Good stuff here.
pjbogart wrote:Sorry if my post smacked of jingoism, I fully support bringing the troops home... in 2003. I guess I can rationalize the Afghan war based upon 9-11, but the prolonged occupation is a senseless endeavor. If you think back to 2002-2003, you'll probably remember that we blazed in there, blew everything to shit and could have just waved goodbye and let them pick up the pieces. Cruel as that sounds, I wouldn't have had much problem with it.
There's probably something to this. Had we burned and salted Afghanistan in 2003 and then left, many of the pieces would already have been picked up.
pjbogart wrote:But we didn't occupy Iraq or Afghanistan to be nice people. We did it to funnel billions of dollars to defense contractors, who pay politicians handsomely to keep them knee deep in warfare. There's a lot of money to be made in war, and you're paying for it. Sure, Ned loves to gripe about government cheese and overpaid teachers, but when it comes to paying Halliburton, Ned's all for deficit spending.
Sad, but true. If we weren't destroying people's lives in other countries, what would happen to those thousands of jobs in OshKosh?
pjbogart wrote:But the reality is that we're there, and ordinary folks that you have nothing against are putting their ass on the line to fight a war that can never actually be won. Those people deserve your sympathy and if a drone can clear out an insurgent camp without any US soldiers getting maimed or killed, I'm all for it. I'm sure it sucks to be an insurgent, staring at the sky wondering when some remote control toy will come and blow your ass to tiny bits, but Private John Doe wants to get home and kiss his wife and the baby he's never even met. I think he deserves that much.
I waver between sympathy for individual troops and ambivalence. It's a volunteer army, and like you said earlier, some of these guys actually want to kill people, and that's the reason they are there. I have some classmates from high school that did well in the Army and are better people now. Others are now bigger psychos than when they went in. Thankfully I don't personally know any of the many soldiers who have taken their own lives. Anyway, (and this is orthogonal to what you're trying to say) the army should not be a jobs program, nor a welfare program, nor a path-to-citizenship program; it's primary and singular purpose should be defense, and it should be no larger than necessary to accomplish that goal.