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  •  I found this piece from Nick Turse (6+ / 0-)

    ... illuminating:

    Since 2001, the US military has thrown everything in its arsenal, short of nuclear weapons, including untold billions of dollars in weaponry, technology, bribes, you name it, at a remarkably weak set of enemies - relatively small groups of poorly-armed fighters in impoverished nations like Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, and Yemen - while decisively defeating none of them.

    It has managed to paint weak regional forces like Somalia's al-Shabaab as transnational threats, then focus its resources on eradicating them, only to fail at the task. It has thrown millions of dollars in personnel, equipment, aid, and recently even troops into the task of eradicating low-level drug runners (as well as the major drug cartels), without putting a dent in the northward flow of narcotics to America's cities and suburbs.

    It spends billions on intelligence only to routinely find itself in the dark. It destroyed the regime of an Iraqi dictator and occupied his country, only to be fought to a standstill by ill-armed, ill-organized insurgencies there, then out-maneuvered by the allies it had helped put in power, and unceremoniously bounced from the country (even if it is now beginning to claw its way back in). It spends untold millions of dollars to train and equip elite Navy SEALs to take on poor, untrained, lightly-armed adversaries, like gun-toting Somali pirates.

    And that isn't the half of it.

    The US military devours money and yet delivers little in the way of victories. Its personnel may be among the most talented and well-trained on the planet, its weapons and technology the most sophisticated and advanced around. And when it comes to defense budgets, it far outspends the next nine largest nations combined (most of which are allies in any case), let alone its enemies like the Taliban, al-Shabaab, or al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, but in the real world of warfare this turns out to add up to remarkably little.

    In a government filled with agencies routinely derided for profligacy, inefficiency, and producing poor outcomes, its record may be unmatched in terms of waste and abject failure, though that seems to faze almost no one in Washington. For more than a decade, the US military has bounced from one failed doctrine to the next.

    American politicians never tire of extolling the virtues of the US military, which is now commonly hailed as "the finest fighting force in the history of the world." Congress continues insuring funding at levels that stagger the imagination, presidents continue applying blunt force to complex geopolitical problems (even if in slightly different ways), arms dealers continue churning out wonder weapons that prove less than wondrous, and the Pentagon continues to fail to win.


    A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five. -- Groucho Marx

    by Pluto on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 11:51:19 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

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