Tag Archives: US military

No More Lying About Afghan Body Counts

The Vietnam War was characterized by daily “body counts” that were simply daily lies about people who were dead and no one really knew if they were innocent civilians or Viet Cong. the body count charade began in Iraq and has continued in Afghanistan. The United States military has decided to cease providing such numbers because it serves no purpose and distracts from issue that decide victory or defeat. Actually, the number of Taliban who are “killed” does not offer any concrete evidence that something has been accomplished in destroying the power of the Taliban. According to General McChystal, the toll of supposed dead militants “distracts from the real objectives and isn’t necessary to communicate what we’re trying to achieve.”

A basic problem of body counts is believing someone flying in a jet plane in the sky knows if his bombs killed “Taliban” or not. In too many cases, the “enemy killed” turned out to be the civilian dead.

Did Afghan Feud Lead To Incorrect US Air Attack?

A British documentary asserts that a local tribal feud resulted in false information provided to the American military and a subsequent air attack which resulted in the death of dozens of innocent Afghanistan civilians. The hour long documentary includes scenes from a Herat provincial court trial in which a leader from a rival village was sentenced to death for giving false information to American military authorities. The British broadcast also asserts US forces are not cooperating with local police who seek three men from Kalask, the rival village in the torture death of an Azizabad man because the suspects work as guards for the Americans. Tom Roberts, the British director and narrator of the program claims Americans have taken sides in the feud which probably stems from a dispute over jobs working for Americans.

The US military insists the air strike led to 30 civilian deaths along with those of 60 to 65 Taliban militants. The Afghanistan government claims 140 villagers were killed. Investigations by the Afghanistan government and the UN definitely identify the death of at least 90 civilians, but the US military insists they are incorrect. The American military stance resembles the infamous Viet Nam process of daily “body counts” which claimed to have killed X number of the enemy as a result of air strikes. Exactly, how does a pilot flying hundreds of miles an hour know that his bombs killed “militants?”

North Korea Displaying Paranoid Style Of Diplomacy

It is sometimes difficult to differentiate between the bombastic fury of North Korean statements that are designed to threaten actions not contemplated, and the reality of what this paranoid style nation is ready to demonstrate. A North Korean news agency claimed the United States had 1,000 nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula and was in the process of deploying this massive arsenal in Japan and Korea. It argued that North Korea is “completely within the range of US nuclear attacks and the Korean peninsula is becoming an area where the chances of a nuclear war are the highest in the world.” Naturally, if a defenseless nation like the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is being threatened by the American bully what else can it do but gear up its own nuclear weapons?

There is a method in the paranoid madness of the North Koreans. The supreme leader is ill and he is attempting to create the image of a powerful nation so when his son takes over other countries will not think about doing anything to disturb the status quo in North Korea. Unfortunately, mistakes do occur and if North Korea continues pushing its madness there is always the possibility other nations will take it seriously and its prediction of a nuclear war on the Korean peninsula might come true.

John McCain Palinates On Gay Rights!

Once upon a time there was a bright young man who was filled with moral outrage at the use of torture since he had been subjected to an incredibly difficult time while in a Vietnam prison. Once upon a time John McCain stood against the crowd and was willing to endure unpopularity if he believed in his ideas. In response to requests that Congress end the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy which punishes brave young Americans, the Arizona senator urged the military to conduct a survey as to what soldiers thought about ending discrimination against gays. I assume, Senator McCain believes the government should have conducted a survey of southern white beliefs on segregation during the fight over civil rights.

There is no need for surveys, there is no need for further debate. The rights of our fighting men and women are being abused because some members of the military are gays and lesbians. They may be gay or lesbian, but more importantly, they are members of the military and are risking their lives in defense of this nation. The least this nation can do in return is to fight for their rights to individual freedom of choice in sexual matters.

Is There A Religious Bias In America’s Military?

The United States military is theoretically free of bias toward any one religion, but it certainly is biased in favor of religion. The Justice Department is attempting to dismiss a case instituted by a soldier who believes the military by fostering religion discriminates against those who do not have religious beliefs. The government is also arguing the Military Religious Freedom Foundation has the right to sue about discrimination against atheists. Spc. Dustin Chalker says he was compelled to attend military formations where Christian prayers were given. The Justice Department insists he could have requested to be excused from such formations.

Reality is the difficulty for a soldier to ask permission to be excused from formations. Such a request would anger the sergeant and place the person requesting it to be subjected to extra duties as well as other harassments.

The Wages Of War In A Recession

One of the unseen fall outs from the recession is its impact on serving in the armed forces. Since the stock market collapsed and the unemployment rate has risen, the United States military have witnessed a rather significant rise in re-enlistments as men and women flock to the military in the absence of job opportunities. Since the 2009 fiscal year, there have been 427 re-enlistments in the Washington National Guard, and many who are not re-enlisting, are planning to become a full fledged member of the regular army. Sergeant Jerry Frazier, who handles retention for a brigade, notes: “when we first deployed,(last fall) a lot of them didn’t want to re-enlist… but a few months later, a lot of those same guys came back up to me and said they were worried a bout the economy, about paying bills.” Soldiers are being paid extra money to supplement the GI Bill.

There is little question the surge in enlistments stems from the current economic situation in which jobs are being lost and young people are frightened about their futures. Some recruiters are encountering soldiers who want to be deployed to Iraq because it will bring extra money. Is there something wrong when we must entice young men and women to serve their country because it is the only hope for those who lack money or jobs? Is there something wrong with this picture?

Swedes Support Draft Law!

Unlike Americans, a majority of Swedes back their current system of mandatory military service. About 63% of the nation wants to keep having young men drafted into service and surprisingly, about 74% of young men are supporters of the draft system. Most Swedish military officials do no believe it is possible to obtain sufficient volunteers which makes a draft process the only way to maintain an effective armed force. The military argues it is a cost-efficient system since there is no need to offer hight bonus payments or incentives to get new recruits.

The United States relies on a volunteer army which means people can support military ventures such as the idiotic invasion of Iraq because their sons and daughters are not subject to death. What if all young men had to serve, would there be as much enthusiasm for invading nations when it is your own flesh and blood who might die?

Can America Lecture The World About Military Power?

During the past eight years, the United States military has intervened in the affairs of numerous nations and complained when anyone dares to increase its defense budget. William Lynn, the Obama selection to become deputy of defense, urged the incoming administration to be concerned about increases in military expenditures by China. He emphasized the need for America to retain “an edge in areas that are critical to achieving specific operational objectives.” Professor Shi Yinhn, of Renmin University, decried the American’s comment about what China should or shouldn’t do concerning its military goals. He believes the American military establishment wants the right to decide the policies of other nations regarding their armed forces.

Perhaps, before complaining about China spending too much on its military, we might examine our own expenditures. The Chinese most probably spend about 15% of what the United States does on the military, but any increase in China’s budget leads to complaints. It is time for the United States to reduce its military expenditures and cease trying to make decisions as to what the world does about armed forces.

Americanizing Afghan War- Will It Succeed?

The new year promises to witness an Americanization of the war in Afghanistan with introduction of about 30,000 American troops to augment coalition forces. Within the coming months, American generals will be calling the shots in deciding military strategy. An experienced US general, John Nicholson will soon command in the South which has been the scene of extensive British, Dutch, and Canadian action. “By introducing more U.S. capability,”says Nicholson, “we have the potential to change the game.” The assumption of American strategy is more troops, more cooperation from local clan leaders and more effective use of military capacity will result in victory.

There are many assumptions, among the most is the ability to replicate in Afghanistan success in Iraq. Of course, there are vast differences between the two countries. Iraq had a well educated population and the capability of utilizing modern ideas. Will this be true of the more economically backward Afghan population?

Restore American Pride Says General Jones

Retired General James Jones who will become Barack Obama’s national security adviser, told a marine audience he took the job because he wanted to restore America’s stature in the world and make being an American someone can be proud to say. He wants to recapture the feeling that once was held by millions of people that being an American meant one supported the dignity and rights of all people to a decent life. In a sense, Jones, wants to rid America of the Bush stains upon our moral standing in the world. America has to be more than a nation which begins wars and then subjects captured prisoners to torture and brutality. Bush’s legacy has been to besmirch the uniform of American soldiers by linking wearing that uniform to being part of an army which destroys human dignity.

I do not know if General Jones can help to end the legacy of George Bush, but it is important to restore the dignity of those who fight for this nation. I do not know if the future will look back on this generation with admiration. But, if Barack Obama can ensure that no American soldier ever again has to engage in criminal actions, he will take the first step on the road back to pride in America.