Cross-posted with TomDispatch.com
Here’s a footnote to America’s current wars that’s value pondering for a couple of moments. The U.S. Air Force is operating out of peculiar bombs, sensible bombs, and in some instances missiles. No kidding. The air warfare over Syria and Iraq that started in August 2014 and is now two-and-a-half years outdated has eaten by means of America’s provide of bombs. The common crew of weapons makers evidently can’t produce such munitions quick sufficient to maintain up, so the U.S. navy is, for example, chopping into its stockpiles of sensible bombs in Asia to ship some to the Middle East and Africa merely to maintain tempo with demand ― and, based on current studies, it could nonetheless be failing to take action. Consider this a long term drawback since, within the period of Donald Trump, the generals are more and more operating their very own wars, which, if the day by day drumbeat of reports about them is correct, are solely ramping up additional.
Everywhere you look, from Yemen to Iraq, Syria to Somalia, the American navy is rising extra assertive as civilian casualties rise and constraints of any type, whether or not on particular operations raids, drone strikes, or using the strongest non-nuclear bomb within the U.S. arsenal, fall away. Only final week, for example, got here information that Trump’s generals plan to place suggestions on his desk quickly to show the tide in America’s longest warfare, the largely forgotten one in Afghanistan, which the U.S. navy now refers to as a “stalemate.” (Who cares that, on the bottom, the Taliban has in current months appeared more and more ascendant and the U.S.-trained, U.S.-supplied, and U.S.-backed Afghan navy more and more battered?)
Those suggestions ― so claims appearing Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations Theresa Whalen ― will assist the U.S “move beyond the stalemate.” This will evidently be carried out by sending three,000 to five,000 extra U.S. troops there to coach the Afghan navy. Yes, you learn that proper. Almost 16 years after the invasion and “liberation” of Afghanistan in 2001, the answer to the endless warfare there may be to ship in a couple of thousand extra U.S. navy personnel to work with a power full of “ghost troopers,” into which this nation has already reportedly poured $71 billion and which has suffered each staggering casualties and startling desertion charges lately. Just off the highest of your head, inform me the way you assume that’s prone to go. And oh sure, as soon as these troops are there, one factor that may definitely be wanted: extra bombs and missiles to help their actions.
All of that is a part of what Army Major Danny Sjursen, writer of Ghost Riders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge, refers to as we speak because the U.S. navy’s “more” technique in his new piece, “The Hazards of Military Worship.” With the generals ascendant within the Trumpian universe and all these stars twinkling in Washington’s firmament, “more” is distinctly within the saddle. Whether in Afghanistan or in Syria and Iraq, the place that huge air marketing campaign towards the Islamic State is now effectively into its third 12 months, it has lent a big hand to the rubblization of main cities throughout each of these international locations. (In Syria, the Russian and Syrian air forces have provided a equally serving to hand within the course of, as has ISIS with its suicide automobiles and booby-trapped buildings.)
As a outcome, whereas the Islamic State isn’t but defeated, the area is now in real chaos, overrun by tens of millions of uprooted refugees from international locations more and more in ruins and in disarray. In different phrases, what began as a “war” towards al-Qaeda, a modest-sized group of fanatics largely situated in Afghanistan (with scattered cells of followers elsewhere), has now turn out to be a disaster stretching from Afghanistan to the previous state of Libya in North Africa and past. As ever, the American answer to this disaster, as Sjursen factors out, is: extra!