Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 18, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

GLOBAL COUNTERINSURGENCY REVISITED....The George Packer article that I mentioned yesterday is now available online. It focuses on an Australian anthropologist and counterinsurgency expert, Lt. Col. David Kilcullen, who believes that our fundamental approach to the war on terror is wrong. In fact, as many other people have pointed out, he believes the problem starts with the very phrase, "war on terror":

A war on terror suggests an undifferentiated enemy. Kilcullen speaks of the need to "disaggregate" insurgencies: finding ways to address local grievances in Pakistan's tribal areas or along the Thai-Malay border so that they aren't mapped onto the ambitions of the global jihad. Kilcullen writes, "Just as the Containment strategy was central to the Cold War, likewise a Disaggregation strategy would provide a unifying strategic conception for the war -- something that has been lacking to date." As an example of disaggregation, Kilcullen cited the Indonesian province of Aceh, where, after the 2004 tsunami, a radical Islamist organization tried to set up an office and convert a local separatist movement to its ideological agenda. Resentment toward the outsiders, combined with the swift humanitarian action of American and Australian warships, helped to prevent the Acehnese rebellion from becoming part of the global jihad.

....Crumpton, Kilcullen's boss, told me that American foreign policy traditionally operates on two levels, the global and the national; today, however, the battlefields are also regional and local, where the U.S. government has less knowledge and where it is not institutionally organized to act. In half a dozen critical regions, Crumpton has organized meetings among American diplomats, intelligence officials, and combat commanders, so that information about cross-border terrorist threats is shared. "It's really important that we define the enemy in narrow terms," Crumpton said. "The thing we should not do is let our fears grow and then inflate the threat. The threat is big enough without us having to exaggerate it."

....At the counterinsurgency conference in Washington, the tone among the uniformed officers, civilian officials, and various experts was urgent, almost desperate. James Kunder, a former marine and the acting deputy of the U.S. Agency for International Development, pointed out that in Iraq and Afghanistan "the civilian agencies have received 1.4 per cent of the total money," whereas classical counterinsurgency doctrine says that eighty per cent of the effort should be nonmilitary.

The entire article is worth reading, though it's inevitably a little fuzzy on details. The biggest takeaway, though, is Kilcullen's belief that we're trying to force a hundred little propaganda wars, each of which requires a media and intelligence strategy all its own, into the more familiar straitjacket of a single broad-based military war (the "war on terror," "Islamofascism"). But that broader war is a chimera, and refusing to acknowledge this in a serious way is just making things worse.

I want to digest this a bit before I decide what I think about it. In the meantime, it's a worthwhile piece to read in full.

Kevin Drum 2:36 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (52)

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Comments

Kilcullen said he would be an insurgent if he was from the other side of this conflict. I think of him as a state sponsored terrorist since he now works for W. Bush.

Posted by: Hostile on December 18, 2006 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds like something best handled by a combination of diplomatic effort, alliance building, and police work - backed up when necessary by focused application of appropriate amounts of ruthless military force.

Now where have I heard that before? Seems like it was about 2 years ago...

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on December 18, 2006 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't the feelgood story about post-tsunami Aceh somewhat discredited by recent reports of Saudi-style religious police in the province funded at least in part by Western money intended as humanitarian assistance?

Posted by: just sayin on December 18, 2006 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

Al is a parody troll. Do not respond to him.

Posted by: ALert on December 18, 2006 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

Sunni, Shia -- so confusing. What was Jesus thinking when he put all our oil over there??

Posted by: Al's Mommy on December 18, 2006 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

Doesn't this "war on terror" include a war not only Al Qaeda but certain nation states (e.g., NATO members who opposed the Iraq invasion), most of us Democrats, and every card carrying member of the ACLU (of which I'm one). Oh well - if I buy French wine for dinner tonight, they'll throw the book at me.

Posted by: pgl on December 18, 2006 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

Kilcullen's argument sounds reasonable. Regarding the claim that "we're trying to force a hundred little propaganda wars, each of which requires a media and intelligence strategy all its own, into the more familiar straitjacket of a single broad-based military war" is heartening in one way: it's nice to see more people asserting that we're in a propaganda war at all, let alone suggesting how best to pursue it.

Posted by: Shelby on December 18, 2006 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

It focuses on an Australian anthropologist and counterinsurgency expert, Lt. Col. David Kilcullen, who believes that our fundamental approach to the war on terror is wrong.

Nonsense Kevin. If it's going so badly how come Iraq's economy is booming?

Link

"Iraq's economy is growing strong, even booming in places."
"The U.S. Chamber of Commerce reports 34,000 registered companies in Iraq, up from 8,000 three years ago. Sales of secondhand cars, televisions and mobile phones have all risen sharply. Estimates vary, but one from Global Insight puts GDP growth at 17 percent last year and projects 13 percent for 2006."

Posted by: Al on December 18, 2006 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

Now if we could just get Killcullen to figure out why the New Yorker, and its Conde Nast cousin Vanity Fair, at this late date still take Range Rover ads (or any SUV ads) -- then we'd be on to something really important. A modern Jonathan Swift would note that the petrodollar-financed Islamic jihad is the smaller offshoot of the Anglo-American Range Rover/Ford F-150 jihad. But Packer's piece on Kilcullen is getting closer to the true question of life: why drive a Range Rover and not a Camry? They do the same thing, but the distance between the cars is one full of feeling and meaning. Since, as Packer points out, a deranged search for meaning and response to peer pressure can take an Egyptian urban planner from Germany and put him in a pilot's chair, flying into the WTC, Manhattan streets this Christmas season full of new Range Rovers, with copies of the NY'r on the back seat, are even more fittingly ironic -- and much better worth studying.

Posted by: Sam Lowry on December 18, 2006 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

The social scientist Packer mentions at the beginning of the article, Roger Petersen, has written a pair of books that are really worth a read. The 2nd is out in paperback; it looks like the first will be soon. They're both from Cambridge - "Resistance and Rebellion" and "Understanding Ethnic Violence."

Highly recommended for the academic perspective on what we're seeing in real time.

Posted by: KL on December 18, 2006 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

To strip this thing down to its oversimplified basics:

You can't win a war against a noun.

See: Poverty, War on and Drugs, War on.

Posted by: Yellow Dog on December 18, 2006 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

Not to worry George Packer et. al. We're staying in Iraq till the oil runs dry. And we'll stay with brute force—sophisticated strategies involving nuance didn't work in Vietnam (Cf. our "protected hamlets"--really prisons for Vietnamese peasants) and won't work in Iraq. The soldiers are not that bright and the money to do it is too short. Not to mention time.

Figure it out yourselves –you’re young and poor, you're in the Army because of a 40K enlistment bonus, you'd never get into college and mowing down a bunch of Arabs with an AK-47 is a hell of a lot easier than talking to them in a language they don’t understand.

Posted by: Dr Wu -I'm just an ordinary guy on December 18, 2006 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

"...the battlefields are also regional and local, where the U.S. government has less knowledge and where it is not institutionally organized to act."

Yep. Power is useless absent a context in which to use it. It is the substitute teacher problem rendered in foreign policy. The sub has all the authority in the room, but when you get pegged by a spit ball (or IED) there is no way to use it without knowing who is who in the classroom.

Posted by: John Gillnitz on December 18, 2006 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

I am having a hard time understanding why the US government needs a consultant to help figure out what is going on. It suggests the people who write American foreign policy really believe the “war on terror” is being waged against some kind of unified enemy. They really can’t be that stupid.

You get the impression that these people, whoever they are, are just illiterate hayseeds.
You could not imagine that during the declining days of the British Empire that someone would say that the various liberation movements were somehow connected by an ideology. It is just superstition. They were of course all connected by the ideal of self-determination and a dislike of the foreigner. This is what the US will face as long as it tries to run the world. People will fight on and on for decades. The foreigner and his puppet government can never outlast the native.

Posted by: bellumregio on December 18, 2006 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

You can't win a war against a noun.
See: Poverty, War on and Drugs, War on.
Posted by: Yellow Dog on December 18, 2006 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, but if you can con someone else into paying for it, it's enormously profitable.

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on December 18, 2006 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

I heard George Packer interviewed by Al Franken on Air America Radio about this article. I took away two things from the discussion: (1) We cannot defeat terrorism by bullets alone, unless we plan to commit genocide on a massive scale, and (2) we need to defeat the terrorists in a war of words and propaganda, which we are clearly not winning now, either. On both counts, we could not have a worse leader than George W. Bush, an inarticulate, culturally insensitive moron.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on December 18, 2006 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

By simplistically placing every individual localized resistance movement with a grievance under the umbrella of a non-existent "Global Jihad", we are making precisely the same mistake our nation's leaders made back in the 1950s and 1960s, when similar social or nationalist movements were almost all aluded to be puppets of the Comintern and thus subsevient to the Soviet Union's ambitions for world hegemony.

Thus, we failed to recognize that Ho Chi Minh's Viet Minh movement was rooted first and foremost in a concept of Vietnamese nationalism, and not in some insane desire to replace Indochina's French colonial overlords with Russian puppetmasters. And I would offer that failure as the primary reason why we "lost" Vietnam.

Therefore, as long as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her colleagues continue to purposely misidentify and/or mischaracterize problems in Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea, etc., in order to satisfy her boss's short-term domestic political considerations, we will never arrive at necessary solutions in the international arena.

Sometimes I think the "Ph.D." behind Ms. Rice's name stands for "piled higher and deeper".

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on December 18, 2006 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

I object to the term "global insurgency." With props to Olivier Roy's "Globalized Islam," I suggest that "globalized insurgency" is a better term. There is no single, worldwide--"global"--insurgency. Rather, there are localized insurgencies that play to the global information market, as Col Kilcullen's comments in the Packer article astutely show. The conflation of unrelated conflicts into the "Global War on Terra" plays directly into the hands of those who would franchise local grievances into a restored caliphate--or Communist International--or Capitalist Eutopia.

Posted by: Petronius on December 18, 2006 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

Link on tsunami aid

Posted by: Ein on December 18, 2006 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

What this is, is naked imperialism.

This is a discussion about how the imperialistic ambitions of the tiny, hereditary, ultra-rich, neo-fascist, corporate-feudalist ruling class of America can most effectively conquer and subdue all the peoples of the Earth in order to suck the planet dry of its oil and other valuable natural resources to further enrich and empower themselves, while impoverishing billions of human beings, driving the majority of non-human species to extinction, and destroying the very capacity of the Earth to support life in the process.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 18, 2006 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

Sometimes I think the "Ph.D." behind Ms. Rice's name stands for "piled higher and deeper".

My vote goes to "Prada, Hilfiger, and Dolce."

Seriously, what else could it mean?

Posted by: trex on December 18, 2006 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

off-topic, but the following should be interesting.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/greg-gutfeld/the-march-to-mecca_b_36636.html

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on December 18, 2006 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

So the idea that we could fight a "war on terror" is totally fallacious? Golly, whoda thunkit?

Seriously, is this news to anyone except Bush and the 29-percenters?

What's really news is that the yahoos in washington need to bring over an expert from Australia to tell them that.

Posted by: Wilbur on December 18, 2006 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

While I find some aspects of this strategy unsettling (the information war specifically), I think much of it makes sense and I don't see how engaging with populations, learning their customs, histories, and most importantly their grievances could be a bad thing. If it takes an Australian counter-terrorism expert to get the Pentagon to pay attention to helping locals who we want to help us fight the Taliban and al Qaeda, so be it.

But talk about a day late and a dollar short.

Posted by: cyntax on December 18, 2006 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

This is all about the war on drugs - the us is after the oppium, control, money, power and the people back it - thats why everyone wants us dead - so who is ready to stop sitting and talking and bloging like lazy girls and stand up for real change?

Posted by: Greg on December 18, 2006 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

Yellow Dog: You can't win a war against a noun.

See: Poverty, War on and Drugs, War on.


See also Germany (n) Federal Republic of Germany, Deutschland, FRG (a republic in central Europe; split into East German and West Germany after World War II and reunited in 1990)

Posted by: anandine on December 18, 2006 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

I don't see how engaging with populations..., If it takes an Australian counter-terrorism expert to get the Pentagon to pay attention to helping locals who we want to help us fight the Taliban and al Qaeda

The Pentagon and its civilian overseers to not want to engage populations or locals to help us fight against extremist terrorist organizations. The Pentagon and its civilian overseers want to rule over those populations and make them serve a will that does not consider their well being, self-determination, or ownership of national resources. Kilcullen was hired to help the Pentagon find a way to fool populations into behaviors not in their best interests.

Posted by: Hostile on December 18, 2006 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

The Kilcullen stuff is fascinating, and there are some excellent points, but Packer's idea of a 'global insurgency' isn't all that far (or far enough, anyway) from the 'war on terror'. I think Fallows' piece in the Atlantic (which also relies on Kilcullen, but not as heavily) presents a more sensible approach.

Posted by: Tom Hilton on December 18, 2006 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

Meanwhile, speaking of our success at counterinsurgency....

Attacks in Iraq at record high: Pentagon
Reuters
Monday, December 18, 2006; 5:21 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Attacks in Iraq on U.S.-led forces, local security personnel and civilians have surged 22 percent to record levels, the Pentagon said in its latest quarterly report on Iraq published on Monday.

The report also noted a rise in civilian casualties and said this was directly linked to the rise of sectarian death squads, which were helped by elements of Iraqi forces.

Typical. Why does everyone always blame the sectarian death squads first....

Posted by: Stefan on December 18, 2006 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

But that broader war is a chimera, and refusing to acknowledge this in a serious way is just making things worse.

I think the point is that it's worse than a chimera--the fiction of a broader war actively promotes al Qaeda's information war.

Posted by: Tom Hilton on December 18, 2006 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

The report also noted a rise in civilian casualties and said this was directly linked to the rise of sectarian death squads, which were helped by elements of Iraqi forces.

You mean it's not just a couple of dead-enders who are responsible for all the violence?

Posted by: Rumsfeld 2003 on December 18, 2006 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK

The Pentagon and its civilian overseers to not want to engage populations or locals to help us fight against extremist terrorist organizations...Kilcullen was hired to help the Pentagon find a way to fool populations into behaviors not in their best interests.

Just what kind of experience have you had with the Pentagon, or for that matter the military in general? Any at all?

I really haven't seen you say one thing about the military that was even remotely grounded in reality, starting with your assertion that every soldier who didn't refuse to go to Iraq was a criminal. Though thankfully you've tempered that line of arguement somewhat.

Always believing and saying the worst about anything and everything the military does makes as much sense as the wingnuts who come on these threads and claim all liberals are sissies who want to surrender to al Qaeda.

I think you're right to say that the current, politically appointed overseers of the Pentagon aren't likely to engage in seriously trying to help civilian populations. Afterall, Afghanistan would have been the perfect place for this. But the Pentagon's a bigplace and the military is even bigger, and you might really be surprised and the diverstity of opinion that comprises each of them.

Posted by: cyntax on December 18, 2006 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

Don't argue with me, Rumsfeld 2003. I'm Time Magazine's Man of the Year, I am!

Posted by: Stefan on December 18, 2006 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

bullumreggio: It suggests the people who write American foreign policy really believe the “war on terror” is being waged against some kind of unified enemy. They really can’t be that stupid.

I respectfully beg to differ.

Posted by: thersites on December 18, 2006 at 7:22 PM | PERMALINK

Donald From Hawaii,

I agree with your point about Vietnam. But the weird thing in the Packer article is that he quotes the Aussie (I think it was him) as saying that Vietnam does *not* provide the best lessons. The Aussie also implies that the Cold War *was* about monolithic Communism, which is just wrong.

So as much as that Aussie guy seems smart, the things he said about the Cold War didn't always seem right to me.

Posted by: Jim E. on December 18, 2006 at 7:54 PM | PERMALINK

another contribution to the debate:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/18/opinion/18connable.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on December 18, 2006 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

I'm Time Magazine's Man of the Year, I am!

Yeah you are, you and Mark Foley.

Posted by: Keith G on December 18, 2006 at 8:04 PM | PERMALINK

from the original: Kilcullen is now in charge of writing a new counterinsurgency manual for the civilian government, and early this month he briefed Condoleezza Rice on his findings in Afghanistan. But his ideas have yet to penetrate the fortress that is the Bush White House.

Now perhaps he can brief the Pentagon. I wonder how he came to the attention of Rice and got the invitation to brief her. That must signal some interest on her part.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on December 18, 2006 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

I say nothing more than a jihadist housekeeper.

Posted by: Kingcob Bob IV on December 18, 2006 at 8:27 PM | PERMALINK

What this is, is naked imperialism.

This is a discussion about how the imperialistic ambitions of the tiny, hereditary, ultra-rich, neo-fascist, corporate-feudalist ruling class of America can most effectively conquer and subdue all the peoples of the Earth in order to suck the planet dry of its oil and other valuable natural resources to further enrich and empower themselves, while impoverishing billions of human beings, driving the majority of non-human species to extinction, and destroying the very capacity of the Earth to support life in the process.

Man, that right there is an all-purpose comment!
Suitable for every thread occasion!

Posted by: foster on December 18, 2006 at 9:20 PM | PERMALINK

I suppose it'd be worth noting some of things Kennan originally said (from the Long Telegram), if we're going to look for parallels and successors:

1) "First, [Communism] does not represent natural outlook of Russian people. Latter are, by and large, friendly to outside world, eager for experience of it, eager to measure against it talents they are conscious of possessing...

Does that sound like Islam or Muslim nations?

2) "At bottom of Kremlin’s neurotic view of world affairs is traditional and instinctive Russian sense of insecurity. Originally, this was insecurity of a peaceful agricultural people trying to live on vast exposed plain in neighborhood of fierce nomadic peoples. To this was added... fear of more competent, more powerful, more highly organized societies...rulers have invariably sensed that their rule was relatively archaic in form, fragile and artificial in its psychological foundations, unable to stand comparison or contact with political systems of Western countries..."

How 'bout that? Sounds like... Saudi Arabia, for one?

3) "Our stake in [the Soviet Union and its satellites], even coming on heels of tremendous demonstrations of our friendship for Russian people, is remarkably small. We have here no investments to guard, no actual trade to lose, virtually no citizens to protect, few cultural contacts to preserve."

Can't put Saudi Arabia or the Gulf States or Indonesia into that box, can you?

4) "World communism is like malignant parasite which feeds only on diseased tissue."

I'll stop there, just to repeat what I've said before: if we're not at war with Islam, we need to be able to say what is the Islam with which we are not at war.

Assuming that Islam is a "malignant parasite", even if you qualify it with "radical" or the suffix "-ofascism", is pretty much self-fulfilling and damned dangerous.

Posted by: theAmericanist on December 18, 2006 at 9:39 PM | PERMALINK

The same George W. Bush who so proudly declared himself a "war president" is leading the United States to strategic bankruptcy and geopolitical disaster. As Commander-in-Chief, President Bush displays all the hallmarks of the failed executive. With a nod to Stephen Covey, call them the "Seven Habits of Highly Defective Presidents."

1. Name Names and Outsource Responsibility
2. Focus on the Process, Not the Plan
3. Set Dates to Turn Corners
4. Use New Slogans for An Old, Failed Product
5. Find New Uses for An Old, Failed Product
6. Announce Your New Product Before It's Ready
7. Don't Do The Market Research

For the analysis, see:
"Iraq and the 7 Habits of Highly Defective Presidents."

Posted by: AngryOne on December 18, 2006 at 11:30 PM | PERMALINK

a very good read no matter your position on Iraq, Islamofascism, or American politics.

Posted by: The Ugly American on December 18, 2006 at 11:37 PM | PERMALINK

Geez, Al, how many of those companies are profit-skimmers, LPs and LLPs operating under the Halliburton umbrella and more?

Nice try.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on December 19, 2006 at 1:07 AM | PERMALINK

Man I can see why this guy gets up Al's nose.

No-one, but no-one is allowed to bring intellectual rigour to the GWOT. We must live breathe and allow other peoples sons and daughters to die for the Slogan.

Posted by: Bad Rabbit on December 19, 2006 at 1:15 AM | PERMALINK

Gee, if only I would have known this in 2002.
If only I would have been familiar with Lebanon, Kashmir, Belfast, and Sri Lanka. It is all so clear now but that doesn't mean I was wrong arguing for striking Al Qaeda and Hizbullah by toppling Hussein.

Posted by: George Packer on December 19, 2006 at 4:33 AM | PERMALINK

The guy who gave Kilcullen the job at the State Department, Henry Crumpton, has just resigned suddenly. There's an interesting write-up in the Post about him.

Posted by: Clara on December 19, 2006 at 8:25 AM | PERMALINK

..."The biggest takeaway, though, is Kilcullen's belief that we're trying to force a hundred little propaganda wars, each of which requires a media and intelligence strategy all its own, into the more familiar straitjacket of a single broad-based military war (the "war on terror," "Islamofascism")"....

This is exactly what we did during the Cold War. We saw every local conflict as part of the need to stop Soviet Aggession. Can you say "Vietnam"? Ho was a communist largely because, in the 1920s, the communists were anti-imperialist, which could be translated as pro-nationalist.

Americans don't do nuance well. We like black hats and white hats.

Posted by: Oliver W. Douglas on December 19, 2006 at 8:49 AM | PERMALINK

Sigh. There never was a "War on Terror". That's a fig leaf for taking down Hussein and implementing the PNAC strategy for the Middle East.

And that's why we don't see all these other things happening.

Posted by: zak822 on December 19, 2006 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

Zak822 is correct. At some point, somebody will admit that pulling out the big guns, both militarily and ideologically, against AQ was a PR disaster that could only lead to military and political disaster. (And that was back in 2001, even before the PNACers invaded Iraq.)

But don't expect that admission to come from any of the PNACers, who (still) believe that this whole effort is in service of the larger effort to make the world as "American" as possible.

Similarly, don't expect the admission to come from any of the folks who picked up the WOT meme after Sept. 11, because who can bear to look that stupid?

Hence the lame compromise statement "I supported Afghanistan but not Iraq." Truth is, seeing the thing as a global "war" after Sept 11 was the original and ultimately crucial error.

Posted by: erica on December 19, 2006 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

Yep, Packer's a schmuck. An opportunistic, manipulative, preening pompous putz.

That is all.

Posted by: luci on December 19, 2006 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

Just what kind of experience have you had with the Pentagon, or for that matter the military in general?

I have observed them killing civilians for over forty years.

your assertion that every soldier who didn't refuse to go to Iraq was a criminal. Though thankfully you've tempered that line of arguement somewhat.

I saw the movie 'Casualties of War' this weekend. The kidnapping, rape and murder of the girl reminded me of the Iraqi girl who was raped, herself and family murdered, and then incinerated. There was a story on NPR last night about some Army Rangers, Afghan vets, who used smuggled AK-47's to rob a bank in Tacoma. Expect many more stories like this in the near future.

My comment in the recipe thread below, asking for vets' recipes on how to cook child's liver was either lost or censored. Sorry, I want to express my disgust with needless war in the most abhorent way possible. It may not be an effective way to persuade people war is usually wrong, but it communicates my feelings concisely.

Always believing and saying the worst about anything and everything the military does makes as much sense as the wingnuts

It is not a belief. It is from the accumulation of historical data since WW II that I think the US military is incapable of anything but acting out senseless violence and bringing terror to innocents.

I think you're right to say that the current, politically appointed overseers of the Pentagon aren't likely to engage in seriously trying to help civilian populations.

Thanks.

Afterall, Afghanistan would have been the perfect place for this.

Especially after the Soviets left. We used the people of Afghanistan to fight our ideological/geopolitical war against the Soviets and then we abandoned the people of Afghanistan to the warlords. The people then chose the Taliban to govern them, but then even that choice was not acceptable and we, the US military, had to bring more war to their country.

But the Pentagon's a bigplace and the military is even bigger, and you might really be surprised and the diverstity of opinion that comprises each of them.

Most individuals are interesting and worthy of my attention and affection. It is the corporate personality of this diverse group that frightens me. Almost all of my fellow citizens in the Pentagon will salute W. Bush and follow his orders, regardless of what those orders are. When that order was to invade Iraq, the soldiers stopped being a diverse group of individuals and became corporate automatons.


Posted by: Hostile on December 19, 2006 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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