The Yazidi Nightmare: Hopefully Some of It Is Over
Sep01

The Yazidi Nightmare: Hopefully Some of It Is Over

While there are a thousand reasons not to use military force in support of the tens of thousands of innocents “over there” who are being tortured, abducted, raped and murdered en-masse, one reason to do so — although many will say it is a flimsy one — is because our national psyche and our national conscience tells us that it is the right thing to do. The rescue of an estimated 50,000 to 80,000 Yazidis who had fled to...

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What Makes One a Warmonger and a ‘Fear Monger’?
Sep01

What Makes One a Warmonger and a ‘Fear Monger’?

After our disastrous invasion and occupation of a sovereign nation, Iraq, and after the now-longest war in American history — the Afghanistan War — there is naturally a great reluctance on the part of Americans to get involved in any more military entanglements, especially in the Middle East. Then along comes a band of thugs — very well trained, organized, capable, motivated and supported thugs, many say — who,...

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Breaking:  U.S. Airstrikes and Humanitarian Airdrops Break ISIS Siege of Amerli
Aug31

Breaking: U.S. Airstrikes and Humanitarian Airdrops Break ISIS Siege of Amerli

Chalk one up for the good guys. Over the weekend, the U.S. military conducted airstrikes in support of an operation to deliver humanitarian assistance and protect civilians who had been trapped in Amerli for months by ISIS terrorists and who were threatened with a possible massacre. DoD: Two months ago, hundreds of ISIL terrorists advanced on Amerli cutting off food, water, and medical supplies to thousands of Shia Turkomen living...

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Labor Day 2014: Our Military Are ‘Workers,’ Too
Aug31

Labor Day 2014: Our Military Are ‘Workers,’ Too

Tank Mechanic, Army Spc. Samantha Brumley, with Company F, 145th Brigade Support Battalion, Oregon National Guard, Aug. 20, 2014. U.S. Army photo by Maj. Wayne (Chris) Clyne, 115th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, Oregon Army National Guard Labor Day was originally a day to give tribute to the men and women who, through hard, physical labor, built our country — the “working class.” Today, we celebrate Labor Day to recognize the...

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Ukraine: A ‘Hopeless Struggle’ for the Lost East (Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Germany)
Aug30

Ukraine: A ‘Hopeless Struggle’ for the Lost East (Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Germany)

Should Ukrainians brace themselves to lose yet another chunk of their country to Russia, this time the most densely populated part of east Ukraine – Dunbas? In the aftermath of the first meeting since June between Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, Sueddeutsche Zeitung columnist Cathrin Kahlweit writes that Putin’s stubborn pretense of non-involvement augers ill for the remaining...

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(Breaking Update) One Thousand Reasons to Let Others Deal with ISIS
Aug30

(Breaking Update) One Thousand Reasons to Let Others Deal with ISIS

Update: Here is one ally who is not subscribing to the one thousand reasons to let others deal with ISIS. The Guardian reports today (Sunday in Australia) that Australia will help deliver military equipment, including arms and ammunition to Kurdish fighters in northern Iraq in an effort to counter the threat posed by Islamic State militants. “Royal Australian Air Force C-130 Hercules and C-17 Globemaster aircraft will join aircraft...

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Reagan Sets ‘Acid Test’ for Crisis-Beset Obama (La Stampa, Italy)
Aug29

Reagan Sets ‘Acid Test’ for Crisis-Beset Obama (La Stampa, Italy)

With President Obama confronting a wide array of crisis across the world, who can he turn to for advice about how to proceed? For Italy’s La Stampa, columnist Gianni Riotta suggests a little summer vacation reading: Reagan at Reykjavik by Ken Adelman. Riotta writes that for all of President Obama’s obvious gifts and advantages, he lacks one essential thing that Mikhail Gorbachev respected above all – and Reagan had...

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Summary Update: Iraq-ISIS/ISIL Crisis (Updated)
Aug29

Summary Update: Iraq-ISIS/ISIL Crisis (Updated)

A U.S. F-18 fighter jet refuels from a U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft over northern Iraq, Aug. 21, 2014. (Photo: DoD) Update: NEWSWEEK: Britain raised its international terrorism threat level to the second highest level of “severe” on Friday in response to possible attacks being planned in Syria and Iraq, Home Secretary (interior minister) Theresa May said. “That means that a terrorist attack is highly...

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Bea Cohen, 104-Year-Old World War II Veteran, Finally Gets Her Wish
Aug28

Bea Cohen, 104-Year-Old World War II Veteran, Finally Gets Her Wish

~.~ A month ago, the oldest living female World War II veteran visited the White House and got a warm welcome from President Obama and Vice President Biden. (Below) Vice President Joe Biden greets Lucy Coffey in his West Wing Office, July 25, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson) Lucy Coffey, now 108, served in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) and was one of 400,000 American women who served in uniform...

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The ISIS-Iraq Crisis
Aug27

The ISIS-Iraq Crisis

Summary of news from in and around Iraq. Source, unless otherwise indicated: The Stars and Stripes The Islamic State militant group is holding hostage a young American woman who was doing humanitarian aid work in Syria, a family representative said. The 26-year-old woman is the third American known to have been kidnapped by the radical group. The Islamic State group recently threatened to kill American hostages to avenge the crushing...

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‘Short-Lived’ Islamic State Serves America’s Purpose (L’Orient Le Jour, Lebanon)
Aug25

‘Short-Lived’ Islamic State Serves America’s Purpose (L’Orient Le Jour, Lebanon)

As much as American officials and the country’s corporate media refuse to acknowledge or discuss the fact that al-Qaeda and ISIL are foreign policy creations and tools of the United States and its so-called allies, media in the rest of the world rarely fail to mention it. For Lebanon’s L’Orient Le Jour, columnist M. Saadoune explains how the latest activities of Daech, otherwise known in the West as the Islamic State...

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Where Opinions Don’t Matter
Aug25

Where Opinions Don’t Matter

Indicative of the great diversity of opinions Americans have and because of the freedoms we enjoy expressing them, one can find the full spectrum of views on what should be done about ISIS and about related terrorism/bad actors-nations problems. They range from doing nothing to “bomb, bomb, bomb the hell out of them” — and everything in between. My opinions, for whatever they are worth, fall somewhere in between — and I...

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Beheading Shows ‘Weakness’; Video Should Not Be Viewed (Le Nouvel Observateur, France)
Aug24

Beheading Shows ‘Weakness’; Video Should Not Be Viewed (Le Nouvel Observateur, France)

In a world in which few of our institutions in government or media are trusted to tell the truth, who should decide what the public is permitted to see – and not? The horrifying terrorist beheading of journalist James Foley is only the latest story to spark this debate, after the recent terrorist shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines MH17. In this column from France’s Le Nouvel Observateur, war correspondent Jean-Paul Mari...

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(Updated) Is US Considering Expanding Air Strikes into Syria?
Aug23

(Updated) Is US Considering Expanding Air Strikes into Syria?

Update: The Washington Post has a piece discussing how and why it may be premature and/or risky to launch air strikes against ISIS targets in Syria. Among these: Intelligence gaps (as became clear in the failed attempt to rescue Foley) and lack of capabilities to “provide reliable-enough intelligence to sustain a campaign of strikes.” The nature and sophistication of Syria’s air defense capabilities “Our intelligence is improving...

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(Updates) U.S. Airstrikes Against ISIL Continue
Aug23

(Updates) U.S. Airstrikes Against ISIL Continue

Update II: Vice President Biden wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post yesterday expressing confidence that ISIS could be defeated without U.S. ground troops in Iraq. Here are some excerpts: These steps [to form a new Iraqi government] are meaningful because they show that Iraqis have begun to understand that they must rise above their differences. And that, when they do, they can succeed — not only in uniting the country but in...

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This is Not the Jobs Program You’re Looking For
Aug23

This is Not the Jobs Program You’re Looking For

Or at least it isn’t the one you should be looking for if you want something with waste approaching a rationally low level of waste. After all, no project undertaken by humans will be perfect. But using massive “defense” projects as job projects is more wasteful than usual. But there’s wasteful and then there’s two of the most disgraceful excuses for defense programs in existence that have, so far as I...

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ISIL Terrorists Must be Defeated, JCS Chairman Says – Hagel Agrees
Aug21

ISIL Terrorists Must be Defeated, JCS Chairman Says – Hagel Agrees

At a Pentagon news conference today, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey , said the ISIL terror group has an “apocalyptic, end-of-days” vision that eventually must be defeated, not only in Iraq but in Syria as well. Referring to ISIL as ISIS because such highlights the terrorists’ long-term goal of establishing the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, Dempsey explains “Al-Sham includes Lebanon,...

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Two of My Most Favorite Things…
Aug21

Two of My Most Favorite Things…

ISIS/ISIL, Ferguson, Sarah Palin… OK, enough “gloomy and doomy” stuff. Time for two of my most favorite subjects. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Robert Culbertson greets his son after a six-month deployment on the attack submarine USS New Hampshire, which returned to its homeport on Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Conn., Aug. 13, 2014. A U.S. sailor hugs his son after arriving in Fleet Activities Yokosuka on the USS...

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Observing World Humanitarian Day
Aug19

Observing World Humanitarian Day

When one looks around places like, Syria, Northern Iraq, Ukraine, etc., there is not much to be seen that qualifies as humane or “humanitarian.” There are also way too many natural disasters which all too often become catastrophic humanitarian disasters. Nevertheless, there are organizations and individuals — “those unsung heroes” Secretary of State John Kerry calls them — who “despite the risks, work to save lives on the...

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Iraqi and Kurdish Forces Backed By U.S. Air Power Recapture Mosul Dam
Aug18

Iraqi and Kurdish Forces Backed By U.S. Air Power Recapture Mosul Dam

Water flows down the Mosul Dam chute spillway May 14, 2003. The spillway was built with a “ski-jump” section to dissipate the energy of outflowing water. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Brendan Stephens The Mosul Dam in northern Iraq, the fourth largest in the Middle East, is an immensely strategic asset, resource and target, as it captures the flow of the Tigris River, providing flood control, water and electricity to Mosul’s 1.7...

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