The other day we reported on the Department of Defense’s study dubbed the “Estimated Cost to Each Taxpayer for the Wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.” The DoD places the total authorized war spending on those conflicts between 2001 and 2018 at $1.5 trillion. They claimed $250 million a day for the wars. Of course the DoD ignored the trillions in conflict-linked spending appropriated mainly through the U.S. Departments of Homeland Security, State, Defense, and Veteran Affairs. A new study conducted by Brown University shows that the costs are almost four times what the Pentagon shared with us. They also came to conclusion that their higher numbers are probably too low.(0 comment)

Iraq has been an on again and off again enemy for many years. Although the government ignored them prior to WWII, by 1928 US oil corporations had gained almost 24% control of their oil. Iraq’s prime minister during WWII endorsed the Nazi’s, so the US endorsed England’s suppression of him. In the 40s and 50s, we sought to stabilize Iraq and in 1955, signed the Baghdad Pact as an anti Soviet defense partnership. By 1958, a bloody military coup overthrew the King and became anti west. From 1958 to 1979, Iraq claimed to be neutral, but “played” the US and the Soviets off of each other. Neither Iraq nor the US pursued democracy in Iraq. In 1967 Iraq severed relations with the US, claiming that we supported Israel in the 6 Day War. This was our first time that we equipped and supported the Kurds. We backed down (Kissinger) and Iraq and Iran agreed to get the Kurds under control. In 1979, Saddam Hussein seized power. Saddam “sold” himself as the anti Ayatollah Khomeini. From 1980 to 1988, Iraq and Iran fought massive land battles which accounted for more than 1 million casualties. President Reagan’s administration provided Iraq with economic aid,shared intelligence information and military aid. In 1989, Iraq invaded Kuwait and threatened Saudi Arabia. We responded with the first gulf way. The first President Bush maintained to deal with Saddam constructively, in spite of the war, thinking that it would be a counter on Iran. When he changed his mind, we “played” the Kurds once again, and it worked out just as well for them as the first time. Then the never ending war started in 2003. All still ostensibly to be a counter to Iran and keep them under control. Our allies disagree. (0 comment)

The Kurds have been America’s “whipping boy” for many decades. I don’t understand why they still believe us. Kissinger was the first to pump them up and then pull the plug on them once we didn’t’ need them anymore. We did it again to them after the first Gulf War. We’re doing it again. Despite our efforts in the never ending wars in the Middle East and Africa, we are creating allies and alliances that without our intervention would never have happened. Who would have believed when we started that Iran and Iraq would form a military alliance? Who could have seen the time where Russia would gain huge influence in the Middle East again? The Saudis and the Israelis are partnering up on issues. The King of Saudi Arabia visits Russia for the first time ever. We’ve achieved some regional stability. Just not the stability that we set out to accomplish.

As the US continues is preoccupation with old school wars, the rest of the world embraces economic “war” through the notions of trade and profit. Enemies don’t become friends, but they learn to get along when they realize that there are profits to be made. For political leaders, profits translate into a happy population, with jobs, healthcare, food and other creature comforts readily available. Iraq, the Kurds, Turkey and the various factions just negotiated a solution to fighting in Kirkuk. Despite the protestations of the super Neos like John Bolton, and the US military, clever tribal leaders negotiated a peaceful end to what could have been a very bloody battle. They all decided not to kill each other because Kirkuk is an oil rich area and they all need the money.

If you haven’t ever heard about the study “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm” it’s been the driving force behind our never ending wars in the Middle East. Egypt, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan you name have all been part of a plan/doctrine first written in 1996. The link to it is below. Even Israel at the time thought the plan was too extreme. But we went off to support our Neo beliefs. We all know that plans don’t survive first contact and now we don’t know how to deal with defeat. We continue to demonize Iran, but don’t want to invade Iran. If defeating Iran was really so important, we should left Saddam alive. Iran and Iraq are training together to defeat terrorists in the Region. Imagine, two lifelong hatreds coming together to defeat common enemy! We created ISIS and brought two enemies together. I guess that’s a success of sorts. And now we’re fighting for the same space that we’ve lost lots of good soldiers in. Too much weirdness.

Imagine if one of our allies in the world acquired a few thousand acres of land in the US. Then they brought in their military to this area and spent the next 14 years training and equipping a group like black lives matter or Antifa to overthrow our country? I imagine most Americans would be very upset with our “ally”. Well, Israel has been training and equipping the Kurds in northern Iraq to do just that thing since 2003. An ally training another ally to fight another ally. What’s really sad is that we’ve pretty much ignored that. The European press reported this in 2003. A few more reports since then. Yesterday’s media reported that it’s moved on to a much bigger issue than mere rifles, machine guns and artillery. They are actually training them to fly F16s! Other than the sheer stupidity of the US allowing this, we are the ones who give F16s to Israel. Foreign military sales and arms proliferation laws are very clear on how the countries that get our equipment can use it. They specifically prohibit their being given to someone else. The US (who never should have been in Syria) has declared that we’ve stopped the CIA from fighting in Syria. Are we allowing Israel to be our proxy to continue the war?

Reading foreign country’s newspapers offer a perspective on what the leaders of the country think is important. I’ve long enjoyed reading the Tehran Times, not because I believe everything they say, but to try and get some perspective on what they think is important. The articles and statements coming out over the Kurd independence movement is interesting. When Iran comes to Iraq’s aid on Kurdish independence, bells and whistles need to be going off in your head. Iraq and Iran are historically not good friends. When no country except Israel has publicly endorsed the Kurdish movement, smart foreign policy folks need to take heed. Does anyone really think that the virtues of supporting the Kurds is worth the problems that Kurdish independence will cause to the region? Kurdish independence might sound like a nice idea. Remember though that there is no “land” for them that they get to just become a country in. The land in question belongs to three countries. Three countries that don’t want an independent Kurdish state. This would be like if we somehow decided to support an independent Mexican state in the US with pieces of Texas. California, New Mexico and Arizona.

The US has a long history of “using” the Kurds and then pulling the plug on them. The West did it to them after WWI. Kissinger did it in 1975 once we didn’t need them. After the first Gulf War we did it to them again. The challenge is that the Kurds live in four different countries, none of which are excited about a large independent Kurdish state.