104 votes

Why are the Taliban winning against the Afghan army?

Corruption is rampant in Afghanistan, including in the military. They routinely take bribes and sell military equipment to the Taliban. Basically, the average ANA soldier is there just to collect a ...
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  • 7,426
79 votes
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Could the US military legally refuse to follow a legal, but unethical order?

The Uniform Code of Military Justice (articles 90-92) state that a service member will be subject to court martial if he or she "willfully disobeys a lawful command of that person’s superior ...
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79 votes
Accepted

Why are the Taliban winning against the Afghan army?

There are multiple reasons behind this (in addition to the corruption of the Afghanistan government). Firstly, the Taliban is not some foreign movement that tried to gain a foothold in Afghanistan, it ...
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  • 1,007
77 votes

Why are the Taliban winning against the Afghan army?

This article in the Guardian today answers precisely this question: It is a tale of two armies, one poorly equipped but highly motivated ideologically, and the other nominally well-equipped, but ...
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  • 15k
69 votes

What is the motivation for the expansion of NATO in Eastern Europe, including Ukraine, at the risk of starting a hot war with Russia?

However, what NATO was doing in the recent years seemed to raise the risk of hot war with Russia. For example, NATO tried to build missile bases in Eastern Europe and even trying to include Ukraine, ...
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  • 36.8k
66 votes
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Why don't the other countries of Europe maintain as massive a military as Russia does?

This is a great question about both politics and history. It relates directly to the changing nature of what a "country" is. First, let me directly answer your questions: Given that France, ...
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  • 1,794
65 votes

Why does Germany have such a rather small defense budget?

The 2% goal for defense spending of all NATO countries originates from the Wales Summit of 2014. However, the people who made that commitment are heads of governments, many of which don't actually ...
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  • 68.1k
64 votes

Why does the U.S military use mercenaries?

The US public opinion is highly sensitive to casualties among US troops. They are much less concerned about casualties to contractors, especially if they are not US citizens. At times the US ...
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  • 84.4k
62 votes

What threat, if any, does Iran really pose to the US?

They don't need to be able to strike the US mainland directly. All they need to do is go to war with allies of the US in the region, and they have ample allies to hide behind Iran says it is not ...
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  • 39.3k
61 votes
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Why does the United States make it public knowledge as to which generals are in charge of various operations?

The U.S. feels secure from assassinations (and honestly, when was the last time you recall a U.S. general being assassinated, so the sense of security is not delusional), and values having visible ...
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  • 54.6k
58 votes
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How is Russia able to maintain the 2nd most powerful military in the world at a fraction of the cost of the US & China?

First, who is #2 is highly subjective, if you discount nuclear arsenals. Second, this question is like asking Compared to a Ferrari a Mustang outruns tons of Priuses, Civics and SUVs. And it costs a ...
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58 votes

Why does the USA have such a large military?

A lot of this has to do with the geopolitical state of the world. World War II changed a lot for the US. The US had been reluctant to enter World War I. President Wilson was reluctant to enter World ...
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  • 39.3k
57 votes

Why do veterans skew right in the US?

The modern US military is self-selecting — a professional army, not a conscripted one — so I doubt this effect would hold true historically. But as a rule, the political Right tends to value military ...
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56 votes
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What medical costs burden the military enough to warrant banning all transgender people?

Medical If your question is: Would the military be obliged to pay for the transition? Then the answer is yes. Prior to Donald Trump's tweets, the US Military had promulgated guidance on how ...
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56 votes
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Why would Assad use chemical weapons in the civil war as of 2018?

Chemical weapons give a casus belli for the Western governments to increase their presence on the ground That's true that the use of chemical weapons galvanizes the west against Assad, but, I think ...
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  • 3,648
54 votes

Did the U.S. lose the war against the Taliban?

Yes. Unquestionably. They left their enemy in control. Word games about military dominance in the field are besides the point in a guerrilla war. That kind of sophistry has been tried on Vietnam ...
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52 votes

Why does the U.S military use mercenaries?

The reason is the same for any country, not just the US. And it is rarely money. It can be roughly grouped like this: public opinion damage control: the population of a country cares about the death ...
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52 votes

How do countries justify their missile programs?

Longer range missiles could conceivably be sea-launched, as an SLBM, from a standoff position. Having a more capable platform would give that option. (India does have SLBMs but not necessarily of ...
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51 votes

What threat, if any, does Iran really pose to the US?

Iran doesn't pose any threat to the US or its allies. The US, Israel and some of the Gulf countries see Iran as a threat because Iran is supporting certain militant groups that can pose a threat in ...
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  • 4,457
50 votes
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How true are Trump’s claims about NATO spending?

Mostly true First claim: exaggerated In the three decades before Trump's election, NATO spending declined by two-thirds. On page 4 of this 1987 report(pdf) on NATO military spending, we learn that ...
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  • 5,942
50 votes

Why did the US military leave Afghanistan in such a rush that they left so much equipment behind?

Some of the equipment was a bit more sophisticated than the "small arms" mentioned in the William Walker III's answer. I think that's also what the article in the question is referring to. ...
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  • 36.8k
50 votes

Why are German local authorities taxing DoD employees, despite the protests of the US and of the German federal government?

The literal answer to the question So why are the local/land tax authorities going after the US DoD personnel on this issue, when it is clearly annoying the federal government of Germany? is "...
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48 votes

Why does Germany have such a rather small defense budget?

Absolute and relative amounts Germany has come much closer to the 2% goal due to the COVID crisis -- the GDP went down, the defense budget stayed the same, so the percentage went up. Similarly, good ...
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  • 84.4k
47 votes

Why do (some) dictator colonels not appoint themselves general?

It is not necessary. The army generals are OK taking orders from "Colonel X", because he is the head of state, whether or not he is a higher rank. (If they weren't, the Colonel wouldn't be ...
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  • 12.8k
46 votes

Why don't the other countries of Europe maintain as massive a military as Russia does?

It is impossible to understand Russia's preoccupation over seven decades with military power without understanding the country's experience in WW2. The war had a huge impact on the national psyche ...
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  • 9,770
46 votes
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What exactly is the purpose of the Non-Proliferation Treaty when nuclear weapons can be substituted with conventional explosives?

A single missile delivering a nuclear payload can wipe out a city. Needing to deliver hundreds or thousands of bombs or missiles to "simulate that" is a much more difficult proposition, in terms of ...
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  • 20.6k
46 votes
Accepted

What authority does the Vice President have to mobilize the National Guard?

What authority does the Vice President have to mobilize the National Guard? Apparently, none. However, the acting defense secretary does. Because the District is not a state, the D.C. Guard answers ...
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  • 27.5k
45 votes

What was Eisenhower's warning about?

In his farewell speech of 1961, Eisenhower warned of growth of the 'military-industrial complex' and the 'potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power.' It was a speech he began working on two ...
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