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5 NatSec Things - 01 May 2018

Today's things: Ronny's a gone-y; carnage in Kabul; NYPD gets lost; going balls deep for the homeland
May 1 · Issue #50 · View online
5 NatSec Things
Today’s things: Ronny’s a gone-y; carnage in Kabul; NYPD gets lost; going balls deep for the homeland; MPs get even more insufferable.

Quote of the Day
“In the past, nobody trusted the police.“ – Afghan Minister of Interior Affairs, Wais Ahmad Barmak, totally not talking about the NYPD
President's former physician/VA pick drunk on more than power
This is a safe bet
“I would bet Ronny Jackson has been treated differently because of his rank and his position in the White House, and that’s just absolutely wrong on many levels.“ – Retired Lt. Col. Rachel VanLandingham, former JAG and current non-taker of Ronny’s bullshit
I’m sorry, Admiral Jackson
Rear Adm. Ronny "Who Wants More Percocet?” Jackson is having a rough few weeks. After the president put him forward as nominee for secretary for the Department of Veterans Affairs and that nomination crashed harder than Paris Hilton’s career, his second star might be in jeopardy thanks to the testimony of 23 coworkers who describe the admiral as being unstable and power-hungry. 
So pretty much acting like an admiral.
Oh, and he drank on duty, described pills without medication, and may or may not have wrecked a car after getting too lit at a Secret Service party.
Thanks, Obama!
In addition to being blessed with a pornstar name, Jackson also had the blessing of the president before this one. You might remember him: Kenyan fellow, married to his first wife, and didn’t tweet nearly enough to be presidential. He described Jackson as being “a tremendous asset to the entire team.” 
So even Obama got it wrong sometimes. 
Now there’s discussion by Democrats about whether he gets the upper half of his rear, or has to settle for the current rear he has, or if he gets his rear taken away completely so he retires with no rear at all.
Don’t care what you say, that joke works.
This is your lead?
Yeah, I opened with this one. Because in the wake of the furor over Michelle Wolf’s brilliant White House Correspondents Dinner bit, it’s important to remember that the current president is incapable of putting together a competent cabinet. And we need to worry more about where that’s leading the country, and less about whether a comedian is funny. 
Today in irony: Afghan journo worried about bombs killed by bomb Today in irony: Afghan journo worried about bombs killed by bomb
ISIS-K: 1, Journalist: 0
“Every morning as I go to the office and every evening when I return home, all I think of are cars that can be booby-trapped, or of suicide bombers coming out of a crowd. I can’t take the risk.” – Shah Marai, Aghan photojournalist, who died covering an attack in Kabul
If the first one didn’t get you, the second one will
If Garfield were an Afghan cat, his hatred of Mondays makes more sense. At least this week, when two bombs went off in Kabul on Monday morning. The first targeted National Directorate of Security (NDS) personnel, and the second went off after emergency personnel and journalists responded to cover the first bombing.
Both were suicide bombs, the second coming from an attacker posing as a cameraman, and much of the coverage is reading like this was meant to target journalists, which isn’t so much inaccurate as it is a desperate attempt to make this about something other than what it is.
So the war’s going how again?
On the plus side, this was directed at security forces, rather than a strictly civilian target. On the down side, the force it targeted, the intelligence service, is supposed to be better at tracking the people who do things like this and getting to them before the bomb goes off.
And while journalists died in the second bomb, they weren’t the main targets of the explosion. Placing a second device that hits the responders is a tactic used by insurgencies everywhere. Its intent wasn’t specifically to kill journalists, though the Islamic State, which claimed responsibility for this, is probably high fiving itself over the fact.
Worry more about Ahmad Shah
That’s a BBC journalist gunned down in Khowst province that same day. And by making the first bombing about journalists, the press failed to put the blame for what happened on Monday morning where it belonged: with Afghan and foreign security services that after nearly two decades still haven’t managed to build an intelligence network strong enough to prevent these kinds of tragedies. 
I know the bad guys only have to get lucky once, but in Kabul they seem to get lucky a lot more than they should, given the coverage that security services have across Afghanistan.
NYPD ready to teach Afghans how their lives matter
Sounds like a good idea for New York, too
“The police have changed; the institution has changed. We are in stage one of the reforms, which starts in Kabul.” – Afghan Minister of Interior Affairs, Wais Ahmad Barmak, learning all about how the NYPD does policing
Staten Island is a lot like Shash Darak
This was an odd one, because while the site sourced says it’s the news (in the title), turns out they just pulled a couple quotes from a NATO press release and cobbled the rest together to make some kind of point about policing in Afghanistan.
And there isn’t much to the story, beyond the usual boilerplate about a NYPD commissioner and his delegation talking about policing with their Afghan counterparts. And an odd little line about how the NYPD is on par with global militaries. 
That’s thanks to a 2011 quote by then-mayor Michael Bloomberg who (inaccurately) claimed that his NYPD was the seventh largest army in the world.
This relates to Eric Garner somehow
It’s not unusual for the NYPD to be overseas. The city that never sleeps has been targeted by terrorists more than once, so bringing them to Kabul to talk about how to be better cops makes sense if we only focus on “we know better” approaches to policing and international development in general.
But the NYPD track record on civil rights isn’t something we should want to be duplicating in a country where the police force is still notoriously corrupt, and the current model for Afghan policing still skews almost 100% toward countering terror. Which is why the NYPD is so interested.
Protect and serve each other
The thin blue line has become a thick blue circle as law enforcement increasingly sees its role as being us vs. them. And the “them” isn’t just bad guys, it’s anyone who’s not a cop. I know, that’s a gross generalization, but policing in the US continues to trend more toward the Afghan model: working in a counter-terror/militant capacity, rather than serving the community and standing between the lawful and the lawless.
NYPD brass in Afghanistan’s capital city make it clear that trend will continue, that what’s happening on US streets will keep steering away from walking a beat, and more toward finding a way to beat down those who would oppose.
Afghan war vet now has another dick to give for his country
Maybe the new one’s bigger
“It’s a real mind-boggling injury to suffer; it is not an easy one to accept. When I first woke up, I felt finally more normal.” – Patient who just got new twig and berries
Going balls deep for his country
 A veteran of the war in Afghanistan suffered a horrific wound in Afghanistan, and now, thanks to the surgical team at Johns Hopkins University and some guy who didn’t need them anymore, he’s had a new penis, scrotum, and partial abdominal wall installed as a transplant.
This doesn’t happen that often though, right?
Only about 1,367 times between 2001 and 2013, according to the article.
There’s a reason the US military started developing Kevlar underwear, taking the lead from their British counterpart: dismounted troops tend to lose their balls to IEDs. And their legs. And arms. But we’re sticking with the balls. 
Here’s why: the transplant surgery wasn’t covered by the patient’s insurance. 
Because the rest of the world that’s not getting its nether bits turned into a fine red mist in the name of freedom would like to believe that war injuries can be easily remedied with the right prosthesis and some physical therapy.
Wait until we start transplanting vaginas
Because unless IEDs stop being a thing insurgencies do, with combat troops in more flavors than just dude, that story’s coming. And maybe then we can keep talking about how war changes people in ways that are hard to talk about at parties.
MP allowed to wear beard because of Norse pagan faith
Oh good, another reason for them to be dicks
“In observance of your Heathen, Norse Pagan faith, you may wear a beard, in accordance with Army uniform and grooming standards for Soldiers with approved religious accommodations provided in Army regulation (AR) 670-1.“ – Col. Curtis M. Shroeder, commander of the 14th Military Police Brigade, on allowing the first regulation combat beard
You’re about to get pulled over by Thor
Not to get all Trump voter or anything, but we have the Sikhs to blame for this: because they got them a religious exemption to wear a beard, now the Norse Pagans are getting in on the act, and there’s an MP running around Ft. Leonard Wood with a beard thanks to his brigade commander. 
Which means your next ticket on post could be issued by someone who looks more like a Viking cosplayer than an Army cop.
But it’s religious, so it’s cool, right?
Yes and no. For the Sikhs, it’s a tenet of their religion. Baked into the code of the thing. For the Norse Pagans, it’s more of an option. An option I’m sure Area MP Soldier chose to make out like it’s a requirement when he dropped the paperwork asking for the exemption.
Let’s all get beards
The Sikh exemption just makes sense, and this, while it’s an MP, probably does, too. And plenty of militaries around the world are more accepting of facial follicularity than the Americans. It’s a sign of an evolving concept of what constitutes a "professional” look, and another indication that the world is not as it was. And that’s probably a good thing.
It's cool, I know
So this is turning out to be a pretty badass national security newsletter.
And by “badass” I mean “something people will read.”
That’s you, and you’re awesome.
Know anyone else awesome?
Then tell ‘em about it. 
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