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02 September 2011

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rjj

depends on the age - there have been times when there was nothing more dangerous than a sense of security.

R Whitman

With respect to the first piece, all the funds were spent in the USA benefitting the US economy. The money was not thrown away in some foreign country that nobody gives a shit about.

With respect to Frank Rich,s piece: what nonsense, I cannot believe someone pays him to write such drivel.

rjj

security cloys quickly. Hsapsap did not get to be top predator (however ephemeral that status may be) by having a knack for ease and leisure.

jonst

"......if it makes sense the way we are spending it,....".

Well, you have to start, I suggest, by ruthlessly defining the words in the sentence.

Who is the "we" you are referring to? Superficially, it must be the American people. But what if "we" is the people and the entities benefiting from the spending? Let's say the contractors getting rich....and the politicians covering their asses in the event something goes wrong and they can say 'we spent all this'. By the way....these two classes, the contractors, the monied crowd, and the pols, are the one's making the decisions on what to spend. So, I would suggest this spending makes a great deal of sense. To some. And that is the "some" that matter these days when it comes to making the decisions.

R Whitman seems to think this 'system' makes sense.

William R. Cumming

Perhaps the DOD budget should be broken down into an "offensive operations" category and a "defensive operations category" and since those definitions no longer reflect nation states and their activities but often non-state actors the definitions must necessarily be complex. Of course I would also argue that the DOD budget could be broken down into categories of "warfare against nation-states" and "all operations other than war against nation-states'!

And Adam does DOD really need 50 college and university programs it funds and staffs and controls intellectually?

And watch out DOD because DHS has about a dozen such programs that might end up qualifying for college and university credits or degrees.

Admittedly the HIGER ED sector of America is largely corrupt whether profit making or nonprofit but at least the intellectual control and PC factors are masked more subtly.

All of the above of course is one reason the USA is in rapid decline.

Will Reks

@ R Whitman

What did you find objectionable about Rich's piece? I thought he was pretty much spot on.
---

Since 9/11 we've chosen to take measures to feel more secure at the expense of freedoms. Would anyone be truly surprised if there was a successful terrorist attack in the US tomorrow?

Security is now a major industry with lobbyists and massive political power. No major party will challenge the status quo.

Basilisk

Perhaps the axiom could be, "nothing was as dangerous to itself than a democracy when it was scared....?"

Adam L Silverman

Mr. Whitman,

The questions should be: 1) is what we spent it on making us safer? 2) given the actual odds of being killed (or harmed) in an attack, does spending this money this way make sense? 3) would the money have been better spent some other way?

Adam L Silverman

Mr. Cumming,

I can't speak for DOD or even Department of the Army (DA), but I can tell you that money spent on professional military education (PME) is, overall, a good investment. One of the things that is done well is that our military personnel, as well as some of the service civilians, are regularly trained and educated over the life courses of their careers. As a result they are often (usually?) better prepared to carry out their assignments than those from other government agencies. The real problem or crisis of the past decade has been deferments of the best from their regularly scheduled PME because of the operations tempo.

VietnamVet

Dr. Silverman,

The third report you should also have listed is the Commission on Wartime Contracting about the 40 billion dollars wasted in Iraq and Afghanistan.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/government_programs/july-dec11/warcontracts_09-01.html

In Vietnam there was money to be made in building bombs and Air Fields but once you left Cam Ranh Bay you were totally in the Green Machine. After the Silent Mutiny in the ranks over there, the draft was ended. As a follow up in the 90s, logistics and security were privatized and DOD contractor oversight gutted.

Americans have ended up with a corrupt federal government that no longer serves its citizens.

America is fighting wars that cannot be won so war profiteers can line their pockets. The American economy is gutted of good blue collar jobs so an urban young man with a high school diploma has only the choice of being a slacker or a grunt/contractor.

This is why Bachman and Perry are gaining traction over Romney or Huntsman in the Presidental Race. This is why Representatives Cantor and West and the rest of the GOP radicals are going to tear the federal government down.

Fred

".... A virus dropped at a cattle feed lot could wipe out a big part of the nation's food supply, ..."

Just read the any of the recent reports on e-coli poisonings and it will be easy to understand that it is not 'terrorism' that posses the threat to the food supply but the un-regulated free market capitalism that has concentrated food processing into a handful of companies and geographic reasons. No doubt when a perfectly preventable outbreak kills 2-3,000 instead of just making them sick the 'free market' will respond. We better limit the right to sue since that would be bad for the 'bottom line' - which is far more sacred than 'democracy'.

Nancy K

Americans are fearful, and the Republicans such as Perry, Bachman and Cantor, feed on this fear. Our country is in debt up to it's eyeballs because of our fear. We let the Bush administration lead us into wars that we should not have been in and could not and cannot afford. This country's safety net has been gutted and the current crop of Republicans seem to want to take away SS, MC, Public Education and anything else that makes us a nation that cares for it's people.
So be it, if Americans are so afraid, than we will reap the whirlwind that will follow the hot air that the current fear mongering ilk is spouting.

Nancy K

I just finished reading Uri Avnery's new column "Dogs of War". Israel must be the only country that is even more fearful than we are. Perhaps that is why so many of our politicians and Congress go there, to get ideas on how to keep us living in fear.

William R. Cumming

Mad Cow disease could well become the final WMD [weapons of mass disruption] to the USA economy. It takes where no real adequate testing of each cow exists almost 3 decades to determine the scope of the problem.

R Whitman

Adam

To answer your questions
1. The expenditures make us only marginally safer
2.Spending money this way does not make sense, but neither do many expenditures of government including most of the military.
3. There are many other uses for the funds that would probably be more beneficial, but our democratically elected reps chose this. If you feel this is a poor choice, go influence a congressman.

J

WRC,

What do you make of this one? 'Federal -family-'?'???? Blink, blink, blink???
http://www.palmbeachpost.com/storm/femas-use-of-term-federal-family-for-government-1808751.html

My wife and kids and my close friends I consider 'family', but FEMA? While they do good work on occasion, but X-cuze me, 'family'? Blink, Blink.????

J

Fred,

Is it time to head for a cave in the Appalachias?

It's only 435 approaching 434 shopping days left till the end of the Mayan calendar, is why I was asking. I remember as a wee shaver, my grandmother (mother's mother) when I was knee-high-to-a-toad-stool used to talk about hiding out then in an Appalachian cave away from our nation's nutzy leadership.

OMG.

Have a good weekend.

Roy G.

I'm reading Barbara Tuchman's The March of Folly, which I think gives the clearest historical read on what we have been living through the past decade. It would have been interesting to hear her take since she did not live to see this, but I believe she would have seen it as part of the lineage.

I don't think democracy plays into it, except that we nominally are one; instead, I agree with Tuchman's thesis about how folly, defined as shortsightedness, misplaced pride and avarice lead institutions into decline, as rulers are led by temporal gains and blinded to the world around them. As Edmund Burke proclaimed about the British Empire's inept handling of the American Revolution, 'A great empire and little minds go ill together.'

We will never know the 'truth' about what happened on 9/11, but we are now able to see the trajectory taken, and it does not reflect well on the political leadership of the US, which indeed has been a March of Folly.

highlander

Adam Silverman Phd
" professor who I thook the political theory core from (ancient, modern, feminist, and nietzchean) "

Women don't have political theories or philosophies. Only emotions,babies, and fashion sense. What would the world be without them?

YT

The more I look at the present, I see the past...

http://twshiloh.com/?p=6727

William R. Cumming

J! Excellent point. The arise of the term "Federal Family" directly undercuts the notion of "civil servants'" IMO.

And Roy G. You hit the nail on the head. The isolation of elites from the society that actually supports them is what is very dangerous. If you consider that training and education cannot be entrusted for those with power of various kinds the isolation grows. This was exactly my point with my lead comment to which Dr. Silverman responded by teh need for "Professionalism" in the military.
We continue to see the FLAGS fight over doctrine and not very successfully deal with new challenges IMO so perhaps time that these insulated professionals learn about other cultures, languages, political systems, and that should start perhaps with their understanding better the country that actually supports them.

And Dr. Silverman exactly how much time is spent in the education of a career officer reaching flag rank on military civil issues whether occurring domestically or during foreign ops?

And since only one President since Carter actually faced an enemy in combat or even military service what should a modern US President bring to the table NOW on his/her knowledge of the tremendous complexity of the modern USA Armed Forces that spends 70% of the world's totals on its military each year? Subject for a post?

MRW

Brain Michael Jenkins, a 40-year terrorism expert and considered one of our best, said in Testimony presented before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on November 19, 2009

"The plots show that radicalization and recruitment to terrorist violence is occurring in the United States and is a legitimate security concern. It has, however, yielded very few recruits. With roughly 3 million Muslims in America, although some estimates run much higher, 100 terrorists represent a mere 0.00003 percent of the Muslim population—fewer than one out of 30,000.

Terrorist violence is not a new phenomenon. Al Qaeda and its jihadist followers did not bring terrorism to the United States. Along with its immigrant communities, the United States has imported numerous terrorist campaigns. Cuban, Puerto Rican, Croatian, Serb, Palestinian, Armenian, Taiwanese, and Jewish extremists have all carried out attacks on U.S. soil, in addition to the homegrown terrorist campaigns of the far left and far right. In fact, the level of terrorist violence was greater in the United States in the 1970s than it is today.

The lack of significant terrorist attacks on the United States since 9/11 suggests not only intelligence and investigative success, but an American Muslim community that remains overwhelmingly unsympathetic to jihadist appeals. Modern communications, especially the Internet, offer access to violence-exalting narratives, but there is absolutely no evidence to show that attempts to exploit the dismay of some Muslims at policies that can be portrayed as an assault on faith or community have interrupted the integration of immigrant communities. What authorities confront are tiny conspiracies or the actions of individuals, which in a free society will always be hard to predict and prevent."

http://www.rand.org/pubs/testimonies/2009/RAND_CT336.pdf

Note the end of Jenkins' second paragraph.

Patrick Lang

mrw
i genreally do not favor use of SST as a bulleting board for others' thoughts but in this case the thought is so important that I will allow it. pl

J

Colonel,

What I find troubling, is the linkages of a 'Foreign Power' a.k.a. Israel Government attempting to 'steer' U.S. 'fear' of Muslims for their own Foreign Israeli 'warped/twisted' gain.

I say to the Israelis to go stick their heads in their Negev where the sun won't hit their blinded eyelids.

I am tired to the bone that a Foreign Power is being 'allowed' by our nations' leadership to lead U.S. around by our nose. And the dangerous thing for the Israeli Government, is that more and more Americans are waking up the fact that Israel's Government is behind a lot of it. Conspiracy theory? I think not, the trail of bread-crumbs is so clear you could use a coon dog on it.

Nancy K

highlander, there would be no world without women. Never forget that.

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