Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 16, 2017

When Generals Make Policies - From Tactics To Strategy To Political Decision

June 13, 2017 - Mattis promises new Afghanistan strategy by mid-July

Defense Secretary James Mattis on Tuesday promised to deliver a new military strategy for Afghanistan to lawmakers by mid-July, ...

June 15, 2017 - About 4,000 more US troops to go to Afghanistan

The Pentagon will send almost 4,000 additional American forces to Afghanistan, a Trump administration official said Thursday, hoping to break a stalemate in a war that has now passed to a third U.S. commander in chief. [...]

The decision by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis could be announced as early as next week, the official said. It follows Trump's move to give Mattis the authority to set troop levels ...

The U.S. has a problem with the former Marine General Mattis as Secretary of Defense. Mattis thinks tactics, not strategy.

It makes little sense to send additional troops when one does not have a strategy they will have to serve. There is so far no other way to end the war in Afghanistan other than to simply pull out of it. The racket that the war has become can only be stopped by such a grand strategic decision. Sending troops before deciding on the strategy practically guarantees that the choice of a pull-out will be excluded from the evaluated possibilities. The tactical decision of sending more troops will drive the strategy.

Mattis already screwed up by allowing the U.S. Central Command to loudly stump around the al-Tanf border crossing between Syria and Iraq. The small al-Tanf garrison is legally very dubious and now surrounded on three sides. The only choices left are to pull out to Jordan or to start a big war with Syria, Russia and Iran. This could happen by accident. Some low officer on the ground making the decision to attack this or that Syria allied unit could launch a huge and ever escalating chain of events. A much bigger war is likely not what the Trump administration wants or needs. But to pull out will now be an acknowledgement that the tactical decision of deploying to al-Tanf was wrong and become a loss of face. Here again the tactics are driving the strategy:

Strategy should drive tactics when it comes to handling Iranian-backed elements in Syria, not the other way around. Otherwise, the United States risks upending other elements of the war effort in Syria for ill-defined reasons. This may include expanding the role of an already over stretched Special Operations Command and more wear and tear on other elements of the U.S. military — all for ill-defined and unachievable goals. The United States has the capability to defend a garrison in the Syrian desert. However, the reasons for doing so are devoid of any purpose ...

Mattis is liked by some because of his aggressive stance against Iran. His career is otherwise only remarkable for the massacres he was part in (Fallujah 2004). It is claimed that he owns 7,000 books. I doubt that he understood or even read them. To me he seems to be just one of dozens of rather mediocre general officers the U.S. military has produced. Such officers are incapable of making sound strategic decisions. They know how to run the military machine, but that is the easy part. They lack a real feel for diplomacy, economics and cultural issues. They are unable to see the world through the eyes of the other side. They never learned statecraft.

General McMaster, the current National Security Advisor, seems likewise a man of tactics, not strategy. How else can we explain that there is yet no consistency visible in any of the grand games the U.S. plays. The reaction to the flare up in the Gulf Cooperation Council was chaotic, no game plan has been shown for Afghanistan, Iraq or Syria, the "pivot to Asia" seems dead. The current policies are reactive and not part of a larger view or scheme.

The grand scheme should run from policy decision to (military) strategy and then down to the tactical decisions. What we see now are tactics driving a strategy and the strategy then driving the greater policies.

One may be grateful, especially as a foreigner, that U.S. foreign policy is in such a miserable state. But the damage that can occur due to a miscalculated tactical decisions or an emotional response to an event - without any thinking about the bigger picture - is likely bigger than the one any well chosen political strategy could cause.

Posted by b on June 16, 2017 at 09:42 AM | Permalink

Comments

american foreign policy has been grossly mismanaged by those charged with formulating and deploying it regardless of their experience

Posted by: Brad Lena | Jun 16, 2017 9:48:06 AM | 1

Is Mattis Lyman Lemnitzer, the nutter of Operation Northwoods fame, all over again?
http://spartacus-educational.com/JFKlemnitzer.htm

Posted by: Lea | Jun 16, 2017 9:57:17 AM | 2

war is too important to be left to generals but that's exactly what the rump has done. he's such a despicable creature ... his whole 'strategy' is to delegate power and then say 'you're fired' when the mediocre people he's delegated power to ... who else would work for the rump? ... mess up. that might work in fantasy land on tv ... but he's going to get a lot of people killed.

there's a vacuum at the top, and it's sucking in all the truly mediocre surrounding that vacuum. to the extent that the rump has any strategy at all it lies in pleasing goldman-sachs/the israelis in the hopes that they'll continue to cut him him some slack, financially. he's underwater. they keep him alive because he's useful ... i'll bet they never dreamed how useful he'd turn out to be, back when he was just another bankrupt 'businessman'.

things may well go spectacularly wrong.

Posted by: jfl | Jun 16, 2017 10:03:29 AM | 3

The cart getting out in front of the horse, Trump taking credit for the increase in troops, who will no doubt be sent to Helmand province to guard the poppy/harvest. After all, protecting the "cash cow", takes precedence over everything else, doesn't it?

Posted by: Eugene | Jun 16, 2017 10:09:50 AM | 4

@ jfl | Jun 16, 2017 10:03:29 AM | 3

Up until this point in time, I considered D. Trump's behaviour to be in the category of political demagoguery, sad, uninformed, ill thought through, and stupid. None of these things are illegal and some are beyond remedy such as stupid. But the office of President is a cooperative effort and those surrounding D. Trump can and often do make up for the president's deficiencies. Not so now. D. Trump is the proprietor of a small business, not even registering into the upper reaches of small business sizes, indeed not hardly registering at all, size being the measure. And that small business had several notable failures to its credit. But D. Trump, regardless of his provenance provided the only viable alternative to the democratic party's candidate and the assured usurpation of political power Hillary represented. Now is the time for the public to ponder the question presented by D. Trump of his state of competence to conduct foreign affairs now there is a record of his capacity. The question is: Is D. Trump compos mentis to hold such office. Since the judicial system is convulsed with corruption at its highest reaches and the Congress is not much more than a den of slithering creatures bent on generating enough wherewithal for re-election, the states not much more than junior training grounds for national office, the public will need to find a sound democratic forum with which to make their findings. At this point, despair. It is not likely the public will have the intellectual resources for such a task and are likely to be herded into some pasture by belief or the voices that told them to spend their way to happiness. Should this issue not be addressed by the public, the likely alternative is failure as a people, which for the world may be a good thing, keeping the bloodbath that will be involved to the smallest possible effected. The United States is no longer a country, it has become a Pathology.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Jun 16, 2017 10:39:53 AM | 5

Cowboy sells. The American people love cowboy. Who's a bigger cowboy than the butcher of Falujah - MAD DOG Mattis. He's a mad dog, frothing at the mouth prepared to glass the middle east. Kill em all and let god sort them out. Mad Dog is today's closeted gay John Wayne.

Lessons of Viet Nam - Don't show the American dead on tv. Ship their remains back quietly overnight. No war reporting on nightly news. Thank You for your service.

Posted by: fastfreddy | Jun 16, 2017 10:42:08 AM | 6

Ever since the so-called 'surge' in Iraq (which had more to do with bribes to militant groups to stop attacking than the number of US troops), sending more troops to some region that is torn by war after US invasion (surprise!) is the de rigueur US policy. Every administration uses it to act as though they are making a difference, and then they will claim it's helping despite the complete lack of evidence for that case. If anything this is proof of the consistency between the Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations. As much as political hacks like to say their guy is different, they have much more in common than they do in opposition to one another.

Posted by: WorldBLee | Jun 16, 2017 11:19:45 AM | 7

What if the military presence in these regions *is* the strategic goal? It serves to perpetuate the conflicts and prevent other powers (Russia, China, Iran) from stabilizing their regional hegemony.

Mattis et al have no strategy of their own, so they just keep pursuing this old game to the bitter end.
Unfortunately, they don't seem to notice how the tide changes and they lose their allies, one by one. An obstructive strategy as outlined above needs regional partners, or else it risks creating a unified front against the perceived outside occupation - thus actually helping the strategic opponent.

Posted by: smuks | Jun 16, 2017 11:30:52 AM | 8

It's called: 'ready....fire...aim"

It's rampant in business and politics---you decide what how want to do, then find a justification and a beneficial rationalization--human rights, freedom and democracy, blah, blah.

Posted by: JohnH | Jun 16, 2017 11:40:03 AM | 9

thanks b.. regarding strategy... the only one i sense is 'team chaos' propping up the military/financial industry.. it goes with @8 smuks first sentence "What if the military presence in these regions *is* the strategic goal?" and i agree with @5 f tbear "The United States is no longer a country, it has become a Pathology."

@6 fast freddy hits another one of the nails on the head of this pathology too... as a consequence this will take a long time to wind down and accidents will happen along the way... the us appears to be in the middle of a few at present, while having a leader that is incapable of imagining a bigger picture other then to 'make america strong again and buy america.' it ain't working..

Posted by: james | Jun 16, 2017 11:41:09 AM | 10

Smuks is correct I believe. Afghanistan is not allowed to prosper for geostrategic reasons.The rest is smoke and mirrors (tactical)..

Posted by: Lozion | Jun 16, 2017 12:25:30 PM | 11

"Trump's move to give Mattis the authority to set troop levels...

sounds like another of Trump's "Let's toss EVERYTHING up in the air and see where it falls" strategy. He's still the CIC so whilst he can delegate authority to Mattis he can't delegate responsibility (according to Traditional Management Dogma). As I've said once before, I hope Trump knows what he's doing. I'd be happier if he restored Chuck Hagel to the role of DefSec but it's probably too early given that it was The Swamp which demanded his resignation.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 16, 2017 12:27:00 PM | 12

Fully agreeing again B. I hope at least the at Tanf adventure will find an end very soon. Otherwise the consequences could be desastrous for the whole world.
Related to the Asian theater; the Warmbier incident could serve as fuse for an attack. Hopefully not.

Posted by: Pnyx | Jun 16, 2017 1:01:12 PM | 13

What if the military presence in these regions *is* the strategic goal? It serves to perpetuate the conflicts and prevent other powers (Russia, China, Iran) from stabilizing their regional hegemony.

Posted by: smuks | Jun 16, 2017 11:30:52 AM | 8

This should be obvious to anyone that has bothered to pay attention this past 16 years.

The people claiming "they must be stooopid" just because the war has not been not "won" (according to their personal definition of "win"), are extremely tedious at this late stage of the game.


To cause serious problems for everyone else in the region, the Empire does not need to "win" (as defined by the tedious-types)

Posted by: Just Sayin' | Jun 16, 2017 1:06:57 PM | 14

Related to the Asian theater; the Warmbier incident could serve as fuse for an attack.

Posted by: Pnyx | Jun 16, 2017 1:01:12 PM | 13

Lol

Not a chance

Posted by: Just Sayin' | Jun 16, 2017 1:08:05 PM | 15

Re Px 13

WW3 currently hinges on the standoff in effect at Tanf. "The West" cannot slink away and retain any dignity. A face-saving story must be concocted.

Perhaps Kissinger and the Kissinger School of Psychopaths can come up with a plan. Yikes!

Posted by: fastfreddy | Jun 16, 2017 1:14:14 PM | 16

Does anyone know which elements of the Syrian army were involved in the flanking maneuver around Al Tanf? I know that the PMU was involved but I'd like to learn more about the SAA.

Gen. Jack Keane, who is worshiped on FOX, pushes the meme that the SAA doesn't really exist, that most of the pro-Assad units in Syria are Iranian and Iranian funded militias. I'd like to know the identity of the Syrian units that surprised Mattis at Al Tanf.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Jun 16, 2017 1:23:54 PM | 17

@ james | Jun 16, 2017 11:41:09 AM | 10

Seems I need eat some words rendered another place. Good thing they were spicy.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Jun 16, 2017 1:33:25 PM | 18

Excellent points, b. In the end, real strategist starts from grasping the nature of the conflict (war)--this element, as empirical evidence shows, is completely missing from current American military-political thought.

Posted by: SmoothieX12 | Jun 16, 2017 1:47:10 PM | 19

The US "policy" is to ensure Israel's security and continuous US economical presence in the region as long as the regimes in the region are kept in panic mode, the current boogeyman being partly democratic Iran, now allied with Russia.
The "strategy" is to weaken the Gulf countries as much as possible by throwing them in expensive quagmires such as Syria and Yemen that will confirm to them that the danger comes from 'powerful' Iran.
The "tactics" is to make contradictory moves as to plunge the terrified Gulf countries into confusion and fear. The US can then extract anything it wants from them, including Israel's
security and huge arms contracts.
This is how to interpret the US moves in the Qatar matter.
As far as Afghanistan, the USA has seen Iraq
cozying up with Iran. They worry that Afghanistan will be split and that Iran will absorb the Shias while Pakistan will absorb the Sunnis.
By sending troops, the USA wants to discourage Iran from exploiting the situation in Afghanistan to its advantage

Posted by: virgile | Jun 16, 2017 1:59:24 PM | 20

As far as Afghanistan, the USA has seen Iraq
cozying up with Iran. They worry that Afghanistan will be split and that Iran will absorb the Shias while Pakistan will absorb the Sunnis.
By sending troops, the USA wants to discourage Iran from exploiting the situation in Afghanistan to its advantage

Posted by: virgile | Jun 16, 2017 1:59:24 PM | 20

=======================

This might seem somewhat plausible if the US had not been repeatedly, and somewhat arbitrarily, raising and lowering the number of their troops in Afghanistan for the last 16 years.

But they have, so it isn't

and then there's this:
Russia accuses the US and NATO of "covering up their own support for terrorists, primarily ISIS militants" in Afghanistan

The Russian Foreign Ministry's Information and Press Department released a statement on Tuesday which accuses the of US of supporting terrorists in Afghanistan:


One gets the impression that to distract world public opinion from numerous mistakes made during the more than 15 year-long stay of the US and NATO contingent in Afghanistan, some people are trying to slander Russia, both on their own and with the help of their henchmen in Afghanistan, while covering up their own support for terrorists, primarily ISIS militants.

The statement cites a string of "strange" events in Afghanistan:



  • Reports of three US servicemen "with a consignment of arms" caught trying to sell weapons to ISIS fighters in the northern province of Sar-e Pol last January.

  • The US detained but then released the son of the head of the terrorist Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU); he is now an ISIS commander in Afghanistan.

  • The night landing of two helicopters without identification marks in extremist-controlled territory in the Sayyad District; the helicopters then flew back to a NATO base.

Posted by: Just Sayin' | Jun 16, 2017 2:20:15 PM | 21

Lozion @11, et al--

Well hidden thanks to little media exposure is SCOs sway on future Afghan happenings among with the rest of the region as Pepe explains, https://sputniknews.com/columnists/201706161054701807-west-cannot-smell-what-eurasia-cooking/ Be sure to read his previous from yesterday, too, http://www.atimes.com/article/blood-tracks-new-silk-roads/

Essentially, the Deep State has Deep Sixed itself through its Exceptional hubris and myopia. It could salvage itself, but I rather doubt it has the vision to do so--masturbation is all it's capable of.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 16, 2017 2:48:08 PM | 22

Had a quick look here to see what was being made of Trump's announced deal to sell fighter jets to Quatar https://www.yahoo.com/news/us-moves-reassure-qatar-arms-sale-joint-exercise-095746987.html. Didn't see anything. "A deal generating jobs for Americans". This to a country being starved of USD such that foreign workers there are struggling to send their remittances home. Anyway how does a oil/gas exporting nation with a huge navy base (income?) and who have been supposedly most prudent with their investments run short of hard currency.

Posted by: Nobody | Jun 16, 2017 2:50:44 PM | 23

@23 Let me hazard a guess. The Thani family have tucked the money away in British banks and real estate.

Posted by: dh | Jun 16, 2017 3:04:46 PM | 24

McMaster Matures: http://www.duffelblog.com/2017/05/dereliction-of-duty-author-afghanistan/

Posted by: jsn | Jun 16, 2017 3:06:53 PM | 25

@ Nobody | Jun 16, 2017 2:50:44 PM | 23

run short of hard currency

I do not think that bits in computer memories, and worthless green papers are hard currency any more!

Posted by: ex-SA | Jun 16, 2017 3:32:07 PM | 26

The US will end up by withdrawing from Afghanistan. Everybody knows it, as b says. The only question is when and how. The US can reinforce its garrisons forever. But they have no method of combating the Taliban, even if the Taliban were the only localist power, which they are not. Americans have a peculiar ignorance of local interests, and lack of interest in them.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jun 16, 2017 4:08:29 PM | 27

"In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule."

- Friedrich Nietzsche

The London/Paris bankers families believe in ETERNAL power from gold bars. Not bank notes. Gold bars. And they just corrupt a lot of dumbasses. These London/Paris bankers are not that smart. If they were they would do only GOOD things with power. And they would not have money in the first place. They are primitive fools surrounding themselves with other primitive fools. UK/France/USA/Israel are not action rational. They are insane. They are societies going for "suicide by cop". In time the Arabs will have nuclear bombs and deal with these fools with those nuclear bombs. They are all going to die.

https://youtu.be/iz6a4WkKJn0
Hiroshima, Nagasaki, London, Paris, Israel, ?

There is NOT rationality. Just insanity.

Posted by: Thucydides | Jun 16, 2017 4:31:17 PM | 28

@18 f tbear... we all work with what we have..

Posted by: james | Jun 16, 2017 5:01:04 PM | 29

Christian Chuba | Jun 16, 2017 1:23:54 PM | 17

Does anyone know which elements of the Syrian army were involved in the flanking maneuver around Al Tanf? I know that the PMU was involved but I'd like to learn more about the SAA. Gen. Jack Keane, who is worshiped on FOX, pushes the meme that the SAA doesn't really exist, that most of the pro-Assad units in Syria are Iranian and Iranian funded militias. I'd like to know the identity of the Syrian units that surprised Mattis at Al Tanf.

Gen. Jack Keane is a lying turd.

We are also told that the Syrian army has collapsed and it is now mainly foreign “sectarian” militias doing the fighting for the regime side, while the opposition remains mainly Syrian.
Not so. According to SOHR statistics more than 90% of regime fatalities last year were Syrians (either army or domestic militia), while only 9% were non-Syrians, and that includes Palestinians. Only 1% regime side fatalities 2016 belonged to Hizballah.
On the opposition side (including rebels, islamists, Kurds and the IS), however, 62% of the killed last year were non-Syrians.
We are further told that the majority of the victims in the Syrian war are civilians.
Not so, according to SOHR. Of the total 49,742 killed in the Syrian conflict last year, only 27% were civilians and less than 10% were women or children. Which of course is terrible enough. But I would be surprised if any independent estimate of civilian casualties of an Israeli or American war has ever been this low.
According to SOHR statistics from the last month of the fighting in Aleppo city (Nov-Dec), a total of 993 were killed in east Aleppo, due to ground fighting, shelling and air bombardment, 45% of which were civilians. 56% were combatants from both sides. 130 were killed by rebel shelling of west Aleppo, 100% of which were civilians. Not a single combatant was killed.

On the whole I agree with this analysis. Read the whole post at Angry Arab.

Posted by: Ghostship | Jun 16, 2017 5:13:49 PM | 30

@21 thanks for the link.

Stripes is reporting “Secretary Mattis has made no decisions on a troop increase for Afghanistan,” White said Friday in a prepared statement. “As he said throughout the week in testimony, the revised Afghanistan strategy will be presented to the president for his approval in the coming weeks.”

https://www.stripes.com/news/pentagon-no-decision-yet-on-afghanistan-troop-deployment-1.473943

Posted by: h | Jun 16, 2017 5:16:55 PM | 31

I reckon the problem with the United States military is that someone mistranslated Clausewitz' famous dictum about politics and war:

Der Krieg ist eine bloße Fortsetzung der Politik mit anderen Mitteln

Americans are taught this translates as:
War is the continuation of politics by other means

When a more accurate translation is:
War is a mere continuation of politics with other means

According to the first translation war replaces politics while the second implies that politics continues in conjunction with war but politics is supreme. BTW, don't bother with Google Translate as it uses the wrong translation.

Posted by: Ghostship | Jun 16, 2017 5:21:00 PM | 32


Re: Mattis and Faluja
Mattis advised AGAINST attacking Faluja. Twice. Then he was directly ordered by Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld to begin attack "within 48 hours". Mattis responded: "Put it in writing", so they did, and Mattis did as ordered.
I think Mattis is wrong to demonize Iran, and I could name other points of disagreement with his actions, but NOT Faluja.
He did what he was required to do, which was follow the orders of civilian leaders of USA. Blame Cheney, blame Bush, blame Rumsfeld. Don't blame military for following civilian orders.

Posted by: mauisurfer | Jun 16, 2017 5:45:20 PM | 33

Ziad Fadel's new quality single-malt inspired op-ed is hilarious and tragically on point..

https://syrianperspective.com/2017/06/white-house-turns-into-low-grade-farce-or-sitcom-trump-going-down-with-isis-american-democracy-on-trial-for-incompetence-failure-recklessness.html


Posted by: Lozion | Jun 16, 2017 5:53:29 PM | 34

@ Ghostship | Jun 16, 2017 5:21:00 PM | 32

One of the best treatments of Clausewitz is the French historian, philosopher, sociologist and journalist Raymond Aron (d. 1983). His book Clausewitz, Philosopher of War, ISBN 0-671-62826-7 (Touchstone, Simon and Schuster, paperback) is a profound treatment of Clausewitz's thesis and how it was used through time by the military establishments in various countries, their understanding and interpretations. A very rewarding book to read by a skilled writer.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Jun 16, 2017 5:57:47 PM | 35

"Strategy should drive tactics ..."

I can agree with that, but before either one should be the objective. What is it that the Empire would like to see happen? What is the final objective here?

In my opinion, the objective is war. War is not the means to reach the objective but is the objective itself. The American economy has been on a "war footing" since 1945 and the deep state sees peace as the ultimate enemy.

The whole thing is driven by lust for power, money, control and so forth. But even deeper is fear; fear that without war our economy dies and the people revolt.

The US Empire is the biggest impediment to world peace that I know of today.

Posted by: Mark Stoval | Jun 16, 2017 7:01:01 PM | 36

I thing the strategy is to extend the civil war as long as possible, and "do something that would look well". Mattis and McMaster are clearly men that can be trusted with the job.

Think about a bank with a loan portfolio. Recognizing that a loan is bad requires to adjust the financial statement, and if it becomes negative, the bank is in a hell of trouble. Much better to pretend that this is still a good loan. One stratagem is to arrange credit lines from a "third party" (which belongs to the same bank, but with the ownership can be obfuscated) so the interest payments are timely. Whatever the strategy is, the purpose is not achieving the impossible, like resurrection of de-facto financially dead entity, but postponing the adjustment to the balance sheet as much as possible.

Thus the establishment needs some exciting activities not to achieve a victory, but to maintain a good balance of the foreign policy.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jun 16, 2017 8:37:53 PM | 37

b, thanks for pursuing this thought about tactics and strategy. It forces one to wonder, what could be the US strategy if it stopped to formulate one? The answer comes clearly, that the only strategy the US could follow in today's tides of history, is retreat. This is why there is no strategy.

All previous US strategy was based on advance. Seven countries to be destroyed in 5 years, this kind of thing. But the US has suffered complete reversal in the world - defeat, actually, we call it in my house - so that its only possible strategy must necessarily be based on withdrawal, drawing down, turning back, regrouping, licking wounds, and pondering the meaning of things. This is why there is no strategy. For the US, it's too impossible to contemplate. Therefore, continue with tactics that work in an advancing strategy, but which fail, at twice the cost, in one of retreat.

~~

@22 karlof1 - thanks for that link again to Escobar's latest. I saw your post of it in the last thread and read it an hour or two ago. Wonderful description of how big and powerful the SCO has now become.

His previous article, which you also link and recommend, gave a worrying picture of China's investments at great risk from US spoiling actions around the world. But this one reveals many more fundamentals that make the Silk Road security seem much more robust.

SCO will intervene in Afghanistan to bring stability, says Escobar, and it makes sense. And Escobar seems actually to take as fact what we surmised here, that Qatar saw a fledgling SCO-style reshaping of the world with Russia's entry into Syria, and now sees its pipeline to the west become possible after all, but in joint tenancy with its partners, Iran and Iraq and Syria, and perhaps even others. It's a multi-polar world.

Posted by: Grieved | Jun 16, 2017 11:55:49 PM | 38

I think the lack of coherence with regards to foreign policy goals and strategy under the Trump Administration was indeed one of the expected outcomes of a Trump Presidency that made the prospect of President Trump such an appealing alternative to the utterly corrupt Deep State candidate he opposed.

Surely we are getting exactly what we hoped for aren't we? (Particularly as foreigners).

It always seemed to me that despite appearances and media scaremongering that President Trump would be much better for the world at large, although (at least in the short term of 5-10 years) worse for the average American at home whereas a President Clinton with a unified Deep State apparatus behind her would be far worse for the world at large - potentially catastrophically so given the Russian attitude (and extreme lack of trust towards her) - but in fact probably better (short term again - 5-10 years) for the average American at home.

Short-term at least Clinton would have cemented Obama's legacy and continued his duplicitous ways.

Trump at least is honest on his own delusion and honestly (so far at least) absolutely hopeless in enacting his agenda against the wishes of the entrenched interests commonly referenced as the 'Deep State'.

Again - I would say none of this is unexpected. It's exactly what we wanted from Trump! Although he must be far more aggressive in pursuing the worst excesses of the Deep State - Seth Rich anyone- of he wants to survive in the Washington snake pit.

Posted by: Julian | Jun 17, 2017 1:09:17 AM | 39

Grieved @38--

"SCO will intervene in Afghanistan to bring stability, says Escobar, and it makes sense. And Escobar seems actually to take as fact what we surmised here, that Qatar saw a fledgling SCO-style reshaping of the world with Russia's entry into Syria, and now sees its pipeline to the west become possible after all, but in joint tenancy with its partners, Iran and Iraq and Syria, and perhaps even others. It's a multi-polar world."

Yes, there is hopeful light at the end of a still very long tunnel, and the paradigm will change. Unfortunately, the process will prove too slow for too many.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 17, 2017 1:21:59 AM | 40

So what to make of this:

Two high-ranking White House officials insist on expanding military operations in Syria, but the head of the Pentagon is against it, local media reported citing sources familiar with the situation.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The Foreign Policy magazine reported that Ezra Cohen-Watnick, the senior director for intelligence on the National Security Council (NSC), and Derek Harvey, the NSC’s top Middle East adviser want the United States to launch an offensive in southern Syria. The media reported that US Secretary of Defense James Mattis rejected their proposal several times.


Maybe Mad Dog isn't so mad after all. Mattis wants to focus on the destruction of the ISIS Caliphate but to do that he needs to keep his post and if he upsets too many "high-ranking White House officials" then he won't. The moves around al tanf could be a distraction for those "high-ranking White House officials" and the HIMARS could be a way of allowing Assad to climb down from his rather dangerous "sovereignty" position gracefully.
Now that al tanf is effectively cut off from Raqqa there is no military use for those forces other than attacking the SAA and they haven't had much luck with that. As for the HIMARS, I'd say a mobile BM-30 Smerch wins Top Trumps against a HIMARS in a fixed location(al tanf).
Once Raqqa and Syria is cleansed of ISIS, the US have no legitimate reason to remain in Syria unless it's prepared to take on HTS/Al Nusrah/Al Qaeda and a suggestion of bringing the troops home might resonate with the mercurial president particularly if a "victory" parade is thrown in.
I wish Washington would get a move on with creating the Hillary Clinton Brigades so all the Clintonists can volunteer to fight in Syria.

Posted by: Ghostship | Jun 17, 2017 4:58:57 AM | 41

Southfront VIDEO

Syrian War Report – June 16, 2017: US Rocket Artillery Systems Pose Direct Threat To Govt Forces In Southeastern Syria

Posted by: Just Sayin' | Jun 17, 2017 6:51:04 AM | 42

What if there is a strategy behind the tactics we are not able to see or comprehend.
Bernhard ist nicht allwissend.

Posted by: Obi | Jun 17, 2017 7:23:57 AM | 43

mediocre general officers the U.S. military??? This guy is the epitome of General Custer... A mad dog that runs around killing people and thinking others are without recourse because of his big gun. When others do decide to retaliate, his command will be wiped off the face of the earth.

Does anyone think killing soldiers of a country in their own country will not have consequences? No matter how weak that country is now.. There will come a time.. And Iran is not a weak country. It is far weaker than it should be, but that dos not mean it is defenseless.. Especially with less than lacking military tacticians like Custer at the helm..

And I seen lots of Americans who define their life's achievement as Fallujaha.. How many movies have it? Well like Raqqa, all the main terrorists had left leaving local gang members and untrained nationalists behind. facing the strongest military on the planet.. The entire city was destroyed and it was not taken quickly.. Mostly fighting against kids.. Who were doing somersaults in the street fights.. This is the epitome of US military achievement???? A mad dog would surely think so... as western gun slingers also thought so once.. I bet all this is allowed because th Russians want to see what new tactics the US has learnt in 20 years of fighting so called terrorists and urban warfare.. other than nuking the place, it seems none since WW2..

Posted by: Igor Bundy | Jun 17, 2017 7:28:23 AM | 44

A bit OT except for Military expertise and vigilance...
A container ship has had a prang with the starboard side (about 80 Feet from the bow) of a US destroyer at 2am off the coast of Japan. Both ships still afloat and 7 US Navy crew missing. I've forgotten who gives way to whom on the High Seas but my recollection is the rules are similar to Left Hand Drive road rules.
(no-one has claimed responsibility)

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 17, 2017 9:38:55 AM | 45

Sun Tsu said, in so many words, that an army's weakest point is the mind of it's general officer. The current situation, considered from this point of view, would place the US at an extreme disadvantage.

Posted by: jim f. | Jun 17, 2017 10:29:05 AM | 46

Not to mention the mind of its commander.

Posted by: Perimetr | Jun 17, 2017 10:50:18 AM | 47

Hoarsewhisperer@45

Container ship did some kind of weird U-turn before hitting the destroyer and then turned back and continued on its way. Seriously - check out the ship's track in the article. I might as well say it before CNN does: Russian hackers.

USS Fitzgerald crash: Seven navy crew missing off Japan

Posted by: PavewayIV | Jun 17, 2017 11:40:25 AM | 48

Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 17, 2017 9:38:55 AM | 45

I've forgotten who gives way to whom on the High Seas but my recollection is the rules are similar to Left Hand Drive road rules.

Haven't you worked it out by now - the United States Navy gives way to nobody

(no-one has claimed responsibility)

Being American means the United States Navy will never apologise.

And very shortly, the United States Navy will blame it on Russian Hackers.

Posted by: Ghostship | Jun 17, 2017 11:41:50 AM | 49

Julian @39:

I think the lack of coherence with regards to foreign policy goals and strategy under the Trump Administration was indeed one of the expected outcomes of a Trump Presidency that made the prospect of President Trump such an appealing alternative ...
This kind of inchoate analysis and historical amnesia finesses understanding to undermine opposition. It is the stock and trade of mainstream media propaganda.

Trump said that he wouldn't do nation-building // regime-changing and would not get drawn into ME wars. His positions on these were as clear as they could be.

Yet his Administration has:

1. sent more troops to Afghanistan;

2. bombed Syria on false pretext.

3. placed long-range artillery into Syria
how does that help "fight ISIS"?;

4. supports Kurds
Kurd motivation to work with USA: nation-building!

The faux-populist political model works! See my blog for more:
- How Things Work: Betrayal by Faux Populist Leaders

- Taken In: Fake News Distracts Us From Fake Election

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 17, 2017 11:43:23 AM | 50

@48/49.. you guys are fast!

Posted by: james | Jun 17, 2017 12:11:03 PM | 51

Ghostship@49 We cross-posted, but under international law my 'Russian Hacker' snark has right-of-way. Nonetheless, I'll yield and change course to 'North Korean Hacker'. I think we're trying to start a war with them, too.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Jun 17, 2017 12:12:10 PM | 52

@Julian 39

It sounds like you think unpredictability and Trump's mercurial personality are overall a net positive. You speak in terms of five to ten year increments. First of all the POTUS has a four year term and, five will get you ten, he will never see the end of the first let alone win a second term.

Not to worry, I don't set to high a bar for your deductive powers. You are, after all, the one that told us the Yanks had installed a malleable leader in South Korea. The whole election was just another grand show perpetrated for the proles so that they could foolishly imagine they had some say in its outcome, according to you. Meanwhile the new leader may have the THAAD system thrown out of the country and is making overtures to the north. So much for that theory.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Mueller has hired a raft of lawyers that specialize in organized crime, both American and Russian, money laundering and ways these crooks can interact with government. He has instructed everyone from AG Sessions down to the likes of Manafort, Steele, Kushner, Page and Flynn to retain all their correspondence and records of their dealings with the Russians and each other. These lawyer guys have made life miserable for the New York and other US mobs by using the old standby of following the money and that is exactly what is going to happen here. Trump knows his ass is grass and still doesn't have the presence of mind to stop his tweeting.

Trump will survive all this because the Yanks aren't in the habit of putting presidents in jail. However that doesn't apply to his posse and some of those clowns are going down. Once they squeeze Flynn and Manafort and even Kushner they will sing like birds. Trump could have avoided most of this by keeping his fucking pie-hole shut but he simply can't help himself. I have no idea what kind of prez Pence will make but there's a real good chance we're going to find out. And no, I'm not a Hillary fan, she's finished politically and there's no hay to be made by talking about what a terrible person she is.

If Trump has accomplished anything it's putting to death the politics of burning everything down to start anew. The kind you are so fond of. It didn't happen in Austria, the Netherlands or France. It almost cost May her job to be seen as being on the same page as the Donald. It's looking like Macron's snubbing of Trump may give him a majority in the second round. You're theories aren't holding up. Time to look at what's really happening instead of the weird shit you spend your time thinking about.

Posted by: peter | Jun 17, 2017 12:46:34 PM | 53

Posted by: PavewayIV | Jun 17, 2017 11:40:25 AM | 48

Thanks for the link. Love the U-turn bit...
Philippines acquainting Yankees with an unsolicited and broader interpretation of Freedom of Navigation?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 17, 2017 2:40:47 PM | 54

Container ship did some kind of weird U-turn before hitting the destroyer and then turned back and continued on its way. Seriously - check out the ship's track in the article. I might as well say it before CNN does: Russian hackers.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Jun 17, 2017 11:40:25 AM | 48

Well now that is interesting.

Although your hacker jibe was apparently meant as humour, unless there is clear evidence pointing at the US Navy captain being somehow negligent, the US Mil have got to be considering hacking as a possibility.

Naturally they will of course lean toward blaming it on either the Russians or the N.Koreans, but if there is evidence pointing to hacking (actual evidence, not the usual "we can't tell you cos then we'd have to kill you" type evidence they usually make fools of themselves over) and given what can only be described as the erratic ship-path in the minutes before the collision, it certainly looks suspicious on the part of the Container ship. So you'd have consider at least the possibility that: it was completely intentional, and if hacking may be involved, maybe the Chinese had a hand in it.

If it is hacking then it certainly sends a clear message that the US Navy is not nearly as safe and secure as they like to think they are, even in "friendly" waters.

Adds a whole new gloss to the phrase "by unconventional means" though.

Posted by: Just Sayin' | Jun 17, 2017 3:51:59 PM | 55

Philippines acquainting Yankees with an unsolicited and broader interpretation of Freedom of Navigation?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 17, 2017 2:40:47 PM | 54

the Philippino Reg might not be as significant as you seem to think. Just because it is registered in the Philippines doesn't mean much in terms of actual ownership/control.

Posted by: Just Sayin' | Jun 17, 2017 3:54:17 PM | 56

How does modern cargo ship steering work? Fly by wire through a computer or more direct electric/hydraulic type arrangement.
Whoever was driving the cargo ship, kid on an xbox or popeye, they did a beautiful job t-boning the yanks.

Posted by: Peter AU | Jun 17, 2017 4:22:22 PM | 57

PavewayIV | Jun 17, 2017 12:12:10 PM | 52

What does it matter? And as they say great minds think alike.

The Israelis have for a number of years claimed to have the ability to remotely hack Russian radar systems which I kinda doubt. But for something like this to happen you'd need to hack both radar systems so that neither ship could see the other on radar. If the Russians have found an undetectable way to spoof any radar then the USN and USAF are completely f****d for the foreseeable future but I doubt the Russians would use such a capability until they really had to.

Posted by: Ghostship | Jun 17, 2017 4:32:20 PM | 58

@ PavewayIV | Jun 17, 2017 11:40:25 AM | 48

By any chance was there some ID on that piece that had something resembling <> involved with the reporting? And you still believe things those people tell you? Oh my!

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Jun 17, 2017 5:08:41 PM | 59

on the destroyer's collision with the container ship ... the bbc says...


Marine traffic records suggest the ACX Crystal made a sudden U-turn roughly 25 minutes before the collision with the USS Fitzgerald. It is not clear why it changed course.

Marine traffic records suggest it was travelling at 14.6 knots (27km/h) at the time of the collision.


sounds post-hypnotic to me ... they finish up with ...

However, the USS Fitzgerald is one of the most advanced warships in the world - with highly sophisticated radars systems.

At the moment the focus is on the search for the missing sailors. Later will come the investigation into how one of the world's most sophisticated warships failed to avoid colliding with a 30,000-tonne cargo ship on a calm, clear night.


ftb has made some observations that make sense to me, on the open thread, where this belongs. well ... generals making policies ... naval commanders making navigational 'policies' ... maybe it belongs here, too.

Posted by: jfl | Jun 17, 2017 5:09:02 PM | 60

That <> once had BBC in it. Maybe it should have been >>BBC<<. Shall not make that mistake again.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Jun 17, 2017 5:12:29 PM | 61

They have a strategy, they just forgot about it. It is called the 'Spagetti Strategy to Win in Afghanistan": http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2010/04/28/article-0-09562375000005DC-283_964x699.jpg

Posted by: Bill Warrick | Jun 17, 2017 10:03:13 PM | 62

...
Just because it is registered in the Philippines doesn't mean much in terms of actual ownership/control.
Posted by: Just Sayin' | Jun 17, 2017 3:54:17 PM | 56

That's true (similar to Panama reg). But considering the course of the container ship, before and after the collision, and Yankees "helping" Philippines to "defeat" their ISIS buddies, nothing is off the (my) table...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 17, 2017 11:17:18 PM | 63

Formerly T-Bear | Jun 17, 2017 5:08:41 PM | 59 "By any chance was there some ID on that piece that had something resembling <> involved with the reporting? And you still believe things those people tell you? Oh my!"

It did indead. A quick look showed marinetraffic.com.
http://www.marinetraffic.com/en/ais/home/centerx:100.3/centery:0.7/zoom:4

Though punch in the name of the cargo ship and nothing comes up?

Posted by: Peter AU | Jun 17, 2017 11:38:19 PM | 64

@ Peter AU | Jun 17, 2017 11:38:19 PM | 64

Thanks for the link but shall defer connection. My intent was lost when BBC disappeared and scathing criticism was the goal of that once august institution. A 30 meter fishing boat would take up a better part if not more of a km sea way to manoeuvre itself back to the point a crew member went overboard; that is with an experienced skipper. Imagine what sea way a small 150 meter container vessel would need or more should it be under full load; then imagine what a 200+ meter container ship would need. I wouldn't put a lot of faith in the accuracy of positions of such internet tracking services and particularly for such manoeuvring as was reported. It is not likely to be real, rather an approximation given the error that is there. There is a definite smell involved here, something is not kosher and needs be fathomed.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Jun 18, 2017 1:24:11 AM | 65

You make a good point T-Bear.

Posted by: Peter AU | Jun 18, 2017 1:44:40 AM | 66

apparently all seven of the missing sailors were killed/drowned in their berths as a result of the collision. cnn has a very weird 'report' which seems to be 'readying' its audience for the news that the collision was the fault of the captain/crew of the fitzgerald. just a guess on my part ... but it's hard to tell what else the 'report' might mean.

Posted by: jfl | Jun 18, 2017 2:38:58 AM | 67

67
Kirby puts up a good blurb.

Posted by: anon | Jun 18, 2017 3:02:06 AM | 68

Just because it is registered in the Philippines doesn't mean much in terms of actual ownership/control.
Posted by: Just Sayin' | Jun 17, 2017 3:54:17 PM | 56

That's true (similar to Panama reg). But considering the course of the container ship, before and after the collision, and Yankees "helping" Philippines to "defeat" their ISIS buddies, nothing is off the (my) table...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 17, 2017 11:17:18 PM | 63

Well something should be off it now, ACX Crystal is owned by Japan's Dainichi- Invest Corporation apparently.

After being reminded by F.T Bear of the basics regarding the difficulties involved in maneuvering such a maritime behemoth, one would have to lean in favour of the tracking data being complete BS, and chalk this up to US Navy incompetence/arrogance.

https://tinyurl.com/USN-Incompetence

    Gordon McPhail - - June 17, 2017 at 1:49 AM

    There is something very wrong with the accident damage profile. ACX Crystal damage on Port Side front Bow Damage to Fitzgerald on STARBOARD side well behind the Bow in fact near the Bridge.

    The ships traveling towards each other would have the damage on the SAME side. Ships traveling in the smae direction would have the damage on opposite sides, however the damage pattern would be pushed FORWARD on the Destroyer, yet it looks to be pushed back.
    This I am having trouble explaining to myself. (I am an ex seaman from the '60's)

That leaves us with the question "Why is the tracking data such BS?"

Posted by: Just Sayin' | Jun 18, 2017 4:24:51 AM | 69

@ Just Sayin' | Jun 18, 2017 4:24:51 AM | 69

Tracking data is just a snapshot of a moment in space, nothing more. It does not contain definite information of what happened previously, for that you need the previous snapshot of space and from that one can try to chart the difference.

Please note the damage to the Fitzgerald is inward and toward the stern. That tells the position of the ship at the moment of collision. That tells no lies of which ship was where when the incident happened. Accept no substitutes, a believe your lying eyes sort of moment.

If the destroyer was laying dead in the water and the freighter steamed into it would be a possible story that would produce those results. This is unlikely though. A ship disabled would have no running (red or green) lights and indicate its immobility on the mast lights, the other ship would be required to avoid collision with that ship, time available would be sufficient to do so. A second consideration is the radio communications required for all maritime vessels, about a decade and a half ago, all ships were required to convert their radio communications to a digital system. In addition there was the traditional system having channel 16 reserved only for emergency communication as well as establishing communications between vessels on other channels. Both systems were monitored and supposedly recorded by coastal stations. This is likely the means the Japanese Coastguard was notified to render assistance after the collision although the U.S. Navy would have other communications as well. What is surprising is the container ship steamed off after the collision, that would be highly unusual. This story is only beginning and strange tales are likely to emerge as time allows, many with FUBAR titles.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Jun 18, 2017 5:09:18 AM | 70

| My first view of the damage to the container ship a short time ago leaves me without an idea about the collision, not enough information is available from the picture, therefore I will let the professionals at Marine insurance and the Admiralty explore this incident, I for one at this time have no idea from the available pictures how it took place. It will be a night to remember for a lot of folks. Condolences to those injured and the be-grieved families.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Jun 18, 2017 6:36:30 AM | 71

A post-script:

This accident will be a case of: Send Lawyers, Guns and Cubic Money.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Jun 18, 2017 6:53:35 AM | 72

@72 ftb, 'Lawyers, Guns and Cubic Money'

and shut down information on it. 'not enough information is available from the picture' ... and that's the way it'll remain, until the ls, gs, and cm have worked their 'magic' and a story acceptable to the usn becomes 'official'.

Posted by: jfl | Jun 18, 2017 7:14:56 AM | 73

Taking a fresh look at the damage recorded in the pics in Paveway IV's #48, imo it's consistent with the Fitzgerald's skipper playing chicken with the container ship and failing to take the bow flair (overhang) into account, thus smashing the Fitzgerald's superstructure into the overhang. There's no visible damage near the waterline on either ship and the Fitzgerald would have heeled over dramatically during the demolition. Some of the superstructure damage would have occurred in the heeled-over attitude and, if the tilt was large enough, the normally submerged part of the destroyer's hull could have come into contact with the hull of the container ship below the waterline.

Oh yes, and the destroyer was travelling at a higher speed than the container ship when the collision occured. Hence the Chicken theory.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 18, 2017 11:43:47 AM | 74

@ Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 18, 2017 11:43:47 AM | 74

Later pictures have been published showing the damage to better advantage and your conclusion is the only one that produces those results. I wonder how far over the destroyer was pushed, sometimes on the bridge is a pitch or roll gage that records that information. The commander's quarters were destroyed as well, he may likely have received his injuries 'in suite', and at the hour was unlikely to be on the bridge. It was stated an underwater gash had happened, so depending on its position, that destroyer was well over, those asleep in their quarters hadn't a chance. There is something that is known to happen to two vessels traveling parallel but in close proximity to one another. A 'vacuum' can be created between them and cause the vessels to be drawn together, the water velocity between them producing a Bernoulli effect of reducing the water pressure between the ships and the exterior water pressure draws the ships together. If those in command of the destroyer had no experience or were not educated, this is the likely cause that cost lives. Education is never cheap.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Jun 18, 2017 12:56:56 PM | 75

Less obvious is the damage below the waterline most likely caused by the container ship's bulbous bow.

Posted by: dh | Jun 18, 2017 1:55:30 PM | 76

It's possible that the Fitzgerald was performing a belated evasive turn when the collision occurred and was leaning toward the container ship. Investigators will have no trouble deducing a 'most likely' scenario from the damage to the part of the superstructure which first made contact.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 18, 2017 10:11:57 PM | 77

@Ghosthsip

Gen. Jack Keane is a lying turd.
We are also told that the Syrian army has collapsed and it is now mainly foreign “sectarian” militias doing the fighting for the regime side, while the opposition remains mainly Syrian.

I agree with your opinion of Gen. Jack Keane. I am definitely not a part of the Cult of Generals that has absorbed the entire MSM. The Vietnam Era Press Corp is dead. My belief is that since the Pentagon / State Dept now knows that it can lie to use with impunity that their lies will become more brazen. I hate the MSM for the current state of affairs, even more so than the liars.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Jun 19, 2017 9:12:10 AM | 78

@ Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 18, 2017 10:11:57 PM | 77

Thanks earlier for pointing out your conclusions about the positions of the ships; I had not thought any responsible person in command would put their vessel into jeopardy in that fashion - it looks like the destroyer being faster and more manoeuvrable acted to "buzz" the Philippine flagged cargo vessel ("Take that, Duarte") and got way too close, lost directional control of the destroyer putting it into collision course with the port bow of the container ship (as described earlier). It is now being reported the collision was not reported for some 55 minutes after the event. Both bridges would have been up to their eyeballs in assessing and controlling damages. This may explain the 'erratic' course followed by the container ship that was reported - having happened after rather than before the contact. The container ship returned to the scene of the collision (the "U" turn), found the destroyer afloat and not in need of immanent assistance, and then proceeded to destination, reporting that some 55 minutes after collision. Big question is: When did the U.S.Navy report the accident, to whom and by what channels, military or civilian maritime? The tonnage difference certainly made a difference, some 29,000 tonnes v. 8,500 +/- tonnes. The buoyancy of the destroyer would have been sufficient to warp the container ship's bow as was pictured after contact with the destroyer's superstructure and give the damage seen there. a fairly violent collision all in all.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Jun 19, 2017 12:04:54 PM | 79

Wwar wwhat is it good for

Posted by: mcohem | Jun 19, 2017 7:11:18 PM | 80

...
This may explain the 'erratic' course followed by the container ship that was reported - having happened after rather than before the contact.
...
Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Jun 19, 2017 12:04:54 PM | 79

Agreed.
In fact a perfectly logical course now that we know why.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 20, 2017 10:05:18 AM | 81

This may explain the 'erratic' course followed by the container ship that was reported - having happened after rather than before the contact.
...
Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Jun 19, 2017 12:04:54 PM | 79

Agreed.
In fact a perfectly logical course now that we know why.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 20, 2017 10:05:18 AM | 81

Yes.
Mystery solved.
Thank you both for clearing that up for us landlubbers

Posted by: Just Syain' | Jun 20, 2017 2:30:26 PM | 82

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