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Thread: Trump and the military

  1. #1
    Grand Duchess Ambrosia's Avatar
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    Trump and the military

    [Edit: as threads often do, this one has morphed into more than was first intended in this OP. Now it includes talk about North Korea. If you are just reading this now, the North Korea conundrum, with links, happens later.]
    -----------------

    (Not sure which thread this would fit in, so starting a new one.)

    From Reuters:
    Trump, frustrated by Afgan war, suggests firing U.S. commander: officials

    Trump is frustrated by the Afghan war and has suggested firing the U.S. Commander for the region. The meeting this occurred in was held on July 19th. After the meeting, Bannon and McMaster got into a "shouting match".

    "We aren't winning," he told them, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

    In addition, once the meeting concluded, Trump's chief strategist, Steve Bannon, got into what one official called "a shouting match" with White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster over the direction of U.S. policy.

    Some officials left the meeting “stunned” by the president’s vehement complaints that the military was allowing the United States to lose the war
    My takeaway from the article is 45 isn't so concerned about the terrorists, but the resources.

    Officials said Trump argued that the United States should demand a share of Afghanistan’s estimated $1 trillion in mineral wealth in exchange for its assistance to the Afghan government.
    Last edited by Ambrosia; 08-10-2017 at 06:37 PM.
    ..
    "The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark."
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    ...

  2. #2
    practical experience, FTW MaeZe's Avatar
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    More from Democracy Now this morning: Trump Considers Prolonging Afghan War to Secure $1 Trillion in Untapped Mineral Deposits
    This comes as The New York Times reports Trump may have found a reason to prolong the nearly 16-year war: Afghanistan’s untapped mineral deposits, which could be worth nearly a trillion dollars. Trump is being pressured by a billionaire financier and a chemical executive to escalate the U.S. war in Afghanistan in a bid to exploit the country’s mineral wealth. The Times reports Trump discussed Afghanistan’s vast deposits of metals and rare earth metals with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and is reportedly considering sending an envoy to Afghanistan to meet with mining officials.
    NYT: Trump Finds Reason for the U.S. to Remain in Afghanistan: Minerals
    three of Mr. Trump’s senior aides met with a chemical executive, Michael N. Silver, to discuss the potential for extracting rare-earth minerals. Mr. Silver’s firm, American Elements, specializes in these minerals, which are used in a range of high-tech products.

    Stephen A. Feinberg, a billionaire financier who is informally advising Mr. Trump on Afghanistan, is also looking into ways to exploit the country’s minerals, according to a person who has briefed him. Mr. Feinberg owns a large military contracting firm, DynCorp International, which could play a role in guarding mines — a major concern, given that some of Afghanistan’s richest deposits are in areas controlled by the Taliban.
    Will we never learn?

  3. #3
    Just Another Lazy Perfectionist Brightdreamer's Avatar
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    Didn't the Russians also spent umpteen years and lots of money trying to "win" in Afghanistan, too, before we set foot there?

    There are just some places that can't be won... and some places people can't stop poking at, no matter how many times it bites them. 'Cause shiny minerals.
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  4. #4
    Travelling around the sun cbenoi1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
    Trump is frustrated by the Afghan war and has suggested firing the U.S. Commander for the region.
    Don't ask those in the know what the heck is going on and what to do next. Just fire them. Nice going, Donnie boy.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
    Officials said Trump argued that the United States should demand a share of Afghanistan’s estimated $1 trillion in mineral wealth in exchange for its assistance to the Afghan government.
    US asks for payment in minerals. Afghans kicks the US out and welcomes the Russians who would do the same job for free. Nice going, Donnie boy.

    This guy is a genius.

    -cb

  5. #5
    Watching the Whales vsrenard's Avatar
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    He told us he knows more than "his" generals. So clearly they are the failure here.

    I doubt 45* even knows the history of intervention in Afghanistan.
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  6. #6
    practical experience, FTW MaeZe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brightdreamer View Post
    Didn't the Russians also spent umpteen years and lots of money trying to "win" in Afghanistan, too, before we set foot there?....
    Overly simplified version, probably with dates and/or events not exactly right, but close:

    US and Soviet intervention in Afghanistan goes back a century. But most recently, we started with a proxy war against the Soviet Union in the 70s then pulled out. That was the era we gave Osama Bin Laden funding and weapons on the side against the Soviets.

    At the end of the 70s we reduced funding 'our' side while the Soviets sent in troops as opposed to just backing 'their' side. A friend of mine at the time predicted it would be their Vietnam. I said no because it was open desert and not jungle. He turned out to be right. Public pressure in the USSR over loss of soldiers in a useless war led to the Russians withdrawing their soldiers. The Taliban took over, really bad times for many people but especially for Afghan women.

    And you all probably know the rest from 9/11 on.

  7. #7
    Heckuva good sport frimble3's Avatar
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    I'll bet he doesn't know it goes back long before the Americans or the Russians. Britain fought 3 Anglo-Afghan wars, starting in the 1830s. Afghanistan - kicking Western butt for over almost 200 years.
    And, as an aside, for some reason, that trillion dollars worth of minerals hasn't done them a damn bit of good. Although the Afghanis seem less likely than most to put up with Western mining firms coming in, trashing the place, dumping their waste to destroy the environment and treating the workers like slaves.

  8. #8
    All about that action, boss. ElaineA's Avatar
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    In the 1842 retreat from Kabul, only one British soldier and a handful of Indian sepoys made it to Jalalabad. 16,000 soldiers, support staff, and camp followers began the retreat. Afghanistan--if anyone knows their history--has a No Trespassing sign that they willingly enforce with great success.

    The Dark Defile, by Diana Preston, is an accessible read on the subject, if anyone's interested.

  9. #9
    practical experience, FTW Technophobe's Avatar
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    If this happens the US will lose every shred of credibility it still has. No-one will ever believe we have a valid reason for going to war again. Because by our own actions we'll have proven that even if we do, at the end of the day it will always come down to "you have stuff we want, and we don't want to pay for it". Not to mention forfeiting our right to object to a nation invading, blockading, sanctioning, etc. another for the sake of claiming its resources. How can we call someone out for that when they point out that they're only following our example?

  10. #10
    Just Another Lazy Perfectionist Brightdreamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaeZe View Post
    Overly simplified version, probably with dates and/or events not exactly right, but close:

    US and Soviet intervention in Afghanistan goes back a century. But most recently, we started with a proxy war against the Soviet Union in the 70s then pulled out. That was the era we gave Osama Bin Laden funding and weapons on the side against the Soviets.

    At the end of the 70s we reduced funding 'our' side while the Soviets sent in troops as opposed to just backing 'their' side. A friend of mine at the time predicted it would be their Vietnam. I said no because it was open desert and not jungle. He turned out to be right. Public pressure in the USSR over loss of soldiers in a useless war led to the Russians withdrawing their soldiers. The Taliban took over, really bad times for many people but especially for Afghan women.

    And you all probably know the rest from 9/11 on.
    Thanks for the elaboration.

    And we wonder why that region seems so angry with all of us outsiders...
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  11. #11
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    Trump's conception of military service is his time in military school as a kid, where he wheedled and manipulated his way to being some kind of squad leader and got to march at the front of his group in a Macy's parade in NYC. After that, he successfully evaded the Vietnam-era draft via student and medical deferments (and, probably, his dad's money).

    I'm hoping his appointment of John Kelly as Chief of Staff might result in some boundaries, but I doubt it. Chances are he'll piss Kelly off to the point he resigns. How soon do you figure Trump will actually go to Afghanistan, or Iraq, to visit U.S. troops? He thinks the White House is a dump, how eager will he be to go to one of those places?

    caw
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  12. #12
    Keep Calm & Love a Black Woman nighttimer's Avatar
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    Sixteen years.

    The United States has been at war in Afghanistan for 16 fucking years.

    I have a nice, crisp dollar bill for anyone who can tell me WHY.

    Declare victory and get out.
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  13. #13
    Lost in the Fog rugcat's Avatar
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    Not for nothing has Afghanistan been known as "The graveyard of empires." (Although that's actually an exaggerated cliché, not entitely accurate)

    But before we hold up the Afghans as a doughty people courageously resisting imperialist invaders (us) let's not forget how we got there.

    The Taliban, a horribly regressive and dangerous religious fundamentalist state was harboring Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda when they brought down the twin towers. They refused to give them up. They were perfectly happy to support them and have them continue their plans for attacks on the US and the west in general.

    We actually started out with a sensible and clever plan – the US was not in there with massive troops. We sent advisers and helped the enemies of the Talban ( mostly regional warlords) overthrow the government. Honestly, it was a great success. The problem is, what to do next? And I'm not sure there was a good answer or even a possible one, but we certainly screwed it up royally.

    But what happens if we leave and the Taliban takes over again? I doubt they will welcome Isis into their country – they are not big fans by any means. But we could see the return of a stronger Al Qaeda with a solid, safe haven to operate from.

    We got ourselves into the mess we're through incredibly stupid actions, but I'm not sure that simply walking away is the best thing for anybody – except of course the Taliban.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by rugcat View Post
    Honestly, it was a great success. The problem is, what to do next?
    Exactly the problem the GWBush Neocons, notably Rumsfeld and Cheney, left us with in Iraq.

    And left that huge dirty table for Obama. And it has now befallen the person least competent and qualified of all the metazoans on the planet.

    caw
    Last edited by blacbird; 08-04-2017 at 08:49 AM.
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  15. #15
    I write CathleenT's Avatar
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    Well, there's an interesting historical precedent. Hitler was pretty sure he knew more than his generals, too. I've watched and read a lot of material that hypothesizes that Hitler could have won the war if he'd listened to his staff.

    Trump scares the crap out of me.

    In California, we held a special election to get rid of a governor. (Of course, we got Arnie (Schwartzenegger) that way, so who knows if it was worth it.)

    Is there any way, barring impeachment, to get rid of a sitting president? Any mechanism for a special election?

    Okay, probably not or it would have been done before, but I'm clutching at straws here.



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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by CathleenT View Post
    Is there any way, barring impeachment, to get rid of a sitting president?
    25th Amendment, which permits Cabinet members to oust a President if that person is demonstrated sufficiently to be incapable of performing the duties of the office. It was enacted after the assassination of John Kennedy, and the major idea behind it was to ensure a change of leadership if the President was physically incapacitated, but it isn't specific to that issue, and could conceivably be invoked if enough Cabinet members became convinced that the President was mentally unable to continue in office. It's been talked about, but has never been used, and seems pretty unlikely. Impeachment may yet be a long shot, but at least has historical precedent and seems more possible. Especially if 45 keeps self-destructing.

    There is no provision anywhere for a special election. Should Trump be booted via impeachment, Mike Pence would become President, and a new Vice-President would be appointed, via approval of the legislative branch. That has actually happened twice, in quick succession: Gerald Ford was appointed to replace Nixon's VP Spiro Agnew, who resigned because of a bribery scandal; then after Nixon resigned a year or so later, Ford became President, and Nelson Rockefeller was appointed to be his VP.

    caw
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  17. #17
    All about that action, boss. ElaineA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rugcat View Post
    But before we hold up the Afghans as a doughty people courageously resisting imperialist invaders (us) let's not forget how we got there.
    No one said they were courageous, just that they DID and DO resist invaders. Everyone who's tried it for the last 175 years has had to slink away with their tail between their legs.

    That this country, with basically no place on the world stage beyond "war zone," has been the epicenter of so much acquisitive attention for this long is mind boggling to me, the fact that they were housing Osama bin Laden notwithstanding. Clearly, we didn't need a war to get to him, just a SEAL Team.
    Last edited by ElaineA; 08-04-2017 at 09:16 AM.

  18. #18
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    To "We'll build a wall and make Mexico pay for it," add "We'll invade Afghanistan and make Afghanistan pay for it."

    After all, if the Postal Service has to make a profit why shouldn't the US Army?

  19. #19
    practical experience, FTW Twick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElaineA View Post
    No one said they were courageous, just that they DID and DO resist invaders. Everyone who's tried it for the last 175 years has had to slink away with their tail between their legs.

    That this country, with basically no place on the world stage beyond "war zone," has been the epicenter of so much acquisitive attention for this long is mind boggling to me, the fact that they were housing Osama bin Laden notwithstanding. Clearly, we didn't need a war to get to him, just a SEAL Team.
    I took a history class on Alexander once, and the prof stressed that Afghanistan was the most difficult of his campaigns, probably for much the same reason as today. It doesn't have a centralized government you can attack. As the prof put it, "You can attack a warlord in this valley, and beat him - but all the valleys have their own warlords. You can't occupy them all."

  20. #20
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Due to geography Afghanistan is tactically very difficult, while at the same time being strategically very important. That is what ensures a near-permanent state of war there -- which means the locals will be very good at fighting.

    One of my SEAL buddies described Afghanistan this way: "When God got done creating the world He had about a hundred billion one-inch cubes of rock left over, and Afghanistan is where He put all of them."

    Any time you start a war without a very clear idea of what the victory conditions are, and what comes after you win ... whatever plan you're using is a bad plan.

  21. #21
    Who's going for a beer? waylander's Avatar
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    The last successful invaders of Afghanistan were the Mongols

  22. #22
    Travelling around the sun cbenoi1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
    After all, if the Postal Service has to make a profit why shouldn't the US Army?
    I'd loooove to see how Congress would work like if converted as a profit center.

    On second thought, maybe not.

    -cb

  23. #23
    All about that action, boss. ElaineA's Avatar
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    It already is. Why do you think so many of those dudes are multi-millionaires?

  24. #24
    Grand Duchess Ambrosia's Avatar
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    I'm not a history buff. I'm learning quite a lot reading this thread.

    I personally believe it is wrong for countries to go in to another country to supposedly fight against an enemy, and then turn around and seize that country's resources. Stripping a country of its wealth is wrong, but at least be honest about the reason for going there in the first place if you are going to do it.

    Can 45 actually fire the commander of that region, or does he have to go through the Joint Chiefs of Staff to do it?
    ..
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  25. #25
    Travelling around the sun cbenoi1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
    {...} or does he have to go through the Joint Chiefs of Staff to do it?
    Did he ever?

    -cb

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