Warfare

02/16/2012

MSN/Innovation News Daily (whatever that is) posted a rather interesting article last week entitled “‘Smart bullet’ hits targets a mile away.” The gist is that Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico has developed a bullet that uses fins to constantly readjust its course towards a target pinpointed by a laser beam. Pretty cool, huh? But what are the implications brought on by new warfare technology, and do we really need it?

Articles related to the aforementioned one (linked at the bottom of this page) speak of topics like the U.S. Army placing an order for “suicide drones” and a new grenade/launcher combination that’s being assessed in Afghanistan. Suicide drones are capable of relaying reconnaissance information back to operators on the ground and can also be used as a missile, if needed. The new grenade launcher looks more like a small, automatic assault rifle than ever, and the projectile that goes along with it can be programmed to explode at precise distances.

Although this kind of technology seems pretty incredible/kinda awesome, we have to continue to ask “We need this equipment to fight whom?” The military-industrial complex really starts to seems like a complex when we assess how we Americans constantly and continually police the globe. What would really be awesome would be diplomacy and to look past the rhetoric that people hate Americans “because of our freedom.” Education and critical thinking help provide that much-needed chance to take a step back and think “Ya know, it can’t really be as simple as that.” And it’s not.

Consider another perspective: let’s say your neighbor commits some sort of heinous crime, then disappears without a trace. Before you know it, people are speculating that he has fled the town, the county, maybe even the state. Ten years pass and the police are still camped out in your backyard. I image you would be irate. After all, you didn’t invite these visitors to occupy your yard, and you can’t figure out how to get rid of them. After all, it is your property.

Many Middle Eastern people were sympathetic over 9/11… we know that. We’ve seen them. We’ve heard their voices. We know most of them aren’t terrorists. But it also has to be less-than-comforting to have convoys of soldiers, armed to the teeth, rolling around their towns in these destructive machines, playing a perpetual game of Whac-A-Mole.

Something about no longer having to actually confront, who you believe to be, the enemy is alarming. Simply enough, in the days of yore, if someone shot at you, you shot back. The enemy was pretty well defined. You knew who and where they were, hunkered down on the other side of the battlefield. Now, we fly aircraft outfitted with small, black-and-white cameras having resolution only great enough to show people carrying… things. And we shoot at these people from meters, and sometimes kilometers, away. But what exactly are they carrying? Guns? Cameras? Does anyone know or really care?

When these incidents – these mistakes – take place, the government has a tendency to go on the defensive. Dispensing half-truths and other fabrications seem to be the priority, rather than acknowledging that people are fallible. It happened with the Reuters photographers that were gunned down by Apache helicopters in Baghdad. It happened when Pat Tillman was killed by “friendly fire” in Afghanistan. It came to light when Jessica Lynch contradicted our government by clarifying that she was never able to fire a single shot from her jammed M16 rifle when her convoy came under attack in Iraq.

The same people who try to write history, whether or not what’s being written is factual, are the same people developing advanced weaponry. Through psychology and force they remain in power. And when fraud is revealed, more propaganda is thrown around by asserting with scary words like “terrorist,” “espionage,” “traitor,” and “insurgent.”

I would like to make a note here that our troops are not responsible for this culture. They are young, impressionable men and women who are trained to be tough and to dehumanize the enemy. Our soldiers on the front lines are under constant stress, knowing that a threat to their lives could be just around the corner. PTSD is rampant among troops returning home, and the constant warfare dictated by our government is screwing up the minds of these young adults for the rest of their lives. It is insanely irresponsible to go to war based on “bad intel” and to then keep fighting anyway. To date, 4,000+ U.S. soldiers have been killed in Iraq. That’s more than all the people killed in the 9/11 attacks. Interesting, considering 9/11 and the purported presence of “WMDs” were used as justification to invade Iraq. As we all know, no weapons of mass destruction were ever found, and no evidence has ever been uncovered linking Iraq to 9/11 in any capacity.

Another “defense” program recently in the works has been the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet program. The selling point for this aircraft was that it would save the military money, as it could be used by the Marines, Air Force, and Navy, rather than developing a new jet for each of those branches. However, what is a “money saver” is actually the Pentagon’s most expensive program ever, at $382 billion for 2,443 F-35 jets. 2,443 jets for what? Are these to patrol our borders? As we worry about what is happening on the other side of the globe, drug violence is spilling over into the United States. Farmers along the U.S./Mexico border have been killed, and it’s speculated that a number of abductions and killings in Arizona, Georgia, Texas, and Alabama are cartel-related. (CNN)

If we really want to do some good, we could take some of our drones out of the Middle East, and do some reconnaissance work over the Mexican villas that the drug cartels are operating out of. We could also stop spending money in Iraq and Afghanistan, stop spending so much money on seven-hundred-some overseas military bases in over half the world’s countries, and stop pumping money into Israel and Egypt so they can keep acquiring weapons. The term “national defense” means less than ever these days. It’s become a convoluted catchphrase used to justify a whole host of actions that have very little, sometimes arguably nothing at all, to do with actually defending a nation.

Imagine what better use we could make of reallocating money intended for “defense spending.” Our schools are in serious trouble. We have people living on the streets, eating out of trash cans. Emergency services are being cut in towns across the nation. Our infrastructure is eroding in many places. But focus on a greater good and “taking care of our own” gets replaced by meddling in affairs across the globe. We also “invest” billions of dollars annually in other countries to promote pro-Americanism. That’s not the official decree but, believe me, recipients of U.S. aid are not random countries asking for a handout.

U.S. Army Orders First Suicide Drones
http://www.innovationnewsdaily.com/550-suicide-drone-army-switchblade.html

New Video Showcases Army’s Grenade Launcher
http://www.innovationnewsdaily.com/185-xm25-grenade-launcher.html

‘Smart bullet’ hits targets a mile away
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/46206458/ns/technology_and_science-innovation/#.Tyhfc4E_cXA

Pentagon’s F-35 Fighter Under Fire in Congress
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/military/jan-june10/defense_04-21.html

The Mexico drug war: Bodies for billions
http://www.cnn.com/2012/01/15/world/mexico-drug-war-essay/index.html

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