[FoRK] Reducing defense spending

Jeff Bone jbone at place.org
Fri Jun 25 10:52:18 PDT 2010


On Jun 25, 2010, at 12:23 PM, mdw at martinwills.com wrote:

> Sorry, people with your mind set, are in Congress, and have been killing
> 18-25 year-olds in Afghanistan and Iran for the last 8 years.

I *never once* suggested that we were adequately resourced in the present conflicts, as we've chosen to wage them.  Never would.  We've needed twice as many boots on the ground in both locales all along, given the way we structured the "missions."

But small correction:  we're in Iraq, not Iran. ;-)  Today, anyway.  At least, not in Iran in any "official" capacity...

>  It is people with your mind set that

You have clearly misunderstood something very fundamental about my mindset.

In short, I believe that if you're going to wage war, you wage it TO WIN.  Quickly and definitively.  That means killing people.  That means making whatever unequivocal, overwhelming, and sustained show of force and destruction is necessary to reduce the enemy's will to continue the conflict to zero.  Or, absent that, thoroughly eliminating their *ability* to continue it.  Nothing else suffices for victory.  That's the fundamental nature of the thing.  We kill ourselves (i.e., the unfortunate kids we send) by stupid, political half-measures.

> gives them the ROE that says you can't shoot unless you are shot at.

Again, I never once said anything that would suggest that nor would I.  If a potential hostile has a gun, you'd damn sure better have yours on him until he's dead or disarmed.  And if you think he's even remotely likely to try to make you dead, you make him dead first.  That's what guns are, in this context:  tools for killing people.  They aren't just cool props.

> It is people like you who say that unmanned drones are the solution

It depends on what the problem is.  I say, redefine the problem.

> when
> you have know idea what the capabilities of a drone are.  

I expect, in this case, that I have at least as good an idea of present, and probably a better idea of near-term, capabilities of those devices.


> Maybe ask those
> 30 wedding guests in Afghanistan what they think, oh wait, they're dead.

Now you've got one tire off the road.  Sorry, collateral damage is *also* a part of the equation.  If you can't accept it, then you shouldn't be engaging in the fine art of war.  Whether a poor decision is made by a grunt walking the street with a gun or a kid with a joystick is rather immaterial.  Both kinds of accidents happen.  For now, the kid with the joystick has a little more killing force in many cases, so his mistake costs more.  But that's not always the case.

Taking intelligence and recon more seriously would reduce that, though.  Our track record in the present conflicts on those fronts is pretty abysmal.

I get what you're mad about.  But I suggest that you are directing it the wrong way.  I suspect that if you'd cool off and use your head for something other than a perch for your cap, you might find that there's more commonality here than your unwarranted assumptions would suggest.  I'm angry, too, at the very people and the very mindset that you're talking about.  

jb




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