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Take Your Military Parade And Drop It In Your Gold-Plated Toilet
I’ll make this short. Nobody likes a long, forced display of emotion. Except Donald Trump.
The stock market, previously the president’s favorite benchmark of national success, is tanking severely and whiplashing back up, and no one seems to fully understand why. Sixty-four thousand Americans are dying of drug overdoses per year — 175 per day, double the rate a decade ago — and nobody knows how to stop them. The suicide rate in America is higher than it’s been in decades, and it’s highest in the rural areas that economic progress and politicians of every stripe have left behind.
This is the America that our military is defending. It is not going well. The Afghanistan War, the United States’ longest in its history, has no obvious end; the generals in charge now were field grade officers when the war started. The forever war is turning out so many veterans that the VA can’t keep up — and the department is largely trying to fire its way out of the problem, without filling any of its top spots or hiring for any of its nearly 50,000 job vacancies. Some American war veterans are facing deportation. Others, with other-than-honorable discharges, are foundering with next to no help. The U.S.’s forward-deployed naval force, steaming away to back up the belligerence of a novice president’s tweets, is stretched to its breaking point, with groggy nav teams breaking ships and killing sailors. The entire military establishment, shot through with waste, fraud, and abuse, can’t even audit itself, and Congress is too broken to even fund it, except through short-term continuing resolutions, because we have reached a point in America where Americans have their political teams to root for and no incentives to be humane or conciliatory to each other for a greater cause.
Let’s do it for the duly elected commander-in-chief, who was born on third base and blames the world for not just scoring it as a run. Whose entire “military” service consists of a private boarding-school diploma and five draft deferments. Who used the commissioning ceremony of the Coast Guard Academy’s graduating cadets to bitch about the media’s coverage of him, when he wasn’t confusing the Coast Guard with the Navy. Who couldn’t stand still or remember the words for the National Anthem at Arlington on Memorial Day next to his secretary of defense and Joint Chiefs chairman (but he’s still pretty sure NFL players of color who don’t show sufficient anthem-patriotism should be fired). Who doesn’t have a clue what evening colors are, but surmises they must be for him. Who accessorizes with troops. Who likes “people who weren’t captured;” tells Gold Star families he’s “made a lot of sacrifices;” calls safe sex in the 1990s “my personal Vietnam;” and blames “the generals” for battle casualties.
Let’s throw a military bash with missiles and troops and bands for this rampaging golf-course rentier, because nobody’s ever done anything like that before, except the Soviet Union, the People’s Republic of China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Cuba, Libya under Qaddafi, Iraq under Saddam, Zaire under Mobutu, the Nazi Reich under Hitler, Spain under Franco, Chile under Pinochet, Iran under the Shah, Uganda under Idi Amin, Yugoslavia under Tito, Romania under Ceausescu, Serbia under Milosevic.
Let’s do it like France does it on Bastille Day, because Lord knows that’s really fixed their country and the imperial colonies they occupied. Let’s emulate the fading great power that tried vainly to “win” Vietnam before handing it off to us shrugging, and these days can’t decide if its fifth republic will be socialist or ultraconservative or somewhere in between.
Let’s pause the wars for a minute to garrison the troops, spit-shine them, transport them, train them for a new pompous and circumstantial evolution, invite the networks, adore the leader, and then go back to failing at war, a few million dollars lighter, to get a poll bump for a man who loves the troops and America but derides as “the deep state” all the constitutional oath-takers who are investigating his campaign’s connections to Russia; his reliance on a national security adviser compromised by multiple foreign states; his pressurings and firings of top investigators; his role in making false statements about campaign meetings with Russians promising dirt on his opponent.
Let’s make America a banana republic. Let’s have a fucking parade. For Don.
You don’t need this. I don’t need this. But he sure does.
Update: 1:10 p.m. EDT: This post has been updated to clarify that 64,000 Americans die of drug overdoses annually.
New trailer for 'Bloodshot' gives us Vin Diesel as a super soldier who can literally get shot in the face and just walk it off
(Reuters) - In the summer of 2004, U.S. soldier Greg Walker drove to a checkpoint just outside of Baghdad's Green Zone with his Kurdish bodyguard, Azaz. When he stepped out of his SUV, three Iraqi guards turned him around at gunpoint.
As he walked back to the vehicle, he heard an AK-47 being racked and a hail of cursing in Arabic and Kurdish. He turned to see Azaz facing off with the Iraqis.
"Let us through or I'll kill you all," Walker recalled his Kurdish bodyguard telling the Iraqi soldiers, who he described as "terrified."
He thought to himself: "This is the kind of ally and friend I want."
The US military quietly pulled 2,000 troops out of Afghanistan over the past year without a peace deal
The U.S. military has pulled about 2,000 troops from Afghanistan over the past year, the top U.S. and coalition military commander said Monday.
"As we work in Afghanistan with our partners, we're always looking to optimize the force," Army Gen. Austin Miller said at a news conference in Kabul. "Unbeknownst to the public, as part of our optimization … we reduced our authorized strength by 2,000 here."
"I'm confident that we have the right capabilities to: 1. Reach our objectives as well as continue train, advise, and assist throughout the country," Miller continued.
The New York Times was first to report that the U.S. military had reduced its troop strength in Afghanistan even though peace talks with the Taliban are on hiatus. The number of troops in the country has gone from about 15,000 to 13,000, a U.S. official told Task & Purpose on condition of anonymity.
Separately, the U.S. military is considering drawing down further to 8,600 troops in Afghanistan as part of a broader political agreement, Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters on Oct. 19.
"We've always said, that it'll be conditions based, but we're confident that we can go down to 8,600 without affecting our [counterterrorism] operations, if you will," Esper said while enroute to Afghanistan.
So far, no order has been given to draw down to 8,600 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, the U.S. official said.
After President Donald Trump cancelled peace talks with the Taliban, which had been expected to take place at Camp David around the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, the U.S. military has increased both air and ground attacks.
In September, U.S. military aircraft dropped more ordnance in Afghanistan than they have since October 2010, according to Air Force statistics.
However, the president has also repeatedly vowed to bring U.S. troops home from the post 9/11 wars. Most recently, he approved withdrawing most U.S. troops from Syria.
On Monday, Esper said the situations in Syria and Afghanistan are very different, so the Afghans and other U.S. allies "should not misinterpret our actions in the recent week or so with regard to Syria."