Reinstate the draft.
That might seem counterintuitive since that would give us a lot more soldiers to use, but it would give a lot of families, a lot of Americans real skin in the game.
Wasting soldiers is easy as long as most people dont care and dont notice. But when it is your daughter/cousin/ uncle/parent someone you know for a majority of the population it becomes a very serious matter.
I say this as an ex-army soldier. I will be honest and say that I didnt enjoy my time in the military very much, and forcing thousands and thousands of youth to go through it means a lot of pain and uncomfortable situation, I think the benefits would outweigh the sacrifices made to make this happen.
An alternate plan would it to be mandatory that family members of elected officials to serve in the military and in wars, personally.
(Not just sit at a desk in DC pushing buttons) But there is so much corruption in those systems that the children would probably be protected one way or another.
What do people who are not a part of the military care about non-intervention? There is a reason we viliify the draft-dodger who becomes a politician and sends others sons off to war.
Here is a Wikipedia quote
"The persistent old belief that peasants and small farmers gathered to form a national army or fyrd is a strange delusion dreamt up by antiquarians in the late eighteenth or early nineteenth centuries to justify universal military conscription"
I support Rothbard's view on the issue:
I find both the notions that conscription=slavery and that taxation=theft can only be held by someone who does not believe in any sort of duty or obligation to one's community, country, nation, or God, and that self-interest must necessarily be one's sole (or at least primary) motivating factor.
I don't know where you got this idea. Most of the largest empires in history - Romans, Sassanids, Ottomans, British, you name it - had a professional warrior class. It wasn't all voluntary, but ideas like draft only applied to non-citizens.
My point is that military service is a responsibility, not a chore foisted upon us. If it were, we would be subjects. But we are not subjects, we are citizens.
Maybe when the country is being invaded. For offensive wars however I don’t know how you can argue this.
And certain offensive wars are for the common defense, usually against neighboring countries over scarce resources, or against other imperial powers.
Well yea, that is what the parent comment explicitly advocates.
The problem is that US voters are insulated from the horrifying effects of war and thus are not inclined to avoid it.
Thus, the parent advocates achieving non-interventionist policy by giving Americans voters consequences through the draft.
So kind of roundabout, but such is often the only viable way in politics.
But, you should know, the article did mention the casualties, at least glibly. "Many more Afghani's have died than were lost in the 9/11 attacks", is the only context the author can find, to appeal to his readers.
Its a sad state of affairs when the worlds greatest nation is populated with its worst cowards. Americans should have a War Channel that shows them what their military-industrial-pharmaceutical masters are doing around the world, 24-hours a day. Only then would the honour and pride demanded of American servants of its military be placed in the proper context.
To be honest I don't see any evidence of Americans being bigger cowards than anybody else. Also eg European media does exactly the same sort of thing. I suspect it's pretty much a global phenomenon.
I had just hoped that, of all outlets, NYT could at some point grow past it's navel gazing self, given how relatively balanced their reporting is in many other fields.
Still, I suppose you're right - its not as bad as the Australians, for example.
"Not supporting the troops" is a conversation ender up there with accusations of racism and sexism. But the issues there are much more complicated than no-one being interested.
Americans, willing recipients of its treasures, have nevertheless let their military-industrial-pharmaceutical complex run rampant over the worlds "lesser nations" for far too long, and the mechanism by which they fail, as a culture, to take any responsibility for any of it is exactly as you describe.
There is no respect due to a people who allow innocents to be murdered in their name with no recourse, no justice.
Zero respect deserved.
I'm definitely not trying to defend the stereotype of the standard wilfully ignorant US citizen, but I think the stereotype would be representative of most cultures who have had enough 'victories' (or been told they've had enough victories) that they feel they're deserving of their prizes.
To rearrange your wording slightly:
I care not a fig for the constitution of a species which allows the wanton and wilful destruction of it's sustaining environment without any recourse, responsibility, or indeed care in the world.
Nighty night humanity.
All cultures allow this. No culture has yet transcended it.
It’s fine not to respect humanity at its current level of development, but nationalism is hardly the solution.
Also, the NYTimes is eerily quiet about the role it and the rest of the media played in pushing for the war in iraq. No censure, no penalties, no nothing when they lied to the american people.
I guarantee that any general staff whose wives & children are in the affected area and who will be there for the next decade will figure out how to pacify the region to the level of a Chicago or Detroit.
You haven't demonstrated (1) and it disregards movitations such as a desire for advancement (higher ranks), or not getting shot at (lower ranks), and (2) can have many outcomes (there are faster ways to get home for an individual than winning a war), the least probable of which is the outcome you "guaranteed".
You're merely appealing to emotion while simultaneously disregarding all other (and much more relevant) factors leading to a drawn-out war.
On warships, where will the family live? Will we have extra cabins on them for people's family? The extra load on the ship's sustainability seems like it would significantly increase costs and/or reduce the amount of time between resupplying. I think that's unworkable.
Likewise aircraft. Preumably people's family don't get in the plane with the crew, so they stay at the airfield accomodation? That's often quite some way away from the danger, so it seems that it would just be a big expense and inconvenience with no other effect.
In these cases and with land forces, of course, the family woudn't want to be there, so they'd have to be rounded up and arrested and effectively imprisoned. What a legal nightmare that is! Need some big changes to the law to make that possible. Wouldn't be surprised if it required changes to the US constitution too. Running prisons of US citizens in Iraq and Afghanistan seems ridiculous. I suppose if the choice was running these prisons or just not invading, maybe the invasion never would have happened.
I guarantee that any general staff whose wives & children are in the affected area and who will be there for the next decade will figure out how to pacify the region to the level of a Chicago or Detroit.
Do you have any evidence behind your guarantee? You seem to be saying that the general staff just didn't try hard enough, and that they'd try harder if their family was there. I'm sure they would feel more motivated, but being super-motivated isn't exactly a guarantee of success.
Every victim gets a time slot.
Except for the mention of the World Trade Center, this could be a telling of the US involvement in Vietnam.
Back then, it was the highly dubious Domino Theory that hawks waved around to browbeat anyone suggesting that such a war was un-winnable, morally indefensible, or just plain hair-brained.
Today it's the equally dubious umbrella of Terrorism.
Having recently watched Ken Burns' Vietnam documentary, it seems nearly impossible to understand the thinking of the war's supporters. Unless, that is, you replace the word "Communism" with "Terrorism."
I just finished reading Neil Sheehan's A Bright Shining Lie, which is a story of Vietnam told through the lens of the experience of one particular American officer, and later civilian consultant: John Paul Vann. I heartily recommend the book - winner of the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, and authored by someone who was on the ground in Vietnam on and off during the war.
The book was published in 1988, so any parallels that are evident to Afghanistan and Iraq are not the backseat driving of the author.
One parallel, out of many, is that Vann many times lamented the lack of devotion the South Vietnamese Army had to the cause of Vietnamese independence. They largely wanted to avoid actual combat and profit off the American military machine by selling services, re-selling war materiel, accepting bribes for the other side, etc. And Vann said many times in the book that if he himself was a young Vietnamese, he would join the NVA (the North Vietnamese Army). And further, that he admired the grit and devotion the NVA had to the cause of independence.
Indeed, one could fill a page of further comments on the parallels: asymmetric tactics, politically powerful generals who lied about prospects for winning, presidents who kicked the can down the road, inability to win "hearts and minds", blaming the press when bad news gets out, ease of bombing versus difficulty of holding territory, "nation-building", installation of American-backed Vietnamese leaders (often emigres) who have no credibility in the country...
It is actually quite humbling. We should have known better.
You could argue:
- It was the French colonizing the country and imposing a nasty explotative regime
- The French for refusing to decolonize the country post WW2 and fightning (and losing) a war to retain their colony
- The US for refusing to help Ho Chi Minh when asked
- The US for helping the French
- The corrupt and brutal South Vietnamese regime propped up by the US
- The brutal North Vietnam regime encouraged by the Soviets and Chinese to fight a proxy war against the West
- The US for escalating after the Gulf of Tonkin incident
Of course, the right answer was that we couldn't take on all of those burdens, not even one, really, not for long. But in the aftermath of WWII, I think it's not surprising that this wasn't understood.
Then what's our excuse this time?
There's money in them-thar hills (of Afghanistan). War money: your nation can't survive without it.
Especially when most of the money, and all the future interest on the new public debt, comes from the domestic taxpayer. Imagine all the trouble the average citizen would cause if they could spend their own money on scientific pursuits, entrepreneurship and educating their children instead of debt service. It would practically be a revolution in the making.
Think about all the people there who view the US poorly because of our actions there.
Not sure killing one person really makes up for that.
So in hindsight, why was there an army in Afghanistan? 15/19 of the terrorists involved were former Saudi nationals, so it isn't like the Afghans were obviously churning out radicals.
Whole thing was bizarre.
Why the US public isn't angry at Saudi Arabia and Pakistan is a mystery to me.
Be serious. Deterrence may or may not always work, but it works enough of the time. Even when it doesn't work, the alternative (leaving them alone) almost certainly wouldn't work either. People who do these awful things don't need new grievances -- all the old ones will suffice for them.
Yeah, a US policy of destructive interference in Afghanistan without stabilization after the immediate aim is acheived has never had any serious adverse long-term consequences that would militate against that.
(Neither, I suppose, in your world, has the same thing in Iraq caused problems with merely completely botched stabilization ignoring everything we've ever learned about that topic instead of no stabilization at all.)
- do nothing
- go in, do what you can to get the bad guys and deter future attachs
- go in and attempt nation-building for as long as the public will stand it, then skip town
There are no other cases like 9/11, except maybe Pearl Harbor.
The third option worked pretty well there.
> The third option is the one we always try. It also always fails. Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq.
Vietnam was actually an example of the second option failing. While there was some effort at nation-building, it was as a means to defeating the “bad guys” (the so-called “hearts and minds” campaign), not rebuilding after taking care of the “bad guys”.
The third option also isn't what we tried in Afghanistan in the 1980s. It was more the second: get the Russians out, and don't worry about what happens after. There's a pretty direct line from that to the development of al-Qaeda (though the US option-2 intervention in the Middle East in response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait also contributed. Notably, the idea that “the third option is what we always try” is completely false.)
> Intervention in the Balkans did work in the 90s, but we didn't occupy
The US was deeply involved in post-conflict peacekeeping and nation-building in the Balkans. In fact, it was still involved in that well into the time of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
> There are no other cases like 9/11, except maybe Pearl Harbor.
> The third option worked pretty well there.
That was total war, with existential threats all around. 9/11 did not lead to total war.
> Vietnam was actually an example of the second option failing. While there was some effort at nation-building, it was as a means to defeating the “bad guys” (the so-called “hearts and minds” campaign), not rebuilding after taking care of the “bad guys”.
A distinction without much difference. Also true of Iraq (we engaged in nation-building both, for its own sake and to help pacify the place). We didn't stay very long after pacifying Iraq, and some would argue we never did pacify it.
> > Intervention in the Balkans did work in the 90s, but we didn't occupy
> The US was deeply involved in post-conflict peacekeeping and nation-building in the Balkans. In fact, it was still involved in that well into the time of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
Yeah, but there once the Serbians lost, and once a deal was reached with Russia, there was no source of further conflict, and this all happened fairly early on after U.S. intervention began, so the American public's patience was never tried, and we did not occupy either. That's not the case in Afghanistan.
If anything the Balkans experience shows when we can nation-build: when the conflict ends decisively. (We didn't end the conflict. The Croats and Bosnians did, with our help, yes, but they did the heavy fighting.)
No, in Vietnam the nation-building effort was a strategy to defeat the original enemy we intervened to defeat; pure option-2 get the bad guy.
In Iraq, the completely bungled attempt at nation-building was an attempt to acheive a new objective that followed defeat of the original targeted enemy (part of that, sure, was targeting the enemies that emerged in the power vacuum created when we defeated the original target and disbanded the military and security services—a mistake we did not make in the post-WWII occupations and which was immediately and roundly denounced by experts across the political spectrum when it was done in Iraq—but just because it was defeating an enemy doesn't change that it was not part of the original “get the bad guy” effort.)
Not as extreme as North Korea? No, but even the Soviet Union wasn't as extreme as North Korea. The subjugation of South Vietnam under North Vietnam was pretty brutal though — the Boat People didn't spring from nothing.
I wonder if that implies that the world should've gone full communist. That the attempts to stop that was just delaying the inevitable, even though the delay seems very successful right now.
I wonder if socialism would've ended up as authoritarian as it did if it hadn't been fought like it was.
Wasn't Allende's Chile pretty much brought down by external forces, i.e. CIA? Calling it survivorship bias is a bit premature if the said countries are antagonised by the most powerful nation on the planet :)
As far as I can see, there are two countries in Europe on that list: Portugal and Greece.
(There's also Nazi Germany. The Nazis were socialists, really, and they also had no civil war and no foreign power intervention, and that ended pretty badly too.)
I think the answer to your question is: yes, yes, of course it would have.
Now, you might point to post-war Western European socialism, but there we have a number of stabilizing factors (e.g., NATO, U.S. troops on the ground) limiting the freedom of socialist politicians to be as extreme as they might want to. As a result, post-war Western European socialism mostly means just high taxes and large welfare states.
Generally, socialism outside post-war Western Europe ends badly. There have been left-wing presidents in Brazil and others where it didn't end badly, but they didn't impose socialism -- they ruled more like Western European social democrats, not like Chavez, Castro, or Maduro.
 As opposed to what every disinterest person knows, that war is terrible, impossible to control and casts long dark shadows into the future.
For example during the Obama administration (which increased the use of drone & missile attacks globally) they posted this inditement of the assassination without trial of a teenage American citizen:
Though notably, they called the act a "targeted killing," as calling it an assassination would be accusing them of war crimes. Even the conclusion only condemns the killing of American's without trial, not bombing suspected terrorists without worrying about nearby people.
During the course of the Vietnam war, the communism revolution in China lost it mojo, and the impetus to spreading revolution throughout Asia declined. Viewed as a delaying-action/fighting-retreat the US involvement in Vietnam went on long enough to achieve its strategic aim.
Also, the comment takes a significant step further into political flamewar. Can you please not do that on HN?
If anything the Russians are proving that you can intervene and be successful if you actually have any sort of coherent strategy and the right allies on the ground. They are the ones bringing an end to this bloody affair (with a lot more blood but still).
So for 3.5 years the US tested the "let's stay out of it and see what happens" strategy (for the most part). What happend? 6 million people internally displaced, 5 million refugees outside Syria, 500,000 people dead. Iran, Russia, Hezbollah, Assad emerge as winners. Well, that really worked out. Not to say they wouldn't have messed it up by intervening but this bad? Hard to imagine.
EDIT2: I also understand as a non-american that it's a lot to ask of the US to take care of the world. But if it doesn't, who will? What happens in the rest of the world ends up impacting the entire world, including the US. Maybe I'm too naive though :(
What exactly would your strategy have been for a US intervention in Syria? Which local faction would you have supported? Would you have been willing to risk a hot war with Russia and Iran? When get involved in a war you don't get to say at the outset how far you go with it.
Also, given the nature of the activities, it's difficult to find authoritative sources, but I believe there were some WikiLeaks that had diplomatic cables discussing this.
Also if you read Syrian and Russian news, and the Syrians are certainly highly motivated to defeat ISIS as it's trying to take over their country, and the Russians are highly motivated to protect their ally, they both say the US has seemingly been helping ISIS as much as fighting it.
Yeah it's amazing that after all the "moderate rebels" have left (if they ever existed in the first place), and we've kept flooding the area with weapons and ammunition, ISIS
has ended up with lots of USA weapons and ammunition.
Considering the level of literacy in the Middle-East, I doubt that's true. And I wouldn't call what they know history, but rather propaganda.
ISIS was formed due to the power vacuum left after the USA withdrew from Iraq, largely by the former officer corps of Saddam's Iraqi Army, who had been left disenfranchised after the policy of de-Ba'athification  of the Iraqi government, replacing a vaguely competent government with a completely incompetent government.
ISIS was a problem of the USA's own creation, just like the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, and the current Iranian regime.
I was just alluding to the fact that the USA is fighting the Taliban in the 2010s, when in the 1980s they were funding them.
Obviously if the USSR didn't invade Afghanistan, we might not be in this situation either.
We should choose, as a society, to make war uncomfortable for us. It is the moral choice. We should have a draft, which puts the children of the wealthy and powerful at risk. We should have extra taxes, and ideally there should be rationing.
Then see the popularity of diplomacy rise.
If you're wealthy its super easy to avoid going to war, it doesn't matter which country we talk about. Bribe physician to have some made-up condition (ie Trump), or get drafted but end up doing some safe job on military base back home/outside of any real danger (i think Bush jr).
Wars are fought by poor under-educated classes (thats where drafting/hiring is aimed at), smart person sees how pathetic the causes are, how incompetent political and military leadership is, and how stupid it would be to lose life or health for no good reason (and very probably introduce hefty chunk of evil into this world).
You can get all the adrenaline thrill doing extreme sports (and much more), you can get paid better elsewhere and it must be kinda hard to strike the patriotic tune when country being attacked by your government is half across the globe, never set a military foot on US soil nor threatened it in any way
What I see as striking about the foundation of Qanon, is that their setup for the conspiracy theory, involves an almost leftist condemnation of the existing power structure in the US. And I agree with the general thrust of their diagnosis. This condemnation of some vary obvious problems in the US is actually kind of rare in the “mainstream media.”
It’s strking a chord with many ordinary people.
On the particulars, as to who is behind the grand “conspiracy” and who is working for our salvation, they are completely off the rails. I was just surprised that their introductory propaganda didn’t sound as crazy as I expected.
Many more where that came from. There is a case to made that the US wouldn't even be in Iraq if not for the undying support of the Bush administration's agenda, by none other than the New York Times.
You know what I'll say? I won't say a goddamn word. Why? They won't understand. They won't understand why we do it. They won't understand that it's about the men next to you, and that's it. That's all it is.
But what motivates people to sign up, go through months of training & travel to far off foreign lands to fight? Without those motivations, the desire to defend the 'person next to you' would only manifest when your homeland was under threat of invasion.
Should no one be a soldier in peacetime? Because logically, if the hypothetical guy next to you isn't getting hypothetically shot at...
Bush declared a national emergency after 9/11, and renewed it every year. Obama did the same. Trump the same. No reports to Congress. Congress has never asked for a report. Nothing but "the threat continues". 
More recently Trump used it as a way to force retired Air Force pilots back into active duty.
All else aside, that just ain’t right.
I mean, it seems obvious and I've never had to deal with this(does it rely on em or screen percentage sizing?!), but the way the Times formats the article seems to play particularly well with zoom.