Archives For Military

The War Slush Fund….

March 12, 2015

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Take Action: Urge your member of Congress to close the Pentagon’s Overseas Contingency Operations account and to require all funds spent by the Pentagon to be part of its regular budget.

Since 2011, almost the whole federal government has been operating under tight spending limits. Pentagon contractors (weapons manufacturers) were concerned about how these limits might affect their profits. Then their trade association leaders reminded them that the OCO account provides them a “cushion.” The Pentagon can use the OCO account to get around budget caps — and military contractors are pushing for even more money in this account.

According to the Constitution, Congress controls military spending. Tell your member of Congress to take control of this slush fund, and require that the Pentagon be accountable for all of its spending through its regular budget.

The above notice came to me recently from my friends over at FCNL (Friends Committee on National Legislation) which is a Quaker organization promoting peacemakers instead of our never-ending rushes to war. It seems that the outrageous military budgets are still not enough for some so they created a slush fund to tide them over from any budget cuts.  We seem to always have more than enough money to spend more than the rest of the world combined on our war machine but never enough to try to promote peace.

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It’s healthy to question expertise, but we need actual experts. The brilliance of the Fox News motto, “We report, you decide,” is that it encourages our vanity that we can know as much as anyone else, we can be experts, given a stream of carefully curated facts and opinion. MSNBC, which has a similar business/editorial model, is stuck with the less-empowering “Lean Forward.”

There are a number of ways forward for expertise in America. We can become increasingly mistrustful of scientists, doctors, professors, bureaucrats, bankers, and other experts in their fields; or we can find a better way to filter out the would-be experts spreading misinformation; or we can continue disregarding all experts who don’t confirm what we already believe. Perhaps we’ll all suffer because we didn’t heed our experts, or perhaps our experts will win back our trust.

SOURCE:  America doesn’t trust its experts anymore – The Week.

Experts are someone who has spent sometimes years studying a particular part of life. They have looked at it from many different angles and views. They have studied the background information that made this topic what it is.  There are also experts who bring us the goods and services that we so need in a modern society and some that we don’t need but insist on having. I spent thirty years becoming an expert in my field and would like to think that I contributed to society by my contributions.

But there are some who absolutely refuse to recognize expertise, especially in the areas that they think they know better. My wife, bless her soul, is one of those people who refuses to accept any validity to statistics. She thinks none of it is valid. Unfortunately there are those, who are usually Fox News viewers, who think their opinions are worth as much or more than those who have spent much time studying the subject.  There are just too many of us who think we know it all but in reality have much of it simply wrong.  We seem to cling to our prejudices instead of knowledge in too many areas of life. We need trust experts to help us understand things they we don’t have the time to spend to study them ourselves.  But then again there are some areas that where we need to rigorously question even the experts.

I find it unfathomable how many people think our military is the most trusted institution in America.  I kind of think this poll represented one portion of our population more than others. Trust in our institutions has been constantly decreasing for several decades in America and one of those institutions that is falling out of favor is organized religion. Forty years ago more than two-thirds of us had a total trust in it. Now that number has decreased by more than a third. Less than half of us have much trust in organized religion and that is tragic. A big part of that lack of trust is likely due to the political allegiances of so many in those institutions cling to.

 

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We just don’t seem to be able to know who to trust anymore??

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I remember the details of the Vietnam war still today. While my hearing impairment kept me out of it I did lose several good friends to that totally unnecessary war.  One thing I remember is the daily body counts from the DOD of Viet Kong killed. It was acknowledged later that these numbers were grossly over counted.  It seems that the military establishment thought they could get unlimited funds if they show us that the “enemy” was much stronger than it really was. I think that mentality still reigns today inside that pentagon shaped monolith in Washington DC.

The news today is almost 24/7 about ISIS, that is the extreme muslim group determined to reek jihad on the rest of the world. It is impossible to really say outside the DOD spin just how many belong to that group but their hatred of things non-muslim is very obvious indeed. The almost daily beheadings that happen now are meant to strike terror among us and they seem to accomplish that task.  But how much do we need to do to eradicate ISIS?

I’m sure that behind the scenes the Pentagon is asking for trillions of more dollars in their budgets in order to take on these hate-mongers. I am certainly not a military strategist but it seems pretty simple to me. Cut off their source of funding and they will evaporate. Cut off their source of supplies and they will become a toothless old lion. I am afraid that Mr. Obama will eventually give in to those who want us to send in our troops to take them out. If he does he will likely get us into another endless war….

What we should be doing is to find the people or countries that are giving them the missile launchers and retaliate against them. Almost all banking today , including ISIS funding happens electronically so drying up their bank accounts is very doable. We don’t need to get down in the mud with the ISIS gutter mongers, we just need to cut off their sources and they will go away.

I kind of think the same thing is going on with all these terrorist’s groups lately. In my gut, for what that is worth which is nothing, I kind of suspect that ISIS is a pretty small and in terms of power pretty inconsequential. We don’t need trillions of buck to eliminate their effect today. When I read the above “speed read” from my friends at The Week the first thing that I thought of is that we should be spending our resources against those who are funding ISIS instead of its ragtag members.

Is It Worth It???

September 10, 2014

2014-09-04_09-31-04If it were challenged by Russia, how important is Estonia’s sovereignty to you? Would you kill and die for it? Send your children to do so? Would you risk the nuclear annihilation of your civilization? Is your gratitude for use of Estonia’s airspace during the war on terror that great?

SOURCE: Don’t save Ukraine – The Week.

The publication “The Week” is becoming a favorite of mine. It is from a British organization so it lends a different viewpoint than most traditional U.S. sources.  It seems to have the same contrarian philosophy as me. When we take away all the spin of being the “policemen of the world” is preventing part of a country’s population from splitting off into a different allegiance worth billions of our dollars and more importantly thousands of American kids lives? That should be the first question we ask ourselves whenever we get involved in yet another conflict on the other side of the world.  I know my answer to that question and I suspect you know yours without hesitation.

Nearly 25 years later, the North Korean People’s Army, Navy, and Air Force are relics of a different era. Nearly everything is obsolete. North Korean tanks and armored fighting vehicles are up to 50 years old. This summer, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was photographed onboard an old Romeo-class submarine, an antiquated design first produced in the 1950s. The North Korean Air Force is only slightly better off; its newest fighter jets are now 25 years old most are closer to 50.Not only is the equipment obsolete, it’s becoming unusable. Late last year during naval exercises, two North Korean People’s Navy patrol boats sank within days of each other, killing tens of North Korean sailors. On June 24, a helicopter exploded in midair.One major problem: North Korean equipment is so old nobody makes spare parts anymore. For years the military has cannibalized some equipment in order to keep the rest running. The fact that three MiG-19s have crashed in the span of seven months is a strong indication that cannibalization is no longer working and entire types of equipment are overdue for a trip to the junk heap.

SOURCE: North Korea’s military is falling apart — is Kim Jong Un’s regime next? – The Week.

The above article is good news but also bad news.  We just might be able to see some light at the end of the Korean tunnel. As more and more of their military equipment breaks down the North Korean despot will lose more and more power. But that is also the bad news.  As he loses power he will likely strike out on a last ditch effort to maintain his stranglehold. I know he is frantically trying to build a nuclear bomb and if he manages I have little doubt that he would use it!

 

Injured Warriors….

June 17, 2014

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It has happened throughout humanity’s history. When our country/tribe feels threatened by one thing or another and we go to war many of our young men rush to enlist.They see adventures in war. They think it will turn back the boredom of their daily lives. I don’t think there has been a teenager in existence that doesn’t feel a lack of stimulation during those years. They all have some grandiose vision of having a uniform and fighting the bad guys.  The teenage years are vexing to most of us.  Our brains are not fully formed so we often have an incomplete vision of life.

Our young men, and now our young women, rush to war. They don’t seem to contemplate the reasons for the war. They don’t know the trauma of taking another life. All they see is the glamor and maybe to some degree a sense of duty.  “My country needs me”.

The realities of war do not sink in until they are knee deep in it. Isaac Sims found out that war is something other than glamor. It is death and many dead bodies. I recently watched an American Experience episode entitled Death and the Civil War. It showed the realities of those times.  Over 750,000 were killed and many times that  amount seriously wounded, and that was with a total U.S. population of only 30 million.

I will admit up front that I have no experiences with the military establishments of today. All I know I learned from stories. But I have heard that many generals just don’t take PTSD seriously. They see it as just the weaklings who can’t stomach the realities of war. To them real men just do their duty and disregard what they see.

 

No one should have to see what this young Isaac Sims did!