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Posts Tagged ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’

F-16A Fighting Falcon, F-15C Eagle, and F-15E Strike Eagle fighter aircraft fly over burning oil field sites in Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm.

It never happened!

In contrast, there are motorcyclists who routinely read this blog that fought in Operation Desert Shield, which became Operation Desert Storm and morphed into a number of other names.

I recall one of the biggest tank battles since World War II, was the Battle of 73 Easting, and broke the back of Saddam Hussein’s armored divisions and sealed Iraq’s defeat. Unfortunately that battle marked not the end of the Gulf War, but the beginning of several “forever-wars” that plague the U.S. to this day.

The scheme of maneuver for Operation Desert Storm

The last time China really attempted to wage a major war was against Vietnam back in February 1979. China was the aggressor, but it’s propaganda machine attached an unconvincing name to the conflict — the “Self-Defensive Counterattack Against Vietnam.” Hundreds of thousands of Chinese troops crossed Vietnam’s northern border and invaded the country, to punish them for invading Kampuchea (today’s Cambodia), to remove the Khmer Rouge.

The Chinese invasion had their asses handed to them! Estimates run as high as 28,000 Chinese dead and 43,000 wounded, while the number of Vietnamese dead were estimated at under 10,000. The Vietnamese were tougher, had battle experience, better equipment, knew how to fight asymmetrical warfare against a larger force, and flat out beat the Chinese. After a month (March 1979), China suddenly declared its “lesson” to Vietnam was finished and began to withdraw completely on March 16, 1979.

Report: The Elements of the China Challenge

40-years later, both governments have seriously committed to suppressing memories of that war. Beijing’s unrelenting efforts to control information means that China claims the war as “a victory,” with all missions completed. That viewpoint is not supported by the evidence or any analysis.

Sound familiar? Do you recall China’s indifference to other nations’ well-being as they unleashed the “born in Wuhan,” COVID-19 global pandemic?

You are likely saying to yourself… “Don’t victimize the bats, Mac!

But, what about the oppression of ethnic and religious minorities (Uyghurs, Tibetans, Mongolians, Christians); fighting Indian soldiers in Eastern Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control (LAC); Chinese fighters/bombers buzzing Taiwan’s territorial airspace; or Hong Kong voters’ voices meaningless with a national security law? How about the forced technology transfers, cyberattacks, and a whole-of-nation approach to economic and industrial espionage. Then there is the intensified internal repression with mass surveillance and control over the country by expanding the systematic use of indoctrination, censorship, disinformation, high-tech surveillance, forced disappearances, “re-education” camps, compulsory labor, forced sterilization, involuntary birth control, and other heinous abuses. And, I haven’t even started on the control over the world’s international supply chains.

They don’t really seem to care unless it relates to control of the population and re-configuration of world affairs through economic power to achieve global preeminence.

Meanwhile, U.S. history reveals that the Operation Desert Storm battle marked not the end of the Gulf War but the beginning of several “forever-wars.” The U.S. established Operation Provide Comfort in April 1991 (renamed Operation Northern Watch in 1997). A no-fly zone was established in 1992 in the south of Iraq, known as Operation Southern Watch. The U.S. invaded Afghanistan in the wake of the September 2001 terrorist attacks. There was the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom in March 2003. There was Operation Neptune Spear to kill “Geronimo.” Then President Barack Obama expanded the battlefield to Syria by 2015.

The fighting we have done in the region, nonstop since the first troops were deployed in Kuwait in August 1990, should now be painfully obvious, the net result of all of the efforts is the same: We — not the ever aggressive economic power hungry CCP  — are always fighting wars, which are perpetually costly. Thirty years of unending U.S. war has had profound costs on our country — with questionable strategic benefit.

Low-ball estimates suggest Washington has wasted a staggering $6T (yes, trillion $) on these wars vs. funding badly needed infrastructure at home. More sadly is the military personnel cost of thousands killed, tens of thousands wounded, and hundreds of thousands with post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries.

With any metric you want to apply, these “forever-wars” and nation-building have cost America an astronomical amount.

I understand that the United States must champion the principles of freedom — but the United States Government is accountable to the American people.

After 30-years, we’ve done our part and it is time to acknowledge reality, immediately withdraw troops and end it.

Images courtesy of USAF and Wikipedia commons.

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screen-shot-2016-11-11-at-12-24-21-pmLong form content in a short form world is a novelty these days and I plan to keep this post brief.

I’m thinking about all the Veterans (and their families) today who have sacrificed so much for so many.

I’m eternally thankful.

A very big thank you to all those who have served and continue to serve.

#VeteransDay

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At Willamette National Cemetery

I remember watching the Vietnam War as a kid and seeing shooting and blood and bodies—and people were serious.  Very serious!

Then years later on the first night of Desert Storm in 1991, while watching CNN the contrast was stunning.  I remember thinking, are they reporting on a war, or are they trying to sell me on it?  These days the media is problematic as they would rather be first than be right!  Endless commentary without much reporting.  I’ve always thought that people should get information to make themselves smarter, not just to make themselves feel good and reinforce their viewpoints, but I’ve digressed.

Tomorrow is Memorial Day which commemorates the men and women who died while in the military service.  It is set aside so that we might reflect on the honor and sacrifice of those who courageously gave their lives to safeguard us and our way of life. Freedom surrounds each of us everyday—as we openly speak our minds, ride motorcycles freely in any city, where worship is feely exercised and where ballots are freely cast to change who will govern this great county.

It is a great county, and let’s take a few minutes today to remind ourselves of the consequences of war and remember the families of our Fallen.

Photo taken by author at Willamette National Cemetery.

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Jesse Mead, son of U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Korey Mead

Few of us can relate and what we don’t realize is that they are right here among us!

I’m talking about families who carry a burden deep inside of lost loved ones and service members who have made a lot of sacrifices while a public is at peace.  Like many of you, I’ve been distracted by the sputtering economy and living life or by the talking heads incessantly doling out two-bit analysis of the political environment.

Is it enough to just say thank you and welcome home to the vets?

You may not know, but Harley-Davidson has been on the front line – right next to the troops – from the factory workers in Milwaukee, who made specialized military bikes, to the soldiers who used them beginning in 1916 throughout WWII.  From 2007-2009 H-D donated more than $1M to the Disabled American Veterans and Mobile Service Office program. Over the years, H-D has supported the Traveling Vietnam Wall, Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally, National Veterans Wheelchair Games and more.

Clearly H-D isn’t the only company supporting troops, and they all deserve a shout-out, but it’s disappointing to see a lack luster appreciation for veteran’s returning home at a national level.  Oh sure, there are local gatherings and the occasional public display of gratitude.  And the media will do the occasional story about the lines of people greeting the troops in some cities which is encouraging.

But, “Portlandia” is luke warm.  It seems we’re too busy writing articles and creating media buzz about the new Oregon Ducks uniform or commenting about the Newberg company, Hydro Graphics, that painted the helmets for the Rose Bowl.  Even as a football fan, there is some absurdity in all these Nike funded uniforms…

Is it me or does anyone else see a disconnect for veterans receiving a national welcome home fitting for the sacrifices they made for this country?

Sunset in Kandahar

According to a CNN/ORC International poll released late last year, most Americans agreed with the decision to end the war in Iraq.  Almost eight in ten said they support removal of combat troops from that country.  However, half the nation believes the Iraq war had a negative effect on life here in the U.S. and seven out of 10 say the money spent on the war is one reason for the economic problems facing the country today.  And although 96% are proud of U.S. troops who served in Iraq, just one in three consider the war a victory and more than half call it a stalemate

The fact is there are an estimated 2.6 million living veterans from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, and 23 million total veterans dating back to World War II, according to the GAO.  And the number of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan coming home who may need additional support grows daily.  While we all can express our admiration for veterans, most of us do not fully understand the problems faced by service members or their families when they return.

As a start I propose the creation of a “Welcome Home Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Day.”  A national day of recognition that the people of the U.S. could pay the respect due them.  Until that day comes, I suggest taking time out from our busy lives to give thanks for the sacrifices of those service members who we don’t know.  A small display of kindness and admiration can mean so much to those who expect so little.

I haven’t met my expectations lately in recognizing the sacrifices and wanted to change that today by simply saying… you are appreciated and WELCOME HOME!

Photo courtesy of U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael R. Holzwort.  The photo is of Jesse Mead, son of U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Korey Mead during the 25th Infantry Division HQ redeployment ceremony at Wheeler Army Airfield in Wahiawa, HI on December 18, 2011.  The 25th ID HQ was the last division HQ under U.S. forces to leave Iraq.  Sunset photo courtesy (U.S. Army, Sgt. Ruth Pagan, 2nd BCT, 4th Inf. Div., PAO)

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