News that doesn't receive the necessary attention.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner Obama has been at war longer than any other American president, approved military strikes in at least 7 countries-NY Times ("Investment" by "Europe" in fake anti-war candidate Obama paid off. NY Times omits Nobel Laureate's best trick: forcing two different US-backed sides in Syria to fight each other, per LA Times)



















Image caption: "President Obama accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo in 2009. Since then, he has tried to fulfill the promises he made as an antiwar candidate. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times"

5/14/16, "Obama, as Wartime President, Has Wrestled With Protecting Nation, and Troops," NY Times, Mark Landler. Print ed., May 15, 2016, page A1 of NY edition with headline: "For President, Two Full Terms Of Fighting Wars."

"President Obama came into office seven years ago pledging to end the wars of his predecessor, George W. Bush. On May 6, with eight months left before he vacates the White House, Mr. Obama passed a somber, little-noticed milestone: He has now been at war longer than Mr. Bush, or any other American president.

If the United States remains in combat in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria until the end of Mr. Obama’s term — a near-certainty given the president’s recent announcement that he will send 250 additional Special Operations forces to Syria — he will leave behind an improbable legacy as the only president in American history to serve two complete terms with the nation at war.

Mr. Obama, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 and spent his years in the White House trying to fulfill the promises he made as an antiwar candidate, would have a longer tour of duty as a wartime president than Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon or his hero Abraham Lincoln.

Granted, Mr. Obama is leaving far fewer soldiers in harm’s way — at least 4,087 in Iraq and 9,800 in Afghanistan — than the 200,000 troops he inherited from Mr. Bush in the two countries. But Mr. Obama has also approved strikes against terrorist groups in Libya, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, for a total of seven countries where his administration has taken military action....

Publicly, Mr. Obama acknowledged early on the contradiction between his campaign message and the realities of governing. 

When he accepted the Nobel in December 2009, he declared that humanity needed to reconcile “two seemingly irreconcilable truths — that war is sometimes necessary, and war at some level is an expression of human folly.”

The president has tried to reconcile these truths by approaching his wars in narrow terms, as a chronic but manageable security challenge rather than as an all-consuming national campaign, in the tradition of World War II or, to a lesser degree, Vietnam. The longevity of his war record, military historians say, also reflects the changing definition of war.

“It’s the difference between being a war president and a president at war,” said Derek Chollet, who served in the State Department and the White House during Mr. Obama’s first term and as the assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs from 2012 to 2015.

Being a war president means that all elements of American power and foreign policy are subservient to fighting the war, Mr. Chollet said. “What Obama has tried to do, which is why he’s careful about ratcheting up the number of forces, is not to have it overwhelm other priorities.”...

On Oct. 21, 2011, he announced that the last combat soldier would leave Iraq by the end of that year, drawing that eight-year war to a close. “Our troops will definitely be home for the holidays,” Mr. Obama said at the White House.

Less than three years later, he told a national television audience that he would send 475 military advisers back to Iraq to help in the battle against the Islamic State, the brutal terrorist group that swept into the security vacuum left by the absent Americans. By last month (April 2016), more than 5,000 American troops were in Iraq.

A furious firefight this month between Islamic State fighters and Navy SEALs in northern Iraq, in which Special Warfare Operator First Class Charles Keating IV became the third American to die since the campaign against the Islamic State began, harked back to the bloodiest days of the Iraq war. It also made the administration’s argument that the Americans were only advising and assisting Iraqi forces seem ever less plausible.

Afghanistan followed a similar cycle of hope and disappointment. 

In May 2014, Mr. Obama announced that the United States would withdraw the last combat soldier from the country by the end of 2016....

Seventeen months later, Mr. Obama halted the withdrawal, telling Americans that he planned to leave more than 5,000 troops in Afghanistan until early 2017, the end of his presidency. By then, the Taliban controlled more territory in the country than at any time since 2001.

Taliban fighters even briefly conquered the northern city of Kunduz. In the bitter battle for control, an American warplane mistakenly fired its missiles into a Doctors Without Borders hospital, killing 42 people and prompting accusations that the United States had committed a war crime.

Critics of Mr. Obama have long said his clinical approach to wars weakened the ability of the nation to fight them. “He hasn’t tried to mobilize the country,” Dr. Cohen said. He hasn’t even tried to explain to the country what the stakes are, why these wars have gone the way they have.

Mr. Bush was also criticized for failing to ask the American people to make any sacrifices during the Iraq war. But, Dr. (Eliot A.) Cohen said, “for all his faults, with Bush, there was this visceral desire to win.”...

“As the Middle East coordinator, I certainly felt like it was a wartime pace,” said Philip H. Gordon, who worked in the White House from 2013 to 2015.

Still, Mr. Gordon and other former officials drew a distinction between the wars of the 21st century and those of the 20th century.

For one, Congress has not specifically authorized any of Mr. Obama’s military campaigns, let alone issued a declaration of war — something that it has not done since World War II.

“War doesn’t exist anymore, in our official vocabulary,” Mr. Gordon said....

Military historians said presidents would probably continue to shrink or stretch the definition of war to suit their political purposes.

“Neither Clinton nor Obama identified themselves as war presidents, but Bush did,” said Richard H. Kohn, professor emeritus of history and peace, war and defense at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill."...

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Added: Nobel Laureate Obama has backed two "sides" in Syria (one CIA-backed, the other Pentagon-backed) and has ordered them to fight each other. Reported by LA Times, 3/26/16, but not mentioned by NY Times:

"Syrian militias armed by different parts of the U.S. war machine have begun to fight each other....CIA-armed units and Pentagon-armed ones have repeatedly shot at each other"...Experts interviewed by the LA Times say, "continued fighting among different U.S.-backed groups may be inevitable." Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) says, It is an enormous challenge.”  

One of US recruited 'sides' gave US taxpayer provided weapons to an Al Qaeda group.

3/27/16, "In Syria, militias armed by the Pentagon fight those armed by the CIA," LA Times, , W.J. Hennigan and Brian Bennett

"Syrian militias armed by different parts of the U.S. war machine have begun to fight each other on the plains between the besieged city of Aleppo and the Turkish border, highlighting how little control U.S. intelligence officers and military planners have over the groups they have financed and trained in the bitter five-year-old civil war.

The fighting has intensified over the last two months, as CIA-armed units and Pentagon-armed ones have repeatedly shot at each other while maneuvering through contested territory on the northern outskirts of Aleppo, U.S. officials and rebel leaders have confirmed.

In mid-February, a CIA-armed militia called Fursan al Haq, or Knights of Righteousness, was run out of the town of Marea, about 20 miles north of Aleppo, by Pentagon-backed Syrian Democratic Forces moving in from Kurdish-controlled areas to the east....

The attacks by one U.S.-backed group against another come amid continued heavy fighting in Syria and illustrate the difficulty facing U.S. efforts to coordinate among dozens of armed groups that are trying to overthrow the government of President Bashar Assad, fight the Islamic State militant group and battle one another all at the same time.

“It is an enormous challenge,” said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, who described the clashes between U.S.-supported groups as “a fairly new phenomenon.”

“It is part of the three-dimensional chess that is the Syrian battlefield,” he said....

President Obama this month authorized a new Pentagon plan to train and arm Syrian rebel fighters, relaunching a program that was suspended in the fall after a string of embarrassing setbacks which included recruits being ambushed and handing over much of their U.S.-issued ammunition and trucks to an Al Qaeda affiliate....

The CIA, meanwhile, has its own operations center inside Turkey from which it has been directing aid to rebel groups in Syria, providing them with TOW antitank missiles from Saudi Arabian weapons stockpiles.

While the Pentagon's actions are part of an overt effort by the U.S. and its allies against Islamic State, the CIA's backing of militias is part of a separate covert U.S. effort aimed at keeping pressure on the Assad government in hopes of prodding the Syrian leader to the negotiating table....

“Fighting over territory in Aleppo demonstrates how difficult it is for the U.S. to manage these really localized and in some cases entrenched conflicts,” said Nicholas A. Heras, an expert on the Syrian civil war at the Center for a New American Security, a think tank in Washington. “Preventing clashes is one of the constant topics in the joint operations room with Turkey.”...

The clashes brought the U.S. and Turkish officials to “loggerheads,” he added. After diplomatic pressure from the U.S., the militia withdrew to the outskirts of the town as a sign of good faith, he said.

But continued fighting among different U.S.-backed groups may be inevitable, experts on the region said.

“Once they cross the border into Syria, you lose a substantial amount of control or ability to control their actions,” Jeffrey White, a former Defense Intelligence Agency official, said in a telephone interview. You certainly have the potential for it becoming a larger problem as people fight for territory and control of the northern border area in Aleppo.”" map, LA Times Graphics



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