Category Archives: military

QotD and some rumination thereof

Mitt Romney on the world, security, and US military strength:

We have two courses we can follow. One is to follow the pathway of Europe, to shrink our military smaller and smaller to pay for our social needs. The other is to commit to preserve America as the strongest military in the world, second to none, with no comparable power anywhere in the world. We choose that course. We choose that course for America not just so that we can win wars, but so we can prevent wars. Because a strong America is the best deterrent to war that ever has been invented.

There are so many problems with this statement it’s almost difficult to begin with.

First of all, Europe is an ally. Or at least they’re supposed to be. I have no idea why the Republican strategy seems to be to insult the entire continent whenever possible, and use the word “European” in the pejorative, as if to say that Europe is a disaster and we should avoid being like them. Then we can’t seem to figure out why they don’t want to back us up when the shit hits the fan.

Secondly, this notion that the only path toward security is throwing trillions of dollars into the military to build more tanks and bombs is such a childish view of strength I’m surprised the phrase “tree fort” didn’t Freudian slip its way in there. We’re not in the middle of the Cold War or WWII. The era of needing swarms of fighter jets and six million boots on the ground is over. Technology is advancing, and so is military strategy. In the 21st century, we’re capable of tactical bombing into someone’s toilet with our iPhones and ransacking a dictator’s HQ with a team of six.

Add in the fact that we have billions upon billions of dollars being wasted every year on projects that go nowhere and produce nothing, and the amount of money we can trim from the military budget without having a negative impact on our ability to defend ourselves is enormous. Mitt Romney’s blockheaded “WE NEED MOAR TANKS” nonsense is what someone who only cares about dick-waving says. Someone who’s less concerned with genuine capability and more concerned with being able to strut around talking about how we have more missiles than anyone else.

And finally, I don’t think I can say nearly enough how much I hate this notion that the United States is what keeps the world safe. Yes, the US had a great spurt between 1910 and 1950 where we helped win some damn big wars, but after the Cold War, Vietnam, and our Middle East adventures, it’s a safe bet that the world largely sees us like that guy who you always want on your side in a bar fight but tends to cause more problems than he helps. A rottweiler with a bad attitude that guards the house but also bites the neighbors.

Our military budget isn’t a numbers game, nor is anything else. Look at the world we live in. It’s not terrifying. There has been one significant terrorist attack on US soil in the last 20 years, and it caused about 7% as many deaths as traffic accidents that year. Since then, the worst thing Americans have had to worry about has been whether or not they’ll have a job and how much gas will cost. We’re not living in Beirut or Damascus. No one walks out of their house and goes to the store crossing their fingers that a guy wearing a TNT sweater vest will fuck up their day. Our leaders aren’t afraid of having stadium-sized rallies, because they know no one’s going to shoot at them or set off a dirty bomb. Our police aren’t worried about IEDs and we don’t need the military patrolling our streets.

Some places of the world may be unsafe, but the United States is quite safe, and wrecking our economy just to impress no one with how much we spend is a disastrous policy.


The Kandahar Shooting

I hesitated on writing about this particular little nugget of tragedy because I really wanted to make sure I had something to say about it, so here it goes.

As folks like NPR have noted, this came at an awful time. I am in no way suggesting that this guy did anything representative of the military as a whole, but you have to look at things in perspective. Coming on the heels of the Quran burning, it’s hard to imagine a worse one-two punch of American image tarnishing. Presenting an image is less important when the war is something like WWII when we were actually at war with the country itself, but in a war ostensibly attempting to root an evil element out of a country of otherwise peaceful people, attacking both their religion and their children feeds straight into the hands of those extremists.

Close your eyes and imagine for a moment if, for example, we had India helping us root terrorists out of USA and they were burning Bibles and shooting up playgrounds. You can bet your ass the Tea Party and 2nd Amendment fellaters would be making pipe bombs before you can say “fuck off, Apu”.

What should happen to the guy? Well that’s a damn hard question. The US obviously wants to try him in military court, where the smart money is on him being found mentally unstable and getting a perfunctory sentence (if any) followed by a fair amount of time in psychiatric help. The Afghanis want him tried in their court where he’ll almost certainly be executed.

Now, there is a bit of inherent hypocrisy in the US always insisting that they be the judicial body in cases regarding anyone involved in this conflict be they Americans or Arabs. Similarly, you can bet dollars to donuts if some extremist ran into a civilian area and fired on a bunch of kids he’d either be killed on the spot or dumped in a hole and have a car battery hooked up to his nutsack before the kids’ bullet holes stopped steaming.

So on one hand, I can see why the Afghanis would want to try them in their own courts. Aside from being skeptical that he’ll see actual “justice” if he goes to a military court, they clearly would want to actually take control in their affairs rather than sending him away for it. After all, it was their citizenry being murdered. But do I, a generally anti-death-sentence guy, support executing a man purely on symbolic principles?

No, I don’t. However, what I do support is letting the Afghani courts take control in these situations. He may or may not be put to death for what he’s done, but that should be their call. Not ours. I’ve said before that I don’t weep for insurgents and extremists killed in the field, but the crux of this is who should be allowed to decide the matter: the US military or the country bereaved. Would a German soldier in the United States who blew up a day care center expect to get shipped back to Germany so their army could deal with it internally?

However, to play devil’s advocate to myself, we are in a military action. He wasn’t vacationing there and looking to get extradited to the United States. If the Afghanis decide his fate, what happens to every other situation wherein an American soldier did something wrong? Should they all go to Afghani courts? Spend time in Afghani jails? No, that’s insanity. And where does the line go?

So, for the time being, I’d almost suggest a “joint court” of sorts. Send him to the American military courts with Afghan judges weighing in on the situation. Make it fair. He almost certainly won’t get executed, but he also won’t just get a slap on the wrists. Figure something out.

The bravery of the Gay Marine Kiss

A picture’s worth 1000 words, as they say.

Naturally, it created quite the buzz. My thought? If we have no problem with pictures of guys coming home and kissing their wives/girlfriends, there’s no issue here either. The attitude that gays should be forced to hide their affection is only slightly better from saying they shouldn’t be gay at all.

Possible backlash to video of Marines pissing on Taliban corpses

Let me just say that, in the abstract, I don’t have a problem with pissing on the Taliban. The idea that it’s okay to shoot and kill someone, but not pee on them, strikes me as peculiar. As though a video of them getting shot wouldn’t make anyone mad, but now it’s over the line.

That said, what kind of an idiot films this? Do people have NO concept of the nature of this war? There’s a pretty good rule of warfare: if you’re going to do anything you shouldn’t, turn off the damn cameras.

Prepare for the backlash: Pentagon suspends DADT

Here comes the fireworks

The moratorium issued Friday came after a ruling Wednesday by a federal appeals court in California ordering the Defense Department to immediately stop enforcing the law. The court said the law is unconstitutional because it treats gay Americans differently under the law.

Meanwhile, defense officials will continue to prepare for the law’s formal repeal, which Congress approved in December. The law will be formally repealed 60 days after the defense secretary and chairman of the Joint Chiefs “certify” that it will not adversely impact military readiness.

The United States has officially entered the 20th century.

I heard CBS News say…

That Obama’s plan concerning the troop withdrawal was “against the advice of his generals.”

Although I approve of doing so, I dislike the idea of a civilian president going against his military leaders.

NOTE: was out camping (work trip) for the past three days, hence total lack of updates. Back now, somewhat.

The Army Kill Team photos

See, this is why I don’t blindly offer my respect and admiration to anyone. These guys could come back to the US and shout about how they were putting their asses on the line to keep our country safe, when this is the shit they were actually up to.

I feel bad for the truly upright and virtuous members of our military who have to deal with the aftermath of this. Some kid barely out of high school is going to run over an IED because an Al Qaeda sympathizer is now identifying US military uniforms with the mutilation and murder of innocent children thanks to those jackasses.