The US Military Catch-All Thread


#343

No. We need a military that can fight a multi-front war against every foreign power outside of NATO simultaneously without suffering “unacceptable casualties” or “loss of capital assets”. It’s like you didn’t even read the bipartisan report! Sheesh.


#344

I’ve said for years that we should be doing domestic infrastructure under the military umbrella. Call it a “defense corps” or similar, use military bases as staging areas, and if anyone complains argue that it’s “defense preparation” or something along those lines. You can spend an awful lot on “defense” that way and yet get something worthwhile out of it.


#345

Yep. Security is measured in many ways, and really, being able to take on all comers in a hypothetical WWIII isn’t even worth worrying about.


#346

If the hypothetical enemy is outgunned, then they will be forced to use asymmetric and atypical means to negate our forces, and there is NO amount of spending which will create a dominant conventional force which cannot be undermined and countered. It’s a bit of a shibboleth which you can use to argue for any level of spending you would like. What good are 50000 more tanks, subs, and aircraft if we don’t care to manage our elections properly, create a credible alliance strategy for security, and treat foreign influence operations as serious business.


#347

Yes. But actually formulating reasonable defense policy is hard. It’s much easier and more politically valuable to posture and demand “MOAR!” than it is to figure out what the nation really needs. Of course, the number of politicians in Washington who even give a damn about the nation as a whole is probably approaching nil.


#348

Eh… this isn’t really something you can do for real, if you are a nation state. Not to the extent of actually causing significant attrition, at least.

If you’re a nation state, you can’t just start running terrorist operations and crap… because you still have fixed targets that can be hit. Like, if the Russians started trying to run some kind of asymetric warfare… we can still bomb their shit in Russia.

The best they could do would be to potentially fund terrorist groups like the Iranians do, but even there, such stuff is still a minor factor in the grand scheme of things.

Asymetric warfare is something that’s employed by a force that isn’t just “outgunned” but is essentially non existent. You’re essentially reduced to an annoyance factor. It can certainly be a big annoyance, but you aren’t causing significant attrition on the enemy force at that point. I mean, hell, in Iraq over the better part of two decades, we had less than 5k deaths, and that included non-hostile fatalities.

Most of the insurgent activities in places like Iraq were just the insurgents murdering innocent civilians.

In terms of military missions, folks need to remember, that one of the primary missions of the US military is the US Navy’s mission of ensuring free and open seas. That is, inherently, an expensive mission… and not one which can easily be abandoned without resulting in economic problems.


#349

As if the F-35 program didn’t have enough issues with design and production, now it gets to be pwned by h4ckz0rs too! It’s the supporting systems that seem to be vulnerable, not the plane itself, which means any hack would likely cause delays and higher costs rather than actually blowing up the wrong things.


#350

No doubt about that. Trouble is, so much of the funding that is funneled to the services, the Navy included, doesn’t do much to enhance that particular mission. That mission requires general purpose ships and a wide spectrum of conventional capabilities, along with a deployment system and infrastructure designed to insure enough coverage of crucial areas on a continuous basis (by ships that are not over-worked and crewed by sleep-deprived people). I’d argue that too much of the money spent on the Navy is going to things that are pretty far removed from this mission, and which often seem driven by factors other than any clear conception of strategy or goals.


#351

In a two-day preliminary hearing at Naval Base San Diego that concluded Thursday, prosecutors presented accounts from several other SEALs in Chief Gallagher’s platoon describing his behavior as reckless and bloodthirsty. They said he fired into civilian crowds, gunned down a girl walking along a riverbank and an old man carrying a water jug, and threatened to kill fellow SEALs if they reported his actions.

Navy investigators said that one SEAL medic was kneeling over the fighter’s head, treating him, when Chief Gallagher walked up and, without saying a word, took out a handmade knife and stabbed the teenager several times in the neck and side.

Investigators said two other SEALs gave similar accounts.

Members of the platoon then posed for photos with Chief Gallagher as he held the teenager’s head up by the hair with one hand, and held his knife in the other. Photos show Chief Gallagher then raising his right hand to perform a re-enlistment ceremony over the dead body, while another SEAL member holds an American flag.

Soon after the episode, investigators said, Chief Gallagher texted a photo of the body to a fellow SEAL member with the message, “I got him with my hunting knife.”


#352

Things like that have been happening since people picked up weapons and went to war. What I wonder is whether we’ve actually learned some of the hard lessons from the vast amount of experience we’ve had with warfare, or whether we just don’t want to learn those lessons. And by lessons, I mean something about screening, supporting, and treating military personnel, who are after all asked to do some pretty difficult and often very dangerous things in often horrific conditions. We seem to be able to provide all the bombs you want, but not much else sometimes.

Still does zero to excuse the alleged acts of this particular person, of course. But the real story to me is the institutional and structural issues stories like this raise, rather than the failings of one individual.


#353

The basic institutional problem is the combination of a voluntary military and wars that last forever. I doubt anyone would retain their full grip on humanity after 8 tours of duty in a war zone, totaling 19 years of war. This guy has been in a war zone his entire adult life.

(How they get to 19 years confuses me, though. The war in Afghanistan is 16 years now.)


#354

Give the man a cigar (or non-carcinogenic reward of his choice)! Yep. Americans don’t seem to quite realize at a deep or even meaningful level what sort of monster we have created with the perpetual war state. It is profoundly un-American, in the traditional sense of that understanding.


#355

I know guys who were JTACs for multiple tours in both theaters. They went through the worst shit you can imagine. They aren’t crazy psychopaths.

There’s nothing normal about this lunatic. Hell, the other guys working with him directly reported his actions… They weren’t lunatics, despite seeing the same stuff.

I’m actually surprised this guy didn’t get flagged by the psychological testing.


#356

Oh, there are many who can endure all sorts of stuff better than others. It’s still insane to run the sort of continuous (and ultimately fruitless, IMO) war posture for as long as we have.


#357

Yes, it’s definitely weird to consider a generation has never known a time we weren’t at war. It’s reminiscent of the Peloponnesian war.


#358

A war that killed democracy in Athens, among other things.


#359

Well, that and plague.


#360

Plague killed people, but the war ultimately killed the idea.


#361

#362

It’s been noted that this number from the nation article can’t possibly be true, given that it’s larger than the entire defense budget over the same period.