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Obama Cancels Withdrawal, Peace No, Petraeus

by fairleft Fri Jun 25th, 2010 at 03:36:45 PM EST

The U.S. being the U.S., it would be smart not to look with 'peacenik' optimism on Afghanistan disarray and Obama's stubborn pursuit of a failed and fraudulent strategy there, but probably more realistic to consider the possibility of a David Petraeus 2012 presidential run (though admittedly the juvenile thug Stanley McChrystal fits the Republican rogue vibe better). Yeah, that's more like it: having a general run the U.S. increasingly fits the militarized mood here, or at least what we are provided as the mood by the corporate media. (Media side note of dismay: even the once alternative Nation magazine is now dishing 'next war' anti-Iran propaganda.)

American imperialism (like Israel's, actually, but that's another diary (that I would be advised on eurotrib to confine to a comment)) will be deterred by effective guerrilla resistance, budget constraints, and/or by politicians among its major 'allies' forced to act against U.S. demands/commands by strong and voting antiwar movements. The latter doesn't appear to be happening now, not in Britain or Germany, the numbers 2 and 3 in contributions to the U.S. (okay, NATO fig leaf) occupation army in Afghanistan. But, somehow, despite the CIA's efforts, I think prospects for effective war opposition (especially during economic hard times) is better there than it is in the States.

Yeah, and sorry, European anti-warniks, . . .


the prospect for effective internal opposition here in the U.S. is virtually nil with Obama in the White House and military-industrial-complex Democrats in control of the party. One of several excellent letters (consistently better than the articles) attached to a Salon article accurately sums up the Stateside antiwar gloominess:

Obama is too arrogant and stubborn to admit that he has made a mistake and he lacks the courage to pull the troops out of Afghanistan. Unfortunately, this country's mindset about wars will make it impossible for us to reevaluate it and pull out of it. The only reason we left Vietnam is bcz we had a draft and the people here with money got tired of seeing their kids killed and maimed. The Military Industrial Complex quickly learned that volunteers not drafts guaranteed them long wars. . . . -- robbep

The volunteer army, frankly, means there's virtually no U.S. college campus-based antiwar movement. In fact, the U.S. Y and Z generations -- if they have any politics at all -- are either still Obama-starry-eyed or right-wing-radio-raised "I got mine" wingers. That doesn't mean college students favor the war (56% of Americans opposed it the last time (May 21-23) they were asked by the mainstream media). Just that they're not opposed to it enough; they're disconnected, because the lives of very few people they know are on the line there.

On Petraeus, Beowulf's comment at firedoglake's The Seminal is realism about U.S. politics:

. . . Petraues will come out of this a hero, win lose or draw.

What's the worst case scenario? The Taliban will never be strong enough to eject us by force of arms. The only way we "lose" is if the President orders our forces to withdraw and we then watch on TV as the Taliban quickly take over Afghanistan. The President will take the all the heat for that. Since General Petraeus was just following orders, he will be viewed as blameless. [Or, he will have resigned in protest (to a Republican standing ovation) over a U.S. 'cut and run' in Afghanistan. -- fairleft]

If Petraeus can just keep the lid on the pot so that things seem "a little better" next year, Obama will get no credit, but Petraeus will be credited as the ace relief pitcher who saved the game.

That second part I'm more shaky on: keeping the lid on Afghanistan likely shifts the 2012 focus to economy, where Obama ain't doing so well either; but, we'll see.

On Obama effectively canceling the July 2011 withdrawal deadline, we have this yesterday from the President:

"We didn't say we'd be switching off the lights and closing the door behind us."

LOL, you zinged us! All us 'withdrawal hopeful' commoners were so stupid cuz we thought that! But seriously, here's his withdrawal deadline killer, same source:

Obama said July 2011 should be seen more as a date for a transfer of responsibility to Afghan forces. He also said he will be relying heavily on Petraeus' advice when the pullout date and war strategy come up for another major administration review in December.

Okay, so Obama has canceled the "begin the transfer of our forces out of Afghanistan in July of 2011" promise he made in December, 2009, and now has left that up to General Petraeus. But, hey, there will be a 'transfer of authority' ceremony that no one will believe is real! So that's now what July 2011 means: nothing.

Last but not least (and thanks, msmolly): A corrective in photographs from the 1950s to the widespread notion that Afghanistan is and always has been a medieval backwater. What the Soviets, the West and their progeny have done to that poor country.

- - -
I'm sure we haven't seen the last of you, Stanley, but good bye for now.
Photobucket

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The Military Industrial Complex quickly learned that volunteers not drafts guaranteed them long wars. . . . -- robbep

That's why we need the draft to be reinstated.

Socialize the pain and eliminate the private gain.  The road to war should be fraught with healthy doses of deliberation.

 It's been a long time since the US had a military leader with the stature necessary for a successful run for the presidency,so I don't see any of the current generals doing well.  I thought about mentioning necessary wisdom, but that's no longer required.

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears

by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Fri Jun 25th, 2010 at 04:15:40 PM EST
Somehow a draft hasn't held Germany back from becoming increasingly militaristic/imperialistic.

fairleft
by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Fri Jun 25th, 2010 at 05:05:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Huh?

Hasn't or didn't?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Jun 25th, 2010 at 05:54:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
we were just talking about?

fairleft
by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Fri Jun 25th, 2010 at 10:31:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If I knew what you were on about, I wouldn't have asked the question.

So are you saying Germany is currently "militaristic/imperialistic"?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Jun 26th, 2010 at 01:37:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
since the 1990s (and since the late 1990s with its military) is common knowledge (whether it is imperialist is a matter of opinion), so I had difficulty believing my straightforward reference could be 100% ("Huh?") misunderstood.

Somehow a draft hasn't held Germany back from becoming increasingly militaristic/imperialistic.

Most observers could probably agree that both the Third Reich and the second German Republic were special in their attitudes toward war compared to other countries and societies during the same era. Whatever 'normal' may have meant in terms of defining Western attitudes during both periods, Germany was diverging from this norm more than most. Since the late 1980s, however, this discrepancy in attitudes toward war and the actual practice of war between Germany and similar Western countries has been shrinking, with the pace of convergence accelerating since the mid-1990s. While Germans were still almost totally absent from the scene of military action during the Gulf War of 1990/91, they found themselves center stage only nine years later in NATO's war in Kosovo.

http://web.uni-frankfurt.de/fb3/hellmann/mat/rb-gh-german-politics.pdf

constitutional factors - Germany's army, the Bundeswehr, founded in 1955, was not allowed to intervene beyond Nato's borders - and practical ones prevented Germany from taking part in the first Gulf war, when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990-01. Germany supported the war with significant financial contributions: "chequebook politics". Then, in 1994, the constitutional federal court authorised German military intervention outside the Nato zone and Kohl undertook the necessary reform of the Bundeswehr to facilitate its deployment.

In opposition, the SPD and the Greens had criticised the militarisation of German foreign policy. But only a few months after they came to power, the Bundeswehr took part in the Nato aerial bombardment of Serbia (March-June 1999) which, according to the official line, was intended to prevent genocide in Kosovo. The foreign minister Joschka Fischer (Greens) justified this intervention with a reference to Auschwitz, which "must never happen again". The same government supported the concept of the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) and sent German soldiers to the Balkans, Afghanistan and Africa.

http://mondediplo.com/2010/06/11germany

An imperialist politician was forced to resign May 31 [2010], not for a scandal, not even for getting caught lying to the public. This time German President Horst Köhler, a Christian Democrat (CDU), was forced to resign for giving everyone a moment of truth about Germany's role in the war in Afghanistan.

Speaking on Deutschlandradio on May 22 while visiting troops in Afghanistan, Köhler let it slip out: "But my estimation is that, on the whole, we are on the way to understanding, even broadly in society, that a country of our size, with this orientation toward foreign trade and therefore also dependence on foreign trade, has to be aware that when in doubt in case of an emergency, military deployment is also necessary to protect our interests." (The Local, May 27)

Köhler must have forgotten he wasn't speaking just to his CDU cronies. His lapse into truth stirred up a storm among the Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens back in Germany. They had been justifying German intervention in Afghanistan as necessary to defend Germany from "Islamic terrorism" as well as for the rights of Afghan girls and women to go to school.

Since the German participation in the attack on Yugoslavia in 1999, these parties have led Germany into wars carried out for alleged human rights. Köhler's remarks exposed their hypocrisy.

http://www.workers.org/2010/world/afghanistan_0610/

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Sat Jun 26th, 2010 at 02:35:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In fact, the BND has been financing, arming, organizing and training KLA rebels since the 1980s
by Lynch on Mon Jun 28th, 2010 at 01:45:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But as far as I know no draftees are sent to war.
by generic on Tue Jun 29th, 2010 at 08:46:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Institute a fair draft that includes the young men and women whose parents run Wall Street and see how quickly the US rushes them off to die in a useless war.  

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears
by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Fri Jun 25th, 2010 at 10:41:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, including only the children of those in the wealthiest 10% income bracket works for me. We don't need that many soldiers, but that group would be the perfect brake on unnecessary killing.

Unfortunately, because of past misunderstandings on other remarks, I need to state here that the above remark is made half or even two-thirds in jest.

Real-world-wise, what we need to do is democratize our democracy (all of our democracies, actually), which means taking it out of the hands of the highest money bidders. The military-industrial complex contributdes enormous sums to politicians in the U.S. and other 'democracies', and it is its partial (but decisive in areas that matter to it) control of the political system that drives imperialism and needless war, much more than a volunteer army. IMHO.

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Fri Jun 25th, 2010 at 11:21:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Re: Your last paragraph. Well, yes I agree in principle, but it's really a combination of things that drive needless wars, not just the "military-industrial complex", which I'm not sure exists with the potency often attributed to it.

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears
by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Sat Jun 26th, 2010 at 12:30:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't really know either. I do think getting corporate and elite money out of politics will help reduce unneeded wars (and have other good effects, like focusing econ policy on what's best for most of us rather than for the upper 1%), but we had lots of wars before the present 'campaign cash democracy' era.

fairleft
by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Sat Jun 26th, 2010 at 02:38:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No such "fair" draft has ever existed.

Nor will it.

Unless you plan to have the Pentagon put all 25 million American youth in uniform, the draft will not be fair, since the wealthy will always have loopholes in a capitalist society, as has been the case in every previous American draft.

Even if you did manage to convince the Pentagon they wanted all young people in uniform, there would be strong biases in who got what jobs - the scions of the wealthy would get cush desk jobs, the children of the poor would get sent into combat.

Either situation would merely reinforce the status quo, where human suffering is already widespread in the USA, as a result of deliberate policies that are constantly rationalized and justified. There is no reason whatsoever to believe a draft would play out any differently.

In any event, it wouldn't matter. A draft has never stopped the US from going to war, and has never really stopped the US once we were already at war (the role of the draft in anti-Vietnam War activism is vastly overstated).

It's an argument that appeals to those seeking to shortcut the long, hard work of building an antiwar movement, an argument with its own ugly and indefensible logic of making someone else risk their lives and even die so a political point can be proved, a political goal accomplished.

And the world will live as one

by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Sun Jun 27th, 2010 at 01:59:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No such "fair" draft has ever existed. Nor will it.

I could say that about 95% of the solutions I read about on this and other sites, but it's an argument that usually comes up when someone has strong personal vs. sound reasons for opposition, as in as long as I or my children don't volunteer, we needn't have anything to do with the up close and personal unpleasantness associated with the military or war.

The rich will always have loopholes - so let them keep sending those poor kids to war. (Is an all volunteer military one of those loopholes?)

Well, we'll just solve the whole problem by abolishing war or the capability to wage war altogether, oh, and by the way, while "we" privileged and uh enlightened ones help usher in this utopia by marching and talking at home, a few of the sons and daughters of the poor may have to keep dying for the cause as wars come and go.

We may, from time to time, remind ourselves about how really good we are by condemning them for the violence that war produces. After all, they did volunteer for the job. No one in America could possibly be so poor that the military is seen as a way out of poverty.  

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears

by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Sun Jun 27th, 2010 at 03:21:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What we see in the US right now is a pervasive unwillingness to confront the costs of war. That was no different under previous drafts. The presence or absence of a draft has very little impact on confronting those costs. We assume it does, but examination of the historical evidence shows a very different truth.

We currently live in the aftermath of the My Lai massacre, which was justified as being necessary to protect soldiers' lives. We know it was no such thing, but that justification has been employed to defend against every single similar incident that has happened since. A draft would merely create further reasons to continue to justify these indefensible things.

geezer in Paris makes a very good point - the problem isn't just with the war itself, but with the way our society is conditioned to respond to violence, the way our politics are structured to defend violence and deny power and voice to its victims. A draft will fit neatly into that context and achieve none of your goals, but will instead achieve a lot of death.

If we oppose war, our job is to advocate against war - not to try and find some gimmick that lets us off the hook for our responsibility to work to end the war.

And the world will live as one

by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Sun Jun 27th, 2010 at 07:53:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't agree with these arguments (although I do agree with some of the facts and observations) as justification for continuing an all volunteer military. Cost has not been a factor because we have yet to feel the pain, and as you point out we have been conditioned (I would argue by the volunteer force concept) but not in the way you suggest. The conditioning has been to ignore the costs of war, because they don't touch most of us personally. Sure, insane amounts of tax money have been spent, a relatively few American volunteers have died, but most other casualties are unseen, unknown, foreigners; somehow they just don't matter.  

The last war that caused any significant anti-war sentiment and activity by Americans was Vietnam.  American parents were seeing the loss (most of the 58,000 died between 1966 and the end of 1970) of hundreds of young men and women every week while thousands (over 300K total) more were wounded. No US military action since Vietnam has exacted anything close to this toll in terms of American casualties;   the casualty rate was greater than during WWII and combat more frequent.

Most everyone felt the pressure of the draft back then and their lives were directly affected by the war.  Thousands were drafted, many joined up out of patriotism, or just to avoid the Army infantry in Vietnam.  Thousands more protested the war, refused service, or stayed in school for their own reasons (e.g., a sense of moral outrage or to hedge their bets against the draft.

The point is, when America (or any other country for that matter) considers entering a war, all Americans should anticipate the pain and strongly voice their objections before the war begins.  That won't happen unless everyone is made to feel personally responsible and liable for the consequences.

Yes, it's unlikely that a completely fair draft could be instituted, but it's far less likely that humanity's propensity to wage war will end, regardless.  Discontinuing America's all volunteer military is not a reason to stop advocating against war, in fact it provides a strong reason to do so with genuine justifiable conviction.    

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears

by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Mon Jun 28th, 2010 at 12:08:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
At this point the key thing is to stop the slaughter. I would support a new draft, if it was imposed in the context of maximum fairness, but it's not the real problem, as you noted.
Many commenters both here and on my diary "The Switch" also see the central issue as a tolerance of, perhaps even a fascination with violence, either commercial or military, as near the heart of the problem.
A commercial Randian culture rules our lives, our media, and our political discourse. It's zero-sum, it only functions in an atmosphere of social isolation with players trained out of empathy, and it's a dying Dinosaur.
Why dying?
Because the carrots are running out.
What is it like to live in the same neighborhood with a dying dinosaur?

Nasty.

 Seen in this light, a potential candidate for the draft may well do their best to see that someone else dies for their sins. Failing that, they will turn on the war.
What was the wonderful line in George C. Scott's portrayal of Patton?
"war isn't dying for your country. It's making sure some other poor bastard dies for his." Or something close.
Fits.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Mon Jun 28th, 2010 at 04:49:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How about we draft every politician who votes for troop deployment outside our territory?

If they think it's so bloody important what our troops are doing, why aren't they signing up themselves?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jun 28th, 2010 at 06:13:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, and I don't think anyone would miss them.

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears
by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Tue Jun 29th, 2010 at 12:28:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Probably not - though we'd have to put them in a separate unit, so they wouldn't endanger any real soldiers by their incompetence.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Jun 29th, 2010 at 05:46:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The historical record does not bear this analysis out.

Most Americans who received a draft notice went to war quite willingly. Only a very few ever faced combat. Many young men lived without fear of the draft, especially after the move to the lottery system. The draft continued all the way to the end of the war, indicating that a draft alone did nothing to slow the war itself.

Further, antiwar activism is actually rooted in the labor and Civil Rights movement. All the major organizers of antiwar actions came from one of those two other movements. Sure, to some extent the draft did push some to join those protests, but it did not cause the protests, and was only part of the reason why they gained any traction. Most Americans simply rejected the horrific violence of the war, which they knew could not be justified by any geopolitical concerns.

Finally, and most importantly, the evidence shows that a draft absolutely does not cause the public to be more deliberative and sensible when debating the decision to go to war. After all, we had a draft in place in 1964-65 when the decision was made to send US combat forces to Vietnam. The draft played no role in that debate.

Why not? Because nations do not go to war as part of a deliberative process. Nations go to war as part of an irrational process, where a threat is hyped (whether the threat is real or not) and opposition is demobilized and discredited. Appeals to national sacrifice and unity are made - and in fact, a draft becomes justification for the war (in that it will produced shared sacrifice). Only later is this headlong, unthinking rush to war regretted when the promises of easy victory are shown to be empty.

I understand where you're coming from, but the historical record is quite clear that it just doesn't work that way. If we want to end this war, our work must be to educate and advocate for its end. Working to implement a draft undermines that work. Besides, polls indicate younger voters - those of us 30 and under - are the strongest opponents of the Afghanistan War, at least in the US, suggesting that the presence or absence of a draft plays little role in explaining the politics of Afghanistan, at least in the US.

And the world will live as one

by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Mon Jun 28th, 2010 at 02:09:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think it's about rational argument. The profit motive is non-negligible politically, but on its own it's not enough to explain the American love of war and violence.

Nor is media conditioning, although I suspect that's a big factor. When a nipple on prime time TV can cause an international incident, but a site like LiveLeak - which is supported by the US military - can show snuff movies without complaint, something is badly broken.

But I think the bottom line is the neurotic, or more likely teenaged, fantasy of an omnipotent self.

War is necessary to shore up that belief. Most countries play international sports, and take their psychological bruises when they lose.

The US has never learned to sublimate. Dominance has to be literal and violent. It can't be stylised and theatrical.

Hence the obsession with guns, with war, with comic book heroics, with winner-takes-all in business, with paternal religion - all reflections of an idealised fantastic self that is invulnerable, all-conquering, and completely cut-off from context and vulnerability in relationship.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jun 28th, 2010 at 05:38:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Although you are undoubtedly correct in stating the role of Labor in the anti-war movement I believe you have underestimated/stated the role of the draft and other factors and their effect on the US population/govt. in ending the Vietnam War.  A casual reading of material will show that citizen opposition to the never very popular war did not drop below 50% until large numbers of troops began to be sent to Vietnam and the draft ramped up to 40,000 per month in 1966. Citizen opposition (not anti-war demonstrations) only really increased significantly following the Tet offensive of 1968.  Other than the draft, the high rate and numbers of casualties, the anti-war movement, objections due to moral reasons, and the arguably biased or incomplete media coverage, the primary reason Americans began to oppose the war was the success of the North Vietnamese Government in convincing Americans that it was winning the war despite loosing all important battles. This success continued right up until 1972 when it made its last great sacrifice of troops during the Spring offensive. My purpose is not to, however, to debate the Vietnam War, but to advocate a citizen military made up of draftees rather than an all volunteer force.

I do not disagree with your intent and strongly support any reasonable process that shortcircuits an "irrational" decision to wage war, but I must continue to advocate for a fair and moral national service whether it is a draft or not.  The all volunteer military, as currently instituted, is not a morally acceptable solution.  Should this nation of individuals at some point in the future decide never to wage war or not to provide for a national defense service, the point will be mute, but I suspect that will never happen. Given the democratic nature of our government national service that involves extreme sacrifice should not be levied only upon those who cannot afford other means of support.

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears

by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Thu Jul 1st, 2010 at 12:03:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No one in America could possibly be so poor that the military is seen as a way out of poverty.

In a large part of the country the military offers the best opportunity for social mobility for all but those  brightest who also have well to do parents. Risk getting your ass blown to pieces in return for money for college. This is especially true for rural areas.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Jun 28th, 2010 at 04:02:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No one in America could possibly be so poor that the military is seen as a way out of poverty.

I have 4 letters for you: ROTC.

With the exception of the U.S. Coast Guard, each of the U.S. Armed Forces offer competitive, merit-based scholarships to ROTC students, often covering full tuition for college in exchange for extended periods of active military service.
I have had undergraduates student shipped to Iraq in the middle of their degree while I was a Graduate Teaching Assistant in 2001-4.

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 28th, 2010 at 05:27:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ironically. Should've added a ;-/ or something.

We may, from time to time, remind ourselves about how really good we are by condemning them for the violence that war produces. After all, they did volunteer for the job. No one in America could possibly be so poor that the military is seen as a way out of poverty.
 


fairleft
by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Mon Jun 28th, 2010 at 05:59:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, it was supposed to be irony, at best, or just sarcasm, at worst. I apologise for both. Sometimes, I get carried away when discussing this subject.

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears
by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Thu Jul 1st, 2010 at 03:40:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was an ROTC graduate. Although there was far less money for students in the program back in the 1960s, a little money goes a long way when you have none and don't wish to impose on your parents.  The other incentive back then was a commission and better choice of branch of service and career field than anything available to draftees. Everyone knew that following graduation the military would have first right to your body unless you had money for grad school.

Two months after graduation in 1968 I was on active duty. Fortunately, for me, the Vietnam war was just about to start the winding down process and my career field had a fairly limited requirement for Vietnam. Following Tet 1968, things were fairly quiet there. The Viet Cong had, for all practical purposes, been destroyed and the North Vietnamese Army had not invaded the South to any extent. So, I didn't end up in Vietnam until early 1971. One of my classmates, who graduated the same time I did, had gone into OTS with the Marines during college and ended up as a 2nd Lt platoon leader in Vietnam much sooner.

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears

by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Thu Jul 1st, 2010 at 03:36:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Somehow a draft hasn't held Germany back from becoming increasingly militaristic/imperialistic.

In exactly which universe are you living?  Unless of course you're privy to the information from the 1.6 secret wars per semester Germany has recently begun.

or were you referring to Germany's wars against fossil fuels? or are you just making shit up?

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Sat Jun 26th, 2010 at 12:48:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Please refer to my thoroughly documented response regarding this common knowledge, to afew a couple of comments up.

And please avoid grossly disruptive and bullying ("1" type) comments.

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Sat Jun 26th, 2010 at 02:42:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One can "throughly document" anything on the internet. What you quoted actually proves you have no understanding of the political debate in Germany over the past decades. (workers.org?) By those quotes, any nation which however grudgingly supports a NATO action is imperialistic and militaristic.

In any case, since you continue to fabricate straw dogs, and comment about non-existent 1-ratings, there's not much sense in a debate with you.

other than standing by my assertion that your calling present-day Germany militaristic and imperialistic is absurd. and don't go making false analysis of statements from the former president of the World Bank representative of Germany, as his immediate disappearance from the german presidency shows.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Sat Jun 26th, 2010 at 06:30:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here's what you are either disagreeing with or confused by (emphasis added to help relieve confusion):

Somehow a draft hasn't held Germany back from becoming increasingly militaristic/imperialistic.

It's simply a fact on the ground that Germany's military since the mid-90s has been increasingly involved in far flung NATO military operations. But apparently you pretend that the above an incredibly bizarre assertion that you accuse me of "making shit up."

The references to the pdf file by Rainer Baumann and Gunther Hellman, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, and to the Le Monde Diplomatique begin to document that fact, that Germany has become increasingly interventionist with its military since the mid-1990s. In contrast, it's a widely held opinion on the left (I thought eurotrib was generally of that orientation) that this interventionism reflects increasing militarism/imperialism. That's why the reference to workers.org. But also, as the Le Monde Diplomatique reference states, that contention was the mainstream Green Party position before it gained power.

The '1' rating is fully warranted, and that I'm barred from giving you one simply reflects the depressingly familiar and anti-democratic "anything goes for insiders" rules here.

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Sun Jun 27th, 2010 at 12:12:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Brilliant! I give this a 4.
by Lynch on Mon Jun 28th, 2010 at 03:07:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yay! Thanks!

fairleft
by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Mon Jun 28th, 2010 at 03:24:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"But my estimation is that, on the whole, we are on the way to understanding, even broadly in society, that a country of our size, with this orientation toward foreign trade and therefore also dependence on foreign trade, has to be aware that when in doubt in case of an emergency, military deployment is also necessary to protect our interests." --

Is excellent evidence for the imperialist motivations of German military interventionism. Yes, mainstream politicians are not supposed to tell those truths, so he has been rapidly disappeared.

Anyway, your comment reminded me of the main reason I included the workers.org reference.

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Sun Jun 27th, 2010 at 12:54:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's another 4.
by Lynch on Mon Jun 28th, 2010 at 03:20:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"1 is used to rate a comment "trollish", i.e. disruptive of dialogue, or grossly insulting, or really inappropriate. Such ratings should never be used to indicate that you disagree with the comment."

fairleft
by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Sat Jun 26th, 2010 at 02:53:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I replied to your inquiry from two days ago -- sorry for the delay.
Good to see you are now familiar with the rating guidelines, but may I point out that, as anyone can check easily, CH hasn't issued a single 1 rating in years? Not. A. Single.

If anyone, CH has been one of the most active to mend fences and to soothe bruises when there has been overheated flame wars; and he's earned tremendous respect -- in true, genuine, solid gold ET currency.

Maybe you can see why suggesting that CH may casually foist '1' ratings upon you could easily be construed as 'gratuitous insult'?

As I wrote in the other thread, you really need to work on the attitude, because it won't get you anywhere.

by Bernard on Sat Jun 26th, 2010 at 05:37:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Merci, Bernard. I couldn't even fathom how we jumped to a ratings discussion here, when none was made.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sat Jun 26th, 2010 at 06:35:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not relevant how many '1' ratings Crazy Horse has issued. The comment I rated '1' was obviously a '1' comment, and even you have not found yourself capable of defending it as not a '1'.

So, contrast the fact that Crazy Horse violated ET rules by writing a '1' comment and disrupting debate and alienating another member here, with the fact that your comment is mostly praise for him and attack on me. What is a rational actor supposed to learn attitude-wise from that?


fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Sun Jun 27th, 2010 at 12:46:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Your opinion on what is or not an insult to you rather than arguing with you is apparently strongly established and I'm not (no longer) going to try to change your mind.

Once again: stop your disruptive behavior or you'll be dealt with.

And no, because your rating privileges have been suspended by the Ed Team doesn't mean that you get to "troll-rate" others in your comment's body.

by Bernard on Sun Jun 27th, 2010 at 03:23:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not disruptive to ask why the poster of a disruptive and insulting (both of which are obvious) comment is praised by the representative of the PTB, while the person who reasonably marks that post as '1' is called disruptive and is now apparently threatened with banning.

What is a rational actor supposed to learn attitude-wise from that?

You haven't answered, because I suppose the clearest lesson is: don't rate '1' or '2' any established ET friends of the PTB. Or I could just re-read Animal Farm and learn 'right' attitudes from there.

Okay, enough of this sideshow distraction and back to the interesting real issues raised by this diary and some of the comments. Here's hoping you'll stop attacking me and allow me to continue to contribute here.

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Sun Jun 27th, 2010 at 04:58:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Judging by Sweden's troops in Afghanistan, Germany could very well have assembled their 4350 soldiers on volunteer basis, ie you have to apply to serve abroad. At least that is how Sweden has done it (and why there is little active opposition to the war), and Sweden has about 500 soldiers there - about the same number of troops/population.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Sat Jun 26th, 2010 at 07:26:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That sounds unlikely to an American, but perhaps someone with knowledge of the German military's assignment policies can inform us on this.

Most of such experts, however, are probably right now celebrating the dismantling of England's football team.

BTW, I would've rated your comment a '4' but the ET mgmt team doesn't allow me to rate comments anymore.

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Sun Jun 27th, 2010 at 12:50:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"militaristic/imperialistic", as you put it, is in Germany's past: the second and then the third empire.

In East Berlin, the DDR used to have a Memorial to the Victims of Fascism and Militarism (Mahnmal  für die Opfer des Faschismus und Militarismus), a reference to the Nazis.

After WW II, Federal Germany adopted a constitution that banned all military foreign intervention outside of NATO countries. The Constitutional court of Karlsruhe only authorized German troops deployment in other countries in 1994.

So if Germany appears more "militaristic/imperialistic" than 15 years ago, it because of the very stringent standard that has been in force over the past fifty years or so.

Applying this qualifier to Germany even today is laughable: many other European countries have deployed more troops (in proportion) abroad for much longer than Germany. The Dutch in Bosnia and Iraq, the Italians in Iraq, the Brits... not to mention us, French, with our military bases all over the world and a propensity to neo-colonial military peacekeeping in our former African colonies.

Just about any mid-size or big country in Europe is ten times more militaristic and/or imperialistic than Germany; even today.

by Bernard on Sun Jun 27th, 2010 at 03:52:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Basically, I responded to your assertion here: http://www.eurotrib.com/story/2010/6/25/153645/065#10

I haven't received any response to that documentation of my assertion other than

One can "throughly document" anything on the internet.

And then this:

What you quoted actually proves you have no understanding of the political debate in Germany over the past decades.

from Crazy Horse, here: http://www.eurotrib.com/story/2010/6/25/153645/065#15

In other words, no response to the substance, but instead some shouting: "You're wrong and you don't know what you're talking about!" Nonetheless, Germany did begin intervening militarily in the mid-1990s, the pace picked up with its intervention in Afghanistan, and just a few days ago its President offered this defense of such conduct (which I found at workers.org):

"But my estimation is that, on the whole, we are on the way to understanding, even broadly in society, that a country of our size, with this orientation toward foreign trade and therefore also dependence on foreign trade, has to be aware that when in doubt in case of an emergency, military deployment is also necessary to protect our interests."

That sounds imperialist in my humble opinion. (Crazy Horse told me not to quote President Köhler, but I hope it's alright.)

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Sun Jun 27th, 2010 at 05:13:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the strong reaction was mostly caused by your choice of words.

Somehow a draft hasn't held Germany back from becoming increasingly militaristic/imperialistic.

For me that implies that Germany is in fact already imperialistic and militaristic. I don't know if that was your intention, but I would strongly disagree. Now if we are talking about German foreign policy than yes, it is now more militaristic than it was two decades ago but it started out as not at all. I don't think the same can be said about society as a whole. Notice that even his own party let Köhler hang out to dry after his remarks. Talking about using the military as a tool to further national interests is still very much a taboo.
As to imperialism: As part of the US empire and the broader Western hegemony? Yes, same as it always was. Independently? No.

by generic on Tue Jun 29th, 2010 at 01:36:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This seems real stretching to find confusion. For example, by Germany of course I meant "the German government." So, of course, this is exactly what I'm saying too, so I don't get why you would strongly disagree with my position:

Now if we are talking about German foreign policy than yes, it is now more militaristic than it was two decades ago but it started out as not at all.

So no, there's no real cause, on my side, for the absurd misinterpretation of my commonplace comment as somehow absurd and deserving of ridicule, which is what Crazy Horse's comment (unpunished and uncommented on by the PTB here, while I have been banned from rating other posts) was. But of course, there is plenty of good grounds for disagreement with the substance of what I said.

About this:

Notice that even his own party let Köhler hang out to dry after his remarks. Talking about using the military as a tool to further national interests is still very much a taboo.

The President's remarks are strong evidence for the basic and definitionally imperialist basis (or at least one of the bases) of the German military's overseas involvement. Yes, they were taboo remarks. That is not evidence that they were incorrect or inaccurate, but it is indirect evidence that more German policy makers would be making similar remarks if they weren't taboo.

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Thu Jul 1st, 2010 at 03:13:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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