In reference to yesterday’s article Afghanistan…a war lost!
- Humm, I wonder why I have/had the same thoughts you have expressed. I have never served in the military, so I don’t understand the culture. That said I felt the whole debacle was wrong on so many levels that I can’t even express my thoughts. I don’t have to have a military background to know what we saw was pure unadulterated evil. JackG
The military is a very strange entity. It is a three-sided body; 1) there is the top leadership (i.e. the Pentagon, large regional commands, etc.), they are pure politics and business, they are out of touch with the boots on the ground and don’t put much compassion into them, 2) there is local unit leadership which is purely dependent on the individual leader being anything from a jerk to a great leader, 3) individual troopers (the individual and the guy next to them in the foxhole). The latter category can be amazing, especially when bonds are formed under fire…brothers for life.
At the top, #1 category, they care only for themselves and their next advancement. To them the troops are nothing more than numbers. They have lost their connection with what it is like in the field. They are politicians in every sense of the word and behave like it. They will stab each other in the back and then throw them under the bus…then back it up…then sleep well that night. Military folks working in the Pentagon are also thinking about lining up a sweet gig post-retirement…meaning the military-industrial complex…and they make military related decisions accordingly.
Local leadership, #2 category, is a huge variable. The lower level officers can be idiots or very competent. Once you go above O-3 they are primarily thinking promotion and advancement…and make decisions accordingly. Once they hit O-5 & O-6 they are thinking only about making it to General or Admiral so they concentrate only on what is good for their career. You do find some very good officers from time to time who have their priorities right and care about the folks under them…but they are a rare commodity.
The guy next to you and yourself, #3 category, can be amazing! You can form friendships for life…truly brothers, or closer. Yes, there are jerks here as well, but they can have less of an impact on you and can be dealt with a little easier.
But the military, as an institution, has only one thought…preserve the military…at all costs. The military sees itself as above citizens, and certainly better than and above any and all politicians. As an institution the military has a long history of abusing US citizens, even extreme violence. The military will, at all costs, hide any of its behavior that it deems potentially embarrassing. Meaning simply, it will attempt to cove-up anything it sees fit.
The US military, as an institution, claims well over 50% of the US federal government budget. And when you are talking that much money…you are talking bias and outright corruption. And since the US military has 90+% of the brute force power in the United States…they see themselves as “all powerful” with only serfs beneath them according to many.
In any possible aspect the US military has most of the money and almost all of the brute power in the United States. And, it will do virtually anything to maintain both their money and power.
And as a side note…they have a wonderful and powerful public relations team…leading to very positive image by in large. Unfortunately, their history of abusing US citizens, including their own veterans, shows an different picture.
OK, all that being said…the US military is 1/2 of the military-industrial complex. Let’s get perspective here…the US military spends as much as the next nine countries’ militaries combined. The US Department of Defense spent just under a trillion dollars in 2020, that was regular budget items and black/dark operation as well.
So in the military-industrial complex relationship, the military has the money, the industrial wants it. It is a huge business, lots of lobbyists, plenty of graft, more than a little corruption…and what I refer to as “incest”. Many of the top folks in the industrial side of the relationship come from the military, and all of those companies need support from the decision makers in the military. So, the industrial side buys favorable decisions from the military (purchase decisions) by the promise of high paying jobs to the decision making military folks upon retirement. It’s ugly…but the result of the power & money equation has been going on since the Civil War.
Are you getting the picture yet?
The military is going to protect itself. It does that by keep the politicians as happy as they can, protecting Washington with their brute force, lining their own pockets, keeping a positive public profile in-place, and covering up anything that jeopardizes their power/money relationships.
Now, don’t get me wrong…there are a whole lot of individual military personnel that love the country and our citizens…and will give their life for them. However, that is not an institutional view. As an institution…the US military is nothing but “big business” with self-interests.
While in the US military no one, no one at all, has to obey an unlawful order. But they do. Look at all the war crimes that were revealed by Brad Manning. He exposed hundreds, if not thousands, of war crimes by US military personnel…which obeyed unlawful orders.
Example: In 2007 a US helicopter gunship, Crazyhorse 18, gunned down a Reuters news crew claiming their camera was a RPG weapon. Then when a father and his two young children tried to take some of the injured to a hospital the gunship killed the father and his children. They even talked openly of the children being with their father…and didn’t care a bit. Gunned down two young children!!! In 2010 the same Crazyhorse 18 had two Iraqis surrender to them while on a mission. A US military lawyer heard the chatter and ordered the crew to kill the men saying they couldn’t surrender to a helicopter. The Crazyhorse 18 crew outright murdered the two men…who tried to surrender. War crimes if there ever was one…two…three! And no one, not a single person, was ever held accountable for all those deaths…including of the children. Inexcusable!! Oh, but Brad Manning who revealed the war crimes…he was arrested, tried, convicted, went to prison, was tortured, and ended up a mental case.
Yet, another way to think about it…Why the war in Iraq? The US military knew that Bush and his administration were lying about the weapons of mass destruction. But, the military had no problems invading a sovereign country and overthrowing their government…and virtually bombing them back to the Stone Age and killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis in the process. By international standards, that the US signed onto, there were enough war crimes to more than go around to convict plenty of US military folks…especially the top brass.
Another way to think about it…you hear about all the troops who have PTSD. Why do you think that is? If you ever get them to talk about what they went through you would probably throw-up and not sleep well for the rest of your life.
My opinion…whatever the intentional plan was by the US government in Afghanistan, the US military was involved in it up to their eyeballs and had no problem executing their part of it, ignoring the war crime aspect, and hiding the CIA’s role in it.
And now…I think you inadvertently raised a salient point. If lots of Iraqis and lots of Afghans died during the war, and if lots of US military folks died during the war, that is pretty ugly. And why would we be involved in all of that just to lose both wars?
There, now answer either one of those two questions if you want.
You have been following me long enough to know how I go about those answers. I ask myself; 1) who gains power from it?, 2) who gains money from it?
Becomes pretty easy to answer now, eh?
Just for thought…
Just for more thought…
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