The United States and its Military - A Force For Good
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12-02-2012, 11:57 AM
RE: The United States and its Military - A Force For Good
(12-02-2012 11:29 AM)Zat Wrote:  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.

I ask that you consider that you may be better describing yourself. I posted a paragraph and asked if we could establish common ground around it. Instead of identifying your points of agreement and disagreement with it, you instead pasted in a Noam Chomsky speech - essentially quoting to me from your bible. THAT's what it's like to argue with believers.

(12-02-2012 11:29 AM)Zat Wrote:  But, I guess, believing in the infallibility of your country is your religion.

Which of the following statements I quoted demonstrate a belief in the infallibility of my country:

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.

Do you really see infallibility in those statements?

(12-02-2012 11:29 AM)Zat Wrote:  Do you have a military background, I wonder...

I would be proud to say yes if I did, but I have not served in the military. However in my professional work I have consulted with people in all departments and agencies of the US government, and at all levels, and have gained a lot of insight into how and why it works.
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12-02-2012, 12:22 PM (This post was last modified: 12-02-2012 01:47 PM by Zat.)
RE: The United States and its Military - A Force For Good
(12-02-2012 11:57 AM)Jeff Wrote:  Do you really see infallibility in those statements?

Maybe infallibility was the wrong word -- however the message is clear (as it is in the Thread title) -- "don't be afraid of us, we are not dangerous, actually, we are good for the world".

The millions and millions of dead people in the wake of your goodness might disagree.

Talking about "not answering questions" -- you asked if any of us would see the use of military force justified and, if yes, under what circumstances?"

I gave you a detailed and reasoned answer that you seem to have ignored completely.

I wonder why?

Huh
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12-02-2012, 01:02 PM
RE: The United States and its Military - A Force For Good
(12-02-2012 12:22 PM)Zat Wrote:  I gave you a detailed and reasoned answer that you seem to have ignored completely.

I wonder why?

In one post you said you were done and gone from this thread, in another you said it was impossible for us to communicate. I didn't respond because you're telling me that it's a waste of my time to do so.

By the way, I'm not a stickler for forum etiquette but posting advertisements and links to your thread in this one, and then repeating whole posts here from elsewhere is a bit over the top.
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12-02-2012, 01:36 PM (This post was last modified: 12-02-2012 02:38 PM by Zat.)
RE: The United States and its Military - A Force For Good
(12-02-2012 01:02 PM)Jeff Wrote:  
(12-02-2012 12:22 PM)Zat Wrote:  I gave you a detailed and reasoned answer that you seem to have ignored completely.

I wonder why?

You specifically asked me for my answer.

Let me refresh your memory:

(11-02-2012 03:18 PM)Jeff Wrote:  I would like to ask Zat, Lilith, Ben and anyone else who'd care to answer this question - are there any situations where you would endorse the use of military force, and if so, what are those situations?

I gave you my answer as follows:

(11-02-2012 03:26 PM)Zat Wrote:  How about self defense, inside your own borders?

You don't even need to do that because you have enough nuclear weapons to destroy the entire planet, ten times over -- no country will dare to attack you.

As for the terrorist threat -- once you bring all your troops home, dismantle your military bases around the world and stop meddling in other nations' affairs, you won't have to worry about terrorists, nobody will hate you any more.

As for humanitarian intervention -- you have been doing more harm than good, almost every time you tried it. Don't be so presumptuous to imagine you know what is good for other cultures. Let them work it out for themselves, as you demand the right to work it out for your own country. Allow the UN to do its job and support it when it calls for assistance.

Once you cut your military budget to a small fraction of what it is now, you will have plenty of money to solve all your domestic problems.

Of course, your arms dealers and generals and other fat cats of the "military-industrial complex" will be pissed off with you, but it is a small price to pay for some sanity both at home and abroad.

After having asked for it, you ignored it.

Can you please explain to me why it is not a good answer to your question? Smile

..............................

PS. In the interest of peace on the Forum -- I removed the offending quote you complained about. Sad
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12-02-2012, 08:11 PM
RE: The United States and its Military - A Force For Good
Some more good stuff to quote - will soon get to addressing Ben's interventionist list. By the way this author will be on the Diane Rehm show (NPR) tomorrow, Monday 2/13/12. If you miss(ed) it try the podcast.

"Even after World War II most Americans had never intended to become a global power. Preserving world peace, most imagined vaguely, would somehow be the job of the United Nations. When war ended, the Truman administration looked to pull back across the ocean, rapidly demobilize its armed forces, cut the defense budget, and establish Europe as an independent “third force,” capable of standing up to the Soviet Union by itself. That was the original aim of the Marshall Plan and other efforts to boost Europeans’ shattered confidence, rebuild their devastated economies, and turn onetime enemies into a united European entity. The Europeans, however, were not interested in being a third force, nor, as quickly became apparent, were they capable of it on their own. They wanted “American troops” standing “between them and the Red Army” and to keep a revived Germany in check. The NATO alliance was really Europe’s idea more than America’s, an “invitation to empire,” which the Americans grudgingly accepted only when it became clear their original plan was hopeless.

George Kennan opposed the idea of NATO or any extended American presence in Europe. He feared Americans were “not fitted, either institutionally or temperamentally, to be an imperial power in the grand manner,” and he much preferred to divest “ourselves gradually of the basic responsibility for the security of western Europe.” Yet it was precisely Americans’ limitations and hesitations that made them such an attractive leader of the transatlantic “empire.” With the Soviet version of empire taking hold in the East, the great power across the ocean, distant both physically and emotionally, appeared to Europeans as the perfect deus ex machina to solve their dilemma. The United States was geographically far enough away to be a less threatening hegemon, and with no enemies on its own borders, it was secure enough at home to keep large numbers of its powerful armed forces on permanent station thousands of miles away. It helped that America was a democracy, not only because Americans shared common values with the British and the French, but also because, as the historian John Lewis Gaddis has noted, their style of working with allies had a democratic quality that permitted weaker powers a very unimperial autonomy.

The United States played a similarly critical role in East Asia after World War II. There, too, large-scale war among Korea served as the battleground for a number of conflicts, and of course the civil war in Korea sucked in both the United States and China. The entrance of the United States into a permanent security role in the region did not put an end to war—the United States itself fought in both Korea and Vietnam—but it did put an end to the cycle of warfare among the region’s great powers. The close American security relationship with Japan mirrored the role the United States played in Germany. The region’s most aggressive power was put out of the aggression business, its people’s vast energies channeled instead into economic growth, technological innovation, and world trade.

It is worth reflecting on these great geopolitical problems that the United States solved after 1945, for had they not been solved, the world would look entirely different today. The strategic relationships Americans formed in Europe and Asia became the pillars of the liberal world order during the Cold War, the engines of the global economy, the heart of the expanding democratic world, and the primary guarantee against world wars and the great-power conflicts that had plagued the world for a century. Over time the self-contained liberal order built around American leadership during the Cold War proved too strong, economically, militarily, and politically, for its chief competitor, the Soviet Union, and its own efforts to establish a global communist order. The American order became the dominant world order. Moscow’s former satellites eagerly joined “the West,” thereby making possible the full flowering of the liberal world that we enjoy today."
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12-02-2012, 08:18 PM (This post was last modified: 12-02-2012 08:40 PM by Zat.)
RE: The United States and its Military - A Force For Good
I see -- no reply.

I didn't think you would have any, because my suggestion made too much sense.

So, after this last try failed, I will indeed give up on you, Jeff.

I should have known better than to try to help you see reason.Rolleyes

Enjoy your bible-reading class! Big Grin
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12-02-2012, 08:27 PM
RE: The United States and its Military - A Force For Good
(12-02-2012 01:36 PM)Zat Wrote:  After having asked for it, you ignored it.
Can you please explain to me why it is not a good answer to your question? Smile

Now I understand what you were referring to. Yes you responded, and I didn't respond because I don't see an answer to the question asked, but let me try it again here. My question, and your responses:

Are there any situations where you would endorse the use of military force, and if so, what are those situations?

(11-02-2012 03:26 PM)Zat Wrote:  How about self defense, inside your own borders?

You're saying you would endorse the use of military force for self-defense within our own borders? I assume you mean in the event the US was attacked. Do I understand this correctly?

(11-02-2012 03:26 PM)Zat Wrote:  You don't even need to do that because you have enough nuclear weapons to destroy the entire planet, ten times over -- no country will dare to attack you.

Doesn't answer the question Are there any situations where you would endorse the use of military force, and if so, what are those situations?

(11-02-2012 03:26 PM)Zat Wrote:  As for the terrorist threat -- once you bring all your troops home, dismantle your military bases around the world and stop meddling in other nations' affairs, you won't have to worry about terrorists, nobody will hate you any more.

Doesn't answer the question Are there any situations where you would endorse the use of military force, and if so, what are those situations?

(11-02-2012 03:26 PM)Zat Wrote:  As for humanitarian intervention -- you have been doing more harm than good, almost every time you tried it. Don't be so presumptuous to imagine you know what is good for other cultures. Let them work it out for themselves, as you demand the right to work it out for your own country. Allow the UN to do its job and support it when it calls for assistance.

Doesn't answer the question Are there any situations where you would endorse the use of military force, and if so, what are those situations?

(11-02-2012 03:26 PM)Zat Wrote:  Once you cut your military budget to a small fraction of what it is now, you will have plenty of money to solve all your domestic problems.

Doesn't answer the question Are there any situations where you would endorse the use of military force, and if so, what are those situations?

(11-02-2012 03:26 PM)Zat Wrote:  Of course, your arms dealers and generals and other fat cats of the "military-industrial complex" will be pissed off with you, but it is a small price to pay for some sanity both at home and abroad.

Doesn't answer the question Are there any situations where you would endorse the use of military force, and if so, what are those situations?

To answer your question Zat, I didn't respond because I didn't see a responsive answer, just pontification. Further, I find your understanding of geopolitics is breathtakingly naive. Why don't we just agree to disagree and you stay in your thread and I'll stay in mine.
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12-02-2012, 10:01 PM
RE: The United States and its Military - A Force For Good
(12-02-2012 08:27 PM)Jeff Wrote:  Are there any situations where you would endorse the use of military force, and if so, what are those situations?

Sure, there are situations where military force is justified.

The most obvious and clear cut situation is self defense within our own borders. If an enemy is attacking within U.S. soil than we certainly have the right to defend ourselves.

Slightly grayer is defending ourselves overseas. If a nation is threatening direct harm to the United States, I would say using military force as a preventative measure is usually justified.

In the case of genocide against a foreign people military intervention may sometimes be justified.

Other than that there are few cases where direct military force is the best solution, though of course every situation must be judged on a case-by-case basis.
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12-02-2012, 11:43 PM
RE: The United States and its Military - A Force For Good
(12-02-2012 08:18 PM)Zat Wrote:  I see -- no reply.

I didn't think you would have any, because my suggestion made too much sense.

So, after this last try failed, I will indeed give up on you, Jeff.

I should have known better than to try to help you see reason.Rolleyes

Enjoy your bible-reading class! Big Grin

Zat, stop being a dick. Or at least turn your dick knob down a few notches.

Maybe you don't understand because you're from Canada. But the US is a huge fucking superpower with a massive army and state of the art technology. Couple that with our civilian bleeding heart mentality and the entire premise of the founding of our country (escaping oppression through military victory) and you're left with a desire to free other countries through similar methods.

We are powerful enough to manipulate and overthrow most regimes on the planet and still have enough soldiers left to maintain a defense at home. And as Spider Man says, with great power comes great responsibility. Sometimes you shouldn't let other countries work it out for themselves. If you see things like the Rwandan genocides or Hitler filling mass graves or Saddam gassing his own people, it's almost your duty as a fellow human being to interfere if you have the capability to do so.

The problem is, after waving the flags and patting ourselves on the back for intervening, we realize that we just sent hundreds of thousands of armed men into hostile foreign lands. Testosterone, frustration, and language barriers kick in and people die. And there are always innocents caught in the collateral damage. But the "thousands of dead in our wake" aren't always made up of women and children. In the latest deployment to Iraq, our platoon's rules of engagement were so strict, you almost couldn't defend yourself. You basically had to have a man wearing a shirt that says "Terrorist" on it, shooting at you for several minutes while praising Allah before you could fire back. And if you wound him instead of kill him, you are forced by the geneva conventions to save his life with first aid (happened many times). All I'm saying is, it's not a bloodbath of every living thing. We only kill the ones who try to kill us first.

And let me reiterate that I am not defending our overuse of military. Again, I agree that we have way too many bases and a defense budget about 10 times the size it needs to be. I'm just saying that we have the power and the desire to do good, and when mass killings take place by renegades or zealots, we can't just sit around pretending it isn't happening so we send in troops to defeat violence with violence (which is like fighting fire with fire). I'm not defending the "should we do it." I'm defending the "why we do it."

"Ain't got no last words to say, yellow streak right up my spine. The gun in my mouth was real and the taste blew my mind."

"We see you cry. We turn your head. Then we slap your face. We see you try. We see you fail. Some things never change."
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13-02-2012, 06:56 AM (This post was last modified: 13-02-2012 07:44 AM by Zat.)
RE: The United States and its Military - A Force For Good
(12-02-2012 11:43 PM)Buddy Christ Wrote:  Sometimes you shouldn't let other countries work it out for themselves.

Buddy, I see a huge problem with this statement.

Of course, I would have liked the Rwanda massacre stopped before it started.

However, once you take the responsibility upon yourself, unilaterally, what's to stop you from abusing it? Special interests use this arguments that "you are the policeman of the world" as an excuse for all kinds of nefarious purposes, as has been done over and over again in history. The Russians did not invade Hungary in 1956, they came to 'liberate' us from western subversives who deluded the people.

You guys were looking for phantom WMD that you "knew exactly where to find" (you never did) in Iraq. In Panama you were looking for Noriega because he was a bad guy. Once you were there, you carpet-bombed the poor district of Panama City where most of the anti-American and anti-western resentment was concentrated -- killing 4000 civilians in one raid. The examples are limitless.

Anyway, if you accept the premise that one nation, unilaterally, may take it upon herself to decide when and where to invade militarily, you open up a can of worms. What, if China, in some time in the future, after the collapse of the US economy, maybe even civil war, decides to invade the US to solve the massive internal problems their own way and impose their philosophy, government system, constitution on the USA?

I am sure you wouldn't like it.

That is why the UN was established: to prevent war. It is laid down in the UN charter that no nation has the right to use unprovoked, unilateral force against another one. They learned from Hitler's example who kept drumming up excuses to invade Czechoslovakia, Poland, Austria -- he was just 'protecting' the German minorities in those countries. The USA was the major architect of the UN charter. She has forgotten the reasons since then.

No ONE nation should ever be allowed to make unilateral decisions of this magnitude. That is what the UN is for. That is why the US is always looking for a UN fig-leaf before invading another country (you will do it regardless, with or without it) because you KNOW that it would be ethically wrong without it and that you would be condemned for it afterward.

And the problem is, even when you are morally justified on humanitarian grounds, you create more harm and resentment that will have repercussions for decades down the road. If you tally everything, it would be best for everybody, in the long run, if you just staid home and minded your own business and supported the UN (instead of manipulating, arm-twisting and financially starving it) to allow it to do its job for which it was created, primarily by US help and feeling of moral obligation.

Yes, you are right, with great power comes great responsibility: primarily to restrain it.

I don't know if any of this makes sense to you but I tried my best to give you my reasons for my problem with US Foreign Policy and use of military force. For examples of actual history of it, you find a lot of data in the 'companion thread' I created for that purpose.

Once more again: I am not anti-American, but I am passionately anti-Empire, whichever nation on Earth decides to build one. This time it is the USA doing it and, the moment they decide to stop it, I will be the most enthusiastic supporter and admirer of the countless magnificent achievements the United States has produced and gifted to the world.

PS. My own unique history may give you a clue to my stand against empires of any kind. I grew up in communist Hungary that was invaded and enslaved by the Russian 'Empire' at the end of WW2. I managed to escape and now I find myself in the shadow of another 'Empire' that has a major influence and interference in my new country and I am concerned about the future. If you continue your present trend, I see major problems for your country: financial/economic collapse, maybe even civil war. I will hate to be next door to you when it happens. We have a saying here in Canada: "don't sleep with an Elephant, because when it rolls over, you are in trouble". Erxomai has already threatened to invade Canada and take over our oil-sands in Alberta (for which I would be very grateful btw. Big Grin). Empires are horrible things as I tried to explain in Post #7 of the companion thread. I am sure Napoleon had great vision and great feeling of responsibility to reshape the world in his own image -- you know the result. Undecided
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