Nov 25 (5/6): US: Back in the Game

So, remember that air defense system test Turkey conducted?

And then there was promptly air strikes against Turkish backed forces?

That wasn’t the only response.

This video is 3 minutes or so and, if you’ve been reading this blog, beyond the handwringing about American politics which is of course a real concern, this is really a fun watch.

“The most important story is the Bradleys. Combat power, that’s what the Bradley brings to the fight.”
— Lt. Col. Cynthia King (NYT Video)

Maj. Gen. Eric T. Hill stated the US are maintaining bases from Deir ez-Zur to Qamishli to Dereek and “throughout that expansive area.”

Looks like The US is keeping the northern border crossing to Iraq. (They never looked close to giving up the southern crossing.)

I mean, everyone knows where they are, right? I recall that being important to them. (Aren’t the Russians up there too? Huh. That should be fun.)

A couple parts of the NYTimes video are laugh out loud funny if you’ve been following the threads of the story here. This mismatch between the tone of the piece and what the soldiers are saying and how they are talking about it is striking. The soldier who acted bored and said he didn’t really know where the oil fields were while throwing a distracted hand wave vaguely to his left and didn’t stop walking slayed me.

“The Bradleys create a deterrent against… conflict. The bad guys see it and they don’t want to fight.”
— Lt. Jacob Moore

The dramatic pause is masterful. These guys are so fucking good.

And the Bradleys are great. They bring combat power. But you can also tell from the video that Apaches are still, it would seem, how a gentleman flexes.

Moving along…

Trump Threw This Mission Into Chaos. The Military Is Scrambling To Save It.
On a rare visit to U.S. bases in eastern Syria, we saw how President Trump’s message is being reinterpreted on the ground.

MANAMA, Bahrain — United States troops have resumed large-scale counterterrorism missions against the Islamic State in northern Syria, military officials say, nearly two months after President Trump’s abrupt order to withdraw American troops opened the way for a bloody Turkish cross-border offensive.

The new operations show that despite Mr. Trump’s earlier demand for a complete withdrawal of all American forces from Syria, the president still has some 500 troops in the country, many of them in combat, for the foreseeable future.

“Over the next days and weeks, the pace will pick back up against remnants of ISIS,” Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., the commander of the military’s Central Command, told reporters on the sidelines of the Manama Dialogue security conference in Bahrain on Saturday.

https://twitter.com/laraseligman/status/1198967411153809410?s=20

It is still unconfirmed that the US conducted the air strikes. Nobody beyond totally partisan sites on “each side” have confirmed it was the US. Kurdistan24 often has big local news early, but can be somewhat sensationalistic about some things—although in fairness, the subject matter often lends itself to such. Also, it might just be because they seem to get a lot of really good news early. And one of their guys was also the guy the coalition flew around in a helicopter awhile back which illustrated the presence of US helicopters quite nicely, I thought, when broadcast on local television. The unfortunately named, in English anyway, Shiite News network appears to be some kind of Wikileaks outlet, so somebody wants us to think the US did it. But if it’s true it’s just a coincidence, i.e. some of these outlets will tell you the truth when they want to, but what they tell you isn’t always the truth, so you have to thread the needle a bit.

So anyways, it’s not confirmed the US conducted the air strikes. And if the US did conduct the air strikes, it is not confirmed that it was because of Turkey testing their new Russian S-400 air defense system against US made F-16s yesterday.

Although a lot of people on the ground think that there is a 2+2 kind of aspect to all this.

How do you like ‘dem apples?

The general sense I’m getting from the ground is that they feel that the US is the only force in the world that could conduct air strikes without anyone knowing who had done it. Which is fucking awesome. But we’ll see.

One thing is certain: There is a discernible uptick in trash-talking going on.

This is totally why I haven’t gotten around to watching the second season of Jack Ryan, by the way. Moving on.

I’m still not seeing confirmation that the air strike was conducted by the US—which may itself technically be a confirmation and a threat for that matter. When the US took out Osama bin Laden, there was a secondary message sent, which was to Pakistan. That message was that yes, the Night Stalkers can fly Navy SEALs to within a few blocks of your military academy without you even noticing.

In other words: Recognize.

I remember someone asking me why some people were saying the raid on bin Laden’s was “illegal.” I was like, “Because it was.” “I don’t understand.” “Well, it being illegal was kinda the point, since they were dealing with Pakistan who was not, at the time anyway, taking the fight with al Quada seriously. So.

scrubs judge dredd is starting.gif

Again, not confirmation and still some uncertainty. But a definite possibility that the US military has finally basically said, OK, you want to see trolling? We’ll troll.

But even if that’s not the case, whatever’s going on, as per above, has people feeling feisty.

And then again, there did eventually come this Tweet:

I do like how they circle the explosion in yellow. Just so we’re clear.

But then there’s this:

Somebody hit those tankers and bad guy bases.

Or stated differently: Odysseus did it. Or possibly Shaggy.

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