Win Without War & The Washington Post & Politico – 2018-05-29 23:58:45
ACTION ALERT: Dual Wars in North Korea and Iran?
Win Without War
(May 29, 2018) — We have less than a week to stop Trump from getting a huge blank check for endless global war.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee could vote as soon as next week on a horrifying new Authorization for the Use of Military Force — or AUMF — that would let Donald Trump start a new war any time, anywhere, with just an FYI to Congress.
When Sens. Bob Corker and Tim Kaine introduced this five-alarm fire of a bill in late April, Win Without War activists like you jumped into action. Our pressure stiffened the spines of key senators to derail the bill’s fast track and delay the vote.
But now, the Trump War Act is back — and facing its first vote in committee as soon as next week. Worse, the bill’s sponsors are confident they have the votes to speed this AUMF through.
We can’t let that happen. We’ve got to stamp out this dangerous bill next week, before it can get to the Senate floor. Please, rush an emergency gift to help us defeat the Trump War Act:
In just the past few weeks, Trump and his war cabinet have kicked the war-machine into high gear:
* He pulled out of the Iran Deal and steered us closer to a terrible war of choice with Iran.
* He abruptly cancelled his meeting with Kim Jong-un via an inane letter threatening nuclear war with North Korea.
Just this morning, the Washington Post reported on the Pentagon’s preparations for simultaneous wars with North Korea and Iran.  Yes — really:
“Could the US fight dual wars in North Korea and Iran? After diplomacy breaks down, questions loom.”
— The Washington Post
Congress should be doing everything they can to pull us off the brink of yet more wars of choice — not signing over their Constitutional authority to declare war to a megalomaniac president and his warmongering advisers.
We cannot let Trump, Bolton, and Pompeo get their hands on a free pass for even more unaccountable, global war. Please, pitch in to kill this dangerous new AUMF.
The bipartisan group of senators behind the Trump War Act claim they’re solving the broken status quo of endless war. They’re not. The framers of the Constitution put the power to declare war in Congress’ hands for two reasons: To make it really hard, and to ensure We, the People, can weigh in. But this dangerous new AUMF cuts Congress out of the picture — and squelches our voice in warmaking, too.
Win Without War exists exactly for situations like this — to bring our grassroots demands for peace back to the forefront of a Washington conversation about war-making that has gone completely off the rails.
Already, our pressure has restored common sense to the debate and gotten Senate leaders to refuse to jam this bill quietly through committee. But next week’s vote is the key turning point.
If we lose next week’s committee vote, the Trump War Act will be able to speed onto the Senate floor with serious traction to become law. So we’ve got to win this vote. And we’re going to need your help.
To: The United States Senate
The proposed new Corker-Kaine Authorization for the Use of Military Force is profoundly dangerous. This AUMF would give the president unlimited war-making authority and would violate the Constitution by abdicating Congressâ€™ core responsibility over matters of war and peace.
Please oppose this dangerous resolution.
Thank you for working for peace,
Kate, Stephen, Cassandra, and the team at Win Without War
 Washington Post, “Could the US fight dual wars in North Korea and Iran?”
Could the US Fight Dual Wars in North Korea and Iran?”
Paul Sonne and Missy Ryan / The Washington Post
(May 25, 2018) — The seeming collapse of the North Korea summit and the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal have led top officials in the Trump administration to once again make veiled references to military action, with President Trump most recently touting American might in a speech Friday at the US Naval Academy.
But beyond the saber-rattling is a sobering reality well known by strategists and planners at the Pentagon: The unlikely, worst-case scenario of sliding into open armed conflict with both Iran and North Korea simultaneously would strain the US military to a degree few Americans could fathom.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has repeatedly warned that an open conflict on the Korean Peninsula alone would be catastrophic, resulting in the sort of warfare the US military hasn’t seen in generations. The outside chance of a conflict with Iran at the same time would present Pentagon leaders with logistical, tactical and personnel challenges unenviable for any commander.
Former top Pentagon officials say the possibility of coinciding wars with Iran and North Korea remains extremely remote, and the United States could drift in the space between diplomatic breakthrough and all-out war for years. Still, if the dual wars were to occur, they would test decades of contingency planning that anticipates huge risks to the US armed forces despite ultimate victory.
“Both fights would be costly,” said David Ochmanek, a senior researcher at the Rand Corp. and a former top Pentagon strategist in the Clinton and Obama administrations. “In the end you would expect the US and its allies to prevail but at a human and material cost that would be almost incalculable, particularly in the case of the Korea example.”
For decades dating back to the Cold War, planners at the Pentagon have grappled with the question of how the US military should prepare for the remote possibility of having to fight two full-scale regional wars at once.
The new national defense strategy issued by Mattis, however, emphasizes the need to build up military capability for a possible great-power conflict with Russia and China, and largely backs off the focus on waging two regional wars at once that once consumed the Pentagon.
But as the US military pivots its focus to countering Russia and China, regional challenges from Iran and North Korea continue to consume the administration and the public.
“If you want to ensure the Pentagon can actually plan and prepare and resource for a potential conflict with China or Russia, then getting into conflict with Iran and North Korea is the exact wrong thing to do,” said Mara Karlin, an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a former Pentagon strategist.
Whereas military planners envision a war with North Korea as primarily a land and air fight, ultimately requiring a massive ground invasion and ending in regime change followed by stabilization, conflict with Iran would more likely be primarily a naval and air battle, focused on crippling specific missile and nuclear sites rather than dismantling the government itself.
Simultaneous warfare in the two countries would stress intelligence and reconnaissance assets such as drone overflights, which the US military has come to rely on heavily, according to former Pentagon officials.
Battles in two theaters also would strain Special Operations forces and possibly electronic warfare and tactical air support units, they said. Another challenge would be getting forces and equipment to both theaters in a prompt manner and sustaining them once they arrive.
Amid the attention on Iran and North Korea, Trump has stressed the strength of the US military and his administration’s efforts to reverse what military commanders say has been underinvestment in the force.
“We’re sharpening the fighting edge of everything, from Marine infantry squads to combat ships to deliver maximum lethal force,” Trump said during his Naval Academy address. “We will have the strongest military that we’ve ever had, and it won’t even be close. And when did we need it more than now?”
While Trump has boasted of major increases to defense spending, the impact of greater budgets won’t be felt for some time. Meanwhile, the military continues to feel the effects of more than a decade and a half of war in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“It’s still in many respects a tired force — the toll of the wars and constant deployments, the effect on both manpower and equipment, the lack of opportunity to do the right kind of training,” said Brian P. McKeon, who served as acting undersecretary of defense for policy during the Obama administration.
Mattis has regularly emphasized the need for diplomacy for Iran and North Korea, even as other members of the Trump administration have threatened military options.
Michael O’Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, suggested Mattis’s approach might reflect his firsthand understanding of the potential costs and uncertainties of any conflict, regardless of the Pentagon’s many contingency plans.
“There’s such an inherent unpredictability to war,” O’Hanlon said. “The minute you start to think your beautiful battle plan is going to work the way you designed it, that’s where it gets dangerous.”
US Halts New North Korea Sanctions
To Revive the Trump-Kim Summit
Gregory Hellman With Eli Okun and Connor O’Brien/ Politico
(May 20, 2018) â€“ “NORTH KOREA LATEST — US HALTS NEW SANCTIONS TO REVIVE THE SINGAPORE SUMMIT,” reports The Wall Street Journal: “The US decided to defer launching a major new sanctions push against North Korea, part of a flurry of weekend moves by both sides aimed at reviving a summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
“The White House was prepared to announce the ramped-up sanctions regime Tuesday but decided Monday to indefinitely delay the measures while talks with North Korea about the summit proceed, a US official said, citing progress in efforts to repair diplomatic relations between Washington and Pyongyang.
“The Treasury Department had prepared a sanctions package aimed at nearly three dozen targets, including Russian and Chinese entities, according to two administration officials.”
The decision came as US officials met with their North Korean counterparts Sunday in North Korea to prep for the planned summit, still targeted for June 12 in Singapore, reports The Washington Post. Kim’s top nuclear weapons negotiator is in China, amid reports he could visit the US to finalize plans for the summit, reports The New York Times. And, this morning, Trump tweeted confirmation the top North Korean negotiator is headed to New York.
On Saturday, Kim and South Korea’s Moon Jae-in held an unannounced meeting, after which Moon said Kim is committed to “complete denuclearization” and still wants to meet with Trump, adds The Washington Post.
But, in Washington, Kim’s talk draws skepticism, writes The Washington Post, though former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper notes the North Korean leader “may have met his match” in Trump, via our colleague Connor O’Brien. In fact, North Korea nuclear disarmament could take up to 15 years, a top expert warns, via the NYT.
Trump himself expresses optimism for the future of US-North Korean relations, via POLITICO‘s Brent D. Griffiths. Additionally, Trump and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have agreed to meet ahead of a Trump-Kim summit, reports the NYT. And questions loom whether the Pentagon could fight dual wars in North Korea and Iran, writes The Washington Post.
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