More On Afghan Ban on U.S. Forces in Region

JP-AFGHAN-articleLargeAnother good article in The Post on the reaction by the U.S. and NATO forces regarding Pres. Karzai’s ban of U.S./NATO troops from a key region in Afghanistan due to reports of civilian deaths and other abuses.

Read Here. 

Karzai Orders U.S. Forces Out of Region While Citing War Crimes

wardakThis article in The Post reports that Afghan President Karzai has ordered U.S. special forces out of a particular province in Afghanistan citing incidents of torture and murder. Hopefully these reports will not be true and I think this conflict between Karzai and U.S./NATO forces shows that it’s time to leave.

Read Here.

Mitt Romney’s New Op-ed on NATO

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney penned an op-ed today to show his strong position on the military to continue shoring up the defense voters, people who were likely going to vote for him anyway.  These people should not be completely confused with the veteran voters Romney is now losing since people strong on defense would include non-veterans and people who make their money through defense spending on production of military materials.  Let’s take a look at some of the things he said starting with an almost ludicrously ignorant first sentence:

NATO has kept the peace in Europe for more than six decades.

Yeah, I suppose we could say that…just have to throw out the well over 100,000 people who died in the Yugoslav Wars in the 1990s after the breakup of the Soviet Union.  Other than that it was all rosy as can be in Europe.  I’m assuming he is only counting countries that were a part of NATO and not ones where oppression and slaughters occurred in Europe, for example in Romania under Ceauşescu.  He doesn’t make this distinction, however, so he looks very ill-informed here.  The large number of people who died in “peaceful” Europe during this time clearly do not matter to Romney probably because most of them, if not all, were poor.

For it(NATO) to succeed, it requires strong American leadership. And it also requires that member states carry their own weight.

In other words, NATO should be an alliance where the U.S. tells everyone else what to do and everyone else should build up their armed forces more so they can carry out America’s orders without so many American forces involved.  Can’t understand why the other members of NATO aren’t clamoring to agree to that arrangement.  I’m sure they would love build up their armed forces and then lose more of their military sovereignty to the U.S.  Probably the first thing on all of their citizens minds. Look out Europe!  You’ve just been invaded by another American politician’s ego!

For decades, many European nations have exchanged investments in defense capability for ever more generous welfare states. The fiscal crisis afflicting Europe is placing even greater constraints on resources available for defense.

I have to admit these two lines were brilliant pieces of conservative propaganda.  Killing two birds with one conservative stone by advocating defense spending increases and cutting social spending.  Romney began by talking about the “peace” in Europe yet it is apparently not cool with him if these countries spend more on social programs during times of peace.  They must dump tons of money into military spending to fight the Cold War that ended two decades ago, just like the United States.

And a fiscal crisis in Europe has made European governments’ positions on military spending not in line with the conservative position of increasing military spending regardless of the situation.  The Europeans are not very willing to dump money into that part of their government spending since they don’t see it as overly useful in solving their problems.  Romney sees the danger here.  If they come out of the crisis by spending elsewhere, like in social programs, they might give us ideas about how to get out of a similar crisis and this would be unacceptable.  It would be more evidence for the idea that austerity doesn’t work and stimulating through spending outside of the military does.  Too dangerous of a potential outcome for Romney.

We are at a point where only three of the 28 NATO member nations are meeting their pledge to spend a minimum 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense.

So a bunch of the NATO countries are no longer fighting the Cold War.  What’s the problem exactly?  Romney would again be exerting American ideology toward defense on other countries here which I guess is fair in his mind.  Maybe the other 25 countries could tell the minority three they are spending too much on their armed forces.  How would that democracy-like outcome feel?

We have a military inventory composed of weapons designed 40 to 50 years ago…Our Air Force, which had 82 fighter squadrons at the end of the Cold War, has been reduced to 39 today. The U.S. Navy, at 285 ships, is at levels not seen since 1916.

I’m assuming much of that “inventory” would be the absurdly unnecessary amount of nuclear bombs we built up during the Cold War, which I would again remind Romney is over and has been for a while.  And the reduction in the number of ships and squadrons?  Is Romney aware of advances in technology and capability?  Call me crazy but I’m going to take a wild guess and say the Navy ships in 2012 cover a lot more ground and are slightly better armed than the ones of a hundred years ago.  And I’m guessing the Air Force fighters have also been upgraded once or twice since WWII.  There’s a reason we can safely reduce those forces.  It’s because we can do more with less because of technological advances, like something we use often that Romney strategically omits here: drones.  It’s as if we could cover a certain amount of territory with two ships sixty years ago but only need one to do it now because of technology.  Romney is saying we need two ships to do the job still because…I have no idea why other than to waste taxpayer dollars to look tough on defense.  Are people really falling for that one?

With the United States on a path to a hollow military, we are hardly in a position to exercise leadership in persuading our allies to spend more on security.

So we need a larger and more powerful military to force our “allies” to do what we say?  Clearly the phrase “exercise leadership in persuading” is a veiled way of saying “dictate to”.  I wonder what our allies think of that position?  Maybe someone should explain what an alliance means to Romney.  I guess his business career taught him that allies are just people who say yes to whatever you request and alliances are not two-way roads where both sides have equal input in the relationship.

As president, I will work closely with our partners to bolster the alliance. In that effort, words are not enough.

Holy crap!  Romney is going to invade Europe!  Sound the civil alarms Norway!  Because “words are not enough.”  We must use force or sanctions to make Europe do what Romney wants, I guess.  Really not sure what he means by that and would love to hear a detailed explanation as to his tactics he plans to use.

I will not allow runaway entitlement spending to swallow the defense budget as has happened in Europe.

Again, because it’s the American military industrial complex way or the highway.  There are no other solutions and we can’t allow Europe to try increasing spending on anything other than the military or the citizens of the U.S. might see another method of doing things and ask for those solutions.  Not only must we stay stupid, we must spread it to every corner of Earth.

And Romney is just the guy to do that.