Friday, September 4, 2009

Remote warfare question, and what I said...

A friend of mine asked me why we can't just use remote warfare (drones and such) to win the war in Afghanistan, and I really liked what I wrote in reply, so I'll share it. And yes, I have watched the clip... I won't embed it here, but it's a demo of 2 folks driving predator drones. Kinda dry. YouTube clip here.

I haven't watched the clip yet (I will, what red-blooded male doesn't like to see stuff get blown up???), but there are problems with "remote" warfare. First of all, the primary idea of "men" (Using the term as a unit, not as a gender!) on the ground is for diplomatic reasons as well as operational. We can't see through walls, so to confirm that a target is a valid one is a top priority for US operations. Despite the perception that we're a bunch of gunslingers, we as a country do more than any other military force to confirm that the guys are enemies, and you have to have a real pair of eyes on the ground to validate targets (more often than not). Once we blow away the bad guys, we need people to talk to the locals to find out info, take situation assessments and look for things that you just can't see from the air. More often than not, when innocents get killed, it's because of missiles and artillery, not men with rifles.

I personally am tired of sending our boys off to war, but the military advisors that are over there are reporting that despite the appearance of stagnation, we are making progress. Well, that was until we blew up that fuel depot last night. Bad news, that.

Students of Vietnam (the real military historians, not right or left wing mouthpieces) have repeatedly stated that the only reason we didn't win in ' Nam was because the political pressure from the anti-war crowd limited the amount of resources and manpower we were allowed to send. Once they stopped the real support, with men and equipment, the war was lost. As a lot of guys who returned from that fight said, "We would've won the war, but the politicians wouldn't let us". The Afghan scenario is similar, but this time it's about getting the locals to accept their own fate, run out the taliban (only 6% support them, which is down from about 60% a few years ago), and continue the peaceful processes (6 Million children are in school in Afghanistan currently, compared to about 1 Million (or less) that were attending only a couple years ago).

War can be won with technology, but as we learned from the 60's, 70's and 80's with our spy programs, there is no more valuable asset than one on the ground, who can look and listen to what's happening. Yes, the techology is getting better and smaller, almost to the point where we will have robotic eyes and ears and can make better tactical decisions, but even the most advanced robot can't hand a child a can of MRE's (meal ready to eat... GI food), which is more valuable diplomatically to the civilian population than a drone that may or may not lay some serious hellfire on your village.

Just keep one thing in mind... the people that are over there, fighting for the Afghan's and Iraqi's freedom have volunteered to do so. This isn't a draft, and despite the couple of jerkoffs that come back from the war with negative stories (which we always hear about) we don't get to hear the stories of the troops with the positive tales of compassion, humanity and freedom. I mean, think about it. Even if we leave the place with half of the people simply thinking that they CAN become a free society, then we have achieved what we set out to do. Inspire others to be free, even if it is not in our own image.

After re-reading this a dozen times, I think I answered the question, lol... There's a photographer embedded in with the troops in Afghanistan , Michael Yon.

His stuff will take your breath away, and give you some real insight into the conflict. God bless him (and keep him safe!!!).

add: For those who can support Mr. Yon, every dollar helps.


serenity said...

I am sorry you are among (luckily the minority) of US citizens that is still under the jingoist impression that somehow, war has ever brought "freedom" to any country. Even the US does not have a pure democracy by any means. The US is about the most violent nation there is out there, yet what a unique realship to that vilence! the last time we saw a bomb dropped on our soil was in 1812, yet how many people have we killed in Hiroshima, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan. The US led terror on these and other nations is our biggest weakness. In fact, the biggest weakness of the US is it's military strengh. Look at our ratings, we rank dead last in healthcare (slightly above a couple third world nations) next to dead last in education and slipping, we create more pollution in terms of greenhouse gases than other other nation in the world (really sick, when you think China and Russia have 5x as many people). These are not things to be proud of. America the beautiful is no longer the country anyone wants to flock to.

Why? the US has spent so much money on war and missiles so it can conitnue to "fix" governments of other poor nations,it finds itself in the most precarious sitution of not being able to take care of its oun people. This is not a progressive nation we live in, as we all thought. It is not a good investment to spend on training men and woman to fly killer drones, build any remote warfare, or even sending more troops to Afghanistan is unjust. Yes, the Taliban is terrible, but we as a nation have more than stooped to their terrorist level. 911, as horrific as it was, was a very small dent in the ocean of violence out there. Only 8 children died that day, only 2900 people in all, and not all Americans. Have you researched the numbers in the countries I've forementioned? It's downright pathetic we could be so inhumane. At lease we finally have a President that trying to move in right direction of a nuclear/weapons free world. The only technology we should be putting our money into is to clean up the biggest issue facing humanity, enrironmental pollution. there is a toxic wasteland in the Pacific Ocean nearly twice the size of Texas, can only imagine how toxic the Atlantic and other oceans are. Even the Mediteranean Sea is toxic now. We have piles of Ewaste causing cancer, the US health trend sadly sliding to bottom with more cancer (even kids), chronic lung disease, obesity and other illness. All these wars only add to the disaster, as war creates more toxic pollution than anything. Afghanistan is on the same planet we are, so don't think we are not affected. All that money spent on killing people should be stoopped, and funneled back into our schools, healthcare and environmental efforts to clean up the US shit. did you know that even in the US top notch private schools K-8, parents are being asked to bring in toilet paper due to budget cuts? Top rated public school have parents scurrying to bring in hand soap, paper towlels, cleaning products to keep the children, our next generation of do-gooders (hopefully not trained terrorist in the US armed forces). The US is still one of the richest countries in the world, yet on the bottom for taking care of its own people. Are you just not aware of all this? There is a reason why 911 happened, a repurcussion of the United States actions. We stepped foot on Palestinean soil first, we have made mistake for decades upon decades of suppplying all our massive weapons of destruction to hostile nations like Israel. Not somethinbg to be proud of. War is a cowards dance.

Symo said...

Thank you Serenity for chiming in.

That said, your'e another left leaning tool, who thinks that it's okay to kill women and children with bombs and usurp the power given to the people by those who carry the bombs. We do not rank last in healthcare. Yes, maybe we did start the war in Iraq. After Saddam decided to gas a few million of his own people. Sure, we supplied the Afghans weapons 40 years ago to fight against the Russians, because Russia wanted to annex the place, which is against (ahem) freedom. How about them commies INVADING South Vietnam. Our military strength being our weakness? Please. We bailed ALL OF EUROPE out of that war, saved COUNTLESS MILLIONS OF LIVES, and you call us the jerks? We didn't want to go to Europe, remember? We didn't want to admit Hitler was killing Jews either. But what do you do? You pick up the bat and join up with your peaceful neighbor to put an end to the neighbor's bullying. I'm sorry, but if you're so absolutely clueless to think that if we didn't go around putting dictators and doucebags in their place that they would sit there peacfully and leave us alone, you are sadly, sadly blind to the nature of men, and mankind.

As for that greenhouse gas thing? Hate to break it to you, but China and India have us beat by a longshot, and other countries are doing their best to ignore ANY kind of development ban on the thing that gives them light and heat. All that garbage in the pacific? Mostly caused by Chinese, Russian and other fishing vessels who have no regard for regulations or use for the sea except to rape it of it's fish and leave their trash there. You blame all of our problems on US, but you forget that at least we here in the states have a more realistic view on our effect on the planet thanks to the bunch of green loudmouths here who do more to spurn people away from the aspect of revering mother nature, not using her as a tool until it breaks. Have you seen the distruction of land and wildlife around factories in China? Do some Google Earth research and look out for the giant swaths of land decimated from Mercury poising from some of their manufacturing plants. And we're the bad guys. Maybe we should only tax US companies who pollute! Oh wait, Odumbass is already trying that. We're not alone in global destruction. Fear not though, once the situation gets out of control, the earth will shake us all from her back and start over a few thousand years from now. Maybe the next race of humans won't fuck it up.

Symo said...

You bitch about the War, yet the war is the ONLY large scale industry who's interests go into the US. All those trillions of dollars go to who? US Companies. US Soldiers. US Families. US Taxes. A giant chunk of that money comes back here, which in turn helps fuel what's left of this economy after the morons on the hill who ALL suck have continued lining their pockets with our hard earned cash. You cheer for Obama, so then just answer me this question... what has he done? Besides lie to us the first week in office and break his promise with 'Not one dime' by raising taxes on cigarettes, which cost every smoker in this country 1 dollar extra daily. Sure, it's for a good cause and smoking is stupid, but that's NOT THE FUCKING POINT. That asshole lied to us the first fucking thing he did in office. HE LIED.

Toilet paper to schools? Haven't heard about it. Even here in lib land New Jersey with their bias teaching kids to sing "hail Obama" songs do I not hear about toilet paper being brought to schools. Yeah, that's it. Let's stop spending money on the guys that protect us and have highly educated kids that will look real pretty when the asshole terrorists spread their bodies all over times square. If you think they hate us because we have a military, you're the one who needs to go read some history. Hate to break it to you, but ultimately, Israel was there first. If you can get all the Jews to move to Baja California then get it done. If we had not put them there, yes, there might be peace all over the world. We didn't start it, but by God we do need to be the ones to figure how how to end it.

Oh! And I'm not a minority. Most of us gun toting freedom lovers (I don't own a gun) are a majority. You, alas, are the one devoid of reason, and filled with false facts. Your one sided argument is tired and filled with horse pucky. I know both sides of the issue, but you obviously can't think past yourself, which is ultimately the curse of the idealogue.

Don't blame me for terrorism, I'm not the one who has with those assholes, but as long as people do, someone will be tasked to confront the issue. Unfortunately when power, testosterone and vast amounts of money are available, there will always be the need for defense, if not necessarily for war.

K, I'm done for now... thanks again serenity for your positive belief that wars and pollution are somehow all our fault. We're the ones who just want to be left alone you know.