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bitchen frizzy

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About bitchen frizzy

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    Houston, TX
  1. So you maintain that the differences I note are not relevant to this discussion; and if I claim that there's a substantial difference - say, in the minds of the populace - between the U.S. uninvited entry into Iraq and the PMG's invitation into Bougainville, I'm just being picky? You're being disingenuous. That does not become you. A glib generality. If that were so, then the U.S. does not err in applying the lessons of WWII to Iraq - using mech infantry to root out resistance in urban areas - since all conflicts are fundamentally similar. The one-size-fits all approach is the only right way to go, if all conflicts are fundamentally similar. The U.S. is using the lessons it learned in the past, on the mistaken belief that all conflicts are similar. That's one reason why there's little effort to look for what has worked elsewhere. Would the guerillas have been more willing to disarm, and less inclined to fight the invaders, if this had been done? You're making the same fundamental mistake the U.S. decisionmakers did: that the U.S. would be welcomed into Iraq by the majority of the population, that the U.S. would easily win over hearts and minds, and that resistance would be sporadic. In fact, you're erring even farther in that direction than the U.S. did, in assuming that the guerillas really could have been disarmed by the police.
  2. And since we're dealing with semantics, let's not forget that the very word "insurgent" is one of those nice euphemisms so often used to redefine the elephant in the living room as a coffee table. The "insurgents" might think of themselves as "guerrillas" or "resisters", and they might call the "insurgency" a "guerilla war." So what might their perspective of "hearts and minds" be? When the "insurgents" are the "good guys", don't we use the word "collaborator" to describe the civilians who buy into "hearts and minds"? And if the "insurgents" should be "policed", doesn't that mean we are defining them as "criminals" or "outlaws"?
  3. The source you provided me had this to say about the Peace Monitoring Group. ..."This group was made up of both civilian and defence personnel from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Vanuatu. Both sides of the conflict welcomed the group being on Bougainville. This support remained strong throughout the PMG's deployment." From that, I concluded that both sides of the conflict welcomed the group being on Bougainville. But, I was inspired to do some research, and it turns out that the PMG persuaded the sides to disarm after a bloody civil war that both sides were tired of fighting. Also, the PMG was not the invader. So, I'll change what I said to this, "No hearts and minds campaign conducted by an invader (as opposed to an invited mediator at the end of a civil war) has ever gone the way you argue it ought to." Better? I'm calling an invasion and armed occupation a "war." Like I said, if you've got another word for it let's hear it. If you're arguing that at some point there should have been a transition from occupation to police action, I can understand that. But if those being policed are using military weaponry, the police will need a lot of military support, won't they? Maybe attack helicopters are overkill, but if the police bring a knife to a gunfight they won't ever be able to pacify those who believe they are resisting an outside invader. Let me try again. I agree with you that insurgents are civilians. I do not think of them as two groups. Now can you agree that if insurgents are civilians, in civilian dress and driving civilian vehicles, then trying to distinguish insurgents from non-insurgents can be difficult - much more difficult than those finding fault from the comfort of their living rooms make it out to be? I'm arguing against those that claim the soldiers in incidents like this should have had no difficulty in distinguishing the combatants from the noncombatants, and in knowing whether a given nondescript minivan was a personnel carrier or not.
  4. Fair enough. Will that altogether eliminate occurrences of incidents like the one this thread's about, or just reduce them? Are there better choices of weapons and tactics than Apaches providing interdiction?
  5. Well, it takes quite a bit of imagination to compare that example to Iraq. Your example is both sides of a dispute welcoming outside monitoring. Not even remotely the same as an invasion and occupation. Give it a name, then, if you don't like the word "war." Any euphemism you like. It doesn't change the history, and what's happening on the ground. That's one of my main points. It's not a case of their being "insurgents" and "civilians" that can be clearly distinguished from each other, especially in an urban area. You have to be deliberately obtuse to fail to understand how uninvolved civilians can get killed in a situation where the insurgents are hard to distinguish from the innocents. How do you do that nonviolently? How do you stop armed resistance to a foreign invader without hurting anyone?
  6. Very few, compared to the ones who haven't. And, in every long war in history, the violence gets worse and more inhumane as the conflict drags on. That's one other basic equation of warfare that many people believe we can somehow solve with the right training. No, times haven't changed. Why? Because if the occupier (soldiers and voters at home) doesn't have the stomach for killing the insurgents, the insurgents won't quit. A very simple equation, there, too. I said before, no successful "hearts and minds" campaign in history has ever gone the way that you argue they ought to. And in what you say, you illustrate a mindset that there's a clear distinction between armed insurgents and the populace, and that's exactly the thinking behind the belief that the insurgents can be dealt with conventionally and apart from the civilians just like on a WWII battlefield where they are two different things. In what you are saying, you demonstrate that you and the military decisionmakers are looking at this problem in much the same way, when it comes right down to it: the U.S. can fight a successful "hearts and minds" campaign because times have changed and war isn't what it used to be, keeping soldiers from committing atrocities as the war drags on is merely a matter of discipline and training, and the insurgents can be sorted from the populace and dealt with then the war will be over. 1) FALSE 2) FALSE 3) FALSE Never said they shouldn't be. But that's a false dichotomy. Actually it's quite possible to both hold soldier in the field accountable for atrocities, while also holding politicians accountable.
  7. And where do those who hold the kid to blame fit in the analogy? Think about it...
  8. Diedrich and Emrys understand me correctly. I refer you to their responses. It's not that the universe is simple, it's that some things never change, but we - as a nation - keep expecting that they will. "In war, civilians get killed." Yes, that's simple. Almost a tautology. But just because something is simple, doesn't mean it's not true and immutable fact. 2+2=4 is also simple, but does believing that 2+2=4 make a person asimpleton who can't learn higher math, or is it necessary to first understand this in order to learn higher math? "Hearts and minds," post WWII, includes the belief that we've found a way around simple truths about war, like we don't need to learn basics anymore to do advanced stuff. "War is politics..." yes, yes. But to use that political tool correctly, don't the politicians have to know the basics, and understand wtf they're doing with the tools they have? After the last several years, don't you have any doubts yet that they do? Doesn't it faintly concern you that politicians who can't even find Iraq on a map are using an advanced and dangerous political tool like war?
  9. Yes. Using mech infantry divisions to do police work, and expecting that to win hearts and minds while not harming civilians, is insanity. The willful blindness comes in when you steadfastly refuse to admit that civilian decisionmaking - and voting - has anything to do with that. You put it all on the military, and thus excuse the dog owners. In my analogy, the dog owners are the politicians and those who vote for them. "Polititicians" could include the Pentagon brass, who are essentially Washington beaurocrats who by definition work as least as closely with the civilian policymakers as they do with the field commanders.
  10. Just as I said, you blame the hammer for breaking things, not the person wielding it. Who decides policy? Who sends the military to do "nationbuilding"? In all your posts, not one word about the accountability of those who misuse military force, and those who vote for them. I find that very telling. The military did not decide to go to Iraq, they don't get to define the overall mission, and they don't get to decide when to come back. "Hearts and minds," is a crock. It's political nonsense. It's the argument that the same hammer that wins battles can be used for every other job. It's fundamental misuse of power that gets innocent people killed. No "hearts and minds" campaign in history has ever worked in the way the post-WWII U.S. has repeatedly tried and failed to do it. You - and others on this thread - are willfully blind to the accountability of any other decisionmakers besides the soldiers themselves, including, of course, yourself. When someone owns a dog that's trained to fight, like a guard dog, and it gets out of its owner's backyard and kills a neighborhood kid, who's to blame - the dog, the owner, or both? In the U.S., it's been a long struggle, with much still to do, to get laws passed holding dog owners criminally responsible for harm done by their dogs, and to get police and courts to take the cases seriously. The dog gets put to sleep or shot, but the owner gets a slap on the wrist if anything. I understand why now - it's really the same mentality at work. We're using attack dogs - mech inf with air support - to do a sheepdog's job in Iraq, and we sure don't want to be blamed if anyone gets hurt. It's the dog's fault! Prosecute him!
  11. To various posters: 1) Tactical air support is not limited to shooting at those on the very front who are actually engaged in a firefight. It includes interdiction. You all know that very well. Retraining helicopter crews not to shoot at enemy near a firefight, and only those actually shooting, would be a fundamental rethink of air support doctrine in place since tacair developed. 2) Bigduke, you mentioned that the helicopters shouldn't have been there because the Bradley's should have been able to handle the insurgents themselves, so air support wasn't needed. That is simply absurd. American doctrine has always been overwhelming firepower, and combined arms is ingrained practice. 3) So what if the helicopters weren't in danger? Aircraft attacking ground targets often aren't in danger. Aircraft should not be attacking ground targets unless they're personally in danger? Ridiculous. Gee, why even have tactical air support? Maybe the aircrews should land, advance with dueling pistols or swords, and challenge armed men to single combat? Gunnergoz is right about one thing. Using conventional forces and tactics to win a hearts and minds campaign is an inherently bad policy decision. Blame the neocons who believe there's a military solution to every political problem. You all are mistaking me if you think my not faulting the soldiers in this action is the same as defending them. These incidents WILL happen in a war. Send a combined arms force into a city where they will inevitably encounter irregulars who don't want them there, and civilian casualties WILL happen. Sure, the helicopter pilots are aggressive and trigger happy, and will interdict targets of opportunity whether those targets are actively firing or not, whether they're even armed or not. On a battlefield with a clear enemy, that's exactly what they should do, that's how they're trained, that's what their equipment is designed for. Your politicians are using a hammer to do delicate repair work, and you fault the hammer, not them. You still want to believe there's a way to train and equip soldiers to fight a war in which nobody gets hurt and that never brings out the worst in heavily armed men trained to kill, and you're shocked when it doesn't work that way. I'm under no such illusions, and I'm not shocked at any of this, because I never drank the koolaid.
  12. Soldiers in a firefight do not always have that luxury. Think through what it would mean, in tactical terms, if soldiers were required to hold fire until positive no unintended harm would be done. How would "better supervision" help, in a situation like this? Rear-echelon approval for every NCO's decision? I know what you're saying, but you make it sound so easy, and it's not. And here is what I'm talking about - the illusion that we can get it right next time and not hurt any civilians, if only we could get the training and tactics right. EDIT because our posts crossed: What you advocate in your above post conflicts with policy that results in firefights with air support, in an urban area.
  13. ^What he said, along with my last post. This whole thing would have blown over a long time ago, if, at the time the incident happened, the military had said "Oops!" and let the media make a day of it. The coverup makes the story bigger.
  14. How so? I was more disturbed by some mainstream outlets heavily editing the video to remove some of the soldiers' most controversial actions and remarks.
  15. That will happen every time a civilian gets killed, often even when the civilian wasn't innocent. But that's a bigger problem than what happens in a given firefight. Voters and politicians have got to get over the delusion that fighting a nice friendly war with no collateral damage is just a matter of discovering the right combination of tactics and technology, then decide policy accordingly. In war, civilians WILL get killed, even by the "good guys." Why are we always shocked and saddened to discover that all over again? When will we ever learn?
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