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View Diary: Mercenaries, war, and my childhood (368 comments)

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  •  And the best part is... (4.00)
    when the mercs get killed, it is the job of the professional military to avenge their deaths.  I'm not sure I entirely understand this one.

    I hope that when Bush slams Kerry for voting against the $87 billion, Kerry has the brains to bring up this military privatization stuff.  The WH and DOD keep claiming that this is saving us money.  Is there ANY evidence of that?

    •  The savings should come from (none)
      the fact that you don't have an enormous standing army even in times of peace.  But we're spending an awful lot... it might outweigh what we saved by downsizing the peacetime military... especially since Bush doesn't have any peacetime planned for us anytime soon.
      •  Doesn't make sense. (4.00)
        the fact that you don't have an enormous standing army even in times of peace.

        I don't have a problem with privatizing some aspects of the military.  Certinly there is a lot of administrative and logistical support stuff that can be outsourced.  But special forces?  Combat positions?  Come on!

        Also, there should be strict limits on what can be subcontracted.  Too often, we just create a bunch of middlemen skimming off the transaction.  Also the DOD should make a concerted effort to develop multiple contractors.  I am sick and tired of hearing the excuse "well, Haliburton/KBR is the only company that can do this type of work."

      •  times of peace? (4.00)
        Have there been any in the last 60 years? Seems you yanks are always at war somewhere with someone these days.

        Never wrestle a pig... you both get dirty but the pig likes it.

        by nyoos junkey on Fri Apr 02, 2004 at 04:14:03 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sure Joe... (none)
          rate me troll, but it's a serious question. For a nation that hasn't been attacked since WW2 USA  sure does a lot of warring, both official and by proxy, all around the globe. Which one of your presidents was it that warned about the danger of the military industrial complex? You're a long way from a citizen army.

          Never wrestle a pig... you both get dirty but the pig likes it.

          by nyoos junkey on Fri Apr 02, 2004 at 04:49:15 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Take Canada for instance... (none)
            1 rating removed, btw.

            However, this line --

            Seems you yanks are always at war somewhere with someone these days.

            ...just seemed flippant and simplistic.

            Name any western democracy, and it would be fairly simple to tally a list of their military engagements over the last few decades, and the amount of times each country intervened would be surprising, especially in the day and age of NATO and UN missions.

              •  More than you'd think (none)
                German forces (seemingly the exception to the rule) have been stationed in Kosovo, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Turkey, Somalia, Macedonia, and Georgia...and these are the countries I know of.
            •  I know not seems (none)
              Probably because of the way I phrased it. But seriously, there are a whole lot of little entaglements between '45 and now and not many of them were in response to an existential threat or even close. My point is that your economy could survive extended peace time.

              Never wrestle a pig... you both get dirty but the pig likes it.

              by nyoos junkey on Fri Apr 02, 2004 at 05:27:49 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  sorry.... (none)
                should be "couldn't survive".

                I don't know ifthat's true by the way, but it makes a good discussion point.

                While I have a whole comment box open here, let me put it this way. We'll ignore the western democracies for a bit, because that's too easy. Fill out the form:

                USSR: Evil Empire
                No. Countries Invaded '45 - '89:
                No. Proxy Wars started '45 - '89:

                USA: Home of Motherhood & Apple Pie
                No. Countries Invaded '45 - '89:
                No. Proxy Wars started '45 - '89:

                and yes, you do have to count the ones where you had to destroy the country to save the country

                Never wrestle a pig... you both get dirty but the pig likes it.

                by nyoos junkey on Fri Apr 02, 2004 at 05:34:08 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  war, economy, survival (none)
                  Zoltan Grossman has compiled (and occasionally updates) a list of US military interventions that's always fun to review. It would be nice to find similar lists of interventions by other nations.

                  On the fascinating topic of war and economic sustainability in capitalist democracies, there is a small literature in political and cultural theory summed up intriguingly by Jameson:

                  One does not have to endorse Hegel's infamous comment, that wars are necessary for the spiritual health of societies, to see how the absence of generalized physical destruction creates a certain problem for capitalism, in the survival of old plant and inventory, and the persistent saturation of key markets. For the health of capitalist societies these enormous unused inventories need to be destroyed every so often for even the productivity of capitalism itself to develop in a way that avoids the sterilities of finance capital. ("The Dialectics of Disaster," South Atlantic Quarterly 101.2)

                  I know, kind of out of place in this thread. Maybe someone will have the energy to start a new one. Maybe it will be me. Someday.

                  •  Gore Vidal (none)
                    quotes, I think, a Vanity Fair edition with similar data. It had 250 direct military actions (excluding proxy wars or CIA actions such as Chile or Guatemala) between 48 and 2000. This is from memory so I might be out by a few here or there.

                    I met an old German industrialist who firmly believed the details in the that quote. He seemed to think the bombing flat of German industry during the war was a great thing. Personally I don't buy it. Especially not nowadays with the importance of todays light, high tech industries.

                    Never wrestle a pig... you both get dirty but the pig likes it.

                    by nyoos junkey on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 02:52:21 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

        •  Sure Joe... (none)
          rate me troll, but it's a serious question. For a nation that wasn't attacked between WW2 and 911 USA sure does a lot of warring, both official and by proxy, all around the globe. Which one of your presidents was it that warned about the danger of the military industrial complex? You're a long way from a citizen army.

          Never wrestle a pig... you both get dirty but the pig likes it.

          by nyoos junkey on Fri Apr 02, 2004 at 04:50:59 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Ouch (none)
          Too true.

          It's that Anglo-American imperial thing.  The White Man's Burden... and the opportunity to sacrifice little people for glory and profit.

          The penalty good men pay for not being interested in politics is to be governed by men worse than themselves. -- Plato

          by ogre on Fri Apr 02, 2004 at 05:32:22 PM PST

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    •  excellent point! (none)
      nt

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