×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

288 comments

is there anybody here... (-1, Troll)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | about 3 years ago | (#35719288)

...who does not think that the USA is an evil empire, and take consolation only in knowing that it is also a dying empire?

Get the hell out of the Middle East, USA. Stop killing people. Sort out your shit at home for your own sake.

Re:is there anybody here... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35719370)

...who does not think that the USA is an evil empire, and take consolation only in knowing that it is also a dying empire?

Get the hell out of the Middle East, USA. Stop killing people. Sort out your shit at home for your own sake.

That's an interesting comment considering the Taliban in Afghanistan dictates half the population should be treated as property (women) and tramples on the rights of the Afghanis to the greatest degree of any society on the planet.

I would say to you - who doesn't think the Taliban is an evil empire and take consolation only in knowing it is also a dying political movement? Get the hell out of the lives of your citizens, stop sending terrorists across the globe to kill innocents, stop killing your own citizens for minor infractions of your "laws". Go read your Koran in peace.

Re:is there anybody here... (1, Insightful)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | about 3 years ago | (#35719450)

What does any of this have to do with the US thinking it has the right to act as world policeman?

The US is not in Afghanistan to liberate the people any more than the Soviets were there to liberate it from Western Capitalist Imperialists[tm]. And the US didn't support religious fundamentalism after (and before) that to liberate Afghanistan from Godless Communist Interantionalists[tm]. Such wars are about one superpower or another fighting for control of resources and strategic locations, as well as securing funding for the corporations of which politicians and their donors are shareholders. You know it; I know it.

Be a soldier on the offensive if you want, but don't be such a damn coward about your reasons. I'd hoped hypocrisy died with the setting of the sun on the British empire, but it seems much of the US are no better.

Re:is there anybody here... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35719664)

What is wrong with the fact that in order to help make the world a better place, some people prefer to go after the greater of two evils first?

Human suffering due to poverty is terrible, but when misery is brought about by people who are actively oppressing other people because they are regarded as subhuman, that is abominable.

Re:is there anybody here... (2)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | about 3 years ago | (#35719712)

Are you arguing that the US is in Afghanistan out of love for oppressed Afghan women or something?

Re:is there anybody here... (2)

sosume (680416) | about 3 years ago | (#35719780)

Are you arguing that the US is in Afghanistan for oil?

Re:is there anybody here... (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | about 3 years ago | (#35720076)

The US is in Afghanistan for the plunder.. be it oil, pipes, women, whatever. It's no different than one gang of chimpanzees attacking another. The flowery language and 'morality' is pure BS

Re:is there anybody here... (1)

khallow (566160) | about 3 years ago | (#35719774)

What does any of this have to do with the US thinking it has the right to act as world policeman?

Let me just point out that countries have powers and constraints not rights. The US has the power to be the "world policeman" and no constraint preventing it from doing so (though there are various constraints on what the US does with that power).

Be a soldier on the offensive if you want, but don't be such a damn coward about your reasons. I'd hoped hypocrisy died with the setting of the sun on the British empire, but it seems much of the US are no better.

What makes you think the previous poster was being a hypocrite or coward? Because he disagreed with you? In addition, hypocrisy is the natural state of government everywhere. I wonder why you thought it would go away with the British empire when there were perhaps a hundred or so other countries practicing it at the time.

I find it a wee bit hypocritical to wring one's hands over the US's role as "world policeman," while ignoring that there is some need for a world policeman and the absence of anyone better to fill the role.

Re:is there anybody here... (2)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | about 3 years ago | (#35719916)

Yet me just point out that countries have powers and constraints not rights

Quite. Yet the US acts as if it considers itself to have some right.

What makes you think the previous poster was being a hypocrite or coward?

Because, in traditional apologetic fallacy, he responds to a criticism of an oppressor with a criticism about a subset of the targets of oppression.

I wonder why you thought it would go away with the British empire when there were perhaps a hundred or so other countries practicing it at the time.

The setting of the British empire coincided with the start of an information age and a generally highly educated population (by contrast with earlier centuries). I was dreaming that this would have made it harder to use a lie to justify one's behaviour - so America would just say "we're doing this for profit" or whatever.

I find it a wee bit hypocritical to wring one's hands over the US's role as "world policeman," while ignoring that there is some need for a world policeman and the absence of anyone better to fill the role.

You may need to check the definition of "hypocrisy". Even if I thought there was a need for a world policeman - which I don't - it wouldn't make me hypocritical to state that the US shouldn't be claiming that it's in Afghanistan for humanitarian reasons.

Re:is there anybody here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35720034)

You think the US is in Afghanistan for profit? Do you have any idea how much that costs America?

Re:is there anybody here... (2)

ToadProphet (1148333) | about 3 years ago | (#35720112)

You think the US is in Afghanistan for profit? Do you have any idea how much that costs America?

In public funds, a lot. But private industry is making a killing. Literally and figuratively.

Re:is there anybody here... (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | about 3 years ago | (#35720122)

It might cost you, the average American taxpayer. But the war isn't being fought on your behalf. What did you expect?

Re:is there anybody here... (1)

mangu (126918) | about 3 years ago | (#35720052)

The Soviet Union went into Afghanistan because they wanted Pakistan, in order to get a naval base that had access to open ocean all year round.

The USA, on the other hand, didn't want *any* resource from Afghanistan whatsoever. Different from the Soviet Union, it's not a strategic location for the USA. It has no mineral resources. No industry. No economic assets worth fighting for.

There was one and only one reason why the USA invaded Afghanistan: to fight the state-sponsored religious-motivated terrorism of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. Other than that, Afghanistan is worth as much to the USA as any other piss-poor nation in Asia.

You don't see talks of intervention in Nepal or Tajikistan, do you?

Re:is there anybody here... (1)

Mushdot (943219) | about 3 years ago | (#35719540)

Fair point, but history has repeatedly shown that you cannot wade into another culture and change it within a short amount of time, no matter how wrong you think it is.

The US and other countries (mine, the UK included) think that they can, which is why we have so many terrorists running around.

Re:is there anybody here... (2)

Grygus (1143095) | about 3 years ago | (#35719782)

Not sure what history you're talking about, but the history of mankind has repeatedly shown that you can indeed wade into another culture and change it in a (historically speaking) short amount of time; controlling the change is difficult, but instigating change is fairly straightforward - you need only kill the right people. The US has directly or indirectly installed several of the world's governments. Are you under the impression that this did not change those cultures? If you trace the US's behavior back to the old European empires, whose behavior was not entirely dissimilar (though more overt in both practice and purpose,) then most of the world has experienced a cultural shift due to invasion, either military or economic, just in the past few hundred years. This doesn't even scratch the surface; the European empires themselves were following the example of Rome, which could itself look to Macedonia, which had an example in Persia... it's been happening at least since recorded history began, and the fact that most of those cultures no longer exist should be proof enough of the possibility. Even if you restrict this to very fast cultural shifts (say, within a single lifetime,) examples abound and should be easy to find should you care to look.

[citation needed] (1)

mangu (126918) | about 3 years ago | (#35719790)

history has repeatedly shown that you cannot wade into another culture and change it within a short amount of time

Oh, yeah? Explain this [wikipedia.org].

By hanging a few military leaders who invoked "spiritual" values in order to make warriors commit suicide in battle, a war-torn country became one of the strongest economies in the world in a few decades.

How's that for changing a culture.

Re:[citation needed] (1)

danbert8 (1024253) | about 3 years ago | (#35720110)

Japan was different.. We defeated them. They surrendered. We weren't going in to liberate their people from their government. I'm sure if we dropped a few nukes on Afghanistan and Iraq, then told them what they were going to comply with things would be different than the current setup of "hey, we'd like to help advise you in setting up a new government of your choosing".

Re:is there anybody here... (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | about 3 years ago | (#35719830)

The conquistadors would like to have a word with you about what history shows, as would, ironically, the moors. Might we also have a word about the history of Anatolia? Hellenism and its effects on the Seleucid Kingdom(s)? Etc. etc.

I don't think you know half as much as you pretend to know about history or what it 'repeatedly shows'.

Re:is there anybody here... (1)

gilleain (1310105) | about 3 years ago | (#35720104)

I don't think you know half as much as you pretend to know about history or what it 'repeatedly shows'.

Clearly the poster meant "The bits of history that I remember because they support my point of view repeatedly shows....". Obviously. Duhhh. :)

Re:is there anybody here... (1)

Stenchwarrior (1335051) | about 3 years ago | (#35719670)

I agree. Have you seen the pictures of the women disfigured because someone accused them of cheating or stealing? Or heard stories of the families now left without a husband because the Taliban either killed or forcefully recruited him?

And why is the U.S. the largest force on the ground over there when these atrocities are being committed? Why is the U.S. not being condemned for helping out the AIDS and Malaria riddled villages in Africa? Or helping fight hunger in any needy part of the world? I'm in no way saying that corruption and ill-will doesn't exist...we are in no way a perfect government or country. No country is.

We definitely have our own issues over here, granted, but where would those others who need help be if their largest supporters just up and left to fix shit at home? Perhaps if the rest of the world who looks down at us for helping would pitch in then we could get the job done and head back home.

Flame me, go ahead. It just pisses me off when people blindly talk bad about the U.S. because we help. I'm sure the little kid in Africa who no longer has AIDS or Malaria doesn't mind us being there.

Re:is there anybody here... (1, Insightful)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | about 3 years ago | (#35719832)

I agree. Have you seen the pictures of the women disfigured because someone accused them of cheating or stealing? Or heard stories of the families now left without a husband because the Taliban either killed or forcefully recruited him?

Try absorbing less knowledge via propaganda and walk around your country a bit. Firstly, spousal abuse happens everywhere, including on your street right now. Next, put less emphasis on the tourist spots and more on the poverty spots. Gang violence, while always more prevalent when there is a perceived oppressor to fight, produces life expectancies even in the US which you may have already exceeded. "But it's a choice in the US to join!" I hear you cry - just as the cry of America has always been that failure is a choice, and everyone has the freedom to succeed if only they try and dream just a little more. What bullshit. Yes, every genius and every atlas has the choice to defeat someone who dares to try to oppress him. But not everyone is either genius or atlas - you and I rely on good fortune.

I'm sure the little kid in Africa who no longer has AIDS or Malaria doesn't mind us being there.

Educating people to prepare malaria vaccines or HIV medication (essentially: not imposing the artificial construction that is intellectual property law) is so far removed from a military invasion that I can only assume you yourself know how difficult it is to justify US military behaviour and are clutching at straws out of some sense of guilt.

Dude, it's OK. You're not being blamed personally. Use what freedom you have to speak out against your government where it does wrong.

Evil? Yes. Empire? No. (1)

denzacar (181829) | about 3 years ago | (#35719820)

who doesn't think the Taliban is an evil empire and take consolation only in knowing it is also a dying political movement? Get the hell out of the lives of your citizens, stop sending terrorists across the globe to kill innocents, stop killing your own citizens for minor infractions of your "laws".

Movement... MAYBE militia.

As for "dying"... sadly, I don't really see that. I mean... U.S. has been chasing Osama for what? Three presidents already?

Re:is there anybody here... (1)

supercrisp (936036) | about 3 years ago | (#35720038)

Anonymous Coward may want to look into the U.S. role in supporting the Taliban. I was reading about U.S. support of them back in the mid-90s, when they were just one, though a major, group of "freedom fighters" harassing the Soviets in Afghanistan.

Re:is there anybody here... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35719402)

...who does not think that the USA is an evil empire, and take consolation only in knowing that it is also a dying empire?

I might taken consolation in knowing the US empire is dying, but worry that the upcoming new Chinese or Russian empire will be far far worse.

Re:is there anybody here... (2, Funny)

NoSleepDemon (1521253) | about 3 years ago | (#35719430)

I moved from the UK to Canada a few years ago, and yeah I agree. Being in proximity to them is irritating, but having to watch their stupid antics and culture spill onto TV is just downright offensive. Each time I watch another Chevrolet ad with the stupid moving 3D text proclaiming that their car has won x consumer award (apparently they all have) a part of me dies. My wife has regular contact with Americans almost every day and the ones that come across the border have an air of arrogance around them which is undeniable. A recurring favourite is "why did you give me Canadian change? I'm American, I want American money!". Thankfully the culture of NOW NOW NOW ME ME ME isn't quite so prevalent in the more civilized North. Having said that, "Hey I'm British too! My grandparents came over in the 1920s, do you know my friend Bob? He lives in London" is beginning to wear a little thin. Good snowboarding though.

Re:is there anybody here... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35719498)

That's ok. We here in the states think that people from the UK are arrogant snobs, too. So take solace in the fact that the feeling is mutual.

Re:is there anybody here... (1)

NoSleepDemon (1521253) | about 3 years ago | (#35719826)

Personally I think a better part of British culture to attack would be football hooliganism and youth crime, which seems to have risen as a counter culture to the snobbery. The one thing I don't see much of in Canada is 16 year olds running about with screw drivers spitting on people and punching the elderly. In Scotland the problem's so bad that the term 'NED' (Non-educated Delinquent) is actually used in newspaper headlines.

Re:is there anybody here... (1)

DriedClexler (814907) | about 3 years ago | (#35720098)

Doesn't that charming Scottish accent make up for it though? I wouldn't mind being mugged half as much if the mugger had one of those pleasant, educated-sounding UK accents.

Re:is there anybody here... (0)

shadowrat (1069614) | about 3 years ago | (#35719586)

There are also plenty of americans that hate chevrolet ads. They drive fords.

Re:is there anybody here... (1)

NoSleepDemon (1521253) | about 3 years ago | (#35719716)

The Chevy ads were a worst case example, but were mainly there to illustrate the point that there seems to be this rampant culture of competition prevalent in North American culture. For instance, every car ad says their car won such and such an award, and was voted consumer choice of 20xx, and it's just plain ol' better than brand y. There are pharmaceutical ads that run for 2 minutes just so they can list all of the adverse side effects the medicine will cause (yet you should still ask your doctor if obesotol is for you), and never ending lawfirm informercials that encourage you to sue the shit out of everyone and everything because hey, you're entitled to your compensation. Then you step into walmart and you can buy giant cases of anything for a fiver sometimes less, and outside there are blokes complaining about the cost of fuel leaning fully upright on their latest 4 wheeled monstrosity. It truly is a culture of excess and frankly the cost to other people in order to sustain it makes it undeserved.

Re:is there anybody here... (1)

2names (531755) | about 3 years ago | (#35719870)

Well, hello there, Mr. (or Mrs.) "I believe every stereotype about those fat, lazy Americans." Nice to see you.

Seriously, though, have you spent any significant amount of time in the U.S.? I'm not talking about a week in NYC or a vacation at Disney[complex], but real, significant time in an average city such as Davenport, Iowa? I know it is hard to believe since the media portrays the "arrogant, self-important, fat, lazy American" as the norm, but most people here are not any different from people all over the globe. We just want to live with a few comforts, not have to worry about where our next meal is coming from, and raise our kids to be productive people.

Re:is there anybody here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35719656)

A couple teensy points:

1. If you don't like the Chevy ads, please ask the Ontario provincial government to change them, as they're one of the major shareholders.

2. There are stupid people everywhere, unfortunately the U.S. lets them travel. (I'll skip on making a Newfie joke here.)

Re:is there anybody here... (1)

NoSleepDemon (1521253) | about 3 years ago | (#35719776)

Well when it's safer to stick a Canadian flag onto your back pack rather than your own as a means to explain your dialect you know you're in trouble.

Re:is there anybody here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35719680)

I went to Canada last year for the Falls and everything was much nicer. Soda was made with sugar, people were friendly, and things were clean! This was a huge step up from even what I'd considered somewhat nice cities full of assholes who destroy everything because they can by doing strange things like shitting in urinals.

If the rest of the country is even half as nice as the Falls were, immigration would be a serious prospect.

Re:is there anybody here... (1)

tixxit (1107127) | about 3 years ago | (#35719978)

I lived in a border city for years (I literally lived < 1km from the U.S.). I worked in an office that was 50% American. All of the Americans I worked with were fantastic people. Sure, we'd exchange jabs, but always in a friendly way.

I think the only time I ever saw an American at my work get really defensive was when one of the Canadians called Americans a bunch of commies (this was about the time they were bailing banks out and giving people crap loads of money for junking old cars).

As far as money; "why did you give me Canadian change? I'm American, I want American money!"... please! Just about the only thing I saw in this regard was the first time our dollar went over parity, and an American was short on change at a Tim Horton's (the "exchange rate" at most stores were "at par" for the last several months). He just laughed, made a joke at America's expense, and the clerk let him off and gave him the coffee.

Of course, most of the people, both Canadians and Americans, around where I lived understood the relationship between US and Canada is hugely beneficial for all parties involved, knew that we were more similar than different, and respected each other.

Personally, I think your attitude towards Americans is far worse than the attitude of any American that I've met.

Re:is there anybody here... (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about 3 years ago | (#35719534)

Get the hell out of the Middle East, USA. Stop killing people. Sort out your shit at home for your own sake.

And, you know, if you have to do it, try not to use soulless extermination droids. Your PR is bad enough as it is.

Re:is there anybody here... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 3 years ago | (#35719632)

International PR doesn't matter to elected politicians anything like as much as PR with their voters. American body bags coming home is a lot worse than expensive toy being destroyed, in terms of PR for the next election.

Re:is there anybody here... (1)

tophermeyer (1573841) | about 3 years ago | (#35719842)

American body bags coming home is a lot worse than expensive toy being destroyed, in terms of PR for the next election.

I think it also means quite a bit for the family of the American body not in the bag.

Whether or not we should be over there fighting is a separate question, but once we do start fighting why not send drones? It saves American lives, and discourages insurgents from actively fighting (less motivated to fight a bot than an infidel).

Re:is there anybody here... (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 3 years ago | (#35719566)

lemme guess, you are from Europe, the progenitors of the biggest genocides in human history(who have yet to apologize for any of them btw), who is also rich largely due to it's massive colonial empire. While I don't agree with the invasion of Iraq, I find Europeans getting self-righteous about it to be incredibly hilarious.

Re:is there anybody here... (4, Interesting)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | about 3 years ago | (#35719650)

the progenitors of the biggest genocides in human history(who have yet to apologize for any of them btw),

I'm sorry for every time I have contributed to this country which still does some awful things to its own people and to foreigners. I very much try to be productive while minimising the support I give to my government and businesses which act on its behalf. I'm too young to have been involved in some of the popular[tm] genocides you're probably thinking of ("biggest" is an ill-defined and unhelpful term), so I am not sure it has any meaning for me to apologise for them.

Just to clear things up: it's wrong when the British/French/Spanish/Dutch/etc. empire did it, and it's wrong now the American Empire's doing it.

The difference is that Europe has learnt some (not enough - and always dangerously close to forgetting it) humility while the US is still playing catchup. This is as you'd expect: Europe's had quite a few centuries' head start and two recent world wars to shake us up.

Re:is there anybody here... (1)

Stenchwarrior (1335051) | about 3 years ago | (#35719744)

The difference is that Europe has learnt some (not enough - and always dangerously close to forgetting it) humility while the US is still playing catchup. This is as you'd expect: Europe's had quite a few centuries' head start and two recent world wars to shake us up.

I'm confused by this. Wasn't the U.S. settled and created by aforementioned and experienced Europeans?

Re:is there anybody here... (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | about 3 years ago | (#35720020)

That's not how culture works. You can't just take a few men and women from one country, have them reproduce to form a new society in a new country, and expect the culture of the old place to be reflected in the new. It wouldn't even work if early US immigrants were representative of their former nations, which they certainly weren't: you're lacking everything from climate to system of government to city layout to system of education to, well, everything except a bit of genetics and some ideas.

This doesn't mean the US is inherently bad, just that it's young.

Re:is there anybody here... (1)

Vectormatic (1759674) | about 3 years ago | (#35720036)

yes, the US was founded by europeans who thought that europe wasnt strict, religious and uptight enough

Which sort of explains the need to have a holy war on anything and everything, and the freakin out when someone shows digital rendered boobies in a 16+ game

Re:is there anybody here... (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 3 years ago | (#35719760)

The difference is that Europe has learnt some (not enough - and always dangerously close to forgetting it) humility while the US is still playing catchup. This is as you'd expect: Europe's had quite a few centuries' head start and two recent world wars to shake us up.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, that is the most ADORABLE thing I've ever read on slashdot. Do you HONESTLY believe the Europeans gave up their colonies willingly because they all of a sudden became humble and realized how "bad" it was? Do you honestly believe that they had some great awakening and apologized to the people they raped, murdered, and stole from for hundreds of years? Fuck, the French are still trying to control their former colonies(see Ivory Coast). Guess what, they didn't. The only reason they don't have colonies anymore is because the colonists rose up and threw the bums out. You complain about Iraq and Afghanistan, and yet those are absolutely nothing to the war the French started in Vietnam. And yet the French get all bent out of shape about Iraq.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, sorry, it's just too easy to laugh at such Europeans, ignorant of their own history who criticize others for being so ignorant. If Europeans were truly sorry they would give back all their ill-gotten riches. But I don't forsee that happening.

oh yeah,HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

Re:is there anybody here... (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | about 3 years ago | (#35720056)

No, the argument is that the loss of colonies and two recent world wars have made Europe more humble.

Failure -> experience -> humility.

It will happen to the US too. It's just a standard sequence in any human development and you're not immune to it.

tl;dr Europe didn't choose to lose their colonies as a result of becoming humble, strawman /b/tard.

Re:is there anybody here... (1)

khallow (566160) | about 3 years ago | (#35719912)

The difference is that Europe has learnt some (not enough - and always dangerously close to forgetting it) humility while the US is still playing catchup. This is as you'd expect: Europe's had quite a few centuries' head start and two recent world wars to shake us up.

It's worth noting that the US government is older than all but a few governments in Europe and as a continuously operating democracy, there isn't anything older in Europe (the UK started being one in 1832 [wikipedia.org]). Europe collectively doesn't have that much experience with democracies and what it does often comes from countries that still haven't settled on a long term government form (such as France and the PIGS). But that doesn't stop people from those countries lecturing the US, does it?

Now collectively they pursue the hubris of the European Union. It's one thing to create a common European market and currency, it's another to create a government with its own ability to add a huge layer of unnecessary bureaucracy to Europe. Now all those failures who couldn't get what they want at the nation-level due to the interference of democratic processes can fail again at the super-national level.

I have trouble seeing the humility.

Re:is there anybody here... (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | about 3 years ago | (#35720090)

(1) Details on the system of appointment to government do not determine the length of life of a country and its culture, and the fact that you think it does says quite a lot about the scope of your understanding of culture;

(2) If the Reform Act of 1832 determines when the UK government came into existence (what is wrong with you?), then the US did not exist in any meaningful sense before the civil rights movement of the 1960s ended apartheid in the South.

Re:is there anybody here... (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 3 years ago | (#35719604)

and take consolation only in knowing that it is also a dying empire?

That's no consolation. Dying empires are the most dangerous kind.

Re:is there anybody here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35719674)

Thank goodness for the Seldon plan

Re:is there anybody here... (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | about 3 years ago | (#35719692)

It is the cold comfort that nothing has changed; that the cycle of civilisation remains in force.

In other words, it is better than finding that technology has enabled one empire to become unconquerable. With change comes turmoil, but turmoil preserves freedom.

Re:is there anybody here... (1)

Wiarumas (919682) | about 3 years ago | (#35719784)

Isn't there a theory that if there is a power void, that it will be filled by another civilization? You can say whatever you want about America, but when its America's time to take the backseat to another leading world power, the same exact things will be said about them. Its human nature and there is no stopping it.

Re:is there anybody here... (1)

clang_jangle (975789) | about 3 years ago | (#35719794)

:%s/USA/BigBusiness/g

In the future, please try to avoid confusing evil actors with their conquests, 'k?

Re:is there anybody here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35719960)

"Get the hell out of the Middle East, USA"

Afghanistan is not in the Middle East, it is in Asia.

Marine Offensive, Move Out! (5, Funny)

xMrFishx (1956084) | about 3 years ago | (#35719298)

I know the marines aren't known for their intelligence, but calling them drones or robots, I think that's a little harsh...

Best practise of anti-robots law (1, Interesting)

deconvolution (715827) | about 3 years ago | (#35719320)

Tons killing machines and none for Fukushima. Well done.

Re:Best practise of anti-robots law (1)

N1ck0 (803359) | about 3 years ago | (#35719560)

Tons killing machines and none for Fukushima. Well done.

Thats twisted. You want to send killing machines to Fukushima!

Or are you trying to make a Robot Civilization in SimEarth?

yeah, good to see no civilians killed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35719340)

We're winning because our robots are better than their robots? yay! it's battle-bots! it should be televised. "No humans were harmed in the making of this war"
too bad this isn't reality

Re:yeah, good to see no civilians killed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35719708)

The US would have to pick an enemy who can afford robots in the first place. Bombing backward civilisations is so much more fun, though.

Re:yeah, good to see no civilians killed (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 3 years ago | (#35719738)

The US would have to pick an enemy who can afford robots in the first place. Bombing backward civilisations is so much more fun, though.

Of course the problem with this type of asymetric warfare is that terrorism is the only way they can fight back. They cannot realistically fight drones with AK47s. The choice is either give in or use terrorism to convince the other country not to send them.

X-47B? (2)

pease1 (134187) | about 3 years ago | (#35719346)

So what exactly does the X-47B have to do with Afghanistan? After all these years of conflict, CNN still does not understand the basics of the US Military.

Re:X-47B? (1)

hey! (33014) | about 3 years ago | (#35719740)

Err... The video piece described by the article starts off discussing the American Civil War. What does *that* have to do with Afghanistan?

The answer is "nothing." It wasn't intended to say anything about Afghanistan, because Afghanistan is not what the article is about. The article is about how robotics is the next phase in the mechanization of warfare. The Civil War was the high water mark of pre-mechanized warfare, the last great ware fought with muscle and fodder. The reporter might have mentioned the Battle of Hampton Roads, which everyone knows was the first battle of *ironclads*, but perhaps more significantly it was a battle of steam driven warships, a naval tactics game changer well under way before the start of the war.

Afghanistan is a significant milestone in the ongoing mechanization of warfare, so I think TFA gets that right. The X-47B is a step towards a robotic weapon capable of performing, not just a single task, but an entire mission autonomously. That *policy* requires a human to actually pull the trigger doesn't change the significance of that milestone. That the X-47B is only a mock-up doesn't change that either. It has a 2000 kg weapons bay, so it's clear where the designers are going with this. So I'd say TFA got that right too.

While CNN may not understand the basics of the US military, this article is not evidence supporting that position.

Really? (5, Funny)

Daetrin (576516) | about 3 years ago | (#35719354)

"There are more fighting robots than elevators in the country."

That's the metric we're using? So all i need to do to have my own robot war is build a single robot, and find a country with no elevators for it to attack?

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35719410)

As the Daleks have taught us, attacking a country with no elevators is a guaranteed way for your robots to lose the war.

Re:Really? (1)

stardaemon (834177) | about 3 years ago | (#35719494)

As the Daleks have taught us, attacking a country with no elevators is a guaranteed way for your robots to lose the war.

Not really.
As we all know, they simply level the building.

Re:Really? (1)

vawwyakr (1992390) | about 3 years ago | (#35719416)

This is clearly a flawed method of evaluation....the US robots of leveled all building tall enough to need an elevator...thereby artificially skewing the metric in their favor.

Re:Really? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35719518)

the US robots of leveled all building tall enough to need an elevator...thereby artificially skewing the metric in their favor.

I thought that was the definition of winning the war...

Re:Really? (1)

Inda (580031) | about 3 years ago | (#35719502)

More robots than ice cream vans.
More robots than a Honda factory.
More robots than a robot factory?

More robots than elevators? Um, yeah, sure.

Re:Really? (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | about 3 years ago | (#35719630)

"There are more fighting robots than elevators in the country."

That's the metric we're using? So all i need to do to have my own robot war is build a single robot, and find a country with no elevators for it to attack?

There's also more robots than working toilets. Thanks, crappy military construction outsourcing.

Re:Really? (1)

N1ck0 (803359) | about 3 years ago | (#35719688)

Time for Jamie to bring Blendo out of retirement...bring that ratio back down.

Mr. President, we can't afford to have a killer robot-elevator ratio gap.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35720092)

"Number of elevators"... is that an imperial measurement of some kind? What's the proper metric equivalent - "number of lifts"?

at least the robots don't hate/fear us (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35719382)

being chosen ones depopulators must feel so empty all the time, catering to the disastrous desires of our rulers?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDVt_hSo_EU&feature=player_embedded

beings active in fake weather/seismicity schemes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35719546)

they must fear/hate all of us, themselves at the top? self-worshiping is not as nirvanic or vatanic as it was advertised to be?

abused (poisoned (body, mind, spirit) etc...) get us coming, going, from behind), killed, censored & misinformed all at once, that's us? it must be ok, or we'd have something to say?

& present as totally unrepentant (now a major motion picture), phewww. monkeys treat each other much better.

Is *now* a robot? (0)

T.E.D. (34228) | about 3 years ago | (#35719424)

Err...were they not robots when they started fighting in Afghaistan? If so, has anyone told them they are now robots, or are they running around thinking they are actually people, like in Blade Runner?

Re:Is *now* a robot? (0)

xMrFishx (1956084) | about 3 years ago | (#35719468)

Dude don't say that, the robots will find out, 'cus computers have the internet and are made of metal and robots are made of metal, therefore robots have the internet! I just hope /. didn't give the robots any mod points today.

I Thought Google's Driverless Car Was Supposed To (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35719474)

...save us all?

Who was it that was saying our logic regarding "safety" was silly?

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/11/04/02/1529237/Googles-Driverless-Car-and-the-Logic-of-Safety

I mean really, and that was just this past Saturday.

tools, not robots (4, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 3 years ago | (#35719478)

tools have always been used in war. when we have autonomous decision making mechanisms engaging enemies, then we can talk about robotic warfare. otherwise, the bar is being set too low for what constitutes robotic warfare

Re:tools, not robots (1)

charon69 (458608) | about 3 years ago | (#35719584)

Agreed. I know that *technically* the units being using in Afghanistan are robots. A mechanical arm used to weld cars in a factory just following a pre-programmed series of movements is technically a robot.

But if allusions to Terminators are going to be made, then we have to consider autonomy as the real metric for a "robotic war".

IMHO, people worried about things like robotic wars are implying a problem with the robots running amok, at least primarily. True, there are other issues to consider. For instance, would a person controlling a robot from 1,000 miles away take more risks with that robot, or go in firing more freely without worrying about reprisals, as opposed to somebody inside a tank where the control is more "involved"?

But it's not like modern aircraft are directly controlled by the people inside them either. There are tons of stabilizing modifications performed per second completely autonomously just to keep a modern combat aircraft from dropping out of the sky. It's all electronic signals. And a human is controlling that at a high level whether he's sitting in the cockpit or in California with a remote joystick.

Call me when, "afterward, the Stealth Bombers flew with perfect operational records..."

Re:tools, not robots (1)

tophermeyer (1573841) | about 3 years ago | (#35719956)

Wired just ran an article talking about some of the research in anthropomorphic bots. Evidently there are significant differences between the humanoid bots and the non-humanoid bots.

Operators driving human looking bots were more likely to identify the bot as a separate entity. In some simulations this led to more aggressive activities and the operators feeling less responsible for the outcomes. Operators driving the non-humanoid bots were more likely to view the unit as an extension of themselves (like any tool), and so were more likely to feel responsible for the bots actions and the outcomes.

Certainly remote operators are going to perceive the environment differently from someone who is actually there. Not having to actually die when you are shot at really changes how soldiers could fight.

Re:tools, not robots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35719646)

Exactly. Land mines are closer to "robotic warfare" than the teleop hardware being flogged here.

Re:tools, not robots (3, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 years ago | (#35719852)

Where exactly one wants to draw the line between "tool" and "robot" is arguably somewhat arbitrary; but there are definite matters of degree and substantial complexities.

For instance, a simple mine is actually 'autonomous'. It has very limited capabilities; but it exercises those entirely without human intervention, based on sensor data. In both land and naval use, the Chinese were putzing around with recognizable antecedents of those not long after they acquired gunpowder, and various European tinkerers not too long after. Does the use of mines count as "robotic warfare"? Some of the more sophisticated modern examples are just as autonomous and have greater capabilities: a CAPTOR mine [wikipedia.org] has enough onboard computing power to distinguish between ships and submarines by sound, and launch its (homing) torpedo at the latter. All fully autonomous, and circa 1979...

On the other hand, a lot of modern combat "robots" are basically very high performance RC vehicles, albeit often with some sophisticated software handling translation of abstract operator commands into robot actions(with Predators, say, you don't 'fly' them the way you fly an RC aircraft for most of their flight time, they handle a lot of the low-level detail to allow operators to focus on waypoints and target acquisition. With the more sophisticated robotic bomb-defusers and their ilk, their fairly complex manipulators handle all the fiddly little servos internally, in order to achieve manipulator commands provided by the operator).

That's the definitionally tricky bit: there are extremely simple devices that are fully autonomous within the limited scope of their capabilities. There are also extremely sophisticated devices, with almost eerily organic levels of feedback-driven 'housekeeping' going on in order to allow the operator to give the device fairly high level commands; but which are specifically designed to do nothing of importance without the OK from a human.

Then you have the ones that can be used either way: Phalanx CIWS can do fully automatic target engagement(because puny meat-objects simply don't have the reflexes for the job) or can be kept under human supervision(because nothing says "expensive accident" like a trigger-happy Gatling-gun robot operating in the vicinity of friendly aircraft...)

As best I can tell, it seems like autonomy is less of a pure design challenge, and more a question of the practical and PR constraints that you have to abide by in terms of target discrimination... Humans are OK at that, which certainly places them above all but reasonably sophisticated automated systems; but they are hardly perfect. How much of the unwillingness to cut the robots loose is due to their inferiority to humans at this task, and how much is due to human distaste for the idea of automated hunter-killer robots is not entirely clear.(Nor is it entirely clear that they aren't being used: The CIA, for instance, loves drone strikes, and doesn't exactly issue press releases about the operator/drone ratio they are using...)

And how many elevators are there? (3, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 years ago | (#35719484)

Afghanistan seems like kind of a low bar for the "elevators to combat robots" metric, since it has been a mixture of tribal infighting and superpower proxy wars at least since the British showed up(and had a lousy time... and then the Russians showed up, and had a lousy time... and the Americans showed up...); but it is, nevertheless, something of a dramatic shift.

What I'm not looking forward to is what will happen when(if ever) the demand for military combat robots slackens a bit and the producers thereof start seriously targeting the home market. Through a combination of military contractors trying to avoid being vulnerable to having only a single customer and direct transfers of military hardware from the DoD [dla.mil](you may throw an SSL warning if your browser doesn't trust DoD certs) military hardware generally has a way of coming home. Even random sheriffs are burnishing their toys collection [waybackmachine.org](it's a wayback machine link because, for reasons that are completely inexplicable, the broader response to the 'The Peacemaker' was perhaps less favorable than anticipated...) I know, from observing one of their training exercises, that the supply of m16s maintained by the police force in the unbelievably boring and low crime bedroom community where I work is much higher than I would have expected.

This suggests that it is only a matter of time before we can expect to see surplussed predators and such 'protecting and serving' here at home.

Someone once said (0)

Grapplebeam (1892878) | about 3 years ago | (#35719574)

That the more machines you have in an army, the easier it becomes to go to war, as you don't have to worry about the loss of human life on your side.

Re:Someone once said (2)

Bardwick (696376) | about 3 years ago | (#35719722)

Bump. War needs to stay personal. My other favorite quote on war by Mr. Einstein "I don't know how man will fight World War III, but I do know how they will fight World War IV; with sticks and stones."

Re:Someone once said (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35719812)

With enough machines on both sides war will become team based battle bot tournaments to recoup the costs through advertisements!

"Wired for War" (1)

Old VMS Junkie (739626) | about 3 years ago | (#35719672)

I highly recommend "Wired for War" by P. W. Singer. Outstanding read. He's also a pretty interesting speaker, if you get the chance to hear him.

Tax money well spent (1)

airfoobar (1853132) | about 3 years ago | (#35719770)

How about investing that money in green energy instead? Or would that make too much sense? No no, let's sacrifice thousands of human lives and spend trillions to build robot soldiers to conquer other countries for their oil. Fuck this shit.

Re:Tax money well spent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35720060)

"investing that money in green energy"

The best "investment" for the environment is often less investment.

Green house emissions went down in the peek of the recession.

If the entire US traded their car with a hybrid, the environmental impact of that excess manufacturing and production would not be good. Plus there would be many "hybrid" vehicles that use any extra efficiency to just allow for a bigger engine.

If energy is cheaper or cars are more efficient, that will likely put more cars on the road, and lead to more roads, and less trees.

The best environmental solutions require new thought on reduction (or at least equilibrium) of consumption. Of course this is in opposition with the apparent majority view that endless growth is healthy.

Without a view of halting endless growth in consumption, "green"-ness at best would only slow the destruction of the environment.

Re:Tax money well spent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35720084)

Afghanistan has no known oil reserves. Not every conflict is about oil. Libya is but Afghanistan is not.

Space (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35719788)

I thought the first robot wars were supposed to be fought in space (or on top of really tall mountains).

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...