      I volunteered to wear a uniform anyway.

      Today I know that Vietnam was a fools’ errand just as much as has been the seventeen years of bomb throwing and door kicking down we’ve done throughout Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and a dozen other places where someone making decisions thought there might be someone who doesn’t like us. I wonder if there had been a draft, if the 300,000 bombs dropped would have been dropped in the Middle East at all? Had those body bags brought back from Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa and Syria been been filled with someone’s son or daughter who was drafted to service how long would have the shooting lasted with zero goal and zero result? Would it have gone on for seventeen years?

      What was possible to do during the Vietnam War is probably not possible to do today. It took a long time for the American public to put up such a fuss that changes began, but today, in this day of 24-hour cable news and more powerfully, the Internet, I wonder if a President armed with a citizen based, conscripted military force could so easily make us the bully in the world and spend billions stomping all over the globe on such fool’s errands.

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      1. I agree with the idea of national service. I wrote about it here about 10 years ago:

        http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/174980/william_astore_rebuilding_america_remaking_ourselves

        Reviving the draft is a good idea, but it isn’t going to happen. The Pentagon and the Complex love the idea of a “professional” military of “warriors” and “warfighters.” It’s almost as if the military has become a foreign legion, constantly deployed to wars on the periphery of empire; I wrote about that as well (forgive another self-reference):

        http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175034/william_astore_an_american_foreign_legion

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        1. To me it’s clear that with the draw down out of Vietnam and the end of the draft Americans gave a huge sigh of relief as though to say, “Now we don’t have to worry any more.” With the advent of the all-volunteer force the vast majority of Americans ceased to be connected with its military and further, with any connection with or understanding of their nation’s foreign policy.

          In 1990 I put a Veteran’s identified licence plate on my car because with the build up to the First Gulf War I knew that I would not be quiet about my opposition to war as an instrument of foreign policy. I figured I’d make a small statement by showing that I had once been a sort of warrior myself. It was more than a decade and a half later when my wife bought me a “veteran’s hat” which I wear most of the time now, very puzzled at the continuing hand shakes and expressions of “thanks for your service” that I get. That’s a huge change from the days of Vietnam when most veterans hid the fact of their service and in many places active duty members didn’t wear the uniform off base.

          So now we have a sort of “cult of service”. The military member is recognized as a “hero” of sorts but the exact fact of his service is not really understood or really recognized, just that the “he did it so I didn’t have to” relief.

          Now no longer an army of citizen soldiers engaged in defending the concepts of the American democratic republic our military may freely be used as an instrument against something…anything perceived as a threat by what more and more seems less a democratic republic and more like a pre-fascist tribe searching for an identity.

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  11. A useful and timely article on this subject from Philip Giraldi at the Unz Review (December 25, 2018), Syria Withdrawal Enrages the Chickenhawks – A Christmas present for the American and Syrian people.

    President Donald Trump’s order to withdraw from Syria has been greeted, predictably, with an avalanche of condemnation culminating in last Thursday’s resignation by Defense Secretary James Mattis. The Mattis resignation letter focused on the betrayal of allies, though it was inevitably light on details, suggesting that the Marine Corps General was having some difficulty in discerning that American interests might be somewhat different than those of feckless and faux allies like Israel and Saudi Arabia that are adept at manipulating the levers of power in Washington and in the media [emphasis added]. Mattis clearly appreciates that having allies is a force multiplier in wartime but fails to understand that it is a liability otherwise as the allies create an obligation to go to war on their behalf rather than in response to any actual national interest [emphasis added].

    Actually, feckless and faux “allies” don’t even make force-multipliers in wartime, as historian Barbara Tuchman observed in Stilwell and the American Experience in China 1911-1945 (1970), something General Mattis might have learned had he read any relevant history of American military failures in Asia:

    Cynicism about the war and a lapse into increasing passivity was the result [of allied exclusions of China from various international conferences]. An attitude of “Let the Allies do it” prevailed in the teahouses of Chungking after the fall of Burma. To use barbarians to fight other barbarians was a traditional principle of Chinese statecraft which now more than ever appeared not only advisable but justified. Chinese opinion, according to a foreign resident, held that not only was China justified in remaining passive after five years of resistance; “it was her right to get as much as possible out of her allies while they fought.” The exercise of this right became the Government’s chief war effort [emphasis added]. The long endeavor to shake off the foreigners and emerge from dependence had not succeeded; China’s problems had been too great. With dwindling capacity to cope with its own circumstances, the Kuomintang applied all its energy to making dependence pay [emphasis added].

    One could say the same of successive musical-chairs Saigon “governments” in South Vietnam followed by self-aggrandizing Afghan and Iraqi “governments” installed by the U.S. only to fall apart squabbling over the spoils of corrupt American military “aid.” The story has grown so old and stale that even a Marine Corps general ought to have recognized it — after forty years. .

    With “friends” and “allies” like those we so often hear official Washington babbling and blathering about, America hardly needs any real enemies. So while the U.S. military insists on treating its “friends” and “allies” as helpless dependents requiring “training,” those same “trainees” proceed to do what comes natural to them in their circumstances: Make Dependence Pay! And it surely does.

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    1. Mike: I think I fixed the format. Also, the point about dependency and making the US pay is excellent. Why should Chinese Nationalists, ARVN, the Iraqi army trained by the U.S., Afghan forces trained by the U.S., and so on: Why should they stand and fight, when they can melt away and then get even more U.S. aid, weaponry, money, etc., milking the U.S. cash cow. At the same time, despite all evidence to the contrary, the Pentagon promises progress. This time, after nearly 18 years, were succeeding in Afghanistan, turning the corner, etc. etc. Everyone has a stake in upholding the lie, even as the American taxpayer foots the bill, and U.S. foot soldiers occasionally pay the price (along with much larger numbers of indigenous people caught in the crossfire).

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  12. Michael, thank for the link – Syria Withdrawal Enrages the Chickenhawks http://www.unz.com/pgiraldi/syria-withdrawal-enrages-the-chickenhawks/

    I especially liked the part “The following headline actually appeared on a Reuters online article the day after the announcement by the president: “In Syria retreat, Trump rebuffs top advisers and blindsides U.S. commanders.” It would be difficult to imagine stuffing more bullshit into one relatively short sentence. “Retreat,” “rebuffs” and “blindsides” are not words that are intended to convey any sort of even-handed assessment of what is occurring in U.S. policy towards the Middle East. They are instead meant to imply that “Hey, that moron in the White House has screwed up again!”

    CNN and MSDNC reacted with typical outrage, wailing and gnashing of teeth, since this was President Agent Orange’s idea. Neo-Cons in both parties erupted in a volcanic spewing of the “end of times” is near.

    Mad Dog Mathis is being praised for his principles (can Sainthood be in his future). I am a cynic, but there is still a naive part to me. I would have expected given the higher education General Officers must have received over the years since Vietnam that none resigned or publicly opposed Bush the Younger’s invasion of Iraq. The information was available going back to Bernard Fall’s Book – Street without Joy and other books of the type of resistance we would face. The idea of another Star or a comfortable chair as a director in the future on some Defense Contractor’s board was black hole of immense gravity that could not be broken.
    ===========================
    As Bernie Sanders said before the Gulf War 2, “I am concerned about the problems of so-called unintended consequences. Who will govern Iraq when Saddam Hussein is removed and what role will the U.S. play in ensuing a civil war that could develop in that country? Will moderate governments in the region who have large Islamic fundamentalist populations be overthrown and replaced by extremists? Will the bloody conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Authority be exacerbated?”

    “If President Bush believes that the U.S. can go to war at any time against any nation, what moral or legal objection could our government raise if another country chose to do the same thing?”
    ======================================================================
    We have the answer to Bernie’s last question – When Russia took over the Crimea, the McMega-Media treated it like some Hitlerite invasion of Poland in 1939. How dare the Russians use their military muscle and blah, blah, blah.

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