Back during the heyday of the Vietnam War, when I was in my junior and senior years of high school, 1968/69, I would offer up my own home-spun solution to the conflict to those who would listen. It was a tough time for the guys in battle to so say the least, but on the home front it was the height of anti-war sentiment and demonstrations and opinions were in every city and on every newscast. It was so commonplace in our day-to-day society that we actually got used to the doom & gloom from the front, and the lies and propaganda coming from the military and the government, to the point that one dealt with it all by countering with our own ridiculousness. So.. one day I came up with two great ideas to end the Vietnam War. The first… declare ourselves the winner and just leave. What happens after is not our fault. The second idea… just buy out the Communists, open up trade relations and make them depend on us. Write them out a check to stop firing then we leave, and over the next few years they could just worm their way into getting what they wanted.. which was to unify their own country.
Well… that takes us to the jist of my post here. We all know that wars cost lives.. both civilian and military, and wouldn’t it be great if we could save those lives? Well, war cost a ton of money (likely many tons of money if you wrap it all up and bundle it on shipping pallets). In fact, it seems there’s always some stat somewhere showing how much it cost to kill on enemy soldier in any given war. I recently read one stat that showed it cost the U.S. government $40,000 to kill one enemy soldier in Vietnam. There’s a stat floating around the net suggesting the U.S. has spent $50,000,000 (yes, millions) to kill one Taliban fighter. In fact, to support this in some small way, a GAO report is reporting that in Afghanistan alone, at the height of that war, the military was using 250,000 bullets to kill one enemy fighter. This is the reason that the public commercial ammunition market is experiencing higher prices and shortages for ammo for civilian use; the supply is going to the military. Now, I’m not going to debate or qualify where these stats have come from because that’s not the point here. Common sense suggests that the monetary cost to kill one enemy soldier from any of our wars is likely way out of sight and getting more expensive with each war. So why can’t we borrow one of my suggestions (that was ignored, by the way) for ending the Vietnam War; give the enemy the money directly for not shooting us.
What’s made me resurrect my former solution has been the recent cool videos of ISIS targets being blown to hell. But most of these targets seem to be vehicles and not structures that you’d think would be the better targets given they could house barracks, or munitions dumps, or parked vehicles, or command and control centers, or something of greater military value to destroy. So I began to wonder about the cost of one of those missiles or bombs to take out one vehicle. Well, I am no military guru but after a rudimentary search on the internet I see that we have any number of different types of missiles and bombs that can be used to take out enemy vehicles. My problem with that is the cost of one of these things doesn’t seem to fit the target value. For example, when you see ISIS doing battle there’s always the images of those pickup trucks with the machine gun mounted in the back bed. Admittedly a lot of ISIS vehicles are captured American-made Iraqi armored vehicles that likely need heavier munitions to destroy them, but the pickup truck machine gun vehicle seems to be the standard military bargain basement war vehicle if you are a jihad insurgent anywhere in the Mid East. Now these are usually manned by a driver and some poor slob who has to hang on to the machine gun for dear life while bouncing over the dunes. Is this target worth a $102,000 Hellfire missile, or a JDAM (a regular $10,000 gravity bomb with an additional $25,000 laser/gps kit attached to make it “smart”) or a $280,000 – $719,000 JSOW smart bomb? Wouldn’t it be nice if we just communicated with the crew of the rat patrol pickup truck and ask them, “Hey, guys. You’re in our sights to be blown to bits, or we can drop off $1,000,000 each and help you re-locate to a new home and forget all this jihad nonsense.”
You say a million bucks each is too expensive when you can blow them away for half that? Well, think of it this way. The stats suggest anywhere from 30,000 to 50,000 in ISIS. For the sake of argument let’s make it 100,000 and we give them each a million to stop fighting and relocate to a new home, that only costs us 100 billion. A lot less than the 4 trillion for Iraq and Afghanistan, and certainly a lot fewer human costs.
I’m reminded of a scene from the 1970 Clint Eastwood war movie, Kelly’s Heroes. The movie depicts a squad of American soldiers who travel behind German lines to rob a bank in the town square with $60 million bucks in it. There’s a German Tiger tank guarding the entrance to the bank. “Crapgame” is Don Rickles’ character and “Big Joe” is played by Telly Sevalas (Kojak); “Oddball” is Donald Sutherland. During a lull in the fighting there’s the following exchange between the four of them.
Crapgame: How are things going with the bank?
Big Joe: [A distant explosion is heard as the Tiger fires; Big Joe shakes his head.] Nothin’. The Sherman’s broken down and nobody’s gonna get that Tiger out of the square.
Crapgame: Make a deal with ‘im.
Big Joe: What kind of a deal?
Crapgame: A deal deal! Maybe the guy’s a Republican! Business is business, right?
Big Joe: Okay, big mouth.
[Turning to Oddball…]
Big Joe: Hey, this guy in the Tiger? Least we can do is get on the radio and talk to ‘im.
Oddball: Are you crazy? That guy’s gotta be a full fanatic freak! Otherwise he would a split outta this town twenty minutes ago!
Big Joe: Hey, look, all he’s doing is guarding the bank like he was told.
Kelly: Maybe. But I wonder if he even knows what’s in it.
Now, you tell me this couldn’t work in the Mid East. Maybe the guy behind the machine gun IS a republican, or in the least he might be wanting to stick around with his family a bit longer to spend some money from the Great Satan to live a while longer in hell on earth in some level of luxury. Simple. Problem solved. Lives saved. A win-win for everyone. Besides that, 100,000 millionaires are going to really add to the economy with all that spending in the country that accepts them… and the tax revenues, oh my!
God (and likely Allah) loves republicans, too.
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