Thursday, July 8, 2010

In the News...

Lots of fun stuff is happening, as usual!

Airstrike "Complications" (Yeah, I'd call it a complication)

So for starters, we just killed five Afghan soldiers who were *gasp* actually doing their jobs! In our defense, it was an accident. So McChrystal instated new rules that made it difficult for soldiers to call in airstrikes on unidentified personnel. God forbid we actually like, exercise discretion before we go in, guns blazing like we're in the Lone Ranger or something. Totally unacceptable.

Yet those rules are loosened and we instantly see an uptick in deaths. Um...yeah. I'm thinking McChrystal's approach was better. The article put it this way-
"Yet other [soldiers] say there have been few cases identified where it is clear troops have been harmed because they were prevented from properly defending themselves – and that the drop in civilian deaths from airstrikes and night raids has also meant fewer enraged cousins and brothers who themselves become insurgents and kill Americans to avenge the deaths."

Can we learn this principle of "blowback" people? We let our soldiers kill civilians, our soldiers die. It's that simple. (Of course, we could avoid both parts of that equation by just getting the heck out of their country, but since it seems nobody outside of a village in Afghanistan seems to think that's a good idea, I don't think it's going to happen.)

As one of the commenters said- "Has any army since Alexander the Great successfully subdued Afghanistan? If not, what makes us think we can?"

Excuses, More Excuses

That's the title of a song BTW, written by a Christian evangelist person who is now dead I believe. He was hilarious. But anyway. That is irrelevant to this section.

What this portion is about is the fact that we keep finding more and more reasons to attack Pakistan and take over their government and stay there for decades and kill their people and harass their military and their government and ruin their infrastructure and all that fun stuff we've done in Iraq and Afghanistan.


Sure, it looks all nice on the outside- we've caught terrorists! We've charged them with crimes! We know who they are! We're going to put them in Gitmo and uh...use interrogation techniques that may or may not mentally and/or physically harm them, and find out all their secrets! Then we're going to put them in jail for a long, long time!


"Newly unsealed charges against Adnan G. El Shukrijumah...present the government's clearest case to date that the main al-Qaeda organization remains active in trying to attack U.S. targets, alongside similar efforts by al-Qaeda affiliates."

"The court filing comes as President Obama and senior national security aides have increasingly cited recent domestic terrorism cases as justification for the war in Afghanistan, noting that country's border with uncontrolled tribal areas in Pakistan where al-Qaeda is based and from which, U.S. officials say, threats continue to emanate."

Yeah. So the next logical step is, of course, to attack Pakistan and continue our quixotic search for these evil terrorists.

Tea Party Exceptions

So now Sarah Palin is trying to get the ardent members of that Tea Party populace to not engage in their deficit-reduction fervor quite so much. Why? Well, it just wouldn't do for us to stop spending 3-11 billion every time we bought a ship. Entirely unacceptable.


Last time I checked, we were in the midst of a major recession. When people are going through hard times, what do they do? Well, they might just decide to scale back, not just on that new gadget or on their food budget...but usually, they might also fire that extra security guard if they have one. Y'know. To save money and all that good stuff.

See there's this amazing thing about the Declaration of Independence, that thing we celebrated just a few days ago. One of the complaints they lodged against King George was that he had a standing army. Remember that? Yeah.

Kind of amazing, that little fact, right? ^.^

So yes. Just a little foray into three things that caught my eye. There's more, of course- lots of oil-spill drama, even more economic drama. However, I'm not going to cover it here...

As a quick note- I'm going to be leaving Sunday for church camp, and will not return till the following Sunday. I'm going to enlist my mother to post comments for me again. Play nice. ;)


suntzusays said...

Switzerland has compulsory military service (for men) and a standing military. There was a story a couple years ago about how their army while on maneuvers accidentally "invaded" Liechtenstein. The policy is democratically ratified through their canton system and referendums (they recently cut back the size of the standing army that way), but the end policy is a little more constrictive to liberties than having a purely professional volunteer army. In theory at least.

Actually using that army aggressively (which the Swiss don't end up doing) tends to do more restrictive things.

suntzusays said...

Also, while there was an intense mistrust of standing armies, the major reason for this was that they were used imperially rather than operating and existing under the control of the public (ie, the Parliament of England). That's why they put executive control in a civilian and elected authority (the President), and put the power to raise and fund those armies under another branch (Congress). That power exists and was uncontroversial that the state should be able to raise armies or soldiers and train professional officers for example, and that the states themselves should likewise be able to raise militias for internal security. It's possible that this philosophically conflicts with the concept of a free nation, but I'd be a lot more opposed to mandatory service or conscription than the existence of a professional military per se.

What is different and more troubling is that we have a gigantic amount expended on military power in what amounts to peacetime.

Liberty said...

Thanks for calling me out on that Sun Tzu. I learn a new thing (or something that corrects a previous impression) every day. :P

Anonymous said...

I don't think it is accidental to shoot to protect yourself. The Afghani government is not sovereign and is required to report its activities to NATO forces. It did not. It has a history of this sort of behavior.

I find your claim repugnant that our defense is: "It was an accident." Even your article refused to use the term "accident". It was more of a "misunderstanding".

You were fond of General McChrystal's tactics?

Liberty said...

Tragedy- hmm. We're in the country of Afghanistan. We're supposedly supposed to be setting up a government that can stand on its own. We are also supposedly setting up a military that will be able to take over and run itself.

And...we're babysitting them like they're our retarded stepchildren or something. I could be wrong about this, but I think it might just be time for us to kind of, oh, let the Afghan military show some sort of...initiative and all that good stuff governments and militaries are supposed to have.

I find your semantics interesting. ^.^ But in a way, you're right. It wasn't an accident. It was a case of mistaken identity wherein a mistake was committed by a mistake-prone military that once again committed a mistake via a misunderstanding concerning the actions of the Afghan military.

And I can't say I was fond of all McChrystal's actions, but on this case, I think he had something right. Establishing rules governing our military and how they should act in another country isn't a bad thing, especially when civilian death tolls were steadily rising.