As of late, what with the Iranian nuclear issue heating up, there are cries and suggestions that the supposedly unbreakable Israel-Washington bond will prompt the U.S., at the very minimum, to approve Israel's potential strike on Iran. This relationship is already dangerous enough, many say, but couple this with hawkish views on violence and you have the US military as a powerful tool of Israel that the US can and will deploy at Israel's behest.
Much of what the American military is devoted to today is fighting the forces of extremists. This cannot be much clearer than its missions in Afghanistan and Iraq: the destruction of religious and tyrannical zealots who pose a threat to national security.
To me, there is no higher calling than to confront the aforementioned figures, who've such low value for human life.
Growing up with a sister diagnosed with CHARGE Syndrome, I feel not only the desire to take part in exterminating such odious beings, but also, more strongly, the obligation to protect those unable to protect themselves.
This applies to all those who carry out such gross and inhumane atrocities. Whether it be a truly totalitarian (by the textbook definition, not by the casual, conversational one) despot such as Saddam Hussein who threw Iraqi babies into acid baths or the ultra-religious terrorists who hit close to home...More >>
This is the second article in a series by Joseph Suh on why he wants to serve in the military. Read the first article, Why I Want to Serve
I left off my first article noting that the United States has been involved in atrocities in its past. However, these should be seen as lessons from history. Although the military industrial complex and other shadowy factors may influence American military involvements, they aren't absolute controllers of US foreign policy today.
Let's take for example, the war in Afghanistan.
Surely, the consequences of this conflict are extraordinarily difficult to deal with but the intent – what the war planners wanted to happen – is a different story.
The US leadership obviously mis-managed the political aspects of the war. They didn't take into account significant aspects of the country, such as how difficult dealing with tribalism and how incompetent the Karzai Administration would be.
Obviously, US national security interests are in play here. From al-Qaeda's attacks on the World Trade Centers in 1993 and 2001 to the 1998 bombings US embassy bombings in Africa, the US should be rightfully worried about terrorists breeding in Afghanistan (and...More >>
Joining the military has always been a dream for me. As a kid, I wanted nothing more to be one of the bad-ass Navy SEALs on the recruiting commercials. As I grew older, watching movies such as "Black Hawk Down" and scourging military documentaries like "BUD/s Class 234" only strengthened what seemed like a far-fetched dream.
But now, here I am. Enrolled in the Reserve Officer Training Corps at the University of Utah. For those not familiar with it, the purpose of this program is to have college students commission as Second Lieutenants in whichever branch of ROTC they've chosen -- for me, it's the United States Army.
Even before I joined the ROTC program, I wanted to articulate whether or not I wanted to join the military. What you're about to read is the first of many segments of my thoughts on why I want to serve.
With my recent conversations with certain people about American foreign policy, my qualms about today's dually practical and humanitarian (naturally, as a state actor, the former supersedes the latter) intentions of US foreign policy today, are diminishing. Most helpful in this troublesome trek are people who...More >>
Before, during, and, ironically enough, after the United States' invasion of Iraq, laments that the U.S. crossed swords with Saddam Hussein's Iraqi Army, sacrificed massive amounts of economic capital, and most importantly, allowed over 4,000 some troops and over 100,000 Iraqi civilians to die in vain for one thing: oil.
As the above graphs delineate, the United States' peak oil imports were in 2001 and 1999, respectively, before the invasion. Ever since the invasion in 2003, there have been intermittent jumps in the number of oil imports -- though, nothing near a consistent pattern in imports. As a matter of fact, oil imports from Iraq have been on a general decline since 2003.
From the same website:
The "monthly imports" graph should clarify the trend even futher. It's patent that under Saddam, the U.S. was far more capable of
Many people today still retain the belief that the average soldier returning from either Iraq or Afghanistan is a poor, lower-class minority who had no other option than to enlist for an occupation. Although this may be the case for some, as one would presume about so diverse an institution, the specious myth is still heard ubiquitously to this day.
Even during the Vietnam War, the widely held assumptions of the aforementioned was untrue.
"88.4% of the men who actually served in Vietnam were Caucasian, 10.6%... were black, 1.0% belonged to other races", according to the Mobile Riverine Force Association.
Today, with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the gap between this illusion and the truth is even greater.
According to research conducted by The Heritage Foundation:
poorer families are under-represented in the military today, while high-income ones are over-represented
As the Taliban taunts the United States on the 23rd anniversary of the previous Soviet withdrawal, one can't help but grimace at the underlying credibility of such confidence.
"Today’s American occupying invaders and their coalition allies are facing the same future the Russian invaders faced in the past".
Whether the war is being fought for benign reasons or malicious ones, the majority of the American public feels as though the US should pull out of Afghanistan. Since the US is established on democratic values, this sentiment will only encourage political leaders to pull out sooner, despite the timeline already shortened by Panetta.The Taliban know that the US doesn't have the stomach for such a prolonged conflict, and they are rightfully exploiting it by releasing such statements.
Other grandiose statements seem not so credible, though:
“Selfish Americans must learn a lesson from … the Russian defeat and no longer fight a meaningless battle with zealous Afghans and take their invading forces out as soon as possible,” the Afghan Taliban said in an emailed statement to media.
If the Taliban were such better alternatives to the US' occupying forces, as they suggest, they have yet to...More >>
In yet another attack which took place just last week in Afghanistan, a Muslim suicide bomber blew himself up and killed -- you guessed it -- fellow Muslims.
It should be pretty unequivocal by now where the real problem in the region is coming from. The Taliban was massacring the Hazara population -- not because of their support for the Coalition, or hatred stemming from western foreign policy, but simply because of their belief in a different sect of the same religion.
Indeed, the United Nations stated in a report last year "attributing 75 percent of the deaths to attacks by Taliban and other insurgents rather than coalition forces".