Who’s The Enemy Today?

Since I began writing and analyzing stuff the US has had a wide array of so-called “enemies”…..those entities that pose a problem to the American worldwide agenda.

Until the 1990’s Russia was our leading adversary….We have had Grenada, Panama, the Balkans, al-Qaeda, the Taleban, ISIS, Iraq and so many minor “enemies” and in all that time, since 1979, the one constant has been Iran.

These days there seems to be a couple constant ones also……Russia (again), the various terrorist organizations, Iran (as always) and North Korea.

I am an old fart so I can look back at recent history and see the long line of potential “enemies”….it is almost like the soup du jour…..it changes on a whim from the powers that lead.

I do a lot of reading daily and the other day I was reading a pro-Libertarian site, Hornsberger’s Blog, that was covering this ever changing landscape of “enemies”…….

…….Everyone needs to resign himself to the discomforting reality of living under a national-security state and an overseas empire: There is always going to be an official enemy or official enemies. It never ends. The process is perpetual.

How else could the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA justify their ever-increasing budgets, influence, and power? Official enemies are the coin of the realm. They never run out of official enemies.

Source: A Constantly Shifting Array of Official Enemies – The Future of Freedom Foundation

This “enemies” thing is a classic propaganda ploy….give the populace something or someone to fear.

This “enemies” thingy is so touchy that the advisers in the White House are debating which is which and who is who….to the point that it could become an internal civil war….

But this time the “enemies” are internal…….

An internal White House enemies list of alleged Obama loyalists to be fired early in the Trump administration is a key contributor to a long-running feud between the National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster and White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, two senior administration officials tell The Daily Beast.

Team Trump never acted on the list, the officials said, and now those employees have finished their tenure at the National Security Council and returned to their home agencies.

Source: White House ‘Enemies List’ Drove McMaster-Bannon Feud

Enemy to the Left, enemy to the Right, enemies all around…..

Not much new here…Nixon had a list…..and Clinton, Bubba not Hillary, had a list…but this White House enemies list has a different feel to it….if you know what I mean.

Here A Nuke, There A Nuke

The mash-up with North Korea should be making Americans nervous…..not that anything will happen today….but we have started down a path that could end badly for all people involved.

Recalling the hysteria of the 1950’s….the “Duck and Cover” exercises the interest in “bomb shelters”….it’s all coming full circle.

How about a quick tour of the world of nukes?

The USA has more nukes than hairs on one’s butt….like wise for Russia….then there is China, Pakistan, India, North Korea and Iran…..let’s not forget France and Israel….my point is there are a lot of nukes just waiting to be used….and we seldom talk about those nukes.

Seriously?

Just how many are there?

There are five nuclear weapon states in the world: China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and the United States. These are officially recognized as possessing such weapons by the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

This treaty acknowledges and legitimizes their arsenals, but they are not supposed to build or maintain them forever. Indeed, they have committed to eliminate them.

There are also four other countries that have nuclear weapons: Pakistan, India, Israel and North Korea. These countries didn’t sign the Treaty, and together possess an estimated 340 nuclear weapons.

Okay but how many are there?

Let’s count them up……there are about a total of 15,000 nukes waiting…..but a breakdown to avoid any confusion…..Russia–about 8,000….US–around 4,000……France, China, UK, Pakistan, India, Israel less than 200 each….then there is North Korea that has 0 but the ambition for a greater role is there.

Now that we have a total…..what kind of damage are we talking about?

According to Telegraph research, it is estimated that the US and Russian arsenals combined have power equating to 6,600 megatons. This is a tenth of the total solar energy received by Earth every minute.

According to the NukeMap website, the dropping of the B-83, the largest bomb in the current US arsenal, would kill 1.4m people in the first 24 hours. A further 3.7m people would be injured, as the thermal radiation radius reached 13.km.

Likewise, the “Tsar Bomba” is the largest USSR bomb tested. If this bomb was dropped on New York, it is estimated that it could kill 7.6m people and injure 4.2m more. The nuclear fallout could reach an approximate area of 7,880km on a 15mph wind, impacting millions more people.

With all that destructive power you would think that players would be happy with their possessions, right?

Oh, Hell NO!

It appears the US has come up with a better idea…..

The future of nuclear weapons might not be huge and mega destructive but smaller, tactical, and frighteningly, more common. The U.S. Air Force is investigating more options for “variable yield” bombs  — nukes that can be dialed down to blow up an area as small as a neighborhood, or dialed up for a much larger punch.

The Air Force currently has gravity bombs that either have or can be set to low yields: less than  20 kilotons. Such a bomb dropped in the center of Washington, D.C., wouldn’t even directly affect Georgetown or Foggy Bottom. But a Minuteman III missile tipped with a 300-kiloton warhead would destroy downtown Washington and cause third-degree burns into Virginia and Maryland.

Source: US Military Eyes New Mini-Nukes for 21st-Century Deterrence – Defense One

With all this talk about nukes…..I recall the days of my youth when we would have a school drill for a nuke attack….we would crawl under our desks and put our hands over our ears and head between the knees…..now that I think about it were we “kissing our butts good-bye?”

With all the nukes now and the years to come….can we survive a true nuclear attack?

Acute radiation syndrome (ARS) results from exposure to high levels of ionizing radiation. This may be the result of an accident, such as exposure of individuals to x-ray diagnostic and therapeutic devices, or a possible large scale exposure following a nuclear facility accident (for example the Chernobyl and Fukushima incidents). It may also be the result of an intentional act of terrorism, involving the use of a radiological dispersal device (i.e., dirty bomb), an improvised nuclear device, or may involve an attack on a nuclear power plant, or any number of potential nuclear scenarios. Following the 9/11 attacks, and more recently the use of non-conventional weapons and toxic industrial compounds in the Syrian civil war and in Iraq by both state and non-state actors, the possibility of intentional exposure to radiation seems to be rising. Since the primary objective of these perpetrators is to create fear and panic to the general public, and since most of the public, as well as first responders, healthcare providers, and the mass media, may have misunderstandings regarding such an event, radiation is attractive. On top of that, the shortage of available medical countermeasures (MCMs) against ARS could make it even worse. The major goals of a response plan to a radio-nuclear emergency are to protect the public, as well as the emergency personnel while performing their duties. To achieve these goals, local, regional and national resources should be brought together to address such an incident of national impact. In a radio-nuclear exposure scenario, the numbers of casualties, some with life-threatening injuries and resulting complications, may be very high. This means major challenges of assessing the precise levels of individual exposure, and possible delayed medical support and care to those who need it. In any case, these are regarded as complex and resource-intensive efforts, driving research towards approving novel MCMs against ARS. This syndrome involves life-threatening injuries especially to the hematopoietic, gastrointestinal, and the neurovascular systems. Victims exposed to high levels of ionized radiation show a prodromal phase in the first few hours following exposure, followed by a latent phase, which shortens as the radiation dose increases, and finally, develop a manifest phase. The bone marrow involvement is considered as the major contributor to mortality.

Source: Surviving a Nuclear Attack | RealClearDefense

This FYI piece started with a bang (pun not intended) and ended with a deep feeling of paranoia the closer we get to the “Nuclear Mid-Night”.

An “Independent” President?

We can take that term “independent” in a couple of ways….. could be separate from the political process or he could be an outsider that will clean up DC.

First, draining the swamp…..made for an excellent campaign slogan but in reality DC runs off of a different game plan that that of a CEO…..to get an agenda moving through Congress he will need a couple of the old time alligators or without them he will be the most ineffective president that we have had in years….maybe even of all time.

His inner circle have people in it that do not like government at all…..they are there to blow it up so it can be remade….people like Bannon.  The problem there is that it does not help any Trump agenda making its way through Congress.

If we are talking about him as a political independent then that is doomed to fail.  Why?

The Dems will never work with him after all the attacks that he and his minions have leveled at them.  He is busy alienating the GOPers also starting with a couple of Repub. Senators then onto the Senate majority leader, McConnell.

His stepped up attacks are falling on deaf ears for if he wants to move anything through the Senate then he will need McConnell……but not so much after the attacks….

President Trump isn’t ready to wrap up a new public feud with Mitch McConnell. The president’s first tweet of the day on Thursday called out the Senate majority leader, marking the second straight day he has done so. “Can you believe that Mitch McConnell, who has screamed Repeal & Replace for 7 years, couldn’t get it done,” he wrote. “Must Repeal & Replace ObamaCare!” Hours later, he added another: “Mitch, get back to work and put Repeal & Replace, Tax Reform & Cuts and a great Infrastructure Bill on my desk for signing. You can do it!” As the New York Times reports, this all started earlier in the week when McConnell—whose wife, Elaine Chao, is Trump’s transportation secretary—said that the president had “excessive expectations” about how fast legislation could be passed by Congress.

Trump called McConnell to complain about the remark Wednesday morning in what Fox News describes as a “tense” 10-minute conversation. A few hours after that, he tweeted, “Senator Mitch McConnell said I had ‘excessive expectations,’ but I don’t think so. After 7 years of hearing Repeal & Replace, why not done?” McConnell’s camp has downplayed the rift. At CNN, Chris Cillizza notes that White House social media chief Dan Scavino also criticized McConnell, and Cillizza doesn’t get the strategy. “From where I sit, this was a needless fight to pick that could have decidedly negative consequences” for Trump’s agenda. In particular, Trump will need McConnell for the two mentioned in his most recent tweet, tax reform and infrastructure spending, notes the Washington Post. One person who disagrees: Fox’s Sean Hannity, who tweeted that McConnell is “weak” and should retire.

If he wants to be independent of party politics then he is destined for a year of failures.

Unfortunately being an independent is a good thing in my book…..but not the way the Trump is going about it.  There is a reason this country has been so successful in these 200+ years…..and alienating Congress is not the way to “move the country to greatness”.

Without a political coalition then he has nothing but slogans, threats and adverbs.  He is looking at a long non-productive 4 years unless something changes.

I apologize for all the redundancy but it is necessary to emphasize the point…..to be truly “independent” is a lonely place in DC.

We’ve Heard This Tune Before

First let me say tyhat I have written more about North Korea in the last 3 months than anytime in the previous 10 years.

What little expertise I have is on the Middle East….I leave Asia to those better qualified to write on the region.  But in this case all the rhetoric and chest thumping is very similar to the days before two Gulf Wars.

I am talking about the political rhetoric…….

Gulf War 1 or Desert Storm as it was known worldwide was predicated on lies.  Yes, Iraq had invaded Kuwait but the “sources” that were used to go to war were the Iraqis inhumane treatment of hospital patients….especially when he took the “iron lungs” and left the occupant on the floor to die.  When that did not work the public into a frenzy then the old reliable was used…..Saddam was looking to get nuclear weapons…that worked…the country was so outraged at this prospect that war was inevitable.

Then there was the run up to Gulf War 2……many different situations were floated to whip the public into a war frenzy….of course there was the usual WMDs….then again with the nukes….Saddam was in search of yellow cake uranium…eventually the country was worn down and to war we went (again).

Well this time it is that small country of North Korea…..the rhetoric continues…..NK is working on a nuke weapon……then he, Li’l Kim, fired off some missiles that kept getting larger and traveling further…….until we have a missile with the capability of reaching as far inland as Chicago.  The problem was that their guidance systems sucked so the missile would not be accurate for another year or more.

Then there was the nuke warheads…..we know he has exploded several bombs but according to intel NK has not figured out how to miniaturize the warhead to fit on a missile.

Well that intel was mistaken…… The Washington Post is out with a chilling report about North Korea’s nuclear capabilities: It says Pyongyang has figured out how to make a nuclear warhead small enough to be carried by a missile. The news comes from a newly completed assessment by US intelligence officials, and it suggests that the North has passed the crucial milestone years ahead of schedule. It’s not known whether the North has actually tested such a warhead, though it has boasted of doing so. Combined with the nation’s progress in testing intercontinental ballistic missiles, which could someday reach US shores, the news will only raise the pressure on President Trump and the international community.

With that intel now available our president has taken to the airways to threaten NK…….

Trump made a jarring statement: “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States,” he told reporters, per ABC News. “They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” He said Kim Jong Un has been “very threatening” and reiterated that the North “will be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which the world has never seen before.”

That looks like a Trump impression of Churchill….and a bad impression at that.

He has drawn a line in the sand….but there is a small problem with the intel…….It remains unclear just how firm the new assessment by the Defense Intelligence Agency is, notes the Atlantic. The Post reporters were read an excerpt of the report and did not see it in its entirety. “What we don’t know … is how confident the agency is in its assessment and what its assessment is based on. Nor is it clear whether other US intelligence agencies share this view.”

It appears that we have threatened war on some possibly shabby intel….maybe it would be more prudent to wait until all agencies weigh in before we go to war…..Just a thought.

After the “Fire and Fury” threat from Trump then it was Kim’s time to shine……

North Korea says it is examining its operational plans for attacking Guam to contain US bases there, the AP reports. The army said in a statement distributed Wednesday by the state-run news agency that it is studying a plan to create an “enveloping fire” in areas around Guam with medium- to long-range ballistic missiles.

Yes shabby intel…..this is the same prediction that the DIA made in 2013….is it true this time or is it just a re-release of an old memo?

But dammit the MSM has taken this story and run with it……doing what they do best…..misleading the public to support a much desired war.

I can recall the shabby intel that got us into our last war….how about you?

Has the Fire and Fury started yet?

Stay Tuned!

That Big Bang

I could go into a review of some TV show…..but not this time.  (But it is a cute and entertaining program)

I am a member of a discussion group, the Psi Phi Society, not to be confused with SciFi, we discuss everything from Anthropology to Xenophobia.  It is a group made up of about 6 people a couple of professors. a preacher, a business man, a teacher and a computer geek.

When we first started one of the first discussions we had was about WW2 and the bomb.  The question for the group was…..was the use of the A-bomb on Japan really necessary?

I came down on the side of “not necessary”…..in my opinion Japan had already lost the war and their leadership knew it.  Starvation was rampant, they were eating dogs and cats, morale was at an all time low and fear of an aerial attack was a daily worry.  I firmly believe that if we had not used the bomb it would have been less than a year before Japan had surrendered.

We never came to a definitive answer to the question.  Good arguments were made on both sides but I still stand by my assertion that they were unnecessary.

Then I read an interesting article that tackles the same question that the Society tackled a couple of years ago.

Last Sunday marked the 72nd anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan, followed three days later by the bombing of Nagasaki.

Residents of former Allied countries all generally agree on what happened next: An awed Japan surrendered and the world was spared the devastating human cost of a land invasion of the Japanese home islands. A particularly chilling fact is that United States has yet to use up the vast supply of Purple Hearts minted in anticipation of a bloody landing.

Arguments against the bombings usually take a moral tack. That whatever the ends, it’s never right to intentionally vaporize women and children. But in recent years an entire new argument has emerged: Bomb or no bomb, the war would have ended anyway.

Source: Did the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki really end the war? | National Post

Now that the case was been made….what say you?

Was the use of the bomb truly necessary to end World War 2?  Or was it a message sent to the rest of the world?

We Will Always Have Afghanistan

The title is something I got from a line in Casablanca, “We’ll always have Paris”…..(damn fine movie)

It seems this country will always have Afghanistan…….stretches all the way back to 1979 and we are still “sorting it out”…..

First some sad news….

Two US soldiers were killed today just outside of the major Afghan city of Kandahar, when a suicide bomber attacked the NATO convoy they were traveling in. NATO confirmed “casualties,” but did not specify if there were any wounded on top of the two slain.

The two slain today makes nine US soldiers killed in Afghanistan so far this year, and while that’s not a lot, increased interest in putting US fighters back on the front lines has definitely made them more available targets in recent months, and this trend of casualties could be rising after dropping off in the past couple of years

During the campaign of 2016 candidate Trump made the comment that “He knows more than the generals” when is talking about Iraq and Afghanistan…..if that is true then he should back up his old kit bag and venture to Afghanistan and set the generals straight.

He reinforced his belief (erroneous I might add) recently at a meeting of his cabinet…..

President Trump isn’t happy about the situation in Afghanistan and his proposed solution is one that will be familiar to Celebrity Apprentice viewers, insiders say. Sources tell Reuters that during a July 19 meeting in the White House Situation Room, an angry Trump said military leaders should consider firing Gen. John Nicholson, commander of US forces in Afghanistan, over his performance. “We aren’t winning,” Trump said, per the sources, described as senior administration officials. “We are losing.” Trump also complained about NATO allies and said the US should demand some of Afghanistan’s estimated $1 trillion mineral wealth, the officials say.

The only way to prove his assertion is to go to Afghanistan and see for himself.

The problem is that there is not a decent golf course close by so he probably will never venture to the country.

Then there is the demand he is making that Afghanistan should share their mineral wealth with the US.

Seriously?

He wants Afghanistan to pay “tribute” to the invaders.

Alexander the Great was thew last to “tame” Afghanistan….there have been many others that have tried…..and all have failed and failed miserably.

What makes our president think that we will be the first in many centuries?

North Korea: Is It News Or Propaganda?

First off–I would like to thank all my friends from IST that have come here to follow my new attempt at blogging…..I cannot thank you enough….chuq

It began when North Korea fired off its fist nuke and continued through the many missile tests that have been conducted.

We Americans hear about the sad condition of the country with people near starvation….and the poor living conditions…..

The Op-Ed I will ask some questions that have been bothering me for a few months.

First there is the North Korean economy….by all Western accounts the country is in deep trouble….the people are near starvation and there is poverty everywhere….

Then a report from the Bank of Korea throws some cold water on the reports….

the Bank of Korea, the South Korean central bank, reported that last year North Korea’s gross domestic product grew 3.9 percent. That is the highest growth rate since 1999.

The 3.9 percent figure was, for most observers, unexpected. In the previous half decade, the North managed only an average of about one percent growth. It appears, therefore, that last year the regime managed to break out of a long period of stagnation.

The surprisingly strong result will lead some to suspect the Bank of Korea’s figure. Observers, however, have relied on the bank’s estimates since the early 1990s because Pyongyang stopped reporting data in the 1960s after the regime began to fail to meet its publicly announced development goals. The bank’s estimates have their obvious limitations because of the opaqueness of the North Korean system, but they show trends.

That is not bad growth.

Then there are the starving people……so far the reports that we get on the news the people do not appear to be starving.  I am not saying that they are not just that the ones seen on the evening news look pretty damn healthy.  And why if things are as bad as we hear why are not more people defecting?

I mean surely a bullet is more preferable than a slow starvation death.

Now on to the missiles…….

The big news is the latest test from NK illustrates that their missile could reach as far inland as Chicago.

the second flight test of an intercontinental ballistic missile demonstrated his country can hit the US mainland, hours after the launch left analysts concluding that a wide swath of the United States, including Los Angeles and Chicago, is now in range of North Korean weapons. The Korean Central News Agency said that Kim expressed “great satisfaction” after the Hwasong-14 missile, which the country first launched on July 4, reached a maximum height of 2,314 miles and traveled 620 miles from the launch point before landing in waters near Japan.

A physicist and co-director of the global security program at the Union of Concerned Scientists tells the AP that if reports of the missile’s maximum altitude and flight time are correct, it would have a theoretical range of at least 6,500 miles

The equation that it could hit as far inland as Chicago is by taking the launch and flattening the trajectory out…..to give them the Chicago target.

The same could have been used when the US test a rocket….or France…..our Japan

For decades the allies of America have been silently enabling the Kim regimes…..

Source: How America’s Friends Aid North Korea’s Missile Program | The National Interest

I am not saying that all the information given to us is wrong….only that some of it is adjusted to fit the paradigm that certain sectors are pushing.

We can speculate all we like but nothing will be known as accurate until he finally acts.

Personally, I do not think that the US would be his first choice for a strike….if that indeed is his desire.

If one puts aside prejudices and look at what has happening on the Korean Peninsula in the past decades then you could start understanding the position the country is taking….

Source: The Real Reason North Korea May Start a War | The National Interest Blog

Paranoia is indeed contagious.