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09 April 2017

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Jeannie Catherine

A complete disgrace. My heart aches over such madness.

Bless this site, Col. Lang, and the extraordinarily insightful commenters. I find shelter here. May Peace be with you, and all of us.

Randy

Amazing that after all the money the US spends on defense our military is in such bad shape. I guess all that money wound up in the same place the 36 missing cruise missiles went to. Missile heaven, next door to money heaven.

Eric Newhill

PT,
Thank you for continuing to write about this growing crisis.

The US attack on the air field was such an impotent gesture with so much downside. I am shocked at the praise it garnered in the media and in Congress. With such idiots running things we are truly screwed. I am at a loss of words to describe my feelings about all of this. I knew Clinton would do it; so I supported Trump. I thought his basking in the glow of his supporters' adulation would satisfy his ego and keep him from doing what they did not want. I hate being wrong, but there it is. I was wrong.

You may want to edit this; " Trump has *not* bought the equivalent of the Brooklyn Bridge."

Jack

PT

The poor readiness and the worn state of the equipment of our military is not due to a lack of spending. We spend more on our military than seven of the next big spenders combined. We're clearly not getting value for the money spent. Just like our health care system where we spend twice per capita relative to other western countries.

It seems we are seeing institutional failure at a massive scale. Our monetary authority, the Fed, has reduced the purchasing power of our savings by over 95% in the century since that institution was created. Despite this colossal failure of its core mission the scale and scope of this institution grows.

Our government is beyond dysfunctional. It is a threat to our safety, to our liberty, and our Constitutional Republic. The political, media and governmental elite have become consumed with the virulent, false God of Pax Americana. At this point the only group that is seeing through this smokescreen are the alt-right. I don't yet see any evidence that conservatives, liberals and the alt-left are concerned about this attack on a sovereign nation on a false pretext. Clearly, many Americans are ambivalent. However, with the MSM, the vast majority of the elected political leadership and the military-intelligence leadership intensifying their propaganda to bamboozle us into another disastrous intervention into the ME quicksand, only a concerted effort at immediate opposition can offer any hope of stopping the growing momentum of this freight train of grave error.

Babak Makkinejad

PT:

Unglücklich das Land, das Helden nötig hat.

Peter AU

Trump has burn't his bridges - no going back.
Anything the US now says to countries it is antagonistic with is worthless. Nothing can be believed. For them, the US must be considered a direct threat that may commence military action at any time.
Russia, China, Iran.
Not long ago - Duterte has good relations with China - taunting US, saying they were weak in not forcing China of SCS islands. Now Kim of NK taunting and challenging the US.
I suspect the US is about to get tag teamed till it doesn't know which way is up.

Yeah, Right

Quite astonishing to think that even though the USA continues to spend staggering amounts on money on its military the end result is an airforce where the pilots are, on average, considerably younger than the warplanes that they are flying.

...."and those aircraft are an average of 27 years old"....

It would be interesting to ask those pilots what they would think about owning a 27-year-old automobile.

A car from 1991? Rattly ol' bag o' bolts, most probably.

Taras77

It gets worse if one takes on the report that mcmasters wants to put an additional 1500 troops into syria, ie what amount to an invasion-what could wrong?

Also, mcmaster and petraeus are very close, 1500 troops has patraeus' fingerprints all over it.

I think the nsc has been thoroughly neoconned, dina powell, fiona hill, etc.

bottom line, to state the obvious, a huge beyrayal, a huge con by the neo cons

Paul

Where are all those tough talking people in the Congress? They could put a stop to Trump in a heartbeat if they were patriotic.

LondonBob

All signs seem to be pointing towards this being a one off, so I don't think we should get carried away. Pretty odious though the frenzy of the neocons, Borg, Netanyahoo, Erdogan etc. at trying to goad more out of this.

Of course there are troubling questions about how this all came about but I have already read too much claim and counter claim to know. Unraveling what information was presented, to who and then who took which position would be nice to know, if that is possible.

I note that there has been no triumphalism from Trump, also Bannon's people at Breitbart seem to be covering the unhappiness of much of Trump's base with this action.

Gabriel

Possibly known already to SST readers, but, apropos low readiness data Publius Tacitus quoted above, thought I'd post a Chuck Spinney piece ("The Defense Death Spiral: Why the Defense Budget Is Always Underfunded") that helped me understand how perpetual readiness problems can co-exist with very high defense appropriations.

http://chuckspinney.blogspot.com/p/the-defense-death-spiral-why-defense.html

Key points:


* A Modernization Program that Cannot Modernize the Force: The MICC’s predilection for increasing high-tech ever-more complex weapons and supporting equipment (for domestic-political economic reasons) causes the unit costs of new weapons to always grow faster than overall defense budgets, even when those budgets increase sharply, as they did in the early 1980s and after 1998. Consequently, new weapons always cost far more than their predecessors, and cannot be produced at high enough rates to replace existing weapons on a one-for-one basis. Decreasing replacement rates cause the average age of the weapons in the force structure increase over time, and eventually the ages of the oldest weapons reach a point where they must be retired without replacement. The result is the well-documented, long-term trend toward smaller and older forces. This evolution has been in place since the late 1950s.

* The Rising Cost of Low Readiness: Notwithstanding promises to the contrary (i.e., of lower life cycle costs), the unit operating costs of increasingly complex (and aging) weapons have also risen considerably faster than overall budgets. This asymmetry creates continual budgetary pressure to reduce readiness and to shrink force size, in part to contain growth in the operating budget itself, but also to free up the additional funds to finance the underfunded modernization program (known as robbing readiness to save modernization).

There's a great deal of fascinating detail about how politically this is basically structural: strongly encourage that those interested read the whole thing.

Matt

if you want a flavour of grassroot reactions to Trump then you can visit:

http://boards.4chan.org/pol/catalog

I visited for the 2nd time last night,

1st time, 4 months ago, they were worshiping Trump as their god/king/emperor,

now they are mostly aghast at his betrayal, devoid of any hope, some sound suicidal,

there are threads predicting imminent WW3, reservists discussing whether to abscond before they are frogmarched into a futile war and groups monitoring USAF radio transmissions trying to identify nuclear launch codes being issued,

these are the people that willingly adopted Hillary's slur 'deplorables'

I remember one during the election cycle saying,'we in the flyover states are the ones that grow your food and fight your pointless, endless wars'

the media and politicians seem utterly insane at the moment,

the people who will be asked to carry out their wishes seem stone cold sober and utterly rooted in the reality of the situation,

the Geriatric Ginger Dyslexic in Chief may only have nuclear as an option as his rank and file seem unwilling to march into his meat grinder,

the only Hero's I can see in the USA atm are the servicemen and women, their only power is their oath of allegience and a refusal to carry out illegal orders,

at this anniversary of WW1 maybe people should recollect the christmas day truce and the French Army's mutiny,

I would emplore God to help us but I think he has lost interest and is considering the Flood Plan 2.0,

we are beyond divine intervention and it is up to us to fix this,

Kutte

Publius Tacitus
One point you mentioned I find particularily interesting: The paper tiger bit. On Februry 9, 2017 TTG wrote "Another look at Russia’s radio-electronic combat - TTG" here http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2017/02/another-look-at-russias-radio-electronic-combat-ttg.html
I find the "disappearance" of 36 drones rather conspicuous. Did they just malfunction, or were they "helped" by electronic "caretakers", leaving a message for the knowledgeable? Could the Russians have hijacked the lot of them, and let them harmlessly land in formation, to be carted to the rubbish tip? Of course, that would have made Trump look so ridiculous that he would have pushed the MAD-Button. The USA cant defeat Russia and China as they defeateed Germany nad Japan. Even if Russia and China surrendered unconditionally on the outbreak of hostilities (very unlikely), the USA probably could not organize the logistics for occupying and policing them. And they can always use the MAD-Option, an almost irresistable offer.

The Beaver

I saw this last night on an a/c that I have relied on to get the latest news on Syria/Iraq:
Rumours that the US wants #Iraq's special forces to participate in the Raqqa offensive in Syria.

Where the GCC countries who support the bombing of the airbase and who are members of the coalition of 68 for Syria?

Lesly

Obama won because he promised change. He delivered more of the same. Clinton lost because she couldn't convincingly pretend change is necessary if she had bothered to listen to people instead of an algorithm.

Now Trump is as bad as Clinton on foreign policy, willing to risk a war with Russia over a strange, foreign people Americans honestly don't care about, including their dead children.

Trump's cabinet appointments and policy statements also indicate he will side with capital over labor even as he courts the vote of poor, resentful laborers to gain power.

And if we avoid a hot/thermal war with Russia, and when he fails to better the lives of the people he has to thank for being president, the question is what comes next. Socialism, fascism or anarchy.

The system is not responding.

Pinwheel

How bad is it? This bad:

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/3286978/trump-airstrike-syria-daughter-heart-break/

Ivanka ordered the air strike! MIGHTY king Trump could not bear the sight of a single tear from the eye of his princess. Jared and Ivanka are our unelected royal couple. If her highness is distraught by the sight of dead children in a war zone, then WW3 be damned. We are governed by royal whims, edicts and degrees, backed by imperial might. Domestic and international laws are quaint relics of the past. This is how empires end, and the foolish masses will pay the ultimate price.

Degringolade

Gabriel:

A nice piece. Brings to mind a Sci-Fi classic

http://www.mayofamily.com/RLM/txt_Clarke_Superiority.html

steve

"Trump persuaded many of the people that voted for him that he would not engage in the failed foreign nation building carried out by his predecessors"

Which absolutely amazed me. It was pretty clear he had little interest and less knowledge about foreign affairs in general and the ME in particular. Given that GOP foreign policy has been dominated by the neo-con faction, it seemed pretty obvious that they were going to end up running things again. Granted, it probably wouldn't have been much different with anyone else in office, but I do think that the price of a disruptive leader (Trump) is that it introduces some chaos into the process and probably makes things worse sometimes.

Steve

Fred

The Beaver,

Aren't they a little busy in Yemen, a country that isn't (yet) America's problem to solve?

Fred

Yeah, Right,

The average age of vehicles on America's roads is almost 12 years. Needless to say they don't get the same level of attention a B 52 gets.

http://www.autonews.com/article/20161122/RETAIL05/161129973/average-age-of-vehicles-on-road-hits-11.6-years

William R. Cumming

IMO up to 1/3rd of the DoD budget goes to misfeasance, malfeasance, and non-feasance. In other words CORRUPTION! BUILD A NEW pentagon at Ft. Riley!

A new statute should force disclosure by all FLAG RANKS, whatever status but alive of all sources of EARNED INCOME!

DUTY, HONOR, COUNTRY?

wisedupearly

What we need to see are the in-flight video feeds from the missiles going in. All 59 of them according to DOD. For 60mil+ in direct costs we deserve to get some thing more definitive than circles on a video wall at Fox. Usually CNN has something.

ex-PFC Chuck

Some questions for those far more plugged in than I am out here in Flyoverland: Are all of those 36 missiles just plain unaccounted for? Or do we know where some (or all?) of them went, which was away from the intended target? Are DoD people freaking out about this?

LeaNder

Donald Trump was correct to criticize the stupid decision of George W. Bush to start an unnecessary war in Iraq. That ill-fated decision may have initially bought Bush some political cheering at home, but he opened a serpent's nest that unleashed the chaos that is now ruling the region.

PT, had he ever put it the way you suggest here, I might have much better understood his many supporters on SST. As far as I am concerned, he never did. Maybe his relevant statements never reached me?

No doubt his stand on Russia seemed promising. But to what extend was it pure histrionics riding the dissent wave without intending to follow up on giving up the American unilateral empire? Isn't that part of what makes America Great?

What reached me was, that Obama "created ISIS" and "lost the Iraq war". ... concerning Russia he seemed to modify at one point. Paraphrasing: I'll walk in there, and if I don't get my deal fast, I'll walk out again. Image: Strong leader, I'll get what I want. Be sure about that. ...

If your concern would be more money for the US military, well, that no doubt he promised. He also promised to make the better deals, concerning necessary "hardware" updates/purchases. Some around here convinced me that in some fields money is needed. But is he aware of those? Would they be media effective?

But didn't this or his foreign policy speech suggest, he was more then willing to use it just like everyone before? And wasn't his strong alignment with the military meant to convey the image of a strong Commander in Chief? ... Absolutely no harm meant, I deeply respect people's military background around here. While no doubt always remaining the nitwit observer at the fence on both intelligence and the military. And not least the American experience.

Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

The dream of the neoliberal brain trust was to turn the clock back to the rentier economy of the late 19th century. So...we're there, folks.

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