The United States and its Military - A Force For Good
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12-02-2012, 06:10 AM
RE: The United States and its Military - A Force For Good
I'm hoping to start this conversation with some common ground. I agree with the following statement - I'm wondering if the "con" crew can agree with it as well:

Since the late nineteenth century, when the United States became a world power, Americans have used force dozens of times, and rarely because they had no choice. They have sent troops to Mexico and Central America to depose troublesome leaders; they have fought the Spanish in Cuba and independence-minded guerrillas in the Philippines; they have fought anti-Western forces in China and communists in Vietnam and Korea, and have sent millions of troops to Europe, twice; they have fought dictators and jihadis in the Middle East, Central Asia, and Africa. And they have done so for many reasons: to defend themselves from distant threats, to preserve economic interests, to protect peoples from slaughter, to resist aggression, to fight tyranny, to support democracy. Far more than any other democratic people in the world today, Americans see war as a legitimate, even essential, tool of foreign policy. Few modern nations, and no modern democracies, more revere their military heroes, both past and present.

There's no gotcha coming if you agree with this. I just think it will help if we can start with a common understanding of America's behavior. The above seems accurate and fair to me, what do you think?
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12-02-2012, 07:37 AM (This post was last modified: 12-02-2012 10:04 AM by Zat.)
RE: The United States and its Military - A Force For Good
(12-02-2012 06:10 AM)Jeff Wrote:  The above seems accurate and fair to me, what do you think?

Sorry, Jeff, you have the rose-coloured glasses on, again! Sad

Reality is a bit different.

I have to quote from an interview with Noam Chomsky:

Quote:TM: One of the more provocative statements of yours that I have read is that If the standards of the Nuremberg Trials were applied, then every post World War II American president would have been hanged as a war criminal. Take us briefly through the war crimes committed by each president.

NC: I've done that in print a couple of times.

Well, with Truman you could start with, shortly after he entered office there was the bombing of Hiroshima, which maybe one could give an argument for -- well, I don't think so -- but it is almost impossible to give an argument for the bombing of Nagasaki. That was mostly just trying out a new weapon to see if it would work. Then there was an utterly gratuitous bombing, a one thousand plane raid at the end of the war -- right in fact after Japan surrendered -- called the "finale," the grand finale. Then comes, for example, the support for the brutal counter-insurgency campaign in Greece, which killed about 150,000 people to basically restore Nazi collaborators and demolish the resistance. And then we could go on from there.

Eisenhower. The Eisenhower administration, the Truman and Eisenhower administration, the bombings -- whatever you think about the Korean War, and there is a pretty complicated story when you really look at it, but nevertheless the bombings in North Korea in 1951 and 1952 was just an outright war crime. You can read in the Air Force history about how in the Eisenhower years they had nothing left to bomb, everything was flat, so they just bomb dams, which they exalt how wonderful it was to see the water flooding down and killing people and wiping out the crops and so on. Well people were hanged for that, for less than that. They were hanged for opening dikes in Nuremberg. And then again we can proceed with what happened in Guatemala and elsewhere where it was a terrible crime in the Eisenhower years.

Kennedy is not even worth discussing. The invasion in South Vietnam -- Kennedy attacked South Vietnam, outright. In 1961-1962 he sent Air Force to start bombing villages, authorized napalm. Also laid the basis for the huge wave of repression that spread over Latin America with the installation of Neo-Nazi gangsters that were always supported directly by the United States.

That went on and in fact picked up under Johnson.

In the Nixon years, for example, the bombing of inner Cambodia in 1973 was a monstrous crime. It was just massacring peasants in inner Cambodia. It isn't much reported here because nobody paid attention, but it was quite a part in helping create the basis for the Khmer Rouge. Well, the CIA estimate is that 600,000 people were killed in the course of those US actions, either directed or actually carried out by the United States.

In the Carter years there were major crimes, for example the Indonesian invasion of East Timor, which happened to start under Ford and led to the nearest thing to genocide since the holocaust, maybe 1/3 or 1/4 of the population has been slaughtered. That was using 90% US arms. In the Carter years, when the Indonesians were actually running out of arms in their attack on this country, Carter actually increased the flow of arms in 1978, which was the worst peak of the slaughter. Carter was backing Somoza and his national guard, openly and with direct military and diplomatic support at a time when they had killed about 40,000 people in the terror of the last days of their regime. Again, that's a sample.

Going on to the Reagan years, its not even a question. In fact the US was condemned by the World Court during the Reagan years for its "unlawful use of force," meaning aggression in Nicaragua. In Central America alone, maybe 200,000 people or so were slaughtered in a very brutal fashion by US run programs. In southern Africa about 1.5 million people were killed and over $60 billion of damage were done according to the UN commission which reviewed it later from 1980 to 1988. That's from South African atrocities that the US was directly supporting. Then, again we could go on.

Well Bush, we've already talked about him, but the invasion of Panama for example was simply outright aggression. It was condemned internationally -- the US was able to veto the security counsel condemnations, that doesn't change the fact that they were there.

When we move on to the Clinton years, one of his first acts within a few months was to send missiles to bomb Baghdad. Well, he didn't kill a huge amount of people, only I think 8 or so. But there was absolutely no pretext, there wasn't even a pretext. I mean it was to show what a tough guy he is. In fact the pretext was so ludicrous, it's embarrassing to repeat it. The pretext was that this was self defense against armed attack, because two months earlier there had been a failed attempt by someone who might or might not have been Iraqi, no one knew at the time, to kill Bush or something like that. I mean, it's just ridiculous. About half of military aid and training to Latin America under Clinton was going to Columbia, which has absolutely the worst human rights record in the hemisphere, killing thousands of people in a horrifying fashion. These are all crimes. I don't think it's hard to set up a bill of indictment if somebody wants to. "

Rage Against the Machine is a popular rap-metal band, explicitly critical of U.S. power and capitalist rule.

Noam Chomsky, professor of linguistics at MIT and well-known dissident intellectual, is highly admired by the group.

The above interview between guitarist Tom Morello and Chomsky was conducted via phone during the summer of 1996. It was broadcast nation-wide during the Radio Free LA program in January 1997.

...and that was BEFORE 2001 when the US turned REALLY nasty! (Torturing, 'Rendering', Gitmo, Abu Gharib, Fellujah, target shooting at civilians and ambulances, using white phosphorus against civilians, carpet bombing entire villages, etc., etc.) Rolleyes
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12-02-2012, 09:23 AM
RE: The United States and its Military - A Force For Good
(12-02-2012 06:10 AM)Jeff Wrote:  I'm hoping to start this conversation with some common ground. I agree with the following statement - I'm wondering if the "con" crew can agree with it as well:

Since the late nineteenth century, when the United States became a world power, Americans have used force dozens of times, and rarely because they had no choice. They have sent troops to Mexico and Central America to depose troublesome leaders; they have fought the Spanish in Cuba and independence-minded guerrillas in the Philippines; they have fought anti-Western forces in China and communists in Vietnam and Korea, and have sent millions of troops to Europe, twice; they have fought dictators and jihadis in the Middle East, Central Asia, and Africa. And they have done so for many reasons: to defend themselves from distant threats, to preserve economic interests, to protect peoples from slaughter, to resist aggression, to fight tyranny, to support democracy. Far more than any other democratic people in the world today, Americans see war as a legitimate, even essential, tool of foreign policy. Few modern nations, and no modern democracies, more revere their military heroes, both past and present.

There's no gotcha coming if you agree with this. I just think it will help if we can start with a common understanding of America's behavior. The above seems accurate and fair to me, what do you think?

Don't you see the irony of going into another country and establishing a democracy without asking them? Rolleyes
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12-02-2012, 09:39 AM
RE: The United States and its Military - A Force For Good
(12-02-2012 09:23 AM)Ben Wrote:  Don't you see the irony of going into another country and establishing a democracy without asking them? Rolleyes

There was a joke in Hungary after the crushed 1956 revolution:

Q: Why did the Russian Army invade Hungary?
A: They were trying to find out who invited them in!

(They never found any!) Big Grin
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12-02-2012, 10:18 AM
RE: The United States and its Military - A Force For Good
Sent troops to Mexico to depose leaders? They sent more troops to Latin America to impose leaders. The United States has forced Mexico into much of the crippled state it's in.

I'm glad that Noam Chomsky mentioned Cambodia. That horror really didn't get any coverage. If it had there would've been a new president on the spot. My partner's parents are from Cambodia, after Nixon laid the country to waste the only government willing to step in and help the survivors was France. So all the refugees went to Quebec.

I might be able to agree with you Jeff, but the issue with your statement is that it is simply discussing the excuses for the actions. Almost every action the US has taken had more to it than what was mentioned. The US military in no way explains itself fully to the american public or to it's own personnel. Most governments don't, but we're talking about the US right now.

Oh and the supposed reason for the bombing of Cambodia was due to an intercepted cominique between Cambodia and North Vietnam. In case you wanted to hear the cover story. Which was never looked into.

I'm not a non believer, I believe in the possibility of anything. I just don't let the actuality of something be determined by a 3rd party.
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12-02-2012, 11:07 AM (This post was last modified: 12-02-2012 11:15 AM by Jeff.)
RE: The United States and its Military - A Force For Good
(12-02-2012 07:37 AM)Zat Wrote:  Reality is a bit different.

How does reality differ from the statement given?


(12-02-2012 10:18 AM)Lilith Pride Wrote:  I might be able to agree with you Jeff, but the issue with your statement is that it is simply discussing the excuses for the actions.

What excuses do you see?


(12-02-2012 09:23 AM)Ben Wrote:  Don't you see the irony of going into another country and establishing a democracy without asking them? Rolleyes

Where was this done?


And the next statement:

The most important features of today’s world—the great spread of democracy, the prosperity, the prolonged great-power peace—have depended directly and indirectly on power and influence exercised by the United States. No other power could have or would have influenced the world the way Americans have because no other nation shares, or has ever shared, their peculiar combination of qualities. Some of the most important qualities are obvious. America’s unique geographical circumstances, its capitalist economic system, its democratic form of government, and its enormous military power have together shaped a particular kind of international order that would have looked very different had another nation with different characteristics wielded a similar amount of influence.
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12-02-2012, 11:16 AM
RE: The United States and its Military - A Force For Good
(12-02-2012 11:07 AM)Jeff Wrote:  
(12-02-2012 07:37 AM)Zat Wrote:  Reality is a bit different.

How does reality differ from the statement given?

Jeff, I added a new post to your favourite thread (sarcasm intended) about "US Foreign Policy - Diplomatic and Military"

Take a look, read through the thread and maybe you will see the difference.

If not, not!

Then I will really give up! Rolleyes
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12-02-2012, 11:18 AM
RE: The United States and its Military - A Force For Good
This paper you're quoting from is making me feel a bit sick with how biased it is. I might come back at a later time, but for the moment I would like a break.

I'm not a non believer, I believe in the possibility of anything. I just don't let the actuality of something be determined by a 3rd party.
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12-02-2012, 11:25 AM
RE: The United States and its Military - A Force For Good
Some more - it's such good stuff I just can't stop!

"The irony is that the peculiar blend of qualities that Americans have displayed, not all of them admirable, not all of them noble, and not all of them obvious traits of effective leadership, have nevertheless been a strange kind of asset to American foreign policy. For while it is true that the United States has been a powerful if unpredictable and often unwitting agent of change in the world, the ambivalence of the American people as well as their lack of self-awareness has paradoxically made their awesome power less threatening than it might be. Americans would be scarier if they actually had a plan. Their very distractedness, their evident desire to hold themselves apart from the world even as they shape it with their power, makes them an often frustrating ally, a confusing adversary, but also a less imposing, less frightening hegemon.

These qualities proved indispensable more than six decades ago when the United States laid the main foundation for today’s liberal world order by cementing its economic and strategic alliance with Europe. It is easy to forget, now that Europe is supposedly passé and we’ve entered the “Asian century,” that the world we know today—the political, economic, and strategic order in which Asia itself has prospered—was born atop the rubble of Europe after World War II. And it was born only because the United States supplied a novel solution to Europe’s insoluble problem.

The European powers after the mid-nineteenth century had fallen into a tragic syndrome from which they were unable to extricate themselves. Too many strong and ambitious powers were too close to one another to offer any of them a measure of security. The European balance of power had worked for stretches of time, but it had also failed periodically and catastrophically. Between 1850 and 1945, France and Germany (or Prussia in the first instance) went to war three times—in 1870, 1914, and 1940. Russia and Germany went to war twice. Britain and France together fought Russia once. In between these major wars were several near wars as tensions rose, especially in the Balkans but also in the division of colonial spoils in Africa and East Asia. Even when the European balance of power succeeded in keeping the peace, it was through the constant threat of war, the dispatch of battle fleets to contested waters, the menacing mobilization of ground forces during crises. Europe had become a cockpit of geopolitical rivalry between heavily armed great powers, with no way of ending the cycle of insecurity. All this had transpired despite a common European culture and civilization, an increasingly integrated and interdependent European economy, and blood relations among some of the ruling families."
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12-02-2012, 11:29 AM
RE: The United States and its Military - A Force For Good
Jeff, you may not realize it, but you sound (and argue) exactly as the theists do, reading from their bible and ignoring everything else anyone tries to tell them that blindingly contradicts their faith.

It is a miracle that your are not also religious. Rolleyes

But, I guess, believing in the infallibility of your country is your religion.

Do you have a military background, I wonder...
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