HERE is a statesman

Ron Paul, the only clear-headed statesman in the US Congress, was also the only vote against a House resolution strongly defending how Israel has countered Palastinian rocket attacks by smart-bombing the Gaza Strip. More than 100 Palestinians and three Israelis have been killed since last Wednesday. Before you get your underwear in a knot, consider this in Paul's own words.

"Mr. Speaker: I rise in opposition to H. Res. 951, a resolution to condemn Palestinian rocket attacks on Israeli civilians. As one who is consistently against war and violence, I obviously do not support the firing of rockets indiscriminately into civilian populations. I believe it is appalling that Palestinians are firing rockets that harm innocent Israelis, just as I believe it is appalling that Israel fires missiles into Palestinian areas where children and other non-combatants are killed and injured.

"Unfortunately, legislation such as this is more likely to perpetuate violence in the Middle East than contribute to its abatement. It is our continued involvement and intervention – particularly when it appears to be one-sided – that reduces the incentive for opposing sides to reach a lasting peace agreement.

"Additionally, this bill will continue the march toward war with Iran and Syria, as it contains provocative language targeting these countries. The legislation oversimplifies the Israel/Palestine conflict and the larger unrest in the Middle East by simply pointing the finger at Iran and Syria. This is another piece in a steady series of legislation passed in the House that intensifies enmity between the United States and Iran and Syria. My colleagues will recall that we saw a similar steady stream of provocative legislation against Iraq in the years before the US attack on that country.

"I strongly believe that we must cease making proclamations involving conflicts that have nothing to do with the United States. We incur the wrath of those who feel slighted while doing very little to slow or stop the violence."

I almost despair of the future leadership of this country when I read Ron Paul's statement and compare that with the empty blathering -or, worse, chest thumping- of the current presidential hopefuls. Ron Paul is the best hope for the future of this country and nobody is giving him a listen.

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/vote.xpd?vote=h2008-93
http://www.jta.org/cgi-bin/iowa/breaking/107371.html

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Enough said. I couldn't agree more.

I agree 100 percent. Do you think he stands a chance though? The media completely ignores him. Ron Paul is the only candidate who actually says anything worth hearing - who sees the big picture, who isn't chest thumping - who holds the Constitution dear to his heart, who is for less govt. spending, less taxation, less govt. interference with people's lives.

Let them fight it out. Perhaps in the end, Peace will be declared.

I do believe he has now withdrawn from the race, but hasn't given up on his message.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rk_vVaZxTno

Thanks for the youtube citation, Postal. Every time I read or hear Ron Paul, my respect for him grows.

You are welcome. I'm a fan of Ron Paul as well and wish he would have gotten a fairer shake from his party and the media.

While I don't recall the program, I heard a political "insider" talk about Ron. He discussed how his ideas fit well with the average American, but his team lacked the political know-how and experience to gain real momentum with Main St. This insider mentioned Ron's political team was largely a group of amateurs.

Paul has some great ideas and comments, whether or not they could be instituted who is to say.
He views and states the strict interpretation of the Constitution, he also supports the armed forces, but there is no mention of the Air Force in the constitution.
Just one example.
If he was elected, although he did poll very low numbers, how would he enact his ideas, what with a system that is for most intent and purposes, unconstitutional as he sees it.

1. Non-intervention, avoid wars of aggression and entangling alliances.
2. Bring troops home from Korea, Japan, and Europe, among other places.
3. Stop sending massive aid overseas.
4. Stop the dangerous confrontation with Iran.
5. End trade restrictions on Cuba.
6. Withdraw from organizations that override American sovereignty, e.g., UN, the International Criminal Court, the Law of the Sea Treaty, the WTO, NATO, and the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America.
7. Opposes free trade agreement like NAFTA: "free-trade agreements are really managed trade" and serve special interests and big business, not citizens.
8. Says it's a "boondoggle" to spend money policing other countries' borders and leave its own borders unpatrolled.
9. children born in the U.S. to illegal aliens should not be granted automatic birthright citizenship.
10. Called 9-11 an act of "air piracy", introduced the Marque and Reprisal Act of 2001. Letters of marque and reprisal, authorized by article I, section 8 of the Constitution, would have targeted specific terrorist suspects, instead of invoking war against a foreign state.
11. Believes the size of federal government must be decreased substantially.
12. Supports abolishment of the Internal Revenue Service, most Cabinet departments, and the Federal Reserve.
13. Eliminate the income tax by shrinking the size and scope of government to its Constitutional limits.
14. Fund government through excise taxes and/or uniform, non-protectionist tariffs.
15. Adheres deeply to Austrian school economics and libertarian opposition to fractional-reserve banking, opposing fiat currency and resulting inflation.
16. Believes the Federal Reserve's ability to "print money out of thin air" without commodity backing is responsible for eroding the value of money.
17. Supports legalization of parallel currencies, such as gold-backed notes issued from private markets and digital gold currencies to keep honesty in our money.
18. Believes young Americans should be able to opt out of the Social Security system if they would like not to pay Social Security taxes.
19. Opposes virtually all federal interference with the market process.
20. Regularly votes against almost all proposals for new government spending, initiatives, or taxes.
21. Advocates that the federal government not be involved in citizens' everyday lives.
22. Believes the internet should be free from government regulation and taxation and opposes internet gambling restrictions.
23. Says the purpose of the Second Amendment is to place a check on government tyranny, not to merely grant hunting rights or allow self-defense.
24. States that he would never violate habeas corpus.
25. "Everything we have done in response to the 9-11 attacks, from the Patriot Act to the war in Iraq, has reduced freedom in America."
26. Voted against the REAL ID Act of 2005, the national ID license.
27. Against the domestic surveillance program conducted by the NSA on Americans.
28. Opposes eminent domain that just supports special interests violating property rights.
29. His positions on civil liberties are often based on states' rights.
30. Calls himself "strongly pro-life" and an opponent of abortion.
31. Supports stem-cell research.
32. Education should be handled at a local and state level.
33. Believes the environment is better protected under private property rights and environmental legislation should be handled between and among the states or regions concerned.
34. Favors the use of marijuana as a medical option.
35. Contends that prohibition of drugs is ineffective and advocates ending the War on Drugs.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_positions_of_Ron_Paul

Everytime the US has tried to remain an isolationist it has found itself pulled into Wars which were large and cost a heavy toll in terms of human casualties.

Say what you will about being an interventionalist but the small wars the US has fought have never equalled the type of casualties that the isolationist wars did.

My belief, while being an interventionalist doesn't make us the nice guy on the block it certainly helps save both US and foreign lives in the long run.

MikeyA

MikeyA

Mikey, I would answer by saying that since we started down the path of military interventionism and expansionism, we have STARTED wars that have had a huge cost in human lives -not necessarily our own- and have spent tremendous amounts of our national treasure, lost our international reputation, and cost us our own civil liberties and freedoms. We have lost the moral high ground and squandered our prestige at home and abroad. Few like us on the European continent or elsewhere, and we are viewed suspiciously in most countries. We need a new path, one that is more in keeping with our history and what we remember what we were. Torture and aggression are not in our national character.

I remember when being an American was considered a mark of respect and honor abroad. Today, we are becoming a declining power, our dollar despised, and our traditions of law and civil rights perverted by cynical political bandits.

Mikey, I also want to add that isolationism and non-interventionism are NOT the same thing. Look them up.

Regardless what most high school teachers teach our kids Rome didn't become an empire because of military expansion.

Remember the saying "All roads lead to Rome"? Rome became an empire because of it's infrastructure and unified architecture and aqueducts. It went to war most times to protect it's borders or in the process of securing more raw materials.

The US is no different in that aspect. The only aspect where the US is unique is the "US Empire" is one not of colonization but of merely economic influence.

I disagree with your assessment of the wars we "started". We didn't sink the Lusitania. We didn't attack Pearl Harbor. We didn't cross the 38th parallel. We didn't invade Kuwait to secure oil. We didn't fly planes into buildings. With the exception of three Wars every major military American conflict can be linked to an event that was devastating to a civilian population.

The three where there was no major event with malice Spanish-American War, Vietnam, and Iraq there were still links to events that at the time were believed have been involvement by opposition forces. In similar wars where there was no escalation of forces we've seen success as in places like El Salvador.

MikeyA

MikeyA

It is indisputable that Rome became an empire due to military expansion. It didn't do it by offering superior culture to its Greek neighbors in southern Italy, who thereby flocked to the Roman cause. Also, read about the Carthaginian Wars (v. Cato the Elder, who ended every speech no matter what the topic: "Carthago delenda est".)

I didn't say we sank the Lusitania or attack Pearl Harbor. But, right off the top of my head, I can list the following recent events:
1) Chile where we overthrew a democratically elected government;
2) ditto with Iran in the 1950s.
3) Invasion of Grenada;
4) Arms to Nicaragua and civil war;
5) Vietnam;
6) Serbia;
7) Iraq.

And that's off the top of my head, no research needed.

It is indisputable that Rome became an empire due to military expansion. It didn't do it by offering superior culture to its Greek neighbors in southern Italy, who thereby flocked to the Roman cause. Also, read about the Carthaginian Wars (v. Cato the Elder, who ended every speech no matter what the topic: "Carthago delenda est".)

And while you're looking, study up on what happened to cause it's fall, and see if you don't see any glaring similarities anywhere.

What did cause its fall, Billy? Historians have been wrangling about that for centuries. Arnold Toynbee and Spengler suggest that all civilizations go through birth, youth, flowering, and death, just like people.

Interestingly, we date the fall of Rome to somewhere in the fifth century AD, either with the sack of Rome in 410 or with the deposing of the last Roman emperor in 476. But, to the people living at the time, there was no sense that the empire had fallen until several centuries later in what we call the Medieval period. It's only later historians who fix a specific date on the "fall of Rome". And the Greeks today still call themselves Romans, "romaioi". In a sense, Rome never did fall, but instead morphed into the civilizations we now call, Spanish, French, Italian, etc.

Did Rome's expansion come from military or from economical means?

While it's military conquests may have solidified it's borders one must ask were these borders already expanded?

I would reference Caesar's invasion of Britain as an example. As Rome conquered Gaul trade routes and roads were created. To further expand trade Julius Caesar invaded and beat the Britons (only being successful on the 2nd try). However he did not leave his forces amassed but instead required payment to the Romans and established a trading system.

In fact it wasn't until 10 years later did the Romans actually conquer Britain.

MikeyA

MikeyA

I would say that it was both because the Romans were always shrewd businessmen as well as having a superb army. The peoples surrounding Rome were always fighting among themselves and one of the combatants would appeal to Rome for help. As an ally of Rome, the affiliated state had Rome as a backup force against its antagonist. What they didn't realize was happening was the slow aggrandizement of Roman power and its commercial interests. "Divisa et impera" (divide and rule) was the Roman motto. Trade went on first at the frontier regions and solders soon followed. That's the way the Roman Imperium worked. Somewhat like today with our empire.

Caesar invaded Britain twice in 55 and 54 BC and its objective failed both times in its principal objective of conquering the country, but as a political ploy it didn't do too badly. Rome didn't successfully invade and plant garrisons in Britain again until 80 or so years later when Caligula (I think it was) invaded and set up permanent forts.

But, getting back to the point, the US has not been altruistic in these wars we've been involved it recently. I believe our being smeared with labels like torturers and war-mongerers are antithetical to our culture and our traditions. We don't need it. And, more importantly, we can't afford the cost of sustaining these wars and adventures.

So you consider these major military engagements?

With the exceptions of Iraq and Vietnam I wouldn't consider them major engagements. Serbia could qualify but that was not a US engagement it was a NATO engagement.

My point was that by intervening in those areas while they were still small problems the US avoided a larger more proacted war.

MikeyA

MikeyA

Major engagement, fajor fisfajement, who cares? All I can say is we have fucked up a lot of shit in a lot of places where we shouldn't have gone. AND spent a lot of our money in the process. That's dollars to me and you. REAL MONEY OUT OF OUR POCKETS!!

This is a hard sell on both sides, because, frankly, nobody has all the facts.

But I've observed before that it seems like the times we go in and try to manicure the world to our liking, it comes back to bite us in the ass.

We assassinated the Vietnamese head of state, and look where that got us.

We overthrew the Shah, and look where that got us.

Etc.

I'd probably drop Vietnam from that list, since it was such a convoluted circumstance (that we were funding the war by proxy for years thru france, led to golf of tonkin, indisputable that Soviet forces were involved).

And I'd add the War of 1812.

Look up Ron Paul's delegate numbers.

I think, there may be some objections from some of the Salvadorin people with regards to our involvement in that country's affairs.
"Truth Revealed
With continuing reports of atrocities and murders in El Salvador, the U.S. Congress no longer accepted the State Department's assurance that things were getting better. Speaker of the House Tom Foley created a special task force to monitor El Salvador's investigation of the murders. Congressman Joe Moakley of Massachusetts was selected to head up the investigation. During his research and visits to El Salvador, Congressman Moakley encountered a massive cover-up, deep problems with the Salvadoran armed forces, conspiracy and lies, which led him to challenge U.S. policy. He discovered that from a very high level, the armed forces of El Salvador had been responsible for the murders of the Jesuits. His investigation also led to the conclusion that certain levels of the U.S. government had known about the situation long before the task force was created.
Moakley's report revealed the cruel injustice of the U.S.-backed Salvadoran government, setting in motion an international process to end the war. Both sides of the conflict in El Salvador approached the United Nations for help in negotiating a settlement. The United Nations sponsored talks, which culminated in the January 1992 signing of the Peace Accords, ending 12 years of civil war. "
http://www.pbs.org/itvs/enemiesofwar/elsalvador2.html
""We had to build up the military, reform it and stop it from seizing more power from the civilian Government," Mr. Abrams said this week.
Through the early 1980's, as a condition of continuing aid, the Reagan Administration was required by law to certify to Congress every six months that El Salvador was improving its human rights record, and did so. Officials repeatedly blamed shadowy forces uncontrolled by the army high command for death squad activity.
The documents were made available to The New York Times by the National Security Archives, a private group that helps researchers and scholars in declassifying Government materials. The Churchwomen A Pattern Evolves: War Comes First
The pattern of overlooking human rights abuses in the interests of winning the war began in the final days of the Carter Administration, after the murders of four American churchwomen -- three nuns and a lay worker -- on Dec. 2, 1980 by members of the Salvadoran National Guard. Mr. Carter cut off aid, but reinstated it after the guerrillas began a nationwide offensive. "
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F0CE5D61E31F932A15750C0A...

That's why military policy usually isn't to change a whole societies culture but rather to strengthen good parts and eliminate bad parts. The US cannot force things such as a democracy upon a culture, as we can easily see in many different scenarios, but we can affect the culture for the better and the hope is when they're ready democracy will talk hold.

MikeyA

MikeyA

I don't know too terribly much about Ron Paul, to be honest... what kind of plan did he lay out for potentially pulling the troops out of all these places, if any?

There is a tide in the affairs of men...

Paul's plan: let's leave.

So just pull every soldier out of every foreign holding immediately? (Not being a smart ass, just trying to understand).

There is a tide in the affairs of men...

I can't speak for Ron Paul, but what you mentioned doesn't sound like a bad idea to me. Let them take care of their problems and put their own troops up on the line. Why are we doing it? We've got enough problems here at home. UNLESS someone here has money to make on our soldiers lives and our projection of power. Then our president will fight to the death of every soldier we have.

I believe Paul's perception is lacking on many accounts.

We are currently pulling out of Japan and moving to Guam, a US territory. Our forces in Germany are not on "US bases" they're NATO bases. Our forces in S. Korea are not "US bases" they're officially UN bases.

Now I don't know why he would break years of US treaties with both NATO and the UN in order to win some PR points. Especially when we know NATO probably wouldn't survive, at least in it's current state, without US backing and if the UN left S. Korea we'd have a repeat of the early 1950's.

MikeyA

MikeyA

I think the whole concept of NATO should be reexamined closely. Its purpose has altered drastically between its founding as a counterforce to the USSR during the Cold War and the disintegration of the Eastern Bloc. Now it is expanding its membership right up to Georgia and the Ukraine. It has fought in the Balkans and other places where its charter never envisioned it going. It's not the same organization it used to be nor does it have the same goals.

As for the bases in Korea and Ramstein being NATO, that's a nice fiction, isn't it? Kind of like our "coalition forces" in Iraq. Makes us look like we're not the principal player there; just one of a whole lot of others.

"Ramstein is a NATO
support installation; it has not been given the designation of a NATO
base. Canadian, German, British, U.S., French, Belgian, Polish, Czech,
Norwegian, Danish and Dutch forces are located at the base."

 

Is this correct?

 

Support installation and not a NATO base?

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramstein_Air_Base

 

You are correct it's a support installation in definition BUT...

It calls under USEUCOM which is also reports to NATO. The personnel conduct missions primarily under NATO and UN banners and rarely ever on solely US mission. The only time I can actually recall them being under a solely US mission in my lifetime is their transportations of US soldiers, equipment, and casualties in the Iraq War.

Aside from that mission I cannot think of any other mission they have conducted that hasn't been at the very least a NATO run operation.

MikeyA

MikeyA

We also must remember these bases are not only built for military support but financial support as well.

This is reason so many Baltic nations want to join NATO and have NATO installations relocated within their borders. The Baltic states have very fragile economies and the influx of American, Canadian, UK, and other countries military personnel's money can help jump start their economies. For years South Korea and Japan survived solely on economies designed around the bases because of the money they brought with them. Both now are world leaders economically.

Even today the US is building up military installations in Djibouti to protect the Suez canal shipping channel from pirates. This appears thus far as it will be a huge boom to the Djibouti, Ethiopian, and Eritrean economies. These countries could be the first major emergence of an industrial economy in Africa since the flight of European colonies.

MikeyA

MikeyA

Don't kid yourself, guys, Ramstein is an American base. It's got the largest Americans community outside the States. NATO= USA. You can talk about NATO this and NATO that, but let's be honest here. And the so-called UN bases in Korea? American! Let's not BS each other.

Mikey, you say that the Baltic countries want to join NATO because they want their economies jumpstarted. Maybe they do, but is that a reason for us to spend billions of dollars to shore up their economies and put ourselves into a financial hole? Not to mention the provocation of pushing ourselves right up to borders of the Russia itself. If they did that to us, I do believe we would consider that a provocation.

Mikey, we ARE the new overseers of the colonies. We've got bases and footholds all over the world... courtesy of the American taxpayer, who will soon be paying $4 for a gallon of gas for the privilege of our projection of power and to enrich the pockets of the plutocrats.

The article you posted was about conditions more than 20 years ago. My daughter in law is from El Salvador. We've sent missionaries down there for years now.

While I do not know what the remote, remote conditions are like, the death squads seem to be a thing of the past. And we can travel through there. My son, his wife and their sons are traveling there for an extended visit and my folks are also traveling there.

I can't say whether it was US policy, Salvadoran policy or just time that brought change but it's a different place than portrayed in the historic account that you posted, in El Salvador, today.

If you're here to tell me it's my fault - you're right. I meant to do it. It was alot of fun. That's why I have this happy smile on my face.

The US military was involved in El Salvador but only in a training capacity. Our Green Berets trained the pro-US military and taught them not only tactics but the benefits of restraint in order to win over a population.

It was essentially the same thing JFK did in Vietnam. The difference is we escalated our military force in Vietnam beyond that of military advisor to defender and aggressor. Vietnam no only spiraled into chaos after we left but took Laos and Cambodia with it, even Thailand was affected. El Salvador remained stabil when nearby countries were still dealing with internal strife.

The El Salvador model is essentially what we are practicing in Colombia. Despite the resistance of the FARC the Colombian government is the oldest practicing democracy in South America.

MikeyA

MikeyA

Our Green Berets trained the pro-US military and taught them not only tactics but the benefits of restraint in order to win over a population.

Under the watch of the U.S. military and no doubt the CIA from 1981-87' or so, the government of El Salvador commited some of the worst human rights abuses in history.

Good point, McCaskey. The "death squads" will forever be associated with our involvement.
http://www.zmag.org/chomsky/sam/sam-2-02.html
http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/US_ThirdWorld/deathsquads_ElSal.html

There is compelling evidence to show that for over 30 years, members of the U.S. military and the CIA have helped organize, train, and fund death squad activity in El Salvador.

This only proves my point. Without the US involvement these type of actions would be acceptable and still going on today. The US advisors teach that this activity is unacceptable. Just because it happens while the US is there doesn't mean it condones or accepts the behavior.

Again we cannot change cultures but we can help improve parts of it for the better with time and training.

MikeyA

MikeyA

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvadoran_Civil_War

Whether they were directly involved in the training of these right-wing terror death squads, or merely looked the other way with a wink and a nod, American policy, and by extension the U.S. military, had a hand in the mass killings from 1980 through late 1980's in El Salvador. American interests took precedence over the lives of thousands of innocent civilians, that included teachers, farmers and clergymen.

This happened, so let's drop the positive spin on what 'official' U.S. miliary policy might have been then or is now.

Pete,

No where does the US military teach anyone to ignore rules of engagement nor killing of unarmed citizens or enemies.

To suggest otherwise shows a warped view of the military which I think I've shown you to have in the past.

MikeyA

MikeyA

Mikey, I take offense at your saying that I have shown a warped view of our military forces. I have the highest regard for our constitution and our institutions. However, our military has been misused in recent times of our history for bad ends.

I believe that, as an institution, the military has the highest sense of honor and tradition. That does not mean that the civilian chain of command, individual military members or certain command structures of the military have not broken laws and should not be held accountable.

No one has said or suggested that the US military teaches anyone to ignore rule of engagement or kill unarmed citizens. But rules have been ignored and unarmed citizens have been killed. You can't ignore that fact. That doesn't mean that it is national policy or that the military hierarchy actively condones that. When it does happen, as happened in San Salvatore and other places, it is our duty as citizens to bring these things to light. And for you to deny that the death squads ever existed or that we do not bear a responsibility is naive or dishonest. We trained them and our government condoned their activities, at least tacitly.

"It is important to point out that the use of death squads has been a strategy of U.S. counterinsurgency doctrine. For example, the CIA's "Phoenix Program" was responsible for the "neutralization" of over 40,000 Vietnamese suspected of working with the National Liberation Front. Part of the U.S. counterinsurgency program was run from the Office of Public Safety (OPS). OPS was part of U.S. AID, and worked with the Defense Department and the CIA to modernize and centralize the repressive capabilities of client state police forces, including those in El Salvador. In 1974 Congress ordered the discontinuation of OPS."
http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/US_ThirdWorld/deathsquads_ElSal.html

I understand your desire to uphold your service branch and the military. But you surely understand that the political winds shift with each new administration and the military, under our form of government, bends with the wind. Military personnel are taught to follow orders. If those orders include doing something that was unlawful ten years ago but decreed alright today, I guess that as a good marine the soldier would just follow orders. In my view, that is what has happened over the past thirty years or so. What you don't realize is that the honor and traditions of your own group are being destroyed. You are pointing an accusatory finger at the ones who are telling you that the values of the military are being perverted, instead of looking at the one who are destroying the military.

Just recently, the Commander-In-Chief vetoed a bill that would have outlawed torture. What signal does that send to the CIA and armed forces?

"I have the highest regard for our constitution and our institutions."

Oh really? You marginalized the Marine's training as that of kids "playing war" I believe is how you put it. Is that how we respect our institutions?

When I told you of people I talked to who were first hand involved with operations you denounced them as merely war stories and not worth of consideration. And you berated my studies on unconventional war as me just doing some light reading.

Well in one of those books, one I referenced earlier this week, one of those war story telling friends of mine turned out was a source. I didn't know until the very end. If you'd like to meet him I can arrange it, he works in Ypsilanti. This was a book that the Washington Post highly advised to read for people to understand the challenges of today's military in the GWOT. You'd consider the Post a credible source of information wouldn't you?

"Military personnel are taught to follow orders. If those orders include doing something that was unlawful ten years ago but decreed alright today,"

We do follow orders, but we are trained to not forget our conscience. Many cite the My Lai massacre as a reason to doubt our military yet they neglect to note that it was an Army Chief Warrant Officer who put a stop to it even shielding civilians by putting himself and his equipment in the line of fire. I have never seen that on a protest sign.

"the Commander-In-Chief vetoed a bill that would have outlawed torture. What signal does that send to the CIA and armed forces?"

That he trusts our judgement. And if it were between being held captive by our military or a civilian force in any other country in the world I'll take our military 100% of the time.

MikeyA

MikeyA

You're still kicking this one around? Grow a thicker skin, my friend. That is what we called them when I was in the service many years ago and I participated in some of those games. I wasn't marginalizing anything.

Your stories are still war stories, albeit interesting. They are not the stuff of history, except anecdotal history, and by themselves prove nothing. I've got some war stories myself, but I'm not going to claim they are the stuff of history.

We don't need laws that allow torture, regardless of your or anybody else's good judgement.

You haven't really answered the points that were made earlier.

Aside from the discussion at hand here, it's important to spotlight the My Lai massacre and help inform and educate any and all not familiar with one of the true dark spots in American history;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Lai_massacre

There were indeed several extremely brave military personnel who helped shine a light on this atrocity. Unfortunately, as detailed in the 'Coverups and Investigations' and "Courts Martial' sections, this bravery did not extend to higher levels of both our military and government establishments, nor to those involved in the judicial process.

Finally, in regards to the intervention of the helicopter crew during the massacre, there's this sentence that probably casts the entire saga in the proper light and context:

30 years later the crew was decorated for their actions at My Lai with Soldier's Medals, the U.S. non-combat heroism awards.

This is very true. The actions of CWO Thompson and his crew are now taught inside our military establishment as "What to do when everyone else is wrong".

Like everyone the military makes mistakes. What we cannot afford is for them to not try and learn from them.

MikeyA

MikeyA

Yes, I realize that and it was intended to give some perspective.

I'd like to praise the posters on this particular thread. So far, personal opinions and criticism have been expressed in a non-offensive way. Language has been used to break down opinions and NOT the persons behind them. *Let us ALL keep up the good work!

*Having said all that, please don't 'cut up'!!

:--)

Until the lion writes his own story, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter (African proverb)

I haven't seen you in a long time!.

If you're here to tell me it's my fault - you're right. I meant to do it. It was alot of fun. That's why I have this happy smile on my face.

*waves*

Working 3 jobs right now, so I'm more of an "observer" nowadays on SwampBubbles...

Until the lion writes his own story, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter (African proverb)

It does seem quite a bit more civil, doesn't it?

If you're here to tell me it's my fault - you're right. I meant to do it. It was alot of fun. That's why I have this happy smile on my face.

Pete I'd agree that both the NATO and UN are highly dependent upon the US.

I'd also agree that the bases in question are primarily run by American troops as well.

But that doesn't mean the US doesn't owe those institutions and the world an obligation. I believe it does. The US is one of the few remaining world powers. I say that alone gives it an obligation to the struggling countries, something we have failed too often in the past. It is the same philosophy that creates my feelings on global trade. We can be both good US citizens and good world citizens.

By trying to pull out of these areas and bases we are not being true to those very values which made America while reinforcing the bad stereotypes of Americans. I don't want the US to be a corporation keeping the wealth only for itself and its citizens while letting the rest of the world fend for itself. It's not healthy and it is counter to our national security.

And while we do have footholds all over the world, with the exception of Guantanamo Bay Naval Base they are all at the invitiation of the host country. Guantanamo being originally of invitation and the contract being in limbo since it states no changes can be made unless agreed upon by the US and Cuba.

I don't believe just because we have a base somewhere that that constitutes a colony. A colony is much much more than that and comparing it to such is oversimplification. For the record America has only tried colonization once in it's history (the Philippines) and it was a complete and utter failure yet gave us the groundwork to fight unconventional wars.

MikeyA

MikeyA

If we don’t stop extending our troops all around the world in nation-building missions, we’re going to have a serious problem coming down the road.
– George W. Bush

My how times have changed! The above quote was made,of course, before he became the "decider". I don't want to seem uncharitable about the quality of your arguments for our being everywhere in the world, but they aren't very convincing.

On Tuesday, March 11, the US House of Representatives voted for the version of the Intelligence Authorization Act of 2008 that banned waterboarding and other forms of torture. The measure, previously passed by Congress, was vetoed by President Bush. This vote was an attempt to override the veto. It passed 225-188, but failed to get the 2/3 requirement to override the veto.

Only five Republicans voted to support the torture ban over the veto. Here is the speech Rep. Ron Paul gave before the vote:

"I rise in somewhat reluctant support of this vote to override the President's veto of H.R. 2062, the Intelligence Authorization Act of 2008. Although I voted against this authorization when it first came to the floor, the main issue has now become whether we as a Congress are to condone torture as official U.S. policy or whether we will speak out against it. This bill was vetoed by the President because of a measure added extending the prohibition of the use of any interrogation treatment or technique not authorized by the United States Army Field Manual on Human Intelligence Collector Operations to the U.S. intelligence community. Opposing this prohibition is tantamount to endorsing the use of torture against those in United States Government custody.

"We have all read the disturbing reports of individuals apprehended and taken to secret prisons maintained by the United States Government across the globe, tortured for months or even years, and later released without charge. Khaled al-Masri, for example, a German citizen, has recounted the story of his incarceration and torture by U.S. intelligence in a secret facility in Afghanistan. His horror was said to be simply a case of mistaken identity. We do not know how many more similar cases there may be, but clearly it is not in the interest of the United States to act in a manner so contrary to the values upon which we pride ourselves.

"My vote to override the President's veto is a vote to send a clear message that I do not think the United States should be in the business of torture. It is anti-American, immoral and counterproductive."
-Ron Paul

So let me get this straight. The Washington Post and San Francisco chronicle don't report fact? They both endorsed the book as compelling and a must read to the current global situation. The book is a real time account of the actions through out the GWOT in late '03 and early '04.

Back to your original points where you contradict yourself in separate posts.

Post #1: "There is compelling evidence to show that for over 30 years, members of the U.S. military and the CIA have helped organize, train, and fund death squad activity in El Salvador."

Post #2: "No one has said or suggested that the US military teaches anyone to ignore rule of engagement or kill unarmed citizens."

Ah to answer post #2 Pete, yes someone did suggest it, you see post #.

Now to answer this "And for you to deny that the death squads ever existed or that we do not bear a responsibility is naive or dishonest." First I never denied their existence. I will emphatically state they existed. As for our responsibility. We did not train for the purposes they were used for. We trained Lee Harvey Oswald to shoot it doesn't mean we trained him to shoot the president. So as for it being dishonest or naive I COMPLETELY DISAGREE. Just because people make bad judgements doesn't mean we have responsibility in their actions. In fact in a previous post I stated that "Without the US involvement these type of actions would be acceptable and still going on today."

So my contention isn't that the US caused or allowed these to take place but is the reason they no longer exist.

MikeyA

MikeyA

I tried to charitably give you that it was never our official military policy to do those things. But you keep wanting to evade ALL responsibility. I don't think you can do that. If our policies and actions result in destabilization of a country and cause the deaths of innocent people, then we do bear some responsibility. It's cause and effect. You can't create an action and disavow any responsibility for the effect, even if the effect is not what you thought it was going to be. Maybe, we weren't smart enough to foresee the effect and, maybe, the effect is diametrically opposed to what we wanted. Nevertheless, we are responsible to some degree for what happened. You can't fire a howitzer round blindly into the countryside and then say you aren't responsible for the deaths of people it hit because you weren't aiming at them.Take some philosophy courses in ethics and personal responsibility, if you don't agree with what I have just said.

As for that US training camp in Georgia or Alabama that we ran for South American special forces units back in the '70s and '80s, I think it is pretty well established that the guys who graduated and returned to their respective countries were responsible for some of the most brutal acts against their own people, including disappearings, murders, assassinations, torture, and a lot of other crap. This went on for years and the school continued to churn out graduates. Don't tell me we didn't know what was going on and that we may not have even encouraged some acts. A lot of stuff goes on in war, as our recent waterboarding, Guantanamo, Abu Graib, and other incidents show.

You can't wash your hands like Pilate and claim no responsiblity for what happened. Some Germans tried that and we hanged them.

"I tried to charitably give you that it was never our official military policy to do those things" - Only after you blamed us for them as I pointed out with your quotes.

"But you keep wanting to evade ALL responsibility." - Yep, we didn't do it. We didn't order it. We condemned it. Our training is designed to help stop it. Why is this not happening today when it was commonplace? Because of "US military training.

"Nevertheless, we are responsible to some degree for what happened. You can't fire a howitzer round blindly into the countryside and then say you aren't responsible for the deaths of people it hit because you weren't aiming at them." - Your example is off. The assumption is we ultimately pulled the trigger. We didn't.

As for that US training camp in Georgia or Alabama that we ran for South American special forces units back in the '70s and '80s, I think it is pretty well established that the guys who graduated and returned to their respective countries were responsible for some of the most brutal acts against their own people, including disappearings, murders, assassinations, torture, and a lot of other crap. This went on for years and the school continued to churn out graduates." - Actually the training you're talking about is still around. It has never ended. It is instrumental in not only teaching tactics but rules of engagement. Ted Kaczyinski went to Michigan where he learned to hate technology and make bombs. This doesn't make Michigan responsible to the Unabomber's victims.

MikeyA

MikeyA

Mikey, you have told me twice now that I have contradicted myself with the quote, (There is compelling evidence to show that for over 30 years, members of the U.S. military and the CIA have helped organize, train, and fund death squad activity in El Salvador),.and then by my saying, "it was never our official military policy to do those things". My fault! First, if you had read the reference I put with my comment, you would have seen that it was a quote from that reference. I forgot to put "..." around the quote that would have indicated I was taking it from the source. If you had read the source I cited, you would have seen that I quoted it verbatim. So put this contradiction thing to rest, Mikey. You're trying too hard. I will say, however, that as much as I would like to believe that it is not official government policy to assassinate and torture people, that is getting to be a harder belief to sustain anymore.

Your second point about denying any responsibility is, I have to say, almost disgusting to me. Higher-ups in our government and in the military knew what was going on in those countries and continued to support their governments and their activities. Some form of complicity was involved between them and us. I'll repeat what I said: one has to be either naive or dishonest not to see some responsibility on our part. Do you think for a moment we didn't know what was going on in San Salvador? Yet we continued to train their goons and hit men, who went back home and slaughtered innocent people.

You say, "The assumption is we ultimately pulled the trigger. We didn't." There are two type of causes, proximate and ultimate. Look them up. No, we didn't pull the trigger, but we set up the circumstances that allowed that to happen.

Regarding your last point about Ted Kaczyinski and the U of Michigan, the mathematics and physics departments there don't teach bomb making. Our military schools DO teach people how to kill other people. There is a big difference.

Pete I use it in context to other anti-military statements you've made. Hence my belief that you are anti-military.

As for the second paragraph. Sometimes we have to work with bad people to get a better result than we had prior. Sometimes we must decide between the lesser of two evils. If we looked at the world as black and white then we'd make no decision it's true we wouldn't hurt anyone but we also wouldn't help anyone. We must always try to make the world a better place even if it means sometimes the people we use to get good things done do bad things when we don't want them to.

I understand proximate and ultimate. The military is a utilitarian ethics organization. This may be contrary to what many Americans want but it's necessary for the survival of our country.

"the mathematics and physics departments there don't teach bomb making. Our military schools DO teach people how to kill other people. There is a big difference." - No there is not. Teaching someone something for one purpose and them using it for another does not mean the teacher is responsible. I learned more ways to kill more people in my classes at the College of Engineering on UT's campus before the military than I ever did in the military. In fact the military has taught me more how to restrain myself than anyone else. Of the three colleges I attended none of them taught me that.

MikeyA

MikeyA

I'm not anti-military, Mikey, I am vehemently pro-freedom and pro-liberty and pro-American. That means that I strongly support the ideals and documents that make up this country. That means supporting the Bill of RIghts, equal justice under the law for common people, presidents, judges, and the military, in fact, everyone. That means opposing positions that are antithetical to American law, ideals, and the Constitution. No to waterboarding and other forms of torture, no to sticking people in gulags for years without charges and without legal representation, no to subverting constitutional processes that undermine our form of government, no to presidential signing statements and backdoor means of evading the constitution, no to preventive wars, and NO to military "training camps" set up to further our interests when it involves killing thousands of innocent people. Nobody gets a free pass in my book because of his position or military connections.

Number two: you say we have to decide between the lesser of two evils. That's simplistic! There are never only two choices. There is always the choice of not participating in an evil.

Three: you may have learned more ways to kill people from your engineering classes at UT, but I guarantee that they did not teach you that. That is something you figured out for yourself because you are disposed to look for ways of doing that. That's your job, killing people. {edit} I want to edit the last sentence to read: "That's your job, to learn how to kill people." I don't want to suggest that you have killed anyone,Mikey.

Well if you are not anti-military you certainly marginalize their efforts while assuming their motives are not honorable.

"NO to military "training camps" set up to further our interests when it involves killing thousands of innocent people" - actually they are set up to save the lives of thousands of innocent people and I think I've laid a compelling argument for that.

"There is always the choice of not participating in an evil." - again I have talked about the policy of inaction and it's pros and cons extensively in this thread. People who sought to look the other way and do nothing have never freed anyone EVER in history. And policies of inaction have ultimately led to action every time. Hence why I say we should be more involved in places like Darfur.

"you may have learned more ways to kill people from your engineering classes at UT, but I guarantee that they did not teach you that" - Ok I think you're starting to get it. The US training may give them training they use to kill civilians but that is not the intent of it. (But note: I have never defended the use of waterboarding in this or any thread. I only defended the option for the CIA to have it. In fact I think it's use should be totally phased out even in extreme cases)

Besides what we need to ask ourselves is without that training would they or could they have still killed civilians? I say not only yes but without the training on rules of engagement and benefits of restraint they would have killed more.

We're debating US involvement of death squads in El Salvador in the 80's. I say it's a true testament to US involvement that we're not talking about Salvadorian death squads today.

MikeyA

MikeyA

The closest you have come to admitting any wrong or mistake on the part of the military is to say, "I will agree with you that the Vietnam war was fought poorly from the top down." This was said in regards to a worthless war that cost millions of Vietnamese lives, sixty thousand lives of our countrymen, brought down a president, and scarred our country for years. All you can say is it was fought poorly! I suppose you think it was fought poorly because we didn't win. But, let's be clear, the Vietnam War was nearly criminal. It was begun and conducted under false colors, and it debased us as a nation and the military as an institution.

It has become pointless to continue this discussion with you. I see you as so hidebound, rigid, and gung-ho that you cannot get beyond your military manual and marine doctrine. Good luck, jarhead!

"I suppose you think it was fought poorly because we didn't win."

Actually it should have never been escalated. A battalion of Green Berets could have done more positive things than the thousands of men we sent there.

It was a war that should have been run by the platoon commanders in the villages not by Generals in Washington. WWII was the last vestige of a war that needed a nationwide strategy to dictate operations. Vietnam and Iraq are the opposite they need operations that dictate strategy.

This is what Bush means when he says "leave the decision to the commanders on the ground". But Iraq too has not been without some major misteps from the upper echelon of the commands and that is why we're only now showing progress 5 years later.

I agree let's end the discussion from this topic.

MikeyA

MikeyA

McCaskey, it is a real coincidence that you brought up My Lai on this, the fortieth anniversary of that tragic episode in our history. While Mikey is busy patting himself on the back for our "restraint", there have been some recent reevaluations of the policies that led up to My Lai. Here is one you might want to read: http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=41608
http://www.iraq-war.ru/article/159320

"The directive thus made it clear the U.S. military command's policy was to consider the civilian population in long-term Communist base areas as the enemy which could be subjected to the same treatment as Communist military personnel. The Peers report description -- which avoided quoting directly from the document -- effectively covered up the actual intention of the command's policy toward non-combatants in places like My Lai. "

Thanks for the info.

I would also like to state, in connection with that article, that a guy I worked with, who was a Huey helicopter door gunner, told me one time that they would fly over the rice paddies and fire on anything on the ground, waterbuffalo, people, it didn't matter. This is Mikey's war story stuff and it doesn't mean anything by itself. But I put two and two together and understood why he was allowed to do that. It was indeed a free-fire zone and they could shoot anything they saw. And some of them did.

Pete I will agree with you that the Vietnam war was fought poorly from the top down. This is the problem of trying to fight a unconventional war with a centralized military. The MACV strategy was what turned a hopeful situation into a situation where it was impossible to win.

Unfortunately because of the cold war we never began decentralizing our military until the late 90's and specific parts of our military is affected. The Army especially is affected since it's been the slowest to decentralize. It's why Marines, sailors, and airmen do 7-9 months in Iraq and then come home while soldiers are stuck there for upwards of 14 months.

The "stories" tell the affects of the strategy. My Lai was the result of an emphasis on body counts and a need for human intelligence while keeping the military secluded from the populace. Whereas the CAP (Combined Action Platoon) program that was only instituted for about a year gave the Marines involved deep sympathy for the populace and they tried to keep body counts down (despite more action than larger groups) and it's a reason why in the CAP villages the CAP Marines are still remembered by the inhabitants quite fondly.

MikeyA

MikeyA

Which is why, after so many events with the same results, people trained for this or that, as in the case of the Freedom Fighters in Afghanistan, why do we not learn lessons from history.
We give people knowledge and training on the presumption that they will do as they say and yet, history shows us that they do not do as they say and then we have more incidents of our either direct or indirect involvement in matters that bring us more problems down the road.

neighborhood you're oversimplifying. Afghanistan marks a very unique circumstance.

While yes the US trained many inside the Taliban they also trained the Northern Alliance (the group who took the Taliban down) in the 80's as well.

The problem in Afghanistan is these two groups became embroiled in a civil war. The US backed out of Afghanistan to allow Afghanistans a chance to settle the direction of their country.

But aside from NA and Taliban alliances there is also a tribal aspect to Afghanistan. This too adds another problem. The tribes don't necessarily swear allegiance to the NA or Taliban. Instead most times they deal with both because the roots of both go back to the fighting of British Colonization.

These three groups with sometimes aligned allegiances makes Afghanistan unique. Combine that with it's rough terrain where people can hide for decades and you get Afghanistan which is going to be a problem for years to come.

MikeyA

MikeyA

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