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This Is A Fair Question
#1

This Is A Fair Question
Lots of people walk around with this 'peace on earth - goodwill towards men' shit on their lips this time of year.  But to a large degree we are all complicit in what the government does in our name.

https://www.salon.com/2019/12/21/after-t...-with-war/

Quote:After the Afghanistan Papers, a big question: Will America ever give up its love affair with war?

Facing the Washington Post's huge Afghanistan exposé honestly requires asking some dark questions about America

Quote:The animating force of American political identity is war. For precisely this reason that all the candidates in the Democratic race for president (except for Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, polling at 1 or 2 percent) and the entire range of superstar liberal commentators — from Ta-Nehisi Coates to Rebecca Traister — have little or nothing to say about America’s destruction of Iraq, the existence of 800 military bases around the world, and the discretionary budget of the federal government, which allocates more than 50 cents of every dollar to the Pentagon.

America is a society that, without justification and with little political resistance, routinely annihilates innocent life. We do so without compunction from our political leadership, leading journalists, and general citizenry, as was recently laid bare by the Washington Post’s recent exposé on the war in Afghanistan. A massive discovery of Pentagon documents, including leaked interviews and testimony from former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, high-ranking military brass and other Pentagon officials, reveals that as early as six months into the war, the U.S. government and military believed that the Afghan conflict was “unwinnable” (whatever that means), purposeless and ultimately harmful to the Afghan people, American military personnel and American foreign policy interests. That war has continued for 18 years, costing trillions of dollars, but even more shamefully, killing approximately 150,000 people, including more than 4,000 U.S. troops and "civilian contractors," more than 60,000 Afghan troops and at least 38,000 Afghan civilians.
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
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#2

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The generals gotta be generaling. They have their toys. They need to play with their toys.
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#3

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Peace and humanity, can not coexist.
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#4

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Bernie has been pretty consistently anti-war his whole political career, no?

But both parties have done a very nice job boxing out anti-Free trade and anti-war candidates. Trump slipping through may be a once in a lifetime fluke when it comes to those two issues.
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#5

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(12-22-2019, 10:28 PM)Minimalist Wrote: Lots of people walk around with this 'peace on earth - goodwill towards men' shit on their lips this time of year.  But to a large degree we are all complicit in what the government does in our name.

In 2001, Afghanistan supported and provided refuge for the Taliban, which had just brought down the twin towers.  That was the justification for the war.

But of course you're pointing out that there was no need for the war to go on for so long, cost so much, and kill so many.  The real problem therefore seems to be that once war starts, it's very hard to stop it at a good place.
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#6

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Hey! War is fun.
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#7

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Quote:In 2001, Afghanistan supported and provided refuge for the Taliban, which had just brought down the twin towers.  That was the justification for the war.


Not exactly.  The Taliban had been ruling Afghanistan for the most part since 1996.  What they did was provide refuge to bin Laden in 1998.  Hospitality to guests is a prime duty for muslims - especially if they happen to be just as batshit crazy as you are.  They refused demands to turn him over to us without proof that he had been involved in the attacks.  After their second refusal, Bush started bombing them because that's what we do.

Apparently we think bombing people is a way to make them think kindly of us!
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
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#8

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(12-22-2019, 11:27 PM)Gawdzilla Sama Wrote: Hey! War is fun.


And we're good at it.   To a point.


Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
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#9

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Unfortunately, Australia has a degree of complicity in America's global war efforts.  We currently
host a US military base in Darwin (northern Australia).  The agreement between the US Government
and Australia underpins the stationing of 2,500 US Marines in Darwin. It's known as the Force
Posture Agreement (FPA), and was set in place in 2011 by Barack Obama.

It was presented as part of the new US military strategy called the "Pivot to Asia". A more accurate
explanation of this strategy would be "the relocation of a major part of the US military forces including
naval forces to the Asia-Pacific region to confront and contain China".

The FPA was signed in 2014 and operates until 2039.  Frighteningly (to me) it gives the USAF unimpeded
access to all of Australia’s airfields and facilities for their fighters and bombers as well as regional seaports
for their naval vessels.  Even worse, the FPA has enabled the US to effectively set up Australia as its
southern military base for operations in the Asia-Pacific area.  

The IPAN (Independent and Peaceful Australia Network) says:   

This US Marine exercise affirms the US intent to prepare for war with China. It also reinforces the IPAN
campaign to end the stationing of US marines in Darwin. The HMAS Adelaide has been modified to support
amphibious landing of troops on island territories and US Marines are now embedded on HMAS Adelaide
[a Canberra-class landing helicopter dock (LHD) ship] in training exercises. Clearly this is in preparation to
draw Australia into the US plans for potential hostilities with China.

Quote:"Every effort should be made to keep Australia out of yet another US war overseas and especially
against China, our major trading partner. In such a war scenario the US marines operating out of Darwin
would also draw fire, perhaps missiles on the Northern Territory. We need, for our own peace and security,
to see an end to the stationing of US marines in Darwin and end these war exercises with the United States".

The local AGE newspaper of 5 March 19 reported that North Korea had publicly painted a nuclear target on
Australia in April 2017.   Kim Jong-un's government seized on the fact that a contingent of US marines was
now in a permanent, rotating deployment in Darwin, in the Northern Territory.

—A reasonable conclusion would be that the US Marines stationed in Darwin, and the FPA do indeed draw
Australia into dangerous waters and are a risk to the country's peace and security.

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#10

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(12-22-2019, 10:56 PM)Alan V Wrote:
(12-22-2019, 10:28 PM)Minimalist Wrote: Lots of people walk around with this 'peace on earth - goodwill towards men' shit on their lips this time of year.  But to a large degree we are all complicit in what the government does in our name.

In 2001, Afghanistan supported and provided refuge for the Taliban, which had just brought down the twin towers.  That was the justification for the war.

But of course you're pointing out that there was no need for the war to go on for so long, cost so much, and kill so many.  The real problem therefore seems to be that once war starts, it's very hard to stop it at a good place.

Heard an article yesterday on the radio talking about how Rumsfeld was memoing "help" down the chain of command for advice on victory conditions and exit strategies in the spring of 2002, eight months into the war.
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#11

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(12-22-2019, 11:54 PM)Minimalist Wrote:
Quote:In 2001, Afghanistan supported and provided refuge for the Taliban, which had just brought down the twin towers.

The Taliban had been ruling Afghanistan for the most part since 1996.

My mistake.  I should have said "In 2001, the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan supported and provided refuge for al-Qaeda."
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#12

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I understand.  Still he had been there for 3 years at that point and much of the planning for the attacks  took place in Hamburg, Germany by Saudi fanatics.  With it not being enough to start fucking with Afghanistan Dubya had to attack Iraq as well which had nothing to do with 9-11 so the neo-cons lied.

But it true that Rumsfeld declared the end of major combat operations in 2003.  I guess the couple of thousand guys who were killed or maimed after that must have cut themselves shaving.
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
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#13

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The legitimate purpose of power is to try to prevent or end wars. The US did that in the first half of the 20th century. It failed afterwards. Because when you have a huge army, you can't help but use it.

As having only a hammer makes everything look like a nail, having a large army makes every solution look military.

The US today is like Great Britain was a century ago. And I'm not sure that even the best-meaning government with military power can withhold it. But I do know that we (the US) have overused ours and wasted people and treasure in support of military force as "first reaction".

I could get all high and mighty claiming it was The Cold War with The Soviet Union that caused that, but I won't. We ruined South America with involvement, we ruined some good possibilities in :Indochina", we ruined things in the Middle East.

Ho Chi Minh once sought US help to make Vietnam a democracy, but we sided with the French. And we sided with Fulgencio Batista y Zaldívar in Cuba when we SHOULD have sided with the emerging democratic regime. So we got Castro. Same nearly everywhere.

We are idiots. We have broccoli in our socks.
Joe Dimaggio hit safely in 56 MLB games. I never hit one. That means we averaged 28 games.. I didn't know I was that good!
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#14

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(12-22-2019, 10:56 PM)Alan V Wrote:
(12-22-2019, 10:28 PM)Minimalist Wrote: Lots of people walk around with this 'peace on earth - goodwill towards men' shit on their lips this time of year.  But to a large degree we are all complicit in what the government does in our name.

In 2001, Afghanistan supported and provided refuge for the Taliban, which had just brought down the twin towers.  That was the justification for the war.

But of course you're pointing out that there was no need for the war to go on for so long, cost so much, and kill so many.  The real problem therefore seems to be that once war starts, it's very hard to stop it at a good place.

A  little correction.  The Taliban had taken over Afghanistan and had allowed al Qaeda to operate there using Afghanistan as a safe harbor.  Attempts to get the Taliban to rescind this policy met with the Taliban refusing to do so and playing delaying games.  No way was the US going to allow al Qaeda to use Afghanistan as a base in a declared war of terrorism against the US and US allies.

This was the issue that took the US to war in Afghanistan.
In the beginning was the misteak.
Book of Erors 1:1


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#15

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(12-23-2019, 09:55 AM)Cheerful Charlie Wrote:
(12-22-2019, 10:56 PM)Alan V Wrote:
(12-22-2019, 10:28 PM)Minimalist Wrote: Lots of people walk around with this 'peace on earth - goodwill towards men' shit on their lips this time of year.  But to a large degree we are all complicit in what the government does in our name.

In 2001, Afghanistan supported and provided refuge for the Taliban, which had just brought down the twin towers.  That was the justification for the war.

But of course you're pointing out that there was no need for the war to go on for so long, cost so much, and kill so many.  The real problem therefore seems to be that once war starts, it's very hard to stop it at a good place.

A  little correction.  The Taliban had taken over Afghanistan and had allowed al Qaeda to operate there using Afghanistan as a safe harbor.  Attempts to get the Taliban to rescind this policy met with the Taliban refusing to do so and playing delaying games.  No way was the US going to allow al Qaeda to use Afghanistan as a base in a declared war of terrorism against the US and US allies.

This was the issue that took the US to war in Afghanistan.

Our goal was to capture Bin Laden to punish him for the crime he committed.  That could have been through Interpol, but we had to make it a military war in a place that has no express armies becuase what we had was armies.  Bush sent us into an asymmetric war to bomb the hell out of them as if that would change the way the people thought they should be lead.

We tried changing a culture.  Did Vietnam teach us nothing?  

The Taliban ARE Afghanistan.  They are the leaders.  Not in the sense that we know, but as THEY know.
Joe Dimaggio hit safely in 56 MLB games. I never hit one. That means we averaged 28 games.. I didn't know I was that good!
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#16

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Hermann Göring had some interesting words on the matter at Nuremberg.

"Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger."

That's exactly what we observe in American politics and the media.
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#17

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https://www.stripes.com/news/pacific/us-...s-1.603959
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#18

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Quote:https://www.politico.com/news/2019/12/20...gon-088735

Top Pentagon officials on Friday strongly pushed back against criticism that the Defense Department misled the public on the Afghanistan War, pointing out the high level of congressional, media and inspector general oversight during the past 18 years.

“I know there’s an assertion out there of some sort of coordinated lie over 18 years,” Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley said at the Pentagon. “I find that a mischaracterization in my own personal experience. You’re looking at probably hundreds of general officers, State Department employees, CIA, Department of Defense folks. I just don’t think you can get that level of coordination to do that kind of deception.”
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#19

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(12-23-2019, 03:32 PM)Alan V Wrote:
Quote:https://www.politico.com/news/2019/12/20...gon-088735

Top Pentagon officials on Friday strongly pushed back against criticism that the Defense Department misled the public on the Afghanistan War, pointing out the high level of congressional, media and inspector general oversight during the past 18 years.

“I know there’s an assertion out there of some sort of coordinated lie over 18 years,” Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley said at the Pentagon. “I find that a mischaracterization in my own personal experience. You’re looking at probably hundreds of general officers, State Department employees, CIA, Department of Defense folks. I just don’t think you can get that level of coordination to do that kind of deception.”

Institutional loyalty can sometimes look like a nefarious conspiracy.
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#20

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(12-23-2019, 09:55 AM)Cheerful Charlie Wrote:
(12-22-2019, 10:56 PM)Alan V Wrote:
(12-22-2019, 10:28 PM)Minimalist Wrote: Lots of people walk around with this 'peace on earth - goodwill towards men' shit on their lips this time of year.  But to a large degree we are all complicit in what the government does in our name.

In 2001, Afghanistan supported and provided refuge for the Taliban, which had just brought down the twin towers.  That was the justification for the war.

But of course you're pointing out that there was no need for the war to go on for so long, cost so much, and kill so many.  The real problem therefore seems to be that once war starts, it's very hard to stop it at a good place.

A  little correction.  The Taliban had taken over Afghanistan and had allowed al Qaeda to operate there using Afghanistan as a safe harbor.  Attempts to get the Taliban to rescind this policy met with the Taliban refusing to do so and playing delaying games.  No way was the US going to allow al Qaeda to use Afghanistan as a base in a declared war of terrorism against the US and US allies.

This was the issue that took the US to war in Afghanistan.

And there we sit, to this very day..... clueless.
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
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#21

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Quote:The US did that in the first half of the 20th century.


Did we? 

We did everything in our power to avoid getting involved.  We avoided WWI for 3 years and WWII for 2 years.  We failed to join the League of Nations.  We let our army atrophy.  Most of our early war planes were totally outclassed by Japanese and German designs.  About the only thing that saved us was the Two Ocean Navy Act in 1939 which followed the Naval Expansion Act of 1938, that gave us a head start in developing Essex-class carriers and their support ships.  That and our industrial production capabilities overwhelmed our enemies.

But I don't see us as being a force for peace before 1950 and certainly thereafter we acted like an international bully.
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
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#22

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(12-22-2019, 10:55 PM)jerryg Wrote: Bernie has been pretty consistently anti-war his whole political career, no?

Indeed he has. But he has tended to address it as a resource hog pulling money away from spending on various forms of public good (MFA, for example) rather than an inherent moral problem in and of itself. In the '16 campaign he had a similar tendency with other topics, for example always pivoting from questions about race to his economic policy. In this cycle he's doing a much better job of addressing some of these issues more directly on a moral basis rather than flogging his belief that economic injustice is the lynchpin that will fix everything. He is largely right on that in my view, but it's too abstract a concept for many people to connect to their own lives. People of color for example want him to acknowledge and say how he will directly address structural racism as they experience it on a daily basis, not how it is going to be indirectly addressed. And it is likely that addressing economic discrimination will not be enough to solve race problems, particularly in America. So he's evolving on this, in a good direction.

His most recent war-related action was to sponsor a successful bipartisan bill that tried to end US involvement in the war in Yemen. That Sanders got one of his bills debated and voted in, in this climate, is another bit of evidence that the notion he can't get anything done because he's too rigid, is bullshit.
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#23

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(12-23-2019, 02:05 AM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote:
(12-22-2019, 10:56 PM)Alan V Wrote:
(12-22-2019, 10:28 PM)Minimalist Wrote: Lots of people walk around with this 'peace on earth - goodwill towards men' shit on their lips this time of year.  But to a large degree we are all complicit in what the government does in our name.

In 2001, Afghanistan supported and provided refuge for the Taliban, which had just brought down the twin towers.  That was the justification for the war.

But of course you're pointing out that there was no need for the war to go on for so long, cost so much, and kill so many.  The real problem therefore seems to be that once war starts, it's very hard to stop it at a good place.

Heard an article yesterday on the radio talking about how Rumsfeld was memoing "help" down the chain of command for advice on victory conditions and exit strategies in the spring of 2002, eight months into the war.


I'm not sure what that means exactly.  Basically he was asking those below him to ask those below them on down  to figure out what exit conditions might look like?  If you've already elaborated, NM.  I'll come to it.
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#24

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(12-23-2019, 07:52 PM)Mark Wrote: I'm not sure what that means exactly.  Basically he was asking those below him to ask those below them on down  to figure out what exit conditions might look like?  If you've already elaborated, NM.  I'll come to it.

That was exactly the gist of the article I heard. I haven't vetted their sources so I won't stand by what they reported, but it's NPR, who generally have a good track-record for breaking stuff.

Found the article. It's from the show Fresh Air, which is not a news show but rather an interview/features/reviews show. The interview is with an author who wrote a book about the dithering in the chain of command early into the war. The passage in my mind when I wrote my post above is this one:

Quote:WHITLOCK: Sure. These memos are referred to colloquially in the Pentagon as snowflakes, and Rumsfeld is sort of a traditional executive. He didn't use email, but he liked to dictate a lot of memos. Sometimes, he'd dictate, you know, scores or dozens of them a day. Oftentimes, they were just a page, maybe a few sentences each where he was essentially barking out orders on paper. And these snowflakes, as it were - they were obtained by an agency called the National Security Archive, which is a nonprofit based at George Washington University under a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

The archive shared them with the Post, and we highlighted the ones that Rumsfeld wrote about Afghanistan. What's remarkable about them is, again, these are in Rumsfeld's own voice. And he's, you know, betraying essentially how worried he was about how the war was going in a number of respects. And when you see what he wrote or see what he dictated, a lot of it really jumps out at you.

DAVIES: Right. I mean, he was known for expressing such confidence in the U.S. military and its capability. Give us an example of something that betrayed some doubt.

WHITLOCK: Well, in 2002, just six months after the war began, one of his snowflakes was to some of his generals and senior aides where he says, we need to plan for what we're doing in Afghanistan. If we don't come up with a plan, we'll never get our troops out. And then he ended the memo, the snowflake, with one word. It was help, exclamation point. This was just six months into the war, when - you know, such a contrast to what he and President Bush we're saying in public, which was - you know, they were just full of confidence with how things were going. And yet, you know, these memos show that 17 years ago, Rumsfeld was aware of a lot of the problems that were to come and how he and his generals really didn't have an answer for them.

I've emphasized the key point. The full interview may be read here.

Again, I can't speak to the author's veracity. But it resonates with what I've heard elsewhere, and also with how matters played out in that tragedy.
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#25

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Quote:Indeed he has. But he has tended to address it as a resource hog pulling money away from spending on various forms of public good

And he was right about that.  Guns or butter.  Eisenhower warned us about the military-industrial complex.  We didn't listen then, either.
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