Don't see a thread on this, so --
What's going on over there, and where's "over there"?
I ran across this article, and it told me things I didn't know (if it's accurate), so I was inspired to post. I hope to find if it's true. But the media don't report on the wars, and haven't since 1991, so --
'Every Person Is Afraid of the Drones': The Strikes' Effect on Life in Pakistan
Not my AO, so I can't speak to specifics. But, we go through a lot of trouble to insure the who, what, when, where and how we're hitting something has a pretty solid "why" behind it. Putting a target package together is a pretty involved process. Getting an operation approved doubly so. Actually getting the go ahead when everything is in place? I've seen more called off than executed, even with eyes on. Now you're talking cross boarder ops, and it gets even trickier.
The precision of our strikes? Back in '04 we could hit a moving vehicle while traveling at 500mph at 10,000ft with a bomb (not guided missile). We've gotten better since then. Do we make mistakes? Yes. Do I personally know of any? No.
Are the people of Pakistan "terrorized" by drones? I'm pretty apathetic to that.
Can you imagine what the headlines would have read in WWII with the kind of attitude that worries about people's nightmares? I'm pretty sure that the bombing of German & Japanese cities was hell that Pakistanis cannot begin to imagine. There were firestorms.
I'm apathetic, because well, if you don't like me kicking in your door, quit hiding bad guys in your closet. It's really quite simple.
The reporter has an easy explanation for that. He says there's gangs in America--civilians do nothing about that, so why should they expect Pakis to do anything? I like the liberal equating of foreigners in warzones with the homeland--what should happen apparently is not foreigners appease American arms rather than suffer their deaths, but Americans should appease foreigners, including enemies, so as to not give them nightmares, which are apparently quite a problem among the Pakis. Soon enough, these nightmares will be a good case for a war crimes trial in some cockamamie UN venue...
Everything technical I want to say on this topic I can't.
Most days I wish we would just resort to proper empire building. I just can't find a model which fits. Babylonian vassal states? Empty the cities, move in and take the people as slaves removed from their homeland as the Assyrians did? Greek Colonies? Roman protectorates? Genghis Khan's genocide? Britain's bringing of civilization to the savages?
Most of those have been tried in the region. They've all failed. The people can neither rule themselves, nor be ruled by others.
Maybe the United Fruit Company should make a resurrection.
Afghanistan would not make a good banana republic, I feel sure. The kind of empire built on commercial conquests is more reasonable than the military stuff--except defensive conquests--but it often lacks for endurance. It's much easier to be ruthless when your life is not on the line...
Hence, it is a lot of good luck on America's part that she does not need to rule all these places where enemies nevertheless must be killed. But of course understanding the difference between friend & enemy, which requires ruthlessness, is all the more necessary in these cases. If you rule savages, you can afford friendliness or ambivalence. If you do not, you had better know what your armies must do & to whom...
I wonder on occasion why Americans do not insist on empire more than they do. The South was bellicose; & some of the original Progressives--white man's burden, that sort of thing... Not much taste for empire otherwise. Most powers that lack that taste, as history goes, at least, do not trust their internal stability--several Chinese dynasties come to mind, but Sparta was the same on this count--which made sense while America was expanding, especially when expanding meant expanding slavery. This is why Lincoln was opposed to Southern expansion, the war of '45, the proposals to invade the Caribbean, &c.
Then, Vietnam showed something about war that has resurfaced in the last dozen years--American lose heart soon. Does that mean anything aside from the media & academia? & the Democrat party? Well, liberalism is a force in America, it's not just the way of life of a couple of professions... I usually blame the politicians who are too cowardly to even talk of victory, because blaming them is the decent thing to do. But I am no moralist, so I am willing to consider that even a successful demagogue needs to figure out what pleases & what scares his audience.
I think the bottom line for empire is that you need enough people who would prefer life outside of the country. People here has always meant men--women do not like living away from home for so long, it seems--& it helps if life at home is not pleasant. America just has too much to offer. It were criminal to wish things otherwise in this respect--so long as far more men wish to come to America than to go away from it, you lack the men for empire. Military types often have preferred this life, because peaceful life has too little to offer them, at least in comparison.--when the great Lady Thatcher took her country to war against the Argentine, officers were desperate to get on board, but the top level politicians & political military types were almost unanimously against it.
I don't really care about enduring presence in that region.
Well, the rest of America doesn't care about enduring presence anywhere. Maybe it was prudent to keep so many bases, so many tens of thousands of troops all around the world; but for the habit & the popular forgetfulness, there might have been none left abroad by now. It would be quite the chance to station troops somewhere where they are needed; otherwise, you just have to station them somewhere...
On a strategic level, yes we need those bases. On a sociological level, I don't care.
You'll have to explain to me the part about the sociological point of view.
All we have to do to solve all our problems in the region is stop importing petroleum. From that point on, we could totally ignore what they do so long as it doesn't cross into our borders.
Holy crap. This is a troll right?
A) We don't import oil from Afghanistan or Pakistan.
B) Less than 13% of our oil is imported from the Middle East.