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US training armies in Africa

Discussion in 'U.S. Politics' started by framed, Dec 23, 2006.

  1. framed

    framed New Member

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    I love non US news sources, especially when they report on the US. Has anyone seen this story? Do you think its true? If it is, do you think its right for the US to be training any armies in Africa? Africa is one of those continents we never hear much about in stateside news, so I can't claim to understand the conflicts over there too well...
     
  2. tater03

    tater03 New Member

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    This is the first I have heard of this. I will have to read the story. I really don't know a whole lot either when it comes to Africa and its culture or political ideals.
     
  3. mamab

    mamab New Member

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    Actually, you hear more about "Africa" than you think you do. The countries in Africa include Egypt, the Sudan, Ethiopia, Rwanda, etc. So, any time you hear about injustices, genocide or famine in these countries, you're hearing about Africa.

    I haven't read the article, but if a country has asked for our help in training their military, I don't see a problem with it. We do have one of the best militaries in the world. And before anyone brings it up, I know we're in Iraq and Pakistan.
     
  4. framed

    framed New Member

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    Yeah Mama I know the countries in Africa, they just tend not to come up in the news (aside from this week obviously) unless theres something AIDS related in the news.

    In any case the problem I see with getting involved in these things is that we always seem to have a way of fighting the people we arm within 10-20 years. Given our own nations priorities, our budget problems, and our own (long) list of enemies, I don't understand why its in or best interest to be arming other parts of the world. Adding arms only increases the likelihood of a war, and in every case we're arming someone's enemy...making us their enemy by extension. Personally I'd rather these people fought their own wars, leaving us to save our money for domestic uses, and avoid the creation of new enemies.

    Also for the record, that article I mentioned came out a few days before the current conflict started. Pretty spot on stuff. Has anyone seen a US news source mention the suspected US involvement with the Ethiopians since war broke out?
     
  5. Furious George

    Furious George New Member

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    This is why we need to either engage in DIPLOMATIC rather than POLITICAL ties, or we should just adopt an isolationist ideal, because the way we conduct foreign affairs is quite a letdown.
     
  6. tater03

    tater03 New Member

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    You are so right on when it comes to us helping another country's military. It does seem to come back and bite us on the butt. But then again when we do stuff like this it is usually because we hope to get something in return. What that my be in this case I'm not sure.
     
  7. Andy D

    Andy D New Member

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    I heard a follow up to this report a few days ago on a local news radio station. The US / Ethiopian / UN forces actually routed the Islamic forces from Somalia. It has been seen in Africa, and other parts, as a pretty big victory against Islamic fanatics.

    We have been very heavily involved in Africa since 9/11. Most of it has been more on the gathering intelligence / providing logistical support side. Al-Queda is extremely active in the remote areas where only warlords govern. It provides them with the perfect spot to train, organize and regroup from. Should we be there? It depends on your point of view. I could see why people might think we should stay focused on Iraq and not go picking fights elsewhere. However, the fights are finding us. I believe we are in the middle of a new world war. If that is true, then there are multiple fronts on that war. As in WWII, where we fought in Europe, Africa, and the Pacific at the same time, this new World War is going to require us to fight on many different fronts, at different levels, at the same time. I hope we have leaders, and we elect leaders, that can get us through this.
     
  8. mamab

    mamab New Member

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    Unforunately, I'm not surprised to hear someone say "I believe we are in the middle of a new world war." I've wondered that myself. It's not quite like WWII in that there's not a particular country, it's more an ideology. Much harder to fight and see that there's progress being made.
     
  9. Andy D

    Andy D New Member

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    Wwiii?

    There is no military on the face of the planet that can go toe to toe with the US. However, our enemies realize that and have chosen a new way of fighting that plays to their advantages (lack of concern for the lives of those around them) and our weakness (unwilling to accept a high civillian casualty rate). I believe this is a true world war becuase our enemy is fighting us in the Middle East, in Africia, Indonesia, the Pacific, and thy want to fight us here in the US. In addition, they are fighting our counterparts in Europe whether the Europians will acknowledge it or not.

    I truely believe we are in real trouble until more Americans open their eyes and see what we are up against. This isn't an enemy unified under the flag of a particular state, it is unified under the banner of a sect of Islam.
     
  10. dong

    dong New Member

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    Combined with the comments below and my grudging agreement that we will rumor ourselves into a religious war, despite this being possibly the worst-case scenario, I'm going to say that the latter option will only play right into the hands of those who wish to divide the world into the faithful and infidels. What's funny is that this doesn't appear to be a single pushing war between 2 diametrically opposed sides, but rather a convergence into such.

    Oh, and Andy, whilst there may some truth in your saying that anti-US forces deliberately exploit civilian targets, you really can't say that those keeping the war going from the US side are that successful at keeping the cilivian casualty rate down...nor do the administration really care to the point that they would stop the campaign because of it. No, instead they try to suppress the figures.
     
  11. Andy D

    Andy D New Member

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    How can you say that the Administration is trying to “suppress” the casualty figures? The AP has a running count on how many US soldiers have been killed, and every report I see talks about civilian casualties. I read a story today about the AC-130 attacks in Somalia, and they came complete with civilian casualty estimates. And if you compare the numbers of civilians killed by Coalition forces in this war versus in Vietnam or WWII, there is a huge difference.

    My argument is this: In order to win this war, I believe we are going to be forced to accept higher civilian casualties. I don’t like the thought of innocent people dying, but sometimes that happens.
     
  12. framed

    framed New Member

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    Andy, they aren't suppressing US force casualty statistics, but its pretty clear they aren't making it easy to find Iraqi and Afghan civilian casualty stats. I think the comparison Dong was making was that the US war tactics are as or more brutal on civilians as their enemies.

    The Iraqi casualty count ranges between 40,000 and 650,000 as of a few months ago depending on who you ask. If you want some funny reading check out the criteria the US uses to decided if it wants to count a particular death as a war casualty on the Iraqi side. Its pretty different from the criteria they use on the US side.

    A funny thing about a democracy, its hard to say the civilians are innocent. We elect the leaders who take us to war, we re-elect them after they take us to war, and we pay the taxes to build the bombs that kill those people. Unfortunately for us I think as citizens of a democracy we are much more valid targets than civilians in the a dictatorship we are trying to overthrow. We are much more responsible for the actions of our government than they are.

    The US lost ~3,000 people in 9/11. Since then we've killed at minimum 15x that number, some argue over 200x that number, to get revenge on what was a effectively a group of 20-100 people who planned and executed the attack. How many new enemies did we make by killing between 40k and 650k people, most of whom have families? Of that group, how many will be mad enough to come and attack us? I dunno about you but the cycle seems pretty clear to me, and I'd really like to break it.

    My argument is this: In order to win *any* war you have to have a definable enemy, and we don't in this case. Instead we keep creating small groups of new enemies by our actions. In order to come out on top in this situation we should be converting enemies to friends, and stop killing people's families.
     
  13. Andy D

    Andy D New Member

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    Framed, I have to disagree with you on a few points. Just before accessing this site, I was reading an article on our forces attacking Al-Queda in Somalia. In the report (from Fox News) they list among the causalities 31 civilians. I have seen very few articles covering any military action that hasn’t discussed the number of civilians killed or wounded in the attack.

    We have a very definable enemy. Our enemy is Islamic Fanatics that want to kill us. That includes Al-Queda and many other terrorist. They don’t fly a common flag except that of Islam. They don’t recognize any borders. This enemy is much more difficult to fight than any we have ever fought. They are also much more dangerous.

    Your last sentence really scares me. There is no way to convert our enemies to friends. Those followers of extreme Islam beliefs can not be persuaded or negotiated with. They will only accept one of three outcomes: 1) The death of all infidels including those who believe in a different brand of Islam, 2) Their own death, or 3) Their supreme rule over all infidels. That is it. Unless one of your ways to make them our friends falls into those categories, you can’t make them your friend. We are in for a very long struggle until more people realize this.
     
  14. framed

    framed New Member

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    You said: "Those followers of extreme Islam beliefs can not be persuaded or negotiated with."

    How do we know that? We haven't tried. We labeled them evil terrorists and decided to try and purge them from the earth. Your argument seems to have the basic assumption that huge percentages of the human population are clinically insane. Thats just not possible. We are fighting reasonable people from a very different culture with very different life situations. That makes them much harder to understand. It does not make them crazy. As humans they have the same wants needs and desires as you and I, it comes hardwired to just about everyone.

    You cant go into a conflict with the fundamental belief that your enemy is crazy or evil. That shuts down all respect and dialog, which pretty much guarantees continued war, continued growing hatred, and ever increasing attacks on US soil. Instead you should consider that while you don't understand the sanity of their position, they most likely have one worth listening to.

    I'm not pitching some Ghandi thing, but I think diplomacy has been entirely abandoned by labeling these people as terrorists and just deciding they shouldn't be allowed to live. The whole terrorist label means what anyway? That they kill civilians? We do that. That they use fear to manipulate a population? We do that too, remember "shock and awe"? Because they target the people who finance and sponsor the problems in their country? Yup, we do that too.

    If you don't even try and understand the other side, you'll never be able to bridge the gap. This isn't a game of quake where you try to completely erase the other side, ultimately we're going to have to learn to get along (unless your pitching some kind of genocide?) or we'll end up like Israel with enemies on all sides and car bombings every day.

    In terms of how to convert our enemies to our friends here are a few smart people have tried successfully in the past:

    1) Show respect for their human rights
    2) Acknowledge their legitimate grievances and concerns, and attempt to compromise with them where possible.
    3) Show a willingness to help improve their quality of life (Try pouring 100 billion into housing developments, hospitals, and schools in Palestine and Iraq instead of bombing for example.)
    4) Help them understand who we are and where we are coming from
    5) Stop killing their families
    6) Stop bulldozing their homes
    7) Stop calling them evil
    8) Stop treating them generally like they're primitives

    If you or I as a sane person was in their situation I'm willing to bet we'd hate America. Depending on how directly we'd been impacted by the war we might even want to join the fight. After all, how many friends and family members of yours would have to die before you decided to fight back? How many of your homes would have to be bulldozed? How many of your dictators would you have to see propped up by the US? America has done much to earn the hatred of these people, its time we start addressing the root of the problem instead of spraying gas on the fire by continuing to kill people's relatives.

    There absolutely are a handful of crazy people out there who mean us harm. This is nothing new, and they aren't specific to Muslim beliefs. (think Waco, Oklahoma City, Unabomber) Occasionally they'll get us, most of the time they'll be stopped. But you cant wage a war against a handful of crazy people from all walks of life, especially not by blunt force war that kills thousands and creates more enemies than it kills. I truly believe that just like everywhere else, people in the middle east would prefer to live in peace than in war... but you can only be stepped on so long before you have to act.

    Since someone is probably thinking it by now... for the record I'm an agnostic white American male who's never been to the middle east.
     
  15. Furious George

    Furious George New Member

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    There's your problem. [See bold]

    FOX News is the most blatant spin doctor the media has seen in years. Remember a few months back, we found so called 'WMD's' in Iraq, which turned out to be degraded weapons WE gave Iraq in the 80's and 90's to fight the Soviets. Despite this, FOX News [with the aid of Rick Santorum] continued to air their story, and to this day, I have not seen an apology or even an admittance to spin doctoring.

    I suggest you watch the movie on Rupert Murdoch. It's on Google Video.
     
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