29 Jun 2010

Imperialistic insecurity

We ran into a few military guys in Comayagua, Honduras -- just a few clicks down the road from the last remaining US military base in Central America. The base, now nominally under the flag of the Honduran Army, was once the staging post for the Contra freedom fighters,* a US-backed group of soldiers who wanted to overthrow the Sandinista government in the 1980s. Yes, these were the guys who Reagan armed with money that Oliver North received for selling weapons to Iran during the Iran-Iraq war.**

Anyway, these guys were having a few beers. I stopped by to ask what their working hours were. (I was curious to know if they worked nine-to-five jobs, or 10 days on/10 days off.) An older guy said "that's not something that we can tell you." "Oh, and I guess that you can't tell me anything at all then?" "Nope"

So, I turned to wikipedia, and found this. Thanks guys, for keeping those "secrets" from a fellow-citizen.

Bloody self-important idiots.

Oh, and that was BEFORE the hookers*** showed up to share some beers.

Why are these guys here? Do they really think that they know what's going on in-country? Do they really think that Central America (or anywhere?) is really more secure or more democratic or more friendly when a bunch of guys are living there, with guns, hamburgers and hookers?**** I don't think so.

Bottom Line: US imperialism has done nothing for national defense. Bring them home, cut the military budget, and convert the Department of Defense from an oxymoron into something useful.

* George Carlin: "Firefighters fight fire, so what do freedom fighters fight?"
** North was no patriot. He was a mercenary who circumvented the US Congress in a black operation that went against US interests -- TWICE. (First by selling weapons to a country that we formally opposed; second, by continuing an insurgency that we had denounced. He took the blame for Reagan, but both should have been charged with treason -- especially since their short-term realpolitikal actions only undermined long term US interests.) I am all for national security, but I have YET to see a single blackops that has increased it.
*** I have no issues with girls making the best of what they've got. I have issues with our "national defenders" using MY tax money on hookers instead of defense. (And that's not even getting into the problem of military rapes and abandoned single mothers.)
**** In 1997, I visited Madagascar, where the local girls were fond of sleeping with foreign guys, for nothing. (No, I didn't.) I asked a local guy what he thought of that: "No, we don't like it." I don't think locals are happy to see their girls taken by gringos.


  1. Nice rant. Maybe they sensed your hostility and just didn't want to talk to you. Thats hardly a crime.

  2. I wasn't hostile BEFORE I talked to them, and the rant was more about military bases, not personnel.

  3. OPSEC. It's amazing what a smart, determined adversary can do with seemingly trivial information. The standard grunt doesn't know enough to say for certain what he should or shouldn't talk about so the smart ones just don't talk. A REALLY self-important idiot would have taken it upon himself to decide what he could or couldn't tell you.

  4. @Robpublican -- good point. I wonder WHO is going to attack a US military base...

  5. Great post, David. You're in one of my favorite countries; about 15trips since 2000.

    Whenever I stayed in Tegus I would run into several ex-pat Special Ops guys who seemed to be waiting around for the Sandanistas to come pouring over the border, affording them one last chance to train more Contras.

    After the crash at Toncontin a few years ago there was talk of turning Palmerola into the capital's international airport. Then you could have a harrowing ride into town instead of a harrowing landing.

  6. The way Nicaragua is starting to go, again, those guys may be there for a similar reason...

    I think your Madagascar trip comment might be a tad generalizing. Perhaps a local phenomenon? Perhaps a particular class of girls/women? Many, many nuances can get lost in encounters like the one you describe.

  7. @Josh -- Doubt they wil do anything useful in Nic. The Mad comment was from one guy, but I've heard the same thing in many places -- Cuba, Russia, Armenia, etc...

  8. DW emails: "Keep wandering off and accosting armed men, and we may not have an Aguanomics guru soon. Never
    argue with armed people. I learned that on our trips down to Baja years ago. All it take is one nervous
    or pissed off 14 year old kid with an automatic rifle and you're toast."


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