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Author: TriSec    Date: 05/04/2021 11:30:29

Good Morning.

I'm not a motorcycle bro yet....but on the way.

There's a vast community of riders out there. Some ride for fun, some ride for charity, and some ride for mayhem.

You've no doubt seen (and heard) large groups of bikes going to and fro during the warmer months for whatever reason. Of course, coronavirus wreaked havoc on many of those charity rides last year.

One that is an annual tradition in the Washington, DC area is the annual "Amvets" ride on Memorial Day, up and down the mall. Thousands of riders are expected to converge on the area this year, to make up for the mere hundreds that participated last year in the early days of the pandemic.

Except it may not happen at all. The group usually relies on cooperation from the Pentagon, and stages the event in those vast parking lots at the site. Not this time.

Defense officials have denied veterans advocates permission to stage their annual Memorial Day motorcycle rally at the Pentagon parking lot, saying the crowd size poses a potential public health threat given the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The decision will force up to 10,000 participants already planning on attending the event to set up somewhere else in Washington for the weekend, complicating — but not outright cancelling — the annual tradition.

“There are no options with as much space and convenient routes to the memorials [as the Pentagon parking lot], meaning it will be more difficult, disruptive, and expensive than if they were available,” said Joe Chenelly, national executive director for AMVETS, the organizers of the ride.

“We don’t have time to worry about who has said no to us at this point,” he said. “We are now squarely focused on pulling together everything we need in the final few weeks.”

The “Rolling to Remember” event is scheduled for May 30. It is the successor to the annual Rolling Thunder motorcycle ride that was held for 32 years to draw attention to American service members still missing in action from wars overseas.

Moving on - it seems that the "new approach" in Washington brought on by successful regime change is starting to permeate through the ranks. Overall, the military is a bizarre mix of cutting-edge (technology) and conservative, old-school (leadership). Hard to say if this sort of mix plays a role in the way the military does things, but our new Defence Secretary has signaled that things may be on the verge of a sea change.

NAVAL STATION PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii — In his first major speech as Pentagon chief, Lloyd Austin on Friday called for developing a “new vision” for American defense in the face of emerging cyber and space threats and the prospect of fighting bigger wars.

Reflecting President Joe Biden’s promise to put diplomacy first in dealing with foreign policy problems, Austin said the military should provide leverage that diplomats can use to prevent conflict. His comments suggested a contrast with what critics call the militarization of U.S. foreign policy in recent decades.

“U.S. military isn’t meant to stand apart, but to buttress U.S. diplomacy and advance a foreign policy that employs all of our instruments of national power,” Austin said.

He chose to spell out his ideas at Pearl Harbor, at the center of U.S. military power in the Indo-Pacific region, reflecting U.S. concerns that China’s rapid modernization and growing assertiveness make it a powerful adversary. Notably, Austin in his speech did not explicitly mention China or North Korea.

In his first four-plus months as defense secretary, Austin has focused less on big policy pronouncements and more on immediate issues like the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and internal issues like extremism in the military, as well as launching broad reviews of defense strategy.

Speaking with the USS Arizona Memorial and the Battleship Missouri Memorial in the background, Austin cautioned that the U.S. military cannot be satisfied with believing it is the strongest and most capability military in the world today — “not at a time when our potential adversaries are very deliberately working to blunt our edge.” He appeared to be referring to China, which other officials say has accelerated its military modernization and sped up its construction of a wide range of sophisticated weaponry while the U.S. was focused for two decades on combatting extremist groups like al-Qaida in Afghanistan and, more recently, the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

Austin, who spent more than 40 years in the Army, including as the top American commander in Iraq during the last years of U.S. combat there, noted that he had spent most of the past two decades in “the last of the old wars.”

First and foremost, of course, will be getting the hell out of Afghanistan. England tried it...the Soviets tried it...and now we've tried to force our will on that region. Seems pretty successful, doesn't it?


10 comments (Latest Comment: 05/04/2021 22:18:04 by TriSec)
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