Thailand and the United States have opened the largest annual joint military exercise in Southeast Asia but downplayed the presence of a Myanmar military officer.
Donald Trump is releasing his second budget Monday, and … it’s a Donald Trump budget. In the government, budgets are statements of priorities rather than determining actual spending, but a statement of priorities is always a good way to assess a politician. And Trump’s priorities aren’t even a little bit surprising: defense spending and going after immigrants, yes; the services American families rely on, no.
Trump’s budget will lay out “an aggressive set of spending reforms” to reduce the deficit by $3 trillion over a decade, according to a preview released by the White House on Sunday.
“Just like every American family, the Budget makes hard choices: fund what we must, cut where we can, and reduce what we borrow,” White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney said in a statement.
Maybe if Republicans hadn’t already made the choice to give corporations and wealthy people a giant tax break, the budget choices would be a little less hard. Except the language of hard choices is dishonest here: people like Donald Trump and Mick Mulvaney revel in slashing programs that matter to middle- and working-class families.
But there’s one thing that definitely won’t be cut:
Trump is seeking a massive boost to the Pentagon to allow for a “ready, larger, and more lethal military,” the White House said in the preview.
Gotta have that shiny hardware for Trump’s parades. Also in line for some Trump budget cash: border security and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement’s ability to detain and imprison immigrants. And while Trump is finally at least talking about spending some money on the opioid crisis, he’s looking at a law enforcement approach much more than treatment and recovery.
But when you cut through the rhetoric against immigrants and in favor of hundreds of millions of dollars for unmanned tankers and against Medicaid and food stamps, remember this: all the talk of “hard choices” hinges on Republicans already having made the choice to give corporations and rich people a huge, deficit-exploding tax cut.
Palestinian protest icon Ahed Tamimi is to go on trial before an Israeli military court this week for slapping and punching two Israeli soldiers.
Way back during the Stone Age when I was a young bright-eyed soldier serving in the Army in Germany, searching for the glory I had found in John Wayne movies, I discovered that soldiering was not like it was in the movies. There was a lot more floor polishing, boot shining, and cleaning then I ever saw in any movie—I did fight the battle of the floor buffer well, but there was no glory, and no medals for it.
Of course all of that cleaning and polishing was for a purpose. It was so a command sergeant major could come into your barracks, or your motor pool and tear you a new asshole for a dust bunny you missed under your bed, or grease spot in the back of the armored personnel carrier. Granted, I did not have it as bad as the Berlin Brigade. I only had to wash my vehicle. They had to baby oil theirs so they looked pretty.
The other point of all this cleaning was ceremonies of one sort of another, a change of command, a celebration of unit history, or a visiting dignitary. The one thing all of these had in common: a fucking parade. When I was in an armored unit, it meant spending hours in the motor pool cleaning, and scrubbing a vehicle that was already clean. It meant hours cleaning rifles, machine guns and other weapons systems. You always had one uniform, and one pair of boots you never took to the field so that they were perfect and inspection ready.
Before the parade, and depending on what the ceremony was for you, you would first have an inspection, either by the platoon sergeant, first sergeant, or sergeant major. If it was a dignitary the inspection may include an officer and the dignitary. It is normally hot in the blazing sun and you are standing at attention—it is miserable, especially if it is an inspection in dress uniform.
Once the inspection is over, you have the parade. In an armored unit, you drive your vehicles, maintain spacing and hoping like hell no one breaks down, especially in front of the reviewing stand. If you are in a light infantry unit, you march—again, it is hot. There is no shade and never any breeze.
I am not sure which is worse, Class A uniforms, or being in BDUs, helmet and web gear (or today’s equivalent). Either way you are in for a long miserable day. If you are lucky, you go past the reviewing stand and you are done. If you are not, you stand in formation in front of the reviewing stand and listen to a speech, or two, or three. In the hot sun, in uniform, at parade rest. Inevitably someone will lock their knees and pass out. The ceremony goes on, you stay at parade rest.
The Turkish military has announced the death of another soldier in Ankara’s operation against a Syrian Kurdish militia in northern Syria.
Israel’s top military leaders were weighing the country’s next move Saturday after Israeli forces shot down an Iranian drone that infiltrated the country — and conducted raids in Syria, where they believe the drone was launched.
Dreamers serving in the military or who have served honorably will not be deported, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Thursday. He’s spoken to the head of Homeland Security, it’s not going to happen. Unless …
There are only two exceptions in which someone could be deported, Mattis noted: if he or she committed a serious felony, or if a federal judge signed a final order of deportation.
Okay, fine a serious felony … or if a federal judge signed an order. So, in other words, people won’t be deported without some form of due process, like ICE won’t just grab them off the streets and hurl them over Trump’s border wall without asking a judge, but deportation is not off the table.
Military and veteran Dreamers can doubtless take some comfort in Mattis’s insistence that “We would always stand by one of our people,” but it doesn’t sound like he’s the last word here.