Trump lets Mattis decide on troop levels in US war theaters

Straightaway in office, Trump delegated war making to hawkish generals—Defense Secretary Mattis, National Security Advisor McMaster and Joint Chiefs Chairman Dunford in charge, assuring endless wars continue.

Battlefield decisions were delegated to local commanders, including drone strikes and special operations missions in countries where America is not officially at war.

Trump administration militarism and war making are more muscular than his predecessors. Diplomacy gets short shrift.

Pentagon and intelligence community power holds the Trump administration, Congress and the courts hostage.

Diplomacy is relegated to show. Tillerson has no say over geopolitical policymaking.

A nuclear war could start without Trump, civilian cabinet members, and congressional leaders’ knowledge and involvement until they’re told.

With Pentagon commanders and intelligence community bosses in charge of war making and other key geopolitical issues, a potential nightmarish scenario could unfold.

In April, the Pentagon said Trump gave Mattis broad authority to set US troop levels in Iraq and Syria.

After Obama promised no US boots on the ground in both countries, thousands of special forces and other combat troops were deployed.

In March, Mattis ordered another 2,500 82nd Airborne Division and other US combat troops sent to Kuwait for possible deployment to Iraq or Syria—on the phony pretext of combating ISIS America created and supports.

On Tuesday, reports indicate Trump gave Mattis authority to determine US troop strength in Afghanistan.

Thousands more are likely to be deployed to continue the nation’s longest war, long ago lost with no prospect of reversing things no matter how many additional forces are sent to try.

Increasing US troop strength in Afghanistan is the latest example of Trump delegating war making authority to neocon generals, eager for endless conflicts and large increases in America’s so-called “defense” budget.

In Tuesday Senate Armed Services Committee testimony, Mattis said. “We are not winning in Afghanistan . . . [W]e will correct this as soon as possible.”

His aim isn’t winning. It’s waging endless wars—in Afghanistan and elsewhere, getting Congress to supply tens of billions of dollars more for militarism and war making.

Since Washington launched naked aggression on Afghanistan in October 2001, thousands of US and other NATO forces were killed or wounded.

Millions of Afghans perished from war, related violence, preventable diseases, starvation and overall deprivation.

With over 100,000 US troops in Afghanistan in 2011, their peak number, the war was a lost cause.

It’s no different now or as far ahead as anyone dares imagine.

Over half a million forces in Vietnam when US troop levels peaked couldn’t defeat Hanoi’s redoubtable resistance.

Nor will any numbers sent to Afghanistan fare better—the war lost years ago, yet fighting continues endlessly.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. His new book as editor and contributor is “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” Visit his blog at sjlendman.blogspot.com . Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

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