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Membah this? - A little less than a happy high
komos
komos
Membah this?
On December 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in an attempt to cripple the US in the Pacific. The US was united in common cause and mobilized for war.

In May, 1945, Germany surrendered. In August of that same year, Japan capitulated as well. A little under four years into the US involvement in the conflict, the war was over.

~*~

On November 11, 2001, Al-Quaeda terrorists targetted the World Trade Center in an attack that has been oft compared to Pearl Harbor. The US was united in common cause and mobilized for war.

In May, 2005, we have succeeded in toppling two governments, one of which was attacked solely on the presumption that it might have the means and intent to eventually do us harm, have not brought the individuals responsible for the 9/11 attack to justice, and our specialist troops are now tied up in shit garrison duty.

I am by no means a pacifist, but I really, really dislike when our armed forces are used poorly.

Ok, I'm done.
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Comments
From: ulf_rulz Date: May 8th, 2005 11:40 am (UTC) (Link)
Of course we did maneuver the Japanese into attacking Pearl Harbor by blockading their oil supply; never mind the fact that we clearly knew it was coming... in fact, every war we've had had been started on the basis of deception, from Iraq's WMD's to Hussein's baby incubators, to Grenada's emperiled med-students, the Gulf of Tonkin, The Lusitania, The Maine...

One gets the impression that the armed forced are *there* to be used poorly.

Which is probably why we were never supposed to have a standing army in the first place...

...and uh, those responsible for the 911 attack are mostly in the White House.
komos From: komos Date: May 8th, 2005 02:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
While I'm not willing to buy into the myth of the US as an exemplary society defending freedom in all corners of the globe, I also won't go anywhere near blanket condemnation of our involvement in global conflict either. In most of the cases cited, the issues are far more complicated than can be summed in a suggestion that we manipulated other nations into pushing us into war. I also don't think that it's realistic to assume that a modern nation-state can make do solely with a volunteer militia. Perhaps I'm a bit of a pessimist, but I tend to think that human nature will foster conflict. That, and the "intention of the founders" argument feels disingenuous in the face of things like the original conception of the US as a primarily agrarian state that allowed for slavery. Things change, and we are forced to adapt.

Besides, I'd rather see a standing professional military than cadres of mercenaries civilian advisors who lack the same level of accountability.

There's definitely a balance to be struck, though. Even Eisenhower recognized that.
From: ulf_rulz Date: May 8th, 2005 07:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
The complicating factors tend to involve corporate interest to a far greater degree than they involve any interest in the actual welfare of America & Americans. Why the official propaganda in each case if not for the fact that the conflicts had little to do with actual threats to 'the homeland'?

The professional standing army, with a completely separate culture, will inevitably turn on the civilians it purports to defend. I think a better solution is something like the Swiss model.

When was the last time Switzerland was invaded?
From: ulf_rulz Date: May 8th, 2005 07:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
I guess it was Napoleon in 1798, but they booted him 17 years later... anyway.

Everyone should have a big military gun. Everyone.
komos From: komos Date: May 8th, 2005 08:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
The concept of the "threat to the homeland" is somewhat archaic and entirely isolationist. The assumption is one where the military arm is deployed only insofar as the territory that is claimed by your nation is under attack by an aggressor. While I do agree that there have been a number of deployments post-WWII that were questionable, I don't see a reason to so limit prohibit us entirely from taking action to stem late imperialist aggression (WWII) or to intervene in a genocidal conflict (the Balkans). I'm not even sure that I'd place corporate greed at the center of most of the conflicts you've cited, even in the entirely more cynical Cold War-era shooting matches. The idea seems to be flip side of the official word that Communism was the greatest threat to freedom ever known... until terrorism.

The Swiss model? You mean mandatory service? That model can just as easily be perverted as an established military caste... consider the Israelis, for instance. In that case, military service is as much an indoctrination into the official state jargon as anything else.

And not for nothing, but the Swiss have their problems too. They maintained their neutrality in WWII in part by handling the financial interests of the Nazi party... which included laundering property seized from Jews sent to concentration camps.
From: ulf_rulz Date: May 9th, 2005 11:28 am (UTC) (Link)
I'd still say that the cold war was primarily about corporate interest... it was about the *corporate model.* As corporate power is economic power, of course the corporations oppose any kind of socialism or communism. One of the main reasons we bombed the crap out Yugoslavia was because they were holding onto a socialist structure and corporate interests wanted to "open up," the market. The alleged 'genocide,' in the Balkans has actually failed to materialize.

I agree that Israel is a great example of the concept of mandatory service gone bad; but then I think Israel is a great example of a really bad concept from the start. You can't found a country on terrorism, occupation & ethnic cleansing and not expect it to come back to you. The missing ingredient in the comparison is a committment to neutrality. As for Swiss financing during WWII... are we really so different here in the United States? We prosper at the indentured servitude of millions in third-world countries; we kill 500,000 Iraqi children with sanctions & Albright says it's worth it. Worth what? Maintaining the dollar as the medium of oil trade? We poison Iraqi soil for the next 100,000 years so Halliburton & KBR can glut themselves. The environmental devastation alone in Iraq will amount to a more complete genocide than WWII did; and it's a joke to think that anti-arab racism isn't at the root of it, especially considering Israel's role in encouraging the whole thing.

Years from now people will wonder how the American public could have allowed such a thing... At least the Swiss wanted to prevent a violent invasion. We just want to drive our SUV's & shop at Wal-mart.

I spent an interesting evening once in San Diego talking to a fighter pilot who was back from Iraq during the period in between Gulf War I & II. I knew it, but many people don't; during that entire period, we never stopped bombing Iraq. This guy flew a fighter and saw the Kurds (whom we double crossed with promises of aid if the rose up against Hussein,) getting stomped from the air. He didn't have a problem doing what he did, but he did feel that Americans should have a better idea of what is done in our name, and how exactly our standard of living is maintained. I have a feeling that if we had mandatory service, or a draft, opinions on war as an economic device would shift quickly. This is one of the reasons the military doesn't want a draft, even though desperately need new fodder. Ordinary Americans wouldn't tolerate the current military culture's ethics or behavior.

Of course, I don't think that mandatory service would work in America. It's too big, too sold out to corporate interest and too bureaucratically unaccountable. Smaller is better. :)
komos From: komos Date: May 9th, 2005 02:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm not suggesting that the US is better than Switzerland. What I am saying is that Switzerland has its own skeletons. At the opening of the World Wars, the US was "committed to neutrality" as well, albeit with the thought that victory to one side would be far more beneficial to our economic and political interests than the other. I've no doubt that Switzerland, as a modern nation state, operates on much the same concepts.

Incidentally, Belgium was committed to neutrality during the World Wars as well, but a trick of geography has made the country a particularly attractive corridor through which a rapid invasion of France may be achieved.

Reading through the rest, I think we're not disagreeing so much on terms as on scope. For instance, I've never accepted the idea that Desert Storm and Iraqi French Freedom was primarily about oil, but I do acknowledge that control of oil does carry power with it, and that the US is very interested in ensuring that oil-producing nations retain a US Dollar standard. Iraq had switched to the Euro. Iran was debating it.

So yes, modern warfare has a strong economic component to it, and that phenomenon has played part in every war that the US has committed to. My point is simply that a) the phenomenon is not limited to the US and b) there are other factors involved that need to be considered before universally condemning an action as the US government again being a puppet to corporate interests.

I got to ask, though... what are your sources for this?

The alleged 'genocide,' in the Balkans has actually failed to materialize.
From: ulf_rulz Date: May 10th, 2005 09:29 am (UTC) (Link)
This is a pretty good collection of quotations & articles:

http://www.btinternet.com/~nlpwessex/Documents/Kosovofalsehoods.htm

Mass graves have quite a history as ethereal tools of propaganda... and we've now killed far more with the initial bombing & the DU munitions than died in the ethnic violence. The PTB just wanted to get rid of Milosevic because he wouldn't play 'free-market.'
komos From: komos Date: May 12th, 2005 07:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've taken some time to review the materials, and I'm still not convinced that you've made your case.

The first story Kosovo Assault Was Not A Genocide [BBC] discusses the case of Miroslav Vuckovic who was indicted for, amongst other things, acts of genocide in 1998-9. The article indicates that the court did find against the defendant for charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, but the aggression against Kosovo in 1998-9 "...committed by Milosevic's regime cannot be qualified as criminal acts of genocide, since their purpose was not the destruction of the Albanian ethnic group... but its forceful departure from Kosovo." On its face, it looks damning, right?

This is the first article cited, and as such should probably present a rock solid case that the the charges of genocide during the Balkan conflict were categorically false. Instead, it presents a finding that is limited to a single campaign, and presents a decision that was contested.

Moreover, it does not take into account that the majority of cases being heard by the UN War Crimes Tribunal related to the Balkan conflict remain unresolved, nor does it take into account that there actually has been a conviction of genocide by that body for attrocities committed in 1995, as well as a plea bargain that likely mitigated genocide charges against the defendant.

It also overlooks the small fact that a final judgement on Milosovic's indictments (which include two counts of genocide and numerous human rights violations including, but not limited to, "extermination") has yet to be rendered.

In other words, the jury is still out.

The other citations are either similarly inconclusive, and supportive of the presence of, at the very least, widespread attrocities during the Balkan conflict, else they are heavily biased op-ed pieces.

Again, do I think that the presence of attrocities was the sole reason for the conflict? No, but then I'm just as unlikely to be convinced that NATO took action solely to open an eastern European market to western corporations. Both answers are too simple, and really don't address the full reality of the issue.
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