The generational grief of colonization

“Guam has been a US territory since 1898, and today, the Department of Defense occupies roughly 30 percent of its land — a share that’s only growing.

Most recently, the Pentagon decided to relocate roughly 5,000 Marines from Japan to Guam as part of a larger realignment of US military forces in the Asia-Pacific region. Meanwhile, the ongoing construction of the newest US Marine base, Camp Blaz, is nearing completion, despite major opposition from the island’s local residents. Further aggravating Guam’s native Chamorro people, military officials last summer found human remains and cultural artifacts dating back to the island’s pre-colonial Latte period during the excavation of the land, as they seemingly broke ground on ancient villages.

Guam’s pristine northern coastline has also recently been impacted by the construction of a massive firing range complex, which is an extension of the Marine base. It not only sits atop numerous historical sites, but it’s also dangerously near the island’s primary source of drinking water and would gravely damage the island’s natural resources and biodiversity — including more than 1,000 acres of native limestone forest and species, such as Guam’s slender-toed gecko.

On top of this, and in concert with a pandemic that’s taken the lives of hundreds of native Pacific Islanders, Aguon’s book comes at a time when Indigenous Chamorro people face growing erasure. Many Americans still don’t know that people born on the island are US citizens — citizens who enlist in and die serving the military at a higher rate per capita than anyone in the country yet cannot vote in US elections.”

The Real Reasons the U.S. Can’t Win Wars Anymore

“I saw this firsthand when I worked in the Obama campaign and in the summer of 2008 met with Hoshyar Zebari, the Iraqi foreign minister. When I asked him about the agreement to withdraw, he told me it was a non-negotiable demand. When I relayed this to Denis McDonough, who was on the campaign trail with Obama and eventually became his chief of staff, he was surprised and asked me if I was certain about what I heard. In 2009, while on a visit to Iraq, I brought this up with several Iraqi government officials in the parliament and the executive branch and received the same answer. Finally, in December 2011, when Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki came to Washington to finalize the deal, I and several others, including Obama’s first national-security adviser General David Jones and future Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, met with him. I asked him directly if there was anything President Obama could have done to keep the troops in Iraq. He essentially said that Bush made an agreement and the U.S. must stick to it. At the meeting, Jones said Obama was willing to leave 10,000 troops.”

‘We’re going to lose fast’: U.S. Air Force held a war game that started with a Chinese biological attack

“in September in the midst of the war game, actual Chinese combat aircraft intentionally flew over the rarely crossed median line in the Taiwan Strait in the direction of Taipei an unprecedented 40 times and conducted simulated attacks on the island that Taiwan’s premier called “disturbing.” Amid those provocations, China’s air force released a video showing a bomber capable of carrying nuclear weapons carrying out a simulated attack on Andersen Air Force Base on the U.S. Pacific island of Guam. The title of the Hollywood-like propaganda video was “The god of war H-6K [bomber] goes on the attack!”

In case the new U.S. administration failed to get the intended message behind all that provocative military activity, four days after President Biden took office, a large force of Chinese bombers and fighters flew past Taiwan and launched simulated missile attacks on the USS Roosevelt carrier strike group as it was sailing in international waters in the South China Sea.

Little wonder that many foreign affairs and national security experts believe the global pandemic has accelerated trends that were already pushing the United States and China toward a potential confrontation as the world’s leading status quo and rising power, respectively. This month the Council on Foreign Relations released a special report, “The United States, China, and Taiwan: A Strategy to Prevent War,” which concluded that Taiwan “is becoming the most dangerous flash point in the world for a possible war” between the United States and China. In Senate testimony on Tuesday, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, Adm. Phil Davidson, warned that he believes China might try and annex Taiwan “in this decade, in fact within the next six years.”

Meanwhile, a leading Chinese think tank recently described tensions in U.S.-China relations as the worst since the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, and it advised Communist Party leaders to prepare for war with the United States.

What many Americans don’t realize is that years of classified Pentagon war games strongly suggest that the U.S. military would lose that war.

“More than a decade ago, our war games indicated that the Chinese were doing a good job of investing in military capabilities that would make our preferred model of expeditionary warfare, where we push forces forward and operate out of relatively safe bases and sanctuaries, increasingly difficult,” Air Force Lt. Gen. S. Clinton Hinote, deputy chief of staff for strategy, integration and requirements, told Yahoo News in an exclusive interview. By 2018, the People’s Liberation Army had fielded many of those forces in large numbers, to include massive arsenals of precision-guided surface-to-air and surface-to-surface missiles, a space-based constellation of navigation and targeting satellites and the largest navy in the world.

“At that point the trend in our war games was not just that we were losing, but we were losing faster,” Hinote said. “After the 2018 war game I distinctly remember one of our gurus of war gaming standing in front of the Air Force secretary and chief of staff, and telling them that we should never play this war game scenario [of a Chinese attack on Taiwan] again, because we know what is going to happen. The definitive answer if the U.S. military doesn’t change course is that we’re going to lose fast. In that case, an American president would likely be presented with almost a fait accompli.””

“Part of the problem is that China advanced its A2/AD strategy while the Pentagon was largely distracted fighting counterterrorism and counterinsurgency wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for two decades. Beijing is also laser-focused on Taiwan and regional hegemony, while the U.S. military must project power and prepare for potential conflict scenarios all around the globe, giving the Pentagon what Ochmanek calls an “attention deficit disorder.” Finally, there is the complacency of the perennial winner that makes it hard for senior U.S. military officers to believe that another nation would dare to take them on.”

The Boogaloo Bois Have Guns, Criminal Records and Military Training. Now They Want to Overthrow the Government.

“Through interviews, extensive study of social media and a review of court records, some previously unreported, ProPublica and FRONTLINE identified more than 20 Boogaloo Bois or sympathizers who’ve served in the armed forces. Over the past 18 months, 13 of them have been arrested on charges ranging from the possession of illegal automatic weapons to the manufacture of explosives to murder.

Most of the individuals identified by the news organizations became involved with the movement after leaving the military. At least four are accused of committing Boogaloo-related crimes while employed by one of the military branches.”

https://www.propublica.org/article/boogaloo-bois-military-training

How military superiority made America less safe

“since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the reason that brought forth US global supremacy has ceased to exist. There was an original argument for the United States shouldering the immense burdens of global military dominance: Without it, totalitarian powers would conquer much of the Earth. That would be terrible for the world, the thinking went, and it could be bad for the United States.

The problem, though, is the pursuit of military dominance since then has created a lot of enemies of the US that didn’t need to be enemies of the US. We’ve engaged in bad behavior ourselves and stimulated it in others.

I worry that — in a world where the foremost threats to the American people are pandemic disease and climate change — America will continue to define its biggest threats in military terms, even if they aren’t.”

“Since 1991, I think almost everybody has lost out, aside from the major defense firms and some ruling elites. America’s strategy has been incredibly destructive for people throughout the greater Middle East, and of course, the Iraq War resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians.

And I don’t think the American people have won out, either. I think that we have gotten less safe and more fearful as a society as a result of constantly being told by leaders of both parties that the whole world is out to kill us and that that’s why we’ve got to go to war to kill them first.

Look, the argument that US military power contributed to world order was very real. The Bretton Woods system played an important role in stabilizing global capitalism. But since the 1970s, and especially the 1990s, I think it’s hard to argue that US military dominance somehow underpins everything else.

It’s very difficult to see how applying sanctions on dozens of countries and waging continual warfare in the greater Middle East somehow serves the general interest of capitalism. Maybe it serves the interests of particular firms, but not the system of capitalism.”

“What I’m opposed to, first and foremost, is military dominance as an end in itself. That’s what I think it has become in our own time, and I don’t think it began that way. That doesn’t prohibit the US from being a robust power: It’s going to be a great power and it’s going to have a strong military. We should absolutely be able to defend ourselves. I’m not even closing the door on things like humanitarian intervention, either.

What we have to ask, though, is if the US has used all this power wisely and judiciously. It’s clear that we haven’t, and it’s making all of us in America and around the world less safe. Just think of this: Roughly 80 percent of all US military interventions have occurred after 1991. Can we really say the millions at home and abroad have had their lives improved by that? I don’t think so.”

“I’d lead a systematic policy of disentangling the US from regions where its interests are either not vital, as in the Middle East, or not really imperiled, like Europe. I absolutely believe in the capacity of Europeans to manage their own affairs. The United States does not need to be the protector of Europe.”

“we have to be cautious in observing how China continues to rise and how it behaves. It has not had a record of territorial conquest with anything like the record of past US adversaries, like the Axis powers or the Soviet Union. That’s a good thing, though you wouldn’t know it from all the cries about China’s desire to dominate the world emanating from Washington, DC.

A President Wertheim — and please let your readers know I’m rolling my eyes as I say that — would recognize the US has an opportunity to cautiously retrench its position militarily in certain regions as it ramps up cooperation on the issues that really matter. I’d encourage allies and partners in the region to step up to counterbalance China. We still have time to allow that process to happen, and that’d be a good thing since it takes two great powers to make a great-power war.”

“What I am fearful of right now is that it’s almost impossible for many people in the foreign policy community to envision circumstances in which the United States could ever pull back from a region. I worry about the United States putting itself on the front lines of any potential conflict, which could mean a great-power war. We should avoid being in that situation in the first place if we possibly can.”

Biden ordered airstrike after determining Iran supported rocket attacks

“The attacks and retaliatory strike marked the first major military action of the Biden administration. The strike was calculated to signal to Iran that such attacks through proxies in the region would not be tolerated, the officials said, while avoiding escalation into a wider conflict as Biden seeks a diplomatic breakthrough with Tehran on the Iran nuclear deal.
The “proportionate” military response was conducted along with diplomatic measures, including consulting with coalition partners, the Pentagon said.

“The operation sends an unambiguous message: President Biden will act to protect American and coalition personnel,” said Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby. “At the same time, we have acted in a deliberate manner that aims to de-escalate the overall situation in both Eastern Syria and Iraq.””

“”The targets were chosen to correspond to the recent attacks — the facilities are utilized by KSS and KH — and to deter the risk of additional attacks over the coming weeks,” the spokesperson said. “The strikes were necessary to address the threat and proportionate to the prior attacks.”

At around 6 p.m. EST on Thursday night, U.S. fighter jets dropped seven 500-pound precision bombs on seven targets in eastern Syria, the official said. All bombs hit their targets, a crossing used by several Iran-backed militia groups to move weapons and other goods across the border. Initial reports suggest there were no casualties, militant or civilian.

Biden made the strategic decision to conduct the strike in Syria, rather than on Iraqi soil, in order to avoid pressure on the Iraqi government, the official said.

Conducting an airstrike in Syria is also less politically complicated for the Biden administration than an operation in Iraq, said Becca Wasser, an analyst with the RAND Corp. The U.S. does not need to request the permission of the Syrian government as it does not recognize Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime, she said.

The airstrike came after Biden spoke Tuesday with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi. The White House readout of the call hinted at the coming action. The men “discussed the recent rocket attacks against Iraqi and Coalition personnel and agreed that those responsible for such attacks must be held fully to account.””

Iran Just Handed Biden His First Credibility Test

“as many as 24 rockets were fired at a U.S. military base at Erbil International Airport, in the capital of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region of Iraq. The attacked, almost certainly launched by an Iran-backed militia, wounded an American soldier, killed one non-U.S. contractor and wounded five others. Three local civilians were also wounded.”