Friday Firesmith – Of Chopsticks and Missiles

Friday firesmithA friend of mine helped manage a Chinese restaurant and the deal was all-you-can-eat for a certain price. Well, as it turns out, there were people who would come in and eat and eat and eat. Then they would sit around and talk, laugh, and drink free refills of coffee for hours on end. Then, as the dinner menu was rolled out they would begin to feed again. All the while they would spend four or five hours in the restaurant without a care in the world. My friend helped devise a system where lunch was served at one price dinner at another and at two in the afternoon, lunch was cut off. Some of the diehard feeders complained loudly about this but they were escorted to the door.

Our government has become a lot like the diehard feeders. Unrestrained gluttony for tax dollars as resulted in some rather bizarre behavior. The hammers that cost seven hundred dollars and the twenty thousand dollar toilet seats are all bad enough, but now we’re beginning to develop weapons of war that go looking for trouble even if there isn’t any we can find on our own. The The X-47B is the first remote controlled drone that is as large as a full sized fighter aircraft.  Click image below to enlarge.

X47bIt features full stealth technology and it can be launched from an aircraft carrier with the help of a remote controlled device attached to the forearm of its handler. Once in the air it not only can and will act with autonomy as far as flying is concerned, it can also process and select its own targets for photography or war. In short, the machine can shoot at what it decides it will shoot at whether it is shooting with a camera or a missile.

The problem here is one of gluttony. These drones costs millions of dollars each, the programming for them costs millions of dollars, the software is expensive and the security of each of them is going to really eat into someone’s buffet lunch money. Somehow, like a Chinese restaurant that charges extra for the dinner menu, they have to justify the cost. In the Yoo So Fukd buffet, they might offer Crab Legs as well as MSG laden noodles and fried everything. In the world of Drones and Missiles they have to find a way to keep feeding. They only way to justify weapons of war is to have a war.

The American public turned hard and nasty against a possible war in Syria and the people who were already gearing up for profit there were chased out of the restaurant before they could go back for a fourth helping of golden egg drop soup. We must now consider where they plan their next meal. Snowden and Bradley, traitors they might both be, have taught us all valuable lessons as to who the government is watching and how we are being watched.

If you think the next war cannot happen here you aren’t paying attention to their target audience.

Take Care,


Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit

Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.



27 thoughts on “Friday Firesmith – Of Chopsticks and Missiles

  1. Eisenhower warned of the industrial military complex. Kennedy had many embittered battles with military advisors who kept advocating war. The recent Syria issue gave hard ons to those in military manufacturing and the media–two businesses that find war so profitable.

    Those that understand the thinking that went into the Constitution should realize that our Founders had a reason for military funding be a Congressional responsibility every two years. They had a reason for not wanting a standing army. After all, their previous overlords maintained their empire by having an army at all times and they witnessed how that works and wanted their new country to not have any of that.

    Addressing the first concern of appropriations, the Founders most likely hoped that enough members of Congress would want to avoid constant wars and not fund an army for war on a steady basis. That worked for a while but in a society where money is more important than the lives of other humans, capitalism managed to dissolve the Founder’s wish of not having a standing army (except for a navy).

    We have districts that have either a military base or a manufacturing plant for military bases that bring money to said district thus making it difficult for representatives to nix military spending.

    I’m not against having a standing army, but the US spends nearly more on its military that most of the world combined. (?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1303481268706) Some will find that a bragging point, but it makes one wonder how insecure one must be to see that as a plus. The US could cut its military spending in half and still outspend China, Russia and the UK combined. With the money we spend on the military we can go to war with almost the whole world. But really, if wars are to be fought, don’t we just need to have enough military to fight just one country at a time? It’s enough to make one wonder why others view the US as the world police.

    What does it say when country puts more money into a military and so little into its own country’s needs for things such as infrastructure? What does it say about a country who believes chest thumping is more important than investing in its own people?

    Like a child who gets a new bike on Christmas, they don’t want to wait until until the snow melts to ride it. They will find a way or place to ride it. They will hop on it in the living room and maybe knock over mom’s favorite lamp. It’s no different with the military. Soldiers are trained to fight and their leaders are itching to take their new toys for a test ride. Only in this case, a broken lamp is nothing compared to what this country loses when generals get their way.

    There are those who argue that one of the few purposes of a government is to defend it. But are we defending or just initiating conflict? It almost seems we are the proverbial kid looking for trouble to get into. After all, that hyperactive kid just wants to expend all that excess energy somehow. We the people are the parents who must reign in that child and deflect that energy to more positive uses. If we refuse, then we become the parents that other people point us out as bad parents who can’t control their child.


      • And my point is that, we the people, have the ability to end it. Which begets the question…Do we want to end it or at the very least, are there enough voters out there who want to end it?


  2. Not trying to get picky, just trying to clear up the post, the Aircraft you are talking about IS NOT the F/A-18 E/F. The aircraft you are talking about (or at least have an image of) is the X-47B. The information you have is all correct in regards to the X-47b. On the image it shows an F/A-18 E/F underlayed for size comparison.

    Yes, I know this is a wiki link, but just going for the quick info.

    And here is Northrop Grumman’s Info Page on the X-47B:


  3. What’s sad is that I’m not shocked anymore by anything political or governmental – it’s always something. Mostly it makes me feel dirty, disgusted, and somewhat helpless and ashamed.

    Then again, I am in a mood. TGIF Mike!


  4. As someone who is sitting in the middle of the example you stated (I see the X-47 and JSF daily) and whose livelihood depends on said example exisiting, I agree with you to a point. There is a lot of money being siphoned into the development of combat weapons that should perhaps be curtailed.

    BUT, I do believe that there still needs to be money spent on strengthening the existing forces and working to build a stronger military. I guarantee you the second we decide to ‘step back’ and spend less, an opportunistic force will take advantage. I am not trying to draw a direct correlation, but 9/11 happened after a major BRAC, when forces and money were dramatically cut. After 9/11, everyone asked “where was the military?! Where were our defenses?!”… well, they had just been sliced.

    There is no need for us to look for war, yet we keep looking in weird directions. There are enough forces waiting for a weakness that would be more than happy to exploit it. Sure, there are the occasional crazy mad dictator types that scream for attention, but it’s the silent and strong ones we should focus on.

    I am not a fan of seeing millions of dollars spent on toy planes… but I also live a life where I know more about the evils that lurk out there and the enemies that watch us like a chess opponent. There is no need to look for the enemy because the enemy is looking for us.


    • 9/11 was not a military strike. No amount of military spending would have prevented the plan from being enacted. Instead intelligence was ignored. Had that been enacted on, the event may have been prevented or at the very least may have been made to cost less damage and lives. A military isn’t designed to stop passengers from entering a commercial flight. I believe only the White House can authorize the shooting down of a commercial flight which means that all the events that led up to the taking of the cockpits could not have been prevented by a more heavily armed military. To suggest a closer base would have been the saving grace is difficult to justify since the jets sent out had a somewhat difficult time finding the planes since they turned their transponders off and any chance of locating them via AWACS or otherwise doesn’t guarantee different results since the military was called into action well after the events were sent into motion. Lest we also forget, the Air Force was already involved in an air defense exercise on that day. Whether that attributed to the delayed response due to confusion of what was a simulation and what was an actual threat is open to debate.


    • dimndgal1,

      That’s just plain silly.

      There wasn’t a dime of military money that could have prevented 9-11 and quite frankly the use of that event to justify the development of weapons who are above and beyond human control when they hunt is disconnect.

      I agree with you if we could have the best military we should but there comes a time when we’re building things whose usage more or less promises more violence not peace.


      • I had a long response written to what both you and Ray wrote, but realize it will only result in a back and forth in which everyone has their hard-fast opinions and would be fruitless to go back and forth when we all believe in what we think.

        What I will say is that I agree the military could no have stopped 9/11… however, the military cannot be separated from the intelligence community and the BRAC before 9/11 resulted in major reorganization and change within the various intelligence organizations. I am not saying that we would have definitely seen the necessary information beforehand without the BRAC and restructuring, but it was there and it was overlooked.

        Also, I can guarantee that the current R&D going on with the various drones and other new aircraft platforms have just as much to do with the might of the military as the gathering for the intelligence community. Could some of the spending be curtailed? Probably, yes… but I can’t think of a single politician that is willing to step forward and say that they would do it. That would be a lot hanging over their heads on the off-chance that something else did happen.


        • Actually, for the most part the military is separated from the intelligence community. Hence why the drone strikes were just recently handed over from the intelligence division (CIA) to the military. Do they work together? Sure, but they are definitely separate from each other. It’s no different than an electrician wiring a new home is separate from the carpenter. They work together to build a single home but are different in their scope of responsibilities.

          You keep pushing the idea that the BRAC had a major impact on why 9/11 happened when that couldn’t be further from the truth. Intelligence stated an impending attack. It was noted some people were learning to fly but not interested in learning to land. Both of these tidbits of information are of no value to the military, but are of the intelligence community. A community consisting of several different individual departments that failed to communicate between each other. None of which were any part of the military. In essence, the military is more reactive while the intelligence community is proactive. The military is designed to react on the intelligence gathered by CIA or whatnot. Sure there is that clever oxymoron of military intelligence, but was their focus on individuals who pose terrorist threats or on nations who we have questionable relations with?

          It appears you have come to a conclusion and are filling in excuses to meet that conclusion.

          I am of the belief that cowards feel a need for an overly huge army. That is why politicians won’t make that change, they’re mostly cowards.

          As far as I’m concerned, we can and should cut military spending in half, if not more. Considering we spend nearly more than the entire world combined, many of which are our allies, we have more military than is necessary. Other countries spend more money on their people and are surpassing us in many categories. (Oh, but we’re winning in imprisoned numbers). Would you rather live in a country of educated people happy to being a part of the betterment of society thus creating a stronger country via quality of life, or would you rather live in a country of uneducated masses who are trained to fear nearly everything and whose best option is to join an army that is in need of constant war?


          • I’m not sure why you assume I am making conclusions that aren’t based in fact or some sort of knowledge. I’m not some starry-eyed kid who looks at the world through some sort of camouflage edged, rose-colored glasses. I have also read several reports, gone through countless writings, and my own observations to draw the conclusions I do. Trust me, it’s not grasping an answer and filling in the blanks along the way.

            With your notion that the intelligence community and military are separate, I have to strongly disagree – walk around the Pentagon, Langley, or Bolling and the sheer volume of uniforms is overwhelming. Not to mention the fact that NSA is strategically located next to one of the central intelligence locations for the military. Orthe large percentage of GS workers and contractors that have previously served in the military. I mean, really, look at the resumes of the current heads of the various intelligence agencies… lots of stars in those skies.

            As for somehow cutting spending on the military equating a more intelligent country, I see so many fallacies with this logic. Cutting lines of ‘easy money’ for those who believe in free handouts would result in a more motivated and stronger populous. I agree that there needs to be some cutting of the budget in the military but it needs to be across the board.

            As for the US having the largest military budget in the world… well, if the politicians would stop using the military as their agenda pushers, then we could afford to cut back. As it is, for as much money as spent, the truth of the matter is that the military is stretched thin.

            Finally, it is not the ‘fear of everything’ that is motivating people to join the Army. Up until recently, recruiters were having difficulty meeting goals – hence why standards were changed. What is motivating people to join the military is the idea that some job is better than no job. If anything, it’s THOSE folks who are the motivated ones v. the ones who cry they are better than McDonald’s and therefore should just sit on mom’s couch rather than contributing to society. If anything, it’s the current state of mind that is contributing to an unmotivated and ignorant populous – why put time and energy into getting a job when I can just fill out some paperwork and get money.

            I am glad we can agree to point fingers at politicians because I truly feel they misappropriate money and forces… but I don’t understand why you chose to single out the military as the sole source of waste and the way to solve the entire country’s short fallings. It feels like most politicians have their own ideas and goals, and until they decide to use the military for DEFENSE and PROTECTION, and not to push through whatever directive they feel benefits their agenda, cutting the defense budget is just asking for trouble.


            • The fact is, countries that ply their money toward the people have better outcomes in all the areas that benefits a country. Not to get sidetracked, but single payer systems result in better medical outcomes plus savings in overall health care. That’s just one example. Education is another ( It used to be when the government helped finance an education we were leaders, now that it changed we have fallen and are continuing to do so. There are more, but I see you lack the values our country was founded on. So yeah, I stand by my “assumption” that you came to a conclusion and opted to find information to fulfill that conclusion.

              Moving along, your belief that cutting military expenses is “asking for trouble” is open ended. Trouble, how? Certainly not in making us defenseless. Only someone who lives in constant state of fear would believe that. Jobs? Ahhh, perhaps that’s it. Perhaps that you admit to needing the military for your livelihood, your opinions are tarnished, with selfishness no less.

              I’m not sure if your “livelihood” is from a base or a manufacturing plant for military needs. But factories can be retrofitted to accommodate building things that serve the people–things that provide for the common wealth perhaps.

              Nonetheless, by suggesting the NSA is connected to the military because of proximity is tad naive. Think of the purpose of the NSA. It was created as a part of DoD as a means to collect intelligence on foreign countries. But to my knowledge the PDB that was given to Bush was from the CIA. It was the CIA that was putting the majority, if not all, of the effort into bin Laden. Would they share with the DoD? Sure, but that doesn’t make it part of the DoD. If the military was completely eradicated by Congress tomorrow, the CIA and FBI would still exist. I’m not so sure about the NSA as recent events have placed it going beyond its original purpose.

              Anyhow, I wasn’t suggesting that fear was the basis for joining the army. I meant that our society is beaten over the head with things to fear, and the military becomes an option when the job market is poor…. but, perhaps you should look closely at what I said and put the phrases you pulled out of my response in their full context and maybe, just maybe, you might see that much of what you rebutted was nothing what I said or you just repeated what I said differently.

              As for the military being stretched thin, well guess what, then get our asses out of all those countries. It would go a long way to being safer since that is the reason we were on attacked on 9/11.


              • I was willing to engage in a logical discourse about this topic, but when you resort to making condescending statements about my value system and name calling, I realize that logic is not going to do any good. I am truly sorry that you feel the need to resort to such an effort to get your point across. If anything, the values this nation were founded on are about allowing for opinions across the spectrum and ensuring that all voices are heard so that the final result is a compromise of the people… unfortunately, those ideals have gone the way of many of the other concepts our founding fathers held dear as well.


              • You have an innate ability to completely make stuff up about what I said. Name calling? It’s not like I pulled a Dan Ackroyd from SNL…”Jane, you ignorant slut…”

                So anyway, when your basis to conclusions are so heavily anecdotal, it does become pointless on your part to debate when you can’t even provide evidence to support your case.

                Finally, it seems Jefferson was of the belief that a better educated citizenry makes for a better country. Here’s that Founder’s value that speaks to your “free handouts” comment:


  5. War ends when the cost in lives becomes too high for one side or the other. Look how many body bags it took to stop the Vietnam war. The object now is to run profitable wars, without US body counts which would cause the voters to interfere.


    • True, but the Viet Nam war would have ended years earlier had Nixon not intervened in Johnson’s negotiations by telling the leaders in Nam to not work with Johnson as he (Nixon) would offer them a better deal when he gets elected.

      So, to expand on your statement…a war will last as long as it is politically needed to win an election.


  6. All I would like to add is that the US needs to develop a “Do as I do”, rather than “Do as I say” policy, meanwhile conducting what are basically terrorist actions, themselves, around the world. Why single out Syria, for military intervention, when so many other countries are in the same, or worse, situation?


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