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Published by Barry Jenkins March 15, Print. Burma Myanmar has a population of 56 million people and there are , soldiers. In the Myanmar University computer training is in hot demand.
All of the instructions are out of text books. Neither the students nor the university can afford to provide computers. Only when graduates find employment with the government or in the tourist industry, do they work on real computers. Fighting wars expensively is simply not an option in Myanmar. The United States lacks the ability, and in large part so does Europe, to fight a low cost war.
Policing the world really requires a means of economizing on the military. For every American soldier in the field, there were 10 soldiers in back up. The ratio in Vietnam, the war the United States really did lose, was even greater. Low cost war involves not being particularly concerned about fatalities. High tech war saves lives. Using your money to bomb Libyans is not endangering your troops.
Protecting soldiers with the latest in flak jackets, having expensive nearby medical care and hygienic food and water, training your military well, all costs a great deal of money. First they were taught how to fight alone. Then they were taught how to fight in units of 5 and 7. Then they were taught how to fight in units of Then they were taught how to fight as a part of thousands.
Having military in long term training costs money. An effective fighting force saves lives but costs. The Taliban understand low cost war and fighting for the hearts of the people. Thomas Lubanga understands low cost war and regretfully has fun doing it — and note that no high cost policeman intends to enforce the conviction of the International Criminal Court at The Hague.
In Burma, a very poor nation, once you join the military, you stay for ten years, and you are hunted down and imprisoned for a 10 year period if you desert. You join at 17, at 27 you are likely to re-enlist, for 10 years more. Traditionally when you joined the Royal Navy, or a British Regiment, you were in for life. If you got pressed into the Navy during war time, you could get out. The regular seamen and officers alike enlisted for life.
Officers until recently and may still need permission purportedly signed by the Queen to take pre-retirement release from the Royal Navy.
When imperial Rome engaged in a war, the senate discussion was what will be the cost in gold and what will be the cost in blood. Alexander the Great conquered for joy. The Carthaginians were centered in what is now Tunis — and incidentally a later Roman Emperor came from what is now Libya ruled from nearby Tripoli Leptis Magna.
Napoleon invaded for joy. Spain was about money. British rule was about trade and money. Hitler invaded out of anger from the first war but imperial Japan was about markets and the right to expand in Asia. Fighting wars and saving lives with extremely expensive and sophisticated equipment is exceptionally costly, particularly where guerrillas are prepared to die for their cause.
Obama is on track for 1, military deaths in his four years with little to show for it. This is part of the reason he will lose in November. When you have a fear of human loss because of fear that public opinion will not back heavy losses, when you fight with drones, and extremely expensive equipment is utilized, the cost eventually ends voter support just as a high blood cost kills support. It is easier for democracies to pour in money than send in people who may die.
The thinking in Afghanistan is that it would take , foot soldiers to achieve victory and there is no political will to do anything close to sending those kinds of numbers of troops particularly after the Koran burn and the 16 killed soldier rampage.
Mercenaries are utilized by the United States in Iraq in particular. Mercenaries are cheaper than training your own soldiers, paying pensions, and employed soldiers are less effective. Mercenaries have volunteered — they are there because they want the thrill and the money and they are paid more per day or per month but cost less over time, much less.
Guerrillas fight low cost wars and means to respond economically have to be found. A new model of warfare has to be found, particularly for the United States which has with many of its allies been in peacekeeping or war events, more or less continuously for the past 20 years.
As perverse as it may seem, after Korea and Vietnam, both of which were on the brink of turning into a worldwide conflict, the threat of nuclear war stopped their super powers from funding and supporting any other kind of war but the end of the Soviet Union, growth of war lords, and tribal warfare in Africa and elsewhere, Arab conflicts, have now created low cost attacks on western powers.
The British paid Irish and German mercenaries during the hundreds of years when Britain ruled the world. There is nothing new about the United States hiring mercenaries to fight its wars, particularly when it is not only more economical but more effective. One of the benefits of mercenaries is they train for low cost war. They train to deal with guerrillas. They train when in Afghanistan. They have trained for a certain kind of warfare. They are better at that kind of warfare.
They are less expensive for that kind of warfare. Low cost war is not impossible for the United States. It will just take swallowing the US national pride and accepting that it works and the US cannot afford better.