Our Approaching Tet Moment

Leading up to the 1968 Tet Offensive, the Pentagon tried to convince the American public that it was winning the war.
General Bruce Palmer, Jr., one of Westmoreland's three Field Force commanders, claimed that "the Viet Cong has been defeated" and that "He can't get food and he can't recruit. He has been forced to change his strategy from trying to control the people on the coast to trying to survive in the mountains."
Just two months before Tet, Westmoreland said the North Vietnamese were "unable to mount a major offensive...I am absolutely certain that whereas in 1965 the enemy was winning, today he is certainly losing...We have reached an important point when the end begins to come into view." During an interview with Time magazine, Westmoreland mocked the North Vietnamese: "I hope they try something, because we are looking for a fight."

The concept of a credibility gap didn't start in 1968, but it became a household term after Tet.
While we have not reached this generation's Tet Moment - the moment when the public finally realizes that our government has been lying to us and that we aren't winning this so-called global war on terror - that moment isn't too far in our future. You can measure our distance to the Tet Moment by the amount of shit the government and news media is shoveling.

For example, the Pentagon recently released a map of Iraq showing how much territory ISIS has been losing. It left out a critical piece of information.

The Pentagon’s map assessing the so-called Islamic State’s strength has only two categories: territory held by ISIS currently, and territory lost by ISIS since coalition airstrikes began in August 2014. The category that would illustrate American setbacks—where ISIS has actually gained territory since the coalition effort began—is not included.

By looking only at successes and not at setbacks, Brig. Gen. Thomas Weidley was able to make this determination: “We believe across Iraq and Syria that Daesh is losing and remains on the defensive,”
Or to put it another way, Pentagon Claims ISIS Is on the ‘Defensive,’ Never Mind That City It Just Sacked.

Daesh lost an important battle in Tikrit where it was badly outnumbered, but it has been anything but defensive. They've been engaged in widespread counter-offensives across Syria and Iraq all month long, but the center of this offensive is the capital city of Anbar province, Ramadi.

Isis forces stormed the government-held enclave in central Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, early on 15 May. The government still holds an operations centre on the edge of the city and important bases nearby, but its failure to defend Ramadi is a sign that Isis has become a permanent feature of the political and military landscape of Iraq.

That is the key sentence.
The Tet Moment we reached in 1968 wasn't the moment that we realized we were going to lose. It was the moment we realized that we couldn't win.

The fall of Ramadi, one of the few remaining government strongholds in Anbar province covering a third of Iraq, shows that hopes of the Iraqi army and Shia militia forces reversing Isis’s gains of last year were premature and may never be realised. The biggest success of the government was the recapture of Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s home town, but Isis committed only about 500 fighters to defend the city. It has remained a ghost town ever since, ruled by Shia militias and local police, but with none of its original Sunni inhabitants daring to return.

Those two sentences tell the story. The Iraqi forces, made up almost entirely of Shia militias, defeated Daesh in a large Sunni town. It was a huge military victory for Baghdad and Tehran.
However, the core problem of Iraq isn't a military one. The core problem of Iraq is a political one, and there has been no real effort to fix that political problem. There has been no reconciliation between Shia and Sunni forces at all.
Baghdad simply cannot declare anything but successful ethnic cleansing if the civilians are fleeing before their forces and not coming back. A pilot project to train and arm Sunni militias to fight Daesh is also failing badly.

The Shia militias most effective against Daesh are directly supported by Iran, and only now are people waking up to the fact that Tehran might not be all that interested in winning this war.

Iran does want to keep control of Baghdad and Damascus, but Iran also has something to gain in allowing ISIS to continue operating in some other areas because as long as ISIS remains a threat, Iran can claim that their allies in Syria and Iraq are the only thing preventing a jihadist takeover, thereby preserving Iran’s influence in those two cities.

Even if Tehran decides that it is in their interest to push Daesh out of Iraq, that doesn't win us the war. Half of Daesh is in Syria, where none of the three major factions appear capable of defeating the others.

If Rikab is correct, then Syria isn't really reaching a turning point. Instead, the conditions that have made the conflict so deadly even during its stalemate period - namely the rise of violent jihadist groups, the marginalization of a secular and nationalist opposition, and the persistent survival of Assad in the country's coastal and urban areas - will only become more entrenched, without moving the war any closer to a resolution.

In Iraq, with the exception of Tikrit, Baghdad has really only been effective in mixed areas not dominated by Sunnis. The story is similar in Syria, where Damascus has managed to hold into its core Shia areas, while being defeated and thrown back in areas of mixed ethnicities.
 photo syria_zpsieldjhqr.jpg
The dramatic recent successes of Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda's affiliate in Syria, and President Assad complete inability to respond militarily to those advances means that the Syrian government and their Hezbollah allies will not be able to defeat the jihadists. Until the jihadists prove they are able to take one of Assad's core cities, they are unlikely to win the war as well.
If you were thinking that the Kurds were going to break this stalemate, think again. When was the last time you heard about a major offensive by the Kurds? You haven't because the Kurds are only interested in Kurdistan. A quick reading of Kurdish history will tell as much.

Let's not forget Afghanistan, America's longest war.
Recently Forbes published this fluff piece worthy of the infamous Five O'Clock Follies giving five reasons why Afghanistan should be considered a rousing success.
The article is rediculous for lots of reasons, but let me take one example to give you an idea. To quote the article, “55% believe their country is headed in the right direction — a better reading than similar surveys register in the U.S.”
That sounds good until you consider that 65% of Afghanis fear for their lives and 3/4 of Afghanis were afraid of traveling across their own country. In fact the security situation in Afghanistan is so dangerous that "the Pentagon has banned members of Congress and their aides from traveling there this summer".
In fact, what we've done in Afghanistan is almost certain to unravel.

"The evidence strongly suggests that Afghanistan lacks the capacity -- financial, technical, managerial or otherwise -- to maintain, support and execute much of what has been built or established during more than 13 years of international assistance," said John Sopko, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, in an address at the Center for Strategic and International Studies on Wednesday.

To give you an idea of just how badly we've failed in Afghanistan, consider this quote.

Life has become a struggle — so much so that some residents pine for the days of Taliban rule.
“During the Taliban, we had city power and security. That was the best time,” said Sultan Mohammad

We've approached this Global Forever War with the attitude of a man with a hammer, seeing every problem as a nail. We've addressed political and economic problems with guns and bombs.
Trillions of dollars and thousands of lives later we haven't accomplished anything except killing a whole lot of people. The entire concept of defeating "terrorism" with military force is absurd in the extreme. Terrorism isn't a nation, a philosophy, or even a group. "Terrorism is a tactic often used by the powerless against the powerful."
If you really wanted to stop terrorism you need to address the reasons for the terrorism. But America simply shut down after 9/11. A reasoned and logical debate of the issue was considered a sign of weakness, in the same way a child abuser just wants to "make a man out of his son".
We aren't going to win this war.

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OLinda's picture

That's why we can't/won't leave. We won't admit we lost.

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- - - -
If you don't like the Mafia, why don't you join it and change it from the inside?

so we can keep starting new wars. How else do we keep those tax dollars flowing. Actually if push came to shove, I think they would just open the doors and hand out the cash. Why let a little thing like appearances stand in the way.

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"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

Pluto's Republic's picture

…that political and military psychopaths lied the nation into.

We didn't want to leave because 58,000 young Americans were sent off to be slaughtered, and their deaths would have been in "vain."

Johnson didn't want to be the first US president to lose a war, so he said "fuck it" and didn't run for another term.

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The political system is what it is because the People are who they are. — Plato
Big Al's picture

It should have settled it with the American people, and the world for that matter, what the U.S. was up to with it's
foreign policies. But it didn't and here we are.
There is no winning, but there is winning. "We're" not winning, but "they" are, the ones who wage war. War is a Racket,
it's simple and true, that's what it is. So there are winners. Take the neocons and the Likud government in Israel that wrote the
PNAC plan. They wanted to take down Hussein, Gaddafi, and Assad and split those countries apart. That part of the plan is
succeeding. They want to take down Iran and Iran is being positioned to be taken down.
Of course there's the MIC and the people who benefit from war generally. They're winning. It's always the same, it doesn't
matter the war. That's the way I look at it when the geopolitical picture gets too complex. It's all a Racket anyway.

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Pluto's Republic's picture

But it didn't.

Afghanistan was a bullshit war.

Americans deserved exactly what they got for making the same mistake again — running off to a foreign country to slaughter as many people as they could. Like a giant drunken sports bar on a rampage.

They lost their treasure. They lost their souls. And, they lost the entire world.

And, the serious revenge for America's heinous ongoing international murder-spree hasn't even begun yet. Your kids and grandkids will have to suck it up — those who remain in the US, that is.

To this day, the Afghan people have NO idea what the World Trade Center is. But US-trained serial killers murder them, anyway.

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The political system is what it is because the People are who they are. — Plato

Bill Bratton is thinking of a number

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton finally gave a figure for the number of new officers he wants added to the NYPD, requesting at least 450 new police Sunday to combat what he said was an increased threat from terrorist groups like ISIS.
Bratton said the new officers were needed combat the evolving threat from ISIS and its acolytes.
“We need to be very concerned about terrorism,” he said. “That threat has expanded significantly in the now 16 months I've been police commissioner.”
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Six in 10 voters think it is likely terrorists are living in their hometown (60 percent). That’s up from 48 percent who felt that way in 2007, the last time the question was asked, and back to about what it was nine months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
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Pluto's Republic's picture

Six in 10 US voters think it is likely terrorists are living in their hometown.

And, regarding this:

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton … requested at least 450 new police Sunday to combat what he said was an increased threat from terrorist groups like ISIS.

I'm curious.

Do Americans really think they can run around the world bombing nations, murdering entire populations, and leaving destroyed states in their wake — and somehow they are not going to pay, personally, for this atrocity?

I've been asking that question since 2002.

The US will suffer on full lockdown with a brutal and militarized police, for decades to come. The simple truth is — the formerly-deployed trigger-happy police and Federal-cartel psychopaths already regard the American people as armed and dangerous enemy combatants. They are mostly right. The cowardly, rainwashed USians got exactly what they voted for.

Get this book for your kids and grandkids:

As Lindsey Graham told fellow Republicans in Iowa on Saturday night:

“If I’m president of the United States and you’re thinking about joining al-Qaeda or ISIL, I’m not gonna call a judge. I’m gonna call a drone [to your house] and we will kill you."

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The political system is what it is because the People are who they are. — Plato
Pluto's Republic's picture

…is identical to what took place in Waco today, at a sports/titty bar.

Absolutely identical mentality, in my view, except Afghanistan was on a larger scale with more gun-toting imbeciles involved, sucking up the PTSD.

Nine Killed in Biker War at Waco, Texas, Restaurant

Nine motorcycle gang members were killed, numerous other people were injured and more than 100 others were in custody after a confrontation and police shootout involving as many 200 rival gang members at a sports bar in Waco, Texas, that wanted the bikers there, police said Sunday.

Waco police Sgt. Patrick Swanton said "at least five different criminal motorcycle gangs" were at Twin Peaks Sports Bar and Grill, in the busy Central Texas Market Place less than a half-mile from University High School. At least 100 people remained in custody late Sunday night, he said. They were being questioned, and charges hadn't been decided.

"It progressed very rapidly from hands and feet as weapons to chains," Swanton said. "My understanding is a club was involved, and knives were involved. Gunfire broke out on the part of the criminal biker gangs."

Police, who had been expecting trouble, had been already deployed to the scene, which Swanton described as part recruiting event and partly gang members showing they were unafraid in other gangs' territory. So when the rumble began shortly after noon 12:15 p.m. (1:15 p.m. ET), they were ready to move in.

The violence spilled out of the restaurant and into the parking lot, where, Swanton said, the bikers fired first at one another and then at the police.

For what noble purpose did they die?

In fact, Cindy Sheehan stood nearby in Waco (at the entrance to Bush's ranch, where he spent most of his presidency) and asked the same question about her son.

Both the Waco bikers and the US soldiers died for absolutely nothing, whatsoever.

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The political system is what it is because the People are who they are. — Plato
Pluto's Republic's picture

Both the Waco bikers and the US soldiers died for absolutely nothing, whatsoever.

Both the bikers and the soldiers died to keep the Spice flowing.

It's what the US does for a living.

It's the war and murder racket that transfers 50 cents of every tax dollar to the privatized Defense, Drug, Weapons, and Incarceration Cartels.

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The political system is what it is because the People are who they are. — Plato
joe shikspack's picture

isn't that just south across the river and a smidge west of foggy bottom?

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