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Monday, June 02, 2014

OTP - June 2014: Iraq war costs U.S. more than $2 trillion: study

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. war in Iraq has cost $1.7 trillion with an additional $490 billion in benefits owed to war veterans, expenses that could grow to more than $6 trillion over the next four decades counting interest, a study released on Thursday said.

The war has killed at least 134,000 Iraqi civilians and may have contributed to the deaths of as many as four times that number, according to the Costs of War Project by the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University.

When security forces, insurgents, journalists and humanitarian workers were included, the war’s death toll rose to an estimated 176,000 to 189,000, the study said.

Bitter Mouse Posted: June 02, 2014 at 07:48 AM | 4613 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: otp, politics, stupid ideas

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   2901. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:27 AM (#4728321)
Capital gains should be treated like income.

Not unless you're talking inflation-indexed capital gains. Someone who buys something for $20,000 in 1994 and sells it for $23,000 in 2014 lost money.
   2902. JE (Jason) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:28 AM (#4728323)
I am open to arguments about the necessity to use force in this case, but an argument that relies upon "we're cowards so must prove we're actually macho men" disqualifies both the argument and the speaker from being taking seriously on the topic.

I don't remember asking you to participate, Greg. And the quote above is yours, not mine.
   2903. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:28 AM (#4728324)
he problem is always that we don't have enough heart to fight wars forever.

You mean other than in video games and on the internet, which at times seem to be almost interchangeable.
   2904. JE (Jason) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:33 AM (#4728328)
You realize OBL wanted the US to do what we did, right?

Go back behind your drawbridge, Mouse. I'm sure you'll be perfectly safe. The reality is that until the United States closes all of its overseas bases, from Korea to Djibouti, we will be a target.

And if that's really what you desire, a world without at least one superpower, then it likely won't be more than a few decades before another World War I, this time featuring nuclear exchanges, gets unleashed.
   2905. GregD Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:33 AM (#4728329)
I don't remember asking you to participate, Greg. And the quote above is yours, not mine.
I see. So your goal is simply chest-beating, not persuasion? Must be fun.

And how would you summarize the meaning of your statement about World War 2? What is the analogy meant to prove? Leaving aside that it's an absurd analogy on its face.
   2906. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:35 AM (#4728332)
Capital gains should be treated like income.


Not unless you're talking inflation-indexed capital gains. Someone who buys something for $20,000 in 1994 and sells it for $23,000 in 2014 lost money.

You're absolutely right, and of course capital gains should be inflation-indexed, along with the minimum wage, Social Security benefits, and safety net payments. It takes a peculiar type of blindness and/or moral indifference to be oblivious to the effects of not doing so in any of these cases.
   2907. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:36 AM (#4728335)
And what social engineering are you planning? I have laid out some simple steps which will impact income inequality. You have suggested that the answer is ...?

I think we've been over this but to start:

1) Subsidize of blue collar jobs (particularly manufacturing) through tariffs on imported goods and off-shored services, and direct tax subsidies, if necessary.

2) Change the welfare system to reward marriage and work.

3) Shift in immigration from low skilled to high skilled labor, and from illegal to legal.

4) Tax capital gains and dividends (including carried interest) as regular income, indexed for inflation, i.e. you pay no tax on gains due purely to inflation.

5) Estate tax of 50% with exemption of $2M per recipient, coupled with an elimination of charitable trusts. The only way to avoid the tax is to actually give the money away to charity with no strings attached.

6) Require mutual funds and pension funds to vote their share in corporations, and appoint independent board members.

7) Make corporate dividends deductible at the corporate level, but require corporations to pay out >50% of profits as dividends, unless shareholder affirmatively opts to reinvest
   2908. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:41 AM (#4728338)
Not unless you're talking inflation-indexed capital gains. Someone who buys something for $20,000 in 1994 and sells it for $23,000 in 2014 lost money.


You're absolutely right, and of course capital gains should be inflation-indexed, along with the minimum wage, Social Security benefits, and safety net payments. It takes a peculiar type of blindness and/or moral indifference to be oblivious to the effects of not doing so in any of these cases.


And the various tax brackets. All using the same index for inflation, so it hits everyone, and everyone has a stake in it being correct (as correct as such things can be)
   2909. JE (Jason) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:48 AM (#4728344)
And how would you summarize the meaning of your statement about World War 2? What is the analogy meant to prove? Leaving aside that it's an absurd analogy on its face.

The analogy was to point out that "endless war" isn't the only issue. A media environment featuring constant second-guessing and human-interest stories make even shorter-term engagements difficult to undertake.

So no, it wasn't about "cowardice" versus "machismo."
   2910. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:49 AM (#4728345)
1) Subsidize of blue collar jobs (particularly manufacturing) through tariffs on imported goods and off-shored services, and direct tax subsidies, if necessary.

Does nothing regarding the 1%. Might (maybe) help the 99%, assuming the costs of your protectionism don't wholly offset the wage gains (which they likely will).

2) Change the welfare system to reward marriage and work.

Does nothing regarding the 1%. Shuffles things via accounting in the lower bounds of the 99%. It is largely accounting having married people suffer less poverty. A & B counted separately may be below the poverty line, and when they marry they are above it, but they are not actually making more money. A+B = A+B.

3) Shift in immigration from low skilled to high skilled labor, and from illegal to legal.

Does nothing regarding the 1%.

4) Tax capital gains and dividends (including carried interest) as regular income, indexed for inflation, i.e. you pay no tax on gains due purely to inflation.

We agree on this, and it is tax policy you suggest doesn't matter, but OK.

5) Estate tax of 50% with exemption of $2M per recipient, coupled with an elimination of charitable trusts. The only way to avoid the tax is to actually give the money away to charity with no strings attached.

See 4 above.

6) Require mutual funds and pension funds to vote their share in corporations, and appoint independent board members.

Shrug. I am not against changing how corporate governance works, but I really doubt it changes much in terms of income inequality. Are you OK with mandatory election voting (like some democracies have)? And btw, how are you going to enforce mandatory fund voting?

7) Make corporate dividends deductible at the corporate level, but require corporations to pay out >50% of profits as dividends, unless shareholder affirmatively opts to reinvest

I think it troublesome to meddle that much in how companies choose to handle their money. And I don't think it will do anything to address income inequality.
   2911. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:50 AM (#4728347)
A media environment featuring constant second-guessing and human-interest stories make even shorter-term engagements difficult to undertake.


Feature, not a bug. And one of the many reasons the cost/benefit equation for war has changed. It is m,ore costly and less beneficial. That means we should do it less, BTW.
   2912. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:51 AM (#4728349)
You do know there was a military "surge" in Afghanistan starting in mid-2009, right?

I don't think he does, based on the bizarre narrative that Obama should be commended for "ending two wars." There have been far more American casualties and a bigger American presence in Afghan post-Obama.

Once again, they prefer fantasyland to reality.
   2913. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:56 AM (#4728350)
And the various tax brackets. All using the same index for inflation, so it hits everyone, and everyone has a stake in it being correct (as correct as such things can be)

Agreed. Though inflation is hardly uniform across the board and across the nation, and no overall inflation indexing can do much about trends like this:

Millennials consider leaving Washington as the city becomes more costly

Even with a combined family income of $100,000, you have to wonder how those people wanting to live in cities like DC are ever going to avoid the fate of their counterparts in Manhattan and San Francisco. I guess the only "solution" is for them all to move to Raleigh and leave DC to the young and single, the ultra-wealthy, the handful of people still living in rent stabilized apartments, and the people who were both lucky and smart enough to buy their homes before gentrification hit with full force. Anyone else is pretty much out of luck.
   2914. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:56 AM (#4728351)
Does nothing regarding the 1%.

Do you want to punish the 1% or help everyone else?

The key is to increase the returns to labor, and reduce the returns to capital; that will reduce inequality. Protectionism, and reducing the size of corporations is a way to do that.

I think it troublesome to meddle that much in how companies choose to handle their money. And I don't think it will do anything to address income inequality.

Why is that troublesome, but taking more of my money, to piss away on the same old programs, isn't?
   2915. JE (Jason) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:57 AM (#4728352)
Feature, not a bug.

I would phrase it a little differently, Mouse: Feature, but with bugs.
I don't think he does, based on the bizarre narrative that Obama should be commended for "ending two wars."

Hmmm, I wonder if any of today's crusty lefties were just as effusive in their praise of Nixon when he ended the Vietnam War?
   2916. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:57 AM (#4728353)
bizarre narrative that Obama should be commended for "ending two wars."


Two things are true. Obama did better (where better is less war), based on what they said during the campaigns and a reasonable extrapolation of their general ideology and policies than either of the two candidates he ran against in the general elections he won. He should be commended for that.

Also true is that there was still too much warhawk behavior on his part and too much money was spent and too many soldiers died on his watch, and he should be condemned for that.

The main bizarre thing is the fact that Obama is being dinged by the "never enough war crowd" for too much war, when he isn't being dinged for too little war. Which is it?
   2917. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 17, 2014 at 11:03 AM (#4728357)
Do you want to punish the 1% or help everyone else?


It is not about punishing anyone. The goal is to reduce income inequality. Because income inequality has very corrosive economic and societal impacts. If you want to give every man woman and child a billion dollars and let hyperinflation equalize the playing field, well I don't recommend it, but I guess it doesn't punish the 1%. But for me, I am looking for a more painless way for everyone to reduce income equality.

The key is to increase the returns to labor, and reduce the returns to capital; that will reduce inequality. Protectionism, and reducing the size of corporations is a way to do that.


Worker productivity has continued to go up the last thirty years or so, while wages have been mostly flat. I like productivity as much as the next guy, but I don't think that is the silver bullet. I am OK with reducing the size of corporations (especially monopolies and in finance), but protectionism does nothing for me.
   2918. GregD Posted: June 17, 2014 at 11:06 AM (#4728360)
Jason, fair enough on your response, and I'll retract my summary.

But don't you think it should be difficult to launch short-term wars? Difficult, not impossible. Since the consequences of war are severe, and since wars have been launched in the past on absurd errors, confusion, and deliberate falsification (talking broadly about history not trying to score points on any given war), isn't it good to have to explain why an attack is taking place, what it aims to accomplish, how we might deal with unanticipated consquences, and how we imagine an end to the conflict?
   2919. The Good Face Posted: June 17, 2014 at 11:07 AM (#4728361)
Does nothing regarding the 1%. Might (maybe) help the 99%


I can't speak for Snapper, but this comment betrays, to me, a fundamental disconnect in aims. I'm not concerned about inequality in and of itself; punishing the 1% or, more accurately, the .01% is not a meaningful goal. I'm concerned about an economy that doesn't adequately allow middle and working class people to make enough money to support themselves and raise families.

Warren Buffett or Bill Gates both make and have vastly more money than me. By any measure, there is gross, immense income (and wealth) inequality between them and me. That said, I own a beautiful home in a great neighborhood. I have nice cars. I have investments for retirement, go on lovely vacations, and can buy pretty much any consumer good that strikes my fancy without considering the cost. Is the inequality a problem? Doesn't seem to be. I can live independently, raise my kids, have a nice life, etc. The problem is that too many people are unable to do that.

So if you can come up with policies that will allow more people to do that, what's the point in fretting that they won't adequately punish the 1%? You can have a country where the majority of the population lives a pleasant, middle-class life, or you can have a country where everybody is "equal". They're not the same thing, and the track record on the latter is awfully poor...
   2920. GregD Posted: June 17, 2014 at 11:09 AM (#4728364)
On Nixon, Jason, I assume you've seen the pieces going around different lefty publications about whether lefties should embrace Nixon as a hero. There's hardly consensus, but it's also true that there are serious lefty writers arguing that the left should embrace Nixon. If your question reflected an assumption that lefties could only hate Nixon, that's not an accurate assumption.
   2921. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 17, 2014 at 11:12 AM (#4728365)
I can't speak for Snapper, but this comment betrays, to me, a fundamental disconnect in aims. I'm not concerned about inequality in and of itself; punishing the 1% or, more accurately, the .01% is not a meaningful goal. I'm concerned about an economy that doesn't adequately allow middle and working class people to make enough money to support themselves and raise families.


See 2917. I can discuss why income inequality (or perhaps more to the point wealth inequality) is a huge problem if you want, but I think it is. The point is that I don't think the two issues, income inequality and an economy that does not support the middle and lower classes, are unrelated. In fact the two are deeply connected. So long as there is a large and rapidly growing income inequality, then the economy will not support the middle classes.

Inflation rates are being kept too low. This hurts the economy, but lower inflation rates help the wealthy, while higher inflation rates help the middle class and below. But it is not about punishing the wealthy however, it is about building an economy that is better functioning for the middle class (and others).
   2922. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 17, 2014 at 11:12 AM (#4728366)
Two things are true. Obama did better (where better is less war), based on what they said during the campaigns and a reasonable extrapolation of their general ideology and policies than either of the two candidates he ran against in the general elections he won. He should be commended for that.

He expanded the American presence in Afghan and far more Americans died under his watch there. Uncontrovertible facts.
   2923. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 17, 2014 at 11:14 AM (#4728368)
The "few barbarian nutters" were working alongside those who brought us 9/11 and were hoping to hit us with WMD next. News flash: You no longer need to command five million uniformed goose-steppers in order to wreak havoc on the world.


Wow. Did you really just trot out the "Saddam was working with bin Laden" thing? You didn't, did you? Please say you didn't.
   2924. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 17, 2014 at 11:15 AM (#4728369)
You can have a country where the majority of the population lives a pleasant, middle-class life, or you can have a country where everybody is "equal". They're not the same thing, and the track record on the latter is awfully poor...


BTW, this is a false dichotomy. There is a continua of possibilities, it is not a binary. And no one is arguing for "everyone is equal", but I am arguing that the ideal level of income inequality is much lower than the level we have today. And pretty much any mechanism for reducing it can be thought of as punishing the rich. Shrug.

“There's class warfare, all right,” Mr. Buffett said, “but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning.”
   2925. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 17, 2014 at 11:17 AM (#4728372)
He expanded the American presence in Afghan and far more Americans died under his watch there. Uncontrovertible facts.


He did so less than McCain or Romney would have. What is your point?

As you know, ah, you go to war with the President you have---not the President you might want or wish to have at a later time.
   2926. The Good Face Posted: June 17, 2014 at 11:19 AM (#4728373)
See 2917. I can discuss why income inequality (or perhaps more to the point wealth inequality) is a huge problem if you want, but I think it is. The point is that I don't think the two issues, income inequality and an economy that does not support the middle and lower classes, are unrelated. In fact the two are deeply connected. So long as there is a large and rapidly growing income inequality, then the economy will not support the middle classes.

Inflation rates are being kept too low. This hurts the economy, but lower inflation rates help the wealthy, while higher inflation rates help the middle class and below. But it is not about punishing the wealthy however, it is about building an economy that is better functioning for the middle class (and others).


Except Snapper has offered multiple suggestions to help the middle class and your objection to those ideas was that they "Did nothing about the 1%".

I reject the premise that inequality in and of itself is a problem. I think people are conflating the problem of "not enough money to live on" with "inequality". If a large majority of the population could live a middle-class lifestyle without crushing debt burdens, the fact that Larry Ellison has a yacht the size of an aircraft carrier isn't particularly relevant.
   2927. Swoboda is freedom Posted: June 17, 2014 at 11:20 AM (#4728374)
7) Make corporate dividends deductible at the corporate level, but require corporations to pay out >50% of profits as dividends, unless shareholder affirmatively opts to reinvest

I think it troublesome to meddle that much in how companies choose to handle their money. And I don't think it will do anything to address income inequality.


I don't think you need to require 50%. If you make dividends deductible, everyone will increase dividends. There would be such an outcry if they didn't. This would also stop companies from hoarding cash and stop some of the merger mania.
   2928. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 17, 2014 at 11:20 AM (#4728375)
He did so less than McCain or Romney would have. What is your point?

That he didn't "end the war" in Afghan, the oft-asserted meme around here. He expanded it.

Which was a stupid idea. By 2009, Iraq was by far the more important front, as recent events have shown.

   2929. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 17, 2014 at 11:20 AM (#4728376)
The analogy was to point out that "endless war" isn't the only issue. A media environment featuring constant second-guessing and human-interest stories make even shorter-term engagements difficult to undertake.


The United States was actively involved in WWII from 1941-1945. For the math sensitive, that's four years.

The United States was actively involved in Iraq from 2003-2011. For the math sensitive, that's eight years, or twice as long as the nation was committed to WWII.

EDIT: Afghanistan - 2001-present (14 years and counting)
   2930. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 17, 2014 at 11:23 AM (#4728377)
I don't think he does, based on the bizarre narrative that Obama should be commended for "ending two wars."


Could you perhaps show me where I have stated that Obama has "ended two wars," BabyBear? Because I'm pretty sure you're just making #### up as you go.
   2931. GregD Posted: June 17, 2014 at 11:26 AM (#4728378)
I personally don't think punishment is the point. On the other hand, I don't think changing the taxes on the very wealthy is punishment. I want to increase their taxes (and mine too for that matter) not to punish anyone but because I want to use the money to both improve employment and keep the country competitive through things like infrastructure programs. There are other ways to use money that will also have an impact on the working class, including expanding EITC. And that money has to come from somewhere unless one is a Cheneyite who thinks deficits never matter.

On inequality as a practical problem, the arguments that exist include:
1) The very wealthy don't spend a high proportion of their income, so policies that move more money to them lessens the mulitiplier effect of money, the consumption that drives much of our economy.

2) The consolidation of vast fortunes in the hands of a small number of people gives them an influence over the political system that distorts it in the favor of extremely wealthy people. By a petty example, female doctors are generally well to do and generally politically aware. Dr. Adelson gave more money to political causes than all other female physician in the U.S. in 2012.

Both are arguments, not ironclad laws, and both are subject to changing conditions, further analysis, of course. But both have practical implications that can't be dismissed by reference to moral arguments.
   2932. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 17, 2014 at 11:26 AM (#4728379)
He expanded the American presence in Afghan and far more Americans died under his watch there. Uncontrovertible facts.


It would have required a fool to think Obama wasn't going to expand American presence in Afghanistan if elected. He'd been saying as much since 2007.

By 2009, Iraq was by far the more important front, as recent events have shown.


Cause reasons and stuff, and Bear's hatred of all things Muslim, naturally. (Or even pseudo-Muslim really. If it's in the Middle East and it's not Israeli, I'm pretty sure Bear's on board with bombing it.)
   2933. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 17, 2014 at 11:32 AM (#4728384)
Except Snapper has offered multiple suggestions to help the middle class and your objection to those ideas was that they "Did nothing about the 1%".

I reject the premise that inequality in and of itself is a problem. I think people are conflating the problem of "not enough money to live on" with "inequality". If a large majority of the population could live a middle-class lifestyle without crushing debt burdens, the fact that Larry Ellison has a yacht the size of an aircraft carrier isn't particularly relevant.


Had you been paying attention you would have noticed that this subthread was sparked by snapper's 2850.
You realize the top-1%, 5%, 10%, etc., pay a higher proportion of income taxes than they have in decades and decades. Rates were higher BITD, but deductions were far more generous.

The rising inequality in this country has very, very little to do with income tax policy. It has a lot to do with trade policy, corporate governance, and family structure.


Shockingly I have devoted my posts to talking about INCOME INEQUALITY. Because you know I was responding to the point. The fact that you reject the point of the subthread does not mean it is not relevant.

And yes, income inequality is, by itself, a problem. It has contributed directly to lower middle class wages and to various asset bubbles. It is a bad thing. Of course I am not recommending only to address income inequality, but if we are talking about that subject, then don't berate me for actually talking about that subject, it makes you sound dumb.

EDIT: And what GregD said. He is correct.
   2934. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 17, 2014 at 11:37 AM (#4728387)
The analogy was to point out that "endless war" isn't the only issue. A media environment featuring constant second-guessing and human-interest stories make even shorter-term engagements difficult to undertake.


The United States was actively involved in WWII from 1941-1945. For the math sensitive, that's four years.

The United States was actively involved in Iraq from 2003-2011. For the math sensitive, that's eight years, or twice as long as the nation was committed to WWII.

EDIT: Afghanistan - 2001-present (14 years and counting)


Beyond the differences in the existential threat to our country and to the world at large, there's no coherent comparison that can be made between World War II and Iraq/Afghanistan without noting the little fact of the military draft.

Americans suffered only a fraction of the casualties in World War II that every European and Asian nation did, and yet was there a single American during that period who hadn't had some sort of personal contact with a man or boy who subsequently died in battle?

By contrast, how many Americans have personally known a soldier who died in Iraq and/or Afghanistan?
   2935. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 11:45 AM (#4728394)
On inequality as a practical problem, the arguments that exist include:
1) The very wealthy don't spend a high proportion of their income, so policies that move more money to them lessens the mulitiplier effect of money, the consumption that drives much of our economy.

2) The consolidation of vast fortunes in the hands of a small number of people gives them an influence over the political system that distorts it in the favor of extremely wealthy people. By a petty example, female doctors are generally well to do and generally politically aware. Dr. Adelson gave more money to political causes than all other female physician in the U.S. in 2012.

Both are arguments, not ironclad laws, and both are subject to changing conditions, further analysis, of course. But both have practical implications that can't be dismissed by reference to moral arguments.


But the people you're talking about don't get their wealth from earned income. It is almost purely capital appreciation.

And, I've never seen any convincing evidence that money saved and invested is worse for economic growth than money spent on consumption. In the long run, the investment is certainly better.
   2936. JE (Jason) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 11:47 AM (#4728396)
Jason, fair enough on your response, and I'll retract my summary.

And I had meant to retract what I said in response, Greg. I didn't mean to snap but was juggling a phone call and lengthy e-mail and should have waited before responding.
But don't you think it should be difficult to launch short-term wars? Difficult, not impossible. Since the consequences of war are severe, and since wars have been launched in the past on absurd errors, confusion, and deliberate falsification (talking broadly about history not trying to score points on any given war), isn't it good to have to explain why an attack is taking place, what it aims to accomplish, how we might deal with unanticipated consquences, and how we imagine an end to the conflict?

As I said to Mouse, yes, on balance (hence, "feature, but with bugs") it should be difficult, but certainly not impossible, to launch wars. (In my universe, wars can mean anything from drone strikes to tens of thousands of boots on the ground.)
On Nixon, Jason, I assume you've seen the pieces going around different lefty publications about whether lefties should embrace Nixon as a hero. There's hardly consensus, but it's also true that there are serious lefty writers arguing that the left should embrace Nixon. If your question reflected an assumption that lefties could only hate Nixon, that's not an accurate assumption.

Interesting. Anyone got Carl Bernstein's home phone number? Maybe Ben Bradlee's? :)
   2937. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 17, 2014 at 11:47 AM (#4728398)
NOTE: Below is a simplified example.

So if there is $100 income in the economy, and 1 person has $50, then that leaves only $50 for everyone else. This means everyone else has less to spread around, and thus their wages are directly impacted by income inequality.

What we have been told is that this is OK, because the 1 person will invest the money and that investment will help the economy grow in the future, resulting in everyone benefiting.

This is true to an extent, but it appears that the ideal amount of investment is less than $50. And in fact the economy would grow just fine if our one rich person got "only" $20 and as it turns out the "extra" $30 is better off being spent by the other people than it is invested by the one person, because investing all $50 seems to cause asset bubbles which harms the economy rather than helping it. Additionally the extra $30 in spending means there is more demand, which gives $20 person something real to invest in (something which provides for the extra $30 of demand). Without that extra $30 demand we have WAY more investment dollars chasing returns (which is why the bubble).

Also since money is power, having one person with $50 distorts the political economy to an unhealthy degree.
   2938. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 17, 2014 at 11:49 AM (#4728399)
In the long run, the investment is certainly better.


Depends on the investment. Are they investing in businesses that create wealth, make useful things, and create jobs? Or are they "investing" in "financial mechanisms" that do none of those things?
   2939. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 11:53 AM (#4728400)
Depends on the investment. Are they investing in businesses that create wealth, make useful things, and create jobs? Or are they "investing" in "financial mechanisms" that do none of those things?

There's no such thing as a "financial mechanism" that traps the money. The money flows throw to some other person.

As long as the end-use is productive, the number of hoops the money jumps through doesn't matter.
   2940. JE (Jason) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 11:53 AM (#4728401)
Wow. Did you really just trot out the "Saddam was working with bin Laden" thing? You didn't, did you? Please say you didn't.

Relax, Sam: Is the humidity down there at 100% and the air conditioner isn't working properly?

They were both threats. I didn't say or even imply that they worked together on the 9/11 attack.
   2941. The Good Face Posted: June 17, 2014 at 11:55 AM (#4728402)
Shockingly I have devoted my posts to talking about INCOME INEQUALITY. Because you know I was responding to the point. The fact that you reject the point of the subthread does not mean it is not relevant.


Yes, and my point was to highlight that your primary interest wasn't to help the working and middle classes, but rather to punish the 1%. Thank you for making that abundantly clear. You see, other people here sometimes talk about things that interest them instead of limiting their discourse to topics you've approved in advance.

And yes, income inequality is, by itself, a problem. It has contributed directly to lower middle class wages and to various asset bubbles. It is a bad thing.


No, it's not. It's a natural fact of life that has existed in every human society that has advanced beyond tribal hunter-gatherers.

Of course I am not recommending only to address income inequality, but if we are talking about that subject, then don't berate me for actually talking about that subject, it makes you sound dumb.


Nobody's "berating" you, you autistic little dipshit. Oops. Anyway, I'm simply pointing out the implications of your words. Try thinking ahead before you post if you're worried about people using your words against you.
   2942. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 17, 2014 at 11:56 AM (#4728404)
In the long run, the investment is certainly better.


How much investment matters as well. If there is $99 of investment per $1 of income that is way too much investment. The reverse is likely too little investment. Logically there are diminishing marginal returns to society on investment, like there is on everything else. Let's find the good range of investment and work from there.

Don't just assume investment is better than consumption, because it is just not true. And of course what you said, because if there is not enough consumption, then the only available investments are the "financial mechanisms" which have been societally harmful when fully unleashed.

The rich invest and the not-rich consume*. For obvious reasons. If there is too much investing and not enough consuming, then you have to reduce the ratio of rich to not-rich and bring it into a better balance. It is not about punishing anyone.

* OK the rich consume as well, but a MUCH lower percentage. And yes, the not-rich invest some as well, but again the ratios are very different.
   2943. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 17, 2014 at 11:59 AM (#4728407)
No, it's not. It's a natural fact of life that has existed in every human society that has advanced beyond tribal hunter-gatherers.


I am not suggesting it be eliminated, but nice straw man. I am suggesting we are at the wrong ratios, and with the correct policy changes we can get more in alignment with what is beneficial for society (though less beneficial for the rich).

Look the rich have been very successful at waging war and getting us to this place. I don't blame them. People are supposed to do what is beneficial for themselves. That is what makes capitalism work. That doesn't mean the rest of us surrender. We get to make things work for the 99%, even if it ends up hurting the feelings of the 1%. That is also what makes capitalism work.
   2944. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:02 PM (#4728410)
No, it's not. It's a natural fact of life that has existed in every human society that has advanced beyond tribal hunter-gatherers.


And every human society where the balance of income tilts too heavily to one side has met with violent revolution to amend that problem.
   2945. JE (Jason) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:04 PM (#4728414)
Americans suffered only a fraction of the casualties in World War II that every European and Asian nation did, and yet was there a single American during that period who hadn't had some sort of personal contact with a man or boy who subsequently died in battle?

What are you basing this on, Andy? Did you ask bobm to run the numbers?
By contrast, how many Americans have personally known a soldier who died in Iraq and/or Afghanistan?

I'm not sure that matters. Anyone who watches the news even semi-regularly gets inundated with hundreds of human-interest stories of those who were killed or wounded in action.

   2946. JE (Jason) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:05 PM (#4728415)
Cause reasons and stuff, and Bear's hatred of all things Muslim, naturally. (Or even pseudo-Muslim really. If it's in the Middle East and it's not Israeli, I'm pretty sure Bear's on board with bombing it.)

You do realize that Afghanistan is "all things Muslim" too?
   2947. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:06 PM (#4728416)
How much investment matters as well. If there is $99 of investment per $1 of income that is way too much investment. The reverse is likely too little investment. Logically there are diminishing marginal returns to society on investment, like there is on everything else. Let's find the good range of investment and work from there.

Don't just assume investment is better than consumption, because it is just not true. And of course what you said, because if there is not enough consumption, then the only available investments are the "financial mechanisms" which have been societally harmful when fully unleashed.

The rich invest and the not-rich consume*. For obvious reasons. If there is too much investing and not enough consuming, then you have to reduce the ratio of rich to not-rich and bring it into a better balance. It is not about punishing anyone.

* OK the rich consume as well, but a MUCH lower percentage. And yes, the not-rich invest some as well, but again the ratios are very different.


You've got to get past the 1930's Keynsian economics.

Investment is simply deferring consumption. In order to be willing to defer, a person requires a return greater than their time preference for consumption, i.e. I'd rather have 1.07 hamburgers next year than 1 hamburger this year. If the returns available are sufficient that people want to defer most of their consumption, that's not a problem.

Example: if, instead of buying a new mega-yacht, or staging a lavish party, a rich person decides to open a business and hire people, and buy inventory and machinery, the money is still ending up circulating in the economy in the same way. The employees and suppliers of the business are going to spend their wages and profits the same (on average) as the employees and owner of the boat yard, or the employees and owner of the party suppliers.
   2948. JE (Jason) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:14 PM (#4728424)
Two things are true. Obama did better (where better is less war), based on what they said during the campaigns and a reasonable extrapolation of their general ideology and policies than either of the two candidates he ran against in the general elections he won. He should be commended for that.

Also true is that there was still too much warhawk behavior on his part and too much money was spent and too many soldiers died on his watch, and he should be condemned for that.

The main bizarre thing is the fact that Obama is being dinged by the "never enough war crowd" for too much war, when he isn't being dinged for too little war. Which is it?

Having dead US and allied service members in Afghanistan is bad enough. When POTUS doesn't even believe in their mission -- he just said that Afghanistan was the right war because it was another way to snatch the nomination from Hillary, then win the general election -- but sends them out into the battle anyway (i.e., the surge) is far more troubling.

That's why Obama is getting dinged for "too much war" in Afghanistan.
   2949. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:15 PM (#4728425)
Investment is simply deferring consumption.


Nonsense. As shown by your example.

Rich guy already has a mega yacht, and consumption is so low (met by existing factories and businesses), so he invests in a complex financial instrument, which gives birth to other instruments and eventually an asset bubble.

Are you seriously contesting the idea that investment has diminishing marginal social returns? That either investment or consumption can go too far? That there is a healthy band or ratios between investment and consumption?
   2950. GregD Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:17 PM (#4728426)
Having dead US and allied service members in Afghanistan is bad enough. When POTUS doesn't even believe in their mission -- he just said that Afghanistan was the right war because it was another way to snatch the nomination from Hillary, then win the general election -- but sends them out into the battle anyway (i.e., the surge) is far more troubling.
How do you know exactly what he thinks? How do you have such certainty about his motivations?
   2951. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:21 PM (#4728428)
Having dead US and allied service members in Afghanistan is bad enough. When POTUS doesn't even believe in their mission -- he just said that Afghanistan was the right war because it was another way to snatch the nomination from Hillary, then win the general election -- but sends them out into the battle anyway (i.e., the surge) is far more troubling.


How do you know exactly what he thinks? How do you have such certainty about his motivations?

When you start out with an assumption, you usually wind up confirming it.
   2952. JE (Jason) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:28 PM (#4728438)
How do you know exactly what he thinks? How do you have such certainty about his motivations?

His actions speak louder than words, Greg. The evidence comes from his not listening to his commanders about troop strength while announcing a withdrawal date. If Afghanistan truly were the right war, as he said repeatedly as a candidate, then why would we bug out when the Taliban's strength has increased since 2009 and no peace deal has been consummated, yet claim success?
   2953. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:31 PM (#4728443)
Americans suffered only a fraction of the casualties in World War II that every European and Asian nation did, and yet was there a single American during that period who hadn't had some sort of personal contact with a man or boy who subsequently died in battle?

What are you basing this on, Andy? Did you ask bobm to run the numbers?


Given the universal draft during WWII, and given that the 420,000** U.S. military deaths in three and a half years were spread more or less equally among social classes, I think I'm safe in saying that it was a rare American who wasn't personally affected by World War II in a way far more direct than is the case today.

By contrast, how many Americans have personally known a soldier who died in Iraq and/or Afghanistan?

I'm not sure that matters. Anyone who watches the news even semi-regularly gets inundated with hundreds of human-interest stories of those who were killed or wounded in action.


None of which are going to have the lasting effect of having someone killed whom you grew up with or were related to. I think the distinction matters plenty.

**420,000 deaths in 1945 would be the equivalent of about 950,000 deaths today.
   2954. JE (Jason) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:40 PM (#4728447)
Given the universal draft during WWII, and given that the 420,000** U.S. military deaths in three and a half years were spread more or less equally among social classes, I think I'm safe in saying that it was a rare American who wasn't personally affected by World War II in a way far more direct than is the case today.

I have no doubt there was a greater connection, Andy, but it was hardly unanimous. For example, my dad served on a destroyer escort in the South Pacific for over two years and has told more war stories than even Jonathan Quayle Higgins but he doesn't know anyone from his neighborhood who died in action.

EDIT: You said "a rare American." Fair enough, although at the risk of further nitpicking, I don't think my dad's experience is THAT unusual.
   2955. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:41 PM (#4728448)

Nonsense. As shown by your example.

Rich guy already has a mega yacht, and consumption is so low (met by existing factories and businesses), so he invests in a complex financial instrument, which gives birth to other instruments and eventually an asset bubble.

Are you seriously contesting the idea that investment has diminishing marginal social returns? That either investment or consumption can go too far? That there is a healthy band or ratios between investment and consumption?


The complex financial instrument has to spend the money on something, eventually. In the housing bubble, it was building mcmansions in places no one wanted them. But the money paid to construction workers circulated just like money paid to welfare recipients. The only problem was they built worthless assets.

There is a theoretical possibility of over investment, but we're so far from that, that we can safely ignore it.

Edit: now, if the rich are primarily investing overseas, you have a point. But again, that's an issue with globalization and open markets, not over-investment.
   2956. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:44 PM (#4728452)
You do realize that Afghanistan is "all things Muslim" too?

Forget about it; he's on a roll.

Not to mention that the occupy and civilize strategy would have saved hundreds of thousands of Muslim lives, and would going forward. Far fewer Iraqis would have died if the invasion strategy had been appropriately ambitious.

The best thing for "all things Muslim" is to civilize them out of their religious fanaticism and totalitarianism.

   2957. JE (Jason) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:45 PM (#4728455)
None of which are going to have the lasting effect of having someone killed whom you grew up with or were related to. I think the distinction matters plenty.

"Knowing someone personally" (your original comment) is a bit different than "whom you grew up" and "were related to." Merely watching a handful of "Wounded Warriors" commercials is more than enough to make one think about the human cost of war. There was no such equivalent 70 years ago, Andy. Heck, if anything we hid our severely disabled veterans.
   2958. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:47 PM (#4728458)
Given the universal draft during WWII, and given that the 420,000** U.S. military deaths in three and a half years were spread more or less equally among social classes, I think I'm safe in saying that it was a rare American who wasn't personally affected by World War II in a way far more direct than is the case today.

I have no doubt there was a greater connection, Andy, but it was hardly unanimous. For example, my dad served on a destroyer escort in the South Pacific for over two years and has more war stories than even Jonathan Quayle Higgins but he doesn't know anyone from his neighborhood who died in action.

EDIT: You said "a rare American." Fair enough, although at the risk of further nitpicking, I don't think my dad's experience is THAT unusual.


But did your dad not know anyone in his unit who died in those two years? That would really be rare.

BTW how old was your dad when you were born? Judging by your own age, he must have been at least around 50. That also would have been kind of unusual for his generation.
   2959. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:48 PM (#4728460)
I'm not sure that matters. Anyone who watches the news even semi-regularly gets inundated with hundreds of human-interest stories of those who were killed or wounded in action.


Yeah, J. Not so much. Watching a NBC piece on the brave soldier with the nifty prosthetic limbs isn't really a stand in for watching your neighbor bury their son, much less watch their son take them hostage with PTSD madness until the local sheriff puts 20 bullets in him. Not even close, man.
   2960. zenbitz Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:51 PM (#4728461)
The "few barbarian nutters" were working alongside those who brought us 9/11 and were hoping to hit us with WMD next. News flash: You no longer need to command five million uniformed goose-steppers in order to wreak havoc on the world.


9/11 killed 3,000. Our responses in Iraq and Afghanistan killed, what, 300,000? That's like a good day on the Eastern Front. Germany and Japan killed... 120,000,000?

Has havoc gotten a downgrade in 70 years?
   2961. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:51 PM (#4728462)
Watching a NBC piece on the brave soldier with the nifty prosthetic limbs isn't really a stand in for watching your neighbor bury their son, much less watch their son take them hostage with PTSD madness until the local sheriff puts 20 bullets in him. Not even close, man.

Yeah, but watching the Mets and Cubs and Padres and Tigers and the other 26 MLB teams play in camo uniforms is.

And, hey, Budweiser sponsors some "coming home" parties! I saw it on TV.
   2962. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:52 PM (#4728464)
If Afghanistan truly were the right war, as he said repeatedly as a candidate, then why would we bug out when the Taliban's strength has increased since 2009 and no peace deal has been consummated, yet claim success?


Because they Taliban were not the primary enemy. They were a support structure that had to go as part of the response to the actual enemy, but the primary enemy was always and only al-Quaeda.
   2963. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:52 PM (#4728466)
Our responses in Iraq and Afghanistan killed, what, 300,000?

That's not really true. American soldiers didn't kill 300,000 people in those places.
   2964. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:53 PM (#4728467)
None of which are going to have the lasting effect of having someone killed whom you grew up with or were related to. I think the distinction matters plenty.

"Knowing someone personally" (your original comment) is a bit different than "whom you grew up" and "were related to." Merely watching a handful of "Wounded Warriors" commercials is more than enough to make one think about the human cost of war. There was no such equivalent 70 years ago, Andy. Heck, if anything we hid our severely disabled veterans.


Just to be clear, here's the distinction I'm trying to make:

1a. You grew up with someone who was later KIA.
1b. You were later a personal friend of someone who then was later KIA.
1c. You served in a unit where you knew someone who was later KIA.
1d. You have a relative who was KIA.

vs....

2. None of the above.

During WWII, nearly every American belonged to one of those first four categories. During Iraq and Afghanistan, I'd be very surprised if the great majority of Americans don't fall into the "None of the above" category. And I don't think that this distinction is rendered moot by all the news stories or Faces of the Fallen screenshots we get exposed to. It's more personal when it's really personal.
   2965. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:54 PM (#4728469)
Because they Taliban were not the primary enemy. They were a support structure that had to go as part of the response to the actual enemy, but the primary enemy was always and only al-Quaeda.

Until events outpaced that premise and groups like ISIS developed. That's on Obama's watch and he owns it.
   2966. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:58 PM (#4728474)
Not to mention that the occupy and civilize strategy would have saved hundreds of thousands of Muslim lives,


This is the argument by which we reason ourselves into the position that European colonialization "saved hundreds of thousands of Native American lives."
   2967. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:59 PM (#4728475)
Until events outpaced that premise and groups like ISIS developed.


ISIS has not attacked the United States. We have no cause to go to war with ISIS. You go to war with people who attack or seriously threaten you, not some random set of folks killing other random sets of folks in another country half a world away.

Also, ISIS is in Syria and Iraq. We were talking about the "good war" in Afghanistan. If ISIS developed because we destabalized Iraq, that's not on Obama.
   2968. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:59 PM (#4728476)
This is the argument by which we reason ourselves into the position that European colonialization "saved hundreds of thousands of Native American lives."

No. That wasn't an occupy and civilize mission. It was an occupy and steal mission.
   2969. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:00 PM (#4728478)
Jason, you asked for numbers. Fair enough.

In WWII, the U.S. had 420,000 combat deaths in three and a half years. At the end of that war, the U.S. population was 140,000,000.

During our ongoing War on Terror in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past 14 years, we've suffered about 5,300 combat deaths in all. Our current population is about 317,000,000. I'll let you do the math from there

   2970. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:01 PM (#4728479)
ISIS has not attacked the United States. We have no cause to go to war with ISIS. You go to war with people who attack or seriously threaten you, not some random set of folks killing other random sets of folks in another country half a world away.

They've threatened us and have occupied wide swaths of territory. They have an infrastructure and base far outstripping a-Q's.

Plus they're fanatic totalitarians. We have plenty of cause to go to war with them.

Wake up.
   2971. zenbitz Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:01 PM (#4728480)
Regardless of the role of the CIA played in Mossadeq's removal, the Iranians held our embassy people hostage for over a year, without really having much of a provocation. So that evens things in my book.


What are you, 12? It doesn't matter what evens anything out in who's book. Are you a big fan of the Versailles treaty?

We have 3 options with Iran:
1) Ignore them and do nothing
2) Continue to aggravate and antagonize them and every opportunity because ENEMIES.
3) Try to change the paradigm

Fanatical Militants like ISIS WANT us to attack them! The are FANATICAL and MILITANT. We will never wipe them out and every collateral death is a victory for them. We went gang busters for AQ and... they got replaced with MORE FANATICAL MILITANTS.

Also:
http://gocomics.typepad.com/tomthedancingbugblog/
   2972. bunyon Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:03 PM (#4728482)
Not to mention that the occupy and civilize strategy would have saved hundreds of thousands of Muslim lives, and would going forward. Far fewer Iraqis would have died if the invasion strategy had been appropriately ambitious.

I think this is the proper lesson. There are no cheap land wars. If you go in, you go all in. Conquer the country and do whatever it takes to pacify the inhabitants. If you aren't willing to do that, do not invade.

I think we'd have been better off just going on with the no-fly zone and containment. But, once we went in, I would have doubled our force, installed a military governor (a general) who would be, essentially, dictator of Iraq. I would also have put in a no-man's land five miles around the main pipeline out to the gulf and pumped oil for all they were worth. It wouldn't have been pretty and it wouldn't have set well with out pretensions of a new era of war-making. But there is a reason, beyond the mere brutality of man, that that is how armies worked for millenia. Given that we were never likely to behave that way, we shouldn't have gone in. In fact, to go in, we had to convince ourselves we'd be seen as liberators by a nice, peaceful, American loving citizenry.
   2973. JE (Jason) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:10 PM (#4728489)
But did your dad not know anyone in his unit who died in those two years? That would really be rare.

BTW how old was your dad when you were born? Judging by your own age, he must have been at least around 50. That also would have been kind of unusual for his generation.

Probably not, Andy, since my dad's ship escaped the war unscathed. Of course, one of the other ships in the squadron was hit by a kamikaze so he probably knows of others who died. (I was referring to those with whom he grew up.)

He was 47 when I was hatched.
   2974. The Good Face Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:14 PM (#4728491)
In WWII, the U.S. had 420,000 combat deaths in three and a half years. At the end of that war, the U.S. population was 140,000,000.

During our ongoing War on Terror in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past 14 years, we've suffered about 5,300 combat deaths in all. Our current population is about 317,000,000. I'll let you do the math from there


So your gripe is that USG hasn't managed to kill enough US soldiers or something?

   2975. JE (Jason) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:15 PM (#4728496)
Because they Taliban were not the primary enemy. They were a support structure that had to go as part of the response to the actual enemy, but the primary enemy was always and only al-Quaeda.

In addition to Bear's reply, why then has the Obama administration been unable over the past few years to secure a peace treaty with the Taliban? Maybe it's because they represent more than the "support structure?"
   2976. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:18 PM (#4728499)
There is a theoretical possibility of over investment, but we're so far from that, that we can safely ignore it.


Nonsense. The current economic malaise is demand led. We are not in any way shape or form suffering from a lack of investment capital. For example corporate profits are at or near all times highs and have been for a while now. But there is no where for them to invest. There is a reason companies are sitting on Billions and Billions of dollars. There is no demand for more factories and what have you so there is no investment in them.

We need more demand, more consumption. The wealthy consume less per dollar income than the not-wealthy. Thus changing the ratio of wealthy to not-wealthy (by for example transferring money from one group to the other through taxation policy) will increase demand.
   2977. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:20 PM (#4728501)
They've threatened us


How, exactly? Did they taunt us a second time?

and have occupied wide swaths of territory.


Not our territory.

They have an infrastructure and base far outstripping a-Q's.


Should we gain actionable intelligence suggesting that they're planning an attack on western interests, we can act accordingly. Taking Mosul is not that.

Plus they're fanatic totalitarians.


We are aware of your childish fascination with the "clash of civilizations" meme by now.

We have plenty of cause to go to war with them.


We have no cause to go to war with them. They haven't attacked us, threatened any of our interests in any reasonable way, or acted outside of the very small bounds of the Tigris-Euphrates valley. This is just more of that coked up neocon bullshit where any potential threat that might coalesce within the next 200 years is a "cause to go to war." You're a ####### totalitarian. Should we go to war with you too?
   2978. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:21 PM (#4728503)
If ISIS developed because we destabalized Iraq, that's not on Obama.

It absolutely is. He took over in January 2009 and is accountable for the group's rise since that date. A fanatic Islamist group has taken wide swaths of territory, $500M, and advanced weaponry, and has access to oil pipelines and other natural wealth. That's a bad development, and it's on Obama.
   2979. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:21 PM (#4728504)
They've threatened us and have occupied wide swaths of territory. They have an infrastructure and base far outstripping a-Q's.

Plus they're fanatic totalitarians. We have plenty of cause to go to war with them.


So you are all for rolling the tanks to Pyongyang then?

   2980. Ron J2 Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:22 PM (#4728506)
#2962 I've always said that the fight against the Taliban was a discretionary war.
   2981. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:22 PM (#4728509)
They've threatened us and have occupied wide swaths of territory. They have an infrastructure and base far outstripping a-Q's.

Plus they're fanatic totalitarians. We have plenty of cause to go to war with them.


So any group that matches this description we should go to war with? Really? Time to go to war with China I guess. I mean I personally would rather not, but rules are rules. And yeah, there are a whole pile of people and nations we now get to go to war with. Heck, The Koch brothers have infrastructure and bases far outstripping AQ and are fanatic totalitarians as far as I can tell*.

* Yes this is mostly a joke. Get over yourself. We don't war with people because they are bad, that's just dumb.

EDIT: Cokes to Rickey! and JSLF.
   2982. GregD Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:23 PM (#4728511)
I think we'd have been better off just going on with the no-fly zone and containment. But, once we went in, I would have doubled our force, installed a military governor (a general) who would be, essentially, dictator of Iraq. I would also have put in a no-man's land five miles around the main pipeline out to the gulf and pumped oil for all they were worth. It wouldn't have been pretty and it wouldn't have set well with out pretensions of a new era of war-making. But there is a reason, beyond the mere brutality of man, that that is how armies worked for millenia. Given that we were never likely to behave that way, we shouldn't have gone in. In fact, to go in, we had to convince ourselves we'd be seen as liberators by a nice, peaceful, American loving citizenry.
In fact occupying armies rarely worked like this. Famously, the theory of the Roman empire was constructed upon an opposite strategy. Maintain a force in capital cities, ports, and major highways and roadways. Work with local collaborators, and require only that they promise loyalty in terms of taxes and men in case of war. And leave the vast, vast majority of the population and countryside alone. Entirely alone. Don't intervene in how local leaders rule them. Just get loyalty, accept divergence and heterogeneity among people who don't rebel against you, and try not to inspire them rise up. Hope over a long period of time that your practice of rewarding some behaviors inspires some people who learn Roman ways and Latin.

That didn't hold throughout every moment of Roman history, obviously, was an important model for most empires that followed. Most empires ran on relatively low levels of troops (the British forces in India were generally under 100,000 even after the Mutiny) and on giving power to local elites.

The effort to create homogenization, which is where I suppose your civilization point goes, is largely post-French revolutionary impulse, one tied more to nationalism than to empire and classical occupation.
   2983. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:24 PM (#4728512)
How, exactly? Did they taunt us a second time?

They've said they're at war with America and have threated to kill Americans inside America.

We are aware of your childish fascination with the "clash of civilizations" meme by now.


It is in fact a clash of civilizations. I have no fascination with that reality, but reality it is.

We have no cause to go to war with them. They haven't attacked ups, threatened any of our interests in any reasonable way, or acted outside of the very small bounds of the Tigris-Euphrates valley. This is just more of that coked up neocon bullshit where any potential threat that might coalesce within the next 200 years is a "cause to go to war." You're a ####### totalitarian. Should we go to war with you too?

There's nothing "totalitarian" about me. You've got poo on yourself again.
   2984. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:26 PM (#4728521)
So any group that matches this description we should go to war with? Really? Time to go to war with China I guess. I mean I personally would rather not, but rules are rules. And yeah, there are a whole pile of people and nations we now get to go to war with. Heck, The Koch brothers have infrastructure and bases far outstripping AQ and are fanatic totalitarians as far as I can tell*.

No, you're a totalitarian!!

Is that really all you have to offer -- me and the Koch Brothers are "totalitarians"?
   2985. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:27 PM (#4728525)
A fanatic Islamist group has taken wide swaths of territory, $500M, and advanced weaponry, and has access to oil pipelines and other natural wealth


The last time this happened was, what, the Sauds?
   2986. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:28 PM (#4728526)
Nonsense. The current economic malaise is demand led. We are not in any way shape or form suffering from a lack of investment capital. For example corporate profits are at or near all times highs and have been for a while now. But there is no where for them to invest. There is a reason companies are sitting on Billions and Billions of dollars. There is no demand for more factories and what have you so there is no investment in them.

We need more demand, more consumption. The wealthy consume less per dollar income than the not-wealthy. Thus changing the ratio of wealthy to not-wealthy (by for example transferring money from one group to the other through taxation policy) will increase demand.


There are plenty of places to invest, but, corporations are choosing to invest overseas. We've made the US a less favorable place to do business (highest corp. tax rates, increasing regulation) and at the same time, stupidly allowed corporations to make goods and services overseas and sell it to us unhindered.
   2987. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:31 PM (#4728530)
In fact occupying armies rarely worked like this. Famously, the theory of the Roman empire was constructed upon an opposite strategy. Maintain a force in capital cities, ports, and major highways and roadways. Work with local collaborators, and require only that they promise loyalty in terms of taxes and men in case of war. And leave the vast, vast majority of the population and countryside alone. Entirely alone. Don't intervene in how local leaders rule them. Just get loyalty, accept divergence and heterogeneity among people who don't rebel against you, and try not to inspire them rise up. Hope over a long period of time that your practice of rewarding some behaviors inspires some people who learn Roman ways and Latin.

That didn't hold throughout every moment of Roman history, obviously, was an important model for most empires that followed. Most empires ran on relatively low levels of troops (the British forces in India were generally under 100,000 even after the Mutiny) and on giving power to local elites.


Also, if you revolted after the initial conquest, they leveled your city, slaughtered all the men, and sold the women and children into slavery. That was a key factor in maintaining loyalty.
   2988. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:31 PM (#4728531)
Is that really all you have to offer -- me and the Koch Brothers are "totalitarians"?


1. I haven't mentioned the Koch brothers. Ever, really. So I really have no idea what the voices in your pea brained panicked stricken head are talking to each other about here.

2. Yes, a man who argues viciously for a world wide war of conquest and colonialization in order to make sure he doesn't get scared every time a jet flies low around him is a bit of a totalitarian. At least as much so as your usage of the word in regards to ISIS, etc involve. You want the United States to wage "preventative war" against thousands if not millions of people who have not attacked us, have no means to attack us, have no relation to our natural interests in the world, and really aren't worth the time or resources to even consider, in 100 locations around the globe, because you're still pissing yourself in fear of 9/11. Grow the #### up.
   2989. JE (Jason) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:32 PM (#4728533)
Is that really all you have to offer -- me and the Koch Brothers are "totalitarians"?

If so, will you and the Koch brothers please exercise your dictatorial powers and order Sam and Mouse to take an afternoon nap?
   2990. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:34 PM (#4728539)
They allegedly caught one of the Benghazi attackers over the weekend. Rubio had a suggestion:

“The Obama Administration should immediately transfer him to the military detention center at Guantanamo Bay for detention and interrogation,” said Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. “In order to locate all individuals associated with the attacks that led to the deaths of four Americans, we need intelligence. That intelligence is often obtained through an interrogation process.”


Hey, why not bring him to DC before the Benghazi Committee and have our Congress Critters interrogate him :-)
   2991. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:35 PM (#4728541)
Is that really all you have to offer -- me and the Koch Brothers are "totalitarians"?


SBB, you really need to read who is writing what. I have not called anyone a totalitarian, and Rickey never mentioned the Koch's. And when I did I explicitly said it was a joke you idiot.

The voices in your head are winning the arguments, you need more medication I think.
   2992. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:39 PM (#4728550)
2. Yes, a man who argues viciously for a world wide war of conquest and colonialization in order to make sure he doesn't get scared every time a jet flies low around him is a bit of a totalitarian. At least as much so as your usage of the word in regards to ISIS, etc involve. You want the United States to wage "preventative war" against thousands if not millions of people who have not attacked us, have no means to attack us, have no relation to our natural interests in the world, and really aren't worth the time or resources to even consider, in 100 locations around the globe, because you're still pissing yourself in fear of 9/11. Grow the #### up.


It wouldn't be "preventative war" and it would be only Iraq. I have no idea how the rest of that fantasy hit your head.

You're doing that thing again where you use "bad" words completely out of context by way of lashing out. There's nothing "totalitarian" about an occupy and civilize strategy.
   2993. zenbitz Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:40 PM (#4728551)
The reality is that until the United States closes all of its overseas bases, from Korea to Djibouti, we will be a target.

And if that's really what you desire, a world without at least one superpower, then it likely won't be more than a few decades before another World War I, this time featuring nuclear exchanges, gets unleashed.


So the US is altruistically keeping it's bases open to draw fire as the worlds only superpower? To prevent future megadeaths? Is the US-as-superpower preventing an Indo-Pakistani nuclear war? Sino-Russo war? Franco-Prussia II?
   2994. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:43 PM (#4728554)
It wouldn't be "preventative war" and it would be only Iraq.


You want to go to war in a nation we don't own, don't need, and have no interest in, because "scary religious fanatics scare me" and you don't call that "preventative." What is the causus belli for such a war? They have not attacked. They present no threat of attack.
   2995. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:44 PM (#4728555)
It wouldn't be "preventative war"


Then what would it be?

and it would be only Iraq.


so when ISIS scurries back into Syria we stop?

and it would be only Iraq.

if it's "only" Iraq why do we care?

There's nothing "totalitarian" about an occupy and civilize strategy.

pass
   2996. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:46 PM (#4728557)
Go back behind your drawbridge, Mouse. I'm sure you'll be perfectly safe. The reality is that until the United States closes all of its overseas bases, from Korea to Djibouti, we will be a target.


I ignored this, because it was nonsense, but zenbitz makes a good point. Of course I never suggested the US close all its bases everywhere, but to suspect that the risk is the same for forces in Korea (where we were welcomed) and forces in Iraq (where we invaded) is completely ridiculous.

I am not suggesting we hide behind our borders, just that we stop invading nations, bombing them, doing drone attacks, and otherwise making war on them for no better reasons than ... they are mean and said bad things about us and someday could conquer the whole region!
   2997. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:49 PM (#4728559)
You want to go to war in a nation we don't own, don't need, and have no interest in, because "scary religious fanatics scare me" and you don't call that "preventative." What is the causus belli for such a war? They have not attacked. They present no threat of attack.

The casus belli is the declaration of war on the United States by ISIS, al-Qaeda, and similar entities. It would also be the longer-term effort of civilizing an area that will continue to generate ISISs and al-Qaedas indefinitely otherwise.

Then what would it be?

An occupy and civilize mission. The status quo is unacceptable, in the short, medium, and long terms.
   2998. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:51 PM (#4728564)
an occupy and civilize strategy


Let's trade. You give examples of this succeeding and I will give examples of it failing.

Failures: Pretty much every aggressive invasion of the past 100+ years. Japan and West Germany were already plenty civilized (and world powers in fact) and were conquered after a war they started (not exactly aggressive invasions).

EDIT: As it turns out peace is much more civilizing than war. Go figure.
   2999. Ron J2 Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:52 PM (#4728566)
$500M

More like $2B but who's counting.

Incidentally the current shitstorm in Iraq looks very much the law of unintended consequences in action.

ISIS trusted courier is taken. He eventually talks and leads them to a key organizer. Who has details on the groups's finances, agents in place (initials only), details on every single foreign fighter, etc. The absolute motherlode of intel.

ISIS seems to have flipped out when the organizer was taken. They don't appear to have anticipated their success (any more than the Iraqi government did)
   3000. JE (Jason) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:55 PM (#4728570)
Flip.
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