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Private military and long waits

5/10/2004 2:56 PM
Mark Hammer
Private military and long waits
Actually, entire Canadian regiments were disbanded in the wake of the Somalia inquiry, simply because their reputation became beyond repair. So, no, there is no double standard. We saw the same kinds of stupid pictures of grinning soldiers in the paper and it disgusted us just as much. If anything, watching this unfold is like a slow-mo reply from our side of the border.  
Two things that have not been addressed so far:  
1) The high proportion of "contracted" help in Iraq. One interviewee I heard on my favourite Saturday morning political show noted that during the Gulf war, roughly 1% of American participation there was contracted, whereas in Iraq that proportion is up to around 10%. So now not only are, say, the bridge enginners or cleaning staff contracted (i.e., not public servants or military, but private citizens whose services have been leased), but apparently much of the staff at the prisons, and especially the interrogators, are contracted. Yes folks, the U.S. government has hired outside interrogators. I'm not going to diss ALL privatization, but there are some things where government downloading/contracting to the private sector simply does not result in the kind of service one hopes for. Let all you hard-nosed governmment-is-too-big republican types take note - running government like a business doesn't work nearly as well as you think it does; especially when it needs to be guided by ideals most. If only Warren Zevon would have lived a few more months; he would have had enough album material to compete with Frank Zappa for post-humous discography.  
2) The impact of extended rotation on military comportment, hardiness, and moral compass. We go through this too in Canada, so it's not a distinctly "American" problem. More and more, military personnel are being expected to do longer foreign rotations, with fewer breaks in between. We had plenty of our guys get themselves shipped off to Somalia, then off to Bosnia, then off to Rwanda, and finally off to a long-term disability pension as a result of the destruction of their souls. I'm not sure what the correct response to this ought to be. On the one hand, you can't turn a blind eye to stuff like Sierra Leone, or Kosovo, etc., and say "Well, it's *their* bloody problem, let them fix it". At the same time, it is clear the military forces of those nations who can and do participate in peacekeeping (which I don't think I would lump in with an invasion, but at this point, much of what transpires in Iraq has turned into peacekeeping) are overextended, and their capacity to deliver what is needed, in the amount needed, and with the quality needed, is being undermined. In general, the U.S. *has* the forces to do what ended up being required in Iraq, but those forces are committed in a LOT of places besides Iraq. That is also true of all other nations participating there and in Afghanistan, and I think probably played a role in their reticence to get involved in yet one more overthrow/occupation. To have the size of force that permits you to keep soldiers stationed for periods just shy of burning them out (and with intervals between rotations that are sufficient to recharge their souls and keep their families intact), you either need to sink the brunt of your tax base into defense, raise taxes, go into unbelievable debt, or ignore those nations that might need you and just pick and choose. None of that sits well with me. Still, all that being said, having a military presence that increasingly doubts and resents their mission and the residents, and takes it out on them, does little for U.S. foreign relations and little for the nations they are supposed to be helping. If there is any reason for Donald Rumsfeld to have to resign as secretary of defense, it is his inability to have forseen the obvious, here: you can't push your troops harder than they can cope with or else they stop being the strong and ethical people they started out as. A competent secretary of defense should be a champion of their people, not undermine them.
5/11/2004 6:03 PM
AlChemIst Speaking of contractors...  
Very sad :(
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5/11/2004 8:28 PM
Frank DeSalvo

Has anyone mentioned that Kerry admitted to personally committing atrocities against the vietnemese?  
5/14/2004 1:20 AM
I dont feel sorry for the guy getting behaded in Iraq--not one bit.If you really would prefer NOT to have your own head cut off...DONT GO TO THE MIDDLE EAST!!! This guy was not forced to go over there-and HE WAS TOLD TO LEAVE!!What a moron....Stay in the usa-we have great food,good porn,hot women.........and we wont behead you!!  
If you dont want to be bitten by aligators,dont swim in the Florida everglades.....same principal.  
Also,this video isnt that graphic--pretty fuzzy actually.There was one floating around the web that showed a Croatian soldier with his boot on a guys face and he cuts the dudes head of--you can see it clearly and hear everything-now THAT one is brutal!  
Did everyone forget about the Daniel Paerl video 2 years ago??This country is a fucking joke.
5/16/2004 6:23 AM
im a fucking mastadon---
5/22/2004 9:51 PM
Frank DeSalvo

"im a f!@#$% mastadon---"  
You are a dinosaur??  
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