Foreign Policy

Failed Strategies On Repeat in Yemen

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The Los Angeles Times reported last week that at least 20 U.S. special operations forces are in Yemen. Reuters reported yesterday that one of these soldiers has been seriously wounded after being shot near Hudaida. These troops are principally in Yemen to provide the Yemeni government support in its operations against Al-Qaeda. The presence of U.S. military personnel in Yemen is only the latest escalation of the War on Terror, and there is little indication that the airstrikes that these troops are assisting in actually provide any incentive for Islamic fundamentalists to stop killing Americans, or are as accurate and civilian-friendly as the administration likes to claim.

According to Business Insider, the number of U.S. troops in Yemen is expected to rise. There were American troops in Yemen for some time, but they were withdrawn during the Arab Spring. However, the recent terror plots that have been organized and launched from Yemen have provided an incentive for a renewed involvement in the region. 

What is most disturbing about the situation in Yemen is that the administration admits that there is no strategy other than killing as many Al-Qaeda operatives as possible. That such a strategy has been tried for over ten years in Afghanistan and Pakistan without any tangible reduction in Al-Qaeda's ability to conduct acts of terrorism seems to have escaped the powers that be. It should not fill anyone with confidence that last week Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, remarked that, "None of us know where this is going." Nor should it reassure Americans that Major General Kenneth Tovo, head of U.S. Central Command's special operations force, said that the Yemeni army "will receive the necessary support that would enable it to destroy al Qaeda," Considering that the Yemeni Army still uses weapons supplied to it by the Soviet Union in the 1960s it is likely that many more troops will be needed than the twenty or so already in Yemen in order to "destroy al Qaeda."

Any offensive against Al Qaeda in Yemen will almost certainly involve drone strikes that (contrary to popular belief) kill many civilians and encourage more anti-Americanism that Al-Qaeda can exploit.

In 2010, Obama said that he had "no intention of sending U.S. boots on the ground" to Yemen. Our recent adventures in Yemen provide yet more examples of not only how fickle the President's foreign policy has been, but also how fruitless strategies are being blindly recycled in the 'War on Terrorism'. 

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  1. Any offensive against Al Qaeda in Yemen will almost certainly involve drone strikes that (contrary to popular belief) kill many civilians and encourage more anti-Americanism that Al-Qaeda can exploit.

    Okay. So then what exactly do you do about Al Qaeda? Nothing and let them kill people?

    1. Yes,

      Then the locals get pissed off and kill them.

      Of course, John, you are always welcome to quit your job and form a modern version of the Abraham Lincoln brigade to go fight in a foreign land if it’s so important to you to take the fight to Al Queda.

      1. except AQAP keeps bringing the fight to us most recently in the failed attempt (again) to place non-metallic bombs on US bound flights.

        and AQAP continues killing many yemenis –

        AQAP suicide bomber kills nearly 100 Yemeni troops in capital
        By Bill RoggioMay 21, 2012
        Read more: http://www.longwarjournal.org/…..z1vWlb8qZ6

        1. But are they killing Bothans?

      2. Forming a modern Abraham Lincoln brigade would be a perfect solution for all those eager to go kill foreign enemies. However, I do believe it is illegal under U.S. law. Maybe we can urge Rand Paul to initiate legislation repealing its illegality??

        1. Don’t we have I don’t know about a $500 billion or whatever it is military to do that?

      3. “Then the locals get pissed off and kill them.”

        They are already doing that with good success. They need our help and given the attempts to attack America by AQAP our government is obliged to provide it.

      4. So the answer Terran is to let them plot and kill Americans and anyone else who gets in their way because stopping them might make someone mad?

        1. John, I know you’ve heard this argument before, but they’re plotting to kill Americans pretty much because we’re blowing their shit up. Where does it stop? We fucking GUARANTEE more plotting and killing of Americans if we continue down the path we’re going.

          What’s YOUR answer, except accomplishing the impossible (killing each and every aggrieved person)?

          1. I know you’ve heard this argument before, but they’re plotting to kill Americans pretty much because we’re blowing their shit up.

            They are plotting to kill Americans because they are crazy fucks. We were not blowing shit up in the 1990s, yet they plotted and killed all kinds of Americans even before 9-11.

            The idea that these people will leave us alone if we leave them alone is just not true. When we left Somalia, they didn’t think “oh we can leave America alone”. They thought “see how weak they are we just need to push harder”. You guys are delusional.

            1. Bin Laden created AQ specifically to get the West AND the Saudi Royal Family the fuck out of the Holy Land, directly in response to them hosting us for the first Gulf War.

              I’d say we were blowing lots of shit up in the 90’s, what with the Iraq War and no-fly zones and such.

              Also, HW Clinton’s Somalia adventure had fuck-all to do with Bin Laden.

              1. “Also, HW Clinton’s Somalia adventure had fuck-all to do with Bin Laden.”

                He used the retreat as propaganda, highlighting American weakness.

                1. AFTER THE FACT, douchebag. And Aidid probably didn’t give a good goddamn what Bin Laden thought, since he was set on controlling the food aid through his clan and his clan alone and not a whole lot else.

            2. The question remains: what’s YOUR answer?

            3. That’s right, the merger between Osama bin Laden’s rebel ‘forces’ against King Saud and the Islamist Egyptian rebels of the 1990’s that became Al Queda is attacking the U.S. solely because they are crazy and not because of the military, paramilitary, and financial support that the U.S. has provided to prop up those rulers.

              We were not blowing shit up in the 1990s, yet they plotted and killed all kinds of Americans even before 9-11.

              You should maybe talk to Abdallah Higazy and run that by him. If you’re lucky, he won’t punch you in the mouth.

              Higazi first adamantly denied any involvement with 9/11 and could not believe what was happening to him. Then, he says, the investigator said his family would go through hell in Egypt, where they torture people like Saddam Hussein. Higazy then realized he had a choice: he could continue denying the radio was his and his family suffers ungodly torture in Egypt or he confesses and his family is spared.

              It seems the FBI thought it could get the Egyptians to torture people on its behalf…. But any Egyptian resentment is simply because they are crazy.

              When we left Somalia, they didn’t think “oh we can leave America alone”.

              So, tell us about Somali attacks on America, John.

              1. Given the repeated attacks on other Muslims more than anyone else and apathy towards French neo-colonial policy in Africa, yes it would seem that the primary motivation of Islamic terrorism is Islam.

          2. but they’re plotting to kill Americans pretty much because we’re blowing their shit up.

            LIES. AQ communiques and general jihadist literature make it very clear that unchallenged Islamic rule is the prime directive.

            Which goes some way as to explaining why the main victims of Islamic terrorism are other Muslims.

            1. “LIES” is a very effective counter-argument.

              1. You use them all the time.

                1. LIES!

                  I win.

      5. Weren’t the International Brigades a Communist venture?

    2. Um, given Al Quaeda’s demonstrated lack of talent in carrying off coordinated terror strikes outside of Muslim controled territory Why not?

      Here’s the problem, you cannot defeat an enemy like Al Qaeda by “killing them all” unless you are willing to turn into the sort of Monster that would make even Mao and Stalin blush. regardless of right or wrong and who started what you are dealing with a people who are stuck in a pre medieval tribal mentality, so when you kill Akbar (who was most assuredly a terrorist) his cousins Ali and Rashid are honor bound to seek revenge.

      Kill 1 terrorist, make 2 more is not a recipe for success unless you are willing to simply wipe out the villages that all 3 come from then salt the earth so that the land becomes uninhabitable.

      On the flip side doing nothing lets us demonstrate our nobility, honor, and competence as Al Qaeda fails in attempt after attempt (with the odd success thrown in from time to time) because they are just too damn incompetant to be successful more than a tiny fraction of the time and pretty soon the pool of even low quality recruits who are willing to throw away their lives on a fools errand will wither and die as well.

  2. What is most disturbing about the situation in Yemen is that the administration admits that there is no strategy other than killing as many Al-Qaeda operatives as possible.

    Despite what Reason will tell you, Obama does have his bad qualities. What should the administration want to do with Al Qaeda operatives? Give them VISAs?

    1. What should the administration want to do with Al Qaeda operatives? Give them VISAs?

      This, and, “Should we do nothing?” are dishonest arguments.

      There are lots of ways to fight terrorism without lobbing bombs into civilian areas and hoping some of the charred remains are those of terrorists.

  3. WTF is “staging.reason.com,” and why should I sign in?

    1. better alt-text: “Come at me, bro.”

      1. I suggest “No one who wears a baseball cap backward can be taken seriously”.

      2. Looks like all of my dumbass friends in south Florida when they argue w/ the cab driver.

      3. I want to know what kind of footwear those guys are sporting. Do they in fact have boots on the ground? Or are those perhaps some sort of Military Specification Pedal Extremity Protection Module?

  4. bet most of these civilian deaths are the entourages that accompany HVT’s. also, AQAP continues to launch trans-national ops including the recent foiled attempt to place non-metallic explosives on board US passenger aircraft. lastly, AQAP kills many many moar yemenis than drones ever will to wit:

    AQAP suicide bomber kills nearly 100 Yemeni troops in capital
    By Bill RoggioMay 21, 2012

    Read more: http://www.longwarjournal.org/…..z1vWTc1RZh

    1. sorry for the double post

    2. sorry for the double post

  5. That such a strategy has been tried for over ten years in Afghanistan and Pakistan without any tangible reduction in Al-Qaeda’s ability to conduct acts of terrorism seems to have escaped the powers that be.

    I’m probably closer to Chomsky than CHeney, and closer to the author of OP than John’s simple black-white militancy, but the above is patent b.s. Attacking al-Qaeda in Afghanistan was clearly effective (though had the US not wasted effort in Iraq, it might have shut them down more effectively.) Whether the video-game approach we have since used and are now using in Yemen is wise as a long term tactic is another question.

    1. Attacking al-Qaeda in Afghanistan was clearly effective

      Effective at what, exactly?

      1. Turning bin-Laden from a quasi advisor of a national government with a network of safe operating centers into someone living in a safe house, his key followers scattered and dead and arrested, and his movement greatly discredited and disrupted.

        1. Were you aware that a suicide bomber killed 90 soldiers in Yemen today?

          http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/artic…..diers.html

          Yeah. Bang up job at stopping terrorists. Emphasis on the BANG.

          1. So, one act of terrorism = the whole strategy is a failure. Nevermind that AQ is losing on the ground to the army and allies. Nope, there’s been an explosion.
            This is the weakest sauce and these posts always bring it out without fail.

            1. So, one act of terrorism = the whole strategy is a failure.

              That’s not what I said, but it does make for an easy straw man for you to attack.

              1. It’s exactly what you implied. Do you have a real argument or just snark?

                1. Just pointing out the irony, that’s all.

                  You may go now.

      2. It effectively deprived al Qaeda of Afghanistan. bin Laden had to go live next to a Pakistani military base it was so effective.

        Furthermore there hasn’t been another successful attack within the U.S.

        Muslims the world over seem to be rejecting al Qaeda as well. bin Laden apparently even thought this before he was confronted by Seal Team 6.

        1. Furthermore there hasn’t been another successful attack within the U.S.

          That tiger-repelling rock is really doing its job.

          1. Hugh, I’d like to buy your rock.

          2. That Simpsons reference is not making your point stronger. 2/10

            1. Basically, your argument is “says you!”

              Except that the tiger-repelling rock is pretty much exactly the perfect metaphor for this idiotic line of argument. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

              1. Yes Timon that is what Hugh’s argument is exactly like.

                1. So, it’s now “neener neener”?

                  My God, you’re a clothes-soiling coward.

              2. Problem is there is evidence of absence.

                Certainly Al Qaeda has *wanted* to launch another attack on the US, however their repeated failure to do so, occasionally even in the face of gross incompetance on the part of the US Security apparatus shows just how weak of an organization they are.

                It’s actually gotten so bad for them that they can’t even come up with their own plans anymore, instead they are stuck falling for FBI Sting operations in the vain hope of doing anything successful in the US.

            2. Well, until you or Lyle (Lanley?) can demonstrate that blowing people up in Afghanistan prevents other people from attacking the US, my point remains perfectly cromulent.

              1. You know, a town with money is a little like the mule with the spinning wheel. No one knows how he got it and danged if he knows how to use it.

              2. This is super easy Hugh. When a bad guy gets blown up-follow me here- he can’t attack the US. Tada!

                1. I imagine al Qaeda recruiters tell locals the same thing about the bad guys attacking Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, etc.

                  1. They probably also tell them to live under Sharia or die. They tell them lots of things. But they don’t have drones.

                    1. No, the Great Satan who indiscriminately kills their families is the one with the drones.

                2. Sorry, but a lot of people don’t buy the “We must fight them there or we’ll be fighting them here” doctrine.

                  1. Lots of people don’t buy evolution. So what?

                    1. Evolution is not used as an excuse to expend blood and treasure for no good reason.
                      Other than that there really isn’t much of a difference.

                    2. First, your last point still sucks. And there is a good reason. AQAP has tried to attack Americans. They started the fight end of story.

      3. Effective at pissing off Muslims further (not that they need any help in that respect), effective at getting Americans killed in a foreign land in the name of hunting an old man with failing kidneys when a bounty would have been just as effective (I maintain that someone in Pakistan sold the US information that lead to the so-called “daring raid” that killed Osama Bin Laden), and effective at pissing off the Afghans by destroying their opium crop rather than buying it from them and using it to make morphine and codeine which would make them wealthy.

    2. Maybe I’m just not paying attention to the patently obvious, but what effect did attacking Afghanistan have?

      Other than ginning up more anti-American sentiment, and sinking the military into morass of ill-defined victory conditions and haphazard plans with no clear exit strategy, that is.

      1. It deprived AQ of a staging ground and damaged their organization severely. Must John and I spell out everything to you people?

        1. You and John can piss your drawers together all you like.

          1. When confronted with opposing arguments and evidence, the peacenik will resort to ad hominems and snark. Lacking a cogent framework, the peacenik will simply increase the intensity of its retorts.

            1. When the arguments of the shrieking neo-cons amount to the most basic of logical fallacies, why bother to address them with any more intellectual rigor with which they were vomited forth?

              1. How witty and original. Thanks for proving my point dipshit.

                1. Well, at least you provide the comedy that only aggressive lack of self-awareness can.

                  1. OH GOD THE IRONY

                    1. You seem to like parroting message board memes, whether or not they make sense, because you cannot handle being frustrated.

                    2. The irony appears to be increasing exponentially.

        2. So we won and we can stop strip searching grandmothers and 3 year olds?

          1. The strip searching won’t stop – too much is at stake. The jobs and pensions of the strip searchers, primarily.

          2. So you want the terrorists to win? You coward.

    3. I think it’s wrong to say al-Qaeda is no weaker, but AFAICT its splintered groups are collaborating with other organizations. I mean, they just killed 100 soldiers in Yemen, and we are worried that leaving Afghanistan would allow them to reemerge.

  6. So, Bush’s declaration that “you are either with us, or against us” was evil…. but Obama’s continuation of the policy is a sign of his adaptation to the changing situation on the ground? His willingness to pursue the enemy wherever they may hide?

    I’m confused here… wasn’t the big benefit of the Big O supposed to be his remarkable foreign policy differences with his predecessor? I’m just not seeing the huge distinction.

    1. He evolved.

  7. Alt-Text:

    “Do you understand. The words. That are commin’ outta’ my mouth?!”

    Also, yemenas.

  8. Killing al Qaeda is actually working. Less radical Musslims have and continue to turn away from al Qaeda. Killing, unfortunately, is a prerequisite of peace sometimes.

      1. the IRA laid-down arms returned to politics after the brits killed enough of them

        1. [proofreading needed]

          1. for some [REASON] the ampersand didnt post. it should read “…AND returned to politics…” thx

      2. Wehrmacht.

      3. Omaha Beach June 6, 1944

    1. http://media.economist.com/sit…..WOC570.gif

      Seems like terrorism is still pretty popular to me.

  9. Is that. . .is that Animal Mother in the background? I thought he retired some years ago.

    1. That’s what separates heroes from common folk like you or I.

      1. You’d better flush out your head, new guy. This isn’t about freedom; this is a slaughter. If I’m gonna get my balls blown off for a word, my word is “poontang.”

  10. If Yemeni civilians didn’t want to be killed in anti-terrorist operations, maybe they shouldn’t have chose to be born in Yemen.

    1. Or associate with Yemeni terrorists.

      1. Yes, the nefarious association of “unwittingly live beside.”

        1. It is a bad idea. They should probably move, or move out their bad guy neighbours. Their corpses = not our problem.

          1. Yeah, like you should move in case your address is a transpose of some drug dealer’s address that you don’t even know about. If you don’t, it’s totally on you when the cops set you on fire with a flashbang during a “dynamic entry” wrong warrant.

            1. Drug dealers are now AQ and war on them is now justified. You realize how stupid you’re being here right? False equivalence is false.

              1. You just don’t give a shit about the deaths of innocents. Own it.

                What’s the ratio that would give you pause? 20 innocents OK for 1 dead terrorist? 100 to 1? 1000 to 1?

                We’ve already established what you are, let’s get down to negotiating the price.

                1. Whatever is needed for victory, which isn’t even very much. And civilians =/= innocents. The civilians killed in Dresden worked in munitions factories. They got what they had coming. It seems clear many of the ‘civilians’ killed by the drones were complicit in AQ’s operations.

              2. The enemy of my Yemeni is my friend.

              3. Tony-like arguing detected.

            2. Our enemies are Yemenies! Shoot them right in their knees!

    2. Maybe we should retroactively recruit them into al Qaeda. That way they wouldn’t have been civilians, but legitimate targets in America’s continuing victory.

  11. “the administration admits that there is no strategy other than killing as many Al-Qaeda operatives as possible.”

    Good. That is the military strategy history shows is most effective.

    “That such a strategy has been tried for over ten years in Afghanistan and Pakistan without any tangible reduction in Al-Qaeda’s ability to conduct acts of terrorism seems to have escaped the powers that be.”

    LIES. If you do not see that AQ’s operational capacity has been reduced, you have your head totally up your ass.

    It’s especially considering the fact that it’s working RIGHT FUCKING NOW in Yemen. The army and allied tribesmen are beating AQ back and inflicting heavy casualties. The horrors of blowback include victory apparently.

    1. Define “victory”.

      1. AQ loses its cities and territories.

        1. I see you’re still fighting WWII. Let us know how the Battle of the Bulge works out for you.

          1. No I’m fighting EVERY FUCKING GROUND WAR.

            Look it up. Here’s a an update: http://www.philly.com/philly/n…..36165.html

            Cripes nothing is worse than wanton ignorance.

            1. The Global War on Terra’ is a ground war? I mean, I know that W’s pronunciation of “terror” may confuse the listener into thinking “ground”, but then we’re talking about a Global War on The Ground. That’s just silly.

              1. This part of it is.

                1. What part of it? The part where we send in drones to launch missiles from 20,000 feet in order to sometimes get a bad guy?

                  1. And our allies fight to take back Yemeni territory from AQ forces. RTFA

            2. “No I’m fighting EVERY FUCKING GROUND WAR.”

              You are? Or.. other people are?

          2. It didn’t work out for the Germans.

        2. What cities and territories? AQ is not a government. The people we kill are not uniformed employees of a nation state who will stop fighting when their employer tells them to.

          Sorry, but I cannot accept that definition of “victory”.

          Try again.

          1. What cities? RTFA. They’re called Zinjibar, Jaar, and Shaqra.

            The reason you can’t accept this definition of victory is a mirror image of why neocons can’t accept a definition of victory: you’re both terrified of victory. For the neocons, it would mean the fun ends, and for you, you’d have to admit you were wrong.

        3. AQ loses its cities and territories.

          Could you share your map? Mine’s doesn’t have Al-Qaedaville anywhere on it.

    2. Define “al Qaeda operative”.

      1. Someone who dresses like the guy in white in the photo.

      2. A member of AQAP.

        Oh here’s another favorite device of the peacenik. Lacking logic or evidence, as for “definitions” in “quote marks”. It’s just so clever.

        1. So no one gets tortured, shot, or blown up until after their al Qaeda membership card is verified?

          That’s so reassuring.

          1. And now, bored of earlier ad homs, the strawman army sets forth.

            1. That looked like sarcasm to me.

  12. lol at the idiots in this thread that think al-CIA-da is anything but a U.S. created scapegoat.

    1. “We’ve always been at war with Eastasia.”

    2. Define “scapegoat”.

      1. Be careful warty and sarc. You engage it, you own it.

        1. Define “engage”.

          1. Define “define.”

        2. Define “own”.

    3. Ladies and gentlemen, I believe we have a ‘truther’ in our midst.

      1. There is a big difference between believing that the 9/11 attack was orchestrated by evil Boosh, and believing that the terrorist organization behind the attack was fabricated by evil Boosh.

        1. Not really. They’re both batshit insane.

          1. “We’ve always been at war with Eastasia.”

            1. “We’ve always been at war with Uranus”.

          2. Got to assign the blame somewhere.

            What if it turned out to be a single random act by people with no ties to anything? What if that came out?
            No one to attack and exact revenge upon would be bad, but the notion that future such random attacks could not be prevented?
            Unthinkable!

            There must be an enemy, and if the enemy doesn’t exist it will be invented.

            1. What if you had some evidence to back your claims up instead of just cute but tired 1984 quotes? Now that would be craziness!

  13. Another reason I hate our federal government: The Roger Clemens perjury trial, excuse me, retrial.

    One of the alleged perjuries was that he said he didn’t attend a party 14 years ago. The prosecution has the sole evidence of a then-11 year old and a photo allegedly taken there as evidence that he lied under oath. Yet, we have judges admonishing LEOs on a pretty regular basis for lying under oath. Yet these paragons of virtue escape prosecution even though their perjury is a much more immediate cause for concern with anybody who would dare hold our “justice” system up as an example for the rest of the world.

    I hate Roger Clemens. He is a douchebag of the highest order. But there is a double standard at play here, and it needs to be brought up how often cops’ lies under oath and on paperwork go unpunished.

    Oh, and Bill Clinton escaped prosecution for lying under oath in a sex-related investigation, yet a baseball player is being tried twice for allegedly lying about a victimless crime.

    1. We hold our athletes to a higher standard than our politicians. Especially presidents.

    2. Yet, we have judges admonishing LEOs on a pretty regular basis for getting caught lying under oath.

      ftfy

      Deception is part of the job. They lie to innocent people in order to get them to say or do things that could be construed as criminal activity, they lie when conducting investigations, they lie on reports so they can get prosecutions, and they lie in court to get convictions.
      (I have seen all of the above with my own eyes)

      They are professional liars.

      Force and fraud; it’s what they do.

  14. I see the neo con warmongers are out in force. Speaking of force, I have never seen Al Qaeda attack say Brazil, now perhaps its because Al Qaeda tolerates the freedom of Brazilian waxes and tiny bikinis, but somehow not American freedom. Or perhaps its the completely insane idea that sticking American cock into middle eastern affairs creates enemies that don’t like American interference.

    1. That couldn’t be it!
      Brazil must be lending material support to AQ!
      I say we invade them right now and put a stop to this!

      Bomb Brazil! Bomb Brazil! Bomb Brazil! Bomb Brazil! Bomb Brazil! Bomb Brazil! Bomb Brazil! Bomb Brazil! Bomb Brazil! Bomb Brazil! Bomb Brazil! Bomb Brazil! Bomb Brazil!

      1. Brazil is cloning Hitler, you saw the movie?

    2. Either that or they just don’t care about Brazil because Brazil is not an important cultural force. Yet.

      Psst. Little hint guys: not everyone who disagrees with quasi-pacifist bullshit is a ‘neocon’. Your repeated incorrect use of that term may just make you look fucking stupid. Just saying.

  15. Alt Text:

    This town needs a Yenema!

  16. “What is most disturbing about the situation in Yemen is that the administration admits that there is no strategy other than killing as many Al-Qaeda operatives as possible.”

    Actually, our “strategy” consists of killing as many people as possible–the only good human is a dead human, basically.

    1. Point of order, that’s more of a method than a strategy.

    2. as patton said, the idea is to make the other bastard die for his country

      1. You a big fan of Patton?

        1. Cause I’m thinking Alan feels this is more of a General Westmoreland approach to war.

          1. Positively Shermanian.

            1. Sherman was a great man. We should have applied his methods to Afghanistan long ago.

              1. Mr. Peabody was the smart one.

              2. You really don’t care who gets killed or what gets destroyed do you, as long as it’s not on your side?

                You’re disgusting.

    3. “Actually, our “strategy” consists of killing as many people as possible–the only good human is a dead human, basically.”

      Yes. Our decision to withhold the nukes was to…confuse people! We’ll kill everyone by barely killing anyone!

  17. How many people comprise a ‘force’ or a ‘troop’? When I was in the Corps way back when, I had a sergeant who frequently addressed individual Marines as ‘troop’, but my dictionaries define it as a collective noun.

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