Weathered Day

November 11, 2014

shelter-in-the-stormDark and overcast this Tuesday afternoon here on California’s north coast — and getting cold, too. We’re forecast for rain tomorrow, and on-n-off precipitation through the weekend.
Of course, our ‘cold,’ ain’t nowhere like ‘cold‘ for some parts of the US. For instance: ‘Atlanta and Birmingham, Alabama, are expecting daytime high temperatures in the mid-40s on Friday, according to the National Weather Service. A normal high this time of year is 64.’

Around here, we got into the low-60s, probably in the early afternoon — sun came out, calm wind — until the semi-permanent overcast arrived, which this near the coast, a misty combo of cloud and fog.
All this early-winter weather is due mainly to the waning influence of Super Typhoon Nuri, which knocked the jet stream further south, dragging low temperatures, snow and ice further south than typical for this time of year.

539179_370And, of course, today in Veteran’s Day.
Accordingly, there’s nearly 20 million of us veterans floating around out there. Just a little over 13 million of them guys/gals are like me, over the age of 65. Seven million of us Vietnam vets (Never actually was in Vietnam, but was in the USAF during that time) with more than 5 million since August 1990 to right now.
And right now, there’s just a little over 92,000 veterans from Korea and WWII — age creeps heavy.
A lot of horrifying, nerve-wracking time, though.

(Illustration found here).

Currently, we’re in the midst of perpetual war — 13 years and counting.
Right now today, 50 US troopers are in Iraq’s horribly-violent and insurgent-happy Anbar province, the same area where the US had much-o-trouble since practically day one. And the worse part, there’s there’s no real plan — Iraq War 3.0, Operation Inherent Resolve, (the ISIS campaign) a blunder already blundering.
Peter Van Buren, a former whistleblower at the US State Department and author of, “We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People,” posted a must-read piece at TomDispatch on Sunday focusing on America’s truly messed-up mess in Iraq — again.
Key points:

Washington generally acts as if these various chaotically conflicting outfits can be coordinated across borders like so many chess pieces.
President Obama, however, is no Dwight Eisenhower on D-Day at Normandy pointing the British to one objective, the Canadians to another, ultimately linking up with the French resistance en route to the liberation of Paris.
For example, the Iranians and the Shia militias won’t even pretend to follow American orders, while domestic U.S. politics puts a crimp in any Obama administration attempts to coordinate with the Iranians.
If you had to pick just one reason why, in the end, the U.S. will either have to withdraw from Iraq yet again, or cede the western part of the country to IS, or place many, many boots on the ground, you need look no further than the strategic incoherence of its various fractious “coalitions” in Iraq, Syria, and globally.

Unlike the U.S., the Islamic State has a coherent strategy and it has the initiative.
Its militants have successfully held and administered territory over time.
When faced with air power they can’t counter, as at Iraq’s giant Mosul Dam in August, its fighters have, in classic insurgent fashion, retreated and regrouped.
The movement is conducting a truly brutal and bloody hearts and minds-type campaign, massacring Sunnis who oppose them and Shias they capture.
In one particularly horrific incident, IS killed over 300 Sunnis and threw their bodies down a well.
It has also recently made significant advances toward the Kurdish capital, Erbil, reversing earlier gains by the peshmerga.
IS leaders are effectively deploying their own version of air strikes — suicide bombers — into the heart of Baghdad and have already loosed the first mortars into the capital’s Green Zone, home of the Iraqi government and the American Embassy, to gnaw away at morale.

Another war in the same zone, while back here, gnawing away at morale in this American zone, the US Department of Veterans Affairs is still a horrible, heartache of a mess. All kinds of bad shit — WTF a “wait-time” scandal? Assholes!
VA Secretary Robert McDonald unveiled plans yesterday to refurbish the agency, first on tap is to fire some dip-wads, but some people don’t think much will get done.
Via the Washington Post this afternoon:

After years of failure, missed deadlines and disappointment at VA, our veterans will only celebrate when we see results,” IAVA chief executive Paul Rieckhoff said Monday.
“We’re all rooting for Secretary McDonald and the VA, but IAVA members won’t be satisfied until the mission is accomplished and we see a measurable difference in local communities nationwide.”

Maybe George Jr’s big banner for his fabled carrier landing should have read: ‘Until the Mission is Accomplished.’

Yet today another veteran’s daylight passes…

(Illustration up top found here).

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