US military teaching 'total war' on Islam

Seen something interesting in the news or on the intertubes? Discuss it here.

Moderators: Zamfir, Hawknc, Moderators General, Prelates

User avatar
Ormurinn
Posts: 1033
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 3:42 pm UTC
Location: Suth Eoferwicscire

Re: US military teaching 'total war' on Islam

Postby Ormurinn » Sat May 12, 2012 10:52 am UTC

Ghostbear wrote:
Ormurinn wrote:Being insulting to noncombatants is unprofessional, sure. Making a joke in your downtime? EVERYONE has bigger fish to fry than that.

If we only resolved ourselves to fixing our biggest problem at all times, we wouldn't solve any problems at all.


There is limited time in a year, and limited money in the millitary budget. every hour spent learning about how bad you are for joking with your buddies, is an hour not spent in combat training, weapons drill, or education. Every dollar spent on the salary of diversity officers or anti-jokes patrols, is a dollar not spent on bulletproof vests and Medevac helicopters.

When you have limited resources, you have to prioritise.
"Progress" - Technological advances masking societal decay.

Ghostbear
Posts: 1764
Joined: Sat Apr 26, 2008 10:06 pm UTC

Re: US military teaching 'total war' on Islam

Postby Ghostbear » Sat May 12, 2012 11:25 am UTC

Ormurinn wrote:
Ghostbear wrote:If we only resolved ourselves to fixing our biggest problem at all times, we wouldn't solve any problems at all.

There is limited time in a year, and limited money in the millitary budget. every hour spent learning about how bad you are for joking with your buddies, is an hour not spent in combat training, weapons drill, or education. Every dollar spent on the salary of diversity officers or anti-jokes patrols, is a dollar not spent on bulletproof vests and Medevac helicopters.

When you have limited resources, you have to prioritise.

If you horribly distort someone's argument into something completely nonsensical, this is the type of response that would be expected. Let's look into where you went wrong:
(1) The time/dollar investment for "if you catch a soldier telling an inappropriate joke, tell them not to" is significantly less than the time/dollar investment for training or equipment; you're treating this is as an either/or scenario. It isn't.
(2) There is a distinct difference between prioritizing and what we're talking about. You don't need "diversity officers" to fix these attitudes. You can fix multiple problems while still prioritizing.
(3) A point you have continually ignored: those inappropriate attitudes impact the military's performance*.
(4) As per (3), by ignoring this issue and letting it fester, it becomes a big problem. It is always best to solve a problem when the costs to fix it are at their minimum.

*Those attitudes make it easier and appear more acceptable for soldiers to go out and perform their disrespecting the dead, or killing civilians, or what have you. Every time a soldier does that, it makes the job of every single other soldier that much more difficult. It worsens our relations with the people of Afghanistan, making the Afghan security forces not want to work with us**, making civilians not want to cooperate with us, making people more likely to join forces opposed to us. It hurts the people in the military, it hurts the people of Afghanistan, and it hurts the people of the US. Nobody comes out ahead.

** I recall reading that there has been an uptick lately in casualties intentionally caused by Afghan forces that are ostensibly on our side, but I can't find it again.

User avatar
Ormurinn
Posts: 1033
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 3:42 pm UTC
Location: Suth Eoferwicscire

Re: US military teaching 'total war' on Islam

Postby Ormurinn » Sat May 12, 2012 11:50 am UTC

Ghostbear wrote:If you horribly distort someone's argument into something completely nonsensical, this is the type of response that would be expected. Let's look into where you went wrong:
(1) The time/dollar investment for "if you catch a soldier telling an inappropriate joke, tell them not to" is significantly less than the time/dollar investment for training or equipment; you're treating this is as an either/or scenario. It isn't.
(2) There is a distinct difference between prioritizing and what we're talking about. You don't need "diversity officers" to fix these attitudes. You can fix multiple problems while still prioritizing.
(3) A point you have continually ignored: those inappropriate attitudes impact the military's performance*.
(4) As per (3), by ignoring this issue and letting it fester, it becomes a big problem. It is always best to solve a problem when the costs to fix it are at their minimum.

*Those attitudes make it easier and appear more acceptable for soldiers to go out and perform their disrespecting the dead, or killing civilians, or what have you. Every time a soldier does that, it makes the job of every single other soldier that much more difficult. It worsens our relations with the people of Afghanistan, making the Afghan security forces not want to work with us**, making civilians not want to cooperate with us, making people more likely to join forces opposed to us. It hurts the people in the military, it hurts the people of Afghanistan, and it hurts the people of the US. Nobody comes out ahead.

** I recall reading that there has been an uptick lately in casualties intentionally caused by Afghan forces that are ostensibly on our side, but I can't find it again.


Actually... I think you're right. I don't think that theres any harm in the occasional racist joke, but i'd agree that virulently hateful soldiers need to be disciplined. I reacted hyperbolically to what i saw as a patronising attitude to soldiers

As for the time/dollar investment - I was specifically thinking of certain public sector positions in the U.K - specifically "Diversity Officers" In Universities etc, who do command an inflated salary for wasting peoples time. Their remit is to stop the kinds of behaviour some posters are protesting here, so i assumed that was the logical conclusion of their line of thinking. Standing orders for NCO's to tell their men to knock it off, I can agree with.

We have to remember that we are holding a nation under millitary occupation. If England were under French occupation, I'd probably be inclined to harm French soldiers as much as i were able.
"Progress" - Technological advances masking societal decay.

User avatar
Steax
SecondTalon's Goon Squad
Posts: 3038
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2008 12:18 pm UTC

Re: US military teaching 'total war' on Islam

Postby Steax » Sat May 12, 2012 3:45 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:Actually... I think you're right. I don't think that theres any harm in the occasional racist joke, but i'd agree that virulently hateful soldiers need to be disciplined.


It's an extremely slippery slope. Who's to say too much is too much? If it's not acceptable for civilians in an area, it's not acceptable to military personel. No matter what kind of danger they put their lives in.

Which pretty much also applies to the topic. I say it's only fine to talk about the problems a religion/culture/group/whatever has if the course also brings up an explanation on their way of thought, their way of life, how to distinguish them, and so forth. It's actually also really useful information; it helps captured people relate with their captors (and get off easier), for example.

But yeah... nuking cities? That's a bit too far. I know it probably won't actually happen, but if you tell a person that we might nuke a city one day, you're telling them they're really bad.
In Minecraft, I use the username Rirez.

Ghostbear
Posts: 1764
Joined: Sat Apr 26, 2008 10:06 pm UTC

Re: US military teaching 'total war' on Islam

Postby Ghostbear » Sat May 12, 2012 3:58 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:Standing orders for NCO's to tell their men to knock it off, I can agree with.

Yeah, I think that's all people are aiming for here. Enough so that soldiers know that the attitude is unacceptable and unprofessional, in order to prevent it from becoming a unit-wide, systemic issue.

Ormurinn wrote:We have to remember that we are holding a nation under millitary occupation. If England were under French occupation, I'd probably be inclined to harm French soldiers as much as i were able.

I assume this is directed at my effectiveness comments, and I think it's important to note that while people are more likely to be violent towards people occupying them, there's a lot you can do to discourage that. After WW2, the allied powers were occupying Germany and Japan, and violence against the occupying forces was not particularly common compared to other occupations. Similarly, if treat the people of Afghanistan with the proper respect, don't make their lives worse than they were before hand, and cause less of them to die, then they will perpetrate less violence against us. There will be violence, that I do not deny, but our actions can significantly influence how often it happens, how dedicated the people doing it are, and how many people are doing so.

User avatar
Zamfir
I built a novelty castle, the irony was lost on some.
Posts: 7518
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 2:43 pm UTC
Location: Nederland

Re: US military teaching 'total war' on Islam

Postby Zamfir » Sat May 12, 2012 4:31 pm UTC

Ghostbear wrote:After WW2, the allied powers were occupying Germany and Japan, and violence against the occupying forces was not particularly common compared to other occupations.

That's a bit of an unlucky example in this case. The text in the OP presentation is literally "the historical precedents of Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki being applicable to Mecca and Medina"

Ghostbear
Posts: 1764
Joined: Sat Apr 26, 2008 10:06 pm UTC

Re: US military teaching 'total war' on Islam

Postby Ghostbear » Sat May 12, 2012 4:35 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:
Ghostbear wrote:After WW2, the allied powers were occupying Germany and Japan, and violence against the occupying forces was not particularly common compared to other occupations.

That's a bit of an unlucky example in this case. The text in the OP presentation is literally "the historical precedents of Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki being applicable to Mecca and Medina"

My search for examples of significant violence against the occupying forces after WW2 came up with no hits. Do you have sources otherwise? If there are, I'd love to find out how specifically wrong I was!

Looking at the list of cities, those look like violence against civilians during WW2 -- the firebombings of Dresden and Tokyo combined with the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, so I'm still not sure that I'm wrong.

User avatar
Zamfir
I built a novelty castle, the irony was lost on some.
Posts: 7518
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 2:43 pm UTC
Location: Nederland

Re: US military teaching 'total war' on Islam

Postby Zamfir » Sat May 12, 2012 5:13 pm UTC

I think your comparison underestimates the utter fear in the German and Japanese populations, or the complete destruction of the countries by the end of the war. Note that there wasn't much resistance against the Russian occupation of Germany either. The Japanese (and Germans even more, especially in the East) had been vicious in their own occupations. As result the occupations afterwards have gone into memory as well-behaved by comparison, even among Germans and Japanese themselves. But the current occupation in Afghanistan is still nowhere near as violent as the allied occupations of Japan and Germany, not even the same ballpark. Those are not a model you want to use here.

Ghostbear
Posts: 1764
Joined: Sat Apr 26, 2008 10:06 pm UTC

Re: US military teaching 'total war' on Islam

Postby Ghostbear » Sat May 12, 2012 5:39 pm UTC

Ah, OK. I understand your point now, though I'm still not so sure. The conditions caused by the war would just be another one of those things that can be done to influence the attitudes of an occupied population -- in this case, I suppose it would be "defeat them so utterly and thoroughly that they have no hopes of success". Not a good example of something positive you can do, but still an example of something that can be done. So, yeah, not the model to be used, but still a valid example, I think.

KnightExemplar
Posts: 5494
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 1:58 pm UTC

Re: US military teaching 'total war' on Islam

Postby KnightExemplar » Sun May 13, 2012 2:46 am UTC

Ormurinn wrote:We have to remember that we are holding a nation under millitary occupation. If England were under French occupation, I'd probably be inclined to harm French soldiers as much as i were able.


We are smarter today than we were before. I frankly expect us to do significantly better than our grandfathers did during WWII.

But ignoring that, things are not exactly the same. We aren't occupying Afghanistan because we hate or fear Afghanis, we are doing it because we're specifically attacking Al Queda. And even if we include the Taliban as part of Al Queda (remember: they are not the same group), the Taliban are not representatives of the Afghani population... their history is more of brutal thugs who rose into power in the mid 90s.

And even then, the Taliban's organization is extremely decentralized, making this situation even more complicated. I'm not an expert on the subject, but any group as decentralized as the Taliban would be composed of many subgroups, each of which would have their own culture and level of ruthlessness. I've read articles that compare the Taliban "government" to drug rings / mafia as opposed to an actual organization. I doubt that every member of the Taliban is even our enemy. (Indeed, considering how the peace talks are going.)

The situation is complicated in part because we're smart enough as a country to see these intricacies now. Therefore, we must act better than our fathers / grandfathers did during previous occupations.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/2 ... 50397.html
First Strike +1/+1 and Indestructible.

User avatar
Gears
Bulletproof
Posts: 1593
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 3:31 am UTC
Location: Japan

Re: US military teaching 'total war' on Islam

Postby Gears » Sun May 13, 2012 10:16 am UTC

Zamfir wrote:
Gears wrote:Mind blowing. I make sure to bring up that we're fighting radical islamists and not Islam every time someone tries to say this.

How much better it that, though?
By showing that we are not at war with the religion of Islam, but people who seek to manipulate the religion to further their personal goals.
General_Norris wrote:I notice a lack of counter-arguments and a lot of fisting.

nitePhyyre
Posts: 1280
Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2009 10:31 am UTC

Re: US military teaching 'total war' on Islam

Postby nitePhyyre » Sun May 13, 2012 10:28 am UTC

Now, if they would expand the program to include the rest of the religions, we would be getting somewhere.
sourmìlk wrote:Monopolies are not when a single company controls the market for a single product.

You don't become great by trying to be great. You become great by wanting to do something, and then doing it so hard you become great in the process.

Technical Ben
Posts: 2986
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 10:42 pm UTC

Re: US military teaching 'total war' on Islam

Postby Technical Ben » Sun May 13, 2012 11:52 am UTC

I think that may well be "on the books"* so to speak. Some people have suggested it would be an action taken eventually.




*It was literally in this case. ;)
It's all physics and stamp collecting.
It's not a particle or a wave. It's just an exchange.

User avatar
Ormurinn
Posts: 1033
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 3:42 pm UTC
Location: Suth Eoferwicscire

Re: US military teaching 'total war' on Islam

Postby Ormurinn » Sun May 13, 2012 11:52 am UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:
Ormurinn wrote:We have to remember that we are holding a nation under millitary occupation. If England were under French occupation, I'd probably be inclined to harm French soldiers as much as i were able.


We are smarter today than we were before. I frankly expect us to do significantly better than our grandfathers did during WWII.


I think you may have conflated my statement with some other poster's regarding the allied occupations after WWII. I wasn't specifically referencing a historical incident, just proposing a hypothetical.

KnightExemplar wrote:But ignoring that, things are not exactly the same. We aren't occupying Afghanistan because we hate or fear Afghanis, we are doing it because we're specifically attacking Al Queda. And even if we include the Taliban as part of Al Queda (remember: they are not the same group), the Taliban are not representatives of the Afghani population... their history is more of brutal thugs who rose into power in the mid 90s.


I'm well aware of the differences between the Taleban and al-Quaeda, and I don't think that the reason that we are in Afghanistan has any bearing on the existence of a resistance movement. For instance -

Adolf Hitler wrote:We aren't occupying Afghanistan France because we hate or fear Afghanis Frenchmen, we are doing it because we're specifically attacking Al Queda Racial Enemies


Spoiler:
I use this particular example not to imply that Coalition forces are in any way comparable to the Nazis, or to imply that the elimination of racial enemies was the primary motivation for the Nazi invasion of France. It was Hyperbole to illustrate a point.


I don't mean to godwin, but I hope thats illustrative. It doesn't matter how well intentionned the occupiers are, resistance to a force that stations soldiers from a hostile, alien culture throughout your country and bombs civilian areas is legitimate, and to be expected.

I'm also well aware of the history of the taleban - it's my contention that they represent the Afghani population better than coalition occupiers. They wouldn't hacve gotten this far without a large degree of popular support.

KnightExemplar wrote:And even then, the Taliban's organization is extremely decentralized, making this situation even more complicated. I'm not an expert on the subject, but any group as decentralized as the Taliban would be composed of many subgroups, each of which would have their own culture and level of ruthlessness. I've read articles that compare the Taliban "government" to drug rings / mafia as opposed to an actual organization. I doubt that every member of the Taliban is even our enemy. (Indeed, considering how the peace talks are going.)

The situation is complicated in part because we're smart enough as a country to see these intricacies now. Therefore, we must act better than our fathers / grandfathers did during previous occupations.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/2 ... 50397.html


I completely agree with you - save that I think we shouldn't be striving to be better occupiers so much as never having become occupiers in the first place, and that we should withdraw as quickly as possible.
"Progress" - Technological advances masking societal decay.

User avatar
Ulc
Posts: 1301
Joined: Sun Jun 21, 2009 8:05 pm UTC
Location: Copenhagen university

Re: US military teaching 'total war' on Islam

Postby Ulc » Sun May 13, 2012 1:58 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:I don't mean to godwin, but I hope thats illustrative. It doesn't matter how well intentionned the occupiers are, resistance to a force that stations soldiers from a hostile, alien culture throughout your country and bombs civilian areas is legitimate, and to be expected.


Well, except.. How do I phrase this? You're wrong.

People does cooperate with occupiers - you saw it in france, you saw it in Denmark, and had the US been more competent, you'd have seen it in vietnam. And every single soldier I know that have been stationed in Afghanistan points out that you're seeing it there as well. It's through cooperation with the locals that the Danish forces gets alerted that some dudes are digging in a road someone in the middle of nowhere - and it's through them ambushes gets counter-ambushed.

Brute force wont win this war, it's that simple, because every time you use it, you create two enemies for each one you kill - and ten for each collateral kill!

And every time someone I know gets home after being there, they remark that this fight is not about killing the talebans - it's about convincing the locals not to support taleban. And somehow that gets harder when they see pictures of western forces pissing on the bodies of their cousins. As one friend (an low ranking officer in the danish force's) occasionally remarks, if taleban could have picked one single thing to do to win this fight, they should put assholes in our military - but then, he's also been known for saying that highly temperate people makes for lousy soldiers.

Investing in bulletproof wests solely only makes sure that you'll have to keep investing in bulletproof wests in the future as well, because neither bullets nor wests win a war - convincing the population to help you, rather than your enemies, win a war. And fostering a culture where the locals are degraded and debased systematically is really not helping on that.
It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it - Aristotle

A White Russian, shades and a bathrobe, what more can you want from life?

User avatar
Ormurinn
Posts: 1033
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 3:42 pm UTC
Location: Suth Eoferwicscire

Re: US military teaching 'total war' on Islam

Postby Ormurinn » Sun May 13, 2012 5:53 pm UTC

Ulc... I'm not sure I actually disagree with you at all. I'm genuinely confused what you mean.

Ulc wrote:People does cooperate with occupiers - you saw it in france, you saw it in Denmark, and had the US been more competent, you'd have seen it in vietnam. And every single soldier I know that have been stationed in Afghanistan points out that you're seeing it there as well. It's through cooperation with the locals that the Danish forces gets alerted that some dudes are digging in a road someone in the middle of nowhere - and it's through them ambushes gets counter-ambushed.


Thats not in dispute, and it's not in dispute that there was also resistance in occupied France. One the one side, les collaberateurs, and on the other, la resistance. In Afghanistan we have the taleban, and collaberators. All I was arguing was that irrespective of the reason for an invasion, there will resistance.


Ulc wrote:Brute force wont win this war, it's that simple, because every time you use it, you create two enemies for each one you kill - and ten for each collateral kill!


Which is why I support pulling out immediately.

Ulc wrote:And every time someone I know gets home after being there, they remark that this fight is not about killing the talebans - it's about convincing the locals not to support taleban. And somehow that gets harder when they see pictures of western forces pissing on the bodies of their cousins. As one friend (an low ranking officer in the danish force's) occasionally remarks, if taleban could have picked one single thing to do to win this fight, they should put assholes in our military - but then, he's also been known for saying that highly temperate people makes for lousy soldiers.

Investing in bulletproof wests solely only makes sure that you'll have to keep investing in bulletproof wests in the future as well, because neither bullets nor wests win a war - convincing the population to help you, rather than your enemies, win a war. And fostering a culture where the locals are degraded and debased systematically is really not helping on that.


I don't disagree here, and I'm unsure why you think I do. The bulletproof vest comment was a while back, to a different argument.
"Progress" - Technological advances masking societal decay.

User avatar
Ulc
Posts: 1301
Joined: Sun Jun 21, 2009 8:05 pm UTC
Location: Copenhagen university

Re: US military teaching 'total war' on Islam

Postby Ulc » Sun May 13, 2012 6:27 pm UTC

You were making the point that being nice was pointless, since there will be resistance no matter if you're nice or not. But resistance is not a "yes/no" question, it's a question of degree. The resistance movement of any country IS impacted by the behavior of the occupiers, and their behavior depends on the intentions, along with the culture that the occupiers come from.
It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it - Aristotle

A White Russian, shades and a bathrobe, what more can you want from life?

User avatar
Ormurinn
Posts: 1033
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 3:42 pm UTC
Location: Suth Eoferwicscire

Re: US military teaching 'total war' on Islam

Postby Ormurinn » Sun May 13, 2012 7:31 pm UTC

Ulc wrote:You were making the point that being nice was pointless, since there will be resistance no matter if you're nice or not. But resistance is not a "yes/no" question, it's a question of degree. The resistance movement of any country IS impacted by the behavior of the occupiers, and their behavior depends on the intentions, along with the culture that the occupiers come from.


I was making the point that all the good reasons in the world given to justify an invasion don't make it a good thing for the people on the receiving end. It doesn't matter to the average Afghan that we're there (supposedly) to target al Quaeda - the fact is, we've invaded and occupied their nation.

Im happy to admit that atrocious occupiers will see more resistance than non-atrocious ones (see; Assyrians)

I don't personally believe the occupation of Afghanistan is justified, and see the taleban as a legitimate, if unsavoury response by the Afghan people. I'd also question that a sufficiently "benevolent" occupation can eliminate resentment and quash the desire for national self-determination. The Thirteen Colonies rebelled because of a tax!
"Progress" - Technological advances masking societal decay.

KnightExemplar
Posts: 5494
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 1:58 pm UTC

Re: US military teaching 'total war' on Islam

Postby KnightExemplar » Sun May 13, 2012 9:44 pm UTC

You are leading us down a false-dichotomy. There is no reason why we can't pull out while simultaneously not be pissing on the corpses of our slain enemies. On the contrary, the fact that we want to pull out of Afghanistan makes it even more important that we treat our slain enemies with respect.

http://www.cfr.org/afghanistan/taliban- ... /p10551#p5
The Taliban is not a monolith; it has various factions and includes people who join it for varied motives, ranging from global jihad to local grievances, say experts.


This is the face of one of our enemies. A militia group composed of many factions. We can't win a political fight against a non-entity. The fastest way out of Afghanistan is making peace with the Taliban and leaving. But how do you make peace with a fractured group with no real central structure?

Its not as easy as just "leave the damn place". We still have goals to accomplish in our retreat. I'm not naive enough to believe we're there to "benefit" Afghanistan. We are their for our own political reasons, among them... to eliminate Al Queda. If not that, then we are there to ensure that Afghanistan will never again be the location where Al-Queda can plan terror attacks against the West. Basically, we are there for selfish American / Western reasons.

Perhaps stepping into this hornet's nest 11 years ago was a mistake. I dunno, I couldn't vote back then, so this war is a tax that we've inherited from our fathers. But regardless of the situation, we need to step out of Afghanistan while ensuring our goals are met. Every time a Sergent murders innocents, or our troops mutilate the corpses of our enemies means we lose the hearts and minds of the Afghani population.

Regardless of whether we are staying or going... we must expect the best behavior from our troops... and deliver on it. Our troops need to respect the locals as well as their culture, and part of that means we shouldn't be teaching "total war" on Islam in our academies.

Mind you, I'm positive we are acting as better occupiers than our grandfathers did when they occupied Japan. But today, we have the disadvantage of cheap commodity cameras and recording equipment. A single mistake from our troops is amplified into a powerful recruiting tool. In light of this, we must be extra careful and ensure every last soldier treats everyone with proper respect.
First Strike +1/+1 and Indestructible.

User avatar
Ormurinn
Posts: 1033
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 3:42 pm UTC
Location: Suth Eoferwicscire

Re: US military teaching 'total war' on Islam

Postby Ormurinn » Sun May 13, 2012 10:27 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:You are leading us down a false-dichotomy. There is no reason why we can't pull out while simultaneously not be pissing on the corpses of our slain enemies. On the contrary, the fact that we want to pull out of Afghanistan makes it even more important that we treat our slain enemies with respect.

http://www.cfr.org/afghanistan/taliban- ... /p10551#p5
The Taliban is not a monolith; it has various factions and includes people who join it for varied motives, ranging from global jihad to local grievances, say experts.


This is the face of one of our enemies. A militia group composed of many factions. We can't win a political fight against a non-entity. The fastest way out of Afghanistan is making peace with the Taliban and leaving. But how do you make peace with a fractured group with no real central structure?

Its not as easy as just "leave the damn place". We still have goals to accomplish in our retreat. I'm not naive enough to believe we're there to "benefit" Afghanistan. We are their for our own political reasons, among them... to eliminate Al Queda. If not that, then we are there to ensure that Afghanistan will never again be the location where Al-Queda can plan terror attacks against the West. Basically, we are there for selfish American / Western reasons.

Perhaps stepping into this hornet's nest 11 years ago was a mistake. I dunno, I couldn't vote back then, so this war is a tax that we've inherited from our fathers. But regardless of the situation, we need to step out of Afghanistan while ensuring our goals are met. Every time a Sergent murders innocents, or our troops mutilate the corpses of our enemies means we lose the hearts and minds of the Afghani population.

Regardless of whether we are staying or going... we must expect the best behavior from our troops... and deliver on it. Our troops need to respect the locals as well as their culture, and part of that means we shouldn't be teaching "total war" on Islam in our academies.

Mind you, I'm positive we are acting as better occupiers than our grandfathers did when they occupied Japan. But today, we have the disadvantage of cheap commodity cameras and recording equipment. A single mistake from our troops is amplified into a powerful recruiting tool. In light of this, we must be extra careful and ensure every last soldier treats everyone with proper respect.


Once again, I don't disagree. I'm not in favour of disrespecting war dead, and i actually agree with everything you've said. I'm not setting up a false dichotomy, because I never suggested you couldn't do both. I agree that we shouldn't be teaching total war on Islam. There was a misunderstanding earlier in the thread regarding the level of policing of soldiers should go on, and I made a comment later on that in some ways the taleban are analogous to the french revolution, and the two have been conflated into something I never actually meant.

Thank you for the information though.
"Progress" - Technological advances masking societal decay.

IcedT
Posts: 867
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 8:34 pm UTC

Re: US military teaching 'total war' on Islam

Postby IcedT » Sun May 13, 2012 10:34 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:I don't personally believe the occupation of Afghanistan is justified, and see the taleban as a legitimate, if unsavoury response by the Afghan people. I'd also question that a sufficiently "benevolent" occupation can eliminate resentment and quash the desire for national self-determination. The Thirteen Colonies rebelled because of a tax!

There's no significant self-determination movement in Afghanistan because Afghanistan is barely a state and it consists of dozens of nations. The Taliban got their start as an Islamist, anti-Communist militia that overthrew Afghanistan's Marxist government and drove out the Soviets with help from Arab (foreign) volunteers and a little bit of CIA training and arms. So, viewed in historical context, they're a hardcore rightist militia that took control during a political vacuum in the 1990's. They're not exactly viewed as "legitimate" even in Afghanistan, but they hold power because there's a lack of workable alternatives. They have the same problem lots of West and South Asian countries have- they exist only because of a series of monarchs, colonizers and despots have forced them to exist. Liberation in those countries means the disintegration of the central polity and, as a result, the rise of informal quasi-criminal cliques like the Taliban.

So to see the Taliban as the "legitimate" expression of the average Afghan's resentment of its occupiers is a mistake, for one because the "average Afghan" is a fiction and secondly because the Taliban predate the occupation and are no more a legitimate response of the Afghan people than La Cosa Nostra was a legitimate expression by Sicilians. People like the Taliban rule in the absence of an effective state. See: feudalism, Republican China, post-colonial South America, Somalia.

KnightExemplar
Posts: 5494
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 1:58 pm UTC

Re: US military teaching 'total war' on Islam

Postby KnightExemplar » Sun May 13, 2012 10:54 pm UTC

IcedT wrote:
Ormurinn wrote:I don't personally believe the occupation of Afghanistan is justified, and see the taleban as a legitimate, if unsavoury response by the Afghan people. I'd also question that a sufficiently "benevolent" occupation can eliminate resentment and quash the desire for national self-determination. The Thirteen Colonies rebelled because of a tax!

There's no significant self-determination movement in Afghanistan because Afghanistan is barely a state and it consists of dozens of nations. The Taliban got their start as an Islamist, anti-Communist militia that overthrew Afghanistan's Marxist government and drove out the Soviets with help from Arab (foreign) volunteers and a little bit of CIA training and arms. So, viewed in historical context, they're a hardcore rightist militia that took control during a political vacuum in the 1990's. They're not exactly viewed as "legitimate" even in Afghanistan, but they hold power because there's a lack of workable alternatives. They have the same problem lots of West and South Asian countries have- they exist only because of a series of monarchs, colonizers and despots have forced them to exist. Liberation in those countries means the disintegration of the central polity and, as a result, the rise of informal quasi-criminal cliques like the Taliban.

So to see the Taliban as the "legitimate" expression of the average Afghan's resentment of its occupiers is a mistake, for one because the "average Afghan" is a fiction and secondly because the Taliban predate the occupation and are no more a legitimate response of the Afghan people than La Cosa Nostra was a legitimate expression by Sicilians. People like the Taliban rule in the absence of an effective state. See: feudalism, Republican China, post-colonial South America, Somalia.


I remember reading a Time article a few years back, where the troops were complaining that the local population sometimes still thought that they were Soviets. To take complete blame for the Taliban's anger is indeed a mistake. Afghanistan has been a warzone for generations now, and it doesn't matter to them that we are a new group of occupiers in their country.

Whether or not we're Soviets, Arabs, or the US, we're all just foreign occupiers to them. Whether we like it or not, we are definitely shouldering the war crimes of the previous occupiers... at least in their minds.
First Strike +1/+1 and Indestructible.

nitePhyyre
Posts: 1280
Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2009 10:31 am UTC

Re: US military teaching 'total war' on Islam

Postby nitePhyyre » Tue May 15, 2012 9:14 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:I remember reading a Time article a few years back, where the troops were complaining that the local population sometimes still thought that they were Soviets. To take complete blame for the Taliban's anger is indeed a mistake. Afghanistan has been a warzone for generations now, and it doesn't matter to them that we are a new group of occupiers in their country.

Whether or not we're Soviets, Arabs, or the US, we're all just foreign occupiers to them. Whether we like it or not, we are definitely shouldering the war crimes of the previous occupiers... at least in their minds.
I saw a video on youtube that had troops walking around with a picture of the WTC towers burning on 9/11. The were asking the afghan villagers if they knew what the picture was. The had no idea, but most guessed that it was pictures of what the US/Soviets were doing to Kabul.

When a trooper mentioned that the US had gone to the moon, the villagers pointed and laughed. Almost saying "How stupid do you think we are? We may be backwards, but we know you didn't go to the moon, that's impossible."

I don't know where I'm going with this, but I think we could be doing more to spread the word and win hearts and minds.
sourmìlk wrote:Monopolies are not when a single company controls the market for a single product.

You don't become great by trying to be great. You become great by wanting to do something, and then doing it so hard you become great in the process.

User avatar
Zamfir
I built a novelty castle, the irony was lost on some.
Posts: 7518
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 2:43 pm UTC
Location: Nederland

Re: US military teaching 'total war' on Islam

Postby Zamfir » Wed May 16, 2012 7:36 am UTC

I wonder how this goes in the other direction? If an rando, Afghani tells me about moments in history they are proud of, or shows me a picture of a historic event he is mad about, would I recognize them? Very possibly not, I suspect. The same for a lot western soldiers in Afghanistan, I bet.

Something I don't know: how many people in the US government (military and otherwise) have a good, intimate understanding of Afghani culture? As in, they speak one or more local languages well, they lived in normal Afghani conditions for some years, etc? Especially for regions outside of Kabul?

nitePhyyre
Posts: 1280
Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2009 10:31 am UTC

Re: US military teaching 'total war' on Islam

Postby nitePhyyre » Wed May 16, 2012 8:40 am UTC

Zamfir wrote:I wonder how this goes in the other direction? If an rando, Afghani tells me about moments in history they are proud of, or shows me a picture of a historic event he is mad about, would I recognize them? Very possibly not, I suspect. The same for a lot western soldiers in Afghanistan, I bet.
It's not just some random dude though, is it? It is the occupying force dude. I honestly would have thought that after a decade of occupation, the 'why' would have percolated.

Zamfir wrote:Something I don't know: how many people in the US government (military and otherwise) have a good, intimate understanding of Afghani culture? As in, they speak one or more local languages well, they lived in normal Afghani conditions for some years, etc? Especially for regions outside of Kabul?
I remember reading an article that was saying that most of the higher-ups in the US military didn't know that there was a difference between Sunni and Shiite. If memory serves, it was an article about Iraq/Iran,but I doubt Afghanistan is any different.
sourmìlk wrote:Monopolies are not when a single company controls the market for a single product.

You don't become great by trying to be great. You become great by wanting to do something, and then doing it so hard you become great in the process.

User avatar
Zamfir
I built a novelty castle, the irony was lost on some.
Posts: 7518
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 2:43 pm UTC
Location: Nederland

Re: US military teaching 'total war' on Islam

Postby Zamfir » Wed May 16, 2012 10:05 am UTC

nitePhyyre wrote: It's not just some random dude though, is it? It is the occupying force dude. I honestly would have thought that after a decade of occupation, the 'why' would have percolated.

I can't say how it really goes in Afghanis villages, I just don't enough. Perhaps they were pulling the American's leg.

As speculation, I can imagine that villagers just don't care much. It's Kabuli politics, and people who control Kabul sometimes want to drive around and show off their guns in the villages. Americans, Karzai, Taliban, Russians, communists, royalist supporters for various competing kings, Brits. If they ask questions you nod politely, and wait until they go back where they came from. Don't get too cosy, because in a few years they could be gone, and you don't want to be known as supporter of the previous guys.


Return to “News & Articles”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: addams, plytho, Zamfir and 15 guests