Tuesday, October 09, 2007

OXYMORON ALERT: MILITARY MORALITY

Somebody help me out here. In this article, the "AP Military Writer" engages in much hand-wringing and implied moral poo-pooing over the recent revelation that in 1948, the U.S. Army considered "using radioactive poisons to assassinate 'important individuals' such as military or civilian leaders."

I'm gonna file that "revelation" simultaneously under "And This Is Surprising Why, Exactly?" "Am I Supposed To Cry For The Memory Of Stalin And Mao?" as well as "Gee, I Guess My Country Really Was Capable Of Some Crazy Shit During The Cold War, Who'd 'A Thunk It?"

But that's not what drove me back to the keyboard after yet another of my un-planned and un-requested 3 week sabbaticals. No sirree.

What puuuuuuulled me back was the "revelation," buried miles under the lede like so much radioactive waste, that these assassinations were but item number four in the Army's list of crazy-ass pseudo military tactics outlined in 1948. We're supposed to be shocked 59 years later, 60+ years after we fire-bombed Dresden & Tokyo and incinerated two other cities, that our military considered killing monstrous dictators with poison?

Yet we're not supposed to be juuuuust a bit freaked out by the following directives? None of these are worth a headline or even a mention for nearly 2/3 of the article:

1 — Weapons to contaminate "populated or otherwise critical areas for long periods of time."

2 — Munitions combining high explosives with radioactive material "to accomplish physical damage and radioactive contamination simultaneously."

3 — Air and-or surface weapons that would spread contamination across an area to be evacuated, thereby rendering it unusable by enemy forces.

What am I missing here?

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18 Comments:

Blogger George said...

Leaders are more important than people, silly. We have lots of people, but only few true leaders. Just think of America today!

12:29 PM  
Blogger Smitty said...

I share your not-shock.

But here's the key in all of this. This is a list of stuff someone came up with. And then a bunch of other Someones said "Nah. Too sick. Next idea?"

The difference today is that with the Bush Admin someone comes up with an idea. And a bunch of other Someones say "Okay. What do I need to do to make it possible."

See the difference now?

Just because we were, and still are (mostly) a "moral" country doesn't mean we can't come up with crazy shit. We can, and do, as you even point out (hence, your not-shock). But we used to not do it when we thought of it.

4:36 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

I don't know, Smitty. We did some brutal shit during WWII, Korea, & Vietnam.

Maybe we're worse now. I just don't know.

5:39 AM  
Blogger Weaseldog said...

Spreading DU all over the ME looks a bit like a compromise on those points.

11:48 AM  
Blogger Mr Furious said...

I think if you pay a bunch of guys to sit around and dream up ways to kill people and destroy shit, some pretty unsavory ideas are going to come up. As long as they don't make it onto a menu that anybody orders from I'm not tooo worked up about these kinds of revelations.

As Smitty says, today, I not only have to worry about discraceful, immoral, and horrific shit getting on the menu, it's the only shit ON the menu, and stuff like that is the Soup of the Day.

11:55 AM  
Blogger Mr Furious said...

Same thing when it's revealed that "the Pentagon has drawn up plans to invade Iran! (or wherever)"

I'm sure they have. There's probably a whole wing (wedge?) of the Pentagon dedicated to doing that shit—they'd be negligent if there weren't. I'm sure there are plans to invade Canada in a drawer somewhere...doesn't mean they'll ever see the light of day.

What is worrisome now, is the sociopaths running the sandbox now, and the fact that they want to kick shit over.

12:03 PM  
Anonymous wfta said...

Welcome back Mike. Mr. F is right. A professional military has to consider all the possibilities. It is for the civilian authorities to decide what operations are appropriate. And yes, the pre-Gates D.O.D. had some pretty miserable civilians.

Also, if you try to judge late-’40’s attitudes and perceptions with today’s sensibility you will be unduly critical. I wasn’t born until ’55, but for the first 25 years of my life, a third world war seemed inevitable to most all Americans.

And now the good news….we spent last week on the beach in the Florida panhandle and I was able to buy a bushel of green peanuts (for boiling) in Baton Rouge. Houston Philistines be damned!

3:10 PM  
Blogger Mr Furious said...

"Boiled" and "green" are two words I don't usually want anywhere near "peanut."

Of course I would've said the same thing about "fried", "green" and tomatoes" until I had one...

Enlighten me, wfta.

10:48 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

I'll be back in Birmingham next week, so maybe I'll get me some boiled green peanuts.

7:48 AM  
Anonymous wfta said...

Mr. furious,

Green in this case means slightly immature. The peanuts are harvested several weeks earlier than if they were intended for oil, candies or peanut butter. You boil them for a couple of hours in salty water. When they cool in the salty water it penetrates the shell and seasons the nuts. They need to be refrigerated in a sealed bag or container to keep them from drying out. They freeze well and can be thawed later (note: never ever freeze green peanuts before boiling. It will ruin them.) They taste like nothing else I know and are slightly more addictive than crack cocaine.

Mike,

If you get out of town on a non-interstate highway, you will probably see a sign offering boiled peanuts at a produce stand or service station. If you will tell me in detail where you will be, I will inquire with my brother about where you might buy some. If you are strictly down town, ask the bellman or concierge.

Oh, if you haven’t been down since football season began, it will seem like an insane asylum.

10:00 AM  
Blogger Comandante Agí said...

Mmm, polonium.

10:53 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

WFTA - Downtown, unless things change on the fly. But I will ask the concierge, cause you got my curiosity piqued.

9:09 AM  
Blogger DED said...

I'm with Smitty, Furious, and WFTA on this one, though I know nothing of the boiled green peanuts of which he speaks. ;)

2:42 PM  
Blogger Edwardo said...

Here's what I think we can take away from this bit of "news."

Whatever has been uncovered, roughly sixty years on, likely represents a small fraction of the lunacy engaged in by the military. Our military and intelligence agencies are routinely engaged in more nefarious activity than one could possibly imagine. Now you know where I stand, and by all means come visit me over at disasterporn.blogspot.com and return the favor.

11:45 PM  
Blogger Toast said...

The door to the blog creaked as he walked inside. A tumbleweed rustled in the corner, having been blown in by the steady wind outside, but that was the only movement. The blog appeared deserted.

7:25 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

Very well put, Toast.

But it's not deserted at all, in fact. It's just not currently open for business.

9:44 AM  
Blogger Rickey Henderson said...

Hey, as long as the comment section is alive and thriving. Rickey assumes that you're too busy to post these days.

(what else would explain it? it's not as if you've got a lack of material to work with)

10:36 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

All right. Enough of this, all of you.

Look up, there's a new post.

7:12 AM  

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