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 Post subject: executions in Bali
PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 5:31 pm 
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Granted that the fiction we all read and enjoy is about a state that abuses its’ power. However, in the real world such abuses of power are far from amusing.
I heard the news this morning of the executions in Bali and once again am glad I live in a country where the rule of law is tempered with mercy.
http://www.news.com.au/world/asia/bali- ... 7325909790

I would be interested to hear what others think.


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 Post subject: Re: executions in Bali
PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 7:35 pm 
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Puppygirl-Jugs wrote:
Granted that the fiction we all read and enjoy is about a state that abuses its’ power. However, in the real world such abuses of power are far from amusing.
I heard the news this morning of the executions in Bali and once again am glad I live in a country where the rule of law is tempered with mercy.
http://www.news.com.au/world/asia/bali- ... 7325909790

I would be interested to hear what others think.

Not ok at all. When you go on foreign country, you respects the laws and you can't complain if you are punish when you violate them. One of my compatriot will be execute with the 6 guys left and i will not cry for him.

Moreover, you don't know why the law is so hard against drug dealers in Indonesia and maybe is justified by the situation, the history of this country. In any case, it's not up to foreign country to impose their laws to other country when your national miss up.


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 Post subject: Re: executions in Bali
PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2015 3:30 pm 
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I think it was a barbaric and atrocious act and a crime against humanity. The death penalty overall is just an ugly example of how little we've advanced morally despite our technological progress. And executing people over a drug beef? Really? In a country where "honor killings" and sexual assaults are routinely overlooked by authorities?

The dealers were petty criminals. Those who slaughtered them are major criminals, whether the "law" supports them where they are or not. There are recognized standards for human rights and over time we're seeing the gradual disappearance of executions in all but the most backward countries (I include my own in the backward category on this issue).


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 Post subject: Re: executions in Bali
PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2015 4:51 pm 
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Sidestepping some of the issue. At least the death penalty is being openly used. It was once reported that over here in the UK the 'very bad' didn't survive long and that the police helped this. Exact details were not provided.

When you go to another country unless you are an American serviceman then you are subject to their laws however good/bad they might be. No country is perfect and injustice is a sad fact of life.

I am prepared to be shot for cowardice, desertion etc. as a conscientious objector so my only thought on hearing this was: I hoped they didn't cry. I think this is because I can see myself facing a firing squad or being hanged. I wouldn't want to cry.

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 Post subject: Re: executions in Bali
PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2015 5:20 pm 
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m113 wrote:
Sidestepping some of the issue. At least the death penalty is being openly used. It was once reported that over here in the UK the 'very bad' didn't survive long and that the police helped this. Exact details were not provided.

When you go to another country unless you are an American serviceman then you are subject to their laws however good/bad they might be. No country is perfect and injustice is a sad fact of life.

I am prepared to be shot for cowardice, desertion etc. as a conscientious objector so my only thought on hearing this was: I hoped they didn't cry. I think this is because I can see myself facing a firing squad or being hanged. I wouldn't want to cry.


According to reports in their last moments they refused the blindfold so they could look their executioners in the eyes and sung a hymn up until the bullets were fired.


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 Post subject: Re: executions in Bali
PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2015 7:50 pm 
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ernestgreene wrote:
I think it was a barbaric and atrocious act and a crime against humanity. The death penalty overall is just an ugly example of how little we've advanced morally despite our technological progress. And executing people over a drug beef? Really? In a country where "honor killings" and sexual assaults are routinely overlooked by authorities?

The dealers were petty criminals. Those who slaughtered them are major criminals, whether the "law" supports them where they are or not. There are recognized standards for human rights and over time we're seeing the gradual disappearance of executions in all but the most backward countries (I include my own in the backward category on this issue).


I'm also against death penalty. In my country, we banish that 34 years ago and i don't want its restoration. But when you break the law on any country you should know the risks and if you take the risk you shall assume.


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 Post subject: Re: executions in Bali
PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2015 5:19 am 
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I have no issue with the Death Penalty on principle, I have serious reservations about what some nations enforce it for and am disgusted by how the sentence is carried out in other nations, but that is another argument entirely.

I have to say that the Bali case is one where I feel great sympathy for the families of the executed men but less sympathy for the condemned themselves. To lose a loved one in those circumstances is horrifying, I cannot imagine how it must feel to watch a clock and know that at a given moment a loved one is no longer alive. In this sense I agree with Ernest Greene and Puppygirl_Jugs it is barbaric. A British grandmother was sentenced to death on Bali a few years ago so we may have to face the same emotions that have gripped Australia recently.

There do remain real questions around the edges of this case that should, but may never, be answered. Why did the Indonesians reprieve the Filipino woman when the two individuals alleged to run the operation suddenly had a last minute change of heart and voluntarily surrendered themselves to the Phillipine authorities? What is going on with the French guy whose execution was delayed? Is there corruption in the Indonesian judiciary as was recently claimed? All these things leave a nasty taste in the mouth

As for the two Australians themselves (who seem to have been the central focus of the storiy) I have less sympathy. They both knowingly and willingly committed a capital crime in Indonesia motivated by nothing more than the profit (I read somewhere the small amount was worth a couple of million Australian dollars but I am willing to be corrected if someone knows better). Their own Government accepted that they were guilty of the crimes they were condemned for and acknowledges the sovereign right of Indonesia to punish crimes in whatever way it sees fit. There was real redemption but that is legally irrelevant.

In response to a point made by M113, I think I was the one who mentioned the "very bad" don't survive. As for details simply cast your mind back to how Fred West and Harold Shipman despite having spent years mentally bearing up to serial killing, all of a sudden decide they cannot take it anymore and hang themselves in Prison within a couple of months. The so called Teacup Poisoner also died in his cell in a case where the convicts believed the guards had killed him and the guards thought some enterprising convict had enacted poetic justice. Can we prove anything out of this? No, but it does seem suggestive.


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 Post subject: Re: executions in Bali
PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2015 4:05 pm 
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It doesn't matter to me who actually committed what crimes where. Of course everyone in a given country is subject to the local laws and customs but that has no bearing on the matter of state-sanctioned homicides, which is exactly what executions are. Even if they weren't wildly excessive for things like drug smuggling, they're crimes in themselves and I don't see the benefit of criminalizing all of society to get back at a tiny number of offenders.

Our society is losing its historic enthusiasm for the death penalty because, among other things, too many times the investigative process or the prosecution that followed were incompetent and innocent people were executed. That is always a risk in the fog of prosecution. Does anyone here really trust even the best-run criminal justice system to operate perfectly in capital cases? Do we really trust ours or any government to have the power of life and death over its citizens? Do we just ignore the fact that executions are almost invariably inflicted on the less powerful classes than the most? Ever seen a millionaire executed? I haven't. They can afford the best representation and have political influence that does, despite claims to the country, affect the outcomes.

If the system fucks up and an innocent person goes to jail, that person can later be exonerated and released, which has happened literally hundreds of times in this country since DNA evidence came into wide use.

But if the system fucks up and kills the wrong person, it's just a bit late to pardon them for whatever they didn't do.

There are simply too many good reasons to get rid of the death penalty everywhere and too few to justify keeping it around anywhere.


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 Post subject: Re: executions in Bali
PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2015 4:44 pm 
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I am against death penalty. Not because I believe that "every human life is sacred". Some people do deserve to die. I'm anti-capital punishment because I don't trust states and judicial systems one bit. States often execute for political reasons, and law enforcement fucks up a lot.


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 Post subject: Re: executions in Bali
PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2015 6:12 pm 
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I actually agree with a lot of what both Ernest Greene and Erenisch say. It is state sanctioned homicide, things do go wrong and states cannot be trusted to not politicise matters.

I would disagree about one thing however. In the 51 years since the last executions in Britain, the wish for it's restoration (at least in opinion polls) has always remained around or above 90%. I would imagine this is far higher than it ever was for retaining it, in the first half of the 20th Century The politicians who have frequently voted it down, did not do so at the bequest of their people.


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 Post subject: Re: executions in Bali
PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2015 7:46 pm 
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ernestgreene wrote:
It doesn't matter to me who actually committed what crimes where. Of course everyone in a given country is subject to the local laws and customs but that has no bearing on the matter of state-sanctioned homicides, which is exactly what executions are. Even if they weren't wildly excessive for things like drug smuggling, they're crimes in themselves and I don't see the benefit of criminalizing all of society to get back at a tiny number of offenders.

Our society is losing its historic enthusiasm for the death penalty because, among other things, too many times the investigative process or the prosecution that followed were incompetent and innocent people were executed. That is always a risk in the fog of prosecution. Does anyone here really trust even the best-run criminal justice system to operate perfectly in capital cases? Do we really trust ours or any government to have the power of life and death over its citizens? Do we just ignore the fact that executions are almost invariably inflicted on the less powerful classes than the most? Ever seen a millionaire executed? I haven't. They can afford the best representation and have political influence that does, despite claims to the country, affect the outcomes.

If the system fucks up and an innocent person goes to jail, that person can later be exonerated and released, which has happened literally hundreds of times in this country since DNA evidence came into wide use.

But if the system fucks up and kills the wrong person, it's just a bit late to pardon them for whatever they didn't do.

There are simply too many good reasons to get rid of the death penalty everywhere and too few to justify keeping it around anywhere.

Agree with all of this but i think is up to the citizen of each country to decide abolition and not people of other countries. I hate interference, interference has caused the world chaos where we are.


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 Post subject: Re: executions in Bali
PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2015 9:24 pm 
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For the record, I too believe some people deserve to die, or anyway don't deserve to live, but share E's distrust of any government to figure out who has it coming and who doesn't. Those in power tend to have their own reasons for wanting certain people dead and those reasons may have nothing to do with the intended victim's character or conduct. They may simply be regarded as a political threat. Or they may belong so some group that's slated for extermination by the state.

Which is where the interference problem arises. If no one interferes and local rulers are too powerful to be pushed out by their own people, do we just accept things like the Rwandan genocide, the slaughter in Cambodia or the crimes of the Nazi's? Sometimes there's a moral necessity to interfere and the failure to do so makes those who could accessories to mass murder. International law forbids certain acts as crimes against humanity and has managed to put some pretty evil folks behind bars. I'd rather see those people there than living in luxury on The Riviera with money they stole from their own people.

The hard part is deciding when, where and how to intervene without making matters worse, which we've certainly managed to do in, say, Iraq. We certainly took down a vile dictatorship there, but in the process we wrecked one of the few states in the region with a large, educated, secular middle class of the type that tends to resist extremist ideologies such as those we're dealing with now in what's left of Iraq and neighboring Syria.

I'm against unilateral action by any one state against another, but backed by a strong international consensus, I think there are places in the world where intervention to save lives is a clear moral necessity.

I can't think of a single case where I think executing anyone was an act of moral necessity. By the time that happens, the individual has already committed whatever crimes (assuming they got the right guy, which is granting a lot) and won't be committing any more. So other than vengeance, what pragmatic or ethical necessity is served by piling up a few more bodies? I don't think it's a coincidence in any way that the states that execute the most people are also among the most violent themselves, including the one in which I live.


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 Post subject: Re: executions in Bali
PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2015 3:20 am 
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Some disturbing facts that may put the executions in Bali in a darker light have come to the fore front.

• It is rumoured that the Indonesian judges suggested at the beginning of the trial if a large enough bribe was paid they would not bring in a death penalty verdict. I state at this time this is just a rumour.
• The Indonesian government may have broken international law by bringing down the death penalty on people who had not directly harmed others.
• The Indonesian government also blocked attempts to bring the case to the international court of human rights.

Three factors that I feel do not make this a cut and dry case.


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 Post subject: Re: executions in Bali
PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2015 1:56 pm 
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It never was a straightforward prosecution. And bribery greases the wheels of most governments in the world. It's quite possible this is as much a ransom kidnapping as judicial proceeding. The line between the two is often quite fine.

Yet another reason I oppose the death penalty. In most countries that have it you can buy your way out if you have money and connections. In its administration it's routinely corrupt throughout most of the countries that still do it. That includes here. Remember what I said about never having seen a millionaire executed?

On most of this planet, you get the justice you can afford, which is why death rows are overwhelmingly packed with poor people.


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 Post subject: Re: executions in Bali
PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2015 8:18 pm 
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ernestgreene wrote:

Which is where the interference problem arises. If no one interferes and local rulers are too powerful to be pushed out by their own people, do we just accept things like the Rwandan genocide, the slaughter in Cambodia or the crimes of the Nazi's? Sometimes there's a moral necessity to interfere and the failure to do so makes those who could accessories to mass murder. International law forbids certain acts as crimes against humanity and has managed to put some pretty evil folks behind bars. I'd rather see those people there than living in luxury on The Riviera with money they stole from their own people.

The hard part is deciding when, where and how to intervene without making matters worse, which we've certainly managed to do in, say, Iraq. We certainly took down a vile dictatorship there, but in the process we wrecked one of the few states in the region with a large, educated, secular middle class of the type that tends to resist extremist ideologies such as those we're dealing with now in what's left of Iraq and neighboring Syria.

I'm against unilateral action by any one state against another, but backed by a strong international consensus, I think there are places in the world where intervention to save lives is a clear moral necessity.



The point is we never interfere by goodness but for our own interest. USA had funded Hitler (before WW) for put back communist, Iraq was invaded for economics matters (petrol especially), France put to death Gaddafi because he funded Sarkozy campaign in 2007, etc... In each case, the situation in these countries are worst and not a little. It is chaos on Irak, Syria and Lybia and we have create indirectly ISIS by buying mercenaries to take down Assad and Gadaffi.

So if we can't trust any states for death penalty we can't either trust them for interference, i'm consequently against the two of these.


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 Post subject: Re: executions in Bali
PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2015 9:37 pm 
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ernestgreene wrote:
Remember what I said about never having seen a millionaire executed?

You would, if you lived under Robespierre or Stalin. Money buys some, but not everything.

On the issue of international interventions, I have mixed feelings. There are success stories like post-war Germany and Japan, but the current situation in the Middle East is a very good argument against intervention.


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 Post subject: Re: executions in Bali
PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2015 1:03 pm 
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ernestgreene wrote:
Remember what I said about never having seen a millionaire executed?


Returning to my unofficial position as historical pedant to the forum I should say that several British millionaires were executed over a couple of centuries. In 1728 a particularly nasty individual called Jonathan Wild was hanged. His trick was to turn crime into a literal business - a real Moriarty type. He employed thieves to steal private correspondence and expensive goods and would then for a suitable commission, as a "thief taker", would approach the victim with the offer of finding it again and returning it to them. Those thieves who no longer were of any use to him, he would sell out to the authorities and provide evidence to see them hanged. He essentially monopolised the criminal industry in London. Unsurprisingly, such a lovely individual was eventually sold out in turn by those who feared they were next in his sights. He was estimated at the time of his death to be worth a couple of million in legal (and illegal) assets back when millionaires were EXTREMELY rare. A member of the aristocracy was actually hanged for murder. Both of these cases were at a time when "British justice" was a contradiction in terms but that is another story.

As for events in Bali there are real issues around the case with possible corruption but I don't know if that will ever be cleared. There has been an official denial by one of the case judges but how much you read into that is up to you. Did they violate international law? Not for me to say, but I do think the Australian Federal Police screwed up and handed the Indonesians a capital case. This may be why the Australian govt was quite so vocal in attempting to overturn the sentences


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 Post subject: Re: executions in Bali
PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2015 3:08 pm 
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When it comes to hanging rich people, I should have carved out an exception for organized crime figures. Their kind of money won't always buy off the hangman.

However, when you're talking about members of the privileged class, the position still holds up. This is especially true where I live. If you look back over the history of celebrity murder cases, you won't find a lot death sentences. Likewise with Texas oil men.

So this is really more a matter of class than behavior. If you belong to the empowered class, you not only have greater resources with which to defend yourself, you also have the tacit support of your powerful buddies who play golf with judges.

At least in this country executions are pretty much something that happens to poor people. Now, come a revolution, which we won't see happen in this part of the world sometime soon, the newly-arrived ruling class will often do away with any remnants of the previous regime they can get their hands on.

But that's a phase in the process of a revolution. Once power is consolidated by the newcomers, they go right back to protecting their friends and killing off anyone else who draws their wrath for whatever reason.

As a descendant of Russian emigres, I was often shocked to discover when I was younger how many czarists had also managed to escape. We fled persecution at their hands and they fled persecution at the hands of those who came next.

Once the system is more or less operating "normally" under almost any form of rule, it goes back to sheltering the upper classes from the penalties routinely imposed on everyone else.

As for intervention, I have mixed feelings too, based on mixed results. There have been successes. If this weren't true we'd be dealing with a descendant government of Nazis in Germany now. And though I'm no fan of Douglas MacArthur (who my dad, having served four years of Pacific surface combat during WW2, invariably referred to as "that egomaniacal idiot") proved to be an extremely competent administrator in Japan after the surrender. Some lessons were learned from WW1 to the extent that we rebuilt our defeated foes as opposed to maintaining them as miserable failed states.

The modern world is a very different place where there tends to be a whole lot of small, ugly wars going on simultaneously in a number of places for very a number of different reasons. Our record in that situation is, to be charitable, not so great. We don't understand the local realpolitik well enough to know who to support and who to oppose, so we often end up with former allies as enemies and former enemies as allies. Did we learn the lessons of Vietnam?

Apparently, only the wrong ones. No, I don't trust nominally democratic governments of modern industrial states to know when and where to intervene, but at least when they do there's some public debate over it first. In a criminal trial the debate goes on among a dozen retired folk who can take time off for jury duty and are selected by lawyers for both sides on the basis of apparent persuadability.

I suppose I'd have to say I really don't trust any government with lethal force anywhere unless said government can make an honest case to the public (instead of lying about the facts on the ground as our politicians did on Iraq) of the necessity of using such force to prevent something worse. And therein lies the whole conundrum. How do you prevent something worse by killing people? I get that it can become the only remaining option when it's a matter of self-defense, but those clear-cut situations are rare and getting rarer.

All in all, I feel safer when the powers that be get out of the killing business to the greatest possible extent.


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 Post subject: Re: executions in Bali
PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2015 4:27 pm 
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The question of intervention is always a tricky one. A small part of me wants to answer the question of "did we learn anything from Vietnam?" with a glib "yes, we learned the lessons and can now repeat the performance on request," but that would demean the efforts and suffering of a lot of people.

The obvious example for both the USA and Britain is Afghanistan. I think the US Administration DID learn some lessons from both Vietnam and the Soviet Invasion. The minimal "feet on the ground" approach and paying anti Taliban factions to do most of the foot slogging was a sensible response to what happened. Where the mistake lay (and sadly this is even more true for the 2003 Iraq Invasion and what followed) is that there was never a strategy for when "all combat operations have ceased" to borrow from George W Bush's unfortunately premature declaration. There was no equlvalent to the Marshall Plan or McArthur's administration in Japan. They obsessed over eliminating "foreign fighter" elements and let the more dangerous local Taliban elements regroup and wait out the storm In defence of the Bush Administration (not a phrase I tend to use often) the willingness of the Pakistanis to hand over high value targets must have made this strategy seem successful and in the immediate term it was. No serious effort went in to rebuilding Afghanistan and according to people around the Green Zone minimal effort went into reconstructing Iraq after "de ba'athification" either. This was a lesson that seems to have been learned in principle from the aftermath of WW II but certain practical aspects were forgotten.

So there can be no suggestion of patriotism giving rose tinted glasses. I must observe that Britain has fought at least three pretty much unsuccessful (and one of them was a catastrophic failure) major wars and long cold wars in Afghanistan and another three in Iraq. Our failure to either see the issues, or alert others to the dangers, suggest alternative solutions is potentially worse than the degree of the unthinking wading into trouble that the Bush administration can legitimately be accused of. On the subject of lies to get us into a war, Bush may have essentially invented mythical links between Saddam and Bin Laden to sweeten the pill but Blair had his cronies take it to the next level by ordering MI6 to produce a dossier on WMD and then edited out all the "could be, may be, there is llttle reason to believe" phrases which got in the way and claimed it was CERTAIN proof of a 45 min threat to Israel and any other country who the politicos thought Saddam might like to throw chemical Scuds at. Colin Powell generously reproduced this "dodgy dossier" for the delectation of the U.N. Not bad for a series of stories created by a taxi driver who thought if the Americans were going to pay him good money for information then he had better make it dramatic


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 Post subject: Re: executions in Bali
PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2015 12:22 am 
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I think we pretty much agree here. One thing both the British and the Americans learned after a number of failed counter-insurgencies is that a force-attrition platform such as both countries regard as foundational to their ground forces doesn't work when you're fighting a culture rather than an army. The intelligence failures of the past ten years are part of a greater failure of intelligence based on an inability to read history. It was, for quite some time, possible for industrialized nations to achieve what von Clauswitz called "a determination through force of arms" by fielding large, heavily armed forces and engaging on open ground until one side was decisively routed.

But when the OpFor consists of pretty much everybody in the country you're not paying as mercenaries, that approach is doomed. The enemy is everywhere and while they may be incapable of pushing back a more advanced force in a conventional clash, all they have to do is temporarily fade into the general population and then strike when the invaders have retired. Eventually, the cost of this kind of open-ended conflict will exhaust the resources and political will of the aggressor, who can leave if necessary, unlike the inhabitants who are fighting for the only land they'll ever have.

Another key difference between WW2 and subsequent wars was the willingness and ability of the enemies we defeated to fall in line with our plans to rebuild them. Before the war, Germany, Italy and Japan were modern, industrial societies accustomed to working in concert toward a given goal. That model doesn't work very well in places that are still going by the rules of a few centuries back.

There are some revisionist dopes here who actually believe that we half-heartedly fought in Vietnam and would have succeeded there had it not been for the failure of political will here. This is where the real failure of intelligence occurs - the inability to comprehend that not everyone thinks like us. Americans don't study history much and they don't understand that places like Vietnam and Afghanistan have been fighting off bigger countries for millennia. The Vietnamese eventually wore down the Chinese, the Japanese, the French and then us. As the UK seems to have forgotten, Afghanistan had done the same thing to invaders since Alexander the great, including the British.

Not surprisingly, though we could occupy the urban areas of these countries, we could find very little support for our idea of how they should function overall. They happily took our money and used that and everything else we turned over to them against us and why not? Unlike our previous foes, they had no desire for anything that could be gained by genuinely cooperating with us.

The lesson we should have learned was not to engage enemies with whom disengagement through decisive military victory is impossible. Perhaps we'll learn that lesson this time out, but I'm skeptical. If, as the saying goes, your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.


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