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06 October 2016

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VietnamVet

Colonel,

Thanks for the grade. Once a professional student always one.

The Russian reaction indicates that they believe the air strike on the SAA position prior the Islamic State attack was purposeful not a SNAFU. I wonder if the rising stakes will divert planning from his Legacy back to the ongoing world war. This strike plus the destruction of the Islamic State’s Euphrates River bridges by coalition bombers indicates that someone high in the command structure has gotten an order or a side message that keeping the Shiite Crescent cut is a priority for the establishment.

ked

"... as a woman..."
hahaha very funny.

robt willmann

Jay,

Back on 26 September I did a comment about the law that authorizes the presidential "finding" to do a "covert action".--

http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2016/09/httpssouthfrontorgtodenhofer-interview-with-al-nusra-commander-the-americans-stand-on-our-side.html

The federal statute is here--

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/50/3093

I also did a brief comment on 29 August about the War Powers Act, technically called the War Powers Resolution--

http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2013/08/clappers-assessment-on-syria.html

The statute is here, and you can click onto each section, 1541 to 1548--

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/50/chapter-33

Especially--

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/50/1541

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/50/1542

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/50/1544

Anonymous

Can instruments such as the joint unconventional warfare task force execute order be used to give aditional "unfettered authority" time before the the 60 days limit sets in? It seems to me that the capabilities of the american special forces have been so expanded that the "unconventional" in unconventional warfare has become a word for something larger and more lethal than the original concept of a small subset of specialized non-conventional war activities.

Tyler

War with Russia in my time. Who'd have thought it?

The mere threat of Russia blowing up a US plane over Syria in the midst of bombing SAR soldiers to support IS should make everyone take a step back from the brink, but Kim K got robbed in Paris.

I'm busy with life, but still curious to see how this all plays out.

Tol Tapen

Useful? Let me see: If I understand the purpose of this exercise correctly, it is to evaluate the chances of all out nuclear war by examining the chain of command, including the president, that doesn't really make decision to escalate and complicate the hell out of current situation. Also, I wouldn't really consider mutiny in the USAF as a realistic way out of critical situations.

Whoever really controls the entire political establishment, call them "borg", "collective", oligarchy or whatever, does not have tight, precision situational control but these people can surely escalate and complicate. Most importantly they WANT to do this. Who are they and why they want to escalate?
There are good reasons to believe that the "borg's collective" is just a few dozen individuals sharing the same ancient ethnic origin and the cultural mindset that comes with it. Central to this mindset is the conception of rationality. Historically, these people's greatest successes and amazingly spectacular failures are consequential to their mindset. The USA is not the first project they run. The first one dates back to 967 AD - the same methods, the same approaches. They have learned to succeed in the most difficult circumstances. They are brazen and adventuristic. Why do they fail?
Whatever they think is rational, English, German, French, Russian nationals may find despicable.The idea of self-sacrifice, the inspiration of fighting one's enemy to death is alien to their mindset. Motivating ideas like "better to die standing than live on one's knees" is beyond the borg's comprehension. So, the chances are ...

LeCashier

Anyone have any thoughts/ideas about how this relates to USNorthCom and Posse Comitatus?

ked

exceptions prove the rule(r).

ISL

Dear Colonel,

Agreed. I cannot think of a single reason a wise and good man would be willing to wallow in the muck to get the job (of pres). If I could wave a wand, I would put the JCS in the chain (Again - surprising to learn they are not). IMO Bernie's sin was not to sin.

Bill Herschel

A "UN envoy" has said that East Aleppo will be "destroyed" by "Christmas". The propaganda machine is having water sprayed on it to keep it from melting.

For what? Surely for a "military response".

Merry Christmas.

LJ

I have lost track of the consensus here on who ordered the Deir Ezzor attack that finally ended the cease fire? Obama as Commander-in-Chief in which the chain of command was intact? A Jack D. Ripper character in which the chain of command was violated? Some combination of wink wink nod nod? Was Obama undercutting Kerry with or without Kerry's knowledge in order to force Russia's hand?

Frankly, since that attack took place without a strong uproar domestically as would have happened back in the Cold War days seems puzzling to say the least.

If the answer is that Obama is too weak to stop this kind of provocation then it seems that war is very close indeed.

Chris Chuba

On a different but related topic, how much of a risk is there of the military is becoming institutionally insubordinate to the President?

Two examples.
1. Prior to the failure of the ceasefire, there was open talk that they were not willing to follow through with the agreement for the Joint Operations Agreement or to provide rebel locations. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/14/world/middleeast/syria-john-kerry.html?_r=0

2. The possibility that the attack on Deir Ezzor was deliberate by some elements in our military. I am skeptical that this will be investigated properly and the President appears to be in a state of bliss and not bothered about this at all.

Either the military is covertly implementing what he really wants and this is all a big Kabuki dance, or elements of the military are exerting their will over a weak President. I actually hope it's the former. If it is the second, can a new President turn that around or does it linger?

Babak Makkinejad

I believe we only need to wait and see...

Trust is between individual human beings - potentially - and not among states.

turcopolier

Anonymous

Rubbish. Just another JTF in the legal and appropriate chain of command. pl

Ian

Sixty days of military action is an eternity.

The entire Falklands War was only ~70 days long.

PeterHug

It would have been quite easy for Congress to pass a law prohibiting the expenditure of money on the hostilities in Libya, and then override Obama's inevitable veto, if they felt strongly enough about it.

IMO the average Congressperson is quite happy to leave questions of military action to the President - they certainly behave as if this is the case.

bernard

I was struck by that report in fort-russ.com

http://www.fort-russ.com/2016/10/breaking-russia-announces-readiness-to.html

Haven't the Russians effectively declared a no-fly-zone over Syria? They seem to be saying outright that they wont have time to detect the origin and ownership of unidentified cruise missiles and aircraft and so they will be shot down first with questions asked later.

Someone please tell me I'm wrong, or otherwise rush and tell the President to be very careful.

As for Col Lang's original question, it was Plato (Republic) who said "the guilt of war is always confined to a few persons." Things dont seem to have changed much.

Babak Makkinejad

Bridges can be rebuilt.

The fact of the matter is that men from several countries have learnt to work and fight together and die together. From such material, evidently, alliances are formed.

LJ

My concerns exactly. I suspect it is #1 and there is a huge game of chicken going on in the upper echelons. After all, Obama has appointed all of the hawkish policy establishment and fired all those who seek negotiation.

I suspect that both the R2Per's and the Ziocons have merged in the belief that Russia will back down. The that "moral clarity" must be embraced. The "brass ring" of a subservient Russia is within sight. This is no time for the faint of heart. And I suspect Obama quietly approves.

jld
IMO the answers is, to tighten the elections, and inform and educate people to care and elect better people, more trustworthy of nation' real interests rather than the usual "people of garbage" media let us have .

You still believe this to be a reasonable proposal despite what you can see all around, not only in the US and not only in our era?
It DOES happen that some governments are run by trustworthy people caring for the real interests of the people but this is just from chance events, like "shit happens" good happens sometimes.

Peter Reichard

The original intent of giving Congress the power to declare war was that Congress would make the decision to go to war. The President was to be Commander in Chief to insure civilian control of the military to prevent unauthorized military adventures or coups as the President can relieve of command any General. As we no longer live in an eighteenth century world of wind powered navies and armies marching at four miles per hour the President needs authorization to respond immediately to an attack. It is however far too easy to provoke or fabricate an incident, thus the War Powers Resolution almost represents a two month standing declaration of war against whomever the President decides. This is too dangerous, so at a minimum as TTG has rightly pointed out it needs to be limited to 48 hours not 60 days as a start to rein in the Imperial Presidency.

plantman

Colonel,

I'd like know whether you agree with this breakdown of recent events in Syria(??)


1--Kerry secures a ceasefire deal to save jihadist allies in Aleppo
2--Ash Carter sabotages the deal by attacking Deir Ezzor
3--Putin and Assad "go big" in Aleppo putting the pressure al nusra
4-- Obama and Kerry read Carter the riot act for effing up the ceasefire deal and condemning "their guys" in Aleppo a death sentence
5--The UN swings into action to offer al nusra free passage out of Aleppo
6-- (This just in) al nusra refuses UN offer
7---??? what next?

J

TTG,

Vodka, lots and lots of Vodka.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ugivNRYfjc

Vic

As an aside, the senate armed services committee earlier held hearings on Goldwater-Nichols Reform results and possible future necessary changes to the JCS. It was on C-Span and it was interesting to see the proposals by the JCS and the different Service leaders.

As mentioned above, JCS in not in the china of command. The Committee looked at the possibility of replacing the JCS with several possible organizations that are more in line with a General Staff organization.

I'm not sure that organizational structure is the problem area. We seem to habitually win the military conflict, but lose the peace. Also, military force is frequently employed to achieve political goals which it is incapable of achieving (install popular democratic governments). None of these issues are military problems, they belong to the civilian leadership over the military. That is what needs fixing.

Vic

turcopolier

plantman

IMO that is about right. 7 - Russia doubles down on troop and equipment commitment and goes all out to pacify west Syria before The Mistress takes over. A guerrilla war would continue but the Syrian government would survive. pl

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