The New Trump: War President

Exclusive: President Trump’s reversal on the Afghan War – now promising to “win” not withdraw – further makes him a “war president” along with his “fire and fury” belligerence over North Korea, as Jonathan Marshall observes.

By Jonathan Marshall

Say what you will about Charlottesville, the national debate over neo-Nazis at least took our minds off the threat of nuclear war with North Korea. With the start of U.S.-South Korean war games, that specter will quickly return to haunt us.

President Donald Trump describing his policy toward the Afghan War, at Fort Myer in Arlington, Virginia, on Aug. 21, 2017. (Screenshot from

How worried should we be? The answer lies much more in Washington than in Pyongyang. The Kim regime has been almost entirely consistent in its policy: It means to keep building a credible nuclear arsenal, complete with ICBMs, until it has the capacity to deter a U.S. attack. For all its posturing and bombast, North Korea’s policy is fundamentally defensive.

In contrast, the Trump administration has sent a host of confusing messages. Some top officials buy into sane, defensive notions of mutual nuclear deterrence. Others, however, insist that Kim’s regime must be vanquished before it acquires greater nuclear capabilities. The fate of millions of people rests on which policy President Trump adopts.

One of Steve Bannon’s last declarations before being fired by the White House was that no “military option” exists for dealing with North Korea, because of the extraordinary damage a war would cause.

As I’ve discussed before, however, another influential Washington figure, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, has lobbied Trump to order an all-out attack if Pyongyang continues testing missiles capable of reaching the United States — even if a war turns South Korea and Japan into wastelands.

Trumpologists are still struggling to interpret the ambiguous language coming out of the administration, despite Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s claim that “we have been quite clear as to what the policy and the posture toward North Korea is.”

For example, after Trump warned earlier this month that further “threats” from North Korea would be met with “fire and fury,” Tillerson explained that the President was simply reminding Pyongyang of the consequences “if they . . . make a bad choice for themselves.”

But what constitutes “threats” or a “bad choice”? Verbal bluster? A missile launch in the direction of Guam? Or simply — as Graham argues — deployment of a few ICBMs? Does North Korea have any way of knowing where Trump draws the line?

Contrasting Voices

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, who should know, describes U.S. policy as based on deterrence. The United States will ensure that North Korea faces “strong military consequences” if it “initiates hostilities.” In other words, our response would be proportionate. If North Korea launches a missile toward Guam, the U.S. military first would undertake to shoot it down, not start World War III. That sounds clear and reasonable enough.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis meets with troops stationed at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, April 21, 2017. (DoD photo by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brigitte N. Brantley)

But National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster said instead “the President’s been very clear about” the possibility of launching a preventive war: “He said he’s not going to tolerate North Korea being able to threaten the United States.” (emphasis added)

Similarly, Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said recently in Beijing that while war with North Korea would be “absolutely horrific,” it would be even more “unimaginable” to let Pyongyang “develop ballistic missiles with a nuclear warhead that can threaten the United States.” That sure sounds like an endorsement of preventive war.

So does CIA Director Michael Pompeo’s declaration that “America is no longer going to have the strategic patience that . . . has permitted [Kim] to continue to develop his weapons program.” Even Secretary Tillerson, a relative peacemaker, termed North Korea’s mere testing of ICBMs “an unacceptable threat to us.”

Why would it be “unimaginable” and “unacceptable” for North Korea to deploy ICBMs aimed at the United States, as China and Russia do? One reason, suggested by McMaster, is that Kim has a death wish.

Yet experts on the regime, including Trump’s own Director of National Intelligence, are virtually unanimous that he is neither crazy nor suicidal. Pyongyang is certainly capable of being deterred — which explains why North Korea has initiated no major hostilities since the armistice of 1953.

Limiting U.S. Actions

The other, rarely discussed, reason to deem North Korea’s emerging nuclear capabilities “unacceptable” is because they will deter us, limiting America’s freedom of action in North Asia.

A map of the Korean Peninsula showing the 38th Parallel where the DMZ was established in 1953. (Wikipedia)

As the neoconservative Project for a New American Century warned in its enormously influential 2000 whitepaper Rebuilding America’s Defenses, “adversaries like Iran, Iraq and North Korea are rushing to develop ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons as a deterrent to American intervention.” Of all the vital missions for U.S. armed forces, it declared, preventing “lesser states” from gaining the ability to deter U.S. military action “must have priority.”

In contrast, North Korean leaders don’t talk of preventive war. They consistently maintain that their nuclear program is defensive. They have even left open the small possibility of curbing their nuclear program if they receive sufficient security guarantees.

Trump’s Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, acknowledged that the “rationale” behind Kim’s efforts to acquire nuclear weapons is to ensure “survival for his regime, survival for his country.” Coats said Kim has “seen that having the nuclear card in your pocket results in a lot of deterrence capability.”

Coats noted that the alternative that Kim and the world “learned out of Libya giving up its nukes . . . is, unfortunately: If you had nukes, never give them up. If you don’t have them, get them.”

That’s why Pyongyang is so reluctant to negotiate away its nuclear program. “As long as the U.S. hostile policy and nuclear threat continue, [North Korea] . . . will never place its self-defensive nuclear deterrence on the negotiation table or flinch an inch from . . . the road of bolstering up the state nuclear force,” Kim told UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres earlier this month.

As regional experts have observed, Kim’s modifier “as long as” does leave wiggle room for future talks to free the Korean peninsula of nuclear weapons. But it will likely take years — not months — of efforts to reduce tensions before Pyongyang will feel confident enough to consider disarming. Ironically, that process may actually be accelerated by North Korea acquiring a credible nuclear deterrent so it no longer fears a U.S. attack.

Life with Deterrence

In the meantime, the White House needs to calm down and learn to live with mutual deterrence. That conclusion is surprisingly being reached even by some traditional hawks.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Eliot Cohen, a co-founder of the Project for a New American Century, states flatly, “The United States is simply not ready for a war in Korea, even if one were the lesser of two evils. . . . The American military may have the aircraft to hammer North Korean nuclear sites, but it is also fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, and returning to Europe to bolster deterrence there. . . . This could, in other words, all turn out much worse than even the president’s wary advisers, who know war (though far less ferocious war than this would likely be) may think.”

Similarly, Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer, a perennial militarist, now asserts that “war is almost unthinkable, given the proximity of the Demilitarized Zone to the 10 million people of Seoul. A mere conventional war would be devastating. And could rapidly go nuclear.”

“Acquiescence is not unthinkable,” he continued. “After all, we did it when China went nuclear under Mao Zedong, whose regime promptly went insane under the Cultural Revolution.”

Acquiescence doesn’t mean ignoring aggressive military provocations from North Korea, or pretending that the regime is anything but a human rights disaster.

But it should mean ending pointless rhetoric and military stunts aimed at “regime change” or “decapitation” of North Korea’s leadership. It should mean serious efforts to open talks toward a final Korean War peace treaty. It should mean listening to China when it offers good advice for lowering the political temperature on both sides. And it may, in time, mean reducing the U.S. military presence on the Korean peninsula, if North Korea responds favorably.

Above all, let’s not forget who really holds the cards here. As Doug Bandow reminds us, South Korea enjoys “roughly 40 times the economic strength and twice the population” of North Korea, “plus a host of other advantages.”

The United States is on the winning side. We just need to hold our temper. As Edmund Burke, that founder of modern conservative thought, once said, “Our patience will achieve more than our force.”

Jonathan Marshall is a regular contributor to

94 comments for “The New Trump: War President

    August 23, 2017 at 16:42


  2. Posa
    August 23, 2017 at 11:41

    A few weeks ago China put NKOR under its nuclear umbrella in the event of a preemptive US strike. That ends all discussion. The US is not going to start a likely all-out nuclear war with China (and probably Chinese ally Russia) over NKOR…Plus the SKORs have declared their veto power over US military action.

    The US has been deftly boxed out… Kim has guarantees and gets to keep his arsenal… next he’s maneuvering to lift crippling sanctions. Deft survival diplomacy from the Korean dictator.

  3. Catman
    August 23, 2017 at 09:17

    Thank God the Afghan CIA/Wall Street banks Poppy Fields will be safe under Trump! Can you imagine the damage to the CIA if it couldn’t run opium and heroin out of SW Asia and those TBTF Wall street casinos couldn’t launder hundreds of billions of drug money each year?

    • Susan Sunflower
      August 23, 2017 at 10:36

      I keep being surprised at how few are linking — because the links are glaringly obvious — the opioid crisis and the “war on drugs” … which (along with the supply chains for all these new improved pharmaceuticals) which unfolded under the watchful eye of the DEA and DHS … and the media is doing it’s level “he-said/they-say” best to mention some (hard to remember) Obama era diminution of the effort (tell that to chronic pain sufferers) versus some inadequate, late and half-hearted “sentencing reform” at a FEDERAL level — as well as same-old-same-old, back to prior administrations, with very little mention of how fucking inadequate treatment and care for addicts and their families was, has almost always been (crack cocaine era rehab bed crisis apparently went away and now is back??) …

      As with Trump, we are told of horror stories — police refusing to carry narcon to reverse overdoses because “it cost too much and addicts are trash who don’t deserve such rescue” … but nothing about efforts to reverse such political grandstanding on the corpses of dead addicts — sons, daughters, mothers, fathers —
      i.e. people.

      The “heroin glut” has been around for more than a decade … fueled in the USA by heroin grown and processed south of the border (not Afghanistan) … and the market (despite the Chinese synthetics) is strong enough that Mexican farmers are converting acreage to opium poppies … (thanks Nafta!!!)

      Sorry for the rant but the media keeps puffing out its chest and telling us how essential it is … and still filling news sites with utter garbage, shallow reporting and “human interest/celebrity gossip / cable television series coverage” … “Game of Thrones” has become some new unending Super Bowl of media fascination … not compelling for those of us who can’t afford premium cable thank you very much. Hated Princess Diana when she was alive (except for laughing at the discomfort of the rest of the royal family — give it a rest.

  4. Winston Smith
    August 23, 2017 at 07:00

    The problem is, as explained on another site, policy is to disarm nuclear weapon states, the American public will find this hard to believe, as they have been fed endless threat stories, but is also true. Then attack it.

    Nuclear deterrents are intended to be just that and deter attacks.

    America started the invasion in 2010, as a “Humanitarian Disaster”, BELIEVING CHINA WOULD NOT OPPOSE IT,, UNTIL THE HYSTERICAL POLITBURO MEETING OF AUGUST.

    Since1997 America has carried out invasion exercises with various allies , since this is what these exercises are.

    There are732 nuclear devices kept in Japan, as well as the 50 N60 freefall bombs it intends to give Japan.

    This is like Hitler claiming the states he wished to invade to the east of him were violently threatening him.

    The threats by Trump and his henchmen are similarly identical.

    This is war propaganda designed to enable the war of aggression.

  5. Susan Sunflower
    August 22, 2017 at 22:26

    wsj (behind paywall)

    “”” U.S. Has More Troops in Afghanistan Than Publicly Disclosed
    Pentagon hasn’t included 3,500 who slip in and out of theater in force tally
    By Gordon Lubold and Nancy Youssef
    Updated Aug. 22, 2017 8:02 p.m. ET
    WASHINGTON—The Pentagon maintains more than 12,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, defense officials said, currently about 3,500 more than it publicly acknowledges, a critical factor as military planners weigh how many additional forces to deploy under a new strategy.””

  6. stephen l kelley
    August 22, 2017 at 21:52

    war! war! war! god forgive them for they know not what they do. or do they? oh well why should i pontificate as i am really an atheist?

  7. August 22, 2017 at 21:46

    June 25, 2017
    “The Heinous Hypocrites and Their Fancy Titles”

    There are millions of people dead, millions are refugees, their countries have been destroyed and our ruling hypocrites spout the words “rule of law.” Has there ever been a gang of human reptiles (are they even human?) so evil, dressed in expensive suits and operating out of houses of power called “parliaments” and other houses of ill repute? …
    [read more at link below]

  8. August 22, 2017 at 21:31

    listen to this at link below:
    2012: Trump Says Get Out of Afghanistan
    Eric Garris Posted onAugust 21, 2017
    but then the War Party got to him…

  9. D5-5
    August 22, 2017 at 21:22

    I see two key areas in Jonathan’s discussion:

    *what constitutes “threats” or “a bad choice” (based on Tillerson’s statement all will be well if North Korea avoids “a bad choice” (Jonathan asks is “verbal bluster” a bad choice?)

    *McMaster stating that the President “will not tolerate North Korea being ABLE to threaten the United States.” (my emp).

    What we have is the equivalent of a street fight with two individuals in very hostile posture toward each other (yes, have a chuckle at that image, Donald and Jong un sleeves rolled up)–and in that situation, as I think you know well, reasoning has nothing to do with what’s going on.

    This is their negotiation stance: pitbulls snarling at each other.

    We also see the warped thinking behind the “preventive war” talk which is Orwellian to the core. I see. Yes, go to war to avoid war. McMaster is Westmoreland Junior in spirit. If he is ABLE to make a threat, by damn, we’d better get ‘im, you think. Need to get cranking on it.

    This is the level of leadership we have going at this time.

    • mike k
      August 23, 2017 at 07:45

      The way out of these tense, combative postures is for one party to soften, create an opening for a parley. This is Aikido – the Way of harmonizing with the Loving Energy of the Universe. Those who learn to soften and relax in tense situations are following the Aikido Way, whether they call it that or not. There is no other way to avoid a violent conflict. Trump is ignorant of this truth. Hopefully someone in his entourage can clue him in to this. If not, trouble will be the result.

  10. August 22, 2017 at 21:17

    “God Will Not Be Mocked” and someday we will all have to answer to Him.

    • mike k
      August 23, 2017 at 08:09

      In my understanding Real God is a God of infinite Love. There is no condemnation in God. The false God of some Christians is a War God who threatens to throw those who disobey his dictates into a hell of eternal torture. That God was modeled on the despotic rulers of that ancient time. Some God that one! Jesus was a disciple of the God of Love, he was a bhakti, a Sufi. Please don’t tell me the punitive “God” tortures folks eternally for their own good, to teach them an eternal lesson about disobeying Him.

      The Path of Love can only be entered voluntarily. Coercion will not get you there. Love can never be required. All the rules, laws, threats of retribution, bribes – will not avail to birth a world of peace and love. That better world can only be the result of our free choices. In the Christian scripture it is said, “I set before you Life and Death; choose Life.” The choice between Truth and Falsehood is parallel to this. This choice is what will determined the fate of the human world.

      • Mild-ly Facetious
        August 24, 2017 at 15:31

        A Standing Ovation for your comment, mike k.

  11. August 22, 2017 at 20:36

    Sunday, February 14, 2016
    Will “God Bless America”?

    For the horrific wars that were planned
    And all the killing in many lands
    For destroying countries and cities too
    And all the victims of its many coups
    Will “God Bless America”?

    For watching Syria on hellish fire
    Was regime change its desire?
    For selling arms to despots and dictators
    And all the other evil creatures
    Will “God Bless America”?

    For its illegal invasion of Iraq
    And all the fallout from this attack
    Children contaminated with depleted uranium
    Was this a “gift” from America at the millennium?
    Will “God Bless America”?

    For killing helpless children with drones
    Decimating their countries and destroying their homes
    Leaving any still alive horribly maimed
    Are the assassins who do this evil and insane?
    Will “God Bless America”?

    For also helping to bomb Libya
    And aiding Al-qaeda in Arabia
    Does America really bring “democracy”?
    Or has it become a powerful hypocrisy?
    Will “God Bless America”?

    Yemen is another country on fire
    America’s “allies” is the bombing choir
    Supported by Uncle Sam and others
    And starving people die and smother
    Will “God Bless America”?

    Will war crimes with its allies go unpunished?
    Is the rule of law and justice finished?
    Does anyone care about crimes against humanity?
    Are we in hands of a ruling insanity?
    Will “God Bless America”?

    Is the “land of the free” creating hell on earth?
    Is world war three awaiting birth?
    Or is killing, bombing, destroying, just Hysteria?
    Or should it be called a hellish Amnesia?
    Will “God Bless America”?

    “Woe to those who call evil good” (Isaiah 5:20)….

    [much more info at link below]

    • mike k
      August 22, 2017 at 20:54

      Of course your poem recalls Obama’s original mentor Rev. Jeremiah Wright who said, “God bless America? No, God damn America!” It also recalls the Biblical injunction, “Beware lest the light in you be darkness.”

      • mike k
        August 22, 2017 at 21:07

        Re: Rev. Wright’s “God damn America” there is a good piece on it at wiki. I liked the entire speech it was extracted from including this pronouncement, in it’s context. Obama showed what a political turncoat and liar he would be as President when he threw Wright under the bus due to this and other forthright and honest remarks. God damn America for all it has done and continues to do. There I said it too!

        • mike k
          August 22, 2017 at 21:09

          In Christianity, damnation is the penalty for awful, evil crimes. So God damns America. You think the Christian God blesses the horrible crimes of America? Think again.

  12. Susan Sunflower
    August 22, 2017 at 19:33

    fwiw, one of the news services tweeted that Trump will no be pardoning Arpacio this evening … in case you were wondering just how loud the fallout would be … yes, never say never. Some Bundy Alums just got acquitted in Nevada … maybe he’s throw them a welcome home party …

  13. August 22, 2017 at 19:04

    April 26, 2015
    Will We Eventually Reap the Evil That Our “Leaders” Sowed?

    “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword.” Jesus quoted in Matthew 26:52

    Today instead of swords, people are perishing from hellfire missiles, bombs, depleted uranium, napalm and all the other grisly weapons used by our “caring and compassionate leaders.” They are sowing death and destruction around the world and in numerous countries. People in these countries, even if their countries were not perfect, still had homes and many were still alive. Then the “liberators” arrived in some of these countries. Countries who never invaded us, are, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Yemen, the list goes on. The dead are in the millions as are the millions of refugees, some living in camps….

    [read more at link below]

  14. backwardsevolution
    August 22, 2017 at 17:09

    From the above Saker article:

    “The Neocons have a total, repeat total, control of the Congress, the media, banking and finance, and the courts. From Clinton to Clinton they have deeply infiltrated the Pentagon, Foggy Bottom, and the three letter agencies. The Fed is their stronghold. […]

    Trump’s only option would be to follow Putin’s example and do to the Neocons what Putin did to the oligarchs [send them packing]. Clearly that did not happen.”

    Got that? Total control.

    Trump campaigned on stopping all wars, negotiating, compromising. He wanted to cut back on NATO or end it. He wanted to bring the troops home. The neocons, the media and the Left fought him on this. If he does not do as they say, he will be assassinated.

    How’s that for the land of the free and the home of the brave?

    So Trump is the new war president? Gee, how did that happen?

    • LJ
      August 22, 2017 at 17:56

      Yeah but why would he embrace the finger in his face like Obama did from Netanyahu when you still have to keep giving until it not only hurts, it’s humiliating. Why not walk away and blow the whistle. He’s not gonna get anything done anyway. He could have said, “I tried but they wouldn’t let me do any of the things the people elected me to do”. They wouldn’t waste a bullet or a patsy like Oswald assassinating him. I think they must use a mind control drug on these guys. They become so compliant so easily like they like the smell and taste of shit and like the view with their heads stuck up you know where. The good news is that the owner of Blackwater’s latest reincarnation -Acadami . Says he can do the job the US Military is suppose to do for far less money with no worries about cost overruns at the VA or Mental Health services or anything else. And they’ll eat better and no USO shows or Christmas Trees will be necessary There are a lot of vets who will do the work for a $1500 a day. Think of it, the Taliban do it for $50 a month and ride across the passes into Pakistan on horses and 150CC Motor Bikes, Thay are such a threat… Trump is a chump.

      • backwardsevolution
        August 22, 2017 at 18:38

        LJ – “Why not walk away and blow the whistle. He’s not gonna get anything done anyway.”

        The U.S. is getting out of Syria, Saudi Arabia is talking to Iran, Turkey is turning tail, ISIS is being annihilated, and Israel is getting its butt kicked. I don’t know about you, but that’s not “nothing”.

        I’m sure he will blow the whistle, all in good time.

        • LJ
          August 22, 2017 at 21:16

          All this was going to happen anyway but I beg to differ about Israel getting their butts kicked. They haven’t wasted any resources at all and are in the strongest position they have ever been in the Middle East with no threats from anywhere. Not Iran , not Hezbollah. The USA is not getting out of Syria or Kurdistan any time soon ( And neither will Israel) Saudi Arabia always talks to Iran. Muqtada al Sadr wasn’t on a mission conducting US Policy. The US created and supported ISIS as an excuse to get troops back into Iraq. We aren’t leaving there either. Trump isn’t accomplishing anything . If this is happening in a casual fashion and is not opposed by his Administration it is because of pragmatism from the Generals and the military facing the reality of the situation. . Finally, Son in Law Kushner is running Mid East policy vis-a-vis Israel-Palestine, that’s worse than GW Bush making convicted felon and racist Eliot Abrams head of the Council on Middle Eastern Affairs. . This is not good.

          • backwardsevolution
            August 22, 2017 at 22:20

            LJ – first country mentioned by you was Israel. Telling.

            “All this was going to happen anyway but I beg to differ about Israel getting their butts kicked. They haven’t wasted any resources at all and are in the strongest position they have ever been in the Middle East with no threats from anywhere.”

            Except people are beginning to call out AIPAC. They’re seeing that AIPAC owns the U.S. Congress, that Zionists own MSM, Wall Street. Anti-semitism is rising because of this ownership. BDS, I predict, will pick up speed. Israel is vulnerable.

    • Dave P.
      August 22, 2017 at 19:52

      Backwardsevolution- Your comment: “Got that? Total control.”

      I have seen it coming for the last three decades. This total control you mention includes over the Southern Evangelical Leadership and the followers as well. I read this in an article many years ago: that they, the ZioNeocons, were afraid that small town America is still somewhat anti-Semitic, and they set about buying small town newspapers. Big city newspapers and TV was already in their hands. It is complete mind control of the population here, and it is taking over Europe as well – and in many third World countries as well. The project is the Whole World.

      May be, we should just sit back and enjoy this ride!

      When Gorbachev agreed to disband Warsaw Pact and to German Unification in summer 1989, this article by Francis Fukuyama ” End of History” in National Interest, July 1989, is very interesting to read. The link is:

      • backwardsevolution
        August 23, 2017 at 06:08

        Dave P. – “May be, we should just sit back and enjoy this ride!” Best advice yet!

    • Drogon
      August 22, 2017 at 20:19

      Give me a break. Trump didn’t campaign on “stopping all wars.” Here are a few things he said before he even won the election:

      “The Iran deal is terrible. Why didn’t we get the uranium stockpile – it was sent to Russia.”

      “The beginning of the end was the horrible Iran deal, and now this (U.N.)! Stay strong Israel, January 20th is fast approaching!”

      “Do you think Iran would have acted so tough if they were Russian sailors? Our country was humiliated.”

      • backwardsevolution
        August 22, 2017 at 21:01

        Drogon – yep, Trump is far, far from perfect, but somehow the U.S. is getting out of Syria, Saudi Arabia is talking to Iran, and Turkey is pulling up their tent pegs.

        If Hillary Clinton had won, Syria would probably be part of Greater Israel by now.

    • Drogon
      August 22, 2017 at 20:53

      And could you please, for one minute, step back and consider the possibility that Trump told you exactly what you wanted to hear, not what he was actually planning to do? Trump believes in exactly one thing: Trump. What makes me say this? An impartial evaluation of literally every statement he’s made and action he’s taken throughout his entire public life.

      • backwardsevolution
        August 22, 2017 at 21:10

        Drogon – all Presidents are narcissists, otherwise they don’t get there. Hillary too. Remember her telling Wall Street one thing and the voters another? All the “insider” Presidents have been liars.

        I just don’t happen to think that Trump is an “insider”. They wouldn’t have attacked and vilified him if he was. They barely touched Saint Obama, and that’s because he did as he was told. Had he stepped out of line, they would have fried him too.

  15. backwardsevolution
    August 22, 2017 at 16:48

    Paul Craig Roberts said after Trump (the Outsider) was elected, it would be very difficult for Trump. First of all, he needed to hire people who knew their way around Washington. Unfortunately, the people who knew their way around Washington were doing just fine, thank you very much, and they did not want to see things changed. They were Insiders who would work against him, leak documents/phone conversations. This has happened.

    The Saker said back in October of 2016:

    “Trump wins. Problem: he will be completely alone. The Neocons have a total, repeat total, control of the Congress, the media, banking and finance, and the courts. From Clinton to Clinton they have deeply infiltrated the Pentagon, Foggy Bottom, and the three letter agencies. The Fed is their stronghold. How in the world will Trump deal with these rabid “crazies in the basement“?

    Consider the vicious hate campaign which all these “personalities” (from actors, to politicians to reporters) have unleashed against Trump – they have burned their bridges, they know that they will lose it all if Trump wins (and, if he proves to be an easy pushover his election will make no difference anyway). The Neocons have nothing to lose and they will fight to the very last one.

    What could Trump possibly do to get anything done if he is surrounded by Neocons and their agents of influence? Bring in an entirely different team? How is he going to vet them? His first choice was to take Pence as a VP – a disaster (he is already sabotaging Trump on Syria and the elections outcome). I *dread* the hear whom Trump will appoint as a White House Chief of Staff as I am afraid that just to appease the Neocons he will appoint some new version of the infamous Rahm Emanuel… And should Trump prove that he has both principles and courage, the Neocons can always “Dallas” him and replace him with Pence. Et voilà!

    I went on to suggest that Trump’s only option would be to follow Putin’s example and do to the Neocons what Putin did to the oligarchs [send them packing]. Clearly that did not happen. In fact, one month after the election of Trump I wrote another analysis entitled “The Neocons and the “deep state” have neutered the Trump Presidency, it’s over folks!“.

    First it was Trump is a Putin puppet. When no evidence appeared and that tactic was losing steam, they brought in Robert Mueller, crook at large, for an open-ended investigation of Trump (with no time limits). When Mueller wasn’t exactly finding anything, they brought in the white nationalist angle.

    One great big color revolution, same as occurred in Ukraine. The progressive left dupes aided and abetted the neocons/Deep State, just as happened in Ukraine.

    Anyone who would do this to a duly-elected President (never been done before) will rue the day they participated in this because anybody who would do this to him will do it to you. Maybe you won’t see the effects, but I guarantee that your children and grandchildren will, if you have any.

    Way to go. Bring on the hate – I mean “love”. The Left can pat themselves on the back. They have just lost their country.

  16. August 22, 2017 at 16:46

    Trump of Afghanistan
    written by llewellyn h. rockwell, jr.
    tuesday august 22, 2017

  17. August 22, 2017 at 16:46

    Interesting article at Global Research by Federico Pieraccini, “How the US Deep State Accidentally Forged a Multipolar World”.

  18. MaDarby
    August 22, 2017 at 15:02

    This poem appeared in the New Yorker on the Friday after the Tuesday of that September:


    Try to praise the mutilated world.
    Remember June’s long days,
    and wild strawberries, drops of wine, the dew.
    The nettles that methodically overgrow
    the abandoned homesteads of exiles.
    You must praise the mutilated world.
    You watched the stylish yachts and ships;
    one of them had a long trip ahead of it,
    while salty oblivion awaited others.
    You’ve seen the refugees heading nowhere,
    you’ve heard the executioners sing joyfully.
    You should praise the mutilated world.
    Remember the moments when we were together
    in a white room and the curtain fluttered.
    Return in thought to the concert where music flared.
    You gathered acorns in the park in autumn
    and leaves eddied over the earth’s scars.
    Praise the mutilated world
    and the gray feather a thrush lost,
    and the gentle light that strays and vanishes
    and returns.

    -Adam Zagajewski
    (Translated, from the Polish, by Clare Cavanagh)

    • mike k
      August 22, 2017 at 15:51

      I would rather help heal the mutilated world than simply praise it, and revel in my own precious memories. That healing would be my form of praise, or better – love.

      • mike k
        August 22, 2017 at 16:11

        We Americans are the self-chosen terminators of the human species, and many others. We are the agents of Death the Destroyer of Worlds. We among all nations forged and used the ultimate destructive weapon. And we are destined to use it again for it’s final annihilating mission.

        Opennheimer had the vision to see that the successful A-bomb test presaged the end of the world.

        • backwardsevolution
          August 22, 2017 at 16:54

          Not “we Americans”. Half of the population voted for Trump, who wanted to end wars. The progressives/Left joined hands with the neocons to fight him, and they’ve won.

          Yeah, duck and cover now, buddy.

  19. August 22, 2017 at 14:50

    Trump is not President, it is McMaster. As Susan said, Trump has no politics, only ego and greed. Lindsay Graham is delighted. Trump’s conversion to neocon is complete.

    Zachary’s post is great. How long before the aging US equipment breaks down with these lousy decisions? The price is not paid by any of these imperialists, only by the struggling populace, as those who died on the USS McCain. (But McCain has the Platinum Plus health plan.)

    And good luck in getting Americans exercised about killing people of other countries, they seem either inured to it or helpless to stop their government; maybe both are the same.

  20. elmerfudzie
    August 22, 2017 at 14:41

    During his speech, Trump was, in reality addressing the new policy regarding the temporarily suspended TAPI pipeline system. Once in operation, protecting it from terror attacks will be a herculean task, heavily dependent on constant drone monitoring and protection. Trump, subtly suggested that the 100,000 troops (that’s ten standing armies folks!!!!) gradually built up during the days of the O’ bomber regime, is now, financially unsupportable. One million bucks a soldier, comes to one hundred billion dollars, printed up by pressing a button at the federal reserve, thus further degenerating the USD’s consumer buying power and global commodity exchange value. Trump, now firmly in the Oval Office hot seat, cannot find wiggle room, the wiggle room needed to close at least half of our foreign military bases, or for that matter, the flexibility to adopt a single payer health care plan. The closed bases would only precipitate an unemployment crisis at home without any hope to ‘juggle the numbers” or to hide the new reality and truth about a lopsided militarized economy, that has become-a-one-act-pony . The same can be said of zipping up bloating bureaucratic pyramid within the health care corpocracy(s). A group of business enterprise(s) adding up to one fifth of our GNP and loaded down with paperwork, special forms, clerical requirements- all nightmares. To achieve the efficiencies of the Social Security Administration is beyond corporate reasoning or intellectual grasp. Further, the Veteran’s Department reflects what single payer can achieve, with a bit of tweaking, but the pride, stubbornness and downright hatred of anything that looks like “social democracy” cannot be uttered by the lips of a plutocrat like Trump or by any of the creatures in the cool comfy mud in his newly appointed “swamp”..You all know what Ron Paul said, It’s time for a Revolution!

    • mike k
      August 22, 2017 at 15:54

      Good thoughts Elmer!

    • Joe Tedesky
      August 22, 2017 at 16:32

      Among the many good comments appearing on this board today, elmerfudzie yours is excellent. I too believe we are seeing the frantic gyrations of a dying empire. What will be most upsetting though, is when the dollar does collapse many Americans will suffer. The sadder part will be to see the suffering of those who never really did do anything to deserve it. The pain will be most felt among the lower economic classes, and with that once again ‘life will seem very unfair’. The U.S. between all of it’s warmongering, and quickness to oppose sanctions on anybody and everybody, will have put itself into a very lonely isolated place.

      • elmerfudzie
        August 22, 2017 at 21:26

        Mike K and Joe, thanks- I heard a rumor that Trump just may, walk off the job before the years’ end, leaving us with the horror of a Pence Presidency. His right-to-work policies can be summed up in one phrase, indentured servitude. In other words, slavery returns for both minority AND white folk! I can only hope, that while in office, Trump will evolve into something more than himself. He’s, colloquially speaking, a card shark and gambler, does it all by the seat of his pants, a quick draw from the hip-sort. On the other hand, no such spontaneity, color (or luck) with that epitome of the conservative side of our eastern establishment…gawd help us all…

  21. LJ
    August 22, 2017 at 14:22

    Dude is weak. He’s backed into a corner. He has no allies. South America has resisted his stupid comments on Venezuela and South Korea has flatly stated tthat there will bwe no war on the Korean Peninsula. Germany is bristling, cowradly, at the Nord Stream Sanctions. NATO Troops on Europe’s borders. and India is acting stupidly at US behest regarding China. It’s all bad and US Policy is failing. Obama created this mess and Trump took it on. The Refugee Crisis in Europe, Terrorism in Europe, Brexit, Cameron Out Corbyn ascendent, this is because of US/Obama/Clinton policy in Libya and Syria and Ukraine. Tough talk? He’s back vinto a corner. What else does he have. Look, Mexico is going to re-elect Obrador despite having his first electoral victory being robbed in an obvious manner. US Foeign Policxy is in crisis and it really isn’t Trump’s fault. How can the USA stop multi lateralism and the end of Dollar Hegenomy. It can’t. The generals and the Republican Right don’t want us to turn tail and run out of Afghanistan(Keeping Bagram Air Field for 30 years). The Democrats would love it . Bush”s Policy failing. Trump taking the blame for the failure and Obama off the hook entirely., It’s the Republivcans fault. Face it the eclipse happened. It’s over . New thought has to come forward but it will not as loing as the purse string remain the driving force at the RNC and DNC, Afghanistan is the graveyard od Empires. They will never be conquered. They have resisted for thousanfds of years. It’s their life not the flavor of the day. Why did Building #7 collapse 15 minutes aftrer it’s colapse was announced on National Media outlets/ I want answers. Ha Ha

    • backwardsevolution
      August 22, 2017 at 15:53

      LJ – you are so right. War is a racket. And Building No. 7 was brought down by fire, wasn’t it? (Sarc)

  22. Mild-ly Facetious
    August 22, 2017 at 13:54

    Looking back / FYI

    As the Soviet withdrawal and rebel attacks continued, the deteriorating security of the Najibullah government caused policy disagreements between the different services of the Soviet Union. For example: while the Soviet military had succeeded in establishing a de-facto cease-fire with Ahmad Shah Massoud’s forces as Soviet troops withdrew through territories under his control, the KGB and Shevarnadze attempted to convince Gorbachev that an attack on Massoud was necessary to guarantee Najibullah’s survival. In the words of Soviet military commanders, Najibullah himself also aimed to retain the Soviet military in Afghanistan – Generals Varennikov (in charge of the withdrawal operation), Gromov (commander of the 40th Army), and Sotskov (chief Soviet military advisor in Afghanistan) all pleaded with top Soviet military and political leadership to control Najibullah’s attempts to use Soviet troops to achieve his own security, and to convey to him that the Soviet military would not stay in Afghanistan.[3]:161 After the departure of Yakovlev from the Politburo in the fall of 1988, Gorbachev adopted the Shevarnadze-KGB line of policy regarding supporting Najibullah at the cost of antagonising rebel factions, and a halt of the withdrawal was ordered on November 5, 1988.[3]:167 In December, Gorbachev decided to resume the withdrawal, but also to carry out an operation against Massoud, ignoring arguments from his advisors and military commanders on the ground. In January of 1989, the Soviet withdrawal continued, and on January 23 Operation Typhoon began against the forces of Ahmad Shah Massoud.[3]:170Up until the end of the military withdrawal, Shevarnadze and the head of the KGB unsuccessfully attempted to convince Gorbachev to retain a contingent of Soviet military volunteers in Afghanistan to defend land routes to Kabul. On February 15, the 40th Army finished their withdrawal from Afghanistan. General Gromov walked across the “Bridge of Friendship” between Afghanistan and the USSR last. It is interesting to note that when Gromov was met by Soviet TV crews while crossing the bridge, he swore at them profusely when they tried to interview him. Recalling the events in an interview with a Russian newspaper in 2014, Gromov said that his words were directed at “the leadership of the country, at those who start wars while others have to clean up the mess.”


    Soviet support for the Najibullah government did not end with the withdrawal of the regular troops. Aid totalling several billion dollars was sent by the Soviet Union to Afghanistan, including military aircraft (MiG-27s) and Scud missiles.[5]:123 Due primarily to this aid, the Najibullah government held onto power for much longer than the CIA and State Department expected. The mujahideen made considerable advances following the withdrawal of the Soviet contingent, and were even able to take and control several cities; nevertheless, they failed to unseat Najibullah until the spring of 1992.[5]:124 Following the coup of August 1991, the Soviet Union (and later the Russian Federation under Boris Yeltsin) cut aid to their Afghan allies. This had a severe impact on the Hizb-i Watan (formerly known as the PDPA), and on the armed forces, already weakened by their fight against the mujahideen and internal struggles – following an abortive coup attempt in March of 1990, the Army (already encountering a critical lack of resources and critical rates of desertion) was purged. Ultimately, the cessation of Soviet aid and the instability that it caused allowed to the mujahideen to storm Kabul.[6]:248 [9]:9 Najibullah was removed from power by his own party, after which the mujahideen futilely attempted to form a stable coalition government.[6]:251 Disagreements and infighting between the likes of Massoud and Hekmatyar set the stage for the eventual rise of the Taliban.

    Grau, Lester. – “Breaking contact without leaving chaos: the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan” (PDF). Foreign Military Studies Office Publications. Retrieved 17 August 2007. External link in |publisher= (help)
    Marshall, A.(2006); Phased Withdrawal, Conflict Resolution and State Reconstruction; Conflict Research Studies Centre; ISBN 1-905058-74-8


  23. Bernie
    August 22, 2017 at 13:20

    16 years and the most powerful army in the world can’t defeat some sandal wearing pickup truck driving Afghans carrying homemade AK-47s? The US is a joke. Leave it to the Russians.

    • backwardsevolution
      August 22, 2017 at 15:50

      Bernie – the objective was never to defeat the Taliban. The objective is to make money off the war (private contractors, arms dealers, weapons manufacturers) and drug trafficking.

      “The arms transported to Afghanistan were delivered to the Talibans, under the control of the US, which is pretending to fight them.”

      Read that article and follow the money, Bernie.

  24. August 22, 2017 at 13:11

    August 22, 2017

    More War…

    More war is needed to keep armies trained and employed
    More wars are needed so that countries can be destroyed
    More killing, bombing, destruction and death
    More of this is needed until the victims have nothing left

    More profits will ensue to the corporate cannibals
    More loot to feed their greed which is “admirable”
    More weapons produced and more missiles as well
    More action and propaganda to create bloody hell

    More medals for generals and other ranks too
    More flags waving and more war “work” to do
    More taxes for the masses as they pay and pay
    More bloody tax dollars are being blasted away

    More refugees trying to escape from the carnage
    More wounded and maimed needing to be bandaged
    More body bags for those killed in horrendous action
    More “experts” and “think tanks” to express “satisfaction”

    More parades for “leaders” to preen on the world stage
    More adulation, more hypocrisy, after their bloody rampage
    More terrorists created from the countries that were bombed
    More mayhem, murder, killing and death as they respond

    More violence begets violence that is for sure
    More chaos and misery are the “fruits” of war
    More atrocities, more carnage and more blood and gore
    More deadlier weapons, finally used, until the earth is no more

    [more info at link below]

    • Mild-ly Facetious
      August 22, 2017 at 14:01

      Put the blame on Rothschild Banker-ism – thru the centuries… .

    • mike k
      August 22, 2017 at 16:02

      Bravo Stephen. You are the poet laureate of the collapse of empire and civilization. A worthy employment. If only all those who need to read and absorb your insightful poems would do so…..

  25. MaDarby
    August 22, 2017 at 12:47

    Just look at the historical record, time after time the US has chosen war over peace. Truman said he was against using the bombs but was convened otherwise that was the worst, but over and over peace from Stalin, form Ho Chi Minh, over and over time after time. Even now it rejects the freeze/freeze proposal dismissively. There is only one negotiation for the US, surrender and even then, as before, we may use our nuclear weapons again. This is the utter ruthlessness of global Empire.

  26. Zachary Smith
    August 22, 2017 at 12:26

    I’m aware this essay concentrates on Korea, but I believe looking at Trump’s decisions about Afghanistan ought to be considered too.

    This morning at the Naked Capitalism blog the site owner had this comment about an article she was linking:

    “Trump is a figurehead, the junta is in control”

    It’s my personal opinion that’s exactly the way Trump wants it – him basking in the TV lights and somebody else doing the thinking and other hard work. Next was this at the highly evil RT site:

    “Trump’s betrayal is complete as military-industrial complex rises to power “

    Ironically, Donald Trump likes to portray himself as an “alpha-male” who is his own boss. It is abundantly clear now that Trump is a mere manikin who sits in the White House taking orders from his generals.

    “Taking orders”? Maybe, but I’m going to attribute it to indifferent laziness.


    The US military is overstretched, and somewhere along the way has lost the fine edge needed for competence. The Navy can no longer operate its ships in tight situations, and not only are sailors dying from this, but the affected ships are out of action for a long time.

    With the USS John S. McCain (DDG-56) knocked out of commission after a collision on Aug. 21 in the Straits of Malacca, the United States Navy is down two ballistic missile defense-capable Aegis destroyers in the Pacific.

    With USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) being also being knocked out of action after a June 17 collision off the Japanese coast, the loss of the two vessels from operational service could not come at a worse time for the Navy, which needs of all the ballistic missile defense assets it can get to deal with the North Korean threat. Nor does the Navy have a good way to mitigate for the loss of those vessels—the 275-ship fleet is already stretched thin.


    All types of aircraft have been getting worn out with the nonstop use in the Wars For Israel the US has been conducting around the world. They’re also near-obsolete. Worst of all, the services haven’t been getting the money needed to buy the replacement parts to keep them running. Result – they’re crashing or even disintegrating during flight with increasing frequency.

    Army equipment is also getting to be elderly, and the rest of the world has not only caught us, but in many cases is surpassing us in that regard. It’s my understanding that far too many servicemen are WAY overweight. I’m not sure about the cause of that latter problem, but I’d guess it’s a consequence of the cheap and crappy food they’re being fed along with a big drop in field exercises involving physical labor.

    Conclusion: the US of A is in no condition to continue the current “adventures” around the world, let alone starting new ones. It may not be long until we find out if the new military leadership of the US has the sense to know this and pull in “our” horns. I fear the desire to strut their stuff and make a try to get their names in the history books may be what happens instead.

    • backwardsevolution
      August 22, 2017 at 15:46

      Zachary – “Maybe, but I’m going to attribute it to indifferent laziness.” Then how come every report I’ve read re Trump is that he is exactly the opposite, someone who works from the moment he gets up until the wee hours of the morning? Even his opponents have said this.

    • Joe Tedesky
      August 22, 2017 at 16:18

      Zachary you bring up some pretty good points. I don’t think WWIII will start in or over N Korea. I suspect that the bigger war could begin in Afghanistan. After listening to Trump give his speech where he said that the U.S. would hold back funds to Pakistan, if Pakistan didn’t quit harboring the Taliban was said like the U.S. had never said this before. Yet, in the past when we have held up funding to Pakistan, well Pakistan came back at the U.S., by not allowing the U.S. access to Afghanistan, by using the Pakistan roads to get there. One of the other corridors is through Russia, and well with our burning down that bridge, we can’t go via the Russian corridor. That leaves Iran as a possibly, but why would Iran allow us entrance into Afghanistan, after the way the U.S. has treated Iran like dirt, especially since Iran signed on to the P5+1 agreement? Ah, where’s Israel on all of this? I might be too much of a conspiracy nut, but do you suspect that we could be heading towards an all out invasion of Iran?

      Read the link I left above to moonofalabama, b has it amazingly right. Also b wrote that article before Trump’s speech. I would also like to direct Mild-ly Facetious to read b’s reporting, since Mild-ly was talking about strategies with his excellent analysis.

      It’s been a few years since I had been in touch with some of the military defense contractors who would sell the kind of parts you referenced in your comment. What I do recall about these small vendors, is how crushed they became after the Iraq invasion, because they weren’t receiving as many orders as the bigger contractors. You might remember some of those bigger contractors, like the ones who had contracts, but barely delivered anything of any great nature. I remember a few of these smaller vendors went out of business, and lay offs were very common across the board of companies like these small vendors I am referring too. Don’t get the small vendor confused with the bigger vendors such as General Dynamics, or Lockheed/Martin.

      As always Zachary, due to your ardent research, you bring something of value to our discussion. Thanks for that. Joe

      • Dave P.
        August 22, 2017 at 19:21

        Joe: I do not take this new direction by Trump very seriously. It seems like Trump along with Tillerson, Mattis, and other advisers and generals are trying to create confusion among the adversaries – that designated enemy camp. The Indian leader Modi, if he is serious, is playing with fire. Even Trump may be trying to fool Modi, which I think he is. Observing Trump’s racial outlook, he is not very fond of people with Modi’s background. How any body can trust these people in Washington? It is in the best interests of the South Asian Nations to take some steps to create some stability in the region there instead of playing in the hands of the Western Leaders.

        M.K. Bhadrakumar in his blog and articles in Asia Times occasionally sheds a good light on these issues. His blog on “Russia-Turkey-Iran Triangle gains Traction” , Aug 22nd has some good information in it. The link is:

        But the situation is very volatile and fluid. There is possibility Germany, U.S. will try to get Turkey back in the camp with them. As regards Trump trying to keep adversaries off balance, it seems like Trump does not understand that political establishment in Iran and Russia are trained to think many steps ahead as they face all these dangers from The West. They know what is going on in Washington and how they are playing all these games. In spite of making Wars in Afghanistan- and in ME – for sixteen years now, these so called political and military wizards in Washington, just like the population in U.S., have not much understanding of the people, culture or the political forces in those countries.

        • Joe Tedesky
          August 22, 2017 at 23:51

          I too am concerned that a wider global war could develop. I just don’t think that N Korea will be the igniting spark to inflame the start of WWIII.

          I also was sadden to hear that while India and China are supposedly engaging against each other on India’s eastern border, that now Trump announced that India would be joining our U.S. efforts to bring peace and order to Afghanistan. I will miss the BRICS, because it all sounded so positive of a project. So how this peace and order may be established, by bringing India into this quagmire, is anyone’s guess.

          Yes Dave there is a lot to be concerned with here. I’m hoping that the long shot, is that the U.S. while sounding all full of bluster and vinegar, is quietly working behind the scenes towards a peaceful withdraw from Afghanistan, and Trump’s newest announcement is all for show. Yes, and with that you may call me a dreamer, but it helps me sleep better at night.

          This is the price, the world pays, for us Americans for not having taken Eisenhower’s 1/17/61 MIC warning seriously. The honest truth for this massive public oversight, is now this gargantuan sized war machine calls all the shots, and we the people have nothing to say about it. The Pentagon belongs to the MIC, and the CIA belongs to Wall Street. The American citizen is held captive by these super big forces of asset. Until Americans take this huge ugly warring apparatus apart, nothing will change for the better. The final stress test for this global giant of war, will be defending itself against all of the individual opponents it may encounter, if all of America’s enemies struck all at one time, at all the various areas the U.S. has bases in, and hoping that this global military network doesn’t snap under the unified pressure….other than that, what’s there to worry about? Joe

  27. Mild-ly Facetious
    August 22, 2017 at 11:46

    Trump a ‘war president’? — Bull!
    Trump covets Afghan Mineral Wealth.
    Why are we (citizens) so easily and eagerly hoodwinked?
    Why are we (citizens) so disengaged from the true reality?

    Ever since a United States Geological Survey study a decade ago identified deposits later estimated to have a potential value of as much as $1 trillion, both Afghan and foreign officials have trumpeted the reserves as a likely key to economic independence for Afghanistan.

    As well as deposits of gold, silver and platinum, Afghanistan has significant quantities of iron ore, uranium, zinc, tantalum, bauxite, coal, natural gas and significant copper – a particular draw given the dearth of rich new copper mines globally.

    Afghanistan, some reports say, even has the potential to become “the Saudi Arabia of lithium”, thanks to deposits of the raw material used in phone and electric car batteries.

    But a lack of basic logistics – paved roads and rail links needed to export copper concentrate or iron ore – pervasive corruption, a messy bureaucracy and a growing insurgency that has left much of the country beyond the writ of the Kabul government have stifled attempts to a build a legitimate mining sector.

    Much of the basic data dates back to the Soviet occupation in the 1980s. And the cost of having foreign geologists and engineers visit remote sites to carry out new surveys is prohibitive when nothing is yet being produced to pay for it.

    “There is no low-hanging fruit that could trigger rapid growth and foster self-sustaining development,” said the government’s own National Peace and Development Framework document, presented at last year’s donor conference in Brussels.

    (Donald Trump considers privatising the war in Afghanistan)

    • mike k
      August 22, 2017 at 13:02

      So if Trump is greedy it shows he has not opted for war? Capitalism and war go together like a horse and carriage. You don’t get one without the other. Ever heard of pillage, piracy? Takes violence to satisfy that kind of greed.

      • Mild-ly Facetious
        August 22, 2017 at 13:39

        -“So if Trump is greedy it shows he has not opted for war?

        Takes violence to satisfy that kind of greed” – mike k

        I completely Don’t understand your reasoning, mike k- please explain…

        • Mild-ly Facetious
          August 22, 2017 at 14:07

          Trump administration considers privatising war in Afghanistan
          The idea has been criticised by an expert who says the move would send the wrong signals to the Afghan people and the Taliban

          Donald Trump’s administration is said to be considering radically changing the way it conducts war in Afghanistan, and may move away from the US military running the show in favour of laying that responsibility on private contractors.

          The unprecedented proposal would put 5,500 private contractors in charge of advising the Afghan military in the 16-year-old war that Mr Trump has inherited from his two predecessors. Most of those contractors would be former Special Operations troops, though their private contractor status would likely mean they are not bound by the same rules of engagement as the US military. There are an estimated 8,400 US soldiers currently in Afghanistan.

          Erik Prince, the founder and former CEO of private contracting company Blackwater USA, has put forward the plan. Speaking to USA Today, he said he had met frequently with administration officials to discuss his plan. However, with misgivings by Mr Trump’s National Security Adviser, H R McMaster, and Defence Secretary James Mattis, it is unclear whether there would be a way forward for such a plan, despite Mr Trump’s frustration at the lack of progress in the country.

  28. ADL
    August 22, 2017 at 11:17

    ‘The Man with a Plan’ strikes again!
    Previously commenters have stated they supported T because he did not want war. Which I pointed out was like believing, and voting for Prez, in Miss America after stating she wants world peace.

    But now another lie ( I know I know ), the Man with a Plan to Not go to War is instead threatening and planning to go to war with everyone.
    But even better is this ‘new’ plan. A really really great plan, cause you know everything from T is really really great. All part of the Make America Great Again AKA Make America White Again.

    And not surprisingly it sounds virtually identical to Dean Wormer’s plan for the Delta House. A Double Secret plan.
    Can’t tell ya. No details. But really really great ! Lots of good stuff. Kill kill kill.

    Actually this typical T – Promising victory through maximum machismo – bluff and bluster and buffoonery.
    And his supporters eat it up.

    PS: And oh by the way – that prev prez, that black guy who we can’t find out where he was born – he really screwed it up. Oh ya.

    • Susan Sunflower
      August 22, 2017 at 11:48

      Right, the Taliban were not emboldened by Obama’s end-date … they have all the time in the world … and they’re still winning …

      …. indeed, “be the first one on your block to have your boy come home in a box” … no, America does not support throwing good money after bad in this war — although the MSNBC anchors were all very quick to say that a “too quick” departure would be disastrous (without of course explaining — like Goldilocks — what sort of departure schedule would be “just right” … maybe someone can call up Obama, or Clinton, or Biden, or Kerry for some “wisdom”)

    • mike k
      August 22, 2017 at 13:04


  29. Hank
    August 22, 2017 at 10:02

    180 from his political rhetoric…oh my…such a surprise in USA politics…LOL… but what if the deep state has come up with “enough” Dirt on the Donald and his “dealings” that he is now compromised in the areas always controlled by the deep state: Foreign hegemony and control of money and banking? Think: Trump SOHO Hotel

    • mike k
      August 22, 2017 at 10:28

      In his heart Trump was always a neocon, he has just had some trouble learning, and being obedient to all their dictates. As he obeys their commands more faithfully, they are more willing to welcome him into their fold, as one of their obedient servants.

      • Susan Sunflower
        August 22, 2017 at 11:45

        By and large, Trump has no politics … he’s a people-pleaser … he has surrounded himself with generals — folks who are both arguably “strong” and professionally obligated to be “loyal” (up to a point, TBD) … he’s a sniveling coward who just broke a very major and endlessly repeated campaign promise because the big-guys he’s leaning on convinced him it was the “best course” …

        He dissed Obama’s back-stabbing broken promise to end-the-war (the reason obama suggested end-date at that time) … and reverted to some mystical “when we’ve won” open-ended commitment … He needs to be bombarded by evidence of his responsibility for every single casualty in every one of our conflicts … his watch … he just “started the clock ticking”

        Notice that “victory” remains undefined or described … and arguably, he declared war/challenged Pakistan’s ruling elites …

        There should be no joy in Mudville this morning…. yes, it could have been worse, but then there’s always tomorrow.

        • mike k
          August 22, 2017 at 13:07

          GOOD COMMENTS.

  30. SteveK9
    August 22, 2017 at 09:35

    I wish an antiwar movement had some possibility. But with our all-volunteer (that is, poor people who hope this is a way out) military, and keeping numbers of deaths (at least our own) relatively low, that seems unlikely to happen. Anytime we are given a chance to vote for peace, we do (Trump, Obama, even Bush), so that is what we want. After the election we don’t get it, but there is just not enough outrage to bring this fundamental change. We have been hearing the exact same garbage since the 1960’s and Vietnam (Trump’s “must seek an honorable and enduring outcome” sounds a lot like ‘Peace with Honor’). Probably the same thing in the 1950’s with Korea, but I’m not quite that old. At least 50 years of this @#$@#$. When are we going to learn?

    • mike k
      August 22, 2017 at 10:22

      Exactly Steve. The same repetitious drivel put forth as something brand new.

    • Susan Sunflower
      August 22, 2017 at 12:10

      the only way we are going to get an anti-war movement is to grow one the old fashioned way — baring some nail-biting nuclear showdown a la Cuban Missle Crisis (which we probably won’t because the MSM will consider it their “responsibility” to prevent large-scale panic … look at how well they have and are continuing to cover up Fukishima (and easily a dozen other stories … even those, like yemen, that they “devote” 15 seconds to almost weekly)

      Most folks are struggling to get-by … I think postcards (current postage 34 cents) may feel pointless … but less than 49 cents for a letter … (e-mails and petitions do not even garner a response … except we all get our names on another DHS list …

      Find the folks in your community (city, county, state, country) and support them … that’s how you grow a movement. There are folks “trying” to do just that.

  31. August 22, 2017 at 09:30

    January 10, 2017
    “Blame It” On Putin

    There is endless wars and devastation around the world
    Western war criminals have their war banners unfurled
    Millions dead and many millions uprooted
    And the financial system is corrupted and looted
    “Blame it” on Putin

    The war criminals are free and spreading bloody terror
    And their dirty propaganda says Putin is an “aggressor”
    These evil plotters of death and destruction
    Should be in jail for their abominable actions
    But, “Blame it” on Putin.

    The American election is won by Donald Trump
    Hillary Clinton loses and gets politically dumped
    The media is frenzied and foaming at their mouths
    They are crying and lying, these corporate louts
    They “Blame it” on Putin

    Hollywood, too, is getting in on the act
    The B.S. merchants are able to twist facts
    In their fantasy world of channel changers
    They do not approve of a political stranger
    They “Blame it” on Putin

    The spymasters and their grovelling politicians
    All agree that “their democracy” is “lost in transmission”
    Their comfortable and controlled system is now in danger
    And these powerful parasites are filled with anger
    They “Blame it” on Putin

    One loose canon talks and babbles of “an act of war”
    Could nuclear hell be started by a warmongering whore?
    If the madmen of the establishment get their way
    Could we all be liquidated in the nuclear fray?
    “Blame it” on Putin

    There is no doubt that the ruling class
    Are all worried about saving their ass
    Could there be huge changes and still more coming?
    Is the sick and depraved society finally crumbling?
    Hey, “Blame it” on Putin…

    [more info at link below]

    • Hank
      August 22, 2017 at 10:06


    • mike k
      August 22, 2017 at 10:18

      Bravo Stephen. Your poems just keep getting better. I wonder how we might get them read by a wider audience?

  32. Michael Kenny
    August 22, 2017 at 09:21

    Trump desperately needs a war to validate his presidency and keeps fishing around for one he thinks will benefit him. He tried to get a fight going with China over some islands. That didn’t work. He tried to get a fight going with North Korea over its nuclear weapons. That didn’t work either: NK’s nuclear programme is useless without rocket motors supplied either from or via Russia. Now, he’s trying to get a fight going with the Taliban. That won’t work either: state parties always lose guerrilla wars. There’s only one war that would bring any benefit to Trump: the “war on Putin”. Trump has to get Putin out of Ukraine and, ideally, out of power, in order to kill off Russiagate before the investigation widens to his business dealings with Russia and his taxes. Little by little, he’s “slouching” westward towards Putin.

    • BobS
      August 22, 2017 at 09:57

      I’ll stipulate to getting “Putin out of Ukraine” to the extent that he’s there (of course, Crimea is, by choice, part of the Russian Federation). However, I’d predicate that on first getting the Nazi sympathizers out of Ukraine- good luck with that.
      You seem to be obfuscating (purposefully so, given your track record of sympathizing with the neo-fascist government of Ukraine) the source of the engines that may or may not be powering North Korean missiles. As you no doubt are aware, Ukraine was historically an important cog in the Soviet defense industry, and the plant that produces the engines in question is located in the part of the country controlled by the neo-fascists. As you no doubt are also aware, the engines were allegedly obtained by North Korea subsequent to the extra-constitutional coup that brought the neo-fascists to power.

    • August 22, 2017 at 14:21

      The US was all gung ho to get a war going with Russia because they thought it would be a “Slam Dunk”.”A Cake Walk”. I refer you to Obama´s speech in 2014, where he stated that the Russian Economy was in tatters and that at best Russia was only a regional power. The US establishment and military truly believed this myth. This led to Russia giving the US a little demonstration of it´s real capabilites in Syria and the fact that they not only have over come the sanctions put in place against them but they have forged new ties with the most important economy on the planet and that is China. Also they have taken the inaugural steps toward killing off the US dollar as the reserve currency of the world, developed it´s own system that is a rival of the SWIFT and started trade in Yuan and Rubles. In other words they attacked the US and UK´s Achillies heel. Their strangle hold over the worlds financial system

      The American Military was truly relieved that their leaders did not try and go after Russia after the Russians demonstrated to them in Syria just what they would have faced. No Iraqui Army. no floppy soldiers, not poppy and rice farmers, but a nation allied with China with a modern airforce, navy and army with state of the art weapons and competant leadership. The cost to the US military and the US position on this planet? It would have been reduced to third world status in both military capabilities and economic power over night. Yes Russia and China both may have been flattened but so would the mainland USA and Europe. In all likelyhood the ” Five Eyes” would have been reduced to a radioactive ash heap.

      This was Putin´s strategic move´, by going into Syria he held off a war with the US / NATO until Russia is stronger yet.. A demonstration, one that headed off a world war, nuclear no doubt at that, and a possible end to the human species and every living thing on the planet.

      What has been the result of Putin´s move? The US is back to what it does best. Threatening small , weak third world countries. No airforces , navies, or modern armies to face. But Russia and China are now off the table. The US Military can brag, bluster, and talk a lot but they are not going to get into that fight they know full well that they would lose, and bigtime.

      • Susan Sunflower
        August 22, 2017 at 14:40

        Interesting … yes, we’re prowling like a junkyard dog … jeez, that second naval collision … humiliating …
        I saw some dweeb talking about “right of way” … as if … that’s the point, that’s why it’s such an oh-gee never-mind self-defeat

        • August 23, 2017 at 12:30

          The warship was struck on it´s port side by the bow of the oil tanker. Any captain that would cut in front of a two football length oil tanker is not a captain at all. Probably some idiot that only got his rank because he was born into the right family. There is zero defence when you cut across the bow of any ship let alone one that big. The oil tanker´s stopping distance is measured in miles not feet. At the very least the captain should be charged with criminal negligence over the deaths of the sailors under his command.

      • mark
        August 23, 2017 at 17:49

        The Russians have always considered threats as a sign of weakness. Sabre rattling by people like Trump only generates contempt. Bluster can never be a substitute for a rational and coherent foreign policy.

        The Neocons and their allies in the humanitarian intervention brigade have tried to convince themselves that Russia is a pushover. Faux Left organs like the Guardian published articles about how Russian troops were all drunk, a bunch of thugs, undisciplined etc. There has been much else in similar vein in US MSM. Russia is just a petrol station masquerading as a country, Russia doesn’t produce anything, etc. etc. Some of these people have actually convinced themselves they can destroy Russia easily and at no cost to themselves through advanced missile deployments and encircling the country with bases. They are ideologically driven and irredeemably ignorant. They believe, like Rove, that the outside world has to conform to their view of reality. You only have to look at their record of disaster to see the true picture.

        This is nothing new. In 1941, Nazis convinced themselves that Russia would collapse like a pack of cards in six weeks. “We only have to kick in the front door and the whole rotten structure will come crashing down.” (Hitler) The reality was somewhat different, as casualties climbed into the tens of millions. In 1812 the Tsar of Russia warned Napoleon that he would be totally destroyed in any invasion. He ignored the warning, and the rest is history.

  33. August 22, 2017 at 09:15

    February 21, 2016

    Someday if bloody wars should ever come to you
    You will realize, what other people went through
    You could see your homes reduced to smoking rubble
    You will ask, if still alive: “Who created this hellish trouble?”

    Your “leaders” of course, could be the answer
    They bombed other countries and created disasters
    Now it’s your turn to feel the anguish and pain
    You can “thank” your “leaders,” are they totally insane?

    Where will you run to, if this should come to pass?
    Will you be wandering like refugees, forced to eat grass?
    You did not speak out as your rulers set countries on fire
    Will you now start complaining, when your state is dire?

    There is an old saying, “you reap what you sow”
    Could your turn be coming, do you not know?
    There is a price to be paid for creating slaughter and death
    People out there know: They have no countries left…

    [read more at link below]

    • mike k
      August 22, 2017 at 10:14

      Beautiful Stephen. Your poems say so much, and convey so much feeling, in such a limited number of lines. Please keep sharing your poems, they make me feel less alone in the growing darkness around us.

  34. August 22, 2017 at 09:03

    Military overreach (and the astronomical economic costs associated with it) has been a key factor in the eventual decline/fall/collapse of many civilizations over the years. The US is simply repeating the same error of every past hegemonic empire that has ever existed. Trump may rationalize this ‘change’ as not state-building, but it certainly is part and parcel of empire building/maintenance and comes with diminishing returns that will eventually lead to US imperial decline (something many suggest is well on its way).
    US leadership would be better served to heed the words of Bradley Cooper’s fictional character Eddie Morra in the film, Limitless:
    There are no safeguards on human nature. We’re wired to overreach. Look at history, all the countries that ever ruled the world. Portugal with this big, massive navy. All they got now are salt cod and cheap condos. The Brits. Now they’re just sitting on their dank, little island fussing over their suits. No one’s stopping and thinking, hey, we’re doing pretty well. We got France. We’ve got Poland. We’ve got big, Swiss bank accounts. You know what? Let’s not invade Russia in the winter. Let’s go home. Let’s pop a beer. And, let’s live off the interest.

    • backwardsevolution
      August 22, 2017 at 15:31

      Steve Bull – good post. I would just add that, although countries go down, the elite don’t. Their bank accounts are exponentially fatter because of these wars. The people suffer and countries decline, but the elite don’t care. They have no allegiance to any country, and continue to roam the world in search of new ways to make money.

      These guys control all propaganda, engineer and manufacture all wars, and control the money supply. They have built offshore tax havens and vaults for their crooked gains.

      Yes, they will bring down the U.S. and, no, they don’t care.

  35. David G
    August 22, 2017 at 08:03

    The map caption is in error. The map seems to depict the outbreak of major hostilities across the 38th parallel in 1950. The current border is the 1953 cease-fire line, albeit in the same general part of the country.

  36. Joe Tedesky
    August 22, 2017 at 07:55

    How stretched out is too stretched out? Could a Global Military become a bunch of tiny armies, if worldwide war were to break out? In the end, would the U.S. find the enemy used it’s huge size to the bring it down, and could that even happen?

    Remember Kim has but one option, and that is making threats. Kim surely is aware, that if he makes one wrong move and launches a missile that even appears to be nuclear, then N Korea is no more. KIm, is also aware that by having these missiles he saves himself from the ugly fate of Muammar Gaddafi, or Saddam Hussein.

    With Trump’s declaration to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table, he is going to put Pakistan on notice to end their support of giving the enemy aid and comfort. Only if the U.S. does this, then the U.S. loses the land truck routes without having the assistance of a Pakistan ally. On top of this, by Trump announcing that India will assist the U.S. in it’s efforts in Afghanistan, it leaves one to wonder how Pakistan will accept this, having an Indian rival as a coalition ally.

    I’m no military strategist, as you can tell, but read this.

  37. mike k
    August 22, 2017 at 07:46

    Ah, the voice of reason. But will the power addicted ones in Washington listen? Trump’s speech last night is not reassuring. All I heard in it was more war and bluster. Crazy-man Trump has now indeed settled into the role of War President of the most warlike nation on the planet.

    • BobS
      August 22, 2017 at 08:41

      The US has been rationally “power-addicted” and North Korea rationally erratic for a long time now. The new variable is an erratic US president with an ignorance of history and geopolitics. It was easily predictable that he’d soon get ‘hooked’ on the power that comes with the presidency. The likelihood he’d abuse that power was just as predictable- he’s an abuser. That anyone thought otherwise speaks to their own naivete or purposeful ignorance. There’s nothing “New” about this Trump.

      • mike k
        August 22, 2017 at 10:07

        You’ve got it Bob. Exactly.

      • john wilson
        August 23, 2017 at 04:46

        Actually Bob, The irrational tendency of Trump is only that he has suggested the US doesn’t need anymore wars and that’s why he’s having such a bad time. The last thing the Neocons and the deep state want is a president who isn’t fully committed to the war machine, as Obama found out once he took office. Trump can’t abuse his power because he hasn’t got any real power, the power lies behind the throne. If Trump wants to survive he has to keep the war machine happy and this is what he’s starting to do so in this regard, Trump is perfectly rational.

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