"The fourth possibility is one that until recently I would have said was unthinkable in the United States of America: a military coup, or at least a refusal by military leaders to obey certain orders....For the first time in my life, I can imagine plausible scenarios in which senior military officials might simply tell the president: “No, sir. We’re not doing that,” to thunderous applause from the New York Times editorial board."...
1/30/17, "3 Ways to Get Rid of President Trump Before 2020," Rosa Brooks, Foreign Policy
To Ms. Brooks: There you go again--ignoring voters. How are you going to "get rid" of 62,979,879 million Americans who thunderously voted for Trump? There are only 16 people on the NY Times Editorial Board.
2/5/17, "Military Times Investigation Finds Pentagon Failed to Report Thousands of Airstrikes," Slate, Elliot Hannon
"An investigation by the Military Times published Sunday found significant inaccuracies in the statistics provided by the U.S. military that appear to significantly understate the number of lethal American airstrikes carried out in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The investigation found that Pentagon figures lowballed the number of airstrikes by potentially thousands over a several year period and failed to include 456 airstrikes in Afghanistan alone in 2016. “Those airstrikes were carried out by attack helicopters and armed drones operated by the U.S. Army, metrics quietly excluded from otherwise comprehensive monthly summaries, published online for years, detailing American military activity in all three theaters,” according to the report.
The discrepancy is particularly problematic because the information provided by the Air Force is used as a baseline by everyone from Congress to allies to analysts to assess the expense and effectiveness of military operations, not to mention the number of casualties incurred. “The enormous data gap raises serious doubts about transparency in reported progress against the Islamic State, al-Qaida and the Taliban, and calls into question the accuracy of other Defense Department disclosures documenting everything from costs to casualty counts,” the Times states.
Here’s more on the potential implications of the findings:
"Most alarming is the prospect this data has been incomplete since the war on terrorism began in October 2001. If that is the case, it would fundamentally undermine confidence in much of what the Pentagon has disclosed about its prosecution of these wars, prompt critics to call into question whether the military sought to mislead the American public, and cast doubt on the competency with which other vital data collection is being performed and publicized. Those other key metrics include American combat casualties, taxpayer expense and the military’s overall progress in degrading enemy capabilities."
“U.S. Central Command, which oversees military activity in all three war zones, indicated it is unable to determine how far back the Army’s numbers have been excluded from these airpower summaries,” according to the Military Times."
2/5/17, "Pentagon failed to disclose up to thousands of air strikes: report," Reuters
"The Pentagon has failed to disclose up to thousands of air strikes the U.S. military carried out over several years in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan against militants in those countries, the Military Times reported on Sunday.
Last year (2016), the United States carried out at least 456 air strikes in Afghanistan that were not documented in a U.S. Air Force database, the website reported. The air strikes were conducted by U.S. Army helicopters and drones.
The incomplete data could go back to October 2001, according to the Military Times, which describes itself as an independent news organization.
The Pentagon and Army did not immediately respond to requests for comment."
Military Times article:
2/5/17, "The U.S. military's stats on deadly airstrikes are wrong. Thousands have gone unreported" Military Times, by: Andrew deGrandpre and Shawn Snow
"Though it claims to use the Air Force airstrike data, the Defense Department’s public summary of operations in Iraq and Syria, current as of Jan. 31, fails to account for nearly 6,000 strikes dating to 2014."...
"Such record keeping is no trivial matter. Even federal agencies routinely reference these airstrike figures in reports designed to influence Congress. Military Times’ investigation discovered multiple instances in which an inspector general drew significant conclusions, briefed to high ranking government officials working in the State Department and leading members of Congress, from open-source airstrike data.
The omission of Army strike data is one of multiple errors, discrepancies and shortcomings, raising questions about the validity of policies and methods used by the U.S. military to compile and disseminate information about its worldwide operations.
For example, a 2015 report to Congress by the inspectors general for the Defense Department, State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development highlighted the open-source airpower tallies for operations against the Islamic State. At some point after the report was published and briefed to lawmakers on Capitol Hill, the Air Force revised the data on which the IGs’ work was based, in some cases adding more than 100 weapons releases for a given month. And while the Air Force notes that revisions do happen occasionally, in this instance they were significant — and occurred after the information was provided to Congress.
Another discrepancy: Though it claims to use the Air Force airstrike data, the Defense Department’s public summary of operations in Iraq and Syria, current as of Jan. 31, fails to account for nearly 6,000 strikes dating to 2014, when the air campaign against ISIS began.
The most recent Air Force summary counts 23,740 coalition airstrikes through 2016. Meanwhile, the Defense Department's website lists 17,861 through Jan. 31. The Pentagon routinely cites these figures when updating the media on its operations against the Islamic State and al-Qaida affiliates in Iraq and Syria.
There also appear to be separate policies in place regulating the specificity of information that may be publicly disclosed. Citing policy, military officials in the U.S. and in Baghdad refuse to identify the type of American warplanes that conduct individual airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, nor will they provide a breakdown of activity by individual service components.
It’s another story entirely in Afghanistan, where U.S. military officials, in response to questions from Military Times, volunteered the previously undisclosed Army airstrike data for 2016, even identifying the four types of Army aircraft providing lethal air support there....
U.S. Africa Command oversees many of the military’s most secretive counter-terror operations throughout the continent, to include Somalia and Libya. Those tallies are not routinely disclosed either.
Cleveland emphasized, too, that the United States’ air campaign in Afghanistan is part of a greater effort, now in its 16th year, to mentor, support and protect the Afghan military with hopes it will be able to independently provide the country’s security. “The overall concept of airstrikes,” the general said, “from anybody, is a small part of a larger mission.”
It remains unclear why the Army is unique in excluding its airstrike figures from these broader summaries and reports. Reached Saturday, a spokesman for Army headquarters in Washington declined to comment, saying he was unable to research the matter on short notice.
The U.S. military official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said it’s because Army aircraft flown in war zones don’t fall under the Air Force chain of command responsible for publishing these monthly summaries.
Still, that does not answer why the Army does not disclose its airstrike data."...