GOP Inconsistent on Defense

SA@TAC – Republicans War Fetish!

Jack Hunter takes the GOP to task on the one issue too many Republicans still consider non-negotiable. I agree with Hunter and want to add my frustration with the GOP’s inconsistent view of the Department of Defense.

The rule that waste, fraud, duplication, mismanagement, abuse, and inefficiency are natural consequences of major federal programs and departments applies to the Defense department as well.

In particular, the rule that all federal departments grow in size and scope is overlooked by many Republicans when it comes to defense. The original mission of federal defense was to defend only the United States , but has grown to defending the world.

There are ten Unified Combatant Commands; six regional and four functional

This map shows (AOR) Area of Responsibility for the six regional Combatant Commands. The original AOR for the Defense Department (originally called the War Department) was basically only one sixth of what it is today.

The Defense Department is run by an out of control government and subject to the same mismanagement and abuse by the President and congress as all other departments. Pointing this out should not be considered blasphemy.

Pointing out the inconsistent view within the GOP should not be seen criticizing the US Armed Forces personnel. Its a compliment to America’s fighting forces that they’ve repeatedly shown they are effective despite being run from DC.

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War: Fog of Moral Justification

Sons of Confederate Veterans Chairman Defends Omission of Slavery from Confederate History Month

To explain why there is still a divide over why the US Civil War was fought, look to the war in Iraq. If a public opinion poll was taken today asking what the Iraq war is about, you’d probably get several different views and just as heated discussions.

Some of the debated reasons for the war in Iraq:

  • WMD’s (Weapons of Mass Destruction)
  • Oil
  • Combating Terrorism
  • Human Rights
  • Bringing democracy to the Middle East

The original emphasis of the war was to remove WMDs from Iraq, because they posed a threat to the US and the stability of the Persian Gulf region. After no WMDs were found, the emphasis (and justification) for the war shifted. Concerns over human rights, combating terrorism and promoting democracy were elevated over removing non-existant WMDs as the reason for the war.

Was the Iraq war fought for the original issue of WMDs, or was it to combat terrorism? When the war is over, will there be another reason promoted? We are living through the years of the war right now, and still there isn’t a consensus over why the war is being fought.

Something very similar happened in the Civil War. Originally, Presidents Lincoln’s goal was to preserve the union; after the war began, the emphasis shifted to ending slavery.

Except from Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address

I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.

Those who nominated and elected me did so with full knowledge that I had made this and many similar declarations and had never recanted them; and more than this, they placed in the platform for my acceptance, and as a law to themselves and to me, the clear and emphatic resolution which I now read:

Resolved, That the maintenance inviolate of the rights of the States, and especially the right of each State to order and control its own domestic institutions according to its own judgment exclusively, is essential to that balance of power on which the perfection and endurance of our political fabric depend; and we denounce the lawless invasion by armed force of the soil of any State or Territory, no matter what pretext, as among the gravest of crimes.

In Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, prior to the end of the war, the issue became the morality of slavery.

Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

When justifications for war change as a war goes on, it leads to endless debates about the “real reason” for fighting the war. A hundred and fifty years from now, the question will be asked, “Why was the Iraqi war fought?” And there won’t be a consensus on that war, either. Once the fog of war sets in, the fog of moral justification sets in too.

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The Good Kind of Big Government Solution?

“Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.” That saying sums up most federal programs and departments; whatever the intended goal, in the end they’ll achieve just the opposite.

Here are some examples of the Law of Opposites at work in government.

Ethanol fuel subsidies consuming more energy than the fuel produces.

Borrowing and spending to fix an economy wrecked by borrowing and spending.

Affirmative action laws which discriminate to fight discrimination.

The scene in Ghostbusters, where Con Edison is ordered by the EPA to turn off the power to the ghost containment grid.

The list goes on and on. The law of opposites doesn’t apply to everything in government; it is a cynical view, but it often turns out to be true. Cynicism aside, it is pragmatic to question actions of government to see if they are achieving their goals and if taxes are being spent wisely.

One of the biggest examples of big government solutions achieving the opposite result has been the war on terror. This video shows a gas tanker stolen by the Taliban, which then gets stuck and latter bombed. Some of the people present were lured by the possibility of getting free gasoline.

This video might be a worst case example in fighting the war on terror, and isn’t meant to imply every terrorist’s death carries a matching number of civilian deaths. The video is an example of the rules and procedures of a bureaucracy becoming the primary focus, and the original goals become secondary.

After 9/11, enlistment went up in the U.S. armed forces. Americans were willing contribute their time, and lives if necessary, to fight terrorism. Imagine if the people in this video had been Americans, the U.S. armed forces would see another spike in enlistment. When this video was shown on Al Jazeera, it probably caused a spike in enlistment in terrorist organizations.

It’s another example of out of control government: hundreds of billions borrowed and spent to fight terrorism, which results in growing the ranks of terrorists. It is throwing money at a problem to make it go away. And when the problem doesn’t go away, the answer is always the same–throw more money.

Questions about the war on terror achieving its goals are immediately met with accusations of hating America, being isolationists, appeasing terrorists, and waving the white flag. To those who are defending this version of a big government solution and throwing money at a problem, is this the good kind of big government solution?

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Its time to drop the H-bomb on Terrorists: Hasselhoff-Bomb

There has been lots of debate the last few days about what motivates a person to become a terrorist. There are two camps on what causes terrorism: the “its all ideology” camp and the “it’s all unintended consequences” camp. Both groups are correct, because either can generate terrorists; I see unintended consequences as the symptom and fundamentalist ideology as the disease.

Terrorism is rooted with an ideology that sees itself in danger of extinction. Yesterday I mentioned the Boko Haram. It’s a militant Islamist group that basically sees western or non-Islamic education as evil. The followers of Boko Haram reject the notion the earth is a sphere. It stands to reason they feel they are being attacked by western science, because science has the innate ability to deal some serious damage to ignorance.

There are several parts of the world that are under “attack” from western science and culture. Baywatch was a popular show around the world and from some people’s perspective just flat-out anit-burqa. In truth, the views and ways of life all around the world are being challenged–but not intentionally challenged–by the west. Most people will speak up in defense when they feel their values are under attack and state the virtues behind their beliefs. Terrorist choose the violent path because they believe there is a sinister plot behind opposing views. They are the ones that see Baywatch as a western plot to destroy their culture. If you thought someone was plotting your demise, you might attack back too.

From the terrorist perspective–they feel that their way of life is under attack and those around them are slowly being corrupted–what should they do? Just follow the anarchy. Pull yourself out of the corrupt society and set up your own pure society. The regions with little or no government control are the best place for terrorists to set up shop. If everyone is armed with rifles to defend themselves, a terrorist won’t stand out. No government to monitor or crack down on their activities. From the protection zone of anarchy, you can start freeing the world from satanic plots. As long as there are regions of anarchy, terrorists will have safe bases of operation.

Dynamics of terrorism – how wars of terrorism are fought on both sides

Side A – declares war on side B but side A has little to no army.

Side B – is the opposing government or ideology of side A

Side A – can’t fight side B on an open battlefield because they would be wiped out and instead picks civilian targets to attack.

For terrorists, the justification for murdering civilians is that the values the terrorists are defending is more important than human life. If you are willing to die for these values then others should be just as willing to die, and if they aren’t willing to die for those values they weren’t a good person to begin with. For governments, the justification of stepping on civil rights is that all your civil rights are gone if a you are killed by a terrorist.

The side that does the most harm to civilians will probably lose hearts and minds. The harm isn’t measured only in causalities. When terrorists cause the public to be afraid of normal day to day activities, they become the bad guys. When governments crack down too hard, as in house-to-house searches, they become the bad guys.

The calculation often overlooked is how people view potential harm differently from real harm. You don’t normally sympathize with someone causing you real harm in order to prevent future harm.

Examples – The current group of terrorist argue their way of life is threatened by the opposing ideology or government. They are arguing that harm will come in the future whereas someone being killed by a bomb is a real and tangible harm. When the terrorists set off a bomb and people die, they represent the real harm.

The government argues for searching people and residences to protect the public from harm. If the government starts strip searches to prevent terrorist from blowing people up, it’s the potential threat of a bomb vs. the reality of having your privacy violated. When governments violate civil rights, they represent the real harm.

Blowback or unintentionally creating terrorists happens when in fighting terrorism the government does more harm to civilians than terrorists have done to civilians. Terrorist set off a bomb that kills 100 people–and while hunting down the terrorist, the government kills 500 people. The terrorists are still jerks; the problem is in doing even more harm, the government has legitimized the terrorists for attacking in the first place. From the uninvolved civilian perspective, the government is now the bad guys; their enemy appears to be the good guys, so where do I sign up?

I’m not empathizing with the terrorists groups, but I have to agree that western civilization is a powerful force and is corrupting civilizations around the world. I’m also very proud of “corrupting the world.” When I heard that Baywatch was a popular show in the Middle East, I felt a sense of American pride. Baywatch is no work of art in a literary sense, but its something to be proud of in that free people produce the things that people around the world want.

I too believe the world is slowly being conquered by western culture and technology. The culture of free societies will always dominate high-control societies for the simple fact we give people just want they want without any regulation. I watch news and documentaries from around the world and I see western clothing and technology everywhere. Hollywood and the media, through the use of technology, have become one of the most powerful forces on the planet.

So far the damage done to these fundamentalist groups ideology has been unintentional. The west has unintentionally created freedom junkies, because once you’ve had a taste of freedom you are hooked for life. I think its time to start intentionally damaging their culture with as much free and open access to information and entertainment as possible. The west is getting blamed for intentionally trying to corrupt other cultures,  so why not start actively pursing their “corruption?” It’s time for governments to team up with the tech industry and entertainment industry to plan a bombardment of portable media players and laptops and highspeed internet access to all the information and entertainment deprived areas of the world.

Baywatch ’em back from the Stone Age!

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A Second Civil War in America this Winter?

Interesting point in the video; if its possible to have a revolution in the US. If one percent of the population of the US (3 million people) were to join together they would be a larger force than all the branches of the military combined.

They are calling for a revolution over at the Democratic Underground and Free Republic.

If the left and the right fight a civil war…my bet is the right will win because they’ll have more firepower.

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Petition from 100,000 People: End the War Now

It took about a thousand Special Forces troops to overthrow the Taliban in 2001. Why do we need a hundred times that number now to keep them out?

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