Posts Tagged ‘Bill O’Reilly’

Bill O’Reilly wants anti-terror mercenary army

September 25, 2014


The above is from Bill O’Reilly’s Monday evening appearance on Fox News. Source: Media Matters.


The above is from O’Reilly’s Tuesday morning appearance on CBS News.  Source: Daily Kos.


For what it’s worth, the United States government already has an elite force for fighting terrorists.  It is called the Joint Special Operations Command.  Whatever can be accomplished through valor, training and military professionalism, they can do.

The problem is that if the U.S. government does not have a clear purpose in waging war, American troops can not accomplish that vague purpose, no matter how dedicated they are nor how skilled in use of deadly force.

The “global war on terror” does not have a clear purpose.  The U.S. government fights against certain terrorists under certain circumstances in the interest of advancing U.S. geopolitical power, while supporting other terrorists (and sometimes the same terrorists) when this fits the U.S. purpose.

Outsourcing U.S. military operations to mercenaries—and the dictionary definition of “mercenary” is “serving merely for pay or sordid advantage”—is intended to solve a political and Constitutional problem, not a military problem.

The political problem is that we the American people are not interested in fighting wars of geopolitical advantage.  We are only willing to fight when we think our own country is threatened.

Terrorism is not such a threat.  We Americans (and the world) are more in danger from the Ebola virus than we are from the Islamic States and its predecessors.  That is why our government has had to lie and exaggerate our perils in order to talk us into war.  Each time, the lies and exaggerations become less believable.

With a mercenary army, the political problem goes away.  Mercenaries would fight whomever they are paid to fight, no questions asked.  The drawback is that they wouldn’t necessarily be American citizens or have any loyalty to the United States.

We would face the historical problem of countries that depend on mercenary fighters, which is how to prevent mercenaries from turning against their employers when that is the more profitable option.

LINK [added later]

10 Frightening Facts About Private Military Companies by Pauli Poisuo for ListVerse.   Hat tip to djgarcia94.

The war on empathy

February 3, 2012

This is from Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly’s column in the Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle.

Today, I am a rich guy, a one-percenter. … … My late father could not even fathom how much money I make.  I have trouble processing that as well. … …

Bill O'Reilly

Today, the Occupy Wall Street crew and many progressive Americans believe that I am a greedhead, even though they have no idea what I do with my money.  Just the fact that I have it gives them license to brand me as a dreadful “one-percenter.”

The reason that I have prospered monetarily is that I put freedom to good use.  I worked hard, got a great education, paid my dues in journalism, and finally hit it big.  America gave me the freedom to do all those things.  In the past, my achievements might have been celebrated.  Not today.  Now, more than a few folks say I am not paying my fair share to ensure the security of my fellow citizens. … …

… …  I’ve decided that those demanding more of my money for “social justice” are really attacking freedom.  In this country, it is not wrong to prosper.  You should not be demeaned for “having.”

via Bill’s Column.

What I get from this column is a lack of empathy for people who’ve been less successful than Bill O’Reilly, and a fierce anger at anybody who thinks he should feel such empathy.  I think Bill O’Reilly speaks for many Americans, and not just those in the top 1 percent income bracket.   Opposition to empathy is widespread.

The big objection to Justice Sonia Sotomayor during her confirmation hearings was that she said she could identify with people who were victims of racial or sexual discrimination.  During the current Republican presidential debates, the crowd cheered Ron Paul when he said that if somebody could have afforded to buy health insurance and didn’t, he would be willing to let that person die for inability to pay medical bills.  Other crowds cheered executions.  The common feeling, in my opinion, is a push back on claims for sympathy for people in bad situations.

I can sort of understand this, in a way and up to a point.  I don’t like freeloaders.  I don’t like guilt salesmen.  I object when the Haves try to help the Have-nots at the expense of the Have-a-littles, as in the Boston school busing controversy of the 1970s.

But neither do I think of myself as an individual, separate unto myself, whose well-being is due solely to my own merits and not at all to good fortune or to the help of other people.  It is not a question of altruism.  It is not a question of me sacrificing myself for the good of others.  Rather it is that my well-being being is tied up with people around me.

I can’t have a secure retirement income unless everybody has a secure retirement income.  I can’t have snowplows clear my street unless everybody has snowplowing service.  I can’t hope for a good future for my little grand-nieces without hoping for a good future for everybody’s grand-nieces.

Now this would be less true if I were in the upper 1 percent income bracket, but it would still be partly true.  I read an article in the Democrat and Chronicle some time ago about how the wealthiest people in the Rochester area objected to paying for a public water supply.  They reasoned that they had clean water, and saw no reason to subsidize clean water for the masses.  It was pointed out, however, that an unsafe drinking supply helps the spread of infectious diseases, which are no respecter of economic class.

I don’t want to give up what I have—food, shelter, good medical care and leisure to enjoy life—but I wish everybody else had at least as much as I have.  I couldn’t lead a happy life if everybody around me was miserable.

I know, however, that there are those who feel the exact opposite.  For them, having things that other people don’t have is precisely the point.  I’ve seen this attitude expressed on T-shirts.  Winning is not enough.  Others must lose.  The joy of owning stuff, for such people, is that others envy them for having it.  I don’t know what to say to such people, except that to say they have no standing to complain about “the politics of envy.”  Or to suggest that if they lack the ability to imagine themselves in somebody else’s place, they lack a basic tool for understanding the world and are likely to be blindsided by reality.

Click on The One Percent Blues for the complete Bill O’Reilly column.

Click on The Empathy Gap for series of columns on the subject by a Psychology Today writer.  [Added 2/4/12]

Click on Empathy and Compassion for a web site devoted to the subject [Added 2/4/12]