Final Decision on the KSM Trial

Posted By Grim

The KSM trial will not be held in New York City, in spite of Holder's continuing belief that NYC is the right place for it.  B5 has been on this for a while.  Almost five years ago, Jimbo and I attended a rally promoting this decision.  

We're pleased to see the administration come around.



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The Army of the Future

Posted By Grim

Apparently British recruiting came up with the slogan "Tomorrow's Army" and "The Army that's Going Places."  This ad is newly relevant.

 

Also, h/t Ranger Up, the following joke.

Crimea



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On Ukraine

Posted By Grim

There are very good reasons to wish good things for the revolutionary movement in Ukraine.  However, we aren't going to support them openly with any real strength.  This is because of logistics.  Not the logistical problems identified by Zenpundit -- that is, the ones that pertain to the possibility of fighting in Ukraine.  Those problems are real enough, but they aren't the reason.

The real reason is identified correctly by Charles Hoskinson of the Washington Examiner:  our logistics in Afghanistan.  He obviously has good contacts who understand how the pieces are moved.

Meanwhile, there's also the problem of Afghanistan — the "real war," as Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry used to describe it. Now they want to disengage, and the Ukraine crisis creates a very uncomfortable problem: The U.S. needs Moscow's cooperation as it withdraws the more than 33,000 troops left in Afghanistan because one of its main withdrawal routes runs through Russia.

The Pentagon began developing a supply route from Afghanistan through Central Asia and Russia because of frequent disruptions on the main routes through Pakistan.... 

Russia has allowed NATO to develop a transit hub at a base in Ulyanovsk to move cargo by air, road and train from Afghanistan through the country to its northern ports. At least a third of the cargo coming out of Afghanistan is expected to move by that route -- if Moscow doesn't shut it down.

If we were going to fight a real war against Russia, of course, we could view our forces in Afghanistan as a kind of pre-positioned task force that could turn its guns around and operate for a while as a second front.  That possibility is precluded by Russia's status as a first-rate nuclear power, as well as the challenge of resupply: we'd have to figure out not only how to fight on the Western front, but how to link up a reliable supply to this Eastern front.  Either of those problems is huge by itself.  

One reason the Russians are moving so confidently is that they have done the math on this.  It's possible we might become embroiled in a war because of some basic error on our part.  Wars do sometime start by accident.  If we do find ourselves there, we've got to tackle those huge logistical problems first.

Clandestine and diplomatic support are the more likely fields of action.  Even diplomatic support, however, will be limited by the need to maintain the supply lines to our forces in Afghanistan.  It may well be that the Russians will look for any pretext to shut those down, because it would slow our withdrawal.  Like the Norse god Tyr, we've stuck our hand in the wolf's mouth, and as long as it remains there it serves as a kind of guarantee of our good behavior. 

Of course, you know what happened to Tyr.  By the way, ancient Viking calendars tell us that Ragnarok started on the same day that the conflict in the Ukraine escalated to a revolution.  

That's probably just a coincidence. 



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Mark Your Calendar

Posted By Laughing_Wolf

VV2014

Hope to see you there. LW

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I Imagine This Investigation Will Be Painful

Posted By Grim

 

Paktika Province, Afghanistan – After spotting Taliban forces on a distant ridge line, U.S. Army mortar teams engage with 60mm mortars. A simultaneous airstrike is called in which accidentally drops a 500 pound bomb on a U.S. Army infantry outpost, mistaking the position for Taliban fighters.

Sounds like the First Sergeant saved the day.



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The end of American Exceptionalism?

Posted By Blackfive

Good read at National Journal by Peter Beinart, a CUNY prof, about the causes of the end of our country's exceptionalism...

The very attributes conservatives say make America special—religiosity, patriotism, and mobility—are ones they've inadvertently undermined. Is it any wonder millennials are less impressed with their country?
<...>
When conservatives say American exceptionalism is imperiled, they're onto something. In fundamental ways, America is becoming less exceptional. Where Gingrich and company go wrong is in claiming that the Obama presidency is the cause of this decline. It's actually the result. Ironically, the people most responsible for eroding American exceptionalism are the very conservatives who most fear its demise...

You may disagree with all or some or none of it, but Beinart has an interesting theory worth your time to read.



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With Friends Like These...

Posted By Blackfive

...well, now, we have more enemies...

USFOR-A condemns ordered release of detainees

KABUL, Afghanistan – U.S. Forces-Afghanistan has learned that under direction of the Afghan government, the Afghan Review Board, led by Abdul Shakoor Dadras, has ordered the release of the first 37 of 88 dangerous individuals under dispute who are legitimate threats to security and for whom there is strong evidence or investigative leads supporting prosecution or further investigation. 

This extra-judicial release of detainees is a major step backward in further developing the rule of law in Afghanistan. The ARB is releasing these individuals without referral to an investigative body or the Afghan justice system despite the fact that the U.S. has disputed these 88 cases. 

The U.S. has exercised its option under the March 2013 Memorandum of Understanding between the U.S. and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to dispute the release of these individuals and seek a bilateral exchange of views in all 88 disputed cases. The ARB was established to provide an administrative review of former U.S. Law of Armed Conflict detainees transitioning to the Afghan criminal justice system. 

Of the 88 detainees under dispute, 40 percent have participated in direct attacks wounding or killing 57 Afghan citizens and security force members and 30 percent participated in direct attacks wounding or killing 60 U.S. or coalition force members. 

The U.S. has provided extensive information and evidence on each of the 88 detainees. The disputed cases contain strong evidence of violations of Afghan law or strong investigative leads requiring review by the Saranwal for prosecution or further investigation by the National Directorate of Security. 

The ARB is releasing back to society dangerous insurgents who have Afghan blood on their hands. The 37 being released include 17 who are linked to the production of or attacks using improvised explosive devices; three who participated in or had knowledge of direct attacks wounding or killing 11 ANSF members; and four who participated in or had knowledge of direct attacks wounding or killing 42 U.S. or coalition force members.

Read more: http://www.dvidshub.net/news/119682/usfor-condemns-ordered-release-detainees#.Uufn_BDnZpg#ixzz2riOxgcB4

More commentary over at This Ain't Hell where Jonn points out how well the Taliban are treating the Afghans.



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Palate Cleanser: Ronald Reagan "We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on Earth, or we will sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness."

Posted By Blackfive

Jimbo's Reagan post below caused me to remember to re-post this annually...



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My Son's War?

Posted By Deebow

Maybe it is bumper sticker buying time.  That "Endless War" bumper sticker is starting to make a tiny bit of sense. 

It appears that our feckless leader's continued leadership from behind has resulted in the crafting of an agreement that was reached today that would obligate us to the first part of our own Hundred Years War in the mountains of Southwest Asia.

For that foothold in this volatile mountain region wedged between Pakistan and Iran, the United States would agree to sustain and equip Afghanistan's large security force, which the government in Kabul currently cannot afford. The deal, according to the text, would take effect on Jan. 1, 2015 and “shall remain in force until the end of 2024 and beyond.”

Please, everyone stand clear at least 25 meters because I don't want to hurt anyone while I am jumping for joy.....  And forgive me if my sarcasm is about to get up off its' beach lounger, set down its' Jack and Coke and get back in the game.

Continue reading "My Son's War?"



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The Unbearable Lightness of Being a Warrior Princess....

Posted By Deebow

Afghanistan-individual-expe

UPDATE:  link to the original essay here (my opinion remains unchanged).

I try not to spend my time poop-hammering veterans that don't need it.  Everyone's experience is different, and the fact that you served is 99 percent of all I need to hear.

But that being said, I, along with my combat MOS/Combat Service brothers and sisters, am a bit of an elitist.  The guys that have spent their time living in places with light, noise and litter discipline with Death not only tuggin at their elbow, but tying off on it with a swiss seat are more likely to be the people that I tend to bond with.  People who have seen the elephant are my people.

Long days in the Finance Office at Camp Phoenix or scheduling aircraft maintenance at Bagram are likely to get me shoveling a mountain of well deserved poo-poo on you.  

So I don't feel bad for what I am about to do.....

Continue reading "The Unbearable Lightness of Being a Warrior Princess...."



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