5 Eyes? More Like 5 Guys, amirite?

It's 18 Feb 2020, and here's your look at war from the cheap seats.

1. Trump took another swipe at Britain over 'untrustworthy' Huawei as his tensions with Boris Johnson grow

Donald Trump has issued another warning to Boris Johnson's UK government over its decision to defy the US and allow Chinese telecomms firm Huawei to develop its 5g network.

Richard Grenell, Trump's ambassador to Germany, on Sunday said the president told him to remind ally nations that doing deals with Huawei would jeopardize intelligence-sharing with Washington.

Twitter diplomacy done by twits.

That is a lazy opening line, but at this point, aren’t we just tired?

Except that a break in what’s known as the “5 Eyes” intel-sharing agreement is another in the growing shift in Western alliances as we have come to know them post WWII and the Cold War. Because Trump is raising the drawbridge around the United States faster than you can say “John Bolton’s Mustache.”

Isolationism was cool once when the world was less connected.

OK, it was never all that cool, and it happened in response to a period of war that the United States didn’t want to repeat. Which ended…when the Americans got pulled into another world war. Good thing history doesn’t repeat itself, or this current trend would be worrisome.


2. Homeland Security waives contracting laws for border wall

The Department of Homeland Security said waiving procurement regulations will allow 177 miles of wall to be built more quickly in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. The 10 waived laws include requirements for having open competition, justifying selections and receiving all bonding from a contractor before any work can begin.

Remember that time when Halliburton ran the Iraq war and the cost overruns were ridiculous because it was a sole source contract and the Dick Cheneys of the world made a lot of money off the misery of others and now it’s 2020 and DHS is looking to do the same thing with the border wall contract and a total amount for the Corps of Engineers to spend of $6.1 billion?

Yeah, me either.


3. An Afghan Killed 2 Americans. The U.S. Government Issued the Gun.

On Feb. 8 an Afghan soldier turned his American-supplied M249 light machine gun on a group of American and Afghan commandos who were huddled and patiently waiting for an airlift from a small base in eastern Afghanistan’s Nangarhar Province.

I…like Thomas Gibbons-Neff’s reporting. So I’m going to blame that God awful headline on the editors. Because this is super duper hand wring-y and not at all the kind of journalism I’ve come to expect from the NYT’s quality reporting on the graveyard of reasonable interventions over the years.

It’s trying to make another insider attack about the larger issues of weapons accountability problems in Afghanistan. Which is tricky at the best of times. But even if the Russians bought the gun, the problem isn’t the gun: it’s that the Americans are working with uniformed allies in Afghanistan that are frequently okay with shooting said Americans in the face.

Not the kind of thing that bodes well for long-term security agreements.


4. Gunmen kill 24 people at protestant church in Burkina Faso

Gunmen have killed 24 people and wounded 18 in an attack on a Protestant church in a village in northern Burkina Faso where jihadists frequently target Christians.

A group of 'armed terrorists' raided the village of Pansi, in Yagha province 'and attacked the peaceful local population after having identified them and separated them from non-residents', the governor, Colonel Salfo Kabore, said in a statement.

The assault occurred on Sunday during a weekly service at a Protestant church, security officials said.

Yes, it’s the Daily Mail and I’m sorry but I couldn’t find another source and it feels like an under-reported story that Christians are being murdered in their churches during services. Maybe just because it’s Burkina Faso and the gunmen just aren’t Facebook savvy? Or is it that if a Christian bleeds, it doesn’t lead?


5. IDF stops Hamas 'honeypots' from trapping soldiers

The IDF has foiled a third Hamas network posing as attractive young women on social networks that lures in IDF soldiers in order to access as much information and intelligence on the army as it can.The phones of hundreds of soldiers, including combat soldiers, were compromised in the third such Hamas honeypot operation foiled by the Israeli military and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Service) since 2017.

According to the military, there have been a number of improvements by Hamas, including the use of new platforms like Telegram alongside Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp.

Feels like a story reported by a middle-aged dude whose usual beat is car shows and craft brewing, since none of those platforms are all that new. And yes, any story that still talks about “honey pots” in 2020 is probably going to draw my editorial eye. I am not sorry.


6. Op-ed Reversing the landmine ban will explode on us

Bonus article today, because that headline?

In a little-noticed Jan. 31 evening press release, the U.S. Department of Defense announced it will cancel former President Barack Obama’s Presidential Policy Directive 37, which largely banned American use of landmines and specific explosive munitions in warfare outside of the Korean peninsula.

As both a U.S. Navy SEAL and a war correspondent, I have served in and reported from some of the world’s most heavily landmined areas — Afghanistan, Burma, Cambodia, Egypt, Somalia and Laos, among others.

Based on what I have seen of the danger and devastation caused by landmines, I believe cancelling PPD-37 sets the wrong precedent for U.S. foreign policy.

And in case you thought, “Well, maybe the headline it’s…editors, right?”

Here’s the last 3 grafs of the op-ed.

Promoting the use of landmines and similar munitions creates grave risk and a cycle of endless war that hurts soldier and civilian alike.

The Pentagon ought to seriously rethink its cancellation of PPD-37.

It is a step backward, and likely to detonate on us.

I’m with Larsen on this, and the op-ed is a thoughtful, inside-baseball look at landmines and the impact they have. And I get the metaphor, just…nope.