Saturday, May 28, 2011

Thoughts On Memorial Day Weekend

Our most recent casualties out of thousands in Afghanistan and Iraq

Posted by: Noël Jones

While a lot of Americans tend to look at Memorial Day weekend as a three-day mini-vacation (or stay-cation, in this economy), others whip out their American flags and beat their chests about how patriotic they are and how much they "love" our troops. Being that I have a brother in the Army, that has served two tours in Iraq and will likely get sent to Afghanistan next, I try to think about what patriotism means, think about the lives already lost, the new lives that will be lost soon, and ask myself why we are currently involved in two wars in the Middle East that have been going on for years.

The image above is from this Washington Post article for Memorial Day which has links to data on all casualties for U.S. and Coalition forces in the Middle East.

Aside from the hundreds of millions we waste each year on redundant "defense" contracts for KBR and Halliburton that continue to fleece the American taxpayer, what I'm really sick of is how many young
American lives are being lost, or forever altered by life-shattering injuries.

Some, on Memorial Day, like to wrap themselves in the American flag, glorify war and romanticize our troops, but in my opinion, the best way we can "support our troops" is to bring them home from these senseless wars that are getting us nowhere, but instead are actually increasing the number of people in Aghanistan and Iraq who want to become terrorists to attack us. Why not bring these soldiers home, to defend us here, to guard our borders, thwart terrorist attacks, and help with rescue and recovery efforts when we are barraged with hurricanes, floods and tornados? Wouldn't they still be heroes?

Osama Bin Laden and his pilots killed over 3,000 people on September 11th, 2001--it's true. But now it is ten years later, and how many have we lost going after him? Check the link and see. How many troops have sustained life-altering injuries, like loss of limbs and brain trauma? Check here to see injuries listed by state. When are we going to admit that in the end, none of the battles and skirmishes in the mountains and deserts that took these American soldiers lives and limbs led to Bin Laden's capture, but rather a small elite assassination team? We are not supposed to call it that, but that's what took out Bin Laden--an assassination squad. So if what it really took to get him was intelligence gathering and a small squad of special ops types, why are we sending thousands of troops into deserts and mountains and poppy fields where we are not wanted, and where the unintentional collateral damage to civilians only breeds more anti-American sentiment, boosting recruitment by terrorist cells? Aren't we supposed to be over there to "make America safer"?

KBR and Halliburton have powerful lobbyists in Washington that never want to see these wars end, because they can keep the profits rolling in on redundant "defense" contracts. Like when my brother, who served two tours in Iraq, observed KBR building a brand new mess hall in the desert across from the already-existing perfectly good mess hall, as they were drawing down the troops--in other words--as the troops were leaving, KBR was building a brand new mess hall for troops who would not even be there--and all with our tax dollars. That was just one of many instances of waste that he saw while he was over there.

That is why I cannot respect the Tea Party in America when they wave their flags, boast about their "patriotism" and claim to "support our troops" while professing to want to cut wasteful spending--because until they go on the warpath against wasteful "defense" spending and senseless wars, it's all just lip service. What they actually support now is sending our troops off to senseless deaths and injuries while KBR and Halliburton get rich on our tax dollars, all the while wrapping themselves in the American flag and calling themselves patriots. If anyone so much as suggests that there is wasteful military spending going on--or that there's no point to being over there in the first place--this false patriotism lunges like a pit bull on a leash at whoever is speaking, before the speaker can even finish his sentences. I was at a Tea Party meeting a while ago where this very scenario occurred. The audience got so riled up at the speaker that a moderator had to suggest that the speaker move on to other safer topics, like ending wasteful spending on assisting the poor, which the Tea Party is all for. Wasting tax money to give Halliburton and KBR billions so our youth can lose their lives in pointless battles overseas-good. Wasting tax money on food stamps and medical assistance for the poor and the elderly-bad.

There is nothing patriotic about wasteful military spending. And there is nothing patriotic about telling young men and women that they are heroes and then sending them off to their deaths overseas, when they could be our heroes, rescuing and defending us, right here at home.

And when are we going to start putting some serious money behind development of alternative sustainable fuels, and passenger rail in this country, to end our addiction to oil and gas guzzling? Is living in the burbs and driving 30 minutes back and forth to work every day really so great that it's worth all the tax money we're spending and the lives we're losing and injuring in these wars?


David Caines said...

I think a big change between this and former wars is that we no longer blame the troops. I support out troops, I detest the wars, but for many it does make things tricky. Many feel awkward or un-patriotic about challenging the wars, and most don't want to be seen as blaming the troops.
This is a real problem for a lot of people.
In the past, activists railed against the troops, spit on them , burned flags and all of that stoned non-sense, but it set a certain tone of anti-war sentiment that we really haven't as a people quite gotten around.
And there is a certain catch 22 involved that makes these wars hard to protest. For most Americans do support our troops, we just haven't yet figured out how to do that while holding our elected officials accountable for their actions.
In past wars it was easy to hate "The baby killers", "Racists" , pick the name that makes it easiest to hate the man or woman doing the job we sent them to do.
Now thankfully we're out of the sixties and off the drugs and we get that part of it.
But without that convenient and easy target to hate, most of us are a bit stumped.
Well, just my two cents,
But if we support our troops and despise the wars, then that means protesting against those in power....and I think most Americans will think twice about that, as they are not easy targets like our soldiers once were (and may yet again become).
Anyhow, there are quite a few tri-corner flags in the Caines family. I hope for those who have loved ones serving abroad that no more need be added to any American family. Your brother and Terrance's son, Bary's Grandson and a few of my cousins.

noel jones said...

Good points, David. I do think that there is something to be said for living in the Information Age. It is much harder to be as sheltered and/or willfully ignorant as we once were.

Not that we, as Americans, aren't still terrifically ignorant of the machinations of the powers-that-be, and/or the real motivations behind sending troops to war, but the average American knows a little more than we knew in the 60s--we can't help it--the information is all around us, on the internet, and all over cable TV, both of which didn't exist in the then. Most Americans are just informed enough to have become jaded, cynical and to harbor a general distrust for the motivations of our government, because most are too lazy to look any further and try to do something about it.

But what I do think has been a lasting effect from the anti-war protests of the 60s, is the blind identity divide in the population. Family's who had troops that died or came back after the war developed a deep hatred for liberals protesting the war--and why not, with all the "baby-killer" vitriol being shouted at them?

The liberals, as you mentioned, had a convenient target to blame and hate, and therefore did not have to think as much about the governmental powers manipulating these soldiers--which is much more complicated--never mind exercising COMPASSION for what these people had been through and lost.

So families have kids, and raise those kids with stories about who the good guys and the bad guys are, what to be proud of and what to despise, and a couple of generations later, you've got conservatives and liberals hating each other bitterly without even understanding why--it is a knee-jerk reaction to defend one's sense of identity by attacking another's, and it preempts the exercise of REASON. People "support the troops" while blindly supporting the wasteful military spending policies of the government as they sending them unnecessarily to their deaths and injuries. And self-righteous liberal anti-war protestors love to point fingers at troops thrown into split-second decision-making scenarios and condemn them for any mistakes made, when they themselves would do no better (in fact, they would surely do worse). And liberals will say, "but that's why I would never volunteer for the military in the first place!"--which is totally ignoring the realities of all of the propaganda, advertising and recruitment that leads teenagers to join, to say nothing of the promise of financial stability, benefits, college tuition assistance, the opportunity to see the world, etc., etc. when you do come from a wealthy family.


noel jones said...


That's why public forums like this on the community level are so important. The dialogue on the national level between politicians and pundits remains a polarized blame game on biased cable news networks when what American really needs is for people from all sides to care enough, and feel safe enough, to ENGAGE each other in DISCUSSION (rather than just debate) and actually LISTEN to each other and REALLY CONSIDER each other's point of view without deteriorating vitriol and ad hominem attacks.

I think that this is starting to happen all over the country, and is part of why Independents are the fastest-growing political "group" in America.

But others WANT to keep believing what they believe because it's easier and less scary than having to reconsider everything they've been taught, and so will readily fool themselves with email forwards of urban legends that validate their prejudices and positions.

This is what I feel happens in the Tea Party--even though the evidence is out--that our administration MADE UP threat of weapons of mass destruction to invent a reason to invade Iraq, yet for some reason you don't hear a word out of them about all the taxpayer money that has been wasted and is still being wasted over their to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars when our national deficit and debt are at all-time highs--not to mention the thousands of troops who have been killed and injured there, while KBR and Halliburtion's profits get fatter as the nation's economy crashes.

They are ok with their tax money being wasted on the military by our government--it's those poor people on food stamps that are the real villains!

I understand the conservative argument that handouts promote lethargy--I agree with that for the most part and think our welfare system needs to be completely revamped. But I cannot get on board with any group or philosophy that can rationalize over a trillion dollars of military waste and thousands of lost lives and injuries for unnecessary wars, while choosing to focus on poor people as the biggest thieves stealing their taxes.

David Caines said...

It may shock some, but we are mostly in agreement here.
There are huge points to made made as to deep cultural differences and assumptions , but both we and the Arabs make them.
And yes, removing the easy target of hatred forces one to re-asses one's learned behaviors or simply plod on blindly.
We come to see the failure of the two party system or perhaps that of an any party system.
If we wish real change we are forced to take back upon ourselves the deep responsibility of citizenship that is informed voting. Though to be fair some day's I'm with Heinlein, you want to vote you wear the uniform, ( I don't truly feel that way-but somedays). I feel like many that we have become sedate or perhaps overwhelmed with information, in either case informed voting is work...It will take the work of the Gods and Angels to truly move the feet of this nation, but I do retain some hope that we may do so peaceably. Change for better or worse will come to America, wanted or not. I feel that we have a responsibility individually to ourselves and collectively to the nation to do our personal best to be informed and act on that information.
Anywho, happy holidays,
To those who have people in service and to those who have lost them our prayers are with you and yours this day and all days.

noel jones said...

Yes, love is love, and loss is loss. My heart goes out to all who have lost someone they love this year, and before this year, because while Time may heal all wounds, we keep the scars and we do not forget. Hopefully, we all grow more compassionate along the way.

And to all who have family currently deployed, I hope that your loved ones stay safe, and that we can bring them home soon.

Bernie O'Hare said...


Thanks for your sobering thought.

I never thought we belonged in Iraq. But once we were there, the pottery barn rule goes into effect.

Afghanistan is, we now know, the home of al-qaeda. If we were to walk away from the tough conditions on the ground there, like so many other nations, we will be allowing the resurgence of both Taliban and its al-qaeda connections. That in turn destabilizes Pakistan even more than is already the case.

Because Pakistan is nclear capable, we can't leave Afghanistan and have to do what we can to stabilize Pakistan. If we fail, it is only a matter of time before nukes fall into the hands of al-Qaeda.

A nuclear weapon does not have to be long-range to hurt us. It can be launched from a fishing boat off the coast. We are virtually defenseless to that kind of attack.

So when you call our involvement in Afghanistan "senseless," I suggest you think twice.

The area was relatively stable before we stuck our nose where it does not belong. But we have done so, and like it or not, we have to fix it. If we don't, we are opening ourselves up to an attack that will make 9-11 seem like a church picnic.

noel jones said...

Bernie, thanks for posting. My argument is not that it is senseless to be concerned with terrorist activity originating from Afghanistan, but that the best way to handle it is via alliances, intelligence, and when applicable, small special opps like the one that caught and killed Bin Laden, not with tens of thousands of troops in the deserts, mountains, fields and villages that didn't catch him in 9 years.

Pakistan is our ally and has been for years. They have a mountainous tribal border with Afghanistan, but aside from that they are a modern, sophisticated and often secular nation. We are not in Afghanistan at the request of Pakistan, and Pakistan is not at war with Afghanistan. In fact, the Pakistani people and government have been upset with us for a while now over our CIA drone attacks that have killed countless Pakistani civilians along with terrorist targets. Every time this happens, we breed more anger for America and more terrorism aimed at us, and waste billions of American tax dollars doing so.

Pakistan is already a "stabilized" nation, which is why we're allied with them. If by saying American troops should stay in Afghanistan to "stabilize" Pakistan you mean "control" Pakistan, we don't really have a right to do that. And if we claim we do, we then have justification to invade any country in the world under the banner of "stabilization."

Putting troops on the ground is not about terrorism, it's about protecting oil interests, and defense contractors interests, rather than weaning ourselves from foreign oil, pushing conservation and mass transit, and putting serious R&D money into development of alternative fuels.

As for the nuclear threat, that too is better handled with alliances, intelligence and special opps rather than by tens of thousands of troops. If we have good intelligence, and someone wants to set off a nuke from a boat as you describe, we should be able to intercept terrorists before they get in a boat, or intercept the boat en route, but either way, tens of thousands of troops in the desert are not going to stop a few guys from getting into a boat with a weapon.

There is no getting around the reality that every time we bomb people, we create more people that hate us and would like to bomb us back. The longer we stay there, the more dangerous the world is for Americans. We are not making America safer, we're making it more dangerous for both our troops, and the folks back home.

David Caines said...

Bernie, I'm with you on the Nukes, but if and when they are used here they will most likely come in through Mexico and at this point there's almost zero chance we'd stop such a thing because we have no borders.
I'm not going to go down the illegal Alien path here, but the state of our borders while we are off fighting terrorism is just asking for a whooping'. We have air conditioned tunnels in places along the American border built by foreign nations in a time of war....and it's public knowledge...The absolute lunacy of that is just beyond words.
This is just one of the issues affecting our homeland security that is so damned touchy that public discussion is impossible. Our Borders with Canada aren't much better, but that nation actually likes us, and their people have universal health care to go home to, some of their citizens may invade us for work....but they at least don't hate us.
This is again one of those issues that are so rooted in emotion, that public discussion is simply pointless. And until that changes, we're screwed. It's almost a shame we've gotten beyond blaming the soldier scape goat, at least then we might see change, but which democrat is going to vote off the ticket next year, which Republican?
I can tell you that after 12 years of the Bushes, it won't be my wife or her "D" friends. And she is willing to admit Obama's failings, but another GOP, no way in hell. I'm not entirely sure that I'll be voting against, though to be fair on the major issues I see no real difference between parties.
We'll see if my intellect or my abject terror over another GOP president wins out in the end. Honestly at this point it's 50-50.
Anyhow, this medium doesn't really allow us to discuss in depth, so happy holidays.

noel jones said...

David, on the contrary, the medium does allow us discuss in depth because the beauty of blog discussions is that people actually take in everything that is being said without getting emotional and cutting each other off. Everyone is making good points here. And you're not going to see this kind of discussion on cable news because it will be forever hampered by the need to give time to commercial breaks, and to the rude behavior of pundits and politicians and anchors who constantly cut each other off in an attempt to "win" the debate in a pitifully short segment in front of the American people.

Every has made good points here so far. I would much rather see our ground troops come home and protect our borders, ports, airports, etc., here and to be active on ships off our coast line.

It would not only make us safer, put our troops in less danger and qualify as true "defense" spending for a change, but it would be far cheaper to the American taxpayer.

David Caines said...

I'll agree about the medium to a point.
But I'm going to skip to what at heart was meant to be the true meaning of the holiday.
A day to remember that we are not privileged, and that what ever freedoms we do or do not have have been paid for by the blood of Millions of American soldiers, tens of millions if we count the wounded and the dead. Many to free us from England , hundreds of thousands to decide the issue of states rights and free the African slaves (white and other slavery was not outlawed for another forty or so years), to secure democratic lifestyles for our allies, WWI + WWII, to protect us from invasion War of 1812, to protect ourselves against the Soviet threat to "Bomb our streets and make our rivers flow with Blood" -the cold war.
We are not a people of privilege, but the children and inheritors of a great debt of blood, there is not a single freedom possessed by a single individual of this nation that has not been paid for in the blood of soldiers, statesmen, everyday citizens, Police officers, Federal Agents, and other first responders, who I feel should be remembered on this national day of remembrance and mourning.
This nation was born in blood and hopefully it will not fall to indifference.
Sorry, but I thought this aside on this of all days was worth taking a minute to contemplate.
That base reality that not one single advantage that we have over others has not been paid for with American blood.
When I have time I may get back to the other stuff.
To this day in American history over 4 million American citizens have given their lives in the service of their nation, and that number does not count the wounded.
A hopefully sobering thought for national day of remembrance.

noel jones said...

David--excellent points. If more people kept that in mind, our voter turnout might be a lot higher.

Here is a CNN link dedicated to letting Americans get to know about the American men and women who have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan our two currents wars:

We are up over 6,000 casualties now.

How many men were on the Navy Seal team that actually got Bin Laden, once they had operable intelligence? What if we had just taken that route in the first place rather than sending tens of thousands of troops overseas? What if those tens of thousands were back here, protecting our borders, ports and airports instead, and patrolling the seas off OUR coasts? How many lives and how much tax money would we save? How much safer would we be?

And how much harder will it be for Al Qaeda to recruit terrorists, if they no longer have American troops and tanks and clones everywhere to blame civilian collateral deaths on?

To be clear, this is a criticism of American military policy, not of our troops. They committed for all kinds of different reasons, trained hard, and risk their lives daily, for what they are told is making us safer.

My issue is with American foreign policy, military spending waste, and sending these dedicated soldiers into minefields overseas, when they could be protecting us right here--not to mention being heroes by helping in rescue and recovery efforts in the wake of natural disasters.

My heart goes out to anyone who has lost a loved one in these wars.

tunsie said...

I love Noel a whole lot of bunches.....tunsie

David Caines said...

A big problem with the let the Army defend us at home idea is simply that we never do it.
When the cold war ended, America (yes, we the citizens) decided to cut every aspect of the military , intelligence, training, CIA, FBI - Counter Intel, you name it. And we're still paying for having gutted those institutions by having to hire groups like Black Water and other private intelligence and mercenary groups to gather intelligence in the wake of the wholesale slaughter of our national intelligence agencies. And the nation was warned, we were like the dog yapping at the heels of the fool on the tarot card, trying to warn him of the cliff in front of him and going equally unheeded.
Many warned against the possibility of 9/11 type attacks, hells Tom Clancy even made a plot line out of it in one of his novels. You, the American voter didn't want to here it. As a nation we suffer from CRSS (can't remember shit syndrome) and as a rule, if we look ahead it is at best to the end of an evening or the end of the week.
The New Deal under FDR, set into place safe guards meant to protect us from just what happened under Bush, thankfully they managed to get rid of those nasty ole regulations and pull off the greatest robbery in world history, it is less than 3 years later and most blame the whole thing on Obama and argue that the sort of deregulation that allowed for the theft is just what is needed to protect us from the next one.
Seriously, bring back the intelligence test fro voters and make it for all races colors and creeds, just because it was used to racially discriminate many years ago doesn't mean it was a bad idea make it apply to all. I'll lead the charge.
But you get the point.
Let the militias make citizens arrests along the border, cheap efficient, and I'm pretty sure you'd let the country burn before you'd agree. Bring in the Damned UN for all I care, let's petition the UN for border patrols, take the racial equation out entirely. I'd never sell it to you.
And no offense, but given 6 months without a major terror attack you and most folks will be yipping about why are we paying taxes to support these stupid soldiers anyway. That argument is already going on in the greater American public and less than three months ago, some kid got busted trying to blow up a mid western city.
But well, now I'm starting to rant.
It just boggles the mind is all. Today of all days, perhaps we can all pause to realize that everything that we have is built upon sacrifice, in the face of a world that always was and will be hostile to us because of the things we chose to belief.
A quick one for our women would be that in 80 % or so of the world it is not now and never has been illegal to rape your wife, it is here, and in much though not all of Europe. Think of the vastness of the cultural divide that such a law is not even considered in most of the world. Realize, that this is one of the many odd everyday things that many in the world and even within our own nation would love to destroy.
We are by no means perfect, no nation is or ever has been, but our soldiers, LEO's and others by us the option to keep trying.

noel jones said...

"The New Deal under FDR, set into place safe guards meant to protect us from just what happened under Bush, thankfully they managed to get rid of those nasty ole regulations and pull off the greatest robbery in world history, it is less than 3 years later and most blame the whole thing on Obama and argue that the sort of deregulation that allowed for the theft is just what is needed to protect us from the next one. "

what are you talking about? this is not a rhetorical question. i really don't know what you're referring to here.

"but well, now I'm starting to rant."

yes, you are. and you're not making sense, whereas you were in previous posts.

i also can't tell who "you" is, in your rant. are you speaking to the collective plural "you" or to me personally in response to something i've said here? if so, i can't figure it out.

we do not disagree on the critical importance of INTELLIGENCE in fighting terrorists. my point is that intelligence officers/operatives and ground troops are not the same thing. i would prefer to see ground troops defending our borders here. i would love to see an expanded intelligence network everywhere, because that is how we find terrorist cells.

my brother (the Arab linguist in the Army) and i agree and disagree on certain aspects of what i have said here. he seems to be of the mind that 'the best defense is a good offense' and that it's safer to 'take the fight to them' than to fight it here. and he has a point about that, especially with regard to Bernie's scenario with the nukes.

my brother also thinks that ground troops do have a value in the war on terrorism, because they kill other terrorists at lower levels--followers of Bin Laden, not just Bin Laden himself. but he recognizes the catch 22 of creating more and more anti-American sentiment that boosts terrorist recruitment due to Americans being on their land and accidentally killing civilians as collateral damage to their attacks on terrorists.

he also told me a disturbing story about some Taliban getting attacked by Americans coming down from the mountains (all men, seen with machine guns) and then mysteriously women and children started showing up wounded in the hospitals, and the Taliban claimed that Americans had shot them in the attack. but my brother also recognizes that there is very real collateral damage to civilian populations due to U.S. bombing. we both agree that small teams like Seal Team 6 are a much more effective way of taking out someone like Bin Laden while minimizing the risk to civilians.

this is the great thing about my brother and I. we could not be more different in so many ways--he being very religious and an Army sergeant, and me--not being religious or in the military. but through our completely divergent paths through life we have remained independent thinkers capable of having discussions about topics that would send a lot of other people flying off the handle, and we're actually able to honestly consider each other's opinion respectfully, concede points where it makes sense, and to be generous to each other in the conversation. and after all these years, we've both ended up being politically Independent and critical of both sides of the political spectrum, while acknowledging good points made wherever we find them.

David Caines said...

Believe it or not, this is me trying to have a discussion. I'm really not trying to be insulting (though I can see how I might come across that way).
I'm not entirely sure in which areas my fellow citizens excell, but life has taught me that there is probably something that I can learn from every last one of you.
Still, if we are going to discuss it is then, well a bit like dating. We find out something about each others feelings on different things, our depths of knowlege and interest, shared or unshared culture, etc...
True discussion takes well...let's see I've known Jeanette for almost thirty years and I'm still learning new it could take possibly forever. That's more what I mean when I say that in someways this isn't the greatest medium. You can't read the other persons face or body language nor they you. Which makes this medium deeply immpersonal and alows and encourages very broad misunderstandings between people who may not actually be that far apart in the real world. As a younger man, and in my "Spare time" I helped investigate things like central American death squads, torture and rape groups that we would now call ethnic cleansing , mostly in central America, but also south America and mexico. My understanding of those cultures in a bit deeper than most Americans. Me Habla Espanol Bastante bein...though I have a horrible accent and don't read it well. But if you're going to learn a culture then you really have to know it's language, local varriances, dialects and the like , get some idea of why and how they exist and all of that. I'm sort of a if you're going to do a thing, do it right sort of boy...go deep or go home, that sort of thing. I"m not really a chit-chatter, though honestly I really do need to pick that skill up at some point. I find most blogs sort of currsorry, sort of light fare. Not that much different than Tv in their way.
This one is sometimes better.
And then there is of course the question of time, are we willinging to follow this post for a few months to really sort out the meat and bones and possibly reach agreement, or does the press of the day demand the constant steam of new information.
As always...I've run on.
I really do dislike you far less than some posts might lead you to think...

David Caines said...

Just a quicky, you must have been posting as I was posting.
The safe guards against the sort of unregulated trading that led to the recent ecconomic colappse were begun under FDR's New Deal and other generations built on them. It was the first attempot to regulate the market after the crash that led to the 1930' depression, many such regulations had to be removed by de-regulation to allow for the current crash and force the need for the bail-out.

David Caines said...

As to the you, it is both the collective you, and you noel the individual, for yes, you seem at least in this medium to be quite the fanatic as it regards illeagal immigration...though that doesn't really tally with the noel the physical person- that I have at times chatted with. But blogs don't have the ability to relate vocal inflection and such. Which of course leads to the possiblity if not probability that I could have you pegged completely wrongly.

There are many missunderstandings about the difference between intel and ground troops, between ground troops and combat arms, between combat arms and infantry, armor, etc...
What most Americans fail to realise is that the infantry (the guy with the m-4 who seeks out battle) is actually a tiny part of our Army...let's call it 20% to be conservative. There are also huge difference within the roles of intel operatives, their is field craft, intel analysts (most likely what your brother does- and their are at least a dozen specialities there alone)the lists go on and on.
We (Americans) more than most other nations have a wilful ignorance of just what an army or even police force is, much less federal agencies.
I can break most of that down, if you'd like, but it is like most monoliths a huge subject area, hells intel alone is a field upon which several hundred books have been written. though only one by me, and that is something I can't discuss in a public forum.

noel jones said...

good grief, David, for the love of ice-cold lemonade on a hot day, PLEASE STAY ON TOPIC. this post is not about immigration, it is about our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

and don't blame the medium of blogging for appearing insulting when tossing out words phrases like "you seem at least in this medium to be quite the fanatic"--take some personal responsibility for your words--it has nothing to do with blogging. i assure you that calling me a fanatic in person is no more or less charming than it is in print on this blog. you are responsible for the words you type. and i have noticed that you start hurling these sorts of phrases (and going off-topic) when your points begin to fail.

this is also not a post about the economic collapse. concentrate, man.

as for claiming to have written a book on military intelligence and then saying that you can't discuss it in public, while, in fact discussing it in a public forum is contradictory. if it's true, and you can't talk about it, don't talk about it. no one reader this knows whether or not to believe you when you claim something like that, and most will assume that it is not true, so there is no point. it does not add credence to your points--especially when going off-topic so often.

if you did write a book, you must have had a stellar editor.

and no, i do not need a self-proclaimed expert in military intelligence "breaking down" military intelligence for me, or telling me what my brother does when you've never even met him.

i hope someone else will jump into the conversation here, whether you agree with me or not, as one-to-one exchanges get redundant and only show two viewpoints when there are a myriad of viewpoints out there.

David Caines said...

The odd realities of the American people make me to some degree agree with your brother. Though to be fair, once you "seen the Kraken" or however you care to put it...only two colors exist in all of the world, The first and most important is Army Green, and then of course there is everything else and it is all assumed to be hostile. The black guys putting it on for each other over farakan turn green as do the spicks, honky's , gingers, nips, pick the color or language of hate and when the fire clack of a kalishnikov tears the air somehow they all turn green, in a split second of time you have a whole new familly and it's like you never disagreed once in your whole life. Pundits run on about their being no Atheists in foxholes, they never mention that there are no racists either, all of that petty BS falls away in the moment of imminent death. Saddly it also often comes back, but that moment of unltimate kinship simple can never be forgotten.
Your brother is Army green, put him back in civies and he may change his tune a tad.
I'm also thrilled to see someone portray soldiers as something human. I'll admit I trained and studdied a lot in my day, but I also chassed girls, Played D+D on RDF and to be fair skirted the law a few times. While we may give ourselves to the service of the nation, we are most of the time just guys and gals being utterly and often stupidly human. We folow fads, we watch movies. I'll admit I personally hated rambo...every damned ranger newbie wanted a colapsible bow and some even figured out how to explain the extra wieght so we'd let them take them into the field. And those utterly worthless damned rambo knives. And everyone wants the desert eagle because it was in a movie. Or how to garrot someone because they saw it in good fella's. The james bond spy watch, the sheer amounht of stupid, illict, uttelry useless shit that soldiers try to bring to the field because of hollywood is just mind boggling.
Anyhow, give your brother a few months home and out of uniform and he may come around. Still he does have some points as do you and bernie and others.
Long again...
My own personal stupidity was early on, I carried a six pack of shuriken (From American Nija), uteerly worthless and pointless and dropped in a swamp in some other country. I would have carried the damned ninja -to (sword) as well. But brighter minds than my teen aged one ruled the day.

David Caines said...

Good points btw,
But it is I think a difference betwen us. I don't see all this mess as seperate things. I take a more wholistic veiw.
I think that the leads to the moments of conflict.
Had we not deregulated, we would not have this Fracking mess, how that can be seperated from ecconomic deregulation when they are both of the same cloth is beyond me.
And yes, my editors are constantly trying to keep me as you say- on topic...
But I don't get how illeagal imimgration does not aply to border security, or jobblesness, or terrorism.
PErhaps the big difference between us is that i see all Americans and the things that have led to this moment as an interconnected whole. And you and many others see them as different and distinct events to be dealt with individually. You the western doctor treating a cough and then a fever and then a bit of swelling while I prefer to see all of them as a flu.
You asked for a discussion, this is me discussing.
You're right about the book thing, but sometimes like many humans my past choices just chap my hide. The last piece I published was institutional It was edited by Anne Marrie Van Dyke head of the PRHC's Education branch, it is soley institutional and was persented to the DOJ in August of 2010 it is hiden but still a matter of public record, feel free to look it up if you have the means.
But as to the rest, fine explain it to me. YOu may be better versed in military knowlege than I know, hells you may be a scholar...not may have a better and deeper knowlege than I , I can honestly admit that I have almost no way of knowing that through this medium. I may be absolutely and utterly wrong about everything that I may believe about you and your opinions. Still, this medium has value.
I also would like to hear from some other voices.
LEt's take this a few hundered posts deep, lets acutaully make an effort to get to know one another as "Nieghbors of Easton".
This is odd in that it is both public media and interpersonal discussion, it is a somewhat undefined field.
I'm out for the day. Off to paint the second parlor and play with my dogs. I have the good sense to realize that I may be wrong about mostly eberything anyone presents here and that their public face may differ from the private. If we can agree on that at least in part...then perhaps we can have an actual discussion..if not then debate is all that the medium will alow.
And I did not call you a fanatic, just said that you seem one here.

David Caines said...

It is okay btw to admit ignorance (though perhaps not publicaly in the US)
I am ignorant of every book I have yet to read and every culture which I have yet to interact with. I am less ignorant than many and more ignorant than some, I will die ignorant of many things...I am not a god.
Ignorance is the bread of everyday life, I make an active effort to cure it for myself and think that you do as well, but know human will ever know all.

noel jones said...

David, please go paint your parlor.

Anonymous said...

Dear Bloggers,

If any American thinks that we should not have gone to Iraq has not been there to see it for themselves. Very few of the 26 million Iraqis now enjoying freedom and liberty (Iraqi style) regret that the US acted preemptively to keep Al-Qaeda from being invited there by Saddam Hussein. We needed to stop Hussein from disrupting the region again through the rape of Kuwait, or the 7 year war with Iran, or being the new home of Al-Qaeda.

Chemical weapons were used by Hussein in his war against Iran and in the An-Anfal Campaign against the Kurds. The big worry of the Gulf War was the use of chemical weapons by Hussein. Every leader in the United Nations believed Hussein still had chemical weapons. Every leader in NATO believed Hussein had chemical weapons. The leaders in the Middle East believed Hussein had chemical weapons. Even Hussein himself believed he had chemical weapons. But despite all that, weapons of mass destruction was not the number one reason for us returning to finish what we should have finished in the Gulf War.

While I was there I saw the pictures and read the reports of insurgent’s use of chemical artillery shells in roadside bombs and the transportation of chemical artillery shells through Baghdad. I am sure there are other instances that I was not privy to, and which will never be reported to the media (not that the media would want to confirm weapons of mass destruction in Iraq). So to say the “Administration” (i.e. Bush & Clinton) made up the accusation of weapons of mass destruction as an excuse to invade poor old innocent Iraq does not sit well with me.

I’ll leave my comments to that, there was been so much liberal spin already I would be writing for a day.


noel jones said...

TDADD--thanks for posting. What brought you to Iraq and how long were you there?

David Caines said...

part of the parlor painted, thanks for the encouragement.
TADD, I have not and will not argue the need our engagement in all of this. I by al means understand that many things are not and should not be disclosed to the public. It is the nature of C3I. I do however agree with the general view that these wars are over fought. That the money would be better spent elseswhere, but you are right in that I agree from the perspective of the otherwise perhaps uninformed civilian.
If our soldiers given the ground based knowlege truly believe in this endevor, then I support it. Most have seemingly said otherwise.
This is a very different war than what was waged in my day, and I can only bring t the table my own exerience. Which in my time was that we had men teaching the ways of war to the Afghans to repulse the russians. Let me be clear here that while I do hold some expertise on what is dommestic terrorism, I claim in know way to know the whole picture. But likie any other human that lack of knowledge makes my mind try to fill in the gaps.I have known men and supported men who went there in the 80's. I know thier comments on the depth of culture, and the current culture, but I do not know much beyond a few letters of the current wars.
I know what happens on these shores, some of our plans and some of our ideologies...I am as any man of the blue, left with a bit of knowledge and left to act on it.
Anyhow, and in case I haven't made this clear...I'm an American....every one and everything else may fall from the world as long as my brothers make it home. Perhaps we have as some believe been left be it...I'll fly the RWB in hell.
In my day I didn't give much of a shit about anything but orders, and then the gods returmned my soul mate to me. I've been a bit shagged since, and the fire didn't help.
One too many concussions...Pugilistic dementia...Punch drunk.
Sometime between now and 65 I'll present with either alhiemers of Parkinsons....I've started to get uncontrolable tremors...and I pray that it's parkinsons...given a choice I"d rather lose my body than my mind, though noel might say I've lost both.I know a good PTSd therapist here in PA her name is Lenore stien and she has some idea of what to ask and what not to...
ps -thanks to the cellular toxicity issue I can only paint a bit at a time. Nice bit of hate btw...if you'd like to try for an honest discussion...I'm game. but from your answer and its vitrol...I guess it's debate.Shame, well..if you'd like to clear things up-noel- you have the number, use it. If you'd like , to have a friend in Pa, gods know I'd love to as well.
TADD god luck , gods bless and get home safe.

David Caines said...
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David Caines said...
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tachitup said...

I'm so glad that I resisted the early urge to chime in here; the entertainment value has been great!!...up to a point:
-Noël - you keep it up, girlfriend. You might be wrong sometimes, but you present the arguments well.
-TDDAD - Please come back. You post well-reasoned points.
-David - Take a break. You were mostly OK before painting; but about then, you took a dive. How about after your 3rd- 4th comment, you treat this like Twitter and keep it to 140 characters?
-Bernie - glad to see you chime in...but don't get too involved, cuz we go to school board here allatime.

noel jones said...

David, if saying "go paint your parlor" is "hate" and "vitriol" to you, then you are more delicate than the language of your posts suggests. You have been begging me to delete you for the last several posts, and you have gotten your wish.

If you cannot stay on topic, make sense, and refrain from vitriol, you will be deleted. Much as I hate to do it, I also have no problem doing it when someone crosses the line, and the line is mine.

I would like to hear from from TDDAD some more, as well as others out there. TDDAD didn't say that s/he was in the military--just that s/he was in Iraq. That could mean a student, an aid worker, a contractor, a businessman--or a soldier--a lot of things.

Tachitup--I think you are right about the paint...

Bernie--Tachitup is right--beware--the Easton school board gets as dicey as the county these days!

David Caines said...

and this, is why I don'tr leave the house without jeanette becaause clearly I have become an embarassment to myself in public. Sooner or later the damned mind always slides .
Well, my appoligies to all. At least I think I started out well. But yeah, this is the bigf nasty part of the disability.
if you'd like to take down that last one of mine....that would be great, than again maybe you'd just like to kick a man whe he's down.

noel jones said...

which one? 4:09? or this last one? i'm fine with them. i truly do not care to delete anyone unless they are either being intentionally offensive, not making sense at all, or completely off-topic. beyond that, i welcome all perspectives and encourage people to disagree with me--that's how a community learns from one another in a forum like this.

which is why i like to see occasional QUESTIONS, rather than people just responding and expounding--i'm hoping TDDAD will come back, because i would like to know more about his/her experience in Iraq, in whatever capacity. i have good friends that are Egyptian and Pakistani, and have a friend that has told me about his travels to Yemen, as well as a brother who has served two tours in Iraq, but I have not been to any of these countries myself and am always interested to hear from those who have.

David Caines said...
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David Caines said...
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David Caines said...

A quick aside,
You, the voter / non voeter...the pacifisct, the hater the ghetto dwelleer, the siburbanite have on your hands every drop of blodd spilled by any police office, federal agent or soldier...we, remain clean.
We are your instrument, your scalpel or pistol. We kill an ddie for you and you alone. We are ordered to kill by you. we live and die for you. We arrest, we detain, we kill or torture in your name.
You..the the non-voter. You the average American. We serve, and as servants are not are.
If I wereever on forighn soil it was because you sent me there....If our children die overseas it is in your / our name.They are the sword, not the hand that wields it. They are the shild , not the arm that holds it. They are the whole armor of and pieces...we voters and non-voters are the mind that makes it move.
We are and I , have killed millions.
What will we vote for next?
Where will we next send death?
For our police..why should they serve those who hate them?
Perhaps, our shared culture is law...
Logic over emotion equals reason...if perhaps not always humanity.I hope of course that none of you would kill me for the color of my skin, be it in blue or greeen , but whop among you would stand fast for the racist of black skin who did?
Likely none.

David Caines said...
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noel jones said...

Some Alaska trivia: I gotta tell you, I'm worried for my home state. I just found out yesterday that Alaska's economy is 86.5% oil. That's compared to 19% in Texas and 26% in Louisiana. I have always known that oil is important here, but I had no idea that our economy was that dependent on fossil fuel. People here are worried about oil depletion and how to keep oil companies engaged in exploration. My baby brother Erik is a boat captain in Whittier, AK (sight-seeing and transporting kayakers), and he makes no bones about our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. For him, it's not about a moral question, or even a question of military spending (although he does get mad about military waste)--he just shrugs his shoulders and says, "we need the oil."

I worry that this is becoming Pennsylvania's attitude about fracking for natural gas. "We need the money for our schools." So the potential loss of safe drinking water in our homes is pushed aside for a need that feels more urgent. One big difference though. Alaskans really do run their entire lives on oil, because everything is so spread out--car driving distances, boat driving distances--and the weather is so cold for so long--not to mention that oil is where the jobs are, and where everyone's annual permanent fund dividend check comes from (the People's cut on oil revenues). But there is nothing that any of us on this planet needs more than safe drinking water. If we're not careful, clean drinking water is going to become more valuable than gold.

To be getting to a more honest place where everyone admits that we are just being aggressive and sending soldiers to fight for oil is a slight improvement, I guess, over claiming other altruistic reasons, like "it's the way they treat their women, their people, etc." "it's to spread Democracy," or "they want to kill all Americans/Christians", etc. Maybe if we start from that more honest place, we can begin to focus more on the real value of developing alternative fuels. The human life value--not just our tax dollars--in not sending our young men and women into harm's way to secure oil interests for us. And let's be more honest with THEM as well. Let's ask them in recruitment if they're ready to die to protect "our way of life"--which currently runs on oil, rather than developing alternative fuels.

Otherwise, when oil gets scarce enough, what will our excuse be when we're warring with Democratic "Christian" nations for it?