171031 War From The Cheap Seats

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Happy Halloween or whatever would be appropriate for your particular faith bent to wish someone on th
 

5 NatSec Things

October 31 - Issue #5 - View online
Your Daily Look at War from the Cheap Seats

Happy Halloween or whatever would be appropriate for your particular faith bent to wish someone on the 31st day of October. Right now the Trump administration is playing trick-or-treat with Mueller, stooping so low as to tweet about Benghazi in the hopes that we’ll forget about those nasty indictments and lets us gets back to ruining the republic, precious. 
And that’s the last I’m going to say about that, because while whatever’s happening to the Kingdom Of The Angriest Orange has some follow-on effects for national security? I don’t wanna deal with that right now. 
So let’s cheer ourselves up with some heroin, murder, lasers, illegal wars, and bitching about a beret, huh?

Taliban Getting Into The Empire Business
Because even the mujahideen break bad eventually, the Taliban have upped their game when it comes to all things heroin. Not content to just smuggle out the base product, now they’re refining the stuff. And that means even more money in their pockets and less inclination to come to the negotiating table.
Afghan Taliban Awash in Heroin Cash, a Troubling Turn for War - The New York Times
What we’ve got here is simple narco-economics: the Taliban currently control the means of production of something the rest of the world wants. And the rest of the world will pay a lot of money for it. So why stop and go legit when that’s going to mean their most reliable funding stream dries up as a result?
Per the article, the refined product is easier to get out of the country, which means they’re able to get it to market faster. What’s puzzling isn’t that this is happening, but that it took them this long to figure out how much money they could make doing this. 
So the war on terror continues to cross paths with the war on drugs. Which means that organizations like the DEA will continue to have ridiculous budgets and work overseas in places like the graveyard of reasonable policy and the militarization of that particular law enforcement body will continue. That is, until someone legalizes all this shit and we can stop fucking around pretending we can win that war any other way.
Meet The New AUMF, Same As The Old AUMF
That’s a terrible throwaway line on my part, because the AUMF we’re currently operating under to shoot people in the face from Angola to Zimbabwe (no, I don’t know if we have troops in either of those places…they’re just countries in Africa that start with “A” and “Z”) is the same one that’s been in place for like 16 years. 
It’s the one we used to go after Al Qaeda, then ISIL, and now in places like Niger where the deaths of four Special Forces troops got some in Congress all up in arms about why we’re still doing all this shit under a document that’s been stretched to the point where the Real Housewives are like, “Hey, ease up on the botox.”
I do not think that joke works…but I’m leaving it there. 
Niger deaths ramp up pressure for new military authorization | TheHill
What makes that more than a little hypocritical is that people are treating the events in Niger like they part of some kind of black ops thing that no one knew anything about until some Green Berets got whacked. Which isn’t true. It’s just that no one gives a flying fuck about US deployments until people start coming back in boxes. Then we start to give a shit, because voters tend to look poorly on this kind of thing so then Senators, who like their jobs and want to keep them, cater to said voters and make noise. 
Which makes this little nugget hilarious.
Army Rushes 1,000 New "MAAWS" Weapons to Afghanistan
Because whatever justification we had for being in Afghanistan ran out a good few minutes ago. And in a theater where “advise-and-assist” is the phrase of the day, why the actual fuck do you need to rush an updated bazooka into the hands of US troops? Unless you’re planning on those troops needs said bazookas to shoot more people in the face. 
If Journalism Is Dead, This Is What Killed It
2 Navy SEALs Under Suspicion in Strangling of Green Beret in Mali - The New York Times
This story is going to get weird before it gets better. Back in June in Mali, a couple of SEALs from Team 6 (WHICH DOES NOT IN FACT EXIST) might have strangled a Green Beret. They were sent home on administrative leave right after his death. So. That’s odd. But this particular graf is just bad. 
His killing is the latest violent death under mysterious circumstances for American troops on little-known missions in that region of Africa. Four American soldiers were killed in an ambush this month in neighboring Niger while conducting what was initially described as a reconnaissance patrol but was later changed to supporting a much more dangerous counterterrorism mission against Islamic militants in the area.
Dear everyone: some guy maybe getting murdered in his quarters is not the same thing, at all, as US troops dying under fire. It’s like the worst version of Clue ever: if your editor thinks that Col. Mustard did it in the library with the lead pipe, that’s their business. But for fuck’s sake, leave it out of the paper. 
Brace For Videos Of Marines Fucking With Cats
Because that’s going to be inevitable if you give the USMC a big ol’ fucking laser pointer they can either slap on their M4 or use separately with a pistol grip.
Marines to get Star Trek phaser-like device for nonlethal weapon option
It’s a light that’s effective for…kilometers…but nope, it won’t blind people. Not at all. $49 million contract to build a better cat toy for the Marines. God bless ‘murca. 
The money’s the easy target, but what’s ridiculous about this is that we’re still asking Marines to use non-lethal force. Because that is not what Marines, or any other combat arms unit, are good at. And they shouldn’t be. 
Yes, they’re exposed to a range of possibilities on the battlefield, but instead of dropping this much $$$ into new shit that’s just going to make Abdullah drive his family into a ditch once shine this thing in his face at the checkpoint, how about more training on how to interact with various people groups? In ways that don’t involve you pointing a rifle at them, even if you’re just pointing it to use a really nice flashlight?
50 Shades Of Green: The SFAB Beret Story
Remember when Eric made all his kids wear that black beret? And the Rangers lost their mind? And went to a tan one? Remember how much fun that was? 
Well, now that they’re standing up the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB) some bright bulb in the US Army chandelier thinks those cats need their own beret. And fuck me running if it isn’t…green.
New Army Unit's Beret (And Mission) Angers Special Forces Vets
It’s actually olive drab you Philistines…get you to a Home Depot and school your ass on color swatches. But the butt hurtery doesn’t end their, because the proposed unit patch has some folks crying foul and saying that holy shit, it looks super like that one patch we had back in the ‘nam.
Then someone (like General Milley, who’s in charge of stuff in the Army) decided to call the damn thing “The Legion.” Which, according to the article, is what the 5th Special Forces Group has been known as since its inception.
Now we’re in “you have a point” territory. What’s evident is that Milley and the PowerPoint Rangers he assembled to put this bullshit together are trying to play into the storied history of combat advising. Which has been a key part of the Special Forces mission for years. 
And they’re keen on demonstrating that this unit is a cut above: there’s a selection process, for leadership it’s a second command so you’ve got a fuck ton of experience at the helm, so naturally the tendency is going to be to try an play off the other elites. 
Not a bad idea. 
But pick a different beret color. And name. Because the SFABs are a good idea that’s overdue. Don’t fuck it up with social media clickbaitery bullshit. 
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