musings on military matters

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by blackfox, Mar 22, 2017.

  1. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

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    PDX
    #1
    http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/03/20...lar-u-s-spy-agency-you-havent-heard-of-trump/
    http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/mattis-defense-hill-republicans-obama-236329

    So. Where to begin? The first link is in regards to a Government agency that most of us are probably not familiar with - the NGA. What I found interesting was how far technology (camera and drone specifically) have come - and that it's a potentially unregulated field as technology moves faster than law-making. This segues into the second link about DS Mattis - who was lauded as a non-political, straight-shooter when nominated, but now the GOP is disappointed that he's not appointing on ideological lines...Add to this that Trump has put out a 54 billion increase in Defense spending in a country that already spends more on Defense than the next seven Nations, despite being in a safe geographic position.

    This all seems rather insane. To the first link - this could be a cost-effective tool for security or a Constitutional nightmare. To the second point, don't you want the person(s) involved in getting the US into a potential war to be non-political? Lastly, when you build up your military as much as the US has (and perhaps will more-so) - aren't you tacitly admitting that you're going to war somewhere in the very near future?

    Fiscal Conservatives and anti-war voters of all stripes should be concerned. Your thoughts?
     
  2. vrDrew macrumors 65816

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    #2
    Two very different issues, so its probably a bit tricky to balance them in a single thread.

    The potential for near-permanent overhead high-resolution surveillance drones over American cities and suburbs is troubling. But from a purely Constitutional basis, I'm not sure that the American people can expect much help from the Judicial branch to curtail it. Courts have repeatedly held that on the public street, people have no "reasonable expectation of privacy", and that just as police departments and cities can freely install surveillance cameras and license plate readers, there is no Constitutional expectation that prevents the Government from flying drones over out heads. There really is no legal difference between a Google Earth plane flying over your house taking pictures and a Government drone doing the same thing.

    I believe that the solution to this is to push for Congressional action. Just as the CIA is prohibited from spying on American citizens by law, then I think we should push to prevent the NGA from doing the same thing. But what about the FBI, or your State or City Government? I think that would be legally very much harder to do. And Governors, Mayors, and Police Chiefs would all argue that such surveillance is necessary to stop everything from drug dealers to finding missing children.

    On that front, I think the best we could reasonably hope for is some means of limiting what Government agencies do with the collected data. It's one thing to go back and analyze an individual's movements in connection with a suspected crime. It's another thing entirely to pass that information on to insurance companies and divorce lawyers.
     
  3. BarracksSi Suspended

    BarracksSi

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    Jul 14, 2015
    #3
    About the constant surveillance --

    On the radio yesterday talking about Gorsuch's confirmation hearings and Constitutional originalism (in a phrase: does adhering to the Constitution as-written keep us in the 1700's or not?), the point of "unlawful search" was brought up, relating to police trying to use infrared cameras to watch people inside their homes.

    Now, of course, we didn't have IR cameras three hundred years ago, so one side says that the law prohibiting "unlawful search" -- in this instance, an unwarranted invasion of privacy -- doesn't apply to new technology. The other side says that the intent of the original laws was to prevent police from simply waltzing into your house and poking their nose into your business, and this new tech enabled them to do the same thing and, thus, would be just as invasive as before.

    The judicial branch came down and decided that this kind of IR surveillance was unconstitutional because it created an invasion of privacy by reasonable standards.

    The difference between this and surveillance of public spaces is "public" versus "private" space. Society has mostly begun to want video evidence of public activities, whether it's which drunk guy threw the first punch, which car ran the red light, or whether the football was fumbled by ground contact.

    But none of those things need high-tech cameras that can see through walls. I think that's where the line is drawn, and I don't think the general public, Congress, or the judiciary wants to change that line, either.
    --- Post Merged, Mar 23, 2017 ---
    I'd trust Mattis to baptize my children. He's possibly the most intelligent person in the administration. I'm not just saying this as a fellow former Marine, either; I fully recognize that not all military personnel are of the highest moral caliber (*cough*Patreus*). I'm glad Mattis is doing his job as dryly and apolitically as he can, and I'm not surprised, either.

    I think it's dick-waving. I think it's like we enjoy feeling like we're in the lead on something. I think it's like going to the gym and bulking up to deadlift five hundred pounds even though the heaviest thing you'll carry in daily life is the groceries -- you want to look "swoll".

    I honestly wonder, though, if other countries have created an expectation for the US to step into a conflict. Are we really the world's "911 force in readiness", or is that just a narrative that we've created to make ourselves feel better?

    I don't like how it takes so much money to just hold a posture, though.
     
  4. vrDrew macrumors 65816

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    #4
    It seems to me that Trump and the Republicans want it both ways with respect to Mattis. They want the credibility of having a respected and able (retd.) General running the Defense Department. But they want political hacks sitting at the desks where a lot of policy decisions get made.

    One thing that really has surprised me about Trump: Not even a sop towards bi-partisanship. Not the slightest recognition that anybody who served in the previous administration has anything to offer, is qualified. And this isn't just applied to Democrats. Any Republican who opposed him in the primary seems persona non grata at Trump Tower DC.

    To me, the bigger issue with Trump vis-a-vis the DoD is this: Trump's budget proposal is calling for a fairly large increase in spending. Two additional aircraft carriers, and a couple more combat brigades. But they haven't articulated how they see these being used in a world where ISIL is viewed as the most pressing immediate threat.
     
  5. BarracksSi Suspended

    BarracksSi

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    #5
    Pretty much. He's sticking with the idea that the last eight years have been garbage and he's going to "fix" everything that was "wrong". That's what his fan base wants.

    It's an amazing amount of money to spend to get those capabilities. A hundred countries wish they had a total budget worth just one aircraft carrier so they could get running water and clean hospitals.

    "Our military is falling apart," they say. Well, that's inevitable -- it's what happens when you buy a lot of things and then don't need them all anymore. It's as if I went and bought 365 Hondas so I could drive a different car every day of the year, then after a few years, I just drive a hundred of them. Of course the other 265 are going to become neglected. But would it be a good idea to rebuild all my dusty old Hondas? No, I don't think so.

    Can we keep the military going at this size? Sure, we could. Do we have to? Nope.
     
  6. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    Terlingua, Texas
    #6
    Fully concur with Post #2.

    Given the post-Reagan history of our military with its unending wars, I'm fed up with both the way-too-high military budget and the misuse of our servicemen. As near as I can tell from reading, the primary purpose seems to be for the profits of Boeing, Raytheon, GE and numerous other mil/ind companies. The NeoCons and the Wolfowitz Doctrine chap my butt.

    Q: What do you call a carrier task group? A: A target-rich environment.
     
  7. chown33 macrumors 604

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    Aug 9, 2009
    #7
    So you're more a fan of the Littoral Combat Ship.

    Just kidding. Don't take me littorally. Er, literally.
     
  8. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    Jul 4, 2003
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    #8
    The LCS is just another boondoggle, same as the F-35.
     

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