A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for the ‘The Forever War’ tag

That’s a Shame

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The 34th Ferengi Rule of Acquisition states that war is good for business. However, the 35th rule states that peace is good for business. However, peace isn’t good for some businesses:

While the broad U.S. stock market reaction to the historic agreement between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to establish a new relationship committed to “peace and prosperity” was muted, shares of defense contractors took a dive.

Shares of Raytheon, which makes Patriot and Tomahawk missiles, closed 2.8% lower. Lockheed Martin, which supplies the Pentagon with air and missile defense systems as well as the F-35 Stealth fighter jet, tumbled 1.3%. And Northrop Grumman, which has increased its focus on cyber warfare and missile defense systems more recently, declined 1.5%. Boeing, which makes Apache helicopters and aerial refueling aircraft, dipped 0.1%. General Dynamics, a Navy shipbuilder, fell 1.6%.

That’s a shame.

If you own stocks in these companies, fear not! This “dive” is almost certainly temporary. The United States enjoys involving itself in wars far too much for peace to remain in the public’s eye for long.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 13th, 2018 at 10:00 am

Posted in News You Need to Know

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Brining Back the Glory of Rome

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In Ancient Rome it was customary to throw a triumph for military commanders who achieved great victories. These triumphs were massive parades where the military commander, legionaries, and spoils of war were paraded through the city. Since the United States has ripped off so much from Ancient Rome it only makes sense that it hosts periodic triumphs from time to time:

President Trump’s vision of soldiers marching and tanks rolling down the boulevards of Washington is moving closer to reality in the Pentagon and White House, where officials say they have begun to plan a grand military parade later this year showcasing the might of America’s armed forces.

Trump has long mused publicly and privately about wanting such a parade, but a Jan. 18 meeting between Trump and top generals in the Pentagon’s tank — a room reserved for top-secret discussions — marked a tipping point, according to two officials briefed on the planning.

Of course, the Romans only threw a triumph when they actually achieved military victory. The United States hasn’t won a war in decades so this kind of military parade is little more than a display of military hardware. I guess it can also reassure a commander in chief who is feeling particularly insecure because he hasn’t actually won a war.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 7th, 2018 at 10:00 am

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War Is Good for Business

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Yesterday I posted about my theory that the wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan aren’t meant to be won, they’re meant to grind of perpetually in order to enrich the military-industrial complex. Less you think I’m a complete wonk I would like to take a moment to point out that war is good for business:

As Donald Trump might put it, major weapons contractors like Boeing, Raytheon, and Lockheed Martin cashed in “bigly” in his first year in office. They raked in tens of billions of dollars in Pentagon contracts, while posting sharp stock price increases and healthy profits driven by the continuation and expansion of Washington’s post-9/11 wars. But last year’s bonanza is likely to be no more than a down payment on even better days to come for the military-industrial complex.

The nice thing about being a policy maker is that you’re in a position to make a great deal of money when your policies are enacted. If, for example, you plan to wage a perpetual war, you can invest in military contractors before you announce your policy. After you announce your policy, you can enjoy significant profits at the stock prices of those companies skyrockets. Moreover, you can buy more stock if you plan to announce a policy of increasing the war effort.

This is one of the reason political offices are magnets to corrupt individuals. It’s also one of the reasons why political reform is impossible. Do you think somebody in a position to make significant profits is going to willingly curtail their own power and thus harm their profits? Of course not.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 2nd, 2018 at 10:30 am

The War Is Not Meant to Be Won

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Vietnam taught the United States that fighting an asymmetrical war against an enemy willing to suffer horrendous losses is foolish. It’s too bad that the student didn’t pay attention to the teach:

Despite waging nearly 17 consecutive years of war and spending up to $1 trillion, the U.S.-led attempt to defeat the Taliban has left the insurgents openly active in up to 70 percent of Afghanistan, according to a BBC study published Tuesday. The report also found that a rival ultraconservative Sunni Muslim organization, the Islamic State militant group (ISIS), controlled more territory than ever, further complicating the beleaguered effort to stabilize the country.

Or did it? Even the simplest of strategists would realized that this war isn’t winnable with the strategy being used and would decide to either change up their strategy or cut their losses and pull out. The fact that the United States has suffered through this kind of war before and is still waging this one using the same strategy indicates that the higher ups want this war to continue as it has been.

In Nineteen Eighty-Four Oceania took great care to ensure the war it was engaged in was perpetual. Oceania’s government’s goal was to use the war to destroy any surplus wealth that might otherwise empower the masses against it. I believe that the government of the United States has a slightly different goal. It is taking great care to wage a perpetual war to keep the military contractors enriched. The wars aren’t about fighting any specific enemy. There is no victory condition. Its purpose is purely economic. If the United States did manage to crush the Taliban or ISIS then it would have to find another enemy to fight just as it did once Saddam Hussein was toppled.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 1st, 2018 at 11:00 am

America Had Always Been at War with the Great Powers

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America was at war with the great powers. America had always been at war with the great power.

US Defence Secretary James Mattis has said competition between great powers, not terrorism, is now the main focus of America’s national security.

Just like that the War on Terror has taken a backseat and America is locked in a conflict with the forces of communism the great powers.

This shift in enemies isn’t surprising. America has been at war with terrorism for over one and a half decades and hasn’t achieved victory. It has to be pretty embarrassing for the world’s most powerful military to be unable to declare victory against a bunch of desert peasants in tents after more than a decade and a half. So instead of continuing to declare those peasants public enemy number one, America is going to shift focus to Russia and China who at least match up militarily and therefore aren’t as embarrassing to lose to.

The important thing to remember though is that America is at war with somebody and you should therefore continue to believe that the federal government is the only thing standing between you and certain death.

Written by Christopher Burg

January 24th, 2018 at 11:00 am

Political Euphemism are My Favorite

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Politicians come up with a lot of euphemisms to make their decisions appear friendlier than they are. For example, when you break a law you’re not kidnapped, you’re “arrested.” When you buy a home you’re not required to pay rent, you’re required to pay “property taxes.” Furthermore, when the government steals from you it’s not theft, it’s “taxation.” But politicians are at their absolute best when they’re creating euphemisms related to war.

The United States of America hasn’t been in many declared wars since World War II. It has been engaged in many “policing actions” though. Likewise, the United States isn’t planning to occupy Syria, it’s planning to have an “open-ended military presence.”

The US will maintain an open-ended military presence in Syria to ensure the enduring defeat of the jihadist group Islamic State, counter Iranian influence, and help end the civil war.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said President Donald Trump did not want to “make the same mistakes” that were made in 2011, when US forces left Iraq.

The US has about 2,000 troops in Syria.

See? The United States isn’t making the same mistake it made in Vietnam, Iraq, or Afghanistan because it’s not occupying Syria. It’s merely keeping 2,000 soldiers in the country as an open-ended military presence! Think of it as the United States giving Syria a warm, friendly hug!

War is Peace! Freedom is Slavery! Ignorance is Strength!

Written by Christopher Burg

January 23rd, 2018 at 11:00 am

A Reasonable Response by Reasonable People

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Nuclear weapons provide humanity the capability to wipe out an entire city with a single missile. However, with the exception of the end of World War II, they haven’t been used in warfare. Each country that has developed nuclear weapons has performed a lot of test detonations to show the world how big their dick is but nobody has dared use them because they’re not seen as a reasonable response to anything other than weapons of mass destruction.

The Pentagon wants to change that attitude. Instead of treating nuclear weapons as an unreasonable response to anything other than weapons of mass destruction, it wants to treat nuclear weapons as a reasonable response to a list of other things including malicious hackers:

WASHINGTON — A newly drafted United States nuclear strategy that has been sent to President Trump for approval would permit the use of nuclear weapons to respond to a wide range of devastating but non-nuclear attacks on American infrastructure, including what current and former government officials described as the most crippling kind of cyberattacks.

For decades, American presidents have threatened “first use” of nuclear weapons against enemies in only very narrow and limited circumstances, such as in response to the use of biological weapons against the United States. But the new document is the first to expand that to include attempts to destroy wide-reaching infrastructure, like a country’s power grid or communications, that would be most vulnerable to cyberweapons.

The paradox of nuclear weapons is that they offer a terrible power but are only useful as a deterrent. If you have nuclear weapons and your enemy has nuclear weapons, peace can exist because you both have the power to wipe the other side out. Neither side will launch because it will result in their demise as well. But what happens when a nuclear armed country acts in an unreasonable manner? What happens when one decides to nuke a nonnuclear power? In all likelihood that nuclear power would be seen by other nuclear powers as unreasonable, unstable, and an imminent threat. Their fear could lead them to bring aggression, possibly nuclear aggression, against the unreasonable nation.

As WOPR in the movie War Games concluded, when nuclear weapons are involved the only winning move is not to play.

Written by Christopher Burg

January 19th, 2018 at 11:00 am

Nobody Cares What the Plebs Think

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A recent poll discovered that a strong majority of Americans oppose the endless state of war that the United States is engaged in:

The headline findings show, among other things, that 86.4 percent of those surveyed feel the American military should be used only as a last resort, while 57 percent feel that US military aid to foreign countries is counterproductive. The latter sentiment “increases significantly” when involving countries like Saudi Arabia, with 63.9 percent saying military aid—including money and weapons—should not be provided to such countries.

The poll shows strong, indeed overwhelming, support, for Congress to reassert itself in the oversight of US military interventions, with 70.8 percent of those polled saying Congress should pass legislation that would restrain military action overseas in three specific ways:

by requiring “clearly defined goals to authorize military engagement” (78.8 percent);

by requiring Congress “to have both oversight and accountability regarding where troops are stationed” (77 percent);

by requiring that “any donation of funds or equipment to a foreign country be matched by a pledge of that country to adhere to the rules of the Geneva Convention” (84.8 percent).

If the plebs had any power to influence politics, the players in the war economy might have cause for concern. Fortunately for them, the plebs have no actual influence over politics. At most they can decide which preselected candidate should occupy an office. The preselected candidates are chosen by the Republican and Democrat parties, which are both major players in the war economy though. So when the plebs go to the poles the option to not engage the government in further wars isn’t on the ballot.

Although this poll shows a promising change in attitude it’s also meaningless because it, like voting, won’t change anything. The only silver lining to this cloud is that the more wars the United States engages itself in the more thinly spread it will become and the sooner it will have to make a decision between pulling back its forces or collapsing entirely. Once that point is reached the wars will end one way or another.

Written by Christopher Burg

January 16th, 2018 at 11:00 am

War is Good for Business

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Working in the military-industrial complex must be nice. While companies in other industries are forced to market their own goods and services, companies in the military-industrial complex enjoy subsidized marketing from the United States government:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Trump administration is nearing completion of a new “Buy American” plan that calls for U.S. military attaches and diplomats to help drum up billions of dollars more in business overseas for the U.S. weapons industry, going beyond the limited assistance they currently provide, officials said.

President Donald Trump is expected to announce a “whole of government” approach that will also ease export rules on U.S. military exports and give greater weight to the economic benefits for American manufacturers in a decision-making process that has long focused heavily on human rights considerations, according to people familiar with the plan.

Not only will military attaches and diplomats provide free marketing but since the weapons sold by the United States have a tendency to fall into the hands of its and its allies’ enemies this proposal could create a continuous cycle of sales. First the United States sell weapons to one of its allies then those weapons fall into the hands of its allies’ enemies then the allies need to buy more weapons to fight off their enemies.

Written by Christopher Burg

January 10th, 2018 at 10:30 am

The United States Armed ISIS

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Anybody familiar with the United States’ foreign policy won’t be surprised to learn that the country has been simultaneously fighting and arming Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS):

WASHINGTON — Sophisticated weapons the U.S. military secretly provided to Syrian rebels quickly fell into the hands of the Islamic State, a study released Thursday disclosed.

[…]

The arms included anti-tank weapons purchased by the United States that ended up in possession of the Islamic State within two months of leaving the factory, according to the study by Conflict Armament Research, an organization that tracks arms shipments. The study was funded by the European Union and German government.

Efforts by the United States and other countries to supply weapons to rebel groups “have significantly augmented the quantity and quality of weapons available to (Islamic State) forces,” the report concluded.

[…]

Investigators were unable to determine whether ISIS captured the weapons on the battlefield or whether the rebels sold or gave the arms to the terror group.

This is par for the course. The United States’ foreign policy can be summed up as picking sides in wars where all sides are assholes. Vietnam was probably the most famous illustration of this. If you read about the Vietnam War, you quickly realize that South Vietnam, the United States’ ally, wasn’t a beacon of freedom and democracy fighting against the evils of communism. The South Vietnamese government was absolutely atrocious. But that’s not to say that the North Vietnamese government was better. Both sides were committing atrocities at an impressive rate.

It seems like the only criteria the United States uses to determine it allies is whether or not they’re enemies of their enemies. The Syrian rebels may not have been angels but they were enemies of ISIS and that was a good enough reason for the United States to arm them. And either because they lost some battles or because they wanted to make some cash the weapons provided to them ended up in the hands of ISIS.

Libertarians tend to oppose the United States’ foreign policy because it’s interventionist. But it’s actually worse. Not only is the United States interventionist but it’s also incompetent at intervening. For example, instead of using its own forces to intervene it often chooses proxies, which are chosen for the simple fact that they’re an enemy of an enemy. When a proxy is chosen it’s given weapons. Oftentimes members of the chosen proxy defect and take weapons with them. Other times the proxy changes its alliance entirely and joins its former opponent. Sometimes the chosen proxy is wiped out and the arms it was given are taken by the victor as spoils of war. Regardless of the reason the weapons end up in the hands of the United States’ chosen enemy, its soldiers and allies get to face those weapons.

Written by Christopher Burg

December 15th, 2017 at 10:30 am