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23 March 2015

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Jack

Sir

We are no empire. The American people have no fortitude to sacrifice for a century of occupation. However, the hubris of our political and governmental elites know no bounds. Where that leads I don't know but speculate it will lead to the rest of the world that will oppose the incoherence of our hegemony and our elites claiming "we woz robbed".

SteveG

"When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plain"
I think we can all agree on this eventual outcome.

Tyler

Afghanistan as Secunda Secondus.

turcopolier

Tyler

Means what? pl

Stephen Colton

Seconda Secondus, the Imperial prison planet in the novel Dune; a harsh environment, secretly used to segregate and train the Sardauker, the Imperial Storm Troopers, reknowned for their martial skill and ferocity in battle. I assume Tyler is referring to your header. Frank Herbert probably would have concurred.

confusedponderer

"The American people have no fortitude to sacrifice for a century of occupation."

They do not? As long as this doesn't require any sacrificing this can go on forever, generally speaking.

Arguably, there is no sacrifice on part of the US population proper.

I recall, quite clearly, that in 2002 the sentiment was that the military is a volunteer force to be used as the government sees fit. In the meanwhile the rest of the country goes on shopping and inflating financial bubbles. That's precisely what Bush called for the US to do, 'lest the terrorists win' - consumption was to be the US population's contribution to the GWOT.

There is no burden sharing. Recruitment for that military is drawn from a relatively narrow pool of the population. The majority does not feel the impact of these wars. The wounded and dead are returning elsewhere, largely out of sight when they don't serve as props for public proclamatiions of patriotism and 'standing with the troops'. There are no war bonds, no war tax, and most certainly no conscription.

The US population by and large pays no price for any this. Sure, the US is in debt and the deence spoending had to be cut - but even so the US still outspend the next ten countries on the list put together in terms of defence spending.

The US population is not invested in their mischieveous little foreign adventures. They could, for all practical purposes, be happening on the moon.

The US population is a stakeholder in these wars only to the extent that they may be hurt or killed by occasional acts of blowback like 9/11 - a risk statistically much lower than beeing struck by lightning.

So Iraq didn't work out? No WMD, the US lost a couple thousand men there, hundrets of thousand of Iraqis got killed, the US destroyed the state of Iraq only to see it being replaced by a sectrarian Shia state, the Sunni are in rebellion and ISIS has emerged there as a result of the equally harebrained scheme to regime change Syria, too - and?

Does this change the life of Joe Schmoe in Anytown, USA any more than the life of Mika B. in NYC a bit? He gets different stuff on FOX News and all it changes for her is what she blathers about on her talk show. Ok, and flying has become a little more inconvenient.

Those to oceans east and west sure do a good job insulating the US from the result of its failures.

The refugees of the civil wars the US helped engineer in Ukraine, Libya and Syria - they flee to Russia, Italy, Iran, Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan repectively.

Where you are right is this: The US, if they undertook a national effort probably could reform Iraq, defeat ISIS and install a decent gvernment there. To do that, they could consript an army of a couple million to get the manpower needed.

That is not gpoing to work because there would be great opposition to it, precisely because of the sacrifice, all the more so for a war of choice.

As long as the US limits itself to the air force and their professional army, it will continue like it goes now.

Tyler

Stephen,

Nail. Head. Good catch on all counts. IT was the first thing that came to mind.

turcopolier

CP

"... that military is drawn from a relatively narrow pool of the population." What does "relatively narrow" mean? My impression is that recruitment is largely not from the elites (even officers) and is largely from the middle class in "flyover America. I take you point about conscription being a brake on adventurism but I do not think that the US population is so disengaged as you imagine. p l

confusedponderer

"My impression is that recruitment is largely not from the elites (even officers) and is largely from the middle class in "flyover America."

That was what I meant.

As for the detatchment or involvement of the population, you're in a far better position to judge so I defer to your better judgement.

Tosk59

Umm... It's Salusa Secundus

different clue

confusedponderer,

Civilian America suffers by default and slow motion indirectly in the ways our host mentioned. Money and effort spent in Afghanistan can not be recovered and respent on things and people here. So America gets physically poorer in terms of infrastructure that erodes, degrades and breaks down and does not get fixed or replaced, science not done, medical advances not made, space not explored, etc. Large parts of Civilian America may not see or understand the connection, but it is there to be seen.

And many of the militarily serving people have civilian friends and/or family so those small bits of civilian society are more directly invested in a feelable way.

And when bunchloads of civilian people try to make these points in public, they are shouted down and cone-of-silenced by the MSM noise machine and the Engineers of Social/Public Intertia.

confusedponderer

PS: As long as the US limits itself to the air force, the professional army, THE NAVY AND/OR USE DRONES it will continue like it goes now.

And as far as drones are concerned - if the US go on like this and further manage to automatise war then there will only be hardware, maintenance and fuel costs - and the inhibition to resort to use war, to the extent it exists in the US, will over vanish.

If a US warbot gets blown up or crashes, that will mean zero sacrifice for the US. That's what makes drones so attractive.

The complete demolition of the international legal order will be collateral damage of the US pursuit dominance with impunity.

Tpcelt

Watch Hunger Games. It has nothing to do with placating the gods. It's a story about sacrificing for family and trying to oppose an oppressive government with smarts and grit. Is it not deserving of critisim? No. But the movies, like the Harry Potter movies, try to show how the young to think about good v. evil. Not any media resources do that anymore.

Stephen Colton

Right you are. It was late and I was riffing off of Tyler's post, and didn't look it up.

Tyler

Stephen,

My mentat processing was obviously at fault. The blame is mine.

Lord Curzon

Exactly, I'll say this for the Harry Potter books, they examine the nature of good vs evil in a far from black & white manner; the metaphor of its duality in Harry with the bond with Voldermort; the motivations of the peripheral players, some loyal, others hungry for power and some tragic and the nature of total war - Dumbledore's acceptance of the need to sacrifice Harry...There's a helluva lot more going on in those pages than some people think.

confusedponderer

You're of course right about opportunity cost. The whole 'military Keynesianism' as practiced by the US is suffering from the broken window fallacy.

Given that the US outspends the next ten countries on a list that includes US allies, where could the US be economically and infrastrurally had the money been spent on peaceful purposes?

I wager that when the next bridge collapses it will turn out that the cost of having maintained that would have been a small fraction of the amounts of money that the US blow up every day in ordnance and burn up in fuel to fight their various overseas skirmishes.

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