Category Archives: military news

Biden keeps key promise

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

One of the few policy notions from the 45th president of the U.S. with which I agreed dealt with pulling out of “endless wars.”

He made the pledge while running for the presidency in 2016. He kept saying he would do so while serving in the office. He didn’t quite deliver on the pledge.

Today, his successor — President Joe Biden — announced that our involvement in the Afghan War ends on Aug. 31. Period. Full stop.

There will be no more U.S. troop presence on the battlefields there, President Biden told us.

And so, our nation’s longest war — which commenced our war against international terrorism — is coming to an end. There will be no victory declaration. Nor will there be, as Biden told us, any helicopters lifting off from rooftops as there was in Vietnam in April 1975.

Biden has pledged to help provide shelter for the Afghans who helped our military effort during the two decades we fought there, although the plan for providing that aid hasn’t yet been fully developed.

I endorse the pullout. The time has come for the Afghans to defend themselves. We have trained an army, provided an air force and are leaving them with resources to fight the Taliban terrorists who do present an existential threat to the government in Kabul.

Our longest war is about to end. It fills me with relief.

Shut up … Mr. Ex-POTUS!

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The moron who once served as commander in chief is known already to be off his ever-lovin’ rocker.

Now he needs to shut his pie hole and leave policy and personnel decisions to those who succeeded him and his gang of thieves.

POTUS 45 now says Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley should resign because he has spoken out against those who question whether he is sufficiently patriotic. “Gen. Milley ought to resign, and be replaced with someone who is actually willing to defend our Military from the Leftist Radicals who hate our Country and our Flag,” Trump wrote in a statement sent out by his Save America PAC about the four-star general, who he appointed to the nation’s top military post in 2019 over the objections of then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

Oh, my.

Trump calls on Milley to resign after report of a shouting match between the two (msn.com)

The ex-president is unhinged, unshackled and unashamed of his own conduct. If given a chance to choose between the one-time Carnival Barker in Chief and a man who has served with distinction and honor in the U.S. Army … well, I’ll go with the general.

Stand tall, Gen. Milley

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The very idea of leading right wing pundits — none of whom has a moment of military service in their background — criticizing the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff because he tells the truth about racism in this country is reprehensible on its face.

Army Gen. Mark Milley testified this week before a House committee about “critical race theory” and whether it should be taught at West Point and other institutions of higher learning. He said, without hesitation, that “yes,” it should be taught.

Then he went after congressional critics who allege that the military, which Milley has served with honor and distinction for more than 30 years, has become a victim of the “woke” theory of progressive thought. He said he takes “offense” at such notions.

That hasn’t stopped the likes of Fox News’s Tucker Carlson who calls Milley “a pig” who also is “stupid.” Fox’s Laura Ingraham also weighed in with her brand of right-wing idiocy. Let’s not forget that Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla. — who faces potential charges of sex trafficking — chastised Milley’s comments on specious, dubious and spurious grounds as well.

I want to point something out about Gen. Milley.

If you look at the right sleeve of his dress greens, you see multiple hash marks, each one of which represents six months of service in a war zone. By my count, I figure Milley has thrust himself in harm’s way a total of four years. Also, take a gander at the “fruit salad” collection of medals over his left breast pocket. They include a Combat Infantryman’s Badge. Oh, and on his left sleeve you’ll see a Rangers and a Special Forces patch.

I understand fully that those do not inoculate any service member from criticism … when it is warranted. Gen. Mark Milley is a soldier’s soldier who speaks truth to power.

As for his critics, they need to look inward and ask themselves: Do I really need to go there?

Watch and listen to this video

By John Kanelis / johnkanelils_92@hotmail.com

The link I am attaching to this very brief post is an interview with President Barack Obama and Navy Admiral William McRaven.

They are looking back 10 years since the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. It is heartfelt. It tells us how the two men felt as they were about to make decisions that could have gone badly but instead ended with the death of the 9/11 mastermind.

10 Years Later: President Obama and Admiral Bill McRaven reflect on the bin Laden Raid – YouTube

It’s about 14 minutes long. It is worth your time to watch.

Happy 100th birthday

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The sailor in this picture would be turning 100 years old today.

He is my Dad. It is a strange juxtaposition that he would be celebrating this landmark birthday on Memorial Day weekend.

To be sure, Dad did not die while fighting the tyrants who sought to destroy the world during World War II. So, the Memorial Day holiday doesn’t honor his service during that time of mortal peril. Nevertheless, I do want to call attention to the service he performed while fighting for the country he loved with a passion.

Dad didn’t make it to 60. He died more than 40 years ago in a freak boating accident.

However, he was my favorite veteran, but you know that already about him. What I have shared already, too, is that he volunteered for service to his country on the very day that Japan attacked our fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Dad was 20 years of age on Dec. 7, 1941. He was attending the University of Portland (Ore.) when he decided that his college education could wait; he had another, more pressing “education” awaiting him in Africa, Europe and then the Philippines.

I wish I could offer birthday greetings to Dad directly today. I cannot. I can honor his time on Earth by recalling the service he performed heroically during our nation’s darkest time.

So that is what I will do. I also will offer a birthday greeting to a man I miss every day.

Bin Laden raid, plus 10

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

My goodness, has it really been 10 years since our special operations guys killed the world’s most wanted man and most despicable terrorist?

Yep. Time does fly.

Oh, how I remember where I was when the world heard the news about the death of Osama bin Laden, the 9/11 mastermind and al-Qaeda leader.

We were in our Amarillo, Texas, living room that night watching a bit of prime-time TV. Then we got word of a pending announcement from the White House. Hmm. I thought, “Hey, this is Sunday. What in the world are they going to announce on a Sunday night?” Then it dawned on me. I turned to my wife and I said, “I think they got bin Laden!”

It had been nearly a decade since the 9/11 attack. Three jetliners flew into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. A fourth airplane crashed in Pennsylvania after passengers fought with the terrorists. That day is seared in our national memory. I can barely watch to this day the footage of the WTC towers burning and then collapsing.

As for bin Laden’s death and the skill of the Navy SEALs, the CIA commandos and the Army Delta Force pilots that night remain equally seared in my memory.

I recall vividly the sight of President Obama striding to the podium that evening to deliver the news and to assure the world that the fight against those who followed bin Laden’s perversion will continue. The president told us later in a “60 Minutes” interview that the first person he called once he knew our forces had cleared Pakistani airspace was President Bush, on whose watch the 9/11 attack occurred. Obama gave appropriate credit to the diligence of our anti-terror network that had worked since the attack and eventually found bin Laden.

Although bin Laden is dead, the network he led is still alive, although it has been significantly downgraded in the years since our special forces killed bin Laden. The fight has gone on since that raid, beyond the Obama administration. Indeed, the Trump administration also had a hand in wiping out the terrorists’ high command when it sent forces in to kill Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State.

The fight must go on, even as the Biden administration prepares to remove the last of our troops from Afghanistan, where they were dispatched immediately after the 9/11 attacks to take down the Taliban government that gave bin Laden’s goons the safe harbor from which they plotted their attack against us.

I want to mark this date, though, as one that demonstrates the enormous skill of our military and intelligence forces who — when given the order to do the seemingly impossible — answered the call.

Declaring victory?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

President George W. Bush responded with strength and resolve nearly 20 years ago when terrorists declared war on this country.

He ordered the military into Afghanistan  to overthrow the government that had given the monsters safe haven. The war against international terror had begun.

I said at the time that I wondered how in the world we could declare victory. How could we ever know when we have defeated this enemy? I likened it a bit to the semi-cavalier approach espoused by the late, great Republican U.S. Sen. George Aiken of Vermont who said during the Vietnam War that we should “just declare victory and go home.”

President Biden has in a sense declared victory against the terrorists. He is bringing home the remaining U.S. troops from Afghanistan no later than Sept. 11, the 20th year since the beginning of the longest war in U.S. history.

We didn’t start this conflict, but today Biden declared that we are about to finish this particular phase of it.

My fervent hope is that we remain on the highest alert possible for any future evil intent. I heard the president say that it is time for us to look forward, that the terrorist movement has “metastasized” and moved into many other areas of the world. It is time, he said, for us to focus our efforts beyond the Afghan battlefield.

Joe Biden is not wild-eyed. He does not strike me as being prone to making decisions based on hunches and gut feelings. The president is a studied creature of the government he now leads.

I do hope with all that I can muster that he can remove the relative handful of troops from the field of battle while ensuring that we can remain focused sharply on danger when it presents itself. That we can take a proactive posture against threats to our nation.

We do possess the nation’s strongest military apparatus. A first-rate intelligence service complements that force with seasoned and dedicated professionals. We also have a commander in chief who listens and acts on the advice and counsel he receives from the pros who are trained to deliver it.

Can we truly declare victory on the Afghan killing fields? I hope that is the case.

Biden: Bring troops home

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It is with guarded optimism — with the emphasis on “guarded” — that I welcome the pending end of our nation’s longest war as announced today by President Biden.

The president today declared his intention to have all U.S. combat troops removed from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, 20 years after what has been called simply “9/11.”

Terrorists hijacked jetliners and flew them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on that horrific day. A fourth jetliner became the scene of a fight between heroic passengers and terrorists and crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. We went to war that day.

Joe Biden today, in effect, declared a form of “victory” in our fight against international terrorism. He wants to end our combat involvement in Afghanistan, where the Taliban gave safe harbor to al-Qaeda terrorists, enabling them to plot and execute the ghastly terrorist attack that drew us into the longest conflict in our nation’s history.

At roughly the halfway point in that struggle, our special forces killed the 9/11 mastermind, Osama bin Laden.

To be sure, the terror threat cannot possibly be extinguished ever. It was there all along, prior to 9/11 and afterward. Indeed, President Biden today acknowledged that threat and vowed to deploy all available counter- and anti-terrorist strategies to protect us against further attacks.

I hope with all my heart that he succeeds in this effort. I no longer want to send our young men and women into battle. That doesn’t mean, though, that we ever let our guard down against threats such as what befell us on 9/11.

I remain dubious that the Taliban can be trusted as a negotiating partner. Thus, it is imperative that we keep our military on the highest level of preparedness moving past the date set for our withdrawal from the Afghan battlefield.

Joe Biden reminded us that four U.S. presidents — George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Biden — all have dealt with this conflict. President Biden vowed today he wouldn’t hand it to a fifth commander in chief.

I want to applaud this decision. However, I will hold off on that hand-clapping when we can know for certain that we have ended forever the threats of violence that can come at a moment’s notice.

Blowhard treads where he shouldn’t go

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Tucker Carlson is a right-wing gasbag who quite often bloviates on matters of which he knows nothing.

I’m a bit late entering this kerfuffle, but Carlson has waded into a thicket that has drawn deserved scorn from military veterans.

The Fox News blowhard had the stones to say the other day that women who serve in the military downgrade the quality of the nation’s fighting force. He had the very bad taste to suggest that pregnant women in particular are a detriment to this nation’s readiness.

Whoa! Dude, you stepped in it.

You see, Carlson never has served a single nanosecond in the nation’s military. Thus, he has no actual knowledge of the military culture, let alone the value that all our men and women bring to the defense of the nation.

Career military officers and non-commissioned officers alike have slammed Carlson for his remarks. I want to join them in that rebuke.

I need to stipulate that I served at a time — from 1968 to 1970 — before women became integrated fully into all the military occupational specialties that the Army offers. However, I do retain some familiarity with the culture that drives the military. I have no doubt as to the readiness of our nation’s armed forces, which are the most formidable on Planet Earth; and, yes, the women who serve contribute to our nation’s readiness.

And I speak with personal knowledge that a dear member of my family, a woman who served with valor and honor in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, is every bit as capable as any man with whom she served in the United States Army.

Tucker Carlson would do well to examine his own qualifications before he pontificates on matters with which he has no experience.

VA deserves shout out

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough has earned a shout out from one of his constituents.

That would be yours truly. Me. Myself.

He said today in the White House press briefing room that more than 1.4 million veterans have received vaccinations to protect them against the COVID-19 coronavirus. Of that total, he said, more than half of us have received both doses of the vaccine, meaning that we’re totally inoculated (or we ought to hope for the best) against a virus that has killed more than 500,000 fellow Americans.

I was able to get vaccinated through the North Texas Veterans Medical Center. The first vaccine required a bit of a wait, but I could spare an hour of my time. The second one was slick and smooth; in and out in 20 minutes.

As a proud Army veteran who signed up with the VA some years ago, I want to thank the Department of Veterans Affairs for the great care it has given me during my enrollment.

I get that Secretary McDonough has been on the job only a short time. He’s the man standing watch now, so he gets the shout out, as do his predecessors.

Thank you.