War is to Easy

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InfiniteNature
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War is to Easy

Postby InfiniteNature » Wed Feb 02, 2005 1:43 pm

I know I know the cliche is that war is never easy, but I think its a wrong cliche. War is very easy and as we get more proficient at it it becomes easier. It used to be that it took a degree of skill to say gut your enemy and that meant you could only kill a limited amount of people, now any idiot can pull a trigger and kill a far greater amount. With some degree of training you can kill even more.

The point I am making is that it used to be a rough scale of carnage, a rough definition of events which eventually led to catastrophe. Now there is no graduation of events, one can quickly go from a relatively minor event to a full scale war killing millions. And its become even easier since say WWII, now even a small scale event can lead within ten minutes or so to annihalation of the species.

Its because its to easy to push that button, or order that bombing, or pull that trigger; and even easier when your enemy doesn't have a comparative level of technology. And if you pull out before suffering maximum damage, well then you still haven't learned the lesson and are free to perpetuate the same idiocy until it reaches the slippery scale of maximum catastrophe(that of nuclear, or biological, chemical, or kinetic).

And people are proud of it, yeahhh we can kill better and more people, or more precisely, its amusing if it wasn't so predictable, because it leads one to believe that a nation or power is invincible, and since there are so few losses there is no incentive not to use that power, so what happens when that power meets a equivalent threat, and losses acrue, isn't it easier then to simply nuke your enemy, and hope that somehow you wipe it all out before they do the same to you.

Isn't it rather insane that the stupidest most minor events in our human society could lead directly towards possible genoicide of our species?, and that War now should come with so little of a price?

I'm not trying to argue, more of a statement, you are of course free to comment.
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Postby Magrus » Wed Feb 02, 2005 2:29 pm

In short, yes, I agree fully.

I can respect those who take the time to discipline themselves in using a gun and such, that does take a skill I don't have. I don't have the hand-eye coordination to use one well enough to defend myself. It irritates me though when I hear people cheering for whats going on overseas with the American army. Really, how hard is it for an invading company with troops, tanks, guns, rockets, aircraft with missiles, helicopters etc. to quell villagers? That isn't skill, thats overkill. If a group went in there with swords and conquered, I'd be impressed. Sniper rifles and rockets, armored tanks? No.

Everyone wants to know why I don't support the War on Terror. Well, frankly, if it came down to it and war broke out, my area would be ruined. During the past 50 years or so, the nuclear power plant near me was one of the targets the Soviet Union had as a method of attacking the US in case something broke out. Why? Hammering the countryside with hundreds of rockets wouldn't do as much damage as firing one right at the reaction to send radiation throughout this region, spreading and killing everyone instantly in miles, and slowly killing those outside the blast radius.

With the techonology nowadays, if someone wanted us dead, we'd die. We'd be fried within seconds of hearing the rockets/aircraft overhead. 15 years ago, my teachers used to tell us to hide under the desk in case we were attacked and yet, we lived within miles of this nuclear power plant. Everything being done is simply to lull the public into a sense of security. I fully expect to see this country light up in fire across the continent in the next twenty years if things don't change drastically. The goverment will reach too far and other nations will seek to quell our country before they're next.

What can the average man, woman or child do in a case where a full-scale war breaks out? They won't send troops, they'll nuke it. The only time troops are sent in is if the invading group wants something in the territory now. It's simpler to just bombard a country with long-range missiles and air strikes until no opposition is left alive. Can I do anything if a foreign army starts razing this area with bombs? Of course not. Am I going to pelt them with rocks, with the occasional hunter trying desperately to bring down aircraft with a 12 gauge shotgun or rifle?

Everyone is treading a dangerous ground when sending an army against another country in this day and age. No one wants to go that final step into a full-scale war, most would die. So they wait and see how far things will proceed, before things get out of hand enough to warrant jumping into such a war. All it takes is a few commands and the press of some buttons to level a country with nuclear weapons. No one wants to send over a few fighter jets to bomb a city and have the fighters come home hours later to find that the target they just struck at have decimated their homeland in response. Why hasn't the US gone after other countries with resources we could use? I think the government KNEW Iraq didn't have these weapons right before they attacked on that premise. It suddenly became and easy victory and a grasp at what they wanted. Why not attack Russia, or China? Well, the risks are too high. You'll slowly see governments stretching and flexing, seeing how far they can go before everything goes up in flames. Why not? It's what happened all throughout history once humans found new toys to play with. They test them. Castles were beseiged and attacked once seige engines were developed. Now you didn't need to draw the enemy out, you choked off food and water until they were weak, and blasted through their former invincible defenses crush them and take what you wanted.
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Postby jopperm2 » Thu Feb 03, 2005 5:58 pm

I'm afraid I have to disagree. The simple fact that nuclear weapons have not been used on a large scale for 60 years is testament to that.

There are plenty of considerations when using WMDs to eradicate an enemy and rataliatory strikes are not the most severe.

Diplomatic consequenses are to be expected when using such tactics. The US is pretty powerful and could take on almost anyone, but would have a significant problem if it were to use WMDs now without very good justification. We would likely be facing the entire UN and anyone else who wanted to jump on the bandwagon.

Environmental concerns also prevail. I'm by far not an environmentalist, but I have to mention that you can only set off so many nukes before you start to screw things up.

There are probably other concerns as well, it becomes very obvious why there are very few people that can commit to these strikes; and why they just aren't used.
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Postby Obsidian » Thu Feb 03, 2005 6:29 pm

"war is easy"

What the hell are you talking about!?
Maybe for the politician in a comfy office, but more accurately, WAR IS HELL.

I defy anyone to voluntarily spend a WEEK living tactically. No light, no sound, no hot food, no showers, no sleep.
People have this view that war is fought from afar, using laser guided missiles, fighter planes and helicopters. The truth of the matter is, that's because all the footage we see is from vehicles? Why? Because no field soldier wants to carry a friggen camera!

When I'm humping it in the field, I'm carrying a 60lb backpack, another 10lbs of food, aout 5 lbs of water, and up to 30lbs of ammuntion, plus my medical bag which is about 20-25 lbs depending on how many litres of IV fluid I'm carrying.
So that's over 100lbs as a medic, now tack on body armour, my helmet, boots etc.
A lot of the infantry are carrying more. Especially when we are taking the .50 calibre with us. Some guy is stuck carrying the Carl Gustav (think bazooka) and another couple guys are carrying extra ammuntion for the machine guns and gustav.

War is easy? Yeah, for everyone but the guys fighting it, and the civvies living in it.
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Postby fable » Thu Feb 03, 2005 6:41 pm

[QUOTE=jopperm2]I'm afraid I have to disagree. The simple fact that nuclear weapons have not been used on a large scale for 60 years is testament to that.[/QUOTE]

If a person with a notoriously bad temper and lack of restraint trains a gun on you and you have no protection, the fact that they haven't killed you in the last few minutes should provide no joy. They could well kill you in the next few. And the US did reach the point of "going green" on nuclear war with the Soviet during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Only the Soviet army echelon advising Krushchev against placing the missiles ended it--not the US. You should read about it. It may make you feel a lot less safe, but provide a better sense of just how close we are to being blasted into nothing because our leaders are zealots.

And that was Kennedy. Now we have Shrub.
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Postby Magrus » Thu Feb 03, 2005 7:10 pm

[QUOTE=jopperm2]I'm afraid I have to disagree. The simple fact that nuclear weapons have not been used on a large scale for 60 years is testament to that.[/QUOTE]

My point exactly, everyone is afraid of what could happen if a true war broke out. Yet, some nations, the U.S. being the most prominent at the moment are still not afraid to test their boundaries. They are seeking out anyone they can find that has proven hostility to them and going after them. Those who have resources they want first and aggresively. They stand up to other nations seeking to work out the methods to defend themselve with the same weapons we've been hoarding, for this means they have someone else to keep in mind if a true and all out war breaks out with the capability to wipe out entire cities at a time.

If the U.S. knew they were the only country out there with such weaponry, I guarantee the government would be threatening everyone out there to give in to their demands. They aren't, why? There ARE other companies fit to crush their wants and dreams in a war if it came down to that point. They haven't sought an aggressive action with these people for that reason, it's too risky. They look for those who stand no chance of endangering our country, and the country sings it praises for crushing the heathens who dared defy us. Yahoo! We've blown enough money to make our military have enough firepower to quell nations who have nowhere near the size, people, or economy we do. I feel special. :rolleyes:

[QUOTE=Obsidian]What the hell are you talking about!?
Maybe for the politician in a comfy office, but more accurately, WAR IS HELL.[/QUOTE]

Unfortunately, thats how the masses see it. It IS easy to say "lets fight those people WAY over there that I've never met before that I see on TV who are causing me trouble". Why? The only time they'll see them is on TV, causing trouble, because thats what the news sees. They WILL think it's easy, until they get a notification that a family member has died or been terribly injurable while fighting this "easy war". I've met people who are all gung-ho about joining the military from boredom and I have to shake my head at them. If you've that much inspiration and energy, why not just volunteer somewhere building houses for the homeless or something rather than be trained to kill people? I mean really.
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Postby Obsidian » Fri Feb 04, 2005 1:21 pm

[QUOTE=Magrus]If you've that much inspiration and energy, why not just volunteer somewhere building houses for the homeless or something rather than be trained to kill people? I mean really.[/QUOTE]

1) If your bored it likely means your unemployed, and volunteering with Habitats for Humanity is a noble venture, it's also not a paying position.

2) So you can sleep soundly in those houses kinder people have built, secure in the knowledge that tough men stand ready to visit violence upon those who would do you harm.

People may not like soldiers. Especially during times of peace.
But we may be trained killers, but we're not assasins. We're trained to engage hostile forces in fields of combat.
It is not the fault of first world armies that the third world chooses to fight it's wars in cities, towns and urban environments where civilians can and will be killed.
It's not paintball where people wear coloured flags, and it's not a game where your sight turns red. It's not even a war between military nations who both wear uniforms. The combatants of modern war look, act and live with civilians. There is no easy way to differentiate between who wants to kill you and who will try.

You've all seen footage from Iraq, with American troops fighting in built up areas, albeit however poorly. Urban warfare is the most difficult war to fight, and America is sending some of it's poorest troops into these situations.
Think about a city street that you drive/walk down on your way to work/school. No imagine every car you see could be rigged to detonate, and every window could hold a sniper. Every corner has the potential to maim or kill you and your friends.
I think in this situation, civilian casualties are merely a tragic fact of life.

Fighting in urban scenarios isn't a new thing. In the middle ages towns were sacked, in WW2 they were bombed into the ground.

And I'm going to stop this rant now. It's gone on long enough.
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Postby araknid70 » Fri Feb 04, 2005 8:25 pm

I'm curious as to what sort of standard environments US infantry train in. Do they have adequate urban warfare training? Do they train in different climate conditions like hot / humid or cold / dry, jungle vs forest vs desert? Not that I'm questioning the training system, but I'd just like to know what any current or former US infantryman thinks.

I'm also highly envious of the fact that US infantry don't have to 'decorate' helmets with netting and sticks and leaves, which is what I had to do for military training, because not only are the leaves etc irritating and block vision, I look like a veritable Swamp Thing. Also US troops get really good rations outfield. The gunk I had to eat was so bad that I put them aside and drank sugared water for days on end.

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Postby Chanak » Fri Feb 04, 2005 11:57 pm

U.S. military training doctrine undergoes innovation with every engagement. "Lessons learned", as it is known. In basic training (or boot camp, depending on the branch), recruits receive training in a temperate zone and an urban environment. Cold weather training is included though depending upon the time of year the training cycle finds itself in, it may not necessarily be hands-on at the time.

Special Operations Group soldiers, such as Rangers, SEALs, Special Forces, etc, receive a wider range of environment survival training, to include: urban, temperate, desert/arid, jungle/tropical, mountain/high altitudes, as well as amphibious/coastal. Ordinarily, standard infantry will receive specialized environment training depending upon their deployment (beyond what they learned in Basic and Advanced Individual Training).

Some operations by necessity involve unusual environments. For example, air assault troops are often dropped in bodies of water, such as rivers. Part of their hellish training course involves rapelling from a hovering chopper (extremely difficult by itself) in full gear into the drink, and swimming in that getup to shore.

Following Desert Shield/Storm, extra emphasis was placed on urban training.
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Postby Obsidian » Sun Feb 06, 2005 9:50 pm

@ araknid, which military do you serve in. Because in my experience, the only professional army with worse food than the Americans are the british.

As per the helmet coverings, that's critical to effective cam(oflage)

One of the things that gives away position is shape, and nothing screams infantry in the bushes like a dome.

"Netting and sticks" or as we call it "scrim" is extremely important in wooded environments and tall grass.
The americans probably don't do it, especially in Iraq, because it doesn't matter.

But if they're in a wooded environment, I wager they would.

As per American training, a friend of mine (senior in rank and years) took some yanks up to Northen canada for winter warfare training. Im talking WAY up north.

1 of them DIED! To be fair, he was national guard. They're kit was brutal, and totally unprepared for arctic nights.
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Postby Magrus » Sun Feb 06, 2005 11:03 pm

[QUOTE=Obsidian]1) If your bored it likely means your unemployed, and volunteering with Habitats for Humanity is a noble venture, it's also not a paying position.[/QUOTE]

I'd just like to point out, those friends of mine who were considering the military were an engineering student and a guy in his early 20's making more money than my parents to operate a saw in a factory (roughly $15/hr + benefits, 401 k). These aren't bored people, and they are simply interested in "kicking towel-head ***". I've no respect for anyone wanting to go into the military under such circumstances.

Someone wanting to make a living defending the innocent, thats a different story. I can respect that. I just can't see it as a good thing that the military is willing to accept into their ranks those who are obviously aggressive and racist or prejudiced. I wouldn't say my friends are racist, they've no problem with anyone I've seen based on race here. They're simply wrong-headed and wanting to defend the nation against terrorists, and therefore soaking up anything the government feeds them for information. When I was 18, people in my school ignored the recruiters sent there, now, with this whole terrorist thing, people are wanting to smite everyone the government points a finger at in the name of justice and the American way around here. It disturbs me.

I've no problems with violence in the defense of myself, loved ones or innocents. I've been put in the situation of doing so myself. Tearing apart foreign lands though, to hunt down terrorists, will eventually lead to creating more and more people who disliked our country and left us alone into those who hate our country, and become active in seeing damage done to it. I can only see bad things coming from this whole war on terrorism.

Which leads me back to my point. War CAN be very easy if total destruction is desired. There is the technology to simply level a country in the matter of days if not sooner once the troops are in place to launch missiles and such. People are fighting now for resources, or troops wouldn't have been put on the ground in enemy territory to be put at risk. At least thats my view.
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Postby Macleod1701 » Mon Feb 07, 2005 4:52 am

The military does seem to provide a lot of gumph (propoganda), however from what I've read and seen the UK armed forces are no were near as bad as the US. Correct me if I'm wrong but do you lot get a lot of adverts encouraging people to join up and do you have recruiters coming into schools and universities?
Now don't get me wrong, the UK has that sort of thing here but it doesn't seem to be as full on as in the US.
On the other hand the armed forces do provide a hell of an education for those who join even if it is in the name of defending your country (aka killing people as lets face it thats what the armed forces are there for). War is definately not easy, just ask all the blokes and lasses over in Iraq and other hostile places all over the world. Better yet ask the families of the ones killed.
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Postby Chanak » Mon Feb 07, 2005 5:24 am

@Obsidian: Many National Guard units get the dregs of equipment. They are only issued the "good stuff" if they are activated. Sad, but true.

Camo: Absolutely. Breaking the profile is part of basic training, as is applying matte paint to the face, arms, and any exposed skin. Just as well, no one in their right mind would wear nice, shiny boots nor crisply pressed uniforms in combat situations. Since there really is no practical way to break your profile in desert/arid environments, we simply wore desert-issue uniforms and gear (though it is possible for a stationary sniper to blend in well; a friend of mine was a sniper for the 82nd Airborne). That fact is also partially why military forces utilize air strikes in that environment, and why they are generally so successful.

@Magrus: It's virtually impossible to tell what a recruit's motivations for joining the military are. It was my experience that the military population reflects society at large: you'll find all kinds of people across the country, and you'll find all kinds of people in the military. Out of the 60 guys that were in my Basic Training platoon with me in Ft. Jackson, South Carolina in 1989, a few had some serious attitudes. One never made it past week 2 - he was processed out (he was a thief). Another guy thought he was Rambo - by week 4 he was cured of that by the Drill Sergeants. I could devote a whole thread to how that happened (how could I ever forget). ;)

Racists generally have a tough time in the military, for many reasons. Believe it or not, the modern military structure doesn't lend itself to any sort of segregation beyond rank, and in some cases, gender. Not that discrimination doesn't go on in the ranks, mind you, but it sticks out like a sore thumb where it occurs. You might have a few links in the chain of command that will turn a blind eye to it, but sooner or later someone will come along and do something about it. I've watched that dynamic in action...and I learned some things.

My own experience in Basic Training is a good example. Everyone in the Platoon was assigned a "buddy" the very first formation we had: that is, after the Drill Sergeants descended upon the reception bus screaming and hollering, sending duffel bags and recruits flying everywhere. :D We all stood there on the hill in front of our barracks. Your "buddy" turned out to be whomever was standing next to you. My buddy was an African American guy from Alabama. Myself, I grew up in military housing neighborhoods on bases as a kid, so I had friends of every ethnic stripe. It was no big deal to me, but it was to my buddy. After week 1 it was pretty clear he couldn't stand white people. I didn't let it bother me, since we were so busy being terrorized by the Drill Sergeants...I didn't have time to be bothered. As time went by, and we were forced to help each other in training, something happened. Elgin (his first name) relaxed quite a bit, and didn't seem so mollifed that his buddy was a white guy. For myself, I learned alot about getting along with offensive people.

The military has a strange way of curing people of their prejudices. Basically, you are plucked out of your cushy civilian existence and tossed into the frying pan. You quickly learn that the best way to make it is to lean on the guy next to you, and let him lean on you. No matter who you are, or where you are from, you're all in the same boat. A bond is formed this way that eventually breaks down any notions you may have had, and changes you. I can't tell you how many bigots took the oath of service and walked out of training a different person.
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Postby Macleod1701 » Mon Feb 07, 2005 5:43 am

And that is exactly why a lot of 'scum' should be press ganged into the army instead of slobbing about and getting benefits!
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Postby jopperm2 » Mon Feb 07, 2005 12:27 pm

@McLeaod, IIRC this has been done before. People sentanced to military service for crimes. THe only problem is that you may end up with a death sentance for theft. IMO if you knew that that was a possibility before you committed the crime(or had resonable opportunity to know) then it's your own fault.
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Postby araknid70 » Thu Feb 10, 2005 3:03 pm

@Obsidian - I'm Singaporean. All Singaporean males 18 and above have to undergo a compulsory 2 years of military service. People who sign up for the military number very little, but we have a population of 4 million only, so we have to rely on recalling the male citizens if there's trouble. However due to certain circumstances I'm now in the navy.

About the camo: don't worry, I know it's a must - especially as the only terrain I've really trained in is tropical. Sigh, but it just feels good to complain (national disease).

My friend was a Guardsman (an almost-equivalent of a US Marine). According to him the Marines who flew to Singapore for a combined training exercise got stuff like self-heating food with lamb chops or something, while Singaporean soldiers carried thin packs of coagulated rice with bits of preserved meat. Eating was simply a matter of biting off chunks, like one would break off chunks of sticky styrofoam.