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September 22, 2014 / 27 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘u.s. military’

The Dreaded Drone

Monday, March 11th, 2013

At the end of last week we were consumed by the question of whether the President of the United States can order a drone strike on an American in the United States.

But why ask that question only about a drone?

Suppose that Obama decides that he wants Rush Limbaugh gone once and for all. He gives the order and B-52s from the 11th Bomb Squadron at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana are dispatched to put an end to the talk show host once and for all.

The B-52s arrive over Rush Limbaugh’s Palm Beach compound in under two hours and begin to pound away at his 2 acre estate dropping 2,000 pound bombs until absolutely nothing is left standing. Every building has been destroyed, the staff is dead, the golf courses are wrecked and there is no sign of life.

The 11th returns to base and receives a congratulatory call from Obama on a job well done.

Why can’t this happen?

For one thing it doesn’t make much sense. If Obama ever gets that determined to take down Rush, Team O will put together some ex-Feds turned private investigators to plant evidence of a Federal offense and then bring in the FBI. It’s a lot cheaper and less likely to make even Obama’s most loyal lapdogs balk at wrecking Palm Beach.

Federal prosecutors have nearly as good a track record at getting their man, innocent or guilty, as drones do. And they raise a lot fewer questions. Even mad dictators in totalitarian states aren’t known for sending air strikes to take out individual critics. Not unless they have no control over the territory that they are in.

So why not send in the B-52s to get rid of Rush Limbaugh? Because despite last week’s filibuster, military operations in the United States are far more restricted than law enforcement operations. The odds of a member of the United States Air Force killing you outside of a bar fight is very slim, but the odds of a member of a local or state police force killing you are far higher.

When it comes to the Federal government killing Americans, the civilian law enforcement side is far more likely to kill you than a USAF Staff Sergeant taking out Taliban across the border in Pakistan.

Every Federal agency has its own SWAT Team which is why every Federal agency is also buying up huge amounts of ammunition.

That means that you are far more likely to be shot by a SWAT team from the Department of Education’s Office of the Inspector General than by a drone operator from the 3d Special Operations Squadron in New Mexico (Motto: Pro Patria, Pro Liberis – For Country, for Freedom.)

The DOE’s private police force has the authority to use lethal force, conduct undercover operations, including electronic surveillance, and may not have drones, but does have 12 gauge shotguns and far more authority to use them on you than the Staff Sergeant in New Mexico does.

The Department of Energy has two SWAT Teams. The National Parks Service has four. And if any of them do shoot you, it will not result in congressional hearings or collateral damage. Law enforcement officers kill hundreds of Americans every year. One more won’t be a big deal. And the militarization of the police and the proliferation of Special Response Units in the Federal government are a far more serious concern than being taken out by a drone while sitting in a Starbucks.

Military operations in the United States are fairly tightly constrained and while that line has blurred at times, it’s still a much more difficult and controversial process. Today’s military is far less likely to be deployed against civilians than in 1932 when General Douglas MacArthur and Major George Patton led a fixed bayonet charge across Pennsylvania Avenue to dislodge unemployed protesters to protect President Hoover. And that is because Federal law enforcement has been militarized to such a degree that it can cope with just about anything short of a full-fledged civil war. And whatever it doesn’t have now, it will soon enough.

But let’s get back to the B-52s bombing Rush Limbaugh’s mansion. We all know that’s not likely to happen. But the idea of flesh and blood pilots climbing into planes and dropping bombs across Palm Beach has too much reality to it. The power of the drone is that it appears to be inhuman. It’s a new technology and it can do anything.

America Leaves Afghanistan to the Mercy of the Taliban and Iran

Monday, February 18th, 2013

In his State of the Union address, the president of the United States announced that the American army will begin to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan  before the end of the year, so that by the end of the year, 34,000 soldiers, approximately half of the total force,  will have left, and the other half by the end of 2014.

The American media – the Wall Street Journal’s weekend edition for the 9th and 10th of February, for example, paid close attention to the fact that the United States military is withdrawing without regard for the situation that these forces leave behind. The thrust of the coverage is that what is important for the United States today is how and when to get out of Afghanistan, without addressing the simple question: “What did we want to achieve and what have we actually achieved in the eleven years of the Sisyphean war in this country?”

The West’s invasion of Afghanistan began in late 2001, after the September 11 attacks revealed Afghanistan to be an al-Qaeda state and Osama bin Laden had formed a pact with Mula Umar, the Taliban leader, the main point of which was that the billionaire bin Laden would fund Afghanistan, and would be allowed to do whatever he wished with it. Bin Laden kept his word and Mula Umar kept his part as well. Within a few years – from the mid-nineties – the state of the Taliban became a terror state and hundreds of facilities such as training bases, enlistment centers and schools that taught the doctrine of terrorism were established on its soil.

Many Ethnicities, but No “Afghans”

This process was made possible because the Taliban, an organization based on the Pashtun people, gained dominance over the other ethnic groups in the country. Afghanistan is a multi-ethnic country that comprises more than eleven (!) ethnic groups: Pashtun, Tajiks, Hazaras, Uzbeks, Aimaqs, Balochs, Kyrgys, Turkmen, Nuristans, Pamirs and more. It is interesting to note that none of these groups are called “Afghan.” The country was named Afghanistan by the British and Russians who delineated the borders in the mid-nineteenth century because “Afghan” is a variation of the name historically attributed to the main ethnic group in that area, known today as Pashtuns.

Contrary to India, where English is the common language for all of the groups, in Afghanistan, the various ethnic groups have no common language. The weakness of the civil system stems from the fact that these ethnic groups differ from each other in every way: language, culture, leaders, dress, leadership and world view.

The fact that these groups are forced to live with each other creates friction and continual conflict, which has turned the country into a hell where armed militias fight each other fiercely and continually, despite the fact that everyone is Muslim.The Hazaras, for instance, are Shi’ites and are seen as unclean. It is important to note that each one of these ethnic groups is further broken down into tribes, which don’t always coexist peacefully with each other, and many of them tend to resort to violence immediately.

A Litany of Failures in Afghanistan

Since the creation of the state of Afghanistan, there have been several attempts to stabilize it. The British tried, failed and left it to its misery. The Soviets tried to stabilize its political system during the eighties and failed miserably, which accelerated the collapse of the Soviet Union. The United States invaded – along with its partners – toward the end of 2001, and it seems that it also is about to fail in its efforts to stabilize the state and governmental system.

The question that naturally arises is why all of the attempts to stabilize this miserable state have failed. The only possible answer is that it is simply not achievable, because the many ethnic and tribal units will never become one cohesive unit with a shared national consciousness, with loyalty to a common framework and common leadership. When a state tries to unify rival groups that have nothing in common, the task of leading all of them under one national framework is not possible. The Impact of Ethnic Diversity in European Cases

This need not surprise us: we need only glance for a moment at Europe to see what happened to the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia, who also – despite their having been functional states for more than seventy years – disintegrated into entities based on ethnicity. And what is happening in Belgium between the Flemish and the Walloons? And in Spain with the Catalonians who seek to secede from Spain? And in Britain with the Scots who, in another two years will vote in a referendum on whether to remain as part of the “United” Kingdom or not? And Cyprus, which is also divided on an ethnic basis? So what do the Aimaq and Hazara citizens of Afghanistan expect? That they will get along with each other better than the Czechs and the Slovaks?

No More Hot Breakfasts for U.S. Troops Serving in Afghanistan

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

As originally reported on the congressional website of Republican Rep. Bruce Braley of Iowa (IA-01), the U.S. Army has stopped serving breakfast to American troops serving on 17 bases in Afghanistan.  The measure, which will be extended further beginning this weekend, is one of the earliest stages in the U.S. military pull-out from Afghanistan.

On his website, Braley explained he learned about the military’s cutbacks from Iowa constituents whose family members are serving in Afghanistan.

The congressman sent a letter to Army Secretary John McHugh, in which he said,

“I am troubled that the Army would deny any deployed troops three meals per day, regardless of force size,” Braley wrote.  “These men and women put their lives on the line every day to protect the very freedoms we cherish. The exhaustive mental and physical labor that is required by soldiers to fight in harsh and unforgiving conditions is tremendous. We shouldn’t deny our troops something as fundamental as a proper meal.

“I am positive that with the logistical mastery the Army has exhibited in combat operations around the world, you can logistically administer the procedure of serving breakfast every day.”

According to a report in the Washington Times, troops have been writing home asking families and friends to send them care packages of cereals and other breakfast foods.

The U.S. military apparently decided it is sufficient to supply the troops with pre-packaged breakfast “Meals Ready to Eat,” known as MREs.  They are also referred to as “Meals Rejected by Everyone,” and are considered by health experts to be “restricted rations” which should not be served for more than 21 days.  MREs are supposed to be used for troops who are out in the field without access to cooking facilities.

Col. Joe Wawro, an infantry commander for the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat team said that in anticipation of the “draw down of  operational forces serving in Afghanistan, my staff examined ways to reduce our footprint and se the conditions for the reduction of forces.”  Cutting back on hot breakfast food for the troops, “would reduce their overall operations by 40 percent.”

After meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Washington on January 7, President Obama said the U.S. intends to withdraw most of the 66,000 troops currently serving in Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

You’re in the New Army Now

Monday, January 28th, 2013

Sending women into combat, like the end of the ban on official homosexuality, has been met with worried remarks about its impact on the “warrior culture.” But the new military that the left has been building for some time now is not interested in warriors; it wants peacekeepers.

The old army fought for a nation. The new one fights for vague concepts such as human rights or international law. Its goals are as intangible as those of the ideology it serves. It doesn’t fight actual enemies, but concepts and social problems. It fights against climate change, poverty and obesity. It fights for education, tolerance and the right of everyone to the gender of their choice. It isn’t really the army, it’s the hall monitors of the United Nations, the State Department, NATO and every liberal group on the planet.

Their ideal new soldier is not a warrior; he speaks three languages, appears non-threatening and can direct refugees, hand out aid to them and quickly pick up the local culture and religion. He is uncritical when witnessing child molestation, human sacrifice or any other quaint local custom. He is willing to die, not for his country, but to win the hearts and minds of the locals. He will not fire in self-defense if there is a single unarmed man, woman or child within twenty miles.

American soldiers have played the role of peacekeepers before, but in the new military that is their only role. They are the Peace Corps,  riding in under a U.N. flag when the video game boys back across the ocean have used remote drones to take out that portion of the enemy force that didn’t manage to find a human shield in time. Their mission is to set up generators, dig wells, patrol roads and smile a lot, unless smiling is not approved of by the local culture.

A warrior culture is supplementary to peacekeeping requirements. Warriors try to kill things. They want to win wars, instead of accepting that conflicts can only be resolved through negotiations and that their presence is a negotiating tactic, not a fight for survival.

The new soldier is a policeman of the world, watching crimes that he isn’t allowed to stop. He is a diplomat with a gun. He isn’t there to shoot anyone, except as an absolute last resort. Rather he is there to represent the United States on that great mission that is the only task of worth in a fatherless country, to be a role model. He is there, smiling and handing out candy, to convince the locals that even though we bombed their country, frightened their sheep and wiped out a lot of their smuggling income, that they should not hate the United States of America.

The old army projected the hard power of killing the people who wanted to fight us until they were either dead or willing to switch to competing with us by making transistor radios and electric shavers. The new army projects the soft power of winning over the locals so that they don’t want to fight us anymore. It’s not about winning wars, it’s about preventing the need for wars; even when already in the middle of a war.

To do all this our military has to become less American and more European, less imperial and more multilateral, an international consensus building exercise with bullets that aren’t meant to be fired. It has to become more tolerant and accepting. It has to lose the “warrior culture” and swap it in for the urban liberal culture that values consensus over performance and ideological conformity over all else.

The left is not comfortable with an army that is out of step with its values. A large standing army is a dangerous thing. Neutering it will take generations, but the left just won another four years in which it can have its way with national defense. And its way is to hollow out every institution, religion, workplace and family until they exist for no other reason than to pass on and implement its ideas.

The only way that liberals will ever accept the military is through the liberalization of the military into a force that projects their social values and fights to promote them abroad through human rights peacekeeping operations, rather than national defense. And when the peacekeeping force arrives in Timbuktu, Aleppo or Ramallah, it has to carry with it the liberal standard and convey to all the natives that the United States is wonderful because it represents gay rights, girl power and the wars on obesity, poverty and cholera.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/daniel-greenfield/youre-in-the-army-now/2013/01/28/

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