[FoRK] Reducing defense spending

Jeff Bone jbone at place.org
Fri Jun 25 11:06:17 PDT 2010

On Jun 25, 2010, at 12:48 PM, Ken Ganshirt @ Yahoo wrote:

> 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.

Ahmad Massoud might beg to differ.  Had we done right by him, things might be very different today.

> 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.

No doubt.  I'm not suggesting otherwise.

I'm saying that going about things this way is the inevitable consequence of defining goals a certain way.  

Let's be more careful about how we define our goals;  choose them in such a way that we avoid creating certain situations.

>> ... 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?

Because they didn't allow second-graders to enlist? ;-)

Oh, you meant the plural you...

> 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?

Bush.  Idiots.  I said as much, on this list, when that whole debacle began nearly a decade ago.

> Not particularly bright, eh?

Wouldn't claim otherwise.

> 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.


You've heard of this little non-conflict called the "Cold War" I assume.

Lots of "battles" won (and a few lost) at pretty minimal cost and no occupations of consequence.  Whether or not you agree with any of the actions or outcomes, or even motivations, the means were very effective.  South America was fun.  Africa, less so.  The Middle East mess today is the counterpoint, though;  a lot of THAT mess occurred because we were not culturally competent to handle that region.  Too dissimilar, and too little commitment up the chain to understanding what the field ops were trying to warn about.

I'm saying, we potentially have even better means for handling things like that today.

Again, Massoud.  Somebody should write a speculative alternate history of what the world would look like had we not thrown him under the bus.

The thing that puzzles me is this:  after the first Gulf War, we seemed to reacquire the taste for large theatrical war.  It's as if a generation of folks retired and *that's* how we unlearned all the lessons of Vietnam...


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