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Will America be in perpetual war?

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Will America be in perpetual war

Sixteen years after the 9/11 terror attacks, and America has not “won” the War on Terror. In fact, for all the fighting, we’ve lost about as much as we’ve gained, depending on how you measure such things.

Terror attacks in foreign cities around the world are just as terrifying, if not more, than they were in 2001. ISIS and Al Queda are still active and planning attacks on America and the West. The Taliban is still strong in Afghanistan. Although many of the “Arab strongmen” have been deposed, they’ve been replaced with brutal theocrats.

There are now far less Christians in the Middle East than there were in 2001. It seems that our War on Terror, which was never a “war on Islam,” has suffered mostly at the hands of Islamic extremists, who ever free as ever to operate, openly, in most of Europe.

NATO, which, for the first and only time in its history, invoked Article 5 mutual defense on 9/11/2001 to protect the United States, is weaker than it’s ever been. The Russians, should they desire, could overrun the NATO member Baltic States in just 60 hours–something the former Soviet Union could never, ever contemplate doing to any NATO member in 1990.

The U.S. military is strong, possibly stronger on paper than it’s ever been. On paper. But fighting two wars over 16 years has taken its toll. Casualties, PTSD and drawdowns have cost the Army much of its professional NCO and officer core. The Navy is down to the bare minimum for experienced seamen and ship drivers, as evidenced by the recent spate of accidents they’ve had.

And the Air Force is making due with bombers (and some fighters) that are older than their aircrews. The problems that separate our military “on paper” from the actual facts in the field are tied to logistics, maintenance, duty cycles, and upgrades. While we fly all over the world, from land and sea, our enemies (and potential enemies) are sitting back and spending on new equipment without having to fight large wars.

In fact, many of our defense industry’s largest orders are not coming from the U.S. military, but from foreign military sales (like the enormous order by Saudi Arabia, the country that 15 of 19 9/11 hijackers, plus organizer Khalid Sheikh Mohamed called home).

When (if) we finally defeat our 9/11 enemies, there will be others waiting in the wings. Do we think the North Koreans and the Iranians, and the Russians, and the Chinese will simply let us go home and rest?

If America assumes a duty to purge the world of evildoers, then doubles down on that commitment for the sake of the lives spent to achieve victory, we will find ourselves in perpetual war.

There is no shortage of evil in the world. We will never purge all of it.

I believe that, after 16 years, we have avenged the lives of the 2,896 casualties on that day. We are now trying to avenge the nearly 7,000 deaths of U.S. personnel since October 2001. Yet the struggle continues with no end in sight, while new threats rise up to challenge the mightiest superpower the world has ever known.

Isn’t it time to consider whether America should be engaged in perpetual war, or should we more carefully choose the timing of our battles, and what struggles in which we will invest our blood and treasure?

Foreign Affairs

White House plan to kick Iran from Syria leaked

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White House plan to kick Iran from Syria leaked

Syria has been in a state of disarray for nearly a decade now. Ever since the infamous “red line” that President Obama failed to enforce, the Middle Eastern nation has been suffering through war, poverty, and occupation by hostile forces ranging from the Islamic State to Russia and Iran.

The Islamic State may no longer be an occupying threat in Syria, but Iran and Russia are. The White House has a plan to push them out of the country. It does not involve military engagement, though U.S. military personnel may engage if they feel threatened. Instead, the plan is to offer aid to the Syrians wherever they need help, except where Iran and Russia have a presence.

This represents a huge chunk of the crumbling nation.

Trump administration has new plan to drive Iran out of Syria

“There’s a real opportunity for the U.S. and its allies to make the Iranian regime pay for its continued occupation of Syria,” said Mark Dubowitz, chief executive at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a think tank strongly opposed to the Iranian regime.

Driving Iran out of Syria would be one prong in an approach that would also involve continuing to destroy remaining pockets of Islamic State fighters and finding a political transition after the exit of both ISIS and Iran that does not call for Syrian President Bashar al Assad to step aside.

My Take

Any measure that does not put Americans in harms way is worth pursuing. As long as Syria is as vulnerable as it is, there are risks to both American and Israeli interests in the region. The war-torn nation needs help rebuilding so they can rightly remove Iran’s and Russia’s presence.

Perhaps more importantly is the need to rejuvenate a homeland for millions of refugees. They are already causing major problems in countries throughout Europe and Asia. If we can expedite the renewal of their homeland, it will prompt many to return.

We have no business fighting battles in Syria. The White House plan would use diplomacy and economic pressure to rid Syria of their occupying forces. It’s a long shot, but it’s better than further military conflicts.

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Military

Entire F-35 fleet grounded until fuel tubes inspected

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Entire F-35 fleet grounded until fuel tubes inspected

Following a crash last month in South Carolina of a F-35 fighter jet, the United States military has grounded the entire fleet. The suspected problem, faulty fuel tubes, must be inspected before the fleet will be brought back into combat duty.

F-35 jets: US military grounds entire fleet

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-45827795“If suspect fuel tubes are installed, the part will be removed and replaced. If known good fuel tubes are already installed, then those aircraft will be returned to flight status.

“Inspections are expected to be completed within the next 24 to 48 hours.”

The aircraft, which uses stealth technology to reduce its visibility to radar, comes in three variants.

Each F-35 costs around $100 million. Expect the military to move quickly as the aircraft is crucial in the air defense of the nation, giving us complete air superiority regardless of the threat.

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Military

Russia to send advanced weapons to Syria to fight Israel

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Russia to send advanced weapons to Syria to fight Israel

After last week’s downing of a Russian Il-20 surveillance plane by Syrian air defense, Moscow has promised to send it’s advanced S-300 air defense system. The Russians blamed Israel for the downed aircraft.

Russia blames Israel for Syria shooting down its spy plane

https://noqreport.com/2018/09/18/russia-blames-israel-syria-shooting-spy-plane/This is troublesome for one reason and extremely concerning for another. It’s troublesome because it likely means Russia will want more direct involvement in Syria’s defense. When weapons it supplied are used to take down its own aircraft, the practical and predictable response is to either downgrade involvement or ramp it up. Russia will likely do the latter.

It’s extremely concerning because of the clear threat made to Israel. “Commensurate measures” can be read in many ways, but based on Russia’s recent history this incident will likely be used as a get-out-of-jail free card for them to use at the right moment against Israel. How that manifests remains to be seen.

While Russians are denying that the system is targeting any nation in particular, they know Israel is the only nation that regularly flies into Syria to attack weapons depots intended for use against the Jewish state.

Russia to send S-300 missile defence systems to Syria

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/09/russia-send-300-missile-defence-systems-syria-180924093518745.html“According to information of our military experts, the reason (behind the downing) were premeditated actions by Israeli pilots which certainly cannot but harm our relations,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.

However, the Kremlin said the installation of S-300 was aimed at increasing safety of Russian military and “not directed at any third country”.

My Take

Russia is playing with fire in more ways than one. The S-300 system is designed as a multi-stage air defense system capable of changing the game in the Middle East. Israel had demanded they not be installed in Syria after the initial agreement was made by Russia in 2013, but last week’s incident changed things.

What Russia cannot afford is further antagonizing the west. If the result of this leads to more attacks on Israel because they weren’t able to stop them in Syria, it is likely America will step in with countermeasures for Israel to use against the S-300. This will lead to escalations neither country wants.

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