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  1. #61
    If I might chime in. I'm an Iraq combat tour vet, US Army Paratrooper. Did recruiting for a few years. Liberal before/during/after service. I'll preface this by saying the military experience will differ between soldiers.

    What we have here is a very unfortunate example of straining the military to their breaking points. Over a decade of boots-on-the-ground, multiple deployments per brigade, and relying on the military to pretty much build both theaters of war into functional democratic societies is enough to burn out anyone. I'm very certain Europe has many wars that carried on for more than a decade where individuals or massive swaths of people decided to entertain themselves by raping and pillaging. I believe that's more human nature than nationalistic traits.

    For the soldier himself, I feel sorry for him, but don't mistake feeling pity for him to equal condoning and celebrating such actions. It was a failure at multiple levels, but should the news be accurate (that the soldier was a special forces attachment, and thus under less oversight) it was mostly a failing at the individual level. In the same sense that soldier are given multiple classes of instruction to spot a troubled soldier (and what to do), kinda like how the civilian world has it's own suicide watch reminders and talking points, it's really hard to spot someone who's going to do something stupid unless you happen to be at the right place at the right time. This wasn't on-the-spot panicked wildfire into civilian crowds, this was cold and methodical execution, and again I pity the soldier but that absolutely has no place in the military proper, and nearly everyone in the military service I know would agree with that.

    Now to address some of the opinions I've seen in this thread:

    1) American Troops are from "
    the poorer and shall we say less educated people"
    demographic.

    You may find this surprising, but even the American military has standards for enlistment beyond being able to pull a trigger. Knowledge of basic algebra, geometry, reading comprehension, and vocabulary is just the first gate to get in. Engineering, logic, language, and a slew of other advanced studies are tested. I've personally pulled combat arms jobs off the table for an applicant who I felt was unsuitable mentally to stand beside my infantry brothers. I will say that the poor have a home in the military, provided they are smart enough to join, and don't have an unforgivable criminal background. I know there are a lot of Americans on both the right and left that would prefer the fighting be left to the criminals and destitute, but that would the worst thing to build a military around, and definitely wouldn't be good for our image as a first-world country. A military needs smart people at all levels, from command to the boots on the ground. The stupid people are back at home watching TV screaming about the evils of brown people, and voting as such.

    2) Why did they(we) invade Afghanistan again?
    A very publicly broadcasted act of destruction occurred in one of our major cities. We're very quick to anger when something like that happens on our home turf, and many people wanted an eye for an eye. Conservative folk have always bet on a large military to exist for such an occasion. We wanted to smite whoever was responsible for such acts, and Afghanistan was our lead. Hence began the Global War on Terror. All other things and reasons? Well, we never really thought that far ahead. A failing on our part. Namdrol's pretty correct on his thoughts except for saying W was the second big reason we went to war. Gore would have done the same, he just would have yanked the stick out of his ass after what happened, as opposed to W finding his voice and talking points.

  2. #62
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RakeShark View Post
    A very publicly broadcasted act of destruction occurred in one of our major cities. We're very quick to anger when something like that happens on our home turf, and many people wanted an eye for an eye.
    It always felt to me that those who were most vocal about seeking retribution for 9/11 were those who lived furthest from a potential terrorist target. I'm still not keen on the logic of "fighting them there so we don't have to fight them here," and of course "an eye for an eye" made the Middle East such a fun place to live in the first place.

    'Course, the conservative hivemind seemed to go from "fuck New Yorkers" to "New Yorkers are our brothers" to "fuck New Yorkers" again inside of a month anyway, so...
    Nalano H. Wildmoon
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  3. #63
    Network Hub Namdrol's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    More or less, but if Dubya is "extremely intelligent," I'm a space-whale.
    IIRC, Bush II did very well on various standardized entrance exams during his youth, so I'll stand by my statement. But that doesn't mean he is a critical or rational thinker. I mean Hitler was very intelligent, etc. but he was a terrible with analytical and rational thought.

    Bush's mental failings that made him one of the worst presidents of all time are: massive and unjustified overconfidence; complete lack of intellectual curiosity; rock solid belief perseverance (i.e. a complete inability to admit mistakes in fundamental assumptions about the world); confirmation bias; laziness.

    He is smart though.

  4. #64
    Network Hub Namdrol's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RakeShark View Post
    2) Why did they(we) invade Afghanistan again?
    A very publicly broadcasted act of destruction occurred in one of our major cities. We're very quick to anger when something like that happens on our home turf, and many people wanted an eye for an eye. Conservative folk have always bet on a large military to exist for such an occasion. We wanted to smite whoever was responsible for such acts, and Afghanistan was our lead. Hence began the Global War on Terror. All other things and reasons? Well, we never really thought that far ahead. A failing on our part. Namdrol's pretty correct on his thoughts except for saying W was the second big reason we went to war. Gore would have done the same, he just would have yanked the stick out of his ass after what happened, as opposed to W finding his voice and talking points.
    The problem is the people responsible were already dead. No nation was responsible for the attack, and that is what conventional armed forces are for, fighting nations.

    Terrorism stems from poverty, oppression (real or imagined), young men without hope or futures, poor educational systems, and lack of social welfare systems (not an exhaustive list). [see Cutting the Fuse: The Explosion of Global Suicide Terrorism and How to Stop It (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010), for a nuanced discussion of how military intervention increases the terrorist threat).

    I've read that the cost of the Iraq war will be 3 trillion $. 3 Trillion! Imagine if that money, instead of going into the war machine, was spent on non-military options that sought to alleviate the above problems. I'm guessing the US would be one of the most respected and beloved nations on the planet.

  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Namdrol View Post
    IIRC, Bush II did very well on various standardized entrance exams during his youth.
    Maybe that had something to do with hi, being a president's son.

  6. #66
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Namdrol View Post
    He is smart though.
    You keep saying contradictory things.

    "He is intelligent, yet he has a complete lack of intellectual curiosity." Then he wasn't intelligent.

    No, he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and was given every opportunity in life from the Bush clan and the rich people the Bush clan was tied to. He was a C student in Yale - a school at which he was a legacy student - and it was a Gentleman's C. He inherited all his business connections and did jack squat with them. He inherited all his cabinet members and they basically ran shit for him. It's painfully obvious just how useless he was.
    Last edited by Nalano; 20-03-2012 at 07:25 PM.
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  7. #67
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Xercies's Avatar
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    I've read that the cost of the Iraq war will be 3 trillion $. 3 Trillion! Imagine if that money, instead of going into the war machine, was spent on non-military options that sought to alleviate the above problems. I'm guessing the US would be one of the most respected and beloved nations on the planet.
    We all now shiny missiles look better then new schools and taking people out of poverty

  8. #68
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xercies View Post
    We all now shiny missiles look better then new schools and taking people out of poverty
    Or fixing our bridges or having a half-decent rail network or having levees that don't break at the worst possible moment...
    Nalano H. Wildmoon
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  9. #69
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Fumarole's Avatar
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    It's Just a Ride

    Quote Originally Posted by Namdrol View Post
    T3 Trillion! Imagine if that money, instead of going into the war machine, was spent on non-military options that sought to alleviate the above problems. I'm guessing the US would be one of the most respected and beloved nations on the planet.
    I defer to the wisdom of Bill Hicks in this matter.

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  10. #70
    Obscure Node Vathek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    You keep saying contradictory things.
    The two aren't mutually exclusive.

  11. #71
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vathek View Post
    The two aren't mutually exclusive.
    No, they pretty much are.
    Nalano H. Wildmoon
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  12. #72
    Obscure Node Vathek's Avatar
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    Intelligence is the measure of one's tools; intellectual curiosity is the desire to use them.
    Last edited by Vathek; 21-03-2012 at 11:45 AM.

  13. #73
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vathek View Post
    Intelligence is the measure of one's tools; intellectual curiosity is the desire to use them.
    If you never use your intelligence, nobody would ever confuse you for a smart man. Indeed, the main method we have of assessing intelligence is its product. Bush is lacking. Ergo, Bush is not smart, and positing that he at any time had potential is just pissing in the wind.
    Nalano H. Wildmoon
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  14. #74
    Obscure Node Vathek's Avatar
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    An intelligent man lacking in intellectual curiosity would still produce a high level of success under assessment, but he would be uninterested in investigating or expanding on his given abilities (the key word being curiosity.)
    I wasn't disagreeing with you about bush (Although the evidence would point to those around him as the source of his more misguided moments), only pointing out the difference in definition between the two.
    But back somewhat on topic to what I had originally intended to post:

    Thanks for that Eisenhower vid Namdrol, genuinely haunting and prophetic stuff. Its seems an uncomfortable irony that the institution that sees itself as the bastion of hope and peace for the world relies for the most part on machinery whos function it is to produce quite the opposite effect.




    Last edited by Vathek; 21-03-2012 at 12:42 PM.

  15. #75
    Network Hub Namdrol's Avatar
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    You welcome, Vathek. Another interesting view is "Why We Fight", a film that was made 4 or 5 years ago. One image I remember quite vividly from the film was the aerial shot of the Boneyard (where they park old USAF planes).

    As for intelligence, I was referring to the more traditional, psychometric approach which relies upon standardized criteria (SAT, GMAT, Kaufman, Stanford-Binet, etc) which are quite good at predicting things like social/career success. And it's hard to argue that Bush didnt achieve a lot in those terms. He is widely reguarded as being very charismatic, he is not divorced, he has children, a Yale BA & a Harvard MBA, and was elected President of the United States and the Governor of Texas. Yes money & and connections help a lot, but the chances of doing all those things if a person is stupid are infinitesimal.

    Nalano, I think what you are getting at is that Bush was pretty much an anti-intellectual and because of that, one of the worst presidents of all time; & I totally agree with that. But the reason he was so terrible is that he did possess certain talents (intelligence, charisma) which brought him to power.

  16. #76
    Lesser Hivemind Node NecroKnight's Avatar
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    Yeah, he's very smart.




  17. #77
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Xercies's Avatar
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    On his defence a little bit you can be smart but not be a very good public speaker, there are two different things. I mean I can do intelligence tests and essays fine but when I speak I forget words and do say some stupid stuff so the two can be mutillaly exclusive.

  18. #78
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Fumarole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xercies View Post
    On his defence a little bit you can be smart but not be a very good public speaker, there are two different things. I mean I can do intelligence tests and essays fine but when I speak I forget words and do say some stupid stuff so the two can be mutillaly exclusive.
    And like most everyone else are fortunate to seldom (if ever) have it recorded when it does happen.
    The Medallion of the Imperial Psychopath, a Napoleon: Total War AAR
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