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View Diary: A. Very. Unpopular. War. (110 comments)

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  •  The reasons there's no criticism . . . (20+ / 0-)

    are:

     (1) The Republicans agree we should be fighting useless, losing wars all over the world.

    (2) Both the Pentagon and big defense contractors are profiting from all the useless war spending.

    (3) If one wishes to be counted among the Very Serious People in either the U.S. foreign policy establishment or the MSM, one has to be in favor of continuing the war.

    (4) (related to #3) Here in America, only weaklings and hippies are in favor of stupid, idealistic things like peace.

    (5) Finally, and perhaps most important, not one child of the 1% has died or ever will die in this war.  

    Did I miss any?

    "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

    by FogCityJohn on Wed Apr 18, 2012 at 07:58:25 PM PDT

    •  It's an interesting question as to why 3) seems (9+ / 0-)

      to be so true.

      •  General Electric owns MSNBC. (7+ / 0-)

        I'm sure that has nothing to do with it.

        Don't tithe to the Catholic Church. Cut out the middle man and give directly to the Republican National Committee.

        by Scott Wooledge on Wed Apr 18, 2012 at 08:13:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  1- is incorrect (9+ / 0-)

        Both Dems and Thugs think we need to fight useless wars. Both parties continue to fund them.
        Obama has expanded them in to even more countries.
        Tired of the blame just going to the thugs. Both parties own stocks in defense companie and they have gotten very rich with their insider tradings.
        Stop giving the Dems a pass.

        OBAMA'S GUIDING PRINCIPLES: HOLD NO ONE ACCOUNTABLE. LOOK FORWARD.

        by snoopydawg on Wed Apr 18, 2012 at 08:45:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The question to which I responded . . . (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jpmassar, elwior, JesseCW

          was why Obama wasn't getting more criticism about this war.  My comment needs to be read in that context.

          "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

          by FogCityJohn on Wed Apr 18, 2012 at 10:15:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, I agree with you (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Scott Wooledge, jpmassar

            and have read some articles how under Bush, the libs were up in arms, but have shut up under Obama.
            IMO, his actions are as bad or even worse. Never thought I would write that after his campaign.
            But he said one thing and then did complete opposite on just about everything. 2 things he didn't lie about was extending the 'good' war (bullshit) and going in to Pakistan.
            Other then that, we have lost even more freedoms under him, more trade agreements, more bases, wars, no prosecutions of war crimes which make him complacent in them.
            I could go on and on, but why bother.
            Some people might think he is still playing chess.

            OBAMA'S GUIDING PRINCIPLES: HOLD NO ONE ACCOUNTABLE. LOOK FORWARD.

            by snoopydawg on Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 01:07:34 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Consider John's words: (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jpmassar, FogCityJohn
          The Republicans agree we should be fighting useless, losing wars all over the world.
          "Agree" acknowledges the Democrats have owned the Afghanistan war since assuming control of Congress in 2006.

          It's been funded and continued by the Ds since then, although they certainly have had the power to pull the purse strings on it. And has since 2008 it has been the foreign policy of a Democratic administration.

          You're right on not giving the Ds a pass on their complicity with a whole portfolio of "caving" to Republicans.

          Don't tithe to the Catholic Church. Cut out the middle man and give directly to the Republican National Committee.

          by Scott Wooledge on Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 07:05:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  6. The people who'd normally be loud... (13+ / 0-)

      are Democrats and a Democratic administration is continuing the war. In an election year it's considered "bad form" to criticize your own candidate.

      •  You've not been reading here then. (7+ / 0-)

        It's considered treason, being a Republican (???), trolling, ideological lunacy, un-pragmatism, ... "bad form" would be almost a complement.


        The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

        by Jim P on Wed Apr 18, 2012 at 08:46:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You dare to malign the adults in the room? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jim P, jpmassar, JesseCW

          Not only is this war debate telling, I've been in "conversations" with moderates recently who

          1) attacked Elizabeth Warren's assertion that no one ever got rich on his own.

          2) attacked Climate Change science and the "assumed" urgency of the situation.

          Not only left me wondering where the hell I was but how we could possibly address the Class and Climate Wars when a significant body of people on "our" side stand in the way.

          A moderate is a radical in need of reality therapy.

          by Words In Action on Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 07:40:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  And it's a bitter indictment of this (10+ / 0-)

        supposedly progressive site that so many of us censor ourselves for the sake of electoral advantage.

        I dare anyone here to deny that, had McCain won the election, Daily Kos would be a front and center player in organizing mass protests against this immoral, pointless, wasteful, security degrading misadventure.

        •  Very interesting point. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jpmassar, Shahryar
          I dare anyone here to deny that, had McCain won the election, Daily Kos would be a front and center player in organizing mass protests against this immoral, pointless, wasteful, security degrading misadventure.
          Makes one wonder if it would have been better in the long run for McCain to have won, since no doubt the outrage factor that swept Obama into office would have grown, potentially into an actually effective force to deal with the Class and Climate Wars...

          With Obama in office, the moderates on "our" side have stuck their heads in the sand, assuming that everything that can be done has been or is being done...

          A moderate is a radical in need of reality therapy.

          by Words In Action on Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 07:43:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  which leads to an interesting question (0+ / 0-)

            what is the best way to get the Democratic Party to return to supporting Democratic ideals?

            If President Obama wins in November (and I think he will) we will have four more years of moving to the right. We can try to comfort ourselves by saying "2016...we'll get our candidate then".

            But, realistically, all the candidates who have a chance at winning the nomination that year will have to say that Obama's 2 terms were the greatest. It won't be possible to get a nominee who says we lost our way. They'll have to praise Obama, who will still be President as they run.

            If they don't praise him and promise to continue his path then they'll be seen as criticizing the sitting Democratic President, which will turn off a lot of ...um..centrists in the party.

            So an Obama win this year means no left leaning nominee until at least 2020.

            I suppose I shouldn't concern myself with this. The Repubs are feeling the same kind of thing. They want Mussolini but are getting Romney. If you buy into the idea that it's all rigged then there's no point in the exercise. We'll always get two versions of what we don't want, one a "D" and the other an "R".

    •  profits? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jpmassar, elwior, Lawrence

      On #2, I don’t see how the Pentagon profits from anything.  Everyone who works in the Pentagon gets paid the same regardless of whether they’re at war or not.  If you’re in theatre you get combat pay, but that’s hardly profiting.  I don’t know any member of the military who’s happy to leave their family to go to a war zone and get shot at.  

      At some point someone’s going to have to explain just how much defense contractors are making from the Afghan war.  I suspect it’s relatively little.  It’s not like we’re losing expensive tanks and planes in combat that need to be continually replaced.  In this war we fire bullets and get the occasional Humvee destroyed.  That’s not a lot of capital expenditure, and therefore not much purchasing from defense contractors.  The cost would, I imagine, be mostly in logistics, trying to ship enough soldiers and supplies into a very remote part of the world.  You got some data?  

      •  I think you're right. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elwior

        The money is in the logistical support and supplies.  Maybe some tech contracts doing R&D for drones etc.

      •  Somehow our aerospace and defense . . . (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jpmassar, elwior, JesseCW

        industries managed to make record profits in 2010, if this report is to be believed.  Maybe logistics is more profitable than you thought.

        As for the Pentagon, it profits from having a larger budget due to this needless war.  No matter what their salaries are, the brass like expanding their bureaucratic turf.  

        "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

        by FogCityJohn on Wed Apr 18, 2012 at 10:14:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Had to prepare for war again Iran. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elwior, JesseCW, FogCityJohn

          And North Korea.  Simultaneously.

        •  aerospace (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jpmassar

          That report includes commercial airplane sales and lots of other non-defense sales.  It’s not all military, and it's probably not even mostly military.  Also, it shows revenues for the industry are flat while profits are up, which means companies got more productive at what they were making, not that they were selling more than before.  And I don’t see any logistics companies in that list, so no, apparently it’s not as profitable as you think it is.  I really just don’t see defense contractors having much stake in this particular war, and not nearly enough for them to be somehow stifling criticism of the war, if that was your actual point.

          As for the Pentagon, I don’t know how many brass you know, but I’ve never met any who were happy about getting sent to the desert for a couple years.  Having a bigger budget just means having more work to do.  That’s hardly what I’d call “profit”.  I suppose there might be some excitement about being involved in combat operations, but the Pentagon is far more risk-averse than you think it is.  Once again, I don’t see this as damping criticism of the war.

          •  The brass get sent to the desert? (0+ / 0-)

            That's funny.  I thought that the guys with the most lapel pins spent their time over in Arlington while the lower ranking folks did the actual fighting.

            On the larger point, if you haven't managed to notice the reluctance of politicians to criticize the Pentagon or to call for serious reductions in defense spending, then I don't know what I can do for you.  The Pentagon is no different from any other bureaucracy.  It defends its turf.  

            As for what portion of aerospace/defense industry sales go to DoD, it appears to be quite substantial, at least if this report (pdf) is correct.  Furthermore, according to this paper (pdf), procurement funding more than doubled from FY2011 to FY 2010, and all branches of the service used that additional funding to modernize their forces by purchasing new equipment.  The supplemental appropriations for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan certainly provided at least some of that funding.  And this article points out that defense contractors have prospered over the past decade:

            You'll find very few in the Pentagon shedding a tear for the contractors. The military industrial complex has had a field day since 2001. The pumped up defense budgets, coupled with the additional $120 billion a year in spending for the wars, have been a boon for the defense industry. Profits at the big five U.S.-based defense contractors -- Lockheed Martin (LMT), Boeing (BA), Northrop Grumman (NOC), General Dynamics (GD) and Raytheon (RTN) -- grew from $6.7 billion in 2001 to $24.8 billion in 2010. Profits grew twice as fast as revenue.

            And it's not just the pure-play defense contractors who cleaned up. Large conglomerates, like General Electric (GE), foreign defense firms, like BAE systems, and large construction firms, like KBR (KBR), also saw their profits jump significantly during that time thanks to all the defense spending.  
            (Emphasis added)

            So far you haven't provided any links.  Do you have contrary information?

            "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

            by FogCityJohn on Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 09:47:05 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Sky Net - I think you are right (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lawrence, mightymouse

        The big challenge and cost of the war in Afghanistan is the logistics. It costs a fortune to bring in everything particularly gas and aviation fuel. Regarding capital equipment the terrain, weather and sand do take a toll on the APCs and Humvees. However, you are right this isn't a war with tank battles and we are the only side with planes and helicopters. The ordinance does include certain types of missiles and rockets fired from planes and helicopters and artillery and mortar shells. Some of these are expensive because of the guidance systems, which improve accuracy.  

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Wed Apr 18, 2012 at 11:03:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  War profiteering (4+ / 0-)
        At some point someone’s going to have to explain just how much defense contractors are making from the Afghan war.  I suspect it’s relatively little.
        I suspect you're wrong.

        Boeing from2006:

        The unit, which makes F18 fighters and C-17 cargo jets, has been helped by spending to fight wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The defense division's backlog at the end of last quarter was $74.2 billion, down 5 percent from the second quarter.
        A longer and more official summary can be found here:, with interesting information such as:
        Since FY2004, the rise in procurement costs has been dramatic – a seven-fold increase from $7.2
        billion in FY2004 to $61.5 billion in FY2008, the peak year, accounting for $54.3 billion or close
        to half of the total increase in war costs in that period. The peak year reflects a congressional
        decision to spend $16.8 billion to buy what was then anticipated to be the full requirement for
        Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, a heavy truck with a V-shaped hull found to
        increase soldier survivability against roadside bombs or Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs)
        Nothing wrong, of course, in investing to protect our troops once there, but $61.5 billion in war-related procurement alone would seem to indicate that there are profits being made and disincentives among power brokers to stop the war.

        An interesting anecdotal example well worth a read:

        The Stoner Arms Dealers: How Two American Kids Became Big-Time Weapons Traders

        which details how 2 20-something stoners got into the business. It starts out:

        Reading the e-mail back in Miami Beach, David Packouz breathed a sigh of relief. The shipment was part of a $300 million contract that Packouz and his partner, Efraim Diveroli, had won from the Pentagon to arm America's allies in Afghanistan.
        and includes passages such as:
        Packouz and Diveroli had picked the perfect moment to get into the arms business. To fight simultaneous wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq, the Bush administration had decided to outsource virtually every facet of America's military operations, from building and staffing Army bases to hiring mercenaries to provide security for diplomats abroad. After Bush took office, private military contracts soared from $145 billion in 2001 to $390 billion in 2008. Federal contracting rules were routinely ignored or skirted, and military-industrial giants like Raytheon and Lockheed Martin cashed in as war profiteering went from war crime to business model. Why shouldn't a couple of inexperienced newcomers like Packouz and Diveroli get in on the action? After all, the two friends were after the same thing as everyone else in the arms business — lots and lots and lots of money.
        •  $$ (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lawrence, mightymouse, jpmassar

          There definitely seems to be a lot of money floating around.  Someday I would like to see a breakdown of just where it's going exactly.  The info you present includes both Iraq and Afghanistan, of course, and according to the CRS report only 35% of the military spending was on Afghanistan.  The level of violence was always lower in Afghanistan, though the logistics challenges are greater.  I'd also note the paragraph on Boeing was the last paragraph in a long Bloomberg article.  It certainly didn't seem so important to Boeing's overall financial health that year.  The PWC report that FogCityJohn posted up only had one reference to Afghanistan, too, and didn't seem too concerned about the wars winding down.

          The larger question is whether all this money has some effect on military decisions.  I'm quite sure there are lots of questionable procurement decisions out there as politicians and contractors have common interests, but I just don't believe that President Obama and his national security team give a whit about Boeing when they're making decisions on Afghanistan and whether to stay or go.  I've never seen any evidence that they do.

      •  When people talk about The Pentagon (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jpmassar, FogCityJohn

        we're not talking about anyone who is actually going to get their ass shot at.

        We're talking about people who want plush consultant jobs after they put in their 20.

        Nuclear weapons don't kill people, Harry Trumans kill people.

        by JesseCW on Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 05:30:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  You Missed This One... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jpmassar, Shahryar, mightymouse

      During the Primaries Barack Obama embraced Afghanistan as the "Good War" as opposed to the war that Hillary voted for as a Senator.  Now the crows have come home to roost and POTUS can't get out of the quicksand that he stepped in 4 years ago.

    •  The 1% don't give a shit if their children (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jpmassar

      have to die to maintain their power.

      See Also : Feudalism

      Nuclear weapons don't kill people, Harry Trumans kill people.

      by JesseCW on Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 05:26:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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