The "War" on Terrorism

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by USNA69, Sep 25, 2006.

  1. USNA69

    USNA69 Banned

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    Continuously over the last fifteen years or so, the US has stated that the new global order will not be geographic boundaries but economic boundaries, trade boundaries, technology boundaries. Modern communication has transcended traditional concepts of nations. However, with all the good that comes with it, we must recognize and deal with the not so good.

    A cultural and religious group that knows no country , that we can not deal with in a traditional sense, we fail to recognize, even denounce.

    We declare a “war” on this cultural and religious group but only applying the definitions of a war whose rhetoric will unite and motivate the American people.

    War, by definition, involves enemy soldiers. However, we don’t fight enemy soldiers, we fight terrorists.

    War, by definition, involves battles and campaigns. Our enemy doesn’t fight battles, they perform acts of terrorism.

    How naïve can we be as to declare war and expect our enemy to uniform themselves, fall in behind a flag, jump into their Soviet-made replicas of our fighting machines, memorize our orders of battle, and then come across the desert to do battle with us. They have to fight with what they have on hand and use is as effectively as possible. If our culture cannot comprehend human bombs, we had better educate ourselves, not condemn it.
    When we continue to denounce their actions as barbaric and inhuman and fail to comprehend the genius behind their battle plan, we are fighting a losing battle, literally.

    Modern warfare has changed. Until we recognize and respect it, understanding the commitment of our enemy and recognizing their tactics, we are doomed to miring ourselves into another Vietnam.

    Just my humble opinion.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2006
  2. AFDAD2010

    AFDAD2010 Member

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    Agree with most of your post. So, now that we have redefined war, redefined boundaries and recognize our opponants use of unconventional war practices, I assume you would also agree that applying an old standard like the Geneva convention to these terrorists makes no sense either. Right?
     
  3. USNA69

    USNA69 Banned

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    No Sir. You assume wrong. I think the GC must remain a very viable part of our military policy. Please see my "Detainee Post".
     
  4. Zaphod

    Zaphod Founding Member

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    Yep. War has changed.

    Before, we were allowed to firebomb entire cities to break the enemy's will. We nuked cities to save American lives.

    Nowadays, if a Marine shoots a wounded enemy because he thinks the enemy is hiding a grenade and preparing to throw it at his teammates, the MARINE gets dragged into court and accused of murder.

    Senators, Congressmen, Presidential Candidates, and former Presidents stand up and call the Marine a murderer, and acuse members of the amred forces of being just like Nazis, or gulag guards, or followes of Pohl Pot.

    We keep a running tally of American dead and breathlessly wait for it to CLIMB because we want to destroy the President, and then blame him when, horror of horrors, soldiers die in battle.

    We forbid airport screeners from stopping a suspicious-looking man because that is profiling (and the ACLU and CAIR have threatened to sue), but demand that a mother taste the "baby milk" she is carrying because it might be a bomb.

    Etc., etc.

    Yep. War sure has changed. We don't fight them to win anymore because too many of us don't WANT us to win. :unhappy:
     
  5. USNA69

    USNA69 Banned

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    Zap, My post was directed at our enemy, more elusive, more unconventional, more global, and probably more threatening, and that our mindset would have to change to battle such an enemy.
    Your post baffles me. You have thrown out several of your time-worn cliches which, for the life of me, I cannot see as having anything whatsoever to do with my post. Please enlighten me.
     
  6. AFDAD2010

    AFDAD2010 Member

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    While you wait for Zap;s response, I'm still puzzled. You acknowledge that our enemy is more elusive and unconventional, yet you want our armed forces to assume that such an enemy is totally conventional when you ask them to adhere to the Geneva convention, where stipulations such as soldiers wearing uniforms and prison camp treatment is assumed. Those things are not relevant to this enemy and this kind of war. Do you not see the inconsistency here? For this new kind of war and new kind of enemy we need a new kind of standard. How about one where we don't allow cutting off heads or physical torture but just about everything else is fair game in order to get information that would save lives? Wouldn't that preserve our moral upperhand and still recognize a new way to combat a ruthless enemy?
     
  7. justawife

    justawife Founding Member

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    It not about this war it is about the next. So if you don't mind your child being water boarded, because the US does it, must be OK to do that to our soliders/sailors/airman.

    My spouse is still on AD, he travels often to countries that have populations that some would say are unfriendly to americans. I worry that someday he will be snatched off the streets taken to another country and .......
    When he travels with a GO it's in an armored car, but alone the embassy just make arrangements and places they think are safe. What we do to people in the name of terror will come back and bite us in the @**. I just hope it's not anyone I know.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2006
  8. USNA69

    USNA69 Banned

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    I must not be explaining myself too well. Nowhere did I ever mean to imply that I would ask them to adhere to the Geneva Convention. I know they're not going to do so. Terrorists strike terror. Terror is knowing that our soldiers, sailors, and airmen are going to be dragged through the streets and beheaded. I am simply stating that we, the United States, should not deviate from our standards. Your common argument seems to be that it is okay to stoop to the moral and ethical standards of our enemy. I'm sure you engage in business dealings on either a personal or professional basis. If you sense that your opponent is unethical, especially in the business arena, does that give you the moral right to do the same. Can you sleep well at night knowing you had to lie and cheat to achieve your advantage in a particular business dealing. I can't. And I can't stand idly and allow our government to do the same. Thank God ex-Secretary Powell rallied with Senators McCain, Graham, and Warner and prevented this from happening. Just_A_Wife very eloquently stated the ramifications of being so short-term minded. Besides, in very very few cases is torture a viable means of gathering intelligence. We must examine ourselves careflully to determine the real reasons we might perhaps want to see our prisoners tortured.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2006
  9. Zaphod

    Zaphod Founding Member

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    First off, they are not cliches. They are facts.

    You are absolutely, 100% right that this is an entirely different kind of war, with utterly new paradigms to be considered and tactics to be employed. Anyone who argues against that point is either naive or simply doesn't want to see reality.

    My response, however, was intended to address far more than just tactics. We are the United States of America. We kicked the *** of the British, we kicked the Mexican's asses, we kicked our own asses, we kicked the Spaniard's asses, then the Germans, then the Germans, Italians, and Japanese at the same time. We kicked the snot out of Saddam's army once, and held the Soviet Union by the nuts until it collapsed. In other words, WE DO NOT LOSE.....

    UNLESS....

    WE decide we don't want to win. During Vietnam (which you should remember so well), we kicked the snot out of the enemy, but we still lost because the Fifth Column over here convinced enough cozy Americans that we were losing. That idiot Cronkite got on the air after Tet and said we had lost, when the VC ceased to exist after we were through with them. Our esteemed Democrat-controlled Congress then actually went and pulled the financial rug out from under the troops and our allies. Way to go! :rolleyes:

    So what do we see today? The same thing, and worse.

    So, the point of my reply was this: Despite your clearly-accurate statement that this "war" will require different tactics and techniques, IT WON'T MATTER unless we get the new Fifth Column to either shut the hell up or get a clue. We CAN (and HAVE) developed new tactics to deal with this enemy (the fact we took Afghanistan in a few weeks with 20K troops when the Russians failed after 10 years and hundreds of thousands of troops proves this. The fact we were able to wipe out the Saddam regime in three weeks with fewer casualties than anyone dreamed of proves this). We will CONTINUE to change and develop tactics as the threat morphs. The question is, will the scumbags on the Left let us use them?

    You bring up another valid point: How do you defend against a human bomb? Simple! YOU PROFILE. YOU SCREEN. Unfortunately, we can't do that because it might "offend" someone. WONDERFUL! So someone's feelings are more important than the defense of people's lives. Hooray.

    You have attacked the Bush administration for ineptness and whatnot in this war. You and I could debate his tactics all evening and never once raise our voices to each other, because both of us want America to WIN, and there are many ways to invade and pacify a country. You have your ideas. I have mine. The President has his. We can also argue tactics in Vietnam, or Korea, or Normandy, or anywhere else, because we want it to WORK, or learn lessons from the past.

    Sadly, however, the other side in this country DOESN'T give a damn about us winning. Proof:

    - They compare our troops to Nazi stormtroopers and Gulag guards.
    - They call our troops murderers
    - They squeal like pigs when Valerie Plame's name is "leaked", but they remain silent when Sandy Berger is caught red-handed STEALING classified documents from the National Archives
    - They applaud when they think they have defeated the Patriot Act
    - The go apoplectic over a "domestic spying program" which is no such thing, even after it helped stop Bojinga II a few weeks ago.
    - The go on foreign soil and use the vilest terms to describe the Commander in Chief of their country's armed forces during a time of WAR.
    - The defend absolute scum like Professor Chruchill (remeber the "little Eichmans" comment about the people who died in NY on 9/11?) but go bat**** crazy when you DARE to question their patriotism

    The list goes on and on.

    Finally, you question whether what we are involved in is a "war", and you play with the definition. A war is when one group of people is actively trying to kill another group of people, and they are fighting it out to the death. Normally, the term is reserved for nations shooting at each other. You are correct that in this case, it is one nation against an evil ideology. So what? Call it whatever you want to: "Disagreement", "Tiff", "Spat", "Arguement, "Conflict". I think you are splitting needless hairs. If, however, you insist that "war" has a limited and specific definition, then that's fine, but you better contact the Democrats and tell them to change the titles of the War on Poverty, et al.

    Once again, I type so fast I lose track of the length of the post. In short: You're right, this is a very different type of conflict we are in, which has, does, and will require new and innovative tactics, both on the battlefield as well as on our streets. Unfortunately, 48% or so of this country refuses to even consider that there is even a threat (aside from Bush), so I submit that we have bigger issues to deal with than the definition of "war".
     
  10. Zaphod

    Zaphod Founding Member

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    I cannot go into details, but I have one or two people very close to me who ellicit the same concern, only much more, because they do NOT fall under Geneva.

    We are dealing with a mob of uncivilized vermin who cannot pronounce "Geneva", let alone care what it says. They care not a whit for any norm of civilization. The embassy in Tehran was soverign US territory, and the folks inside had diplomatic immunity. Hell of a lot of good it did them.

    Our pilots during GW I were QUITE CLEARLY protected under Geneva. We followed it to the letter with Iraqi soldiers we captured, but look what they did to our pilots. Hell of a lot of good it did for them for us to follow Geneva.

    The list goes on.

    If you, or my shipmate USNA69, or anyone else want to argue that we should follow the Geneva Convention protocols to the letter for no other reason that it is the RIGHT thing to do and that we, as Americans, should be better than our enemies, then I will understand and respect that position. It is an HONORABLE position, and worthy of being taken seriously regardless of other circumstances. I do not hold you, him, or anyone else the lesser for believeing that. Please understand this, because it is EXCEEDINGLY important for me that you both understand that I do NOT have an issue with THAT position.

    Where my brain just goes into vapor lock is when the assertion is made that if WE don't do it, this enemy won't. What the hell? THIS ENEMY DOESN'T DO IT ANYWAY. NEVER HAS, AND NEVER WILL! What the hell does one have to do with the other?

    I will guarantee you, though, that now that some self-centered nitwits, who don't really give a damn about Geneva other than how they can get Bush with it, have been running their mouths off about it, Al Qaeda may capture some troops and show them being treated wonderfully just so that Kennedy and Ried and Pelosi can stampede to the cameras and say, "SEE? SEE? We told you Bush was a barbarian!" They've handed our enemies a propaganda weapon, among others. Now you know why I call them the Fifth Column. If they really WANTED to aid and abet the enemy, how would they behave differently than they are now?

    I wish your husband a succesful tour and a speedy and safe return home. Please thank him for his service on behalf of me and my two little ones. I'll offer a prayer up (not that I'm very good at that, but I hear the Lord listens to even the most decrepit of sinners).
     
  11. Zaphod

    Zaphod Founding Member

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    Respectfully, Brother, I submit that we are not talking about a business dealing. We are talking about a WAR. I want to WIN so I will be able to sleep at night at all.

    PERFECTLY valid! PERFECTLY!

    I have no tolerance for any "torture" that is done purely for sadistic reasons. NONE. You can apply any means necessary to get ACCURATE and TIMELY information, but anything beyonf that is pure sadism, and we ARE better than that.

    As to which methods are more effective than others, I admit to having no idea, but I leave it to the professionals who DO to do their job.

    I also think that too many scumbag or stupid politicians have latched on to the word "torture" for their own ends. IMO, Powell, McCain, and the other guy fall into the "stupid" category. You know who I think fall into the other.

    By the modern definition of "torture", YOU were tortured as a Plebe at USNA, and I as a M/C at NAPS. I don't know about you, but "torture" was never a term I applied to anything I went through, including missing meals, lack of sleep, etc.
     
  12. USNA69

    USNA69 Banned

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    Zap, You're too black and white. There are ways to deal with terrorists that are more palatable to the American people as a whole that are just as effective. I admit that I would highly endorse torture if we pulled a bomb-ladenterrorist off an airliner. To support timely tactical intelligence to save lives is one thing. To support it when the prisoner has been moved to permanent facilities facing professional interrogators, I submit, is something entirely different.

    In re your comments on Senator McCain. You're kind of harsh on our next President aren't you? And also, the other three fellow veterans who have served our country well.

    No Zap, I wasn't tortured Plebe year. However, at SERE school I was subjected to the water board. I would sell my kids rather than going on it again. I'm also claustorphobically permanently scarred from being placed in a box way too small for me to get into. We assumed a kneeling fetal position. Due to my size, the guards had to stand on the lid in order to latch it. That, to me, is torture.

    Think about this. You are captured. You are tortured. Your enemy, who is also your interrogator, has no idea of your tactical plan. He wants you to talk. Why in the world would you tell him the truth. He has no way of immediately checking on it. He's in the field, probably not the most sophisticated interrogator. Sing like a bird. The more creative, the happier he is. Lesson: Real world operational intelligence gained through torture is probably not worth the time it takes to gather it.
     
  13. Zaphod

    Zaphod Founding Member

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    I make no secret that I am no expert in interrogation. I defer to your knowledge of different techniques in this regard. If what you say is true (and I'm certain it is) then by all means use those alternative effective means first. I've never really said anything different. If tickling them with a feather works, then by all means do it.

    That's not any different than what I've been saying. Do what you have to based upon the situation without being sadistic (defined as doing it just for the "fun" of it. No reasonable person is for that.

    He'll never win the primary. Since he seems to like making himself look good in the media rather than standing up for a defined set of principles, he's going to get hammered. I'd like to see him sell a bill of rights for terrorists that assumes from the outset that our forces were or are torturing prisoners. Yeah, that's going to fly. :rolleyes:

    I respect and appreciate their service, and never hold it cheaply, but that doesn't give them immunity from criticism. I think they are being opportunistic at worst, and naive at best. You have metioned above that we are fighting a different kind of enemy (which is of course true). I want to know why these guys think this new enemy will behave like a traditional civilized enemy when they have repeatedly shown that they are incapable of doing so! :confused:

    Then we need to shut down SERE school. After all, the rest of the world follows Geneva, right? What are we possibly preparing our troops for? Seems to me it's a school for sadists to have their fun. :wink:

    That won't help our troops if captured by this enemy.

    "Probably". :confused:

    Above you admit that under certain circumstances torture is OK. :confused:

    You state that you would rather sell your children than be waterboarded again, but you obviously survived it. :confused:

    You were trained to resist a technique that under Geneva is "illegal". Why, if it is illegal? :confused:

    Sounds to me that waterboarding is a very effective technique that is more in the head than physical, and lasts only a few minutes. Sounds good to me! It's not like they are burning them with hot pokers or disemboweling their children before their eyes, and if the clock is ticking on a bomb, why NOT use it?
     
  14. USNA69

    USNA69 Banned

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    I think our basic difference is that you feel we should meet the enemy on their own terms, whatever they do to us, we should, with no restrictions, do the same to them. I feel that we, as a nation, have principals to which we should hold fast, no matter how much we are abused.

    I have never stated, implied, or inferred that our enemy complies with the Geneva Convention. I have actually stated that public prisoner torture and execution is, in fact, part of their tactical strategy. I just don't feel we should stoop to that level. World opinion, which you and I will probably disagree on the importance of, which I feel is extremely important in this War, will suffer if we abandon our principals. I also think the moral and ethical upper hand is crucial in dealing with our enemies. We must be intelligent and creative, finding a way to fight within the guidelines of our principals. Doing so, we can be just as effective in the short term and more effective in the long term.

    Many SERE school instructors were relieved and given new orders early because of the very reason you mentioned. It is one of the primary reasons torture is not a viable alternative. It does become sadistic. It's inevitable.
     
  15. AFDAD2010

    AFDAD2010 Member

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    No disagreement that we shouldn't hold a higher standard. But that standard need not be the Geneva convention! That standard is not relevant because it was created for a different kind of war. So, that's why I say we can still preserve America's "we won't stoop to that level" mentality by insisting that physical torture will not be tolerated. Maybe other standards are also needed. But no need to adhere to the Geneva convention IMO. That was my only point.

    Now, what in the world is water boarding?
     
  16. USNA69

    USNA69 Banned

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    Waterboard has been around for a while. The North Vietnamese used it. It is one of the three specific methods that McCain, Graham, and Warner want prohibited.

    One is bound to a board or a table, arms, torso, neck, and legs, so that he is entirely immoble. Then water is poured on his face until, not being able to breathe, he gags. At the moment of gagging a wet cloth is placed tightly over his face until he blacks out. This is repeated as necessary. Not a pleasant thing.
     
  17. Zaphod

    Zaphod Founding Member

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    Incorrect. I believe we should be free to do that which we must do to WIN. Period. If we can do it without weapons, fine. If we have to destroy entire cities, fine. The only important thing is to WIN.

    AFTER we win, we can be as magnanamous and kind as we want to be, just like we were with Germany and Japan. We reduced both nations to rubble and even nuked one of them TWICE. Not exactly what I would call "civilized" behavior by an idealistic nation! But afterwards we REALLY showed what kind of nation we are by rebuilding our enemies instead of herding them all into their own death camps and giving them a taste of their own medicine.

    We do hold fast to them, as shown above. My argument is that principles are no good if we're all dead because we hamstrung ourselves needlessly with them rather than ensuring they survived at all.

    I can certainly understand that, but we're back to the definition of "torture", aren't we?
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2006
  18. USNA69

    USNA69 Banned

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    Zap, civilized countries, over the past several centuries have developed the Doctrine of Just Warfare. It is now being taught by the Ethics Department at the Naval Academy and in our Staff and War Colleges. I'm sure there have been a lot of additions, deletions, and changes over the past five years.

    One of the basic rules of just warfare is that of proportionality. Proper ethics dictate that a country only retaliate to the extent of the initial violation. Most international law experts agree that those responsible for Dresden, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki would have been convicted and exectuted for war crimes had we lost the war. They knew this. They were brave and confident men.
     
  19. Zaphod

    Zaphod Founding Member

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    Yeah, and this is why modern wars have solved nothing. :unhappy:

    Korea, Vietnam, the Arab/Israeli wars, Gulf War I, and now this one. You don't win wars by being "proportional". You win wars by killing the enemy and breaking his stuff, and doing so fast and furiously enough that the enemy is destroyed as quickly and as thoroughly as possible, and with the minimum possible casualties to your side.

    Besides, what is "proportional"? Who defines it?

    Just a few weeks ago, the IDF went after rocket positions in Lebanon that were firing on civilian targets in Israel. In order to be politically correct, it tiptoed in rather than STORMING in. The result? It was STILL excoriated for being "disproportional" in it's response, and now Hezbollah is having victory celebrations. Let's hear it for proportionality! :rolleyes:

    After 9/11, the "proportional" response would have been to build 4 radio-controlled airliners, pack them full of fuel, and fly them into Mecca during the Haj. Alternatively, we could have gotten out of Afghanistan after killing exactly 2,973 Al Qaeda terrorists. (After all, that's how many Americans they killed. Anything more would be disproportional!) I'm sure the world would have marveled at our restraint and mercy. Al Qaeda would have been overwhelmed by strongly-worded demands for their moderation, and would have complied, I'm sure. Maybe after Pearl Harbor we should have simply bombed Yokahama and then stopped? After all, THAT attack was our fault, too, and FDR knew it was coming, remember?

    Riiiiiiiiiiiight...... :rolleyes:

    "Proportional" is a modern word that has been interjected into military thought by a bunch of wusses who have managed to buy us two 50-year stalemates, a defeat, and a war that we had to go back and finish 12 years later and that we could have had finished in about a year instead of it lingering on over three. I never heard it in any ethics class at USNA. We had the Laws of War class where we were taught that you couldn't use armor-piercing bullets against enemy troops even if it meant having to surrender to them. (The howls of derisive laughter were deafening. Guess we were all a bunch of war-criminals-in-training.) The word "proportionality" didn't enter the lexicon until Israel entered Lebanon, and we all know what the people using it then were thinking. :rolleyes:

    Yeah, but we DIDN'T lose the war. We won specifically because of Dresden, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki, or more accurately because we had the BALLS to execute such strikes in support of OUR victory!

    Try doing that today. :rolleyes:

    What the hell do "international law experts" know about winning wars, anyway? These are the same idiots who, before the war, wax eloquent of how evil can be negotiated with. After it's all over, and they are once again safe behind their stacks of precious books (said safety paid for by the blood of others), they sit around and pass judgement on those who saved their asses. Obviously, they know a hell of a lot less about what it takes to win a war than the brave and confident men (to use your accurate term) who actually FOUGHT, and more importantly WON that war!

    Don't talk to me about "proportionality" and "international law experts". Talk to me about VICTORY. Talk to me about CRUSHING this enemy like the roach he is so that your grandchildren and my children can grow up free of sights like what we saw on 9/11.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2006
  20. USNA69

    USNA69 Banned

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    "Yeah, and this is why modern wars have solved nothing."

    Just Warfare has been around much longer than Vietnam. Machiavelli layed the groundwork in The Prince and it has been refined ever since.


    "Besides, what is "proportional"? Who defines it?"

    This is an ethics issue that our operational commanders deal with when planning individual operations.

    "Talk to me about CRUSHING this enemy like the roach he is so that your grandchildren and my children can grow up free of sights like what we saw on 9/11."

    Zap . how can we CRUSH an enemy we can't even locate? In modern anti-terrorist warfare, we have to identify the enemy before we can contain, isolate, and defeat him. Our enemy is somewhere on the Afghani-Pakastani border and we are diverting our resources in a civil war, creating more terrorists.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2006

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