Maiduguri in ruins as a soldier stands guard (courtesy bbc.com)

“It is not surprising that the authorities in this poor West African desert nation [Niger] . . . are nervously watching Boko Haram, a sect in neighboring Nigeria suspected of killing well over 400 civilians in the last five weeks alone, including children watching a soccer match over the weekend. The group’s fighters have made a habit of quietly slipping across the border into Niger to rest, rearm and refit, officials say — a pipeline the nation is eager to shut down with the Pentagon’s help. But instead of launching American airstrikes or commando raids on militants, the latest joint mission between the nations involves something else entirely: American boxes of donated vitamins, prenatal medicines and mosquito netting to combat malaria.” That from nytimes.com. To use an expression you don’t often hear in that part of Africa, oy vey . . .

Aside from the obvious question of just how eager Nigerian government officials are to do anything other than line their own pockets, there’s the less obvious question of what good American airstrikes or commando raids or foreign troop training – or vitamins – would do to protect the local populace from Islamist terrorists. How’s that working out for us in Afghanistan?

I’ve got to say it: those poor conflicted liberals! They want America to be Mighty Mouse (Here I come to save the day!). They also want American soldiers to get the Hell out of Dodge (i.e., Afghanistan and Iraq). That way they can cut military spending, free-up trillions of dollars [that we don’t have] and increase the size and scope of the federal government. So . . . what now?

With more than a decade of land wars in Iraq and Afghanistan drawing to an end, the American military’s involvement in Niger illustrates how the Pentagon is trying to juggle two competing missions in Africa: contain the spread of Islamist militancy without having to pour a lot of soldiers or money into the region.

Threats continue on the continent, but budgets are tightening at home, and the appetite to send large American armies to foreign conflicts is small. So, the Obama administration is focusing on training and advising African troops to deal with their own security threats, or providing help to European allies that have historical ties and forces in the region.

The Times’ bias is so deeply entrenched that the paper isn’t even aware of it. The entire article’s based on the firmly-held belief that it’s up to the government to protect citizens. Any government. Anywhere. Whether it’s the gang-infested streets of Compton California or a Nigerian soccer field, it’s always about top-down defence.

Across the continent this year, soldiers from a 3,500-member brigade in the Army’s storied First Infantry Division are conducting more than 100 missions, ranging from a two-man sniper team in Burundi to humanitarian exercises in South Africa.

As part of a three-week exercise, Army Green Berets from Fort Carson, Colo., and instructors from other Western countries have trained African troops in Niger to conduct combat patrols and to foil terrorist ambushes. But officials say they can also make headway in relatively simple, nonconfrontational ways, like the Pentagon’s help in organizing a medical clinic during the exercise for nearly 2,000 people in a nearby village, in the hope of encouraging intelligence sharing between the military of Niger and the local population.

“If you can develop a trusting relationship with people, you can gather any information you need,” Fougou Malam Saley, an American-trained sergeant in Niger’s army, said before the medical event and a meeting with 15 community leaders visiting from areas where Boko Haram uses subtle intimidation.

Subtle intimidation? Are you friggin’ kidding me? Check this description of a February Bokum Haram attack from allafrica.com:

“I was shot on my left leg, while I was sleeping. When I woke up, I could not walk and was later taken to the girls hostel where the insurgents gathered us with the female students. They selected some of the female students and went away with them, while they left some of us groaning in pain from gun shot”.

Those were the words of 14-year-old Ibrahim Musa Lampo, a JSS 2 student of Federal Government College, FGC, Bunu Yadi, Yobe State who was one of the lucky survivors of the Boko Haram massacre on Tuesday, which claimed the lives of 43 students. The insurgents also burnt the hostels, classrooms and more than 40 houses during the attack.

That seems like a pretty clear message to me. And if the people didn’t get the message there’s this from the BBC, just two days ago:

Suspected militants have shot dead at least 39 people in an attack on a village in north-eastern Nigeria.

The attackers – believed to be from the Boko Haram group – destroyed the entire village of Mainok, about 50km (30 miles) west of the city of Maiduguri.

The incident took place late on Saturday, hours after two bomb blasts killed at least 50 people in Maiduguri.

Boko Haram has been conducting a four-year violent campaign to demand Islamic rule in northern Nigeria.

In response the U.S. is training troops with dubious loyalties and capabilities and doling out goodies to the locals for intel. Hearts and minds people. Hearts and minds. Again, Afghanistan.

What’s the alternative? Here’s an idea. Encourage northern Nigerians to exercise their natural, civil and not-Constitutionally-protected right to keep and bear arms in their own defense. GIVE THEM GUNS. Teach them how to use them. It worked for the Brits in Malaysia when Her Majesty’s Government didn’t have two pennies to rub together. It could work, well, anywhere. Hartford, Connecticut?

Sounds crazy, I know. Why would you want Nigerians (or Hartfordians) to defend themselves by force of arms? That would create chaos! Before you know it they’d be wondering why the hell they’re paying taxes to those corrupt officials who do nothing to stop the killing? Why don’t we do what the Mexican autodefensa groups are doing and take control of our own security and our own destiny, economically and politically?

Back to the Times:

In the past two years, the United States has spent $33 million to build Niger’s counterterrorism abilities, providing equipment such as radios, water and fuel trucks, spare parts, helmets, body armor, uniforms and GPS devices . . .

American officials are putting the finishing touches on a plan for United States Army instructors to help train an 850-member battalion of rangers as part of Nigeria’s new special forces command.

I wonder if that will tip the balance of power in Nigeria. If the military starts feeling its oats, well, it wouldn’t be the first time that U.S. equipped and trained military forces seized power in a politically unstable not-to-say-profoundly-corrupt country.

Anyway, how much would it cost to train and equip citizen militias? Oops! I forgot: the Nigerian government doesn’t want that solution. They’d prefer to let sleeping dogs lie – even if it means that school children are being massacred and villages burned to the ground. Perhaps a little military action to reassure the locals that something’s being done and then it’s back to business. For the Boko Haram as well. And lucky us, we get to pick up the tab for all of it.

102 Responses to This is What Happens to A Disarmed Populace: America Sends Them Vitamins

    • No, no, no. The people there would be MUCH more likely to hurt themselves or a loved one if given guns. Or, more likely, the bad guys would just TAKE the guns and use them against the good guys, which is what obviously happens most often in THIS country. Plus, more guns makes for more violence, so what we really need to do is offer the bad guys gift cards or some kind of valuable coupon in exchange for THEIR guns and everyone will be happy. OR maybe substitute Viagra for vitamins.

      Yeah, OK, that’s pretty damn’ stupid. Never mind.

      • “OR maybe substitute Viagra for vitamins.”

        Nah. Replace all the hard-on pills with cyanide. That would solve all of the country’s problems overnight!

    • Yeah, why should we care about Nigeria. I mean they are only the most powerful military, which can act to stabilize or destabilize, in western Africa… oh and the third most powerful in sub-Saharan Africa. Obviously we would have no interest in the 37B bbl of proven oil reserves which places them 10th in the world, BTW that places them 17B bbl ahead of the US proven reserves. That of course makes them the 30th most powerful economy (when measured with purchasing power parity) in the world and the second most powerful economy in sub-Saharan Africa.

      So you are right who gives a fig about a country which can be a major ally or a major pain in the ass for us on the entire continent of Africa. To say nothing of course of the fact that we generally are in favor of people not being abused, murdered, enslaved, etc.

      Do us all a favor and if you can’t be bothered to study geo-politics and the importance of certain parts of the globe to US security and interests, to say nothing of just having a generally decent attitude about human suffering, just stay out of the conversation.

      • Nope, still don’t see why I should care. I am sure they will be happy to talk to our wallets which are always open when it comes to oil. As long as the US government doesn’t do something ultra douchey in the mean time to mess that up(as they usually do) I am sure we will be fine. Plus you used “Security interests” and with neocon jargon like that I pretty much just shut down. It’s their problem. Human suffering sucks, but if it bothers you so much, you use your money to fix it. Otherwise I am going back to minding my own business.

      • well, I do love me some oil. Still don’t give a rat’s ass about the 3rd world shite-holes of Niger or Nigeria.

        Now don’t mistake that for isolationism – I also love me some military intervention when it is going to do more good for America than harm.

      • A good point but not really the major concern given they supply 1/6th the oil that Canada does, 1/4th that of Saudi, 45% of Mexico, and only 50% of Venezuela in terms of gross quantities imported to the US. Their strategic location and what they can do on our behalf in Africa is far more important.

        If I were to try and channel my inner-RF I might say, “Not rendering some assistance now is being penny wise and pound foolish as they would say in the land of Hope and Glory.” If I was trying to channel my inner-RF that is.

        • That all depends on what you mean by ‘intervene’. I’d say it’s certainly worth a rat’s ass or two.

        • well colonel, the ONLY reason we should intervene in Niger or Nigeria is if they have something we need and can’t get elsewhere. Do they?

        • Nigeria has oil and Niger has uranium and they both have jihadis. I’m sure we could get oil and uranium elsewhere, but do you really want the jihadis to have it?

        • the resources argument is much more compelling than intervening for the good of the locals. however, that alone isn’t sufficient. it really depends on whether we absolutely need to intervene to keep uranium from getting into the wrong hands.

        • See the problem with the dictionary definition is it means to get involved but does speak to scope. No one here is advocating we land a Marine division with full carrier strike group in support. Anyone arguing against intervention at the level of logistical aid and training is hideously shortsighted.

          As to our ability to get those resources elsewhere it is irrelevent. We buy commodities from around the world not because we can’t get them elsewhere but because with the purchase comes influence. It also denies our strategic adversaries A. Those same resources and B. That lever of influence.

          Final item, the jihadis. The solution to them is not exclusively military. The establishment of basic security is the military role (not our military mind you). Once basic security is established economic growth and civil stability are the long term vaccinations against mainstream radicalization. Hey guess what if we buy their commodities we help with that economic development and increase our influece in how their civil structure develops so it grows more in-line with our ideas of liberty which in turn makes them less likely to be a source of trouble for us!

          *Quick note, when dealing with the purchase or uranium don’tcha think it might be better we buy up the supply on the world market than leave it around where other entities can buy it?

        • the theory behind your assertions are not unsound. the problem is in the specifics pertaining to each case. it is very easy to make general statements that we should provide this or that support to achieve the end of securing resources and keeping them out of the hands of unfriendly actors. but the practical application depends on some preconditions that you have not addressed, the first being whether a country has a reasonably effective rule of law. intervening in the Philippines is quite different from intervening in Somalia, for example.

    • Yes, I care. I’ve visited 3rd world nations and seen poverty and despair first hand. Corrupt governments enforce tyranny in many parts of the world just like they are trying to do here. The 2A is more than just an American idea – Mexico and the Ukraine are struggling for the same rights. So are parts of Africa.

      I absolutely do not support getting into yet another foreign war.

      • Caring without action – does that mean anything?

        Not to sound cavalier about human suffering, but a problem you cannot solve is not actually a problem, it is simply a characteristic of the environment. That’s why I don’t give a rat’s ass about Niger or Nigeria – they cannot be fixed.

        • Solving does not mean fixing it ourself. Providing economic development aid, military and logistical training, and civil support so they can solve their own problem gives us most of what we want at a fraction of the cost.

          I am curious why you believe those countries can’t be fixed? Corruption and crime are issues that can be addressed it just takes time and effort. So why are the people of Nigetia and Niger incapable of addressing them?

        • I’m curious why you think they CAN be fixed, in the total absence of any evidence that they can.

        • Simple, history shows culture shifts and changes in economic systems are possible. Since these things are possible they can, with effort and focus, happen there.

          So what is it about Nigeria and Niger that makes you feel their population is incapable, with effort and focus, from achieving a culture shift and economic development? Is there some inherent insurmountable obstacle that prevents West Africans from changing in the way other human societies have changed?

        • Pyrate, what specific info about Niger and Nigeria do you have that indicates intervention would do any good?

        • “Is there some inherent insurmountable obstacle that prevents West Africans from changing in the way other human societies have changed?”

          Well, uh, it certainly seems like it.

          Do you have any examples of successful self-governance in African societies?

      • My trips there were mission trips – at considerable personal risk – to provide health, medical, and other services. I care about unjust human suffering. You don’t have to be Sally Struthers or a bleeding heart to care. Most of my actions are in the good old USA, others are abroad. It really pisses me off when corrupt governments take donated goods earmarked for the people.

        I say power and arms to the people. Its a check and balance that helps keep governments at least somewhat honest.

  1. So as the MSM and government agencies look for a problem to solve, once again we look Outside the country.

    With the Iraq and Afghanistan wars winding down the military, the drone makers, the techno and equipment makers and the crooks in affected countries need to have an enemy. What arrogance to decide who is good or bad in Africa!

    No one can tell who is good or bad in Syria (note it fell off the MSM since the Ukraine issue).

    Many “countries” are centuries behind us in terms of education, sophistication, etc. We were led into Somalia by the then head of the UN to settle his personal score with an old enemy. Wag the dogs is true.

    We need to stay out of these conflicts . . . . How well are we doing?

    Look how Panama, Grenada, Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Tunisia are doing now to name a few.

    It’s all about property. It costs us hundreds of thousands of dollars to support one trooper overseas in conflict, I think we pay them ~30k. Someone is getting the rest.

    Any politician who wants to fight a war should make sure their kids are in first.

    A recent poll viewed the US as the most dangerous country in the world. . . . Why?

    No one should run for political office without 1 full year of history going back at least 1,000 years (on their dime). This bullshit would end and we wouldn’t be arguing about the 2nd Amendment, I’d have a cruise missile and tank in my backyard also.

    Just sayin’

    • Supplying technical and logistical aid in addition to military training assistance is a small price to pay for nipping an issue like this in the bud. If you have ever seen or read Charlie Wilson’s War just imagine what an investment of a few millions in economic aid and development in Afghanistan in the late 80s would have saved us over the last decade.

      I would encourage you to go listen to the Dinesh Dsouza debate at Dartmouth from February and his very well stated opening about the fact there will always be a leading world power who will set the tone for world affairs. If we willingly abdicate that role by withdrawing inside our borders and leaving the rest of the world to fend for itself we will be replaced by people who do not share our values of human and economic liberty and that will not be a happy day for us here.

      • ya know, if you had read Charile Wilson’s War with some critical thinking skills, ya might have come to the conclusions that, 1 – Congressmen should NOT unilaterally make foreign policy, that’s the job of the executive branch, and 2 – we were incredibly naive and backed the wrong side. We should have been backing the Russkies. The only reason we backed the Pakis and Mujahadeen was out of an anti-Soviet knee jerk reaction.

        • Were you alive during the Cold War?

          The commie pinkos were (and are/Putin) the ENEMY of Western representative democracy. IN PARTICULAR of America and our way of like.

          The defeat of the Ruskis in Afganistan was the 1st major chink in their mantle of invincibility and lead to the repudiation of the progressive libtard crusade which had supported/defended Moscow for decades. They then gave up and WE WON THE COLD WAR. That was very very good for the world. Then Clinton pissed it away etc etc etc.

        • Yes, and in uniform. Spare me the sophomorism, the Ruskies did us a favor invading Ashcanistan, we just couldn’t see it

      • Dsouza is afraid of his own shadow just like the rest of the neocons(who are dying out for good reason). You can’t go swing a big stick while stomping around the world and expect people to like it. I don’t care if you label the stick free markets and democracy, its simply not going to fly.

        If you are so passionate about it, you and the rest and the rest of the neocons should use your own money, saddle up and go fight yourself.

        And yes I am sure aid to Afghanistan would have worked out just dandy!! I’m sure it wouldn’t have been stolen or siphoned off by someone in power because our glorious government never lets that happen.

        • Dsouza is not a neo-con, but he is afraid to show his shadow because he is being persecuted for the sin of offending the President.

        • As far as putting my money into the game I have, in the form of taxes, and I have backed that money with my body by wearing the uniform for the last 11 years and deploying.

          When I worked in procurements for the Iraqi police I saw the corruption, theft, and graft first hand. I know about both money and guns disappearing. Watching that process first hand is what convinced me we are still better off supplying aid knowing some of it will go missing than providing nothing at all.

        • IMO, the American experience in Iraq is a perfect demonstration of why we should be much more skeptical about intervention. That intervention has cost about 15 times what the proponents said, has lasted 20 times as long as they said, and the place is STILL messed up.

          In Mar of 2003, I was in favor of OIF based on Powell’s speech to the UN. In April when we still hadn’t found a single shred of a current WMD program, I became skeptical. In August, when the insurgency started to rear up and Rumsfeld called them “dead enders”, I thought “how does he know?”. Looking back at the briefing charts that had TBD for phase V, it became clear than no one knew what they were doing.

          Now looking back on Wolfowitz’s crony (was it Doug Feith?) statement that the invasion would take less than 6 months, that it would cos $50-60 B and most would be paid back by oil revenue, and that “there is no history of sectarian ethnic violence in Iraq”, it is now clear than they were either criminally dissembling, or horribly incompetent.

          No doubt Saddam was a bad man. tough shit for them. All we did was divert resources away from OEF, strengthen Iran by knocking off their prime counterbalancing leader, waste an enormous amount of money, and get a lot of young troops injured and killed. We are not one iota better off for OIF.

          So if you are going to use the example of Iraq, I counter that you are proving MY point.

        • While I’d agree that we should be more skeptical about intervening in the affairs of other nations, the original intervention in Iraq was a huge success. It was our feeble attempt at nation building that was a disaster. We fired the entire military and the entire government and didn’t replace any of them until it was way too late. When we defeated Germany and Japan we may have had an easier time of it because the people and not just the military were absolutely crushed, but now we have the ability to slice the head off a nations military and leave a whole nation of able bodied fighting men with nothing but time on their hands. If we are going to intervene we have to be much more realistic, but non-intervention can be just as naive as our attempt at nation building in Iraq was.

        • I am not an isolationist and believe we should be willing to use the “Chain Mail Fist of American Diplomacy” – the US Army and her backup singers, the USAF, USN, and USMC – whenever the benefits clearly outweigh the costs.

          However, our initial invasion of Iraq was a strategic failure of stunning historical importance. How any thinking person can perceive it otherwise is a mystery. We did NOT find WMD (except for a few mustard gas shells left over from the Iran-Iraq War), so the VERY PREMISE FOR INVADING was invalid. We knocked of Saddam with the naive assumption that he was the cause of Iraq’s problems, when the truth was that only a strongman could keep that country together and keep Al Qaeda under control. By doing so we strengthened the Mullahs in Iran, and created a power vacuum into which AQI flowed into Iraq.

          Yes, preventable mistakes were made, such as disbanding the Iraqi Army. But the biggest mistake was invading in the first place.

          We would be much better off today if we had kept ONW and OSW in place over Iraq and instead put our resources into OEF. Not that there is any hope that Afghanistan will become a Jeffersonian democracy, but simply to keep the lid on an unstable area with nukes 60 miles from Jihadi territory in Paki.

        • Aaron you are missing my point completely with this dogged adherence to the idea that intervention only means invasion and occupation. I have never advocated for that. I have only advocated for econmic, logistical, and training assistance so that Nigeria can work on solving their problem themself.

          The simplistic argument that because fixing the issues there can’t be gauranteed and won’t be easy is weak. Yes, their is corruption which will degrade the effectiveness of initial efforts. Nothing will change without those efforts and pulling back what we already do simply weakens our strategic position in the region. So I ask again why, when we know cultural and economic change is possible in every human society, are you so convinced that these specific societies are unique in their inability to change with effort and focus?

        • “intervention only means invasion and occupation.”

          It doesn’t matter what kind of flowery language you dress it up in, intervention of any kind is bad. Whoever appointed the United States of America planetary Yenta?

        • Economic, logistical and training aid is how we got started in Viet Nam. Limits need to be placed on any move we make in west africa before we ever make a first move.

        • to Pyrate: it boils down to rule of law. Without at least some rule of law, ANY intervention (short of a total Roman-legion style total destruction and then complete makeover) is a fool’s errand.

          Hence why SF teams providing FID assistance to the Philippines is working, and intervention in Somalia failed.

        • Aaron, if you want to understand what happened in Iraq you need to look up George Pirro. He was the FBI interrogator who was Saddam’s only human contact for 5 months. The short end of it is that Saddam was bluffing because he wasn’t afraid of us, he was afraid of Iran. If we thought he had WMDs than Iran would believe it too. He was actively trying to fool us into believing he had them. So one way of looking at it is that our involvement in Iraq was a huge tragic mistake, but another way is to ask yourself why wasn’t Saddam afraid of us. After we fled Somalia with our tails between our legs after what would have been labeled a lopsided victory in decades past, Osama Bin Laden labeled America a paper tiger and claimed that if we got our noses bloody we’d run home. This is the kind of respect we had in the middle-east.

          Strategically the big mistake was made by the British when they set up the country in the first place after WWI. The fact that it takes a strong man to hold a country like that together doesn’t really factor into the wisdom of the invasion itself. We could have taken Saddam out and set up someone else with the strict orders to fly right or he’ll end up at the end of a rope too. The strategic failure was the nation building in a non homogenous society.

        • The 2nd Amendment sure does attract some strange bedfellows. And trolls.

          Some that don’t even know what they don’t know.

        • To the Gov, I am well aware of the fact that Saddam was bluffing Iran.

          so the real question is how could a parochial and ignorant tyrant such as Saddam fool the “experts” at the Pentagon, Langley and Foggy Bottom, unless they were willing to suspend disbelief out of incompetence and confirmation bias.

          those same experts who never thought that the Shiites and Sunnis would start a civil war in the post-invasion power vacuum – how could they NOT know that?

      • “…replaced by people who do not share our values of human and economic liberty…”

        It’s been quite a long time since American foreign policy reflected even a tiny shred of concern for human or economic liberty… That’s just window dressing and cheap paint they splatter on to cover the commercial interests driving the show.

        • When did I say foreign policy? I said “our” speaking to the cultural values. After all don’t we spend a hefty amount of time advocating those same values here at TTAG?

        • You’re talking about a “leading world power who will set the tone for world affairs”. If that’s not foreign policy, what is?

    • “So as the MSM and government agencies look for a problem to solve, once again we look Outside the country.

      With the Iraq and Afghanistan wars winding down the military, the drone makers, the techno and equipment makers and the crooks in affected countries need to have an enemy. What arrogance to decide who is good or bad in Africa!”

      Please remind me are we at war with Eurasia or Eastasia this week?

      • We’ve always been at war with Eastasia. Eurasia has always been our ally. Death to Eurasia! Praise our Eastasian allies!

    • yeah, that’s bunk. there are legitimate reasons to intervene militarily, and they have little to do with the welfare of the country we intervene in. If the country we intervene in is better off, that’s a nice bonus, but not essential.

    • “What arrogance to decide who is good or bad in Africa!”

      Ah yes, that would be the same arrogance we displayed when we put an end to the Holocaust. Who were we to tell the Germans what to do with THEIR Jews?

      • I know right? Who cares how many schoolchildren they kill. Little shits probably deserve it. I mean, how dare they go to school!!

        • “Who cares how many schoolchildren they kill. Little shits probably deserve it. I mean, how dare they go to school!!”

          Of course. We need to go start yet another immoral illegal unconstitutional war and kill thousands, “For The Children™.”

          I’ve never been able to understand the kind of mentality that thinks it’s possible to stop violence by adding violence.

        • it is CLEARLY possible to stop violence by adding violence, if not then why are you even reading a website about guns?

          However I agree that just because something works in some situations does not mean it works in every situation.

        • “it is CLEARLY possible to stop violence by adding violence, ”

          If violence exists, then “CLEARLY” the violence has not been stopped.

          Doing violence is the opposite of ending violence.

          I think this is the same mindset that the criminal elite in Washington DC have, that thinks it’s possible to decrease Federal Spending by increasing Federal Spending.

        • Seriously? You don’t understand the logic of stopping violence by adding violence? What are you doing on this blog anyway? What do you think you’re doing if you confront a bad guy with a gun of your own?

        • “What do you think you’re doing if you confront a bad guy with a gun of your own?”

          Deterring violence. Having the power to commit violence is not the same as committing violence. When you punch a concrete wall, you might break your fistbones, but the wall does not punch you back.

        • Sorry, but pointing a gun at another person is assault with a deadly weapon. Brandishing your weapon is not deterrence it’s an attack or in a defensive use a counter attack whether or not you pull the trigger. And while assaulting someone with a firearm is generally legal when the purpose of the assault is your own self defense, it is also legal when it is in the defense of others. As far as punching walls goes, that too is perfectly legal providing it’s your own wall, although I’m not sure what that has to do with anything.

        • “As far as punching walls goes, that too is perfectly legal providing it’s your own wall, although I’m not sure what that has to do with anything.”

          Well, there is a documented difference between ‘assault’ and ‘assault and battery.’ The dividing line is the skin, essentially the final property line. In other words, the legal definition of ‘assault’ seems to include ‘brandishing,’ which I don’t think anyone sane would construe to be violence. I could raise my voice in a shouting contest and get all in your face, and yes, I’ve assaulted you, but as long as I don’t touch you with my hands or any tool up to a bullet, I haven’t committed assault and battery. Sometimes deadly force is the only way to save your life, but then that’s, I guess, justifiable violence.

          The point of the wall metaphor is that I should be like the wall. Make it so that if you punch me, you break your fist – like I could whack you with a tire tool and break your arm. But it’s immoral of me to take more action than was necessary to make me safe.

        • But it’s immoral of me to take more action than was necessary to make me safe or ensure the safety of others.

          Fixed that for you.

        • If someone robs a 7-11 with a pistol, pointing it at the clerk’s face, is that not a violent crime? They didn’t shoot, right?

          If someone shoots at you and misses, is that not a violent crime? They didn’t touch you with their body or a tool, right?

          The credible threat of force that would cause fear in a reasonable person of death or injury is violence, just as much as the use of that force is violence. This is a practical definition, not a legal one, but I stand by it.

        • Rich Grise: It appears to me that your comments only make sense in a theoretical world in which violence can be completely and permanently eradicated. This has not been demonstrated in any human society or the animal world. Violence can be exacerbated or reduced, but never eliminated for long.

          My comments address the real world, one in which adding violence can, and has, stopped a specific case of violence. For example, when a cop shoots an active shooter and stops him.

        • “violence can be completely and permanently eradicated.”

          Yeah. That would be the world where self-defense is legal and, get this pie in the ski – our elected officials actually honor the Constitution that created their jobs.

        • Self defense IS legal. Always has been, because of the heritage of English Common Law. The details differ from location to location, but there is no place in America in which self defense is illegal.

          But if violence was eliminated, you wouldn’t need it, would you.

        • “But if violence was eliminated, you wouldn’t need it, would you.”

          You just keep resisting getting my point, don’t you. There are not really very many people with a violent nature. Cull the ones who aren’t deterred by mere brandishing, and there will be no more need for violence.

          Maybe you still haven’t grasped the difference between having the power to do something and actually doing it.

        • Au contraire, mon frere, I am not “resisting” your point at all. I am refuting it. There has never been a human society without violence, and never will be. Policies can make things better or worse, but cannot eliminate violence. I absolutely agree with your statement that we should cull society of those that commit violent crimes, because it will eliminate recidivism. But new thugs will always keep popping up.

      • To the wise Mr. Grise, there are other ways to help other than troops on the ground. Counter-insurgency training, intelligence gathering and sharing etc. Or we could do nothing. I made the comments because of some the cavalier attitudes on here that as long as my house is not on fire, who cares. As to your comment about not understanding stopping violence by adding violence, that may be one of the most naive staements I have seen posted here.

    • In my view of foreign policy, what is good or bad for Niger or Nigeria is irrelevant. What’s important is what is good for America. I don’t see much good for America coming out of yet another attempt to turn some TTSH into a modern Jeffersonian utopia.

  2. The name ‘Boko Haram’ means ‘western education is sinful’. Which explains why they take such a liking to massacring children in schools. The country needs to split. It’s the Christian south that has all the oil anyway so let the fanatical Islamists have their little sharia country and see where that gets them.

    On the other hand, I always kind of liked ‘Whiter Shade of Pale’.

  3. Well, it’s just plain wrong to take money from American citizens to spend butting into other countries’ internal affairs, meddling in some civil war that has nothing to do with “American Security Interests,” whatever the frak that is.

    • Still, I’d say it’s less offensive than at least half of what they spend my money on.

  4. I’m shocked — shocked! — that Africans kill each other.

    Actually, murder is the international sport of Africa, more popular that soccer.

  5. Can’t holder pretend he’s catching drug lords & give them weapons? His poison pen buddy can even ok it.

  6. Not any business or responsibility of the US government and not worth one drop of American blood or one ounce of American gold.

  7. Well, with the current DoD cutbacks and downsizing of the US Armed Forces, all of the “non-interventionists” have little to worry about. Come 2015 or so, the US military will be little more than a paper tiger.

    Having personally been involved in overseas nation building both in uniform and as a contractor, I can say such overseas adventurism isn’t pretty, but if America wants to remain a shining light and beacon of freedom to the oppressed subjects of Terra, it behooves us as a nation to support the down trodden people who live in places most cannot pronounce. I don’t personally agree with the foreign policy of the last 12 years, but my disagreement is based on practice not purpose. America is (was) a great nation because she never balked at fixing what was morally wrong and opposing tyranny in the world whenever and however possible. Sadly, this no longer seems to be the case, it seems that our current leaders would rather take lessons from foreign despots on how to implement tyrannical rule at home than oppose it militarily abroad. Shame really. Just my $0.02.

    • “if America wants to remain a shining light and beacon of freedom to the oppressed subjects of Terra, it behooves us as a nation to support the down trodden people who live in places most cannot pronounce.”

      That attitude has caused more death and destruction since the end of WWII all at the hands of “us as a nation” than there was during WWII itself.

      If “we” want to “remain a shining light and beacon of freedom,” “we” need to lead by example, and behave like responsible adults, not like a frustrated 2-year-old having a temper tantrum, or some kind of self-righteous demagogue that’s absolutely sure that he knows what’s best for everybody in the world, who is acting .like a frustrated 2-year-old having a temper tantrum.

      • I can’t argue with that statement. I believe it’s not what we do, but rather how we do it.

        I don’t agree at all with old men sending young men off to die for frivolous purposes, at all. However, if America wants to stand for freedom, we have to do better. Turning a blind eye to suffering, be it in Detroit, Baghdad, Khost, or some West African shithole, is not what we as Americans should stand for. Again, just my opinion.

        I know you’ve worn the uniform Rich. We’ve both put our money where our mouth is when it comes to being a patriot. We are not on different pages.

        • “I know you’ve worn the uniform Rich. We’ve both put our money where our mouth is when it comes to being a patriot. We are not on different pages.”

          I’ve been a pacifist all my life. I joined the Air Force in 1968 to dodge the draft. When Germany and Japan declared war on the USA in 1941, the USA kicked their asses. That’s the last legitimate use of military force there has been since, but war addiction is as brutal and intractable as alcohol or other drug addiction. The country is going to have to hit bottom, for better or worse, before it’s willing to do what it takes to end the insanity.

        • Ok, you joined USAF to dodge the draft. I dropped out of college in 2001 and joined the army (much to the horror of my family) because I was sickened at the sight of thousands of my countrymen being murdered by jihadist assholes. Of course mistakes were made, but I still believe that America should be a force for good in the world. Good intentions…road..hell…I know.

          Things aren’t as clear cut as they were in 1941. Vietnam was a stupid war that almost got my dad killed. Iraq was a stupid war and could have gotten me killed. America should not run amok like a bull in a china shop fixing the world’s problems, but if we can help make things better, with minimal effort, I think we should.

        • “my countrymen being murdered”

          No, when you kick someone’s door in and proceed to blast away at him, his wife, kids, pets, etc., then the guy defending himself from you is not the murderer.

        • Jared, my two cents: WHAT we do IS as important as HOW we do it. tactical brilliance alone cannot overcome strategic incompetence.

        • @ Rich, Never kicked in a door, never shot any one. I was 153a. -60L pilot. You seem to me a hypocrite, joined to avoid the draft, a pacifist? Do you know what USAF did in 1968? I do. My father was a 1st LT at the time, also a helicopter pilot. You facilitated the killing of the N. Vietnamese people. You should have moved to canada or opted for conscientious objector status. I often agree with you, but in this instance, KMA. You’re more a murderer than I am. My mission was CASEVAC. I put my life on the line to evacuate casualties. That is what I did. I served my country, I will never regret that. I will not be shamed or degraded. I pride myself on the fact that I helped to save American lives. American lives are more valuable than jihadi rats. WTF did you do? Smoke some grass? F*ck some Thai whores? Some American you are.

    • my two cents: we can’t fix everything.

      As the old dead Chinese dude said, “he who attacks everywhere attacks nowhere”.

      So even if you buy into the idealistic premise that America being a “shining beacon to the world” depends on fixing other people’s problems, you now have a prioritization problem.

      I prefer to prioritize our interests first.

  8. It is as though I live on a different planet: We didn’t invade Iraq because Saddam had WMD. We invaded it because he twice showed intention to invade Saudi Arabia and Kuwait at the first opportunity, which would not shut down the US, but would clobber the economies of Japan and others dependent on Saudi, UAE, and Kuwaiti oil, and therefore disrup the world trading system. We didn’t build up a huge war in Vietnam to make it a better place, but rather to keep face in the cold war, in order to maintain respect and good trade relations with nearby SEATO nations while consciously, Lyndon Johnson noted, boosting Japan’s economy which was about to go socialist: giving Toyota the military light truck contracts for the war saved the company and forestalled a socialist victory in Japan. Good. But not the least altruistic.

    We can’t intervene in Mexico? Forget Niger and Nigeria, we have larger problems in our own front and back yards. The high morality talk is BS. What a dream state people fall into once they talk about all the great good we can do abroad. “Physician, heal thyself first.” Defend the constitution. Demand transparency in domestic politics. Fix the tax-spend balance: “The greatest threat to US security is the US national debt,” the general said.

    • ” dependent on Saudi, UAE, and Kuwaiti oil,”

      THERE’s your problem: Becoming dependent on anybody. The only known treatment for dependency is abstinence.

    • Yeah, that’s why we invaded Kuwait. The second time around the justification was WMD – that is how we got a UN authorization. The primary public argument was WMD, the secondary argument was WMD, the tertiary argument was WMD. then there were other arguments thrown in.

      Look, I supported the invasion in Mar 2003, because I believed what my higher commanders were telling me. I understood the strategy was to set an example to intimidate bad actors. But as it turned out, the “experts” and Tommy Franks did not have a clue what they were really doing. By 2005 it was clear to anyone with critical thinking skills that we had made a strategic blunder.

    • OBTW, where was the evidence that Saddam intended to invade Kuwait again, or Saudi for the first time, in the run-up to OIF?

      I’m not defending that D-Bag, just saying sometimes the devil you know is the lesser of two evils ( hey, I just made up a mixed metaphor).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *