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5 NatSec Things - 12 Feb 2018

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Today's things:Trump wants a paradeUS bombing even more of AfghanistanNavy lawyer in way over his hea
 
February 12 · Issue #30 · View online
5 NatSec Things
Today’s things:
  • Trump wants a parade
  • US bombing even more of Afghanistan
  • Navy lawyer in way over his head
  • Afghan man gets more than one name, then dies
  • US and Thailand getting chummier.
Missed a couple issues this last week thanks to, if I’m being honest with myself, really terrible time management on my part. So hello again. 

Toddler-in-chief wants a big boy parade from the Pentagon
Given the propensity for petulant tweeting of Donald the Orange, this feels less like the wishes of a despot and more like a kid reliving the glory days of lining up all his trucks in the sandbox so he could pretend he was Godzilla or some other non-ethnic monster and smash them. 
In Trump’s case, the sandbox was a building site, the trucks were real, and he’s still trying to find a way to hire Godzilla. Because ratings. Only now he’s in charge of a lot of war things and wants to show them off. 
This idea has more lives than Carrot Top (the comedian, not the president, even though with this idea they both seem like prop comics), and was first floated around the inauguration. 
Get past the hand wringing and give a thought to how much time and money would go into a spectacle like this. Of course, as has been suggested, maybe a parade for say, veterans, of all the wars we’ve been in over the last couple of decades, might be cool. 
Maybe after we bring all the troops home.
Others have feels on that.
Lindsey Graham
@RandPaul Last time we ignored Afghanistan we got 9/11. Nearly 3000 lives lost and billions of dollars spent because we ignored Afghanistan. Never again.
5:27 PM - 8 Feb 2018
US brings Afghan civilian casualty tour to the north
Who doesn’t love a good expansion? They’re the best, in you’re into things like Walmart, Chili’s, or an aerial bombing campaign. And now the US is going full Star Trek and sending American bombs where none have gone before, into northern Afghanistan.
OK, so this isn’t for the first time, but what’s different this time is why the US is dropping more bombs than House of Pain on the graveyard of military victory. Instead of just running support missions for Afghan or coalition troops in contact with the enemy, the Americans are hitting things like Taliban drug labs, and in this case, training camps. 
Even some training camps for non-Taliban groups, just to make it clear that they’re not in the nation building business, but in the terrorist killing business. 
It’s a shift that’s going to mean more dead civilians before it’s all over, and while this will achieve some measure of success, the question no one’s asking right now is what happens after we stop dropping the bombs?
Navy lawyer ready to stand up for something. Literally anything.
The first few grafs of this story read like a Stand and Deliver reboot, if the math teacher was a former Navy SEAL, and instead of teaching math he’s defending a terrorist in court in Gitmo. 
So no, not really like that movie at all. But some other feelgood movie where an underdog lawyer takes on an unlikely client and his pluck wins the hearts of everyone in the classroom. So basically To Kill a Mockingbird except Boo Radley tried to kill a bunch of American sailors. 
Anyway. 
Then it starts to get a little High Noon and then you realize that no, it’s A Few Good Men meets Lone Survivor and Piette here is the only lawyer left standing. Because the rest of al-Nashiri’s legal team left when they realized that the fine folks running detention in Gitmo were listening in on conversations with the client. 
The whole thing is a hot mess, and it doesn’t seem like the LT here is making things better. This is a guy who left the SEALs because he wasn’t getting any trigger time, and at that point it reads like maybe he’s taking on the cause because he needs to feel like he’s making a difference. 
Even though he’s not, because as an inexperienced lawyer, he’s incapable of providing the kind of representation his client needs in a death penalty case. 
Still an interesting read, and anything by Dave Phillips is usually pretty great.
Afghan man learns how to have more than one name, then dies
I guess if you’re an Afghan who leaves Afghanistan, then you start using more than one name. And if you go back to Afghanistan after 30 years and get killed, you get a nice write up in the local paper. 
Which is the only way an American news outlet of any size is going to cover the death of an Afghan civilian in any kind of depth. And that’s if he happened to have a US connection. 
I get it: audiences, and all that. 
But a lot of Afghans are dead because of American actions, either directly or indirectly. Same with a lot of Somalies, Yemenis, Nigerians, Nigeriens, Iraqis, Syrians, and etc. Seems maybe we owe it to a few of them to talk about why they’re dead a little more.
Dunford hits up Thais for more mil-to-mil fun and games
Watching the Americans with the Thais is like when that one uncle you vaguely remember being there for an early birthday party of yours and he got drunk and said something to your mom that made your dad punch him and you didn’t see him for years after that. 
Now he’s back and he knows a lot about you but you don’t know anything about him. Still, he’s a Harvard alum and you could use the recommendation. So you sit down and hear him out every time there’s a family gathering. 
There’s a lot of good reasons for increased military-to-military cooperation between the US and Thailand. And all those reasons rhyme with angina. 
That is not a good joke. 
Bangkok and DC are making plans thanks to Beijing. Not aggressive plans, but the kind of plans one puts away for a rainy day. The kind of rain that sounds a lot like a war. 
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