The overseas wars that the US military has been involved with for nearly two decades have been unpopular with the American public for a very long time. Both Obama and Trump campaigned on promises of ending the wars, or at the very least significantly scaling them back. However, while both administrations oversaw small and ceremonial troop withdrawals, the US military’s involvement overseas did not slow down and didn’t seem to miss a beat from the Bush era.
Joe Biden has made some very similar promises while on the campaign trail in 2019. In one speech, Biden said, “It’s past time to end the Forever Wars, which have cost us untold blood and treasure.”
However, he was vice president in the Obama administration, which oversaw wars in Yemen, Libya, Afghanistan, and numerous other countries, and he has also indicated that he has no intention of fully pulling out of Afghanistan.
On November 10th, Biden announced the members of his agency review teams, which he says “are responsible for understanding the operations of each agency, ensuring a smooth transfer of power, and preparing for President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris and their cabinet to hit the ground running on Day One.”
A large portion of the officials who were selected for the Department of Defense agency review team, 8 out of 23, have direct ties to the military industrial complex or a part of it themselves. This number could be higher, as the backgrounds of all of the candidates are still being thoroughly researched.
The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is listed as the “most recent employment” for three selections on Biden’s Department of Defense agency review team: Kathleen Hicks, who is a former defense official under President Barack Obama, as well as Melissa Dalton, and Andrew Hunter.
CSIS is an influential foreign policy think tank that promotes war while receiving funding from companies like General Dynamics Corporation, Raytheon Technologies, Northrop Grumman Corporation, and Lockheed Martin. They also work on behalf of the oil companies.
Furthermore, two other officials, Ely Ratner and Susanna Blume also named for positions on the team, most recently worked with the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) a think tank that takes money from Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and the US State Department.
Three others selected for the team are Stacie Pettyjohn, Terri Tanielian, and Christine Wormuth who previously worked with the RAND Corporation, which receives funding from the US Army and the Department of Homeland Security and often promote foreign intervention and hostility towards non-allied countries.
Ben Freeman of the Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative, which recently authored a report on think tank funding, said that “It’s telling the think tanks represented here — RAND, CSIS, and CNAS — are among the top recipients of Department of Defense and Department of Defense contractor funding. CNAS and CSIS are literally number one and number two in terms of donations received from US defense contractors in the last six years. RAND is, by far, the top recipient of Department of Defense funding of any think tank.”
Sharon Burke, also on Biden’s team, works for New America, which receives funding from Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, and US Army War College. Another pick for the team, Shawn Skelly, recently worked with CACI International, a company that provides information technology for US military weapons systems. Team member Victor Garcia has a background in cybersecurity for the US government, previously working with a software company called Rebellion Defense that says it helps “our defense and national security agencies unlock the power of data across all domains.”
The software company was reportedly founded by former defense officials and works to analyze video gathered from drones.
Other members of the team are also heavily involved in Wall Street and the oil industry.
Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida
A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.
In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.
“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.
Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.
Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.
Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.
Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.
However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.
Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son
A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.
The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.
The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.
“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.
“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.
The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.
The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.
“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.
The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.
The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.
Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter
The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.
However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.
In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.
It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.
The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.
Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.
The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.
Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.
The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.
The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.