Trump targets Jeb Bush’s Iraq; Hillary hits back; US pulling Turkey’s Patriots; ‘Gitmo’ search; Fallen Army Golden Knight; And a bit more.

The 2016 fun continues today in Iowa—where the fight against ISIS in Iraq, among other national security issues, became a hot attack line for politicians seeking the White House.
The candidates are trying to generate some momentum in the early-voting state. But if the loneliest man at the fair (Rick Santorum) is any lesson, it’ll be tough to match last week’s melee, as Defense One’s Molly O’Toole reported: From Jeb Bush’s line on torture—“I’m not ruling anything in or out,” not even waterboarding and getting into a shout-out with an attendee over who forced the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq—to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hitting back on Benghazi and the email scandal dogging her campaign, vowing Friday, “I won’t play politics with national security or dishonor the memory of those who we lost.” Iowans and everyday folks Clinton’s been talking to on the trail don't seem to care so much about the media obsessions, she told reporters Saturday. And still, as she made her way through the crowd and media crush toward the popular “Pork Chop on a Stick” stand, a helicopter flew overhead with “TRUMP” emblazoned on its side in big white letters.
Trump made waves at the fair by talking about national security with Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press.” For all his ideas, however they may play inside national security community, what was clear in Iowa is that Trump has tapped into a genuine feeling among a certain segment of vocal potential voters. And his straight talk-style — often saying not what’s outrageous, but what most political leaders simply can’t or won’t voice -- is strikingly more authentic than how other candidates have delivered national security platforms and opinions, and what they’ve offered.  A lightning round of what you may have missed:
Trump on Iraq and Jeb Bush: "He said the United States has to prove to Iraq that we have skin in the game. We’ve spent $2 trillion, thousands of lives lost, wounded warriors who I love, all over the place, and he said we have to prove that we have skin in the game. I think it may be one of the dumbest statements I've ever heard. Skin in the game! We don't have to prove anything. First of all, the Iraqi officials are a bunch of crooks, if there even is an Iraq — which I don't think there is — Iran is taking over Iraq. It was one of the dumbest things ever."
Trump on how to defeat ISIS: “I want to take away their wealth...We take over the oil, which we should have done in the first place.”
On ground troops to Iraq: “It's ok. We’re going to circle it. We’re going to circle.” And here’s an AP roll-up of where other candidates stand on more U.S. boots to Iraq, with Graham still having made the most substantive pitch (with his 20k plan for Iraq and Syria).
Where does Trump seek military advice? “Well, I watch the shows.”
On Ukraine joining NATO: “I would not care that much, to be honest with you." But it’s this position that may have the most emotional potency—
Trump pitches oil-for-veterans: “We're going to have so much money [from the oil takeover] and what I would do with the money that we make, which would be tremendous, I would take care of the soldiers that were killed, the families of the soldiers that were killed, the soldiers, the wounded warriors that are—see, I love them...I want their families to get something because we got nothing out of that war.”
On the Iran deal: “They are going to take over parts of the world that you wouldn’t believe. And I think it’s going to lead to nuclear holocaust...[but] Well, it’s very hard to say we're ripping [the deal] up.” More on that from AFP here.
On Monday, the fun continues in Iowa, with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Carly Fiorina and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham stepping up to the soapbox at the State Fair. Graham will have something of a hometown advantage -- it's Veterans Day at the fair, with active and former military members enjoying $8 admission. Not to be outdone, Bush, now in South Carolina, will unveil his "plan for keeping America’s promise to our veterans," which is "Something Governor Bush believes must be a top priority for the next president of the United States," his campaign said.
Oh, Mike Huckabee is headed to Israel this week for some fund raising and talks on the Iran deal with “a number of officials,” AP reported yesterday.

In Syria, Assad regime aircraft bombed a marketplace yesterday in the rebel-held town of Douma, near Damascus, killing at least 100. Graphic images of dead children -- entire families -- flooded social media, shaming the global press for relatively ignoring the massacre. When compared to the scrum of hungry reporters encircling Trump this weekend vs. the dearth of Western reporters in the war zone, well, they have a point.
Exactly why is U.S. pulling Patriot missile-defense batteries from Turkey? The threat of missiles from Syria’s Assad regime is no longer cause for two missile defense batteries and their associated 250 or so U.S. troops inside Turkey, the U.S. announced this weekend. But NYT’s Eric Schmitt revealed there was far more to that decision than the ‘critical modernization upgrades,’ line the Obama administration publicly fed reporters.
“The Defense Department never liked the Patriot mission,” Schmitt writes, “which many Pentagon officials viewed as mostly a symbolic gesture. The Patriots in Turkey have not been called on to intercept a single hostile missile. The batteries and their troops are among the most highly demanded in the Army, and as the missile threat from the Assad forces seemed to ease, Pentagon officials sought to withdraw the units, give their troops more rest at home and focus on higher-priority threats from Iran and North Korea.”
ICYMI: Turkey will be bolstering their own air force with upgrades to some of their oldest Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 30 aircraft, IHS Janes reported.
Meantime, the Pentagon plans to sharply escalate their global drone missions—from a cap of 60 to soon as many as 90—in a phased plan to unfold over the next four years, the Wall Street Journal’s Gordon Lubold reported Sunday. Its a combined effort of Air Force, Army, contractors and more. You can read about it here.
But don’t count on the MQ-1 Predators to stay on past 2018, FlightGlobal reports.
There are, of course, plenty of hotspots to watch—including Yemen, where troops loyal to the exiled president continue to seize turf from Houthi rebels, taking their fifth province in the south this weekend; and Libya, where an ISIS affiliate is executing local rivals who had staged a revolt in the central city of Sirte that left nearly 70 dead in recent days.
ISIS claimed attacks in Baghdad this weekend that killed at least nine and wounded nearly three-dozen others. AFP has that one.
Iran-backed militias in Iraq are stymying Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s attempts at reform, WSJ reports.
ISIS is the new Taliban, but don’t think the Taliban have actually learned any useful lessons that will make life any less violent for those under their rule, The Daily Beast’s Afghan-based analyst Ali Mohammad Ali writes on the heels of NYT’s Friday reporting that the Taliban are presenting a more moderate face in the graveyard of empires.

Quest for “Guantanamo North” under way. The Pentagon is studying Gitmo alternatives stateside; these include Fort Leavenworth, Kans., and Charleston, S.C., Miami Herald’s Carol Rosenberg reported.
Whatever location gets the nod, it will need to hold “about 50 of the detainees,” a U.S. defense official told VOA News. But before that can even happen, Congress will have to change current law restricting the military and Justice Department from sending detainees to U.S. soil.

From Defense One

Armed artificial intelligence is here -- and should be banned. Self-driving cars tricked out with machine guns are possible right now—as are any number of weapons augmented with artificial intelligence that are far deadlier than their human-aimed counterparts. Google software engineer Zach Musgrave and the London School of Economics’ Bryan Roberts dig into why we should take a serious look at preventing these new weapons beginning right here.

Welcome to Monday’s edition of The D Brief, from Ben Watson and Kevin Baron. Want to share The D Brief with a friend? Here’s our subscribe link. And please tell us what you like, don’t like, or want to drop on our radar right here at

A quick word of remembrance for U.S. Army Golden Knight skydiver Sgt. 1st Class Corey Hood of Cincinnati, who died this weekend after an awful midair collision at the Chicago Air and Water show. Hood served five tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan and is survived by his wife, Lyndsay, ABC News reports.
Some impressive piloting took place at this weekend’s festivities in Chicago, and you can catch a good deal of it over here.

The White House wants China to yank its secretive teams of bouncers in the U.S. The U.S. claims Chinese agents are pressuring and intimidating Chinese fugitives, exiles and expatriates living inside U.S. borders, NYT reported this weekend.
Meantime, China and Russia are expanding deep surveillance measures on their citizens’ use of the web, STRATFOR analysts warn in this no-subscription-needed read in Business Insider.
Speaking of Russia, senior U.S. military officials believe the U.S. could defeat Putin’s army in a sustained battle—“but it would take everything we had,” and of course it would be probably the most devastating war for both countries, TDB’s Nancy Yousef reported.
For a deep dive into the complexities of declaring war in Ukraine, and how Russian information operations and special forces work in tandem to stymie NATO efforts, Small Wars Journal’s Bret Perry has this.
Putin’s “new” maritime doctrine for Moscow’s navy is in. Reportedly the first new direction in 14 years, it will focus on the Arctic and the Atlantic. More on that, here.

Chattanooga remembrance. U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter traveled to Tennessee Saturday to commemorate the five U.S. troops killed in the mid-July shooting spree, as Stars and Stripes reported.
“The meaning of their killing is yet unclear, what combination of disturbed mind, violent extremism, and hateful ideology was at work, we don’t know. Perhaps it will never be fully known,” Carter said.  
Biden, however, had no trouble going a bit further, calling the shooter a “perverted jihadist.” That via BBC, here.

The New York Times on Saturday dropped a bombshell showing that telephone giant AT&T bent over backward to help the NSA to directly target Internet users around the world. According the newly obtained docs dating from 2003 to 2013, AT&T installed surveillance gear on 17 of its Internet hubs in the United States, “far more than its similarly sized competitor, Verizon. And its engineers were the first to try out new surveillance technologies invented by the eavesdropping agency.” This enabled the agency to obtain on the order of 400 billion Internet metadata records a month, records which “include who contacted whom and other details, but not what they said.” Actually reading a U.S. citizen’s email on U.S. soil requires a warrant from the FISA court. If a foreign individual contacts the citizen, the NSA can, however, target the foreign individual with no warrant.
Domestic wiretapping laws don’t apply to foreign-to-foreign email traffic, much of which travels over AT&T cable. The partnership between the NSA and AT&T gave the agency “access to ‘massive amounts of data,’ and by 2013 the program was processing 60 million foreign-to-foreign emails a day.”
But “the real news is buried in the eighteenth paragraph,” where “allegations that critics have been making for years that the NSA has direct access to all the data transiting the Internet backbone have now been contradicted by classified NSA documents leaked by Edward Snowden,” writes Timothy Edgar in the Lawfare blog.

Now for a quick palate cleanser this morning, here’s a photographic diversion to Illinois’ abandoned Chanute Air Force Base, among the first to go in the Base Realignment and Closure process of the early ’90s. It’s some sad, poignant business and the military entertainment site We Are the Mighty does the curating here.  
And the folks at Task and Purpose offer this roll-up of the Army’s “tortured history” of drawdowns and budget cuts going back to the First World War. The chief difference between then and today: “Never before have such drastic cuts come at a time when the people of the United States and the government as a whole were so willing to accept military engagement with no long-term parameters…[while] the U.S. populace remains committed to the idea of American military power being used as a force for good in the world.”