The US Military Catch-All Thread


#423

But things in Iraq and Syria could quickly flare up again. Unless we actually want to help Iran/Assad hurry up and solidify their presence there.


#424

Well, “flare up” is relative, I think. There is near zero chance either could “flare up” into anything remotely resembling a real war, and not some variation of the continuous cluster fuck that has been going on forever. And it’s not like the US presence in either place has really solved anything, so I’m unsure what good going back in with more force would actually do.


#425

Well, the US was scaling back in Iraq and ISIS popped up unexpectedly. That’s one reason.

But the US seems in the habit of making up whatever reason it needs at any given time.


#426

But ISIS popping up or whatever is, well, who cares? They were never a massive global terror organization or anything of the sort, despite our attempts to make them into a real-world version of SPECTRE or whatever. And penny-ante thugs like that, out in their desert shit holes, can be contained with resources far below the level necessary to take on any real opponents, and that’s not even including all the locals who are chomping at the bit to kill them some ISIS bandits.

I do agree though that reasons are immaterial when it comes to our decisions to do X or Y; it seems there is little rhyme or reason involved sometimes.


#427

ISIS get around.

5 Territorial control and claims
5.1 Iraq and Syria
5.2 Libyan Provinces
5.3 Sinai Province
5.4 Algerian Province
5.5 Khorasan Province
5.6 Yemen Provinces
5.7 West African Province
5.8 North Caucasus Province
5.9 Southeast Asia
5.10 Islamic State in Gaza
5.11 Other areas of operation

#428

ISIS agents. Um, ok. You know what it takes for someone to be an “ISIS agent?” They pretty much say, “Hey, I’m an ISIS agent!” It’s not a nation. It’s not even a coherent organization, not really. It’s a collection of mostly bandit warlords in it for rape and pillage, with a smattering of fundamentalist zealots spouting quasi-religious nonsense and a somewhat larger bunch of people pissed off at the US and its allies for a variety of (often reasonable) reasons.

And none of these far-flung branch offices do much that amounts to more than a criminal nuisance. The most important accomplishments of these yahoos has been the ways they’ve made the US and its allies panic and commit resources and personnel to a ginormous wild goose chase.


#429

I don’t think that’s right. Deterrence and perceived force projection is such a big part of our current military mission, particular for our navy and nuclear arsenal. Convince others that they can’t win, without firing a single shot, is a huge part of the mission.


#430

It’s also an online movement/collective/ideal/inspiration with similar spread and size to the alt right/far right.

You might be more concerned about the far right as they infest English speaking socmedia, but for the non-English social media of a billion plus people, the salafists/deobandists/islamists are are considerable force.


#431

Agreed. But by your own description, this is not a threat that can or should be met primarily with military might, any more than we should be deploying the army in the US to root out neo-Nazi fanatics in Montana or whatever.


#432

If these Montana neo-Nazi fanatics numbered in the tens of thousands, and were blowing up market places, abducting and raping schoolgirls, and “cleansing” the neighboring ethnic groups, then yes I would deploy the US army against them.


#433

But they aren’t doing those things (ISIS, I mean) in the US. They, or people affiliating themselves with them or their ideologies, are doing them in other places, generally failed states. The intervention of the US military in those cases has been somewhat less than a grand success.

Look, I think these thugs calling themselves ISIS or whatever depending on where they are (Boko Haram, etc.) are scum, and deserve to be extirpated from the earth. I also think they are primarily a bunch of bandits led by warlords rather than anything approaching a coherent political entity or even a coherent movement that could in any stretch of the imagination create something that could rise to the level of an actual military threat to anyone other than the aforementioned failed states and states one rung up the ladder. The proper response to ISIS and their ilk is a combination of international police work, selective and considered military action primarily by those most directly involved, and extensive diplomatic and economic work to reverse the failed states that house them. It has nothing, in my mind, to do with the primary missions of the US military, at least not at the level that would approach the sort of commitments people talk about when we’re talking about taking on the PRC.


#434

Amen, brother. If there is one term that has helped vault our insane military spending to astronomical levels, that term is terrorism. A -literally- non-definable enemy to pour defense budget money towards.

Yes, the U.S. needs to defend itself, but not at the cost of being world police.


#435

I am a lot more worried about Russian-sponsored hackers turning off our power grid on a night like tonight (when most of the country is below freezing) than I am about a shooting war with the Chinese. We need to focus a lot more of our energy and money on cybersecurity.

Of course, changing priorities like that would shed a lot of manufacturing jobs, so it may be politically impossible.


#436

Absolutely. It’s just as likely, perhaps even more so, that the next attack on American soil comes not in the form of another 9/11, but in the form of a cyber attack on critical infrastructure that destabilizes huge portions of the country for days or even weeks.

Yes and no. Part of securing against attacks like those is improving our infrastructure as a nation. An “Infrastructure New Deal” in coordination with the “Green New Deal” could put millions of displaced manufacturing workers back to work in better paying and longer lasting jobs building and maintaining new power grids that utilize clean energy, new roads, rail systems and bridges that improve the flow of goods and services around the country, new and more secure data infrastructure that brings high speed internet to even the most rural areas, etc… Of course you’d need to get past the stumbling block that we’ve sold/privatized damn near all of our infrastructure to corporate interests.


#437

Infrastructure in rural areas would attract Liberals. Your “New Deal” sounds like a “No Deal”.

Now if there were a way to build infrastructure without letting the Liberals or brown people benefit from it…


#438

Wait. Is it Infrastructure Week already?


#439

We might have mentioned this before in the last few years, but because our new laser weapons will suck up a lot of power (and because of various quality of life improvements and humanitarian possibilities), the military is looking for portable nuclear power generators for forward operating bases.

I’m glad the article looked into the health concerns like spiking cancer rates in previous versions of small nuclear plants.


#440

Sounds like a minor incident.


#441

The decades-long reign of the PT triumvirate, the push-ups, sit-ups, and two-mile run, is over. The new physical fitness test is gender-neutral and includes standards based more on actual activities you might do in field duty.

  • Deadlift a minimum of 140lbs.
  • Throw a 10lb medicine ball back over your head while standing still.
  • Hand-release push-ups. Push-ups, but you literally push off the ground as you come up.
  • Sprint-drag-carry. A 50-yard sprint, followed by a 50-yard backwards sled drag, then a 50-yard lateral shuffle, a 50-yard carry of two 40lb kettle weights, finally another 50-yard sprint.
  • Leg tucks. Basically, hang off a bar and lift your legs
  • 2-mile run.

#442

Seems more useful, at least to this civilian.