TCS Daily


The Most Dangerous Game

By Josh Manchester - October 27, 2006 12:00 AM

Sometimes I think evil is a tangible thing -- with wave lengths, just as sound and light have. An evil place can, so to speak, broadcast vibrations of evil.
-- Richard Connell, The Most Dangerous Game

What is the most dangerous game of Connell's short story? It's the hunting of men by other men for sport. Connell might be surprised today to learn that it's not fiction.

There are hundreds of websites featuring dozens of professionally produced videos of violence against US forces in Iraq. Dubbed with loud monotonal music for an extra creepy effect, at the point of the attack, the filmers usually erupt into cries of "Allahu akbar!"

The US might film its own missions for forensic or debriefing purposes sure, but that is a far cry from reveling in them. So what might motivate someone to be so twisted as to film and celebrate death?

One answer: recruitment.

A recent story in The Australian detailed the means that terrorist groups use to bait and attract new adherents:

Young Western-born Muslims recruited in universities, mosques and on the internet are increasingly being turned to jihad by terrorist networks, which train them in Islamic countries to support and conduct attacks on their homelands . . .

. . . "They are looking for them in mosques ... in the youth centres ... on the web ... relying on social acquaintances and also family ties and universities," Dr Ganor told a conference hosted by the institute in the resort city of Herzliya yesterday.

He said terror organisations used psychological strategies to win the hearts of "specific" young Muslims through either indirect recruitment platforms such as the internet, and direct ones such as combing radical mosques and prayer halls.

A report by the Dutch government earlier in the summer noted the same phenomenon:

The scope for an individual interpretation of Islam, combined with religious ignorance among young European Muslims and their insufficient command of Arabic, leads to a relatively simple, often non-coherent ideology which justifies the use of violence against people with different ideas. With the help of radical websites and chat sessions, they compile a radical 'cut-and-paste' version of Islam from Koran quotations which they reshape into a revolutionary pamphlet of global violent jihad. [emphasis added]

In truth, there is much more than recruitment going on. Far from being a mere backwater of the war, these examples of internet use among jihadists are a central part of our current conflict - now so global that it persists even in cyberspace. Extreme Islam has learned how to create a virtual levee en masse.

A research article in the Army journal Parameters makes this clear. Entitled "Cyber-Mobilization: The New Levee En Masse," it argues that there is much more going on in jihadist websites than just fundraising, and that the US is missing the boat. Take Iraq for example, where, "those who use insurgent chat rooms are often monitored by the hosts and, if they seem amenable to recruitment, contacted via email. Insurgent sites contain everything from practical information for traveling to Iraq to morale boosters for those currently involved in the struggle."

The article's author, Audrey Kurth Cronin, concludes that US Defense prognostications about the use of information technology to perpetually enable military forces to coordinate better and better might be correct but are largely irrelevant.

Instead, the evolution has been back toward the role of the individual driven by a common inspiration who now has more information, more motivation to attack, and more powerful conventional weapons with which to do damage. The result is a change in relative advantage at the individual level played out, for example, in the increasing role of suicide attacks in warfare. In today's social and political context, it is not enough to focus on military organizational and doctrinal changes like networking and swarming. In the long run, the "swarming" that really counts is the wide-scale mobilization of the global public.

This mobilization is real. It has tangible impacts. Look no further than what is now being called "the YouTube jihad." The Washington Times reports that blogger Michelle Malkin was surprised recently to see that a video she had made about the cartoon riots in Denmark and posted on YouTube was declared too offensive and removed. YouTube did so not because it monitors every video but because it relies upon complaints from users. And the users who complained are those who sympathize with the violence.

Don't believe it? Would you believe that a media front organization for Al Qaeda recently released a report entitled, "Working Paper for a Media Invasion of America"? The military blog Mudville Gazette noted this a few days before Malkin's video was yanked.

In my summer interview with Alan Furst, the spy novelist, I asked why he never does detailed portrayals of the enemy, wondering, "Is this out of a desire on your part that the reader not sympathize with the bad guys?"

"No," he responded, "it's that the good guys don't usually know very much about the bad guys -- they're like a shadow, a force. In my books, clandestine operatives avoid the opposition, they know they're out there, but they don't often see them, only their tracks."

True in the 1930s that Furst portrays and true today on the internet. Richard Connell's The Most Dangerous Game is appropriate once again.

Be a realist. The world is made up of two classes -- the hunters and the huntees. Luckily, you and I are hunters.

Are you?

Josh Manchester is a Marine veteran of the Iraq campaign and a TCSDaily contributing writer. His blog is The Adventures of Chester (www.theadventuresofchester.com).

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68 Comments

Comatose CIA
Josh, if all this is even close to true, then it should be an intelligence gold mine. Obviously, our operatives should be applying for work as terrorists and "recruiting" prospective terrorists, day and night. This would devalue the asset, at the very least, and probably turn up some excellent, bloodthirsty, valuable, recruits of our own. We should also be trying to turn our terrorist prisoners before their release.

I can tell you these folks run on primitive appetites. They would just as soon murder fellow terrorists as anyone else. Religion has little to do with it. The pure thrill of the 'hunt' and especially the kill, are embedded deep in our nature. Civilization is a thin set of rules and institutions to paper over these instincts, many moslems have escaped or rejected them. The CIA, NSA, and the Defense Dept. should get off their butts and take advantage of this asset.

Comatose CIA
Don, I wholeheartedly agree.

If our intelligence agencies are doing as you suggest though, and doing it successfully, we probably won't learn of it.

A Bellicose Society
British historian Jeremy Black, looking at Europe in the 16th century, described a “bellicose society.” One in which “killing was generally accepted as necessary, both for civil society– against crime, heresy and disorder– and in international relations. War itself seemed necessary....it was natural as the best means by which to defend interests and achieve goals.” This Europe was expanding across the globe and would dominate world affairs for 500 years. It would also produce the United States as the offspring of imperial ambitions.

Albeit an extreme example, Reginald Wingate, the British officer who ran down the radical Muslim leader The Khalifa after the battle of Omdurman. (Sudan, 1898), kept the Khalifa's skull as a souvenir. It is said that he had it turned into a mug, from which he drank a champagne toast each year to mark the victory. Technology is a fine thing. The Anglo-Egyptian army certainly had the firepower edge over the Mahdist forces at Omdurman. And as the great Catholic poet Hilaire Belloc famously put it, "Whatever happens, we have got/ the Maxim Gun and they have not." But technology is not a substitute for a ruthless fighting spirit, which we seem to have lost as we have become more “civilized.” Or is it just more liberal, since we are talking about how people look at the world? The jihadists are clearly taught a different perspective in their schools and mosques than our people are taught in our schools and churches.

We have brave soldiers armed with high-tech weapons who win every pitched battle. Yet, American society teeters on the edge of military collapse from a lack of will to do what is needed, on a large enough scale and for a long enough period of time, to defeat the Islamic militants.

The Most Dangerious Game started by white people
Main culprit in this game is U.S.White people think themself from very very long time superior race, and have right to teach moral lession to other barbirian.
White people born in this world to carry on white man`s burdon. same burdon U.S. CARY ON ON HIS HEAD.AFTER COLD WAR U.S.THINK HIMSELF POLICE INSPECTOR OF WORLD AND GIVE PUNISHMENT WHO DONOT OBEY HIS ORDER. TODAY TERRORISM FLORRISH IS REAL SIN OF U.S. .

Not even close
Main cluprit is all societies. Every one of them has engaged in this mind set at some point.

Today the U.S. falters because it does not have this mindset while the Muslim/Arab world retains it.

Terrorism is the real sin of the Islam/Muslim community. No one else can carry their sins and no other group is commiting these sins.

Ignorance of history is no excuse
I happen to come from a part of the world which regularly suffered incursions and was for centuries under the imperial rule of "brown men", specifically the brown muslim men of the Ottoman caliphate. The game of empire, warring for religion, and nasty people doing nasty things to others is far older than the existence of the US. Get a history book, would you and stop embarrassing yourself.

And yes, I know that Islam is multiracial but let's face it, there's a healthy dose of arab and turkic and persian racial supremacy laced throughout the people who raised armies in the name of Allah.

The cause of terrorism in the world is that Islam has been on a multi-century downslide (also starting before the US existed). The shame and anger of a proud religion that once could have wiped christianity off the map had they all decided to do it now falling so far behind those once bumbling europeans is the true root of the problem of today's terrorism.

Racist Arabs
No black soldier in the Saudi military can be an officer.

Fighting spirit
The reason we (the West) lost our fighting spirit may have something to do with the influence touchy-feely lefty ideology. But it's also no doubt due in part to the fact that the West, to paraphrase military pundit Bill Lind, blew its own brains out in 1914. Sending two consecutive generations of men off to slaughter tends to have that effect. In Europe, the demographic impact of the World Wars is still felt.
America, to be sure, did not feel those effects the way that they did. However, we've always been skeptical of our elites and their intentions, and I'm not sure this is a bad thing. Besides, I don't think it's the American people who have lost their fighting spirit, it's the leaders (if they ever really had it). They are unwilling to do the cold-blooded things that need to be done for victory, whereas most of the regular folks I talk to, even the ones who opposed the war in Iraq like I did, are saying "Let's win this f**ker already." And we could win it if the people in charge weren't talking about "immanetizing the eschaton" in Iraq.

are you honestly claiming that non-white peoples are completely peacefull?
If so, please provide evidence, because I sure as heck can't find any.

As to the US commanding the rest of the world and punishing those who disobey us, I would love for you to provide some evidence to back up that piece of lunacy as well.
For the most part, the US is ignored in the world. When was the last time the UN voted our way?

Proper warfare has always been a spectator sport, not a game...
Urbanized civilization was the product of the edged weapon battlefield especially during the Iron Age and this process was typified in the Middle East. Some of those early warrior cultures survived uninterrupted into modern times. Islam, as a state religion, was particularly consistent with militancy. Such cultures, and the Japanese are another example, glorify the warrior even today.

Success on the battlefield meant security and prosperity for the nation. Prior to gunpowder weapons with rifled barrels and field artillery, warfare was an athletic event with heroic, heavy muscle labor dominated by professional infantry, supported by horsepower and occasionally by elephants!

Standing armies and expeditionary forces were assembled out of that fraction of the male population who were naturally suited to the athletic demands of the work and (more or less) so inclined. The Shogun Era Japanese military employed about the same ratio of men as we see playing high school football. 3%-4% of the male population. Everyone else hoped the army did well enough to bring home booty and servants. Otherwise, the home crowd might wake up one morning as slaves themselves.

After some 200 years of increasingly technical modern warfare, however, the concept of military imperialism as a proper way for a sovereign states to expand its tax base has become moot. Nations at war today must invariably target each other's civilian populations and their industrial infrastructures, crushing the other side's will and ability to fight and ultimately destroying more than anyone could hope to gain.

Nevertheless, military confrontations and threats of attack continue to be the mechanisms our 200 nations in the world employ to interact with each other. It is the business they each succeeded at to become sovereign and waging war is just about their most favorite thing.

No one has parades with bankers, accountants and plant managers marching in neat, tight rows. (The goose-step is still in vogue, for crying out loud!) Tanks. We like the drum and bugle corps. Brilliant Marines in full dress blues with white gloves and stiff white covers. Cavalry officers on horseback! And screaming jets flying in close formation directly overhead. And Tanks. Military parades are so viceral that we reproduce such displays at halftime on our Football fields. As if the Football itself is not enough.

The motivation for actual warfare is indeed gone. If our sovereign governments insist on continuing to wage war then they must look very hard to find someone to be the enemy. We can call this current exercise a War on Terror but who is our enemy? Worthy to fight us?

We have occupied the cities of a warrior culture and they will fight. Every day and forever. We issued an open invitation to "come get some" and Al Qaeda showed up to the party. Otherwise, they never get invited anywhere! Now this pathetic small group of self-aggrandizing criminals without a country have been elevated to the status of the very dangerous enemy of the most powerful military force the world has ever seen! They are loving every moment of this. No matter how long we stay in Iraq we cannot kill enough of them to make them stop. Before there were hundreds of Al Qaeda. Now there are thousands.

The problem is that global society will always breed some such dangerous crazies. Nature of the (human) beast. When we find them we must deal with them harshly. But when they do something terrible we must take our lumps and get over it. They probably cannot hurt us really bad if we work hard to keep them marginalized. But to get paranoid enough to see them lurking everywhere will only turn us into fascists.

Look. People. We kill 45,000 Americans on our highways each year because we insist on driving automobiles. OK. So that's the deal. Nature of the technology. One price to be paid (in blood) for living in our modern world. Terrorists are simply another.

Iran will have the bomb someday soon and they will not use it. North Korea is China's problem. Japan will rearm themselves (no tragedy, they would have done so pretty soon anyway). Iraq will suffer a relatively high homicide rate among its domestic population for some time after we are gone. If we find out that any nation has given weapons of mass destruction to a terrorist group and people got hurt then we need to violate the sovereignty of that rogue state with prejudice.

My father always told me that if there is going to be a fight then put the other guy down immediately and don't let him get back up. Don't fight. Execute. Fighting is a good way to get hurt. And so is war.

Your name indicates
that you are probably from an upper caste of India. You could even be a Brahmin. Tell me, don't most of you guys feel superior and look down upon others?

What has the US or the white man got to do with the violence inflicted on India by Muslim invaders?

You think we don't know the history of India?

How can you be so sure that
Iran will not use it when it has one?

Yes IAM UPPER CASTE HIDNU,
My forefather did mistake,and we are suffering that up till now.Yes we treated very badly to lower caste, but we did not killed them just like white people.
Histroy telling us that white people went anywhere they destroyed origanal community. U.S. South America, Afica, Australia,great manument of white man`s missdeed.

But you haven't answered
what has the white man to do with Muslim invasion of India? Or the Armenian genocide in Turkey, or the Pol Pot massacres of Cambodia or the cranage in Rwanda and on and on.

You get the idea.

You didn't kill the so called lower caste people becuase they kow towed your line. But you did treat them as serfs and you did kill the recalcitrants.

Moreover, if you don't have the b**ls to fight for your Right that you, as an individual, has no obligation to suffer for the sins of your ancestors, do you expect everybody to not have them (b**ls)?

Of course, I am assuming that you as a person are not interested in ill treating the so called lower castes. I may be wrong.

Well, if they want to play with the adults...
When Iran has the bomb they must start acting responsibly or genuinely risk being eliminated. They are not a super power and will not be able to bully the US, Russia, China or the European Union. Their hegemony in their own arena is at its peak now. If Iran tries to push its neighbors around once it has the bomb the other Middle Eastern nations who might be ambivalent today will turn against her. Even Syria.

We were all concerned that India and Pakistan would suffer a nuclear exchange once they both had the bomb. And drag us all into World War III. But their political rhetoric moderated quickly once escalation might lead to annihilation.

Military imperialism is moot. No one gets to annex the neighbors. So where's the percentage? Israel is here to stay and there is no possibility that a nuclear Iran will change that in any way. If Iran gave such a device to Hezbollah, for example, we would immediately level Iran just as if they had pushed the button themselves. No amount of diplomacy could stop such a summary response. Only an immediate and unconditional surrender of their sovereignty. And they know it. I think we have demonstrated our willingness in this regard.

However, if I am wrong, and something terrible does happen in the worst case Iran could not hurt mankind in any kind of permanent way (even if millions of innocents suffered as millions have suffered before) and we would be able to really do something about the various rogue states in the future.

Of course, as long as nuclear weapons exist there will always be some chance that one might be detonated. A tiger in a cage is still a tiger, isn't it? We seem to be willing to live with such risks.

In any case, we could not stop India, Pakistan or North Korea and we will not be able to stop Iran. Next! Let's all work on problems we can do something about.

I would take
the word of Ahmedinijad any day over yours. He clearly said that he would wipe out Israel. He even mentioned that the Islamic world does not mind losing 80 million of their brethren, if they can realize their dream of annihilation of Israel. And it is not possible to wipe out Israel with conventional weapons.

And why do you assume that death will be a deterrent for the leader of Iran?

Talk is cheap...
It is one thing for Adolf to have declared his intentions because he might genuinely have aspired to annex his neighbors and then conquer continental Europe, seize the British Isles and then betray his Non-Aggression Pact with Joseph. We should have taken him at his word.

With Ahamdinejad such rhetoric is simply part of his charm. We should be aware that any of the nuclear powers might become dangerous. Even to the point of recklessness. Therefore, we should always be concerned about loose cannons.

We should also understand that Ahamdinejad is not a religious leader himself but came to power only because the Ayatollahs wanted to clean house and they rigged his election. There is significant domestic unrest in Iran and the theory of "continuous revolution" is an established political technique for keeping a miserable government (one that is losing control of its own citizens) in power until it can figure out how to stop doing stupid things. China, for example, operated this way and finally worked matters out for themselves.

President Ahamdinejad will stand for re-election in 2009. Iran will not have nuclear weapons by then. If he tries to become more powerful than the Grand Ayatollah and stay in office past his usefulness (as a firebrand) then he will have a real fight on his hands. They will kill him.

The clerics are in control because they know how to survive and to make their followers commit any of the suicide that is called for. Iran's self-serving leaders are looking for leverage, power and respect. Not the end of their world.

I hope you are correct
.

War: an atavistic custom
Forest-- you make some very interesting comments. I'm wondering about this one though:

"Nevertheless, military confrontations and threats of attack continue to be the mechanisms our 200 nations in the world employ to interact with each other. It is the business they each succeeded at to become sovereign and waging war is just about their most favorite thing."

Haven't all the nations gotten this one out of their systems? Other than the United States, which nations are still engaging in warmaking against their neighbors?

Looking for a good war
May I commend you on your own fighting spirit, Buddha. I don't recall your ever being that way in legend... you've come a long way, baby.

But wouldn't you at least admit that our current leadership doesn't lack for proper fighting spirit? Isn't what they're doing now just an attempt to antagonize enough Muslims by occupying their center and reducing it to a vast killing zone, that we raise a proper opponent?

You can't have a war when only one side is fighting. And Saddam's legions provided no sport, having retired the field to the invader back in April, 2003. It looks like we are cooking up the "war to end all wars" some time in the next fifteen years, when all of Islam realizes it must mobilize or be defeated.

Speaking of sin
I think what Raghunath is pointing toward is that nowadays there are no more nations invading weaker nations-- except for just the one. And that nation is inspired by the old "white man's burden" in some degree, that it thinks itself qualified to be the world's higher authority.

Next to the sin of imperialism, what are the antics of nineteen oddballs with box cutters?

I don't think they're ignoring us
That's not what he's claiming-- that non-white peoples are completely peaceful. I think Raghunath is pointing to the fact that the brown nations aren't trying to invade and occupy us.

When was the last time a non-Christian nation tried to invade a white, Western one?

Talk about fighting spirit!
"Moreover, if you don't have the b**ls to fight for your Right that you, as an individual, has no obligation to suffer for the sins of your ancestors, do you expect everybody to not have them (b**ls)?"

With all due respect (that is, none) this post seems awfully belligerent. Where did all that anger come from? Did a brown man diss your daddy?

I think Raghunath brings up a valid point, that while over history all dominant nations have indulged in massive killings to prove their point, you would have to say that only two have systematically cleared entire continents so they could take the land for themselves. And those two would be Western white men (actually, only the Anglos and the Boers) and the Mongols under G. Khan.

Civility is a virtue you might want to devote your next self-sermon to.

That is your privelege,
if you want to beg on your knees for every crime committed by your ancestors and same skin contemporaries.

Perhaps, then he is wrong
What amazes me most is the claim of imperialism or anything like it. The U.S. has never kept territory this way (not even in the conquoring of the Indians; that was a whole different issue).

We are inspired by the "world wants us to play world cop" burden. The problem is that we don't often do what everyone else wants us to. The world did not want us in Iraq but does want us in Darfur. We are in Iraq and not in any hurry to go to Darfur. That peeves off a lot of people in the international community (and at home).

No other country does anything that isn't in their own national interests, but the U.S. is suppose to "do what the world tells us to"? Get real!!

The U.S., England and, to some extent, Canada, Australia and Israel, are about the only countries that ever act in a manner not directly tied to their own direct interests. This group is about the only countries that are ever "altruistic" in any sense.

The subject is self determination
" if you want to beg on your knees for every crime committed by your ancestors and same skin contemporaries."

Your response is cryptic and indicative of a bizarre world view. In this debate my skin color and my nationality are unimportant. I was raised to revere life itself and also to respect the opinions of others. That includes allowing others to live their lives the way they want to.

That teaching was not adhered to by the first European settlers in America and it is not being adhered to now. I reserve the right to come out against the adherents of this world view, for precisely the same reasons I stand against those values Saddam, Hitler, Stalin and Mao stood for.

Where do you stand in this scheme of things?

Our national interest
Had we wanted to act honorably in Iraq we could have gone in, deposed Saddam and acted as caretakers for only a brief period until some new government began to be formed. Such a course of action would arouse no suspicion of our ambitions. For that matter, we could have done the same in Rwanda, subsequently in Congo-Zaire and currently in Darfur. But we haven't done any of those things-- because humanitarian aims come dead last on our list of things to do.

If you want to know the reason we made war on Iraq in the wake of 9/11, just see who was advocating this war back in the late 1990's. And compare that list with the list of those who are currently benefitting from the war.

Your claim that Israel acts in a manner not directly tied to her own direct interests is preposterous. Long before Israel became a nation she embarked on the course of putting the interests of the native population below those of ethnic and religious Jews. Such a stance would be anathema to you if any Muslim nation had acted thus.

the Boers failed
What with a ratio of about 40 to 1 in RSA, black over Afrikaner, it doesn't seem that the "Boers" effectively cleared their nation, much less their continent.

which nations are still engaging in warmaking against their neighbors?
China

When was the last time a non-Christian nation tried to invade a white, Western one?
(Insert today's date.)

Have you taken a look at Europe lately?

And whether my dad was dissed
by a brown man is? If you are raised to respect the opinions of others, why are you against Saddam, Hitler, Stalin and Mao?

Not all opinions deserve the same respect. Some demand scorn.

The opinion that Raghunath1 and Roy should do penance for the sins of their own ancestors (or even thier own father or mother or siblings, for that matter) or same skinned or same caste ancestors is an opinion that deserves unreserved scorn and I do so proudly.

But if you want to take the blame, that is your prerogative.

True
So acknowledged. I guess that would leave the British and their American progeny as the only race of humanity indulging in large scale land clearing operations since Genghis.

And to be sure, the Russians did a job on the Siberian natives. But it was only sparsely populated.

Sorry, not China
I don't mean empty threats and saber rattling. Outside the US it is generally conceded that the dance occurring between Taiwan and mainland China is just an elaborate form of diplomatic wrangling.

Has the first actual casualty occurred in this alleged war? Has there been an invasion?

Sorry-- mailbox is full
Everything about this post is an intentional distortion. And while I'd really love wasting another day in answering your interminable one-more-innings, I just won't have the time.

I will be out of town for the next two days. Feel free to fill up my mailbox with more dialectic inversions.

Imperialism-- a short course
Paul, we've had this discussion before. Colonialism began to die a hundred years ago, and the final nails were driven into the coffin during the great pullout, in the fifties and sixties. Every outright colony turned out to be a money losing proposition.

The United States has been much more sophisticated. Abroad as well as right here at home, the smart players are content to own only the profit side of the ledger-- leaving the debit side to be shared with The People.

Thus the true extent of our empire is both military and economic. It goes under names like Neoliberalism, and Globalization. So a place like Honduras is not anything like a colony-- the upkeep would be entirely too expensive and burdensome politically. Instead they enjoy complete political freedom-- and work for us to our benefit.

That was the impulse that sparked invasion plans for Iraq, back in the late 1990's. It was to be Ground Zero for a new kind of nation-- one where the constitution was written specifically for the benefit of the investors and not the citizens-- who under the Baath constitution owned everything. The key was the inclusion of wording allowing the purchase by foreigners of every asset the nation possessed, and the repatriation of profits. Precisely as was done, let us recall, in the Russias at the fall of Communism.

Only things didn't work out that way. They are still hoping for a miracle-- sort of-- but no one really expects any longer that the serious money will ever be able to prosper off this godforsaken spot.

The only reason troops are still there is because it would be too politically embarrassing to admit the obvious and abruptly take them out. The principles in this farce are still hopeful history may treat them kindly, and not as the buffoons who brought down the United States of America.

Pretty much all of them...
Only the really progressive small nations have avoided the very serious burden of maintaining some elements of a world-class, competitive military. Those who depend for their security on the US as the policemen of the globe have reason to rely on our willingness to step in on their behalf. Certain others have thrown in with Russia, China or the EU. Worldwide military budgets are a huge drain on our collective industrial working capital and are a drag on the pace of investment into developing economies.

Yes, every government that is paying attention knows that their own military forces cannot be deployed for the conquest of colonies, to annex the neighbors or for any other such adventures. Rather, military spending can only be justified as defensive. Smaller nations might avoid such expenses altogether but they might then fall into an unholy dependence relationship with one of the major powers. Every sovereign state needs a standing army of some sort.

In point of fact a weak central government must employ its federal military to maintain civil order and to keep potential breakaway provinces in check. The Philippines government is a fine example. They depend on the US 100% to defend their borders from any aggressive Chinese ambitions. But their overall weakness encourages Islamic separatists from Mindanao to the south, Communist insurgents in the north of Luzon and even coup d'etat plots from among the generals themselves.

The 200 nations in the world were forged out of blood and iron. Violence and the threat of violence holds them together and makes everyone pay taxes. Militancy is the currency of the sovereign. We must not imagine that this will ever change. Therefore, we look to the governments to protect us at a physical security level, going forward. But we would like those same governments to back off the mutual sword rattling they seem to indulge in with such sombre seriousness. They love it. We need to limit their budgets and their capacity to amuse themselves in this manner. If we give them free reign the strong governments will turn on us for no particular reason other than to keep themselves occupied and to justify their growing budgets. We must not allow our governments to become fascists and we must not allow ourselves to become occupied by our own armies now as global civilization evolves.


What is the intentional distortion?
You were the one who started about my dad being dissed by browns, as if only if one is personally affected one can have certain ideas?

If you want to live your life in guilt, begging forgiveness of any and every body for the sins of your forefathers (literal and figurative), that is your privelege.

China...
Yes. China. They are indeed still dangerous. As North Korea might find out soon.

My forefathers
My forefathers were never in the game. They were ordinary working people, and never killed a redskin in their lives. They only came to this country around 1890, at which point the killings were done.

And if you want to widen the circle out to "figurative" forefathers, those are not my fathers, nor are they my kinsmen. They were land thieves. I do not feel any guilt on their behalf-- although I think they should have felt shame at their deeds.

So, in short, I'm not begging on my knees here.

I see you are still bristling from my gentle chide, offered in this context:

Your response to Raghunath: "Moreover, if you don't have the b**ls to fight for your Right that you, as an individual, has no obligation to suffer for the sins of your ancestors, do you expect everybody to not have them (b**ls)?"

My response to you: "With all due respect (that is, none) this post seems awfully belligerent. Where did all that anger come from? Did a brown man diss your daddy?"

If you feel I owe you an apology for this gentlest of calumnies, you shall have it. I think you owe Raghunath an apology, for your own crude slur. Why not give one to him?

All about the benjamins
I would differ with your beginning assertion, that we are still in the midst of a war of all against all. Maintaining defensive armies, or even belligerently posturing and strutting about, is standard behavior. But since the watershed date of 1945 there have been very few bona fide invasions of foreign soil. North and South Korea, or Vietnam? Those were civil wars. Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo? The breakup of an unstable union. Indonesia's invasion of East Timor would be one of the few actual cross-border invasions.

Mostly what we see are the American invasions, across the globe. Haiti, Panama, Kosovo, Somalia and the more recent ones. And, of course, the clandestine or quite open arming of one side in a factional conflict, or the militaristic support of police states like El Salvador, Chile, Argentina, Brazil or Uruguay.

Other than that obvious fact, it's the mere threat of war that is an obviously profitable condition for states making money from selling arms to perpetuate. And the arms industry as profit center will certainly benefit if dictatorships are maintained by the use of their product. So in fact we see a stasis being enforced in much of the world, largely but not exclusively through American (and British) sponsorship, tied to what must surely be a purely coincidental source of profit. And that stasis is the perpetuation of their customer base-- oppressive regimes.

One set of figures you will find very difficult to uncover is the proportion of foreign aid in loans and outright gifts that are tied to US arms purchases. That is, the money originates in the taxpayer's pocket, then goes to Washington, then is gifted or lent to some government like Israel or Egypt, then is repatriated either directly to an arms supplier or indirectly, by way of the purchase of second hand military materiel, necessitating that those munitions be resupplied to the US by the manufacturers.

In the Iraq occupation it's not just arms, it's all the money being ostensibly spent "on the rebuilding effort". Note that while nothing much has yet been rebuilt, all those billions have efficiently been recycled into contractors' pockets, and very little has stayed in Iraq in the form of wages or grants.

I would take this sales factor as being the root cause of much of the world's potential conflict. Not generally recognized is that the world's true weapon of mass destruction is the AK-47 and other small arms, which kill 200,000 people worldwide each year. In cross-border sales of assault weapons, land mines and other small arms the US is number one every year.

But this rant does not exactly address your comment. I agree when you say "we must not allow ourselves to become occupied by our own armies now as global civilization evolves."

We do need to be vigilant toward the threat of militarization within our borders. An example I watched with misgivings was the militarization of the Katrina response. After the disaster response being totally screwed up by every player from FEMA on down, and will all the civilian first responders being kept from entering the disaster are for weeks on end, they finally went military.

And ordered all the people who were dug into their homes to leave at gunpoint. This is typical. It manifests the kind of thinking that has a military force of supposed good guys rescue a country from a guy like Saddam-- who should be an easy act to follow-- and ends with half the population hating the invaders even more than they did their oppressor. And many still think we're helping the situation, not just making it worse.

What "civilization" needs to do is to develop non-military solutions to its problems. And as the US sets the tone for world affairs, we need to lead the pack in this regard. Naturally, our sales volume will slow greatly if this approach is ever adopted.

Ahh... the Chinese
Technically speaking, all nations are potentially dangerous. Go down to Grenada or Martinique and start some trouble. See what happens next. But I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for a Chinese invasion of the DPRK. What would be the purpose? The Deeps present no threat to China.

Excuse me
I forgot to post an attribution. This one can serve as a starting point:

http://www.fas.org/asmp/fast_facts.htm

A bit off course
Much truth in what you say, but not the point.

Either the U.S. is a shining example (with some admittedly tarnished times) or it isn't. Either way, it is certainly better than a lot of countries out there (there are only a handful of exceptions that are even in the ballpark) and it is not the "cause" of the world's problems.

But then...
North Korea serves what purpose for China? They are the extreme example of Communism at its worst and their continued existence makes China's single-party republic seem moderate. In fact the Chinese are very rough on their own people and their current form of primary capitalism is truly exploitative of their domestic workforce. But that is the soft and fuzzy rational.

The hard-nosed Chinese reason is military. North Korea is an effective buffer state between China and the US forces deployed in South Korea. This state of affairs is a residual of World War II, the Korean War (where US forces actually fought the Chinese directly) and the Cold War.

As China builds up its military capability it will have an inclination to extend its hegemony to influence its neighbors. Trouble is, these include Russia, Japan and, indeed, very close allies of the US (such as South Korea and the Philippines). The matter of Taiwan has not at all been settled.

An out of control North Korea is destabilizing. They are not very useful to China if they do not do as they are told.

We cannot invade North Korea. They have thousands of artillary pieces within range of Seoul (10 million people) and that's a slam-dunk we could not block. A nuclear strike is also out of the question, unless they push the button first. China is still North Korea's very best friend and we would thereby risk World War III.

The real problem is Japan. The Japanese are not allowed, by their own Constitution, to substantially rearm themselves or to wage war (Article 9). However, it has only been 60 years since World War II and the Japanese are still a warrior culture.

The US as a close friend more or less trumps China and Russia as a threat to Japan. But if North Korea is out of control and the US cannot do anything about it then Japan must prepare to defend itself, rearm big time and go nuclear quickly.

The US would then have a real problem standing by Japan because South Korea and the Philippines could not tolerate the threat a rearmed Japanese military might pose to them. Of course, Taiwan has it's own history with Japan. It is, indeed, more logical that Formosa (as Taiwan was called when it was a province of Japan) might petition for reunification with Japan before it would agree to be annexed by China. Of course, such a move would be predicated on Japan's ability to defend Formosa.

With the US backing away from a rearmed Japan in the interest of its committments to South Korea, to the Philippines and to others in Asia the Chinese have a real problem. Now Japan uses South Korea as their buffer state and North Korea becomes only a proxy for China herself. Why should the Japanese worry about one nuclear warhead or two in North Korea when any incident or accident means war with China?

All this because Pyongyang is being such a tool. Of course, China has assets inside the North Korean military. These are generals three layers down who actually do the (line management) work while their out-of-touch (staff) superiors sit in meetings with stupid smiles or their game-faces on (depending on the mood of the Big Boss that day). Chinese handlers pull the trigger, the Dear Leader is removed, the provisional military government immediately asks for Chinese intervention to maintain order and North Korea effectively becomes a Protectorate of China. Textbook coup d'etat effectively followed by annexation (although North Korea would retain its technical sovereignty). The rest of the world would sign on to this outcome and the problem would be solved. No warning, quick and surgical. Almost bloodless. You think the Chinese are not capable of such intrigue...?

War to end all wars...
World War II did put an end to military imperialism 60 years ago. Nevertheless, sovereign states are military machines whose foreign policy and domestic policy begins and ends with death, destruction and capital punishment.

Therefore, it is only reasonable that aid from our government to any another government should primarily be in the form of military hardware. Fighting is their natural business as well. If we don't help them acquire weapons then the other side will. Naturally, if their equipment has US origins then they must stay close to us for training, warranties, upgrades and spare parts. Their armies become elements of our greater military force. In the case of South Korea, their spare parts industry supplements our domestic vendors (especially for the older generation platforms that our Marines favor!)

You are correct about the money. We need to focus our contributions into the tax base of the sovereigns we chose to organize our corporate entities under on those nations who are responsible about their foreign policy agendas and their domestic policy behavior. If they act up then cut off their allowance!

I didn't ask for an apology
nor one is needed. I never responded to the "dissed" part of your comment. Since you were the one who felt that I was dragging in your forefathers, I just pointed out that it is you who started the whole thing.

As far as my bringing up foreftahers is concerend, raghunath1 specifcally brought that up and you supported him.

I just made an observation nobody - and that includes rahgunath1 and you - should feel guilty for the crimes of their forefathers or anybody else, for that matter. One should feel guilty ONLY of the crimes one commits and get just deserts only for them.

That is the point I was trying to put across. Of course, I need have used the four letter word I did.

to Rghunath
I don't believe you are a Brahmin or else you would have mentioned that you were. So you're probably a lower caste than that. But whatever caste you are, how would you feel about your sister, or daughter marrying an undesireable? And how do you feel about the fact of the report that just came out recently that east indians are killing one of their own womean every few hours or so, just in order to collect more dowry money?

When was the last time one had the ability?
Regardless, Mexico is involved in a slow motion invasion of the US at present.

and a lower class intellect
full of hatred of anyone who isn't you.

Why did you change your position on Iraq?
You stated that you opposed the war (past tense). Why do you now support it?

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