A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for the ‘The Forever War’ tag

They’ll Let Anybody in the Military

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The Army is in a precarious position. It has been tasked with waging a war on terror. Since terror is such a nebulous term the Army has no defined condition for declaring victory. That being the case, the war it was been tasked with fighting has continued to grind on for almost more than one and a half decades. The problem with a grinder is that you need to constantly feed it fresh meat and the Army is having a difficult time finding enough meat.

Who wants to join the Army only to be deployed to the Middle East to get maimed or killed by an improvised explosive or a child with an AK-47? Not only is the work dangerous but the pay sucks too. The Army is offering a lot of risk with little reward, a situation most investors would run away from.

So how does the Army fill its ranks without offering better pay? By lowering its standards, of course:

The Army wants to widen the pool of recruits.

Facing low recruitment levels, the U.S. Army quietly lifted its ban on allowing people with a history of mental illness, self-mutilation and drug abuse to serve in the military – despite warnings from the industry about the risks involved.

The new rules green-light recruits who have bipolar disorder, depression and issues with cutting – a process in which a person takes a knife or razor to his or her own skin – along with those who bite, hit or bruise themselves intentionally.

If you suffer from certain mental illnesses, Uncle Sam won’t let you buy gun. Likewise, if you use illegal drugs, Uncle Sam won’t let you buy a gun. But now he’ll happily hand you a gun!

I’d make a smart ass remark about the deplorable state of education in the United States making this necessary but the decision to lower military recruitment standards is a necessity of any country fighting a decade and a half old war against an undefined enemy.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 14th, 2017 at 10:30 am

The War Is Not Meant to Be Won

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One of the defining characteristics of an empire is that it is almost constantly at war. War is the great excuse for the State to expand its power. Need to increase taxes? Start a war to justify the increase. It might seem like a bad idea due to the expense of waging war but if you plunder enough from the other nation you can walk away with a tidy profit. Are you a politician who needs to line you pockets with some cash? Start a war and watch the campaign contributions and other perks roll in from the defense contractors. Do you want to expand your surveillance powers? If you start a war, you need to search for enemy spies!

As Randolph Bourne said, “For war is essentially the health of the State.” So it should come as no surprise that the United States, which is already engaged in a series of wars, is positioning itself to enter another:

Mr Dumont said calculating “even the roughest” potential casualty figures would be extremely difficult.
He also gave some detail on what the first hours of a war would involve.

“The only way to ‘locate and destroy – with complete certainty – all components of North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs’ is through a ground invasion,” he wrote in response to Congressman Lieu’s questions about a potential conflict.

The risks involved included a potential nuclear counter-attack by North Korea while US forces attempted to disable its “deeply buried, underground facilities”, he said.

A potential nuclear counter-attack might sound horrific but you have to remember that nobody involved in developing this assessment and nobody involved in issuing the war order would actually be sent to fight the war. Casualties are easy to justify when other people are the ones dying.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 9th, 2017 at 10:30 am

Increasing the Forced Labor Pool

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The Pentagon has begun pushing for a policy to require women to also register for the draft. Why would the United States even bother with continuing the draft now that it’s using mercenaries for so much of its fighting? Because mercenaries want to get paid and the Pentagon wants to have the option of free labor available to it:

Not surprisingly, the Pentagon, the report reminds us, wants the Service Program to continue indefinitely. No surprise there. But now, the Pentagon wants to expand draft registration so it can include millions of young people who had not previously been eligible.

This proposed change will be couched in a variety of irrelevant issues like “gender equality” and “women in combat.” At the heart of the matter, however, is the fact that the Pentagon wants an even larger list of potential forced laborers who can be paid below-market wages. In other words, draft registration offers — and has always offered — a list of people who can be forced to pay higher taxes in the form of mandatory “service”:

“Conscription is slavery,” Murray Rothbard wrote in 1973, and while temporary conscription is obviously much less bad — assuming one outlives the term of conscription — than many other forms of slavery, conscription is nevertheless a nearly-100-percent tax on the production of one’s mind and body. If one attempts to escape his confinement in his open-air military jail, he faces imprisonment or even execution in many cases.

When you stop paying a mercenary, they go home. When you enslave draft an individual and fail to pay them or pay them below the market rate, they can’t go home because they’ll be arrested for desertion. The other downside with mercenaries is that you can’t force them to do anything. They’re contracted for a specific type of work. Drafted individuals, on the other hand, can be forced to perform any task:

Should the American state decide that it’s necessary to finally make use of the Selective Service lists, the new draftees won’t be people sent to carry rifles on the front lines. The military doesn’t want poorly trained conscripts in combat, anyway. But this fact by no means precludes the potential usefulness of conscription to the federal government.

What the US state does want — especially in case of dropping revenues due to economic crisis — is cheap labor to build military bases, drive trucks, prepare food, load cargo, mop floors, and perform the countless non-combat tasks that are required to further expand military prerogatives both at home and abroad. Yes, the US government can pay people to do all those things now. But conscripts could be much cheaper.

The Pentagon can have its cake and eat it too. By paying mercenaries to fight its wars, the Pentagon can have access to professional soldiers. By drafting people into slavery, the Pentagon can save money by having the infrastructure required to fight the war built for less than the market going rate.

Requiring women to register for the draft would offer the Pentagon an even larger pool of potential slave laborers, which would give it the option to expand itself further than it currently could without having to invest a lot more money.

Written by Christopher Burg

October 31st, 2017 at 10:30 am

War is Good for Business

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War is good for business. At least if you’re on the waging side. It’s probably not so good for those on the invaded side. But who can bring themselves to care about them when we’re talking about numbers like this:

BOSTON, Sept. 26, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Force modernization will be one of the primary factors underpinning growth in global defense spending, driven by unprecedented developments in autonomous systems, missile, space and cyber-electronic warfare, and other technologies. Strategy Analytics: The Strategy Analytics Advanced Defense Systems (ADS) service report, “Global Defense Spending Outlook 2016-2026,” forecasts the global defense budget will grow to $2.41 trillion in 2026, with the opportunities available to industry growing at a CAGR of 3.5% to reach $771 billion.

Force modernization, if it follows in the footsteps of the F-35, will involve a great deal of money. However, there will be little to show for that money. The F-35, for example, still has problems reliably delivering oxygen to pilots even though it has cost over $1 trillion. Imagine the same thing happening with other military equipment. If we look at the raw numbers alone, it’ll be amazing economic growth!

Unfortunately, all of the resources invested in “force modernization” cannot be allocated to productive uses like new manufacturing plants, office buildings, and research and development for new consumer products.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 27th, 2017 at 10:30 am

Preventing Death with Death

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It’s no secret that certain drugs can kill you if you use too high of a dose. This problem has been made worse with drugs that the State has declared illegal because their prohibition has motivated manufacturers to increase the potency so more can be smuggled in smaller packages. Opiates have increased in potency significantly and therefore have lead to greater deaths related to overdoses. Even I know somebody who died of an opiate overdose not too long ago. However, I fail to see the logic in how killing more people is going to improve the situation:

This unfortunate reality raises a very uncomfortable question: Do we need to go to war with Mexico to ultimately win the war against opioids and other death drugs? By “go to war,” I mean a formal declaration of war by Congress against Mexico in which we use the full force of our military might to destroy the cartels, the poppy fields and all elements of the drug trade. Ideally, as our fight is not with the Mexican government, its military or its people, which try to weaken the cartels, we would try to partner with those entities against the cartels, much as we partnered with the South Vietnamese government and military against the Vietcong and the North Vietnamese Army.

It sounds crazy, I know – unless you acknowledge we are already fighting a war with Mexico.

This guy’s logic is batshit insane. Yes, people are dying from opium overdoses. But the reason they’re dying from opium overdoses is because of prohibition, not because of anything the Mexican government or people have done. Moreover, the Mexican government is fighting the drug cartels so shouldn’t it be considered an ally in this fight? At the end of the day though, the real insanity is believing that the solution to people dying from their own actions is killing a bunch more. Opium users are dying because of their own actions, they’re not being killed by other people (although the actions of the United States government have certainly increased their risks of dying), so the usual justification for war, national self-defense (which is absurd as well since a “nation” is an abstraction and therefore cannot be aggressed against), doesn’t even apply here. The author’s entire argument is stupid and he should feel bad for writing it.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 19th, 2017 at 10:30 am

The Government Never Makes a Promise It Plans to Keep

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The United States needs meat for its perpetual meat grinder. Starting another draft would seem like the obvious solution but ever since the fiasco that was the Vietnam War the plebs have been a bit touchy about being forcibly enslaved to go die in some part of the world they are only faintly aware of. Since filling its ranks using people within its borders hasn’t been working too well the United States has started looking outward. Some time ago it extended an offer to immigrants: join the military and you will be fast tracked for citizenship. However, the whims of the State change at a moment’s notice and now the government may renege on its promise:

The Pentagon is considering a plan to cancel enlistment contracts for 1,000 foreign-born recruits without legal immigration status, knowingly exposing them to deportation, a Defense Department memo shows.

The undated action memo, prepared for Defense Secretary Jim Mattis by personnel and intelligence officials at the Pentagon and obtained by The Washington Post, describes potential security threats of immigrants recruited in a program designed to award fast-tracked citizenship in exchange for urgently needed medical and language skills.

Additionally, 4,100 troops — most of whom are naturalized citizens — may face “enhanced screening,” though the Pentagon voiced concern on how to navigate “significant legal constraints” of “continuous monitoring” of citizens without cause, according to the memo.

Thank you for your service. Now get the fuck out of the country.

This about-face shouldn’t surprise anybody who has been paying attention to the actions of the United States government. It has broken almost every single promise it has made. But that’s the nature of a thief. It will tell you whatever you want to hear to get close enough to you to steal your wealth.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 29th, 2017 at 10:00 am

It’s a Cyberpocalypse

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Have you ever had a sneaking suspicion that an author of an article was given a keyword and paid based on the number of times they managed to insert that keyword into their article? I’m fairly certain that’s what precipitated this article. Doing a page search for “cyber” resulted in 29 hits.

If you can overcome the tedium of reading the word “cyber” every other sentence, you’ll find an article discussing the difficult the United States is having with fighting the Islamic State. It turns out that treating a decentralized organization like a centralized organization results in bad tactics. Who could have guessed that?

What’s even funnier though is the little tidbit the author snuck in that is supposed to justify the United State’s prohibition on carry-on electronics on flights originating from certain airports:

Even one of the rare successes against the Islamic State belongs at least in part to Israel, which was America’s partner in the attacks against Iran’s nuclear facilities. Top Israeli cyberoperators penetrated a small cell of extremist bombmakers in Syria months ago, the officials said. That was how the United States learned that the terrorist group was working to make explosives that fooled airport X-ray machines and other screening by looking exactly like batteries for laptop computers.

Those must be some fantastically shitty x-ray scanners if they can’t actually tell the difference between legitimate laptop parts and bombs.

That tidbit might justify the carry-on electronics ban if it was in any way uniform. But the ban targeted specific airports, which means any terrorist with one of these highly advanced laptop bombs could get around the prohibition by flying to another airport, perhaps one in Europe, first and then flying to the United States from there. In other words, the “solution” to this threat wouldn’t have protected anybody and was therefore implemented for other reasons or was nothing more than security theater.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 13th, 2017 at 10:30 am

No Combatant is Innocent in War

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Expanding on my previous post, here is an example of what happens when people refuse to see evil when it’s perpetrated by people they view as human.

After every terrorist attack there is usually a great deal of outrage at the fact that the attacker(s) targeted and killed civilians and rightfully so. However, when terrorist attacks against civilians are perpetrated by “their” side they’re willing to either justify the action at necessary or unavoidable or they throw the entire incident down a memory hole:

Air strikes carried out by the US and its coalition partners in Syria have killed the highest number of civilians on record since the bombing campaign began, a war monitor has said.

A total of 225 civilians, including 36 women and 44 children, were killed in the period between 23 April to 23 May, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

No combatant is innocent in war.

Middle East attackers have killed a lot of civilians in the United States and Europe and the United States and its European allies have killed a lot of civilians in the the Middle East. Unfortunately, people living in the United States and Europe have a tendency to look the other way when their militaries kill civilians. I’m sure that a lot of people in the Middle East also have a tendency to look the other way when their militaries kill civilians. Justifying or ignoring the crimes of your tribe while condemning the same crimes of another tribe is common human behavior, which is also why we can’t have nice things.

Written by Christopher Burg

May 25th, 2017 at 11:00 am

War is Hell

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I’m sure you’ve heard about the bombing in Manchester so I won’t spend time filling you in on the details. I will, however, spend some time discussing a fact that a lot of people seem to be missing.

As usual, many people are treating this incident as an act of terrorism perpetrated by an Islamic extremist. But that’s not an accurate assessment. It was an engagement in a war. While neither the United States or the countries of Europe have formally declared a war on the various factions they’re engaged with in the Middle East, when one has invaded, bombed, and occupied a territory the formalities are irrelevant.

The United States and the countries of Europe are militarily superior to the forces they’re engaging. In a toe to toe conflict the Middle Eastern factions would lose quickly, which is why they’re not waging war in the manner that has been considered acceptable, at least by the United States and Europe, since the Westphalian Supremacy. Instead they’re utilizing asymmetrical or fourth generation warfare tactics.

When you can’t go toe to toe with your opponent you alter your tactics. Asymmetrical tactics rely on attacking the enemy economically. For the price of a single pipe bomb the bomber in Manchester will likely cost the United States and Europe millions if not billions of dollars in responding. We’re already seeing those costs with the police response in Manchester. They’re expending a lot of resources at the moment trying to find a potential second attacker. Likewise, the intelligence branches of the United States and countries of Europe are expending resources trying to identify the organization responsible (although the Islamic State has claimed responsibility, it claims responsibility for everything so their claim cannot be taken at face value). Once the organization responsible is identified a lot of resources will be expended retaliating against them.

It doesn’t take a mathematician or an economists to predict the longterm result of one side spending millions or billions of dollars responding to another side’s $50 attacks. Hell, we’ve seen the results plenty of times. Maoist forces facing off against republican forces in China, Vietcong forces facing off against United States forces in Vietnam, Soviet forces facing off against Afghanistan forces, etc. Asymmetric strategies are very effective against traditional military forces.

This war will continue until one side is either entirely wiped out, one side is completely bankrupted, one side completely disengages, or one side decides to be the adult and initiate peace talks. The forces in the Middle East cannot be entirely wiped out without taking action that would be too politically costly and the history of the United States and Europe reneging on deals makes peace talks unlikely. That leaves two potential outcomes. One, the United States and Europe are bankrupted or they leave the Middle East (as the occupying forces they’re the only ones who can disengage and leave). At the moment it seems that bankruptcy of the United States and Europe is the likely outcome.

Written by Christopher Burg

May 24th, 2017 at 11:00 am

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The War is Not Meant to Be Won

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Who isn’t the United States at war with? It’s a difficult question to answer because the list of nations continues to grow. Although most of its actions have been focused on the Middle East, the United States is starting to expand further into Africa:

Six years ago, a deputy commanding general for U.S. Army Special Operations Command gave a conservative estimate of 116 missions being carried out at any one time by Navy SEALs, Army Green Berets, and other special operations forces across the globe.

Today, according to U.S. military documents obtained by VICE News, special operators are carrying out nearly 100 missions at any given time — in Africa alone. It’s the latest sign of the military’s quiet but ever-expanding presence on the continent, one that represents the most dramatic growth in the deployment of America’s elite troops to any region of the globe.

In 2006, just 1 percent of all U.S. commandos deployed overseas were in Africa. In 2010, it was 3 percent. By 2016, that number had jumped to more than 17 percent. In fact, according to data supplied by U.S. Special Operations Command, there are now more special operations personnel devoted to Africa than anywhere except the Middle East — 1,700 people spread out across 20 countries dedicated to assisting the U.S. military’s African partners in their fight against terrorism and extremism.

Contrary to what many people believe, Trump won’t be the downfall of the United States. Russia won’t be either. What will ultimate kill the United States is its obsession with policing the world.

To quote the movie 1984, “The war is not meant to be won. It is meant to be continuous. The essential act of modern warfare is the destruction of the produce of human labour. A hierarchical society is only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance.” While the United States’ purpose in war may not be to directly destroy the production of human labor, it’s an unavoidable side effect. Every building that is destroyed will have to be rebuilt. Every automobile that is destroyed will have to be replaced. War destroys the product of human labor so that it must be produced again.

And what does war return? Nothing. Some will claim that war stimulates the economy because the production of war materials and replacement of destroyed materials creates jobs. However, as Bastiat pointed out, we’re not seeing the unseen. The labor and resources that are involved in the war effort could have been used for productive things instead. Steel for tanks could have been used to build skyscrapers, automobiles, computers, or any number of wealth generating tools. Likewise, the labor could have been put towards building those skyscrapers, automobiles, computers, etc. Instead those resources are put into wealth destroying devices that must be replaced every time they are destroyed by an enemy.

So long as the United States continues to see itself as the police of the world it will continue to involve itself in more wars, which will just accelerate its demise.

Written by Christopher Burg

May 19th, 2017 at 11:00 am