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Can anyone tell me WHY we are still at war?

Discussion in 'Tilted Philosophy, Politics, and Economics' started by pan6467, Aug 8, 2012.

  1. redux

    redux Very Tilted Donor

    Location:
    Foggy Bottom
    We can ignore safeguards like launch codes, locking devices, required flight patterns, etc. all we want if one wants to make the case for a terrorist launching a nuclear weapon in order to scare the public and keep the money coming.
     
  2. ASU2003

    ASU2003 Very Tilted

    Location:
    Where ever I roam
    Once you get the warhead and trigger, there wouldn't be a launch code. You could 'hotwire' it. Yes, it is a very unlikely scenario though. And it doesn't require an invasion of the neighboring country.


    And not to change the subject or anything, but why do we still have this drug war? There are drugs that aren't really a problem if they would stay quiet about it instead of opening up a brightly painted weed shop every other block (I'm looking at you LA). If we let people take drugs in certain settings legally like a prescription, it would cut down on the problems of other drugs too. But, glamorization of the drugs should be restricted. The really bad ones that are messing up people's lives should be treated like the EDHI foundation does in Pakistan (Edhi Foundation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). You get locked up until you are clean. You can voluntarily check yourself in, someone else can take you there, or the cops can put you in there. Cocaine, Meth, and PCP should still be illegal.

    Now, it isn't to say that we shouldn't warn people about drugs and what they can do. But, the crime and black market is the bigger problem than the users. The taxes required to fight a losing battle are crazy too.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2012
  3. redux

    redux Very Tilted Donor

    Location:
    Foggy Bottom
    Hot-wiring a nuclear weapon is not like hot-wiring a car.

    In fact, nuclear bombs are designed to fail in order to prevent accidents or detonation by nutcases, with numerous mechanisms and required actions necessary in order to go "bang".
     
  4. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member

    Location:
    Toronto
    The U.S. can't even adequately stem the flow of illegal immigrants crossing over from Mexico, yet is at war across the ocean because it's afraid of a nuke being smuggled in and detonated.

    Did I get that right?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. ASU2003

    ASU2003 Very Tilted

    Location:
    Where ever I roam
    I'm not so sure that Pakistani or NK designs are that way. I'm sure there is some classified stuff that they aren't giving away(I hope), but the first bombs that the US built were pretty crude and simple.
     
  6. KirStang

    KirStang Something Patriotic.

    Dux, I believe you may be incorrect. Check out the construction of the Little Boy

    1.) Obtain Enrichment Centrifuges.
    2.) Gather 8kg of U235
    3.) Construct a simple U235 gun.
    4.) ?????
    5.) PROFIT! (or, in extremist parlance, BLOW UP 'MURRICA!).

    Little Boy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    It's been a while since I've studied national security issues, but I do recall 8kg being all that's needed for uncontrolled fission.
     
  7. Snake Eater

    Snake Eater Vertical

    Ok, I intended to sit this thread out, but for some reason tonight I clicked, and now I feel forced to respond.

    I will try to keep personal politics out of my response as much as possible and keep my comments limited to a factual rebuttal of the OP... Because I think one is necessary. I don't mind if someone disagrees with me (well, I mind a little, but can get over it), but everyone should have the opportunity to base their opinions on accurate information.



    "Saddam = dead, Osama = dead.... why are we STILL there??????? I hear people complaining about their tax dollars helping the poor and going to healthcare BUT I hear very few IF ANYONE complain about a NEEDLESS FUCKING WAR THAT HAS NO FUCKING END TO IT."

    We are out of Iraq and are winding down Afghanistan. Bin Laden is dead, but if we just packed up and left Afghanistan it would fall into civil war and hundreds of thousands of people would die in the resulting power struggle/ civil war. I can get that you may not feel the war is 'worth it', but at this point we are trying to avoid leaving a cesspool of human misery behind, even if the cost is high dollar-wise.

    "Do you know the vast majority of enlisted men over there that have families here, are on food stamps? That base housing cannot accommodate all the families, so they either rent or buy houses they cannot afford, thus creating an environment where they feel the need to re-enlist because there are no jobs here at home that would allow them and their families to live a decent lifestyle?"

    This is straight up untrue.

    Very, very few people in the military qualify for 'food stamps' and those who do have some sort of exceptional circumstance. The military will not allow you to enlist if your family is already too large to support with your salary. Base housing is plentiful, but most people WANT to live off post... Both due to the added freedom and because the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) is a great deal. For instance, since I live off post I am paid about $1300 a month extra, tax free, so that I can rent or purchase the living arrangements of my preference. Since I won't be eating at the chow hall anymore I get more than $400 dollars extra a month to purchase food as a subsistence allowance, tax free. That's more than $1700 a month just for housing and food tax free. My base pay is extra, as are my special pays.

    By the way, if you are a 'special needs' family of some kind, whether it is sheer number of rugrats, a disabled child, etc. the military will accomodate you. If you are a lower ranking soldier who somehow ends up with six children they will put you in larger on-post housing normally reserved for more senior soldiers. Basically the military does a very, very good job looking out for families and the soldiers who have them.

    For instance: If a soldier qualifies for food stamps they will be provided an additional allotment of up to 500 dollars a month to purchase food for their families, this is called the FSSA or Family Subsistence Supplemental Allowance. It is in addition to all other forms of compensation. It is technically available to anyone but in practice only effects the most junior soldiers who make the least money. The intent behind the Army pay scale is that you sign up right out of high school for a wage similar to what most kids make right out of high school. As you work your way up through the ranks you get corresponding pay increases with sufficient money to comfortably raise a family by the time you are an NCO.

    But what happens when a soldier deploys? They are paid tax-free and also receive additional pays such as family separation and hardship allowance and hazardous duty/imminent danger pay. When you compare before and after pay checks the average enlisted soldier takes home about a thousand dollars more a month.

    But what about some of the other problems facing most American families such as healthcare? Not an issue, the military picks up the tab for you and your children (actually I think I pay about 29 dollars a month for no-deductible unlimited health coverage for my wife and two children, so not quite entirely free) for all healthcare related expenses. My wife has yet to pay a cent for any medical procedure, childbirth, prescription, random doctor visit, etc. We have a doctor on-call who will come out to our house if my kids get sick, etc. Basically we have to deal with some bureaucracy, it is a major expense that does not come out of the paycheck of that enlisted guy.

    What about retirement expenses? Again, the military provides guaranteed retirement pay AND healthcare to retired service members. So that is a huge anticipated expense that most civilians have to prepare for by saving a significant portion of their income. Not Joe Snuffdog, he *should* save for retirement, but he already has a safety net in place. Which, by the way, equals a lot of money when you consider that the 18 year old kid who enlists gets to retire at 38 with a monthly salary for the rest of his life, starting immediately upon retirement. An under performer in the military will at least make Sergeant, which with 20 years of service would give a retirement paycheck of a little over 1500 dollars a month, in perpetuity. Most people who stay in 20 years will have a higher retirement check. Don't forget that free health care. Not a bad deal eh? Oh, and unlike your 401k, that amount increases as the cost of living increases...

    "These men and women are coming home to houses foreclosed, credit shot and MAYBE, MAYBE they can qualify for a VA Loan that doesn't truly help because it is not enough, the are no jobs that would help them make the payments and if they have bad credit... aw well."

    I don't even understand what you are trying to say here. Let me point out a few basic things: Soldiers who deploy have specific legal protections regarding how much interest companies can charge them (6%). This cuts down on predatory lending practices and helps make credit card, etc. payments easier to get back under control/manage while a soldier is deployed.

    The VA loan system is awesome and very generous. It is geared particularly towards junior soldiers without a lot of money. Unlike a traditional mortgage the VA loan has some safety nets in place to make sure what you mention above doesn't happen: The VA inspects the home to make sure the service member isn't getting straight hosed; the loan has no money-down required, the interest rates are phenomenal; and if interest rates drop the VA has a streamlined (and cheap) refinancing option to lock in a lower rate. For instance: I bought my first house using a VA loan with an interest rate of just over 6% when rates were a little higher with no money down. When the rates dropped I called the bank and refinanced to 4.25%, which only cost about 1500 dollars to do. I recently purchased another house using my remaining entitlement, also no money down and this time with a 3.75% 30 year fixed mortgage. I qualified for my first loan when I was a recently married junior-enlisted soldier...

    Also, if you start bouncing bills, your chain of command will get involved almost immediately. They will sit you down with a financial advisor to figure out how to get you out of whatever hole you are in. They will also put you in contact with the people at the Army Emergency Relief program and other programs specifically designed to prevent this.


    "Even the Education help they get isn't enough to cover the ever rising cost of books and tuition. VA med centers are being closed down, the help for them when they come home should be embarrassing because it is a fucking joke."

    With regards to education: The post 911 GI bill is also pretty phenomenal. it includes:
    - One time relocation expense to move to the school of your choice
    - living stipend by cost of living, averages $1350 per month... I used to live off $400 a month when I was in school...
    -$1000 a year for books (that is plenty for books, I mean honestly, what kind of classes were you taking?)
    -100% tuition and fees up to $17,500 per year. There is also a Yellow Ribbon Program to further assist those who want to go to super expensive private schools.

    What are the criteria to get this awesome deal? 36 months served and discharged honorably, or discharged with a service connected disability after serving at least 90 days.

    I went to college before I joined the Army... I had to live off Ramen, work multiple jobs and take out a huge number of student loans just to scrape by. So how is the government screwing soldiers who go to school?

    But what if you want to go to school without leaving the military? The Army offers tuition assistance to cover part time enrollment at many colleges around the country. Many soldiers sign up for distance learning degree programs to get their bachelor degrees while deployed and the government picks up the tab 100%.

    Oh, one more thing: When I joined the military they paid off most of my student loans for me.


    "BUT we have f'n BAIN CAPITAL OWNED CLEAR CHANNEL AND FAUX NEWS supporting a TREASONIST for president. A selfish pig who hides his money overseas so he doesn't have to pay taxes, while we are at WAR. And yet that Son of a Bitch, Mother Fucker claims to support the troops?"

    I've got nothing here. I am not particularly thrilled with either candidate, but I have no idea how you can get from dislike to the pure crazy of that last paragraph.

    "Listen to the egocentric Right and Tea partiers: "I support the troops, but fuck you, I ain't paying taxes and Obama wants to raise MY taxes..... What? we have men and women fighting in a war with outdated weapons because our government can't afford the latest technology? Fuck, that.... I still ain't paying more in taxes... the war is all Obama's fault anyway.""

    Ok, the guys fighting our 'war' have the best weapons and equipment (overall) ever provided to an expeditionary military force. It isn't perfect, but it is the best in the world overall.

    Otherwise I agree with you on this last point: You can't demand we spend more money, demand we lower taxes, and demand we don't raise the deficit all at the same time. Well I guess people can because that is exactly what they are doing, but it isn't attainable. They are banking on the idiocy of the average person, and for the most part it is a good investment.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2012
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Tully Mars

    Tully Mars Very Tilted

    Location:
    Yucatan, Mexico

    And we're paying Mexico a bunch of money every year to "help" fight the good fight on the war on drugs. We then send a bunch of weapons down there (here) that we know are going to the drug gangs to *wink, wink* "track" them. After a couple of them kill our customs agents we begin an "investigation" on it. This is how our tax dollars are being spent. After living in Mexico for a few years I can honestly say there's no way in hell the money and equipment we're sending is going to "help" the war on drugs. Oh some of it may be but it's likely a 30, 30- 20, 20% split. 30% going to some politician(s), 30% going to pad the pockets of military and police officials and 20% going to the actual cause. The other 20% is likely going to directly to the drug cartels to allow the deal to happen without all hell being let loose on the public.

    Yeap, we're a really smart country. Mexicans are either laughing their asses off or shaking their heads at how fucking stupid we are. Seriously people ask me all the time "are you guys really sending our government money, are you completely insane?" My response is usually "yes, and yes. We are sending money and we are insane."

    If someone came to you with a book plot with these facts you'd turn it down solely for being so far out of the realm of reality no one would believe it... wouldn't you?
     
  9. Snake Eater

    Snake Eater Vertical


    Yeah, that's why we don't design our nuclear weapons like that anymore, and one of the reasons we freak out when other countries start pursuing particular directions with regard to reprocessing/processing of Uranium and Plutonium... The products they are creating are 'concentrated' and fissile enough to make a simple cannon-style nuclear weapon which is relatively unsophisticated. The enrichment process is more difficult than building the actual bomb... by a lot.

    I don't happen to know for sure off the top of my head, but I am pretty sure the Uranium in our nukes needs to be refined and/or modified in a significant way to be useful in a gun type device.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Tully Mars

    Tully Mars Very Tilted

    Location:
    Yucatan, Mexico
    Ok, I edited out a ton of your response. Partly because I wanted to say I agree with your last statement a lot. And because I wanted to say I served in the early to mid 80's. My daughter and her husband are currently enlisted. Things have changed a lot. Granted there were no war(s) when I served but it really hadn't been that long since Nam. Housing was not available to me as a married E-5, in the Navy, in San Diego. I got something like $3-400 a month BLQ, or whatever it was called. A one bedroom shit hole in Chula Vista was $650 min. I had friends who had kids and they were on food stamps. There was no real GI bill per se. There was a program they tired to talk you out of in Boot that was a matching savings plan for education. talk worked on me I thought my navy training would equal a fire dept. or welding job easy. Plus I was pretty sick of class rooms when I enlisted. 4 years later I was paying my own way through college while working the night shift in a correctional facility. I would also mention my ex-wife had a trip to Balboa Medical Center while I was at sea one time for an emergency and the conditions there were fucking horrid. Were talking cockroaches in her room, mis-labeled meds (one morning they accidental gave her a massive dose of laxatives because they thought she was headed to surgery or some shit... shit being operative word here,) the food routinely had mold on it. I served with E-7's, 8's and a few screw up E-5's and 6's who served in Nam. any complaint about something was meant with "yeah, you think that's bad you should have been here X years ago."

    Now when I go visit my daughter she tells me pretty much what you're saying. But she's never lived on base. Her husband is some special rate and they get stationed in odd little bases. But they get transferred together. Her education is not only paid for she encouraged to take courses and is given time off to attend. her housing allowance was always enough to pay rent. She moved again in May and this looks more perm. so they bought with a VA loan. That's the one thing I'm still using, in fact it's the only benefit I've used, since receiving my DD-214.

    I'm very happy things have changed but seriously things have changed.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2012
  11. redux

    redux Very Tilted Donor

    Location:
    Foggy Bottom
    Yeah. we've come a long way since Little Boy.

    Like Permissive Action Links (PALs) and other safety and security features like "unique signal generators" and "environmental sensing devices" to prevent accidental and/or malicious detonations.

    More to rogue's concern about "Pakistan and radical influences, collapsing...their stockpile being released," I suspect even Pakistan and N. Korea have similar features, given they really dont want to blow themselves up by accident or by an insider nut...so terrorists stealing or buying rogue nation loose nukes on the black market and detonating it when and where they want is highly unlikely.

    I still maintain that the nuclear threat to the US as part of the "war on terrorism" is more as fear factor funding than based in reality.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2012
  12. Snake Eater

    Snake Eater Vertical


    No doubt. Every conversation I have with people who served in decades past is similar. They either ask how I can afford a decent house as an enlisted guy in the military or ask why I bother to stay in and I end up explaining that the military still issues a bag of dicks with every enlistment contract, but most of the actual hardships have been eliminated.

    Don't get me wrong, PV2 Joe in the barracks still has pretty crappy dorm-style living, but overall the military seems to have learned that if you want competent people to stay in long enough to be of long-term value to the institution you can't treat them or their families like shit. The barracks are dramatically improved with shared living suites, etc.

    There are still plenty of screw ups and horror stories, but today's military pays much better wages and there is honest effort to ensure those who choose to leave the military walk away better off than when they joined.

    Oh, and the food, while not phenomenal, is way better than I would have expected. I don't eat on-post except in the mornings after PT, but $2.45 gets me an all-you-can-eat breakfast with all the fresh eggs, omelets, hash browns, breakfast meats, cereals, juice, milk, coffee, yogurt, pastries, etc. that I can possibly stuff into my face. To give a good reference point the quality is way better than what Waffle House offers, less than IHOP, but lots of variety and dirt cheap. Of course if you are junior enlisted who lives on post you eat all your meals for free...

    The real surprise: Deployed food is typically better than what is served on post in the US. They serve lobster, crab-legs, shrimp, steak (but it's funny tasting), hand carved roasts, prime rib and hams, etc. Everything is free (of course) and all you can eat. I lived on a very, very small base but we still had the same basic food air-dropped in and we cooked it as we saw fit. Way better than MRE's.

    With regard to your experience with off-post housing: I live on a big Army base and the housing surrounding it is cheap. One of my buddies is getting ready to PCS to Key West Naval Station and he is going to receive about $4000 per month for housing, which is just enough to rent a shanty... So things are by no means perfect.
     
  13. Tully Mars

    Tully Mars Very Tilted

    Location:
    Yucatan, Mexico
    At sea we had steak and lobster every Friday night... and people bitched. The steak was hard and the lobster was rubbery but it was "surf and turf." Overall food on board beat food on base every day. You could be 1000 nm. south of India in the middle of the Indian Ocean and the meal would be pretty damn decent. Go back to 32nd St. in San Diego and eat green eggs, shitty meatloaf and slimy lettuce.

    And I like MREs. Used to use them elk hunting and currently have a stock pile here in case of hurricane.

    I'm shocked he can get anything in Key West for 4K. But good for him KW rocks. I wasted my share of evenings off Mallory Square.
     
  14. redux

    redux Very Tilted Donor

    Location:
    Foggy Bottom
    For an historical perspective on nukes&foreign policy (and cold war history), I have Ike's Bluff: President Eisenhower's Secret Battle to Save the World on my reading list when it comes out next month.
    I've always felt that Ike was an under appreciated president in many respects.
     
  15. rogue49

    rogue49 Tech Kung Fu Artist Staff Member

    Location:
    Baltimore/DC
    Sorry, by various points of media, books, etc...by respected authors with inside knowledge...
    and my own discussions with long-time insiders while working there. (I didn't have direct access but over time you talk with those that are "in the know")

    It's NOT a conspiracy or idealogy or a marketing (this is not Ike's time anymore)

    It's a direct reaction to Pakistan's stability and the worry about their Nuclear stockpile.
    No subtlety on the reason.
    Only on the "talking-points" acknowledgement of it...its not a secret, but it's not hyped either. (can't upset the masses or our "ally")
     
  16. redux

    redux Very Tilted Donor

    Location:
    Foggy Bottom
    I agree it is not like Ike's time anymore.

    The government and media manipulation machine hyping the "war on terrorism," including the threat of nuclear attack, is much more sophisticated today than the "duck and cover" 50s.
    --- merged: Aug 18, 2012 1:11 PM ---
    or the 60s Dr. Strangelove

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 25, 2012
  17. ottopilot

    ottopilot New Member

    Location:
    Waddy Peytona
    from what I've read, the EMP effect from a small nuke launched or detonated on a docked cargo ship could instantly send a place like greater Manhattan back to the 1700's (all unprotected electronics permanently zapped)
     
  18. redux

    redux Very Tilted Donor

    Location:
    Foggy Bottom
    I am in the camp of most nuclear scientists who believe a massive solar flare poses a greater threat to the power/communications infrastructure than an EMP from an improvised nuclear device.

    But I get that there are alarmists, particularly among the congressional commission with ties to the defense industry and the likes of Newt Gingrich and the Center for Security Policy (Frank Gafney) who use it as a powerful propaganda tool in their anti-Islam rhetoric of fear .
     
  19. ASU2003

    ASU2003 Very Tilted

    Location:
    Where ever I roam
    It would have to be a really massive solar flare to get past the magnetic field around the Earth. And even though the Hollywood fantasy of all the electronics turning off is fun to think about, there are a lot of transformers that would blow, circuit breakers, and fuses that would get taken out first to protect the devices. And if things aren't connected to long transmission lines, it is even more unlikely to be effected. But the grid my be shut down for quite some time for repairs.

    As for a nuclear EMP, a lot of consumer equipment is not radiation hardened, so there is that. But the same thing applies with big power spikes being generated by long (or short) transmission lines and taking out lots of transformers. the grid would be shut down even longer since there would be massive blast damage, and part damage that would need to get rebuilt.
     
  20. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member

    Location:
    Toronto
    Is this why the U.S. is so adamant in abiding by the Non-Proliferation Treaty?
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2012