HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » unhappycamper » Journal
Page: 1 2 3 4 5 Next »


Profile Information

Member since: Wed Mar 16, 2005, 11:12 AM
Number of posts: 60,364

Journal Archives

Chinese military defends $ 106 billion defence budget


Chinese military defends $ 106 billion defence budget
30 Mar, 2012, 03.21PM IST, PTI

BEIJING: Claiming that it has no hidden military expenditure, China today defended the 11.2 per cent increase in its defence budget saying that much of it would go for increased salaries of soldiers, training and exercises as well as acquiring new equipment.

The increase of China's military budget is reasonable and should be viewed objectively, Defence Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun was quoted as saying by the state media.

China increased its military budget this year to 670 billion yuan ($ 106 billion).

Yang said it is a natural requirement for China to raise the military budget to safeguard national security and the increase was in accordance with the level of China's economic and social development.

NOTE: $106 billion dollars is less than our annual costs for the Afghanistan occupation.

The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

Why do these guys get their panties in a twist all the time?
Posted by unhappycamper | Sat Mar 31, 2012, 09:50 AM (0 replies)

Scott Van Wynsberghe: Will Afghanistan’s war end in the same way as Vietnam’s?



South Vietnamese troops are evacuated by helicopters during an operation against Vietcong troops in Quang Tri on June 30, 1972.

Scott Van Wynsberghe: Will Afghanistan’s war end in the same way as Vietnam’s?
National Post Mar 30, 2012 – 7:30 AM ET | Last Updated: Mar 30, 2012 11:38 AM ET
By Scott Van Wynsberghe


The road to 1972 was a tangled, gruesome mess. Vietnam started the 1900s as a French colony, but the Second World War disrupted European empires in the Far East, setting the stage for native revolts. When Vietnamese insurgents rose up in 1945, they did so largely under a communist banner, thereby embedding the struggle in the larger Cold War narrative, and drawing American attention.

Despite substantial U.S. support (moi: the United States paid about 75% of the costs for the French occupation) , France was defeated in 1954. The ensuing peace accord produced two independent Vietnams, not one: a northern entity backed by China and the Soviet Union, and a southern one increasingly aligned with Washington. By the start of the 1960s, the North was actively stoking violence in the South. Escalation led to the commitment of hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops beginning in 1965. But the wild mayhem of Hanoi’s so-called Tet Offensive of 1968 seriously eroded American resolve. And this brings us to the first Afghan parallel.

That NATO forces in Afghanistan have lost much of their will to fight is clear. Canada, for example, currently restricts itself to training the Afghan military. In the United States, 69% of Americans now tell pollsters that the United States should not be at war in Afghanistan, up from 53% just four months ago. More than two thirds of Americans think the fighting in Afghanistan is going “somewhat badly” or “very badly.” Four months ago, less than half of surveyed Americans said as much. Almost everyone agrees that the goal must be to teach Afghan politicians and military commanders to stand on their own.

And so it was in South Vietnam. U.S. president Richard Nixon, who assumed office in 1969, championed “Vietnamization,” which meant building up South Vietnam to the point where American troops could leave in good conscience, as victors. According to contemporary accounts in Time and Newsweek magazines, the period from 1969 to early 1972 saw the United States provide South Vietnam with 1,100 aircraft, 46,000 vehicles and almost a million small arms. As well, over 12,000 South Vietnamese officers were sent to the United States for advanced instruction. By the spring of 1972, the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) officially had 492,000 personnel, while local militias deployed another 513,000 — more than a million soldiers in total. At that point, the U.S. military presence was down to 100,000, only 7,000 of which were actual ground troops (although U.S. advisers were spread throughout South Vietnam’s forces).

unhappycamper comment: We never learn.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sat Mar 31, 2012, 08:45 AM (1 replies)

Many think Bales case reflects a military pushed to the limit


In this Aug. 23, 2011, Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System photo, Staff Sgt. Robert Bales participates in an exercise at Fort Irwin, Calif.

Many think Bales case reflects a military pushed to the limit
Scott Canon and Dawn Bormann | McClatchy Newspapers
Posted on Wednesday, March 28, 2012

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — American soldiers in Afghanistan aren't supposed to drink booze. They're not supposed to stray "outside the wire" of their fortifications on their own.


A country numb to the tragic frequency of suicide among combat veterans and climbing divorce rates among military families now must take notice of atrocity.

"One country can't keep an occupying force in another country for 10 years and not expect for things now and again to go wrong," said Cindy Williams, a defense analyst and personnel specialist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Run enough troops through enough bloody combat tours, said Williams, and "you can't expect otherwise. That's the problem."

Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Mar 29, 2012, 08:56 AM (4 replies)

War surplus sought for U.S. security


War surplus sought for U.S. security
By Jerry Seper
The Washington Times

Two Texas lawmakers, joined by 17 border sheriffs from Texas, Arizona and New Mexico, have asked Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta to authorize the shipment of surplus equipment being returned from the war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan to the border with Mexico as a matter of “national security.”

Reps. Ted Poe, a Republican, and Henry Cuellar, a Democrat, said in a letter the massive drawdown of U.S. forces has resulted in the shipment of more than 1.5 million pieces of equipment out of Iraq over the past year and that nearly 900,000 items remain - all of which would be useful to federal, state and local law enforcement in their efforts to secure the border with Mexico.

The surplus equipment includes, among other combat gear, Humvees, weapons, communications trailers, observation platforms and night-vision goggles.

Mr. Poe also introduced a House resolution known as the Send Act that would direct the Defense Department to make 10 percent of certain equipment returning from Iraq available for use by law enforcement agencies that patrol the nation’s southern border.
Posted by unhappycamper | Wed Mar 28, 2012, 08:35 AM (2 replies)

U.S. seeks more money for Afghan force


U.S. seeks more money for Afghan force
By Karen DeYoung, Published: March 27

The Obama administration has made an urgent appeal for international donors to pledge more money to pay for Afghanistan’s security forces after the departure of U.S. and coalition combat troops at the end of 2014.

In formal diplomatic demarches sent to 64 countries this month, and in direct appeals by President Obama and top national security aides, the administration has outlined a $4.1 billion annual budget for the Afghan army and police, according to U.S. and foreign officials.

The request for indefinite commitments comes as the United States and its partners in Afghanistan are under pressure to cut costs and end an increasingly unpopular war.

The administration hopes to secure the pledges before a NATO summit in Chicago in May. So far, however, there have been no specific replies to the funding appeals, an administration official said.
Posted by unhappycamper | Wed Mar 28, 2012, 08:10 AM (0 replies)

Understanding Afghanistan to Avoid Another Vietnam


Understanding Afghanistan to Avoid Another Vietnam
Corriere della sera, Italy
By Giulio Sapelli
Translated By Eliza Perrotta
14 March 2012
Edited by Hodna Nuernberg

What is happening in Afghanistan? A few weeks ago, some Afghan civilians found a few charred Qurans in garbage cans. This resulted in a mass revolt that is still going strong. The revolt targets not simply the infidel, but the U.S. people, in general, and their soldiers, in particular. Just like so many years ago, when the United States turned Afghanistan into a barrier against the Soviet Union, they are once again using it as a barrier — this time against the epidemic of Islamic terrorism. However, the Americans have come to the too-late understanding that tribal fundamentalism is not so much an off-shoot of Islam as it is an armed mass political structure that arises when middle classes are formed and begin attempting to entrench themselves locally in order to create an economic power — not a provisional one, but a fundamentalist one. In fact, one that forbids any other power and that can only be regulated by local leaders.

The U.S. strategy in Afghanistan and Iraq has changed because those dynamics have been understood. The enemy should no longer be destroyed; instead, we should deal with those who perform borderline roles, whether they are the Taliban in Afghanistan or Iraq’s Shiite president, Nouri al-Maliki. That is, as long as the lack of communication between cultures can be overcome and as long as the heart of the new social and economic framework, shaped during the course of 20 years of war, can be reached. But this strategy is up against a wall as high as a skyscraper. Technology has been used to overcome it, substituting drones and the war machines created by modern-day Leonardo Da Vincis for living soldiers. But the effect has been completely contrary: technology is never precise enough to spare civilians from acts of war and, as a result, the hatred only grows and begins taking on an ontological dimension. For local populations, the West is responsible for the destruction of life and community.

A similar drama had already unfolded in the Vietnamese theater of war. Marines shot farmers who they believed to be Vietcong. The South Vietnamese, who were fighting alongside the U.S. troops, gradually saw increasing numbers of deserters. Even there, the real tragedy was a lack of cultural communication. Wars are won on the ground and can only be won on the ground. Military personnel — who are the ones that actually carry out wars — are always the last ones to want it, while politicians — who never actually carry out wars on the ground — are always the first ones to want it. Combat must occur on the ground, which is also where a strategy of alliances destined to break up and weaken the enemy must take place. This is precisely what the U.S., and indeed all Western soldiers, were unable to do.

Islam is not a terrorist religion: on the contrary! But it can become a formidable ideological glue that leads entire communities and generations to battle and death. In Iraq and Afghanistan, in spite of the fratricidal divisions that traverse it, Islam will always give a sense of identity to millions of people. Just as Walter Benjamin understood, Protestantism is not the essence of capitalism. Rather, Protestantism has become a capitalist religion; capitalism was — and is — a formidable amalgam of symbols, faiths and practices. It is the same for Islamic societies. To have believed that its denseness could be cracked with a tactic consisting of waging war and occupying the terrain, thus separating communities and populations from one another and creating a space for cultural infiltration, has proven more and more disastrous. The loss of human life in these wars is already enormous. Just like in Vietnam. Robert McNamara’s memoires are shocking when reread today. The technology of great western capitalism and its consumerist religion had no effect on the local population. Its only demonstrable effect was the great grief that overcame the U.S. through its desperate veterans, a tragedy about which too little is known.
Posted by unhappycamper | Wed Mar 28, 2012, 07:29 AM (3 replies)

11 suicide vests discovered at Afghan military headquarters


11 suicide vests discovered at Afghan military headquarters
Stars and Stripes
Published: March 27, 2012

Although an investigation into the discovery is still in the early stages, it is known that 11 buses transporting Afghan army personnel were scheduled to leave the ministry parking lot, the CBS report said. Investigators are theorizing that a bomber was supposed to board each of the buses and they would stage a simultaneous attack, CBS reported.

Making progress, eh?
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Mar 27, 2012, 10:53 AM (0 replies)

$2.4 Billion Dollar B-2 Bombers To Get a $2 Billion Dollar Upgrade


B-2 bombers at Whiteman AFB get $2 billion update
Rick Montgomery | The Kansas City Star
Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012


A challenge similar to that continually faces Whiteman Air Force Base, home to the B-2 stealth bomber. Many aircraft parts made in the 1980s, when the first of 21 B-2s rolled out of a Northrop Grumman Corp. hangar, are as obsolete today as the floppy disk.

Yet the plan is to keep those bat-winged bombers flying, and eluding the latest in radar technology, until 2058.

The Pentagon is moving forward with a $2 billion, 10-year effort to modernize the fleet’s defensive capabilities. Digital equipment will replace analog, antennas will be upgraded, communication systems and pilot displays will be enhanced — all needed to address “emerging and proliferating 21st century ground and airborne threats,” according to an Air Force report last year to Congress.

Col. Rob Spalding of Whiteman’s 509th Bomb Wing called the coming enhancements “the biggest and most complex update of the B-2 in its history.”

unhappycamper comment: We bought 21 of these bad boys and one of them got wet and crashed on Okinawa.

BTW, Winslow Wheeler on military.com (Flying Blind: Most USAF Aircraft Operating Costs Are Unknown; What Is Known Is Misreported) writes:

The B-2A stealth bomber’s CPFH cost has climbed in the last five years from $86,402 in
2006 to $135,182 in 2010.

Ka ching
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Mar 27, 2012, 10:06 AM (10 replies)

Afghan 'allies' kill 3 more soldiers from U.S.-led coalition


Afghan 'allies' kill 3 more soldiers from U.S.-led coalition
Jon Stephenson | McClatchy Newspapers
Posted on Monday, March 26, 2012

KABUL, Afghanistan — Three soldiers from the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan — two of them British and the nationality of the third unknown — were killed Monday, apparently by members of the Afghan security forces in two separate incidents, the latest in a series of "green on blue" shootings.

The two British soldiers were shot dead by an Afghan soldier at a coalition base in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province in Afghanistan's south. The third soldier was killed in eastern Afghanistan, the International Security Assistance Force, the U.S.-led coalition's formal name, said in a statement.

Details of the incident in Helmand were sketchy, but a spokesman for Helmand's governor told McClatchy the attack happened at a gate to the headquarters of the coalition's provincial reconstruction team in Lashkar Gah as Afghan army vehicles were waiting to enter.

"The shooter had come to the base with other (Afghan) soldiers," spokesman Daud Ahmadi said. "He entered through the gate used by local workers at the base and then opened fire."

unhappycamper comment: One thousand twelve hundred eighty eight American service members have been died in Afghanistan since 2009.

Time to get out?
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Mar 27, 2012, 09:04 AM (5 replies)

It's (almost) Dead, Jim


As drones rise, a manned fighter falls
By Phil Radford
Mar 28, 2012

SYDNEY - The world's biggest international defense project, the United States-designed F-35 strike-fighter aircraft, was put on probation by international partners at a formal meeting held this month in Sydney, Australia.

Responding to the latest in a series of cost increases and delivery delays, representatives from the Australia, Canada, Denmark, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Turkey and the United Kingdom have all threatened to pull out of the project unless the Pentagon and lead private contractor Lockheed Martin can deliver the fighter plane more quickly and cheaply.

The trouble started on February 13 when the US Department of Defense's Comptroller released detailed projections of future Pentagon spending which revealed cuts in planned US purchases of the F-35 fighter as well as related cost increases in the fiscal period spanning 2013- 17.

The 2012 price of the US Air Force version of the F-35 aircraft is almost US$197 million, three times the plane's original projected cost. By postponing the ramp up to mass production, the Pentagon in effect confirmed that the F-35 will not be available in the near-term at a cost allies are willing to pay.

unhappycamper comment: I've been posting the cost of this POS at $243 grand per copy for a while now. Any bets the final cost is going to be higher?

Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Mar 27, 2012, 08:26 AM (4 replies)
Go to Page: 1 2 3 4 5 Next »