American soldiers aren't "defending their country"

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the clockmaker:

Vegosiux:
Thank you for answering my question, even if I had to fish the answer out from a pile of ballast. Have a good day.

And thanks for failing to defend any of your points, to refute any of mine, to understand any of my posts and to understand the issue. That is one of my least favorite things about this sub forum, people insist that you refute their points and then suddenly clam up when you do.

But then, that's the world isn't it, everyone gets annoyed and no one learns anything.

And by the way, 'that ballast' is actually the complexity that you profess to understand but you have shown clearly and repeatedly that your understanding of the war on terror goes no deeper than the soundbyte level. Have fun.

If it's any consolation, I found your explanation pretty interesting. I believe that specialized troops should have been sent instead of regular "grunts". Even if a display of force is effective, it's nothing as simple as "bomb them problem solved". Because there's a difference in deterred and committing a massacre which will enrage people on the ground level. Collateral damage is very hard to justify, but that's the idealist- pacifist in me talking.

I know you don't like it if people start quoting movies, but there was an interesting movie/documentary called "Fog of War", which was part documentary and part biography of Robert McNamara, and there's actually bits where he provides his own little "lessons". One of the main passages of the movie is when McNamara goes into Vietnam and gets into an argument with an official, because the official said that Vietnam hated China and for a good part of it's history has been at war with it. Which meant that the war was essentially meaningless, since the whole "domino effect" was simply not going to happen.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fog_of_War

"Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara

These topics were selected by Errol Morris and highlighted in the film, they were not selected by McNamara.

Empathize with your enemy
Rationality will not save us (It was when he said that during the Cuban Missile Crisis, smart rational man may have plunged the world into war.)
There's something beyond one's self
Maximize efficiency
Proportionality should be a guideline in war (The truest one.)
Get the data

Belief and seeing are often both wrong
Be prepared to re-examine your reasoning
In order to do good, you may have to engage in evil (Which is I don't really like)
Never say never (which is stupid)
You can't change human nature

Ten additional lessons from R.S. McNamara

These topics were selected by McNamara to supplement the documentary; they are in the DVD's special features.

The human race will not eliminate war in this century, but we can reduce the brutality of war-the level of killing-by adhering to the principles of a "Just War," in particular to the principle of "proportionality."
The indefinite combinations of human fallibility and nuclear weapons will lead to the destruction of nations.
We [the U.S.A.] are the most powerful nation in the world-economically, politically, and militarily-and we are likely to remain so for decades ahead. But we are not omniscient. If we cannot persuade other nations with similar interests and similar values of the merits of the proposed use of that power, we should not proceed unilaterally except in the unlikely requirement to defend directly the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii.
Moral principles are often ambiguous guides to foreign policy and defense policy, but surely we can agree that we should establish as a major goal of U.S. foreign policy and, indeed, of foreign policy across the globe: the avoidance, in this century of the carnage-160 million dead-caused by conflict in the 20th century.
We, the richest nation in the world, have failed in our responsibility to our own poor and to the disadvantaged across the world to help them advance their welfare in the most fundamental terms of nutrition, literacy, health and employment.
Corporate executives must recognize there is no contradiction between a soft heart and a hard head. Of course, they have responsibilities to stockholders, but they also have responsibilities to their employees, their customers and to society as a whole.
President Kennedy believed a primary responsibility of a president-indeed the primary responsibility of a president-is to keep the nation out of war, if at all possible.
War is a blunt instrument by which to settle disputes between or within nations, and economic sanctions are rarely effective. Therefore, we should build a system of jurisprudence based on the International Court-that the U.S. has refused to support-which would hold individuals responsible for crimes against humanity.
If we are to deal effectively with terrorists across the globe, we must develop a sense of empathy-I don't mean "sympathy," but rather "understanding"-to counter their attacks on us and the Western World.
One of the greatest dangers we face today is the risk that terrorists will obtain access to weapons of mass destruction as a result of the breakdown of the Non-Proliferation Regime. We in the U.S. are contributing to that breakdown"

I don't agree with all of them, and as I said, I have no knowledge of the military, but I think these guidelines would have been useful, if not so much for the war in Afghanistan, then at least for the Iraq War.

EDIT: It's an interesting movie, but I won't pretend that I know anything of tactics. Just my opinion.

Frission:
words

I think I actually saw that documentary, and I have no problem with people actually laying out their opinions, or even using documentaries as a source of those opinions, my only problem is with people who use soundbytes to pretend they have a full understanding of the situation. You seem at least, aware of gaps in your knowledge and attempting to fill them, which everybody should be doing in every field they have an interest in.

And you are very much right with 'specialized troops' being more required than 'grunts' . All cards on the table, I am Australian, so I am viewing this through that specific lens, but here the concept of the 'strategic private' has been embraced. This means, in theory, that even the shit kickers on the ground are supposed to understand the reasons for and consequences of their actions. Unfortunately, to the best of my knowledge the US has been less enthusiastic in applying this.

Finally, there is always a place for pacifists as military action is, and should always be just an avenue for the decrease in overall international suffering. If building schools and dropping medicine does more good than dropping a bomb, than that is the better option.

the clockmaker:
And you are very much right with 'specialized troops' being more required than 'grunts' . All cards on the table, I am Australian, so I am viewing this through that specific lens, but here the concept of the 'strategic private' has been embraced. This means, in theory, that even the shit kickers on the ground are supposed to understand the reasons for and consequences of their actions. Unfortunately, to the best of my knowledge the US has been less enthusiastic in applying this.

If Blablah was still here, he'd mention his experience in Afghanistan, with locals wanting to be occupied by any foreign soldiers other than the Americans, who want stomp all over them and wonder why they weren't getting local support.

The US seems to have problems with peacekeeping. Possibly it's because of the size of their military, they've got more soldiers per capita than most, so can't screen and train everyone as well. Being a superpower might not help as well, they've do very well in a conventional war, only the other side won't play nice and oblige them...the US has some very nice hammers, so their problems look like nails.

By contrast, Australian troops seem to be able to play nice and work with the natives. You don't hear about peacekeeping disasters in East Timor or the Solomons. True, the conditions aren't the same, but the trick to fighting an insurgency is not actually having to.

EDIT: Oh, and I'd be wary of trusting anything McNamara said. He was responsible for any number of clusterfucks. For example, he decided early on the US et al would lose in Vietnam, he just didn't do anything about it.

thaluikhain:

the clockmaker:
And you are very much right with 'specialized troops' being more required than 'grunts' . All cards on the table, I am Australian, so I am viewing this through that specific lens, but here the concept of the 'strategic private' has been embraced. This means, in theory, that even the shit kickers on the ground are supposed to understand the reasons for and consequences of their actions. Unfortunately, to the best of my knowledge the US has been less enthusiastic in applying this.

If Blablah was still here, he'd mention his experience in Afghanistan, with locals wanting to be occupied by any foreign soldiers other than the Americans, who want stomp all over them and wonder why they weren't getting local support.

The US seems to have problems with peacekeeping. Possibly it's because of the size of their military, they've got more soldiers per capita than most, so can't screen and train everyone as well. Being a superpower might not help as well, they've do very well in a conventional war, only the other side won't play nice and oblige them...the US has some very nice hammers, so their problems look like nails.

By contrast, Australian troops seem to be able to play nice and work with the natives. You don't hear about peacekeeping disasters in East Timor or the Solomons. True, the conditions aren't the same, but the trick to fighting an insurgency is not actually having to.

EDIT: Oh, and I'd be wary of trusting anything McNamara said. He was responsible for any number of clusterfucks. For example, he decided early on the US et al would lose in Vietnam, he just didn't do anything about it.

Yes, I think that the yanks could benefit from a more streamlined military like ours and on top of that, the yanks don't really know what it is like to be powerless, so it is a bit harder for them to understand that feeling at an institutional level. Australia is in the same pond as Indonesia, China and India, so I think that we find it easier to empathise with, for example, the timorese in feeling like the little fish. That and we, culturally, tend to be a little more open and laidback, possibly due to our relative youth as a nation.

Say one thing though, when something has to be done and damn the consequences, when you need doors kicked in, bunkers destroyed, cities secured and a world of hurt lain down, the yanks are the ones you want by your side.

the clockmaker:

Vegosiux:
Thank you for answering my question, even if I had to fish the answer out from a pile of ballast. Have a good day.

And thanks for failing to defend any of your points, to refute any of mine, to understand any of my posts and to understand the issue. That is one of my least favorite things about this sub forum, people insist that you refute their points and then suddenly clam up when you do.

Well, you kind of did not refute my point...You don't refute a point by saying "Yeah, what you say is true, but...a, b, c, d"; and you refute a point even less by having someone else say that for you.

But then, that's the world isn't it, everyone gets annoyed and no one learns anything.

Oh I learn something from everything, even from getting annoyed. I mean, I learned a thing or two even now, to which I'll happily admit.

Some people, tho, I agree, they'll just stubbornly insist on "I'm right, you're wrong", stomp their feet, call people names and refuse to learn anything.

And by the way, 'that ballast' is actually the complexity that you profess to understand but you have shown clearly and repeatedly that your understanding of the war on terror goes no deeper than the soundbyte level. Have fun.

Thanks to your attitude I'm not too inclined to go into the meat of this with you, if you have to pretend "I'm just failing to understand", that says more about you than you says about me.

But no, I am not discussing this with anyone who can't make a point without spending twice the time needed for that on calling me a moron. I've got enough of that shit from my ex-girlfriend.

(And before you point at the relative amounts of text, let's just say I was talking about time taken, not words inserted)

Vegosiux:

the clockmaker:

Vegosiux:
Thank you for answering my question, even if I had to fish the answer out from a pile of ballast. Have a good day.

And thanks for failing to defend any of your points, to refute any of mine, to understand any of my posts and to understand the issue. That is one of my least favorite things about this sub forum, people insist that you refute their points and then suddenly clam up when you do.

Well, you kind of did not refute my point...You don't refute a point by saying "Yeah, what you say is true, but...a, b, c, d"; and you refute a point even less by having someone else say that for you.

But then, that's the world isn't it, everyone gets annoyed and no one learns anything.

Oh I learn something from everything, even from getting annoyed. I mean, I learned a thing or two even now, to which I'll happily admit.

Some people, tho, I agree, they'll just stubbornly insist on "I'm right, you're wrong", stomp their feet, call people names and refuse to learn anything.

And by the way, 'that ballast' is actually the complexity that you profess to understand but you have shown clearly and repeatedly that your understanding of the war on terror goes no deeper than the soundbyte level. Have fun.

Thanks to your attitude I'm not too inclined to go into the meat of this with you, if you have to pretend "I'm just failing to understand", that says more about you than you says about me.

But no, I am not discussing this with anyone who can't make a point without spending twice the time needed for that on calling me a moron. I've got enough of that shit from my ex-girlfriend.

If at any point you had demonstrated a deeper level of understanding I would have engaged you on that level but as you did not I cannot. I am not pretending anything, you are acting like there are simple answers when there are none. YOu make simple statements when the situation is not simple.

You asked if the concept of detterance was not working in our war, I gave reasons that it was, you then hid behind the idea that I am attacking you as a person. I am not, I am sure that you are a lovely bloke with many fine qualities, but from very limited scope of this thread, you seem to have no idea on the meat and bones of the war on terror. This does not make you a moron, not everybody understands everything, I, for example know little about medicine or vehicle mechanics, but you do need to see the gaps in your own knowledge and plug them if you intend to discuss this matter. If someone is accusing you of not understanding something, the best course of action is not to simply claim that you do, but to demonstrate that you do (something that I feel that I have done, and if you actually have any questions I would be happy to discuss them with you). Unfortunately every one of your posts has been a steadfast insistance that you do know what is going on, with no demonstration of same.

I get the sense that you are trying to extricate yourself here, which is fair enough, if you want to let this go I will too, but if you want to continue, show some understanding, don't just claim to have it.

thaluikhain:

EDIT: Oh, and I'd be wary of trusting anything McNamara said. He was responsible for any number of clusterfucks. For example, he decided early on the US et al would lose in Vietnam, he just didn't do anything about it.

Tell me about it. The movie was shot years after when he was an old men. You still got a full list of terrible things done.

I never though he decided early on that the US would lose early on. I fact, I thought his main failing was that he refused to see the reality on the ground and kept on using more and more extreme measures like agent orange. He became so obsessed that the Vietnam war became "McNamara's War".

It's an interesting movie. The bits on the Tokyo Firebombing, Cuban Missile Crisis and Vietnam War are some of the most interesting, even if they were rather disheartening. I don't like the man, but his "lessons" are pretty good in some regards:

-We [the U.S.A.] are the most powerful nation in the world-economically, politically, and militarily-and we are likely to remain so for decades ahead. But we are not omniscient. If we cannot persuade other nations with similar interests and similar values of the merits of the proposed use of that power, we should not proceed unilaterally except in the unlikely requirement to defend directly the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii.

-We, the richest nation in the world, have failed in our responsibility to our own poor and to the disadvantaged across the world to help them advance their welfare in the most fundamental terms of nutrition, literacy, health and employment.

-Corporate executives must recognize there is no contradiction between a soft heart and a hard head. Of course, they have responsibilities to stockholders, but they also have responsibilities to their employees, their customers and to society as a whole.

-President Kennedy believed a primary responsibility of a president-indeed the primary responsibility of a president-is to keep the nation out of war, if at all possible.

-War is a blunt instrument by which to settle disputes between or within nations, and economic sanctions are rarely effective (I disagree with this). Therefore, we should build a system of jurisprudence based on the International Court-that the U.S. has refused to support-which would hold individuals responsible for crimes against humanity.

-If we are to deal effectively with terrorists across the globe, we must develop a sense of empathy-I don't mean "sympathy," but rather "understanding"-to counter their attacks on us and the Western World

You can make a checklist of things that were not followed during the Bush years and with the Iraq war.

Frission:
You can make a checklist of things that were not followed during the Bush years and with the Iraq war.

One of the biggest and most avoidable fuck ups the Bush (Jr) Admin made in Iraq was de-Baathification - kicking everyone who was a member of the Baathist Party from any government/civil job... with no mind paid to the fact that joining the Baath Party was required of those people so they ended up gutting the entire civil infrastructure of Iraq and leaving a lot of pissed off otherwise-moderate, working- and middle-class Iraqis without any means of support... and just to make it better, where did most of that work end up? In the hands of foreign contractors.

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