Posts filed under ‘Our Tax Dollars’

Stopping ISIS — Way Harder Than it Sounds

Military Jets via US Air Force website

(Image via Airforce.com)

Stopping ISIS?  Way harder than it sounds, i.e., what the hell are we getting ourselves into:

Even limited success for this new effort, analysts say, hinges on an unenviable to-do list for the Obama administration: foster cozier relations with Iran, gamble on the so-called “moderate” Syrian rebels, strong-arm Iraq’s Shiite Muslim leaders into power-sharing with the Sunni Muslim minority, and persuade Sunni-ruled nations in the Persian Gulf region not to undermine the whole effort by striking out on their own.

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Piece of cake, right?  Gawd.

And how about answers to at least some of these questions:

What do you [Obama] expect the response of ISIS to be, given especially that these killings that have gotten so much attention have been couched by the group as revenge for military action we’ve already taken? Why shouldn’t we expect more of the same if we do more of the same?

Have we considered whether part of the group’s purpose is to provoke more U.S. intervention, and therefore show themselves as the group standing up to the U.S.? Would we not indeed be playing into their hands by doing so?

Given that Matthew Olsen, the outgoing director of the NCTC [National Counterterrorism Center] made a statement the other day that we do not face the prospect of attacks by this group against the homeland, why are we focusing as much attention as we are against this one group? They’ve done certain dramatic things that have gotten our attention, and the press’s attention, but what exactly are the U.S.’s interests at stake?

Given that this group’s advances in Syria and Iraq have had a great deal to do with the larger sectarian conflict in those countries… how do we intervene without effectively taking sides in a sectarian conflict in which the United States has no interest? Why should we favor Shiites or Sunnis? Because that’s exactly how it will be seen. Have you considered the downside of being seen as taking sides in a sectarian conflict, in terms of the enemies that you make?

With particular regard to the question of intervening in Syria: What exactly would be our broader political objective? Do we still believe that [Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad] must go? And if we do, how do we square this with an intervention against ISIS, given that the regime and ISIS are the two most powerful interests in the Syrian civil war?

How effective would air strikes be against a group most of whose strength is closely intermingled with civilian populations? It does not consist of large military formations out in the desert. How do you do something effective militarily without causing casualties among innocent civilians?

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September 9, 2014 at 11:25 AM Leave a comment

550 Million U.S. Taxpayer Dollars Spent On “Operations” in Iraq, June 16 – August 28

Iraq war protest, January 27, 2007 (Image Wikimedia Commons)

Iraq has become a money pit but I can only imagine the tiny fraction of Americans who will come to know this fact (thanks “liberal media!”):

WASHINGTON — Since June 16 when US President Barack Obama first sent several dozen US troops to Iraq to begin assessing the state of the country’s Army, the United States has spent around $500 million on operations there.

Briefing reporters on Friday, Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said the price tag has run on average about $7.5 million per day since June, sometimes less and sometimes more. But taking that average number, that would put the US price tag at $550 million through Aug. 28.

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August 29, 2014 at 3:25 PM Leave a comment

Hey America — The Police Work For Us and Let’s Not Forget That

(Image via NormStamper.com)

(Image via NormStamper.com)

This has got to be the quote of the week, if not the year, from Norman Stamper, the former Chief of Police in Seattle who says his use of force during the 1999 anti-WTO demonstrations there was “the worst mistake” of his career:

I’m just very, very disappointed and troubled that lessons that we learned in Seattle have not been embraced by American law enforcement in general, by these police departments that are facing mistrust and distrust in their communities in particular. If anything, the police in America belong to the people, not the other way around.

 

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Seemingly simple I know but so true.  We the People pay the police to protect us.  They work for us.  They are our “civil servants.”  They’re there to protect CIVILians.  Let’s not forget that Americans.

I’m beginning to think we have.

 

 

August 14, 2014 at 6:30 PM Leave a comment

Equipment Meant for War Going to Local Police Departments

When you’re a hammer, everything’s a nail.  When you’re a tank, everyone’s a terrorist:

During the Obama administration, according to Pentagon data, police departments have received tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft.

The equipment has been added to the armories of police departments that already look and act like military units. Police SWAT teams are now deployed tens of thousands of times each year, increasingly for routine jobs. Masked, heavily armed police officers in Louisiana raided a nightclub in 2006 as part of a liquor inspection. In Florida in 2010, officers in SWAT gear and with guns drawn carried out raids on barbershops that mostly led only to charges of “barbering without a license.”

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Military Weapons to Cops via nyt.com

(Image via NYTimes.com)

August 14, 2014 at 12:56 PM Leave a comment

The American Military Industrial Complex is Smiling Tonight!

I read something a few weeks back about how ISIS in Iraq has commandeered a huge amount of military equipment we paid for with Our Tax Dollars during the 2013 invasion. The supposed “training” of the Iraqi army George W. and Co. said they were doing was a farce and when ISIS emerged, the so-called army cut and ran, leaving billions of dollars of weapons (like humvees at $200,000 a pop) lying around. So now we’re bombing Iraq again and the the billions of dollars of military equipment we paid for are being blowing up by the people we paid to build them in the first place.

Aye yie yie.  I’m sure the military industrial complex is drinking up a storm tonight but I’m SMFDH.  Our tax dollars down the shit hole, again:

Humvee via wikipedia

(Image via Wikimedia)

When President Obama announced US airstrikes in Iraq, most observers understood that the US would be bombing members of ISIS. What many did not know was that, in a twist of such bitterly symbolic irony that it could only occur in the Middle East, the US would also be bombing hundreds of millions of dollars worth of American military equipment.

Here’s why: in the decade since the 2003 US-led Iraq invasion, the US has spent a fortune training and arming the Iraqi army in the hopes of readying it to secure the country once America left. That meant arming the Iraqi army with high-tech and extremely expensive American-made guns, tanks, jeeps, artillery, and more.

But the Iraqi army has been largely a failure. When ISIS invaded northern Iraq from Syria in June, the Iraqi forces deserted or retreated en masse. Many of them abandoned their American equipment. ISIS scooped it up themselves and are now using it to rampage across Iraq, seizing whole cities, terrorizing minorities, and finally pushing into even once-secure Kurdish territory. All with shiny American military equipment.

So the US air strikes against ISIS are in part to destroy US military equipment, such as the artillery ISIS has been using against Kurdish forces.

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If it weren’t for the military equipment the U.S. walked away from, ISIS wouldn’t be near as powerful and we might not be re-inserting ourselves into that country 11 years after I stood on the protest line doing what I could to stop it because I knew it would be a disaster.  But, voila, here we are.

That said, guess who’s on the corporate media? The people who want to make more war.

Geezus.

 

 

 

August 8, 2014 at 6:19 PM Leave a comment

About Hamas’ “Rockets”

I suspected the world, and more specifically the Israelis, were being terrorized by their own government as to the power of Hamas’ “rockets” and I was right:

Iron Dome AFP

(Part of Israel’s “Iron Dome” missile defense system, largely paid for by U.S. taxpayer dollars. Image: AFP)

Gaza’s Bottle Rockets

Why Hamas’ Arsenal Wasn’t Worth a War

 Hamas’ rocket fire into Israel has occasionally been described by the international press in dire terms — as a “non-stop onslaught,” an “unbearable” and “incessant” assault that is “paralyzing the country” and making life “intolerable” for ordinary Israelis. One CNN report even claimed that Israeli soldiers were collapsing from the psychological trauma of the explosions. It has made for a nasty portrait of Hamas and its military strategy, one that could even be read as a tacit endorsement of Israel’s stated goal of disarming the group with military force.

But a closer examination of Hamas’ military capabilities and goals reveals a very different picture. Most of Hamas’ arsenal is comprised of homemade rockets that are decidedly incapable of inflicting mass civilian casualties, flattening apartment blocks, or causing conflagrations that consume entire cities. “Hamas’ rockets can kill people and they have,” a counter-intelligence veteran of the U.S. CIA who spent his career monitoring Israeli and Palestinian military capabilities told me recently, “but compared to what the Israelis are using, the Palestinians are firing bottle rockets.”

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That’s what I thought.

August 4, 2014 at 4:17 PM Leave a comment

Delaware Oil Refinery Asks Taxpayers to Protect it From Rising Sea Levels

Ah yes, on to the next great ripoff.  Here we have a Delaware oil company, a direct contributor to climate change, asking taxpayers to protect it against rising sea levels caused by ah, climate change:

PBF INdustries pbfenergy.com

(Image via PBFEnergy.com)

Big oil companies invest big chunks of their profits (which are bigger than many countries’) into climate change denial. As I wrote a while ago, 9 out of 10 top climate change deniers are linked with Exxon Mobil, the biggest private oil company. Still, there are some brilliant scientists working for oil companies, and they understand what is happening and preparing for it – after all, you wouldn’t make plans to explore oil in the Arctic areas if the ice wasn’t melting.

Good point.

They’re also very open in accepting climate change when it suits them. Recently, an oil refinery from Delaware [PBF Energy] is asking taxpayers to pay for protecting it from rising sea levels. The refinery is just on the water front, and vulnerable to sea level rise, storms and even coastal erosion. Naturally, they invested lots of money in the facility, and don’t want to see it destroyed.

The federal Coastal Zone Management Act provides grants to states for projects such as building out natural barriers, like dunes, to protect against storm surges. The oil refinery believes it too can ask for money, after making its “fair share” of contributions to global warming.

“The extent of the shoreline erosion has reached a point where facility infrastructure is at risk,” says the permit application from the company.

Well sure, we wouldn’t want any damage to be done to the refinery by global warming, especially as refineries are one of the main causes of global warming. We should protect it, so that it can cause even more global warming, so that we can protect it more.

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The gall.  Oh the gall.

July 31, 2014 at 10:26 AM 2 comments

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