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Wolves in Sheep's Clothing: Democrats Are More Pro-War than Republicans, Poll Says
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Wolves in Sheep's Clothing: Democrats Are More Pro-War than Republicans, Poll Says

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USA – January 19, 2019

The United States has one of the longest and bloodiest records in world history when it comes to intervening in the politics of other nations: the Philippines, Korea, Iran, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and so on. These wars, particularly the ones taking place today, are the real scandal that ought to be discussed by the round-the-clock media.

America's modern wars began with the 2001 US invasion of mineral-rich Afghanistan, which was originally predicated on hunting down Osama Bin Laden who has, going by the official story, been dead since 2011. And yet US troops are still patrolling, killing, and dying there.

Two years later, the U.S. invaded Iraq. This, we are told, was just a “big ol' mistake” based on “bad intelligence”. Regardless, U.S. troops have remained there through eight years of Bush, eight years of Obama, and now Trump, who not only has no plans to end the war, but who also had the audacity to claim the U.S. has a right to Iraq's oil.

The Obama era has indeed proven to be the “age of the commando.” However, as Special Operations forces have kept up a frenetic operational tempo, waging war in and out of acknowledged conflict zones, training local allies, advising indigenous proxies, kicking down doors, and carrying out assassinations, terror movements have spread across the Greater Middle East and Africa.

U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) activities are shrouded in even more secrecy. Such activities vary from counterinsurgency and counterdrug efforts to seemingly endless training and advising missions - outside acknowledged conflict zones across the globe. These are conducted with little fanfare, press coverage, or oversight in scores of nations every single day. From Albania to Uruguay, Algeria to Uzbekistan, America’s most elite forces - Navy SEALs and Army Green Berets among them - were deployed to 138 countries in 2016, according to figures supplied to TomDispatch by U.S. Special Operations Command.

This total, one of the highest of Barack Obama’s presidency, typifies what has become the golden age of, in SOF-speak, the “gray zone” - a phrase used to describe the murky twilight between war and peace.

These "special operations" - which are so very one-sided, often involving U.S. drones firing down at crowded civilian areas from thousands of feet in the air - are costing the U.S. millions of dollars each year. Worse, they continue to stir hatred towards the U.S. with every innocent person caught in their wrath. It wasn't Russia, but the US that was voted - both under Barack Obama and now under Donald Trump - as the biggest threat to world peace.

In 2016, according to data provided to TomDispatch by SOCOM, the U.S. deployed special operators to China (specifically Hong Kong), in addition to eleven countries surrounding it - Taiwan (which China considers a breakaway province), Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, India, Laos, the Philippines, South Korea, and Japan.

SOCOM is willing to name only 129 of the 138 countries its forces deployed to in 2016. “Almost all Special Operations forces deployments are classified,” spokesman Ken McGraw told TomDispatch. “If a deployment to a specific country has not been declassified, we do not release information about the deployment.”

SOCOM does not, for instance, acknowledge sending troops to the war zones of Somalia, Syria, or Yemen, despite overwhelming evidence of a U.S. special ops presence in all three countries, as well as a White House report, issued in Dec. 2016, that notes “the United States is currently using military force in” Somalia, Syria, and Yemen, and specifically states that “U.S. special operations forces have deployed to Syria.”

According to Special Operations Command, 55.29% of special operators deployed overseas in 2016 were sent to the Greater Middle East, a drop of 35% since 2006.  Over the same span, deployments to Africa skyrocketed by more than 1600% - from just 1% of special operators dispatched outside the U.S. in 2006 to 17.26% in 2016. Those two regions were followed by areas served by European Command (12.67%), Pacific Command (9.19%), Southern Command (4.89%), and Northern Command (0.69%), which is in charge of “homeland defense.” On any given day, around 8,000 of Thomas’s commandos can be found in more than 90 countries worldwide.

Intelligence signals from computers and cellphones supplied by foreign allies or intercepted by surveillance drones and manned aircraft, as well as human intelligence provided by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), has been integral to targeting individuals for kill/capture missions by SOCOM’s most elite forces. The highly secretive Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), for example, carries out such counterterrorism operations, including drone strikes, raids, and assassinations in places like Iraq and Libya. This may indicate a special ops deployment to Pakistan, another country absent from SOCOM’s 2016 list.

In 2016, only in Afghanistan alone, Special Operations forces conducted 350 raids targeting al-Qaeda and Islamic State operatives, averaging about one per day, capturing or killing nearly 50 “leaders” as well as 200 “members” of the terror groups, according to General John Nicholson, the top U.S. commander in that country at that time. Some sources also suggest that while JSOC and CIA drones flew roughly the same number of missions in 2016, the military launched more than 20,000 strikes in Afghanistan, Yemen, and Syria, compared to less than a dozen by the Agency. This may reflect an Obama administration decision to implement a long-considered plan to put JSOC in charge of lethal operations and shift the CIA back to its traditional intelligence duties.

SOCOM acknowledges deployments to approximately 70% of the world’s nations, including all but three Central and South American countries (Bolivia, Ecuador, and Venezuela being the exceptions). Its operatives also blanket Asia, while conducting missions in about 60% of the countries in Africa.

A SOF overseas deployment can be as small as one special operator participating in a language immersion program or a three-person team conducting a “survey” for the U.S. embassy. It may also have nothing to do with a host nation’s government or military. Most Special Operations forces, however, work with local partners, conducting training exercises and engaging in what the military calls “building partner capacity” (BPC) and “security cooperation” (SC). Often, this means America’s most elite troops are sent to countries with security forces that are regularly cited for human rights abuses by the U.S. State Department. Thus, in Africa, where Special Operations forces utilize nearly 20 different programs and activities -- from training exercises to security cooperation engagements -- these included in 2015 such countries as Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda, among others.

In 2014, for example, more than 4,800 elite troops took part in just one type of such activities - Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) missions -- around the world. At a cost of more than $56 million, Navy SEALs, Army Green Berets, and other special operators carried out 176 individual JCETs in 87 countries.

Despite larger strategic failures in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, the Obama years have been the golden age of the gray zone. The 138 nations visited by U.S. special operators in 2016, for example, represent a jump of 130% since the waning days of the Bush administration. Although they also represent a 6% drop compared to 2015 year’s total, 2016 remains in the upper range of the Obama years, which saw deployments to 75 nations in 2010, 120 in 2011, 134 in 2013, and 133 in 2014, before peaking at 147 countries in 2015.

The increase in deployments between 2009 and 2018 -- from about 60 countries to approximately 90 countries -- mirrors a similar rise in SOCOM’s total personnel (from approximately 56,000 to about 70,000) and in its baseline budget (from $9 billion to $12.3 billion). The Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps also provide their special operations units with about $8 billion annually.

“USSOCOM plays an integral role in opposing today’s threats to our nation, to protecting the American people, to securing our homeland, and in maintaining favorable regional balances of power,” General Raymond Thomas, the chief of U.S. Special Operations Command, told members of the House Armed Services Committee last year. “However, as we focus on today’s operations we must be equally focused on required future transformation. SOF must adapt, develop, procure, and field new capabilities in the interest of continuing to be a unique, lethal, and agile part of the Joint Force of tomorrow.”

As Politico recently reported, for at least five years, Green Berets, Navy SEALs, and other commandos, operating under a little-understood legal authority known as Section 127e, have been involved in reconnaissance and “direct action” combat raids with African special operators in Somalia, Cameroon, Kenya, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Tunisia.

“The Yankee Empire’s “aggressive abroad” foreign policy is always implemented behind the façade of good intentions, removing some form of evil, and of course providing democracy for the world. The world is not typically improved by this “aggressive abroad” foreign policy but the portfolios of those connected to what President Eisenhower called the Military-Industrial Complex is always greatly enhanced,” wrote James Ronald (Ron) Kennedy, co-author of 13 books, in his essay “Greed & Arrogance—Origin & Evolution of the Globalist Yankee Empire”.

When Obama left office, he had bombed 7 Muslim countries. When Trump took over, he continued bombing those same countries - and also seems eager to expand a list which currently includes Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Syria, and Libya by perhaps adding Iran and others.

If anything, U.S. Special Operations forces are likely to expand, not contract, next year, TomDispatch wrote. SOCOM’s 2019 budget request calls for adding about 1,000 personnel to what would then be a force of 71,000. In April, at a meeting of the Senate Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities chaired by Ernst, New Mexico Senator Martin Heinrich noted that SOCOM was on track to “grow by approximately 2,000 personnel” in the coming years. The command is also poised to make 2018 another historic year in global reach. If Washington’s special operators deploy to just 17 more countries by the end of the fiscal year, they will exceed last year’s record-breaking total.

“USSOCOM continues to recruit, assess, and select the very best. We then train and empower our teammates to solve the most daunting national security problems,” SOCOM commander General Thomas told the House Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities earlier this year. Why Green Berets and Navy SEALs need to solve national security problems - strategic issues that ought to be addressed by policymakers - is a question that has long gone unanswered. It may be one of the reasons why, since Green Berets “liberated” Afghanistan in 2001, the United States has been involved in combat there and, as the years have passed, a plethora of other forever-war fronts including Cameroon, Iraq, Kenya, Libya, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, the Philippines, Somalia, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen.

“The creativity, initiative and spirit of the people who comprise the Special Operations Force cannot be overstated. They are our greatest asset,” said Thomas. And it’s likely that such assets will grow in 2019.

Many liberals and leftists are wrong when thinking that there is a Democratic candidate who is antiwar. Last Friday, Hawaii Congresswoman Gabbard told CNN's Van Jones she has decided to run for president in 2020 and that “the issue of war and peace” would be the main focus of her campaign, USA Really reported. Establishment media networks immediately started to portray her as an anti-establishment and antiwar candidate. However, Tulsi Gabbard is neither anti-establishment nor a dove and her political career is proof of it, as we wrote. In fact, more Democrats support war and illegal occupation than their “war-mongering” Republican opponents, and new survey data proves it.

New POLITICO/Morning Consult poll #190109 shows in no uncertain terms that 30%+ fewer Democrats than Republicans support withdrawal from Syria and Afghanistan.

This poll was conducted from January 4-6, 2019, among a national sample of 1,989 registered voters. The interviews were conducted online and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of registered voters based on age, race/ethnicity, gender, educational attainment, and region. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

One of the poll’s questions was: “As you may know, President Trump ordered an immediate withdrawal of more than 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria. Based on what you know, do you support or oppose President Trump’s decision?” Among Republicans 38 percent demonstrated “strong support” for this decision, while only 6 percent were strongly opposed. Democrats showed totally different opinions. 29 percent of Democratic votes strongly opposed the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria.

A similar question regarding Afghanistan also showed great division in answers: “As you may know, President Trump ordered the start of a reduction of U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, with about half of the approximately 14,000 U.S. troops there set to begin returning home in the near future. Based on what you know, do you support or oppose President Trump’s decision?” 40 percent of Republican voters strongly supported a reduction of the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, while among Democrats 22 percent said that they “somewhat oppose” and 19 percent claimed that they “strongly oppose” this decision.

Not that it's a contest, but can we stop pretending now that the "Liberals" want peace?

Author: USA Really