171025 War From The Cheap Seats

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And with a humongous sigh of whatever happens to procrastinators when they start doing something diff
 

5 NatSec Things

October 25 · Issue #1 · View online
Your Daily Look at War from the Cheap Seats

And with a humongous sigh of whatever happens to procrastinators when they start doing something different, bringing this back to Revue from MailChimp. Mainly because everything went to hell this morning from a technical perspective, but also because I just want to get words out on the stories I find interesting, and, well, this is the best way for me to do that. 
Until I change my mind again.
I am not good at this.
Anyway, here’s the top 5 national security stories I figured we should know about today. 

Air Force denies report that nuclear bombers are being prepared for 24-hour alert
Which is the kind of thing you’d say when you’re planning on putting the bombers back on 24-hour alert but because your Commander-in-Chief is a paranoid Cheeto, at some point someone decided broadcasting that to the world isn’t what they had in mind. 
Now that I’ve got the tinfoil safely off my head, what’s happening is some updating to alert structures at Barksdale AFB in Louisiana. Where bombers used to go on 24 hour alert up until 1991. So naturally, one could conclude that this might signal a return to that. 
The response from the USAF is a whole lot of non-denying denial, the sort of thing that’s funny only when we’re not talking about things like nuclear war. Whether the Barksdale efforts are the result of gearing up for more alerts, or just usual housekeeping, either way B-52s are back in the news. I just wish we were talking about the 90s band. We could use a little more “Love Shack,” and whole lot less Dr. Strangelove right now. 
Tillerson sees place for Taliban in Afghan government | TheHill
There used to be moderate voices in the Taliban. But since we shot most of those voices right in their moderate faces thanks to kill/capture campaigns, what we’re left with is what you get anytime you knock off the mid-to-upper-level management of any terrorist/criminal/business organization: a whole lot of testosterone-laden jihadis who think the best way to prove they should be in charge is killing somebody. 
Of course this is Tillerson’s talking point, because at some point the Donald is going to realize that he can’t unfuck the unfuckable that is the Afghanistan mess, and there will have to be something like a negotiation and/or withdrawal. 
And if there are any actual moderate voices, the Taliban in its current iteration is so fragmented that you couldn’t get enough of them together for a nice night of endless apps at Applebee’s, much less get them around the negotiating table to talk about how they should have a part of the pie in Kabul. 
Mysterious discrepancies spotted In Tillerson photographs with Afghanistan president | Fox News
This is just some next level asshattery on the part of the Afghan government, which in turn is in response to next level asshattery by the US Secretary of State in bringing the Afghan president to a secure room at Bagram Air Base since Rex can’t bring himself to schelp his DoS ass into downtown Kabul for a meeting with Ghani at his place. 
So to save face and show the world that this meeting totally happened in a non-USG location, some brainiac in the Afghan social media team took the trouble to photoshop out the military-looking bits from the original photo. Which is hilarious in that it shows just how sad the whole mess is: that we can’t go into Kabul, but we don’t want anyone to know that’s how bad things are.
2-Hour Air Support Delay in Niger Ambush That Killed 4 Troops: Dunford | Military.com
Guess it’s about time we started asking General Dunford about his emails, because that’s the only logical response we should have to delayed air support happening if/when uniformed Americans die in harm’s way. Apparently the patrol leader thought they could all handle the 50+ insurgents that ambushed the joint US/Niger patrol that resulted in 4 dead Americans and 5 dead Nigeriens. So air support wasn’t called in right away.
And then when it was called in, it was French. So once they finished making croissants and complaining about their coffee, they took an hour to get on site overhead. And then the patrol leader told them not to drop munitions. Which means a whole lot of possible things, including not being entirely sure where everyone was (it’s an ambush, things get weird) and not wanting to risk more dead by dropping bombs on them. 
Dunford to his credit is at least saying that the families of the soldiers that died deserve better answers. So let’s hope he keeps going with that and at some point maybe we can find out what went so very wrong in Niger. 
US Toughens Rhetoric, Declares MS13 ‘Priority' Target
“We are all facing a deadly lucrative international drug trade. Drugs are killing more Americans than ever before in large part thanks to powerful cartels and international gangs and deadly new synthetic opioids like fentanyl,” Sessions said. The most brutal among those groups, Sessions again said, is the MS13. 
Except that’s not, like most things that comes out of the Trump Administration, so much true as it is what they’d like to be true to justify whatever measures they plan to take against MS13. 
Because while MS13 is, technically, violent as fuck, they’re not drug dealing on a level commensurate to the efforts that Sessions and the DoJ want to put toward getting rid of them. They are brutal, but they don’t deal drugs on an international scale like the cartels that Sessions wants to equate them to. 
Why MS13, then? Because it’s a lot easier to blame a gang of brown people for problems than it is to admit that the opiod crisis in the US is almost entirely the fault of US drug companies. Because drug companies like to donate to things like political campaigns. Maybe if MS13 did a little more of that, Sessions and company might cut them a little more slack.
Meet The Veterans Self-Deploying To Puerto Rico To Provide Aid
Today in “good initiative, poor judgment,” we’ve got self-motivated veterans’ groups going to Puerto Rico to do SOMETHING ANYTHING OMG IF WE DON’T GET THERE EVERYONE DIES. 
Which is how most folks roll in the Noble Order of White Helpfulness. Not saying this isn’t a good thing: nice people doing nice things for other people who are having a shit time is never a bad thing. And no, this isn’t really a NatSec story at first blush. 
Except that it is, because this is how the US responds to fucking everything: do something, anything at all, usually with guns (although not in this case), and if you can somehow tag it as something a veteran did? Boom…headline. 
And finally, because I’m a dick: what the actual fuck does it mean to “self-deploy”? Because I’m a veteran, anytime I do something outside the country, am I deployed? If so, I’m self-deploying to Mexico later this year to help support local tequila manufacturing.
Stories like this do nothing except widen the civ/mil divide. OK, so they highlight some good shit, and yes, these folks are doing good shit. Bravo. But let’s get a little less jingoistic in our do-gooding, huh?
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