[FoRK] Reducing defense spending

Ken Ganshirt @ Yahoo ken_ganshirt at yahoo.ca
Fri Jun 25 10:48:19 PDT 2010

--- On Fri, 6/25/10, Jeff Bone <jbone at place.org> wrote:

> On Jun 25, 2010, at 11:01 AM, Ken Ganshirt @ Yahoo wrote:
> > Stupid and irresponsible. By not being on the ground
> > in the area, you allow the enemy to simply hide in plain
> > sight .. right in the middle of the innocents. So your new
> > game-playing "warfighters" in their comfy distant
> > operational spaces will simply be killing lots of innocents
> > for every one baddy they might accidentally hit and
> > ratcheting up the propoganda win for the other side. We've
> > already seen that happening with the current limited use of
> > drones.
> It's called "incentives."  Do this enough and the civs
> may get tired of being expendable human shields, figure out
> where the blame should really be placed, and take care of
> business for you.  

Circular argument. Among the reasons you are in Afghanistan and Iraq is to protect the civs from thier oppressors because they can't do it themselves. Yeah, we all know it's a bullshit rationalization -- that that's the reason you are there. But we also know it's generally the truth -- they can't.

Worse, if you aren't on the ground you have no meaningful way to get the message to the oppressed civs that your cause is the Right One and they should be glad you are killing them in order to bring them to enlightenment. The more remote you are, the easier for the bad guys to paint you as the Evil Ones. They're right there taking casualties and helping the civs dig out ... and pointing out who did the damage. The more you destroy their infrastructure, their homes and kill them, and the more you do it without placing yourselves in some danger, the more you guarantee you are seen as The Enemy. The baddies are right there helping fix things ... and pointing out who did the damage.

I'm not making this up. Your own dumb grunts will tell you that a large part of the value to being on the ground is establishing cred with the locals. This, in spite of their lack of diplomatic training.

>  ... The enemy is willing;  if you
> play with one hand tied behind your back they've already
> won.  Always.

Yeah (truly). 

Why do you suppose you didn't learn that in Vietnam?

Why, after a decade of listing all the reasons the Russians couldn't win in Afghanistan and laughing at them for trying, do you suppose you didn't learn anything from your own analysis and just jumped right in to make all the same mistakes you laughted at the Russians for?

Not particularly bright, eh?

> Note that I didn't concoct the "far fewer grunts"
> hypothesis out of thin air by myself.  This is a
> growing consensus among certain parts of our military
> apparatus.  ...

Yeah. Well. *That* really lends credence to your argument, doesn't it.

> Rumsfeld, being an idiot, ...

Of course. But it doesn't matter. Even if you are not planning to Occupy, even if you simply want to chase the baddies out or help the locals chase them out it doesn't work. If you want to ensure the locals don't invite them back, you need to win the propoganda war. You need to be seen as, if not The Real Enemy, at least as someone Friendly; someone who genuinely has the locals' best interests in mind. You can't do that remotely.

The only winning use of remote warfare is to sterilize the region. But even so, you gotta make sure you get all the baddies along with the innocents. But even that is more likely a losing strategy. Even if you somehow managed to wipe out the local baddies with the innocents, you just made a whole bunch more new enemies in doing so. And those who already kinda didn't like you are now going to be hardcore.


More information about the FoRK mailing list