US Should Just Withdraw From Afghanistan.

As the president continues to identify Pentagon funds that he can divert to build his wall instead…it looks like he’s ready to abandon Afghanistan.

On Friday, the Associated Press published estimates for some of the accounts from which the Pentagon is pulling money, citing two anonymous defense officials. The largest segment, $604 million, will come from money funding Afghan and coalition forces, the AP reported.

If we aren’t committed to defending Afghanistan and its government…it’s time to just get out. If the president isn’t going to support our troops overseas we can’t leave them in harm’s way another moment.

Happy Mother’s Day At the White House! UPDATED!!!

Editor’s Note 5/13/2019 10:45 AM I am surprised that nobody called me out on this…but this meme is inaccurate. The photo is not from the White House and not related to Melania Trump…it is an earlier event hosted by Ivanka Trump who is front and center in the photo. Here is the LINK to the debunking article. My apologies to Melania and Ivanka and our readers. I trusted my original source…and this is the first time that they have led me astray…but I will view their output with additional skepticism going forward.

Just sayin’

Trump Signs Order To Ramp Up Prevention of Suicides By Veterans

This past Tuesday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to increase efforts by the federal government to improve prevention of suicides by US military veterans. This is good news!

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday amping up efforts to prevent veteran suicide.

Veterans are 1.5 times more likely than non-veterans to take their lives, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, and 20 die by suicide on average each day.

The order creates a Cabinet-level task force led by VA Secretary Robert Wilkie that will coordinate and align efforts across the federal government to help stem the crisis among former service members.

The panel will be tasked with creating a national plan to more effectively lower the numbers of veteran suicides after numerous programs and billions of dollars allocated to address the problem in recent years have had minimal impact.

I guess my first question is what took so long? He talked about helping veterans on the campaign trail and now two years into his term he first issues an executive order? We probably have lost 15,000 brave Americans to suicide in that time. According to this article we are losing 20 veterans a day. The delay doesn’t make any sense. In this case the president really has to walk the walk…but apparently he hasn’t.

It seems like the Veterans’ Administration has had suicide prevention policies in place but that they aren’t working. So now we have a president from the anti-big government party advocating more government…when we already have agencies in place to work on the issue…they just aren’t being led.

The order follows a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released in November that found VA suicide-prevention outreach “dropped off” since Trump took office. That included fewer social-media postings, public service announcements and advertisements. The agency spent only $57,000 of more than $6 million that had been budgeted for ads.

“We also found that VA did not have clear goals for evaluating the effectiveness of its outreach activities,” the GAO found.

The VA spent a pittance of the available funds for outreach? Was the president saving the other $5+ million to transfer to the wall? This is bad news. Why wasn’t there effective outreach last year? Well the VA says:

The VA attributed the drop-off in outreach to leadership changes and a realignment of suicide-prevention efforts. The agency identified veteran suicide as its highest clinical priority last year and released a 10-year strategy to address the crisis. 

Change in leadership? Total lack of leadership you mean…criminy. What’s it really going to take to protect our veterans?

This is from the last paragraph in the article, please share it where you can:

Veterans needing help can call the VA crisis line by dialing 800-273-8255 and selecting option 1. They can also send a text message to 838255, or chat with counselors online

And The New Cold War Started Today!

The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty was signed by then President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987. It banned land based intermediate missiles with ranges of 311 to 3,420 miles. Both nations already have missiles in this range that can be launched from air craft and naval vessels. So land based missiles seemed a little redundant and both Europe and Moscow felt more at ease.

It is important to remember that this treaty only involved the then Soviet Union and the United States. But the fact that the two extant super powers weren’t going to develop these weapons…left the rest of the world free to not develop them as well.

Both the Obama administration and the Trump regime have complained that Russia under President Vladimir Putin has been cheating on the treaty. And of course Russia denies any such thing.

So what has become President Trump’s typical response to treaties he doesn’t like? President Trump has pulled the US out of the INF treaty. The normal post WWII response would be to open negotiations with Russia and bring the issue out on the world stage. And maybe even involve the much maligned, by the president, NATO and the UN. But instead, the US simply unilaterally withdraws.

So what does President Putin do? Well now that he’s been snubbed, he can’t ask for new negotiations. He has to withdraw Russia. And?

Mr. Putin said. “Our response will be symmetrical. Our American partners announced that they are suspending their participation in the I.N.F. Treaty, and we are suspending it too. They said that they are engaged in research, development and design work, and we will do the same.”

Why is our current president afraid to renegotiate the INF? Why wouldn’t we want to expand the INF and include all of the 21st C nations capable of building similar weapons? China in particularly? And Iran and North Korea for that matter?

Needless to say the INF treaty as it stands certainly requires a re-examination. It is 30 years old and applies to a different set of circumstances than we have today. So why not make in an international treaty that applies to contemporary global politics?

It would seem that the two presidents, despite their denials, might actually prefer a new arms race…is this another episode of follow the money?

Extra credit reading:

What Is the I.N.F. Treaty and Why Does It Matter?

Russia Pulls Out of Nuclear Treaty in ‘Symmetrical’ Response to U.S. Move

U.S. Suspends Nuclear Arms Control Treaty With Russia