When Special Ops Does Politics

I think this “Betrayed” video is the meanest, toughest, likely most-effective, anti-Trump ad I’ve seen yet this cycle. The only one in the ball park is ‘Mourning Again in America‘.

I presume the profanity means they can’t show it on network TV, which is a shame.

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5 Responses to When Special Ops Does Politics

  1. Vic says:

    So assuming this is even true, which is unlikely given that the Afghans, in their mind, have adequate reasons to wage war against us and have no need for monetary encouragement from anybody, much less their previous invaders… But let’s pretend it’s true. Are you now advocating war with Russia, because that is what this guy is ultimately advocating. Maybe send some Buffs over Moscow to teach that former Commie, Putin, a lesson? Do some good old American “stomping?” Are you a neocon now?

    Does the fact that this guy is former spec ops make his opinion on this somehow better than others’? As I have a similar background, in a different service, but an opposing opinion, does his experience trump mine, or do they cancel out? Who decides? Should we gather up all of the spec ops guys from all of the services and poll them to come up with a number? I happen to think it would be foolish to “stomp” Russia, but when I was prepared for that very job, they were the much more formidable Soviets, so what do I know? Maybe we could practice for Russia’s ”stomping” by first “stomping” the Taliban…oh, wait, that hasn’t worked so well…

    Seriously, this is utter nonsense from someone who believes this story as having some meaningful effect if true, while ignoring the problem of the generals who are keeping us in this place, for no discernible reason that their personal pride and benefit. ANY death in Afghanistan, on any side, civilian or military, At this point, and for the last 15 plus years, is on THEM, squarely and surely, and posting crap like this former SEAL’s brain dump, as if it has some authority, just allows this to continue by shifting the blame and advocating even more pointless violence against everyone involved.

    Who else should we “stomp” to get our way?

    • The point of interest regarding a THIRD-PARTY AD such as this one is not BIDEN policy, nor even policy at all. It’s whether it might move the needle in the electorate. That’s why I post it, and that’s what I very briefly commented on.

      As to the substance? To begin with I have no independent expertise or knowledge to bring to bear as to what’s true or not beyond the next somewhat informed layman. I do think the following things are more likely true than not:

      1. Intelligence pros thought there was enough truth in the story to put it in the written version of the PDB.
      2. Trump didn’t read it.
      3. This (not reading it) illustrates, yet again, why he’s unfit for office.
      4. Trump has consistently bowed to Putin. Two of the more horrible examples are selling out the Kurds and leaving our elections open to manipulation. There are others. If this is true, it goes on the list.
      5. I don’t think mid or low rank special ops folk have any special insight on foreign policy other than maybe some minor tactical issues that are not commonly part of Presidential contests. I do think they can be, as here, very effective spokespersons since some voters will see them as more persuasive sources on some military matters. That’s the capacity in which I was discussing this speaker.

      TL/DR The point isn’t whether the Russians did or didn’t put bounties on US troops, although it appears the story had enough cred to make the PDB. The point is what the incident reminds us about Trump’s lazy incompetence in governance and pro-Russia policy generally, and how this incident can be weaponized as a domestic political campaign point.

      • Vic says:

        You are again missing the point.

        Assume it is all true. What is the President, ANY President supposed to do about it? Seriously. What?

        The Taliban, et al, were already waging war against the U.S. in Afghanistan. They are doing this for ideological reasons, not military ones. Meaning, the war will not end by either side seeing an error in their ways and giving up. Any “bounty” would just be gravy, not motivation.

        So what was Trump, or anybody else to do about it? The only avenue against it is waging war, by some means, on Russia. Do you think that is really in the cards? Is it a good idea? Let’s start another War Of Pride just to…what, exactly, show that a Trump is a ninny? And if he did read the PDB, and did what this alleged SEAL says he should have, would you, or really anybody else outside of the ghost of a John McCain be happy about it? Would a Trump have proved he is Presidential?

        How many lives would be worth expending on this, both in combat deaths, and suicide deaths? You must have a number in mind…

        As I said, I don’t think this is true, given that the same people who made up other stories are behind this one, not leading to much credibility, but even if it is true, why does it matter at all? What is to be done? Shto delat?

        • I’m not missing “the point”, since “the point” was defined by what I posted. To address YOUR point, however:

          There are a lot of things short of nuking Russia that the US can do. To list a few at random: recall an ambassador; economic sanctions; covert hacking; getting allies to impose travel limits on top Russians. I’m sure there are lots more levers to pull starting from a démarche and working up.

          What level of response was appropriate would depend on how reliable the intel was, the general state of US-Russia relations [if the President were not in Putin’s pocket, that is], and the state of things more generally. It seems clear that if the intel was seen as reliable, a zero response is too little. Shooting at Russians, unless they were in Afghanistan helping the other side, likely would be too much.

          But the “how many lives” question is a phony here as there are are a whole host of graduated non -violent options available. I don’t have a view on which would have been best since I don’t know enough about the full context. But likely something.

          Again, however, MY point was how this plays domestically. And my subsidiary point is that failing to even know about it and consider the options is another dereliction of duty. Alas, not even one the biggest.

          This really isn’t complicated, and I don’t understand why anyone would get so worked up about it.

          • Vic says:

            You clearly don’t understand the full issue. You cannot effectively “sanction” Russia. It is way too big for that. You can’t sanction them any more than anyone can “sanction” us. It’s an empty motion that amounts to, “I am VERY disappointed in you!” They already ARE under various sanctions because of Crimea. They don’t matter. You cannot effectively sanction a country like that. It’s not Cuba. Recall the ambassador! Really!? I’m sure THAT would frighten them. Hacking!? Seriously?

            Look at ad you posted lists three possible ways: Diplomatic, economic, or warfare. We are already doing the first two. Maybe we could ramp it up a bit, but it’s not really effective against a country like Russia. Russia is a source country, not a destination country. You could completely cut the place off and all it would mean is a little more hardship for the little people there – hardship that would not exactly be new to them. You’ve read Robert Conquest’s Harvest of Sorrow, right? If that didn’t break them, what exactly will?

            Which leads again to direct warfare. Personally, I don’t think they want that because every time it happens by proxy (as it did a couple weeks back in Libya), their warfighting equipment shows its weakpoints – hardly a good look on the international arms market. A direct fight would be worse for their marketing and for our body count over nothing.

            But you want to talk about how the ad “plays.” OK. There are effectively three markets for this ad: Anti-Trump dems who are the choir on this one. They won’t be voting Trump no matter what they are told, so the ad can’t be aimed at them. It would just be a waste of money and time.

            The Trump voters: Those folks have seen the CONSTANT ginning up of scandal after scandal, each of them winding up being either a complete hoax, or faked by the claimant. You can’t cry wolf so many times and have people care. Trump is actually doing most of what the Trump supporters want to see happen. He’s even winding things down in Afghanistan as fast as the rest of Government will let happen, digging in their murderous heels. What he hasn’t managed to do is being so publicly fought against by Dems and never-Trumpers that it doesn’t really surprise his supporters anymore. This ad says nothing to them except that it’s yet another anti-Trump hawk ginning up yet another pointless war over nothing. Again, the very same reporters telling the same stories, with no evidence ever coming forward and investigations that lead nowhere. What would ANYONE think?

            So this ad is largely aimed at the third group, the Never-Trump republicans. And it rests on one premise – we need to go to war with Russia to teach them not to mess with us. A good number of them thinking that Russia can take its puppet President back with them as well. Do you really think this is a winning strategy for anything? It doesn’t win over the Dems, it’s just more nonsense and noise to the Trumpers. Hasn’t the last 20 years taught us anything useful about the failures of the hawks? We haven’t been able to defeat the Taliban, and NOW they want us to fight Russia!? None of our generals have EVER won a war, and as a country, we haven’t won one since WWII. Who is the voting bloc for this nonsense? George Will and Bill Kristol?

            Let me tell you a story that might better illustrate my point here:

            A few years back we went up to Columbia NC for the total eclipse. (make a point of doing that someday, if you have not). On the way, we stopped at Paris Island SC, the recruit training command for the Marines east of the Mississippi. Graduations are on Friday. (we had no recruit graduating ourselves, just a visit to what is considered holy ground in the Marine Corps).

            We stayed on Thursday night near Hilton Head, across the estuary from Paris Is. The hotel was full of families to see their son graduate from boot camp the next day. Big groups of people, all wearing shirts with their son’s name and information on it (that’s a thing). Diverse group in every way but maybe economically. Ivy Leaguers generally don’t send THEIR kids off to fight. I got a chance to talk to a few. Very nice and friendly people as most Americans are.

            The next morning, we attended the graduation ceremony and I was in awe. Some 260+ new Marines, which happens every week, and all their families watching. Pride like you have never seen. Something I’m not sure can be understood from the outside.

            One of the things that happens is they ask all former Marines to stand and be acknowledged, as once a Marine, always a Marine. A handful of us in the stands stood to applause. At the end of the ceremony, a number of parents came over to personally thank me for my service. Normally, I hate that. I think it’s just a social incantation to make the sayer feel better about never having served (and I have no problem with people who don’t serve). But these were people who knew exactly what it means. Some of them will lose a son while serving.

            The point here is these were 260+ new Marines, and a good 1000+ family members, no doubt with many more at home. These are people who KNOW the sacrifice of service. each of those young men, and the couple thousand plus other young men and women training on that island at any point know exactly what they are doing and the context of when they joined (wartime). There are not a lot of people who would do what they chose to do. You know that.

            So when some war hawk, putting on the mantle of his service, gins up yet another war in the name of NOTHING, and even if true it’s nothing worthy of a war, I think of those who are and will be making the sacrifice that matters. Tell all those families that their Marine, sailor, soldier, airmen, guardsman, whatever, will be fighting in some new war, just to prove how much certain people hate Trump. To show up that draft-dodger that is not qualiified to be President.
            Because that’s all this is, the manifestation of Trump hatred. It’s unseemly and unmilitary and ignores – in fact insults – the actual sacrifice being made by young men and women who chose to do what they do, with the tacit understanding that it would serve a worthy purpose. Washington has been letting them down and watching them die in vain for almost 20 years now. Isn’t that enough killing for politics?

            I DO get worked up over that. because I CARE about that. I cannot believe how many young men and women have been sacrificed in this nonsense – over nothing less than pride. Awful pride. Even more have been lost to suicide – which is particularly high among veterans.

            And now, yet another hawk, in the mantle of a soldier, wants more war for political reasons. Sorry if I don’t bite. I’m more surprised that you have.

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