They’re all young enough to serve. Yes, the Army won’t allow Jared and Don Jr to enlist since they’re over 34, but I’m sure the President can make a call and request an exemption.
If Donald Trump is going to deliver “fire & fury”, perhaps his kids and sons-in-law should help deliver it. Eric and Don are already “locked & loaded” so to speak. They have the ability to track and shoot dangerous animals as you can see in the photo above. They should require minimal training to end up on the front-lines.
It would really be a wonderful testament to their father and father-in-law’s deep desire to serve his country in Vietnam, which was prevented by his painful bone spurs. Those bone spurs really were a pity, since all those years he spent at the pampered “military academy” were wasted.
Anyway, this generation can redeem all that. I would recommend placing them in a combat infantry unit that leads the “fire & fury” charge into Pyongyang, or any other place Trump wants to go to war.
Hey, maybe we should ask all Senators, Representatives and Presidents’ children to serve in combat roles if their parents voted for war. Wouldn’t that be a good idea?
Meanwhile, in his visit to Saudi Arabia, President Trump did find the time to participate in an elaborate sword dance, but never brought up human rights violations.
The president who spends hours watching TV and tweeting can’t seem to comment on the fact that our close ally is planning to behead men and boys for the crime of attending a rally.
Mr Trump has not yet commented on the case of Mr al-Sweikat. In his speech to the Saudis in May, he said: “America is a sovereign nation and our first priority is always the safety and security of our citizens.
“We are not here to lecture, we are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be, or how to worship.
“Instead, we are here to offer partnership, based on shared interests and values—to pursue a better future for us all.” — www.independent.co.uk/…
Perhaps torture and a penchant for bombing other countries the “values” we share with brutal monarchies?
The AUMF passed 420-1 in the house. We have now been at war in Afghanistan for almost 16 years. Her courageous vote that day echoed Jeanette Rankin’s lone vote against declaring war on Japan and entering World War II.
As Lee explained in her speech:
“We are not dealing with a conventional war,” she said. “We cannot respond in a conventional manner. I do not want to see this spiral out of control … If we rush to launch a counterattack, we run too great a risk that women, children and other noncombatants will be caught in the cross-fire … Finally, we must be careful not to embark on an open-ended war with neither an exit strategy nor a focused target. We cannot repeat past mistakes.” — The Guardian
Today, almost 16 years after her lone dissenting voice was heard on the floor of the House of Representatives, Rep. Barbara Lee’s amendment to sunset the 2001 AUMF was adopted in committee and will head to a floor debate. If her amendment passes and brings to a close this unending war, it will have been one of the most remarkable chapters in the history of our country and Congress.
Whoa. My amdt to sunset 2001 AUMF was adopted in DOD Approps markup! GOP & Dems agree: a floor debate & vote on endless war is long overdue. pic.twitter.com/FS8LfYWo5J
Lee was born in Texas into a military family, and named Barbara Jean Tutt. Her father, Garvin Alexander Tutt retired from the US Army as a Lieutenant Colonel. Lee worked on Congressman Ron Dellums’ staff for several years and served in the California State Assembly for 8 years (1990-1996). Dellums was a founding member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) and the only member of Congress to identify as a socialist.
When Dellums retired in 1998, Lee ran for and won his seat in the 9th district. She succeeded one of the most progressive voices of his generation. Upon re-districting in 2013, she ran for office in the 13th district, succeeding Pete Stark, another strong progressive voice, and one of the earliest members of the CPC. Lee has served as chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and co-chair of the CPC.
The vote against the AUMF was a defining moment for Lee and led to severe criticism including death threats. Lee has never backed down and has remained steadfast in her commitment to peace. She voted against the Iraq War Resolution, several bills to fund these wars, and the military action in Libya. She has continued to be a vocal, courageous voice for ending our perpetual war. In a speech to her alma mater, Mills College, in 2014, as we embarked on another series of attacks in Iraq and Syria, she had this to say:
“I have called and will continue to call for a full congressional debate and vote on any military action, as required by the Constitution. The American people deserve a public debate on all the options to dismantle ISIS, including their costs and consequences to our national security and domestic priorities.”— The Nation
That Nation article also notes that Lee, is among a dwindling few other Democrats and Republicans
rejects the argument that resolutions from years ago and votes on amendments to funding measures meet the standard for congressional authorization of new military strikes.
In her autobiography, Rep. Lee revisits that moment three days after September 11, 2001 and explain, once again, her lone dissenting vote. She says that even as smoke continued to rise from the ashes of the World Trade Center, she knew, and acted upon this truth:
Congress voted, almost unanimously, to give President Bush a “blank check” to attack an unspecified country, an unspecified enemy for an unspecified period of time… I stood alone against this “blank check” for what has become known as the Global War on Terror. I knew then that the administration would turn this into a Global War and tried to warn the nation and my colleagues in the Congress. — Renegade for Peace and Justice: A Memoir of Political and Personal Courage
Progressive Lion is an occasional series celebrating a politician or activist exemplifying progressive values. The goal is the recognize their achievements and lives. If you know aspects of their career or work that are not in the diary, please share them in comments.
We have been at war in Afghanistan for almost 16 years now, and for much of that time, it’s been two steps forward and three steps back.
This week, we went three steps back as ISIS captured the mountain fortress of Tora Bora. The ISIS forces in Afghanistan include the remnants of Al-Qaeda. Tora Bora is where Bin-Laden went immediately after 9/11. It’s a large complex with miles of tunnels, roads and caves dug into granite mountains.
If you think this is only two steps back, recall that Tora Bora was originally built with funding from the CIA. The CIA helped build this fortress for the Mujahideen to support their war against the Soviets.
Important events are occurring on the battlefield, you would think our president, as commander in chief would want to be briefed closely on them.
In nearly five months in office, President Trump has yet to meet or speak with either his Iraq or Afghanistan commander, even as his administration weighs deeper and longer-term involvement in both conflicts and asks Congress for a vast increase in defense spending. — LA Times
This is in stark contrast to George W. Bush, who took his responsibility as commander in chief seriously and spoke weekly with his commanders in the region. Obama was also diligent about fulfilling his duties to the troops by maintaining close contact with his commanding generals.
So there is now, no ongoing, direct oversight of the US military operation in Afghanistan from the White House. At least not from the President. While the White House is talking about escalating the conflicts. Trump, who has been a bullshit artist all his life, is bullshitting his way through our biggest military engagement since Vietnam. Think I’m exaggerating?
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said this yesterday:
Yesterday afternoon, the President directed the Department of Defense to set troop levels in Afghanistan. This will enable our military to have greater agility to conduct operations, recognizing our military posture there is part of a broader regional context. — DoD statement
The President has passed the buck and handed to the War Department, the authority to send additional Americans into battle. Maybe if we brought back the draft, people would sit up and take notice. Or then again, maybe not, Trump and his chicken hawk friends will find a way to have their children diagnosed with bone spurs.
Perhaps we should be thankful Trump isn’t interested in Afghanistan or Iraq. In Syria, which Trump has talked about, coalition airstrikes have caused hundreds of civilian deaths in the past couple of months (ditto in Iraq). That includes 200 people sheltering in a school in Raqqa. The UN calls the loss of civilian life “staggering”. The administration’s response has been to increase secrecy, Trump’s administration is now refusing to confirm whether or not US forces were involved in airstrikes that killed civilians.
Perhaps it’s time to take a step back and think about what we’re doing here.
Instead, we are blowing up villages with fellow humans in them. We have very little to show for all the millions of tons of explosives we’ve dropped, and the rivers of blood we’ve spilled. Spreading death and destruction across much of the Middle-East such that the monetary cost of the wars pales in comparison.
Was Nero toying with his clubs while Rome burned?
We’ve demonstrated to the world that our president is diligent about getting in a round of golf every week. But he can’t be bothered to speak with the generals in charge of his campaigns, while we have tens of thousands of troops deployed on the front under his command.
What is the purpose of these wars?
Why do we think “regime change” led by us is the best alternative?
Why are we setting hundreds of billions of dollars on fire every year?
Why are we blowing up brown people in several countries?
Back in March, a bomb dropped from a US aircraft hit a building in Mosul and caused it to collapse. The strike was called in because Iraqi force on the ground saw two snipers in the building. Once the smoke had cleared, neighbors began pulling bodies out of the wreckage and there were reports that 200+ people had perished, including many children. This was the only building in the area with a basement and over a hundred people were sheltering there.
Then, US spokespersons claimed that families had been herded into the building to serve as human shields, by ISIS. Neighbors challenged that claim, saying militia fighting in the region had instead told people to clear the area, but the owner of the building had invited people to shelter in the building, probably believing it was safe. This was the second disputed explanation:
Although the U.S. has no video or eyewitness accounts of IS militants planting the explosives, Isler (the lead Pentagon investigator) said. Enemy fighters warned people in the building next door to leave the area the night before the explosion. IS militants knew there were innocent civilians in the building that collapsed, he said, and possibly gave them the same warning. He said the neighbors refused to leave and, as a result, were told by IS that “what happens to you is on you.” — WaPo
Manhal, who lives across the street from the destroyed house, heard the explosion, as did his father, Sameer. The two deny that the Islamic State moved any explosives into the building, however. Both recalled militants arriving the night before the airstrike, telling those still in their homes to leave before fighting began the next day. The snipers, they said, arrived at the house for the first time the morning of March 17, armed with rifles and little else.
“It was an airstrike,” Manhal’s father said of the incident. “There were no explosives.”
Brig. Gen Mohammed al-Jawari, the civil defense chief for Mosul, also disputed the U.S. report. “We were the first people who went to the site and evacuated all the bodies, and we didn’t find any explosives there, only a few grenades and IEDs that weren’t exploded. . . . What caused that destruction was an airstrike, nothing else,” he said. — WaPo
In its report, the Pentagon said there was no way the 500lb bomb it dropped on the building could have caused the collapse. It also said the 500lb bomb was the “proportionate” and “appropriate” response to two snipers:
The weapon appropriately balanced the military necessity of neutralizing the snipers with the potential for collateral damage. The GBU-38 entered the roof and detonated in the second floor of the structure.
Proportionality. The TEA selected a weapon that balanced the military necessity of neutralizing the two snipers with the potential for collateral damage to civilians and civilian structures. — Executive Summary of report from USAF
This was only one of 81 bombs dropped on the neighborhood of al-Jidada that day. The entire area is about 2 square kilometers, or about 500 acres. That is the size of 92 city blocks in Manhattan or about twice the size of the Washington mall. As per the USAF’s report, these 81 bombs were dropped to “seize the sector from 35-40 ISIS fighters controlling the area”.
The USAF’s characterization of the bomb’s impact on the building is strongly disputed by others.
A U.S. military pilot, who spoke on the condition anonymity because of his active duty status, said the report’s damage estimates for the initial airstrike were low and unrealistic. The pilot, who flew hundreds of combat sorties over Iraq and Afghanistan, said that using a GBU-type bomb on a residential structure ensures that there is an “extremely high probability” that the “entire building will be destroyed and every living entity inside would be killed.” — WaPo
The bits and pieces scattered Saturday through the ruins in Hibhib were the remains of the American airstrike that killed Mr. Zarqawi and five others Wednesday, when a pair of 500-pound bombs obliterated the brick house and left a crater 40 feet wide and deep.
“A big hole, sir,” said Sgt. Maj. Gary Rimpley, 46, of Penrose, Colo., who reached the scene shortly after the bombing. — NY Times
This is the third story presented by the US/Iraqi forces about this airstrike to be questioned by people on the ground. What do the neighbors and relatives actually think about the USAF report?
Idriss said the Pentagon investigation released Thursday that acknowledged 105 civilians were killed in the airstrike is relatively insignificant.
“It’s important to hear the Americans apologize,” he said, “but justice would be the government giving the people of this neighborhood money to rebuild their homes.” From where he stood at least five completely destroyed homes were visible. […]
“It wasn’t only this house where civilians died,” said Hamed Salah, approaching the building struck by the U.S. bomb. “In that house over there, more than 30 were killed and another family up there,” he said pointing down one street and up another.
The Pentagon also said it will no longer confirm which airstrikes that kill civilians were caused by US forces.
As the result of a deal struck among the coalition partners, civilian casualty incidents included in monthly reporting will not be tied to specific countries. That means the United States will in the future no longer confirm its own responsibility for specific civilian casualty incidents either — a move toward greater secrecy that could deprive victims’ families of any avenue to seek justice or compensation for these deaths. — Foreign Policy
Mrs Merkel said she wanted friendly relations with both countries as well as Russia but Europe now had to “fight for its own destiny”. […]
“The times in which we could completely depend on others are on the way out. I’ve experienced that in the last few days,” Mrs Merkel told a crowd at an election rally in Munich, southern Germany. […]
The relationship between Berlin and new French President Emmanuel Macron had to be a priority, Mrs Merkel said. — BBC
There are multiple threads here. Clearly EU allies were not pleased with the current US administration’s unwillingness to commit to the Paris accords. Nor were they thrilled by the Trump administration’s protectionist rhetoric and railing against German car-makers.
But perhaps the most serious of the breaches was President Trump’s unwillingness to affirm his administration’s commitment to NATO’s Article 5. This is the collective defense portion of the NATO treaty. It obligates all members to respond to an attack on any one member. It was first invoked after the 9/11 attacks, though NATO member states have taken collective defense measures numerous times, thrice at Turkey’s behest after various wars in the Middle-East. More recently collective defense measures are in place after Russia’s annexation of Crimea and concern among Eastern European NATO member states.
The US is treaty-bound to honor its NATO obligations. However, with sole command of the armed forces, the president would decide whether and what resources to commit. When it comes to our nuclear arsenal, the president’s authority is virtually absolute.
So when Angela Merkel says she does not believe Europe can rely on the US, she is at least partly thinking of the scenario below. If she calls for aid, will the US answer?
When troops are outside Berlin’s walls, or missiles in flight, will Donald Trump answer the call? This is an critical question for someone like Merkel, who is tasked with ensuring the safety of over 80 million people, and over 500 million if you include the entire EU. It is a serious responsibility.
If Europeans don’t believe they can rely on the US nuclear umbrella, the next obvious step is to develop a credible deterrent of their own. With Brexit imminent, this will not be the UK’s program. It is partly in this light that any discussions between France and Germany must be seen.
But it’s not just Germany or Italy or Poland who are reconsidering what they thought they knew about the US. Other major allies like Turkey, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea will too. Canada is probably still covered, but most Central/South American states have long been skeptical the US will respond to its mutual defense obligations in the Rio treaty. Will they come up with a deterrent of their own?
“The other thing with the terrorists is you have to take out their families, when you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families. They care about their lives, don’t kid yourself. When they say they don’t care about their lives, you have to take out their families,” Trump said.
Trump said he would “knock the hell out of” ISIS, and criticized the U.S. for “fighting a very politically correct war.”
Intentionally targeting civilians, including “families of terrorists”, is a war crime.
Yesterday, the Pentagon’s investigation confirmed what we suspected back in March, a US airstrike had caused a building collapse which killed over 130+ civilians.
A U.S.-led airstrike carried out on a building in Mosul in March detonated a cache of Islamic State explosives, killing more than 100 Iraqi civilians, the Pentagon said Thursday.
An unclassified summary of the U.S. military investigation into the March 17 incident determined that the 500-pound bomb used in the strike set off additional explosives that were placed in the building by the Islamic State, causing the collapse of the structure.
The blast killed two Islamic State snipers and 105 civilians, including four in an adjacent house in western Mosul’s al-Jadida district, the summary said. Thirty-six additional civilians who were allegedly killed could not be accounted for, because of “insufficient evidence to determine their status or whereabouts.” In the days after the strike, some reports said that more than 200 bodies were pulled from the rubble. — WaPo
The investigation also debunked the spin Gen. Townsend gave a week after that strike, when he claimed civilians had been intentionally positioned to serve as shields. Prior to that, coalition forces had claimed a car bomb took out the building. Since there was no car-bomb crater, that explanation was quickly challenged by reporters:
In addition to determining the cause of the building collapse, the investigation also determined that the mass of people killed in the strike had been invited to take shelter on the building’s lower floors by a neighbor. The Islamic State also warned them to leave, according to locals interviewed during the investigation. This account is at odds with what the U.S.-led coalition’s top officer suggested 11 days after the strike, during a Pentagon news briefing. At the time, Gen. Stephen Townsend said that it appeared that the civilians were herded there by the Islamic State and were being used as shields. — WaPo