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December 11, 2010 – Comments (15)

Is it acceptable that a war conducted by the American government is kept secret?

One of the Wikileaks revelations is that the US military is conducting land war operations in Pakistan and air war operations in Yemen.  Both of these events were suspected by many (who give a sh*t) and denied by the American government.

Usually wars are conducted without popular support. The history of wars is not one of vote taking. It is extremely rare that the people demand a war.

But it is quite another thing to conduct a war completely in secret. Even the most unpleasant wars were always fought with the citizenry's knowledge if not outright support.  I can't even think of a case where a government started a war, but didn't inform it's public.  Even less rare would be the cases where once the information became public, the government continued to deny it.  Perhaps my reading of history is not complete on this issue.

So if you can leave aside the discussion of Wikileaks, Assange, and bradass87 (we've covered that enough already, haven't we?), let's ask a different question for the weekend:

Is it ok for a government, any government, to conduct hostile military operations in foreign countries, i.e. to engage in war, without informing its populace?

I open the comment section now.

David in Qatar

15 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On December 11, 2010 at 8:34 AM, dragonLZ (99.33) wrote:

whereaminow, would you like to get an e-mail every time U.S. military makes a move or would you like to hear it on the news? Whatever your preference is, I'm sure it can be arranged.

US is in a war on terror, and US populace approved of it (which means they know about it). What you are mentioning are just cover operations, which are a part of that war.

That is nothing new (all's fair in love and war), and your question is very naive (and I know you know it).

While you are at it, helps us also find the answer to this question: Is it OK for parents to lie their own children about Santa? :)

p.s.

I do not approve of any wars and hate when governments lie. But both are facts of life... 

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#2) On December 11, 2010 at 8:42 AM, dbjella (< 20) wrote:

Nope. 

I have a buddy who worked in the military recently.  He flew plains in "training" missions in South America.  He was told that they were "helping" to fight the drug war with local gov'ts.  

I believe we need gov't, probably a little more than you, but I just don't see how this ends well.  It seems like we almost have rogue departments that are able to do all kinds of "work."  I am not a conspiracist, but you have to wonder who is in charge.  I also can't help but think that we are following some path of the past like the Roman empire.  

Take care and have a good weekend. 

 

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#3) On December 11, 2010 at 10:45 AM, Option1307 (30.12) wrote:

In general I'd have to say no. However, Dragon does bring up a valid point that must be concerded,

US is in a war on terror, and US populace approved of it (which means they know about it). What you are mentioning are just cover operations, which are a part of that war.

I realize that the majority of Americans do not like the war know, but at the time we couldn't have been more happy for our government to do "something" post 9-11. So I would suggest that as Americans we sort of brought this on ourselves when we supported the "war on terror" which amounts to a carte blanche i.e. they can engage any "enemy" and say it's all part of the "war on terror".

On a somewhat similar note, I just got done reading Where Men Win Glory by Jon Krakauer. I've always enjoyed his works and this was another fascinating read. I honestly did not follow the Pat Tillman story that much at the time and haven't really looked into it further; therefore I can't asses the validity of what Krakauer claims but holy geez did the US military botch that whole situation. I mean wtf?

Have you read it? It might be something you'd like, well, it's actually probably a little elementary for you since you have had first hand experience at the ineptness/special interest of the military. I would recommend it to others though. If nothing else, it's an interesting read.

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#4) On December 11, 2010 at 11:21 AM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

Option,

Yes, I have read that. That story really exposes the cover-your-a** mentality of the paper generals that run the war.

Doug,

Good call on the drug war. Again, a failed and foolish policy promoted by force without American knowledge.  

Dragon,

I was looking for a discussion, not an attack. Don't preach to me about the military, terrorism, and the threats we face. If you want to have civil discourse, let me know.

And no, it's not naive, it is a serious question. I would counter that it is naive to think the US government and military will prosecute an open-ended war on terror that is in the best interests of America in total secrecy.

David in Qatar 

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#5) On December 12, 2010 at 1:32 AM, FleaBagger (28.14) wrote:

#2) I think we need David more than we need a government.

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#6) On December 12, 2010 at 4:37 AM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

FleaBagger,

Thanks, I think ;)

Although we are probably in agreement, I'd still love to read your thoughts on this topic.

David in Qatar

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#7) On December 13, 2010 at 8:26 AM, rfaramir (29.33) wrote:

#7 you're wrong on both accounts, spewing leftist drivel as though it were wise:

 

2) sex results in children, who are virgins.

1) at least one side (the defense) fights for peace. The aggressor often deludes himself that he does so, too, though that is almost always rationalization.

 

Either way, David's question is interesting. Constitutionally, it cannot happen, as Congress does not declare war secretly, near as I can tell. Of course, "constitutionally" is not the only measure of "acceptable," though it's a good start. Almost nothing unconstitutional is acceptable to me, and few things (patents are one) are constitutional but not acceptable.

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#8) On December 13, 2010 at 8:57 AM, mtf00l (49.87) wrote:

We no longer need congress to declare war, the POTUS can just write an Executive Order and presto...

Do you really believe the "majority" of politicians care about the Constiturion?

Additionally, I have to ask, how the US populace "approved" of the war on terror?

All that said, I suspect there will always be a need for covert operations, I just don't believe thy have been of the magnitude we see today.

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#9) On December 13, 2010 at 10:26 AM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

Thanks for the comments guys. We even have secret grand juries now for people the government doesn't like. The explosion of secrecy (while our Puppet-in-Chief talks the transparency nonsense) is fascism creeping up on a sleeping public.

David in Qatar 

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#10) On December 14, 2010 at 9:11 PM, FleaBagger (28.14) wrote:

I get the impression that we're missing a comment or two from this thread, since rfaramir (Tolkien fan?) addresses his comment to comment 7, which is his comments number currently. Also, I don't really follow what he's saying (though I would like to), and it seems he's responding to something no longer present.

My thoughts on the issue are probably a pendular reaction against what I've believed almost my whole life, which was that we are the USA, and we're large and in charge, and we have a right and a duty to go around kicking bad guy butt, wherever it may be found. In fact, there are probably still some posts by me on CAPS supporting the war in Iraq.

I am now against any action taken by a coercive government (or state), most especially war. A war is probably unjust if the prosecutor of that war relies on forced labor (conscription) or the extortion of the fruits of labor (taxation) for its support, and a just war can be fought by voluntary means, notably the American War for Independence.

As an earnest Christian, I believe that we ought to have a lot less to do with the politics of this world, and a lot more to do with the matters of Christ's kingdom, and frankly I'm ashamed that I ever believed in the wars of an earthly kingdom, as it were. I see a lot of NT Scripture as potentially supporting pacifism, but I think a more careful reading supports defending others, and even using a show of force to prevent a crime against oneself. I don't know what else to make of Luke 22:36. This is a matter of individuals defending themselves and innocents, and a national war is another matter.

I don't really know how I feel about all the theoretical situations where war may or may not be justified, but I do believe that the way we have been engaging in war is wrong. 

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#11) On December 14, 2010 at 10:57 PM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

FleaBagger,

Thanks man! I love hearing from you.

which was that we are the USA, and we're large and in charge, and we have a right and a duty to go around kicking bad guy butt, wherever it may be found

My thoughts growing up as well.  Reinforced in the Marines, but it was already present before I went in. It was actually a retired Marine that introduced me to libertarianism.

and a just war can be fought by voluntary means, notably the American War for Independence.

Have you seen Murray Rothbard's lecture on America's just wars?  It's a one hour video, I think recorded when he was at NY Polytechnic.  Here's Part 1 of 5.  If you haven't watched it before, I think you will enjoy it. It's funny and insightful.

(I know ur as big a Murray fan as me, so I sometimes wonder if I should even bother linking to any of his work when I'm conversing with you lol.)

Empire of Lies & Secrecy by Robert David Steele

Ron Paul, in a short general speech before Congress, carried on C-SPAN and now on YouTube, defended the public service nature of the recent Wikileaks revelations, and asked nine questions. I thought to provide those questions here as a general service, with short commentaries and pointers to a few key books on the related topics of Deceit, Empire, Lies, & Secrecy. At the end I provide links to lists of book reviews across multiple related categories of non-fiction reading.

Here's my favorite part, since it makes such a mockery of DragonLZ's attack on me in comment #1:

04 Are we getting our money's worth from the $80 billion dollars per year we are spending on intelligence gathering?

No. I have been saying that since 1988, and my book, ON INTELLIGENCE: Spies & Secrecy in an Open World (OSS, 2000), is still the most relevant work over-all. General Tony Zinni is on record as saying he got 4% "at best" of his command knowledge from secret sources, and more recently General Mike Flynn has reported that US intelligence has been "irrelevant" in Afghanistan. My personal judgment is that secret intelligence should be cut back to $40 billion a year, with the balance redirected toward creating a Smart Nation by investing in education and research, with a Deputy Vice President in charge of all three areas: education, intelligence, and research (EIR).

If you've never worked with the military or the government before, you just have no idea how incredibly dysfunctional and incompetent they are. You would think that after a decade of losing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan against people that don't have an army, navy, or air force, American citizens would start asking questions, but....

David in Qatar

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#12) On December 15, 2010 at 12:42 AM, FleaBagger (28.14) wrote:

I'm not very well-read in general, so any time you want to link to a Murray Rothbard article or video, go for it.

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#13) On December 15, 2010 at 5:36 PM, rfaramir (29.33) wrote:

Fleabagger,

I didn't want to quote the original due to profanity in it, which is probably why it got deleted: a trite anti-war saying about f-ing for virginity you can find easily to understand my response. There was another post after it which was just spam which got deleted, too. Together, the censor made it look like I was commenting on myself!

And, yes, I am an extreme Tolkien fan. Generally anti-war and a Christian, too. I enthusiastically second the links to Rothbard!

And thank you, David, for your service to me and the people of the US in the Marines. That it also served The State is a regrettable reality and no blot on you but on the politicians we are saddled with.

DragonLZ,

Accepting facts (of both war and lies) is one thing. Judging them to be acceptable behavior is another, and wrong.

mtf00l wrote: "We no longer need congress to declare war, the POTUS can just write an Executive Order..."

It happens, yes. Is it right? No!

 

One more thing, David,

"Are we getting our money's worth" is a pragmatic argument that is a last resort when arguing with someone with whom you have almost no basis of common agreement. It is hardly worth continuing if you have to stoop to that level. Imagine if we *were* getting our money worth (of whatever--spying, war, market intervention)? Would that make it right? I'd rather spend my time educating them on the basics of what we believe, and why, and if it makes them leave the conversation, then fine, that's their choice to reject the truth, but at least they heard it.

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#14) On December 18, 2010 at 11:22 PM, nonmulta (< 20) wrote:

Covert actions aren't necessarily directly kinetic. Stuxnet is unclaimed yet seems to have the earmarks of a covert action designed to achieve a specific policy objective (taking out Iranian nuclear facilities) with a sophisticated cyber action instead of traditional kinetic/militay action, if you don't count the two scientists/engineers.

Is the key issue trusting political leaders to act on our behalf without specific permission, or is it specifically them taking kinetic/military actions w/o our specific knowledge or permission that is unacceptable? Would the same people that have a problem with military actions in Pakistan or Yemen have a problem with stuxnet?

Prior generations (like mine) usually tended to trust elected policy makers, rightly or not, to take these kinds of actions on our behalf without our specific knowledge. Other countries operate the same way, have for centuries, and sometimes we are and will be their target.

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#15) On December 18, 2010 at 11:36 PM, dragonLZ (99.33) wrote:

Here's my favorite part, since it makes such a mockery of DragonLZ's attack on me in comment #1:

whereaminow, I wasn't attacking you at all. I just shared my opinion. OK, maybe my comment wasn't nice, but that's all. I would never attack you.

 

DragonLZ,

Accepting facts (of both war and lies) is one thing. Judging them to be acceptable behavior is another, and wrong.

rfamir, I agree with you: we should not judge lies to be acceptable behavior. My point was: That (whatever you, Dave, and I think) won't change a thing.

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