RANGER AGAINST WAR: Freakonomics <

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Freakonomics


When [the interstate highway system] was built in the 1950s,
it was called the national defense highway system

because when you do anything in the United States

you have to call it defense.

That’s the only way you can fool the taxpayer into paying for it.

--Noam Chomsky (on human intelligence
)

Actual happiness always looks pretty squalid

in comparison with the over-compensations for misery
--Brave New World, Aldous Huxley


Boring damned people. All over the earth.
Propagating more boring damned people.
What a horror show. The earth swarmed with them.

--Charles Bukowski

___________________


Advocates of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) tout them as ushering in a new age of warfare, one in which the soldier is kept remote and safe from bodily damage. They say the drones protect us by flying the friendly skies of an unfriendly world.

Pakistani tribesmen carry the coffin of a person
allegedly killed in a 2011 U.S. drone attack.
They claim that innocent civilians died.
Photograph by Thir Khan/AFP/Getty Images

One result of embracing our drone technology is that we define ourselves as a predatory, high-tech nation which will eliminate anyone and anything that seems to array itself against the United States in an unseemly manner. These drones make us appear alert and on the ball, if somewhat to the left of democratic legalisms:

In Pakistan, Mr. Obama had approved not only “personality” strikes aimed at named, high-value terrorists, but “signature” strikes that targeted training camps and suspicious compounds in areas controlled by militants. But some State Department officials have complained to the White House that the criteria used by the C.I.A. for identifying a terrorist “signature” were too lax. The joke was that when the C.I.A. sees “three guys doing jumping jacks,” the agency thinks it is a terrorist training camp, said one senior official. Men loading a truck with fertilizer could be bombmakers—but they might also be farmers, skeptics argued (Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will.)

The other drones which define our society are the low-tech variety: Those people stuck in daily slave-wage positions without hope of a better life. These tragic drones remain barely sentient of their sentence, hidden below the radar, save for when they don the national colors and participate in fighting our endless wars. Because they may watch reality t.v. and people have yellow ribbon magnets on their cars, they imagine themselves to be fully enfranchised members of the Republic.

The U.S. spends to the point of insolvency to ensure the best military technology while ignoring the needs of the more ubiquitous, human variety drones. Attaining an advanced degree has been the usual way out for most, but the value of the diploma in a nation without jobs is questionable. Statistics reported today show that more student loan borrowers (29%) are dropping out of school sans diploma but still with lots of unpaid debt (Debt But No Degree).

Which drone exemplifies the real America? Which has the ability to enhance the state of the nation? The drone which magnetizes the money is the one we value most.

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11 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reinforcing your other observations concerning drones and assassination, drones cannot fight "wars" by keeping soldiers safe from bodily harm because wars are events in which, ultimately, success in derived from breaking the enemy's will to continue fighting. I don't see drones as being so scary that they can achieve this. Also, as you know,in a war, sooner or later there will be battles in which the enemy must be located and closed with, killed or captured and his territory siezed and held. How can a drone sieze and hold territory?

Maybe if we had a couple million drones circling ceaselessly, otherwise.......they look to me to be useful for some aspects of intelligence gathering (some, but by no means all) and assassination.But that's about it.

Someone has a new toy and someone is making a sales pitch.

As an aside, what with all these new expensive high tech toys, my son is deploying to Afghanistan at the end of June. He will be part of a twelve man team training and fighting with the Afghan police. In keeping with my family's emerging tradition of being denied sidearms, he put in a req. for sidearms for his team. He says that when he is in sit down meetings with ostensibly friendly locals he thinks it would appear more congenial if he and his guys would not be carrying M4s. His request was denied. The Army cannot spare twelve pistols for this mission. He has to go out and buy his own Barretta.

avedis

Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 8:29:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When gangs of armed thugs possibly even agent provocateurs, kill scores of women & children in a recent "massacre" in Syria - the west is suddenly (magically?) able to agree to simultaneously expel the Syrian rep's in those countries.

When the west uses drones/artillery or other "directed" eg the "rogue lone soldier" aka hit teams to strike against a gathering of locals or even sleeping people in a village in Any-Stan, killing and burning scores of women & children along with maybe a "target" - there is "news" that another "senior leader" of Al Cia-duh has been removed.

Human evolution over thousands of years?

How far has human conciousness evolved amongst the masses, let alone the lizards calling themselves "leaders"?

What a damned waste, what a damned shame.

Carl

Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 8:30:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Avedis,
tell your son to carry grenades.
it is smart to have one at hand so the Afgh's know that you'll pull the pin if they get hostile.
The vn were intimidated by grenades.
the regs do not allow for privately owned pistols.
You used the word FIGHT when mentioning Afgh PO'lice. Fighting is a military mission and policing is something else altogether.
Does your son or anybody on the team have any PO'lice experience?
What a fucking mess that we've created.
I wish your son safety.
btw-i was thinking of you the other dasy.
My best,
jim

Friday, June 1, 2012 at 6:43:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Carl,
look at the photo.
these poor mopes are carrying the deceased(victim?)on the frame of a bed.
this is so pathetic-we're using multi-mil$ weapons and they are using bed frames to transport their dead.
yep , this is asymetrical war.
On memorial day we never mention the millions of civilians that we've killed in wars since ww2.
jim
jim

Friday, June 1, 2012 at 7:02:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Jim. I will tell him what you said. I'm sure he knows the reg.s (though I am alos sure he is capable of breaking them). We were talking long distance, of course, and he was pissed off and venting. It wasn't just about the pistols. It was about a lot of aspects of the mission. He was saying that his medic is a fat lazy slacker and top is sick and tired of being deployed and is making noise about aches and pains and sprains trying to get out of this one.

They just got back from a month (maybe a little more) of training at Ft Polk. There are sym. Afghan villages there and some real Afghanis as well. They trained on close quarters combat, interactions with indig.s, policing methodologies, etc. Kind of weird because Ft Polk is in a swampy environment. Why not build an Afghan village at FT Bliss in the high desert mountains?

Otherwise, my son is an officer that has been to Army combat engineering school and air assualt school and that's about it. His first deployment (to Iraq) he was in the engineer compacity. No one on the team has police experience.

Friday, June 1, 2012 at 8:48:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Avedis,
i been thinkin' since my grenade comment. FUCK IT -carry the m4 in full open mode.who gives a fuck what the afghans think-this war is lost since 2004 and your son's life is more important than hearts and minds bullshit.
all of our sons.
jim

Friday, June 1, 2012 at 5:10:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous jim at ranger said...

Avedis,
the prev cmt was mine. i'm on a new computer.
jim

Friday, June 1, 2012 at 5:12:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Avedis,
how did i guess that NO ONE on this team has police experience?
why would the Army have police experience on a team training police?
we do have a mp branch do we not?
the training of police is a DOS function.
duh.
jim

Friday, June 1, 2012 at 5:23:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

jim, avedis: From what I can tell the APs aren't "police" in any sort of sense we soft Westerners think of. They seem to be a sort of paramilitary force, a holdover from the British times when "policing" the frontiers of Empire was basically a military job.

Still fucked up like a football bat, but at least less bizarre than having a bunch of 12B's training "cops".

Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 6:57:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Chief,
Pls remember that we have law and order MP's as well as the Corps MP's who pretend to be soldiers.
If we're using the british model then why not have SAS train the Afgh's?
jim

Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 3:41:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Chief,
i know the things of which you speak.
here's a dumb ranger question-why even bother pretending that tha AP are P rather than fighters.
why even pretend?
Do the Afghans really need police, or even an Army as it goes.
What is the difference between the Syrian Army and the AFGH army? Don't they both exist to support an otherwise unsupportable political structure.? They are instruments of repression. BOTH.
That's our tax dollars at work.
AVEDIS,
i ALWAYS CARRIED A HANDGUN, EVEN IN THE SHOWER.
jim

Sunday, June 3, 2012 at 6:50:00 AM GMT-5  

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