Saturday, January 18, 2020

Jihadi Jumbo

Abu Abdul Bari, also known as Shifa al-Nima, was arrested in Iraq Thursday.  The high ranking daeshi Imam, supposedly an authority on Sharia, has been charged with issuing fatwa death sentences against other clerics who had repudiated the daeshis.  Also allegedly ordered the destruction of the Tomb and Mosque of Biblical Prophet Yunus (Jonah) back in 2014 saying it had become a place of apostasy.  Or was he jealous of the whale? 

Affectionately nicknamed 'Jabba' and the man who put the fat in 'fatwa'.    They could not cram him into a police car, so they hauled him off in the back of a pickup truck.  Where has he been hiding all this time?  He'll break the scaffold if they hang him.  Unless of course they put him on a radical diet first. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2020


One week

One week into

One week into the New Year

And here we are...

I thought Iran would proxy us, and to be honest, I'm surprised they took direct action.

But the details coming out about how Qassaem Soleimani was lured to his assassination explains a lot about the duplicity of how we cravenly used duplicity to kill a man under a white flag.

I don't even know what to think or say...just...fuck.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

New Year starts with a bang

Well the Moron has just put over 5000 US troops and 7000 US contractors in the firing line.  Wag the Dog strategy.  War for partisan internal politics.  Popmpom and the neocons now apparently have control of the Idiot's brain.

Not only Suleiman, but also Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of Hashd al-Shaabi, and a member of the Iraqi National Council, who was said to be in line for Iraqi Minister of Defense.  Several other high ranking Hasd al-Shaabi leaders killed.  The attack was reportedly done by attack rotary wing on a convoy traveling on the Baghdad Airport road.
Mr. Thucydides on Line 1... An addendum from FDChief

Mike has given us the bare facts, but I want to add a note on just how geopolitically moronic this is.

Leaving aside the purely moral questions of murder-by-drone (and I suspect that a drone is more likely to have been the Angel of Death here rather than an Army aircraft...) any politico-military act by a Great Power can and should be judged by the cost versus the benefit of the action. So, let's look at those here; first, what are the benefits?

1. Taking a powerful Iranian piece off the board.

Fred Kaplan has a pretty good summary of the larger view of this action here (he also calls it an "act of war" eliding, I think, the reality that the U.S. and Iran have been in a cold war since Trump's abrogation of the JCPOA). Bottom line is that the Dead Guy was effectively the combined Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the CINC of Special Operations for Iran. This was a decapitation strike and, as such, a successful one.

2. Reminding everyone, especially everyone in the Middle East, and especially everyone in Iran, that the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.

Not that anyone really needed that reminder. But this is an in-your-face example of the Ledeen Doctrine. As such it raises as many questions as it answers, and we'll discuss that below. But there's no question that this is a sort of "you're not safe anywhere" gesture to anyone thinking about giving Uncle Sammy the side-eye.

3. Aaaaand...that kinda runs me out of "benefits".

Seriously. I'm not sure what else this does, other than ratchets up the US-Iran cold war.

OK, so...what are the (direct) costs?

1. Rachets up the US-Iran cold war.

Which in itself isn't a good thing, but my real concern is that it could lead to a US-Iran hot war, and there's simply no "good" result of that.

Look, the United States at this phase of it's existence is a "status quo" Power. Stability and regularity are its friends, chaos and uncertainty its foes. Like any status-quo Great Power, it benefits when it can work with smaller regional powers to exert its influence. When it's forced to respond to troubles thrown out by regional instability it risks - as it has found - getting mired in endless sapping brushfire wars and profitless imperial adventures. Status-quo Powers are not usually good at "responding", they're not designed to be nimble or flexible. They do best when they can surround themselves with buffers of client and proxy states that can be bribed, wheedled, intimidated, or some combination of all three, into doing the Power's dirty work for them.

What We the People should have learned from the last 19 years is that "regime change" in politically un- or under-developed polities is unlikely to produce more stability. The Clintonistas tried to "save" Somalia and just knocked it further into the tules. The Bushies knocked the Saddam cork off the Iraq bottle and produced the unholy clusterfuck that this move is part of. The Obamites went along with defenestrating Ghaddafi in Libya and produced an even-more-failed-state.

Removing the mullahs from Iran won't produce a "better" Iran (from a US policy standpoint). Whoever follows is going to be 1) Persian, and, as such, convinced of Iran's place as the regional middleweight power, and 2) reminded that the US has not been a good thing for Iran since back in the 1950s - he, she, or they will remember Mossadegh and the Shah and the Gulf War and, now, this.

2. Replaces the Dead Bad Guys with...some other bad guys we don't know.

The Trumpkins make much of how the Dead Guy was a Bad Guy, but...c'mon. Seriously? This was fucking Napoleon? How "irreplaceable" a military-political genius was this joker? It's not like the IRGC is some sort of modern-day Alexander's Companions. They've made trouble in the Middle East and...what? Like it's that difficult to make trouble in the Middle East? Like it takes some sort of 12-dimension-chess-master? The cemeteries are full of irreplaceable men.

And - as we found with Ghaddafi and Saddam - sometimes the people who replace the guys you kill are madder, badder, and more dangerous to know.

I said this succeeded as a decapitation strike. But who knows? It may turn out to be a "Yamamoto shootdown"; a little revenge drama that has no impact on the military organization it's targeting. Only this one wasn't in the middle of buttrump nowhere Southwest Pacific but at the freaking Baghdad Airport, which brings us to...

3. Punks the Baghdad government and every Iraqi regardless of political affiliation.

Imagine how you would feel if your neighbor kicked your door down, walked into your kitchen, and shot dead the guest your cousin had invited in.

You might not like the guest, or your cousin all that much...but that? That's a punch in your face. That's utterly contemptuous of you and your home. The neighbor has, to put it bluntly, just shown that you are his bitch. If you don't respond with force, are.

It's one thing to know that the strong do what they can. It's another thing to have your nose rubbed in it.

Seriously, I have no idea how the current government in Baghdad survives this if they don't make every American persona non grata and order the whole nutroll out of their country within 30 days. Hell, you'd think that they'd demand the extradition of the drone operator and everyone in their chain of command on murder charges. They won't...but why not? I mean, it kinda WAS premeditated murder.

3. Bogs the US even further in the Middle Eastern/Sunni-Shia War of Religion mire.

The one thing that everyone here has tried to make a Trump Positive is his supposed longing to #endendleswars. How the hell does this do anything to do that? I want to whack this dude? Fine. You can't find a way to get him to turn up in the Baghdad Marriot with a fatal heart attack, two labradoodles and a boy toy wearing a full wetsuit and stripper heels? Instead you choose the most ridiculously in-your-face fuck-you to every Masud and Amina between Gibraltar and the Celebes?


We've had discussions here that always seem to come back to the "Well, sure, Trump talks bugnuts shit, but that's just Trump..." thing. But I think this is a perfect example of WHY it's a problem. This doesn't strike me as something that was the result of some sort of deep foreign policy analysis. This feels like Trump gets pissed off at these pesky little Persians fucking with HIS embassy and making the news like he was a girly-man Jimmy Carter sorta wuss and calls down to his CIA Iran desk and says "Goddamn it, find me some Iranian sonofabitch to kill!" so he can look Strong and Commanding. This really is Foreign Policy by Tweet.

I'm not trying to say that he's somehow breaking U.S. Middle Eastern policy. That's been a shitshow since we stepped into the French and British colonial shoes after 1945.

But the feckless bastard has found ways to make it an even bigger shitshow, and after Bush I wasn't sure that was even possible.

What a fecking mess.

Update 1/4/20: Oh, for fuck's sake...
OK, so...the part where this whole idiocy is "Foreign Policy by Tweet"?

1) Fifty-two hostages? The 1979-1980 "Hostage Crisis"? Seriously?

2) "Iranian culture"? You're advertising that you're gonna war crime Iran by targeting cultural heritage sites? Why not bomb Coventry Cathedral, too, bubba, so you can bag the sweep. Jesus wept.

3) No more threats, hunh? I guess you're King of the Playground now, Spunky.

IF one of my troops had actied this stupid I'd have had the sonofabitch pulling extra duty until he ETSed. Since the POTUS is in the chain of command,...

Update 1/5/20: No, duh.

Like I said; this was fucking inevitable.

Anyone but a complete goddamn moron or goddamn Donnie Trump - but I repeat myself - could have seen this coming. KNEW this was coming the minute the warhead of the Reaper missile detonated. Does it mean that the GIs will have to do a Saigon-embassy-un-ass the joint? Maybe. The Baghdad government knows damn well that the GIs are the only militarily effective force in their country, and that if the GIs go it'll be a matter of time before the Sunni rebels re-rebel (the ridiculous Islamic State panic masked the reality that, in Iraq, anyway, the IS was more-or-less just the continuation of the Sunni resistance to the US occupation that began in 2003.

But the hell with tomorrow; today the Iraqi pols have only one choice, and that's between giving Uncle Sammy the finger, or being his tool. No Iraqi pol is stupid enough to think that being a Quisling is going to get him anywhere after this past week. Trump has made it cleat that his entire geopolitical approach to the Middle East is summed up in the sort of thing one of his goobers would wear on a T-shirt at one of his Nuremburg rallies; "Kick the ass. Take their gas."

IF I thought that Trump was serious about #endingendlesswars, that he'd simply tell the guys to grab a hat and not let the door hit them in the ass?


But whacking Solemani and sending paratroops to Kuwait and not even feinting towards repealing the AUMFs?

Nope. He's not even trying. He's pulling your leg just like he pulled the poor bastards' legs who "invested" in his fake university. That's who he is. That's what he does.


Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Mary Asks for a Miracle

"behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing"
—Luke 2:48

How do you approach a miracle? She forgets her son
has sky spilling out of his mouth, so she doesn’t look
in the temple, where he’s practicing a prayer
that sounds like the only rose-colored feather
on the wing of a desert finch. She searches the road,
with the revellers, the travellers, returning home,
but the miracle is a beak that snaps the pinyon pine
shell apart like a lever, releasing its heart from its case.
The miracle is a set of questions made by the river
that clips its blue leash to the sea. The miracle is
only partly a boy, only partly a bird or a beach.
She forgets the part that is made of fire and wind,
the part that opens what’s closed or finds what’s lost.
She is sad and worried in her unremembering.
What do you say to the miracle you’re missing
when the miracle tells you it is already home?

~ Linda Dove

This evening we celebrated Christmas Eve with all the traditions of our family; lazy idleness, videogames (for the Boy), desultory exercise (for Mojo and myself), and a meal of honey ham (because honeybaked ham...), scratch mac n' cheese with sharp Tillamook cheddar because the Boy - whose diet generally consists of whatever is on the "prohibited" list published by the American Diabetic Association - specially requested it, and a garden salad because it symbolizes the rebirth of Sol Invictus or Christ, whichever comes first, or who takes two out of three thumbwrestling.

I won't pretend that this winter solstice doesn't feel dark and dim, and not merely because we're into the Dark Ages here in the Pacific Northwest, the rainy months when we see the sun only randomly from week to week. To me it feels like the December of 1860 must have; a tense, louring time vibrating like a tightening string, turbulent with anger and danger. The election of 2016 has made evident what has been true since 1980; that We the People are a house divided against itself, that we are in a cold civil war, and the the only thing left to question is whether we will continue in this tortuous state or break out into open struggle to become all one or all the other. I can neither effectively fight that struggle or win it; all I can do is try and turn it from me and mine.

So I hope you and yours are together, and safely ensconced in love and light. The night is long and dark, and we are our own candles, flickering bravely against the cold outside the glass.

May all of us find our way home safe tonight.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Happy Solstice

I've been out of touch and will be for awhile.  We have a 3-year old great-granddaughter visiting.  She is busy charming SWMBO and various aunts and great aunts, and me too, or alternately running us ragged.

For all here Merry Christmas or whatever your midwinter celebration is.  May your New Year bring you happiness, health, and prosperity.   

But regardless of the season I have turned into a grinch as I'm calling for the coming year to bring both KJ-u and the Moron dual implosions, and to spend eternity gorging on each others' fecal showers.  May their genes be filtered from the pool and turned into dust.  May their enablers and accomplices be cursed with boils, pestilence, flies, lice, and darkness.

Monday, December 9, 2019

A Fool Lies Here

In a "revelation" that should surprise no one, the Washington Post published a 2014 report from the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction that makes clear the ridiculous impossibility of what Rudyard Kipling warned us of in 1891.

What is also clear is that the United States learned only one lesson from the loss of the war in Southeast Asia; that if you draft random people and random people's kids to fight idiotic imperial wars in the global hustings you will be made to pay for it politically because the random people will fight to expose your lies and stupidity.

If you let them draft themselves, nobody will give a shit.

So, despite this voluminous mass of evidence that three successive U.S. administrations have been cluelessly, grossly, lying to themselves and the U.S. public and have, somehow, managed to take a grotesquely mismanaged Central Asian failed state and turn it into a worse grotesquely mismanaged Central Asian failed state, not a single one of the people involved will so much as go shy half a slug or miss a meal. No Bushie, no Obamite, no Trumpkin...nobody will pay.

Read the whole thing; the most obvious "lessons learned" were the things that a bunch of us already knew and were howling about back in the Intel Dump days; that, even if there ever had been a hope after choosing to break into the joint, the choice to bolt to Iraq as soon as possible left Afghanistan to go to hell. That the Afghan corruption that was endemic wasn't - and, probably, could never be - addressed. That the idea of trying to set up a central "government" in Kabul was nonsensical, and became a toxic kleptocracy as soon as it could., hell, go read it. The whole damn thing was a clusterfuck from the get go and probably always would have been. But it was certainly mismanaged about as badly as possible, too.

And so, just as in Iraq, now all that's left is to spell out in black ink that all the blood and treasure spent in Afghanistan has been utterly wasted, good for nothing but ruin and delusion and merciless hatred.

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white with the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear: "A Fool lies here who tried to hustle the East.

There is pleasure in the wet, wet clay
When the artist's hand is potting it.
There is pleasure in the wet, wet lay --
When the poet's pad is blotting it.
There is pleasure in the shine of your picture on the line
At the Royal Acade-my;
But the pleasure felt in these is as chalk to Cheddar cheese
When it comes to a well-made Lie--

To a quite unwreckable Lie,
To a most impeccable Lie!
To a water-right, fire-proof, angle-iron, sunk-hinge, time-lock, steel-faced Lie!
Not a private handsome Lie,
But a pair-and-brougham Lie,
Not a little-place-at-Tooting, but a country-house-with-shooting
And a ring-fence-deer-park Lie.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

War Crime

Commander Bone-Spurs, not happy with just restoring the rank of Chief Petty Officer Gallagher, now demands that the Navy not kick Gallagher out of the Seals.

Undoubtedly Bone-Spurs, well known as a horn-dog, got his inspiration from the appearance on Fox News of Gallagher's wife Andrea.  And also from San Diego Congressman Duncan Hunter, another horn-dog who allegedly used campaign funds to help pay for his extramarital affairs.  And of course Breitbart had a lot to do with Bone-Spurs interference in the rocks and shoals of justice.

In Gallagher's court martial the Navy prosecution team was outlawyered by his high paid civilian law firm, expensive but paid for by donations solicited on Breitbart and Fox.

Charges against Gallagher were:
  1. Attempted Murder;
  2. Premeditated Murder;
  3. Aggravated Assault with a Dangerous Weapon (two counts?) on non-combatant;
  4. Discharging firearm willfully as to endanger non-combatants;
  5. Obstructing Justice (three counts);
  6. Wrongfully pose for an unofficial picture with a human casualty;
  7. Wrongfully complete reenlistment ceremony next to a human casualty;
  8. Wrongfully Operate a drone over a human casualty;
  9. Wrongful Use of a Controlled Substance – Tramadol Hydrochloride;
  10. Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance – Sustanon250
Only convicted of charge number six.  This was after a prosecution witness who had immunity changed his testimony on the stand.  And may have been due to the prosecution's ham-handed efforts to track the leaks of the Judge's gag order, which came to light during the trial.

The other fishy thing is the dropping of the charges regarding use of steroids and opioids.  That would seem to be easy to prove, but apparently it was not.  The steroid use coincides with the reports of his aggressive behavior - not only the alleged killing of the teenage POW, but his indiscriminate and reckless sniper shots, and randomly spraying neighborhoods with machine gun and rocket fire. "Other snipers said they witnessed Gallagher taking at least two militarily pointless shots, shooting and killing an unarmed old man in a white robe as well as a young girl walking with other girls."  And that he "boasted about the large number of people he had killed, claiming he averaged three kills a day over 80 days, including four women."

So he is free now with rank restored.  The American people will foot the bill for his pension.  The American military will have problems for years in the future for Bone-Spurs handling of this.  America's reputation is besmirched.  And some Americans, troops and civilians, will pay with blood because of it.

The Navy should never again let him serve in a Seal Team or in a training role.   IMHO they should assign him to be the senior corpsman in a VD ward of a naval hospital or clinic, preferably a remote one.  And monitor him with frequent drug tests.  But the Navy brass has Bone-Spurs looking over their shoulder on this.  They damn sure don't want to lose funding for a new carrier or some other high end item, as they know that Bone-Spurs has a vindictive streak.  So they'll toe the line.

If we are lucky Gallagher will retire, and stay off of Fox and Breitbart.  But I fear that ain't gonna happen.