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Trump Is Making Good On His Promise To ‘Bomb The Sh*t’ Out Of Terrorists
Early in his unusual campaign for the presidency, Donald Trump laid out a simple, if inelegant, strategy for ridding the Middle East of the scourge of ISIS: “bomb the shit out of ‘em.” Now almost eight months into his presidency, the commander-in-chief is making good on his promise: The Air Force has deployed more munitions against terror groups in Afghanistan in August than any other month in the last five years, according to U.S. Central Command’s latest summary of U.S. airpower in the region.
U.S. military aircraft deployed more than 500 weapons against ISIS, Taliban, and al-Qaeda targets as part of operations Freedom’s Sentinel and Resolute Support in Afghanistan during August 2017, the most since the same month in 2012, according to the monthly airpower statistics released by CENTCOM’s Combined Air Operations Center (COAC) at Al-Udeid Air Base that oversees air operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and 18 other countries throughout the region. Most of the munitions were released by F-16 fighter jets and MQ-9 Reaper drones.
The number represents a significant uptick from the 350 deployed in July, a noticeable acceleration of the U.S.-led air campaign in Afghanistan ahead of 4,000 additional troops’ arrival in the country to bolster the Pentagon’s existing force of 11,000 service members.
The operational tempo of U.S.-led air campaigns has increased dramatically against terror groups across the region Trump took office: So far this year, U.S. aircraft have deployed 2,487 munitions against enemy targets in Afghanistan, nearly double the number dropped during all of 2016, according to CENTCOM data.
Similarly, aircraft in August dropped some 5,075 munitions on ISIS targets as part of Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and Syria, up from 3,439 in February and the most deployed in a single month since the beginning of Operation Inherent Resolve there in August 2014.
U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft assigned to the 100th Fighter Squadron prepare to refuel during Red Flag-Alaska 13-3 over the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex Aug. 19, 2013Photo via DoD
The surge in air sorties has resulted not just in an alarming rise in civilian casualties, but rapid depletion of coalition arsenals that sent defense contractors scrambling to ramp up production on Small Diameter Bombs and the Joint Direct Attack Munitions guidance kits crucial to the U.S.-led air campaigns’ effectiveness. In May, Secretary of Defense James Mattis even “personally intervened” to jam as many “preferred munitions” into the Department of Defense’s fiscal year 2018 budget request, some $16.4 billion in missiles and munitions.
While the uptick in munitions expenditures in Afghanistan may appear as a tactical precursor for the additional troops in the coming weeks, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein told Military.com that Mattis and top Pentagon planners are still hammering out the strategic details of the new deployment.
"We're in the process of doing the detailed planning [for] that strategy," Goldfein told Military.com. "And the discussion that we're having… is, 'What's the air-ground team that's required to be able to now execute the strategy that the president has laid out?'"
The long-term strategy in Afghanistan may change over the coming months, but even if the Trump administration’s current approach is short on details and heavy on resolve, one thing remains clear: “Bomb the shit out of ‘em” will likely remain a pillar of the Global War On Terror for the foreseeable future.
Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) will announce legislation Wednesday aiming to "fix" a new Trump administration citizenship policy that affects some children of U.S. service members stationed abroad.
The inside story of how The Village People shot the Navy's most controversial recruiting video onboard an active warship
The video opens innocently enough. A bell sounds as we gaze onto a U.S. Navy frigate, safely docked at port at Naval Base San Diego. A cadre of sailors, dressed in "crackerjack" style enlisted dress uniforms and hauling duffel bags over their shoulders, stride up a gangplank aboard the vessel. The officer on deck greets them with a blast of a boatswain's call. It could be the opening scene of a recruitment video for the greatest naval force on the planet.
Then the rhythmic clapping begins.
This is no recruitment video. It's 'In The Navy,' the legendary 1979 hit from disco queens The Village People, shot aboard the very real Knox-class USS Reasoner (FF-1063) frigate. And one of those five Navy sailors who strode up that gangplank during filming was Ronald Beck, at the time a legal yeoman and witness to one of the strangest collisions between the U.S. military and pop culture of the 20th century.
"They picked the ship and they picked us, I don't know why," Beck, who left the Navy in 1982, told Task & Purpose in a phone interview from his Texas home in October. "I was just lucky to be one of 'em picked."
Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Tuesday casually brushed aside the disturbing news that, holy shit, MORE THAN 100 ISIS FIGHTERS HAVE ESCAPED FROM JAIL.
In an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, Esper essentially turned this fact into a positive, no doubt impressing public relations and political talking heads everywhere with some truly masterful spin.
"Of the 11,000 or so detainees that were imprisoned in northeast Syria, we've only had reports that a little more than a hundred have escaped," Esper said, adding that the Syrian Democratic Forces were continuing to guard prisons, and the Pentagon had not "seen this big prison break that we all expected."
Well, I feel better. How about you?
On Wednesday, the top U.S. envoy in charge of the global coalition to defeat ISIS said much the same, while adding another cherry on top: The United States has no idea where those 100+ fighters went.
A senior administration official told reporters on Wednesday the White House's understanding is that the SDF continues to keep the "vast majority" of ISIS fighters under "lock and key."
"It's obviously a fluid situation on the ground that we're monitoring closely," the official said, adding that released fighters will be "hunted down and recaptured." The official said it was Turkey's responsibility to do so.
President Trump expressed optimism on Wednesday about what was happening on the ground in northeast Syria, when he announced that a ceasefire between Turkey and the Kurds was expected to be made permanent.
"Turkey, Syria, and all forms of the Kurds have been fighting for centuries," Trump said. "We have done them a great service and we've done a great job for all of them — and now we're getting out."
The president boasted that the U.S.-brokered ceasefire had saved the lives of tens of thousands of Kurds "without spilling one drop of American blood."
Kade Kurita, the 20-year-old West Point cadet who had been missing since Friday evening, was found dead on Tuesday night, the U.S. Military Academy announced early Wednesday morning.
"We are grieving this loss and our thoughts and prayers go out to Cadet Kurita's family and friends," Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams, superintendent of West Point, said in the release.
The U.S. Army's Next Generation Squad Weapon effort looked a lot more possible this week as the three competing weapons firms displayed their prototype 6.8mm rifles and automatic rifles at the 2019 Association of the United States Army's annual meeting.
Just two months ago, the Army selected General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems inc., Textron Systems and Sig Sauer Inc. for the final phase of the NGSW effort — one of the service's top modernization priorities to replace the 5.56mm M4A1 carbine and the M249 squad automatic weapon in infantry and other close-combat units.
Army officials, as well as the companies in competition, have been guarded about specific details, but the end result will equip combat squads with weapons that fire a specially designed 6.8mm projectile, capable of penetrating enemy body armor at ranges well beyond the current M855A1 5.56mm round.
There have previously been glimpses of weapons from two firms, but this year's AUSA was the first time all three competitors displayed their prototype weapons, which are distinctly different from one another.