Thursday, August 11, 2011

Really irritated, so pardon my French.

Before I begin, let me be perfectly clear. War is hell. We’re going to visit a young man this weekend who doesn’t have any legs. Any questions? Next time you do that, I’d be happy afterward to have a conversation with you about peace, war, and all the politics that surround those ideas.

In the meantime, it would be fabulously awesome if people would stop saying things like “if we’d just cut this ridiculous defense spending, our economy wouldn’t be in the toilet.” This irritates me, first because defense spending actually drives the economy in certain regions. Like, many of the major coastal cities in the United States. Kill the military, and you kill the economy and livelihood in a huge swath of the nation. (It’s already happened all around the country when bases are closed or downsized.) But more to the point, it irritates me because the military is experiencing (on average) a nearly 60% decrease in funding this coming fiscal year. Oh God, yes, let’s definitely do some more trimming there. Please. Let’s close more schools, end more bereavement programs, fire more chaplains, buy fewer helmets, and definitely stop spending all that useless, mindless money on intelligence. Let’s make sure our Marines and Soldiers and Sailors have to buy their own pens, pay for their own printers, and definitely pay their own travel needs to and from assignments. That would be a fitting sacrifice, considering how all they do right now is sit on their asses all day and occasionally drown kittens.

It would also be similarly fantastic if people would stop saying things like “all these useless wars,” “imperial aspirations,” or any of the other myriad, stupid comments I hear. What you don’t know about China, my peace-loving, innocent, insulated friends, might kill you one day. Last time you sat down and thought about the fact that 7th-Century nomads are shooting down helicopters in Afghanistian, did it ever occur to you that someplace like, oh, Iran, just might be helping them out? There are people in this world that want to kill us. Once upon a time, we had a ridiculously castrated, weak, and ineffective president in office, and 30 Americans were taken hostage in Tehran.

The time after that, they put a bomb in the basement of the World Trade Center. The time after that, they tortured and desecrated the bodies of 19 American soldiers outside Mogadishu. And after that, they flew airplanes into buildings and killed 3,000 Americans. Clearly, the way to stop all this is to turn the other cheek. We’ve got a whole West coast they haven’t destroyed yet!

I’d love for you to learn Arabic or Farsi, take a leisurely trip through the Fertile Crescent, and unburden yourself of this notion that they hate us “because we’re over there.” Nope. They hate us because we exist. Every time we fail to take a stand, every time we back down, turn away, or grab our ankles, attacks on innocents and assaults on non-combatants take place. Our weakness is an invitation. Being over there might not make them happy, but no amount of obsequious groveling would make it better. They want our country, in its entirely, overseas or not, to rot away into nonexistence. Why do you think the highest approval rating for our President right now comes from American Muslims? The demise of Western society is their aim, their goal, and (if we back down) their next Christmas present.

In 2001, we said “We’re coming to get you.” Now, has a terrorist flown a plane into your town lately?


  1. I think you already know how I feel about this, and I also think I won't ever convince you, but here goes.

    Don't assume everyone who would like to see the military reduced doesn't know what they're talking about. My dad is stationed in Korea. My brother is in a submarine beneath the Pacific (much of the time). My mom lived in Iran during the revolution. I know we live in a messed-up world that is pretty dangerous!

    But the fact is, there is no way we can afford to deal with all of the threats in the world. We currently spend as much on our military as all the other countries of the world *put together*. We're so deeply in debt, we're putting our nation at risk of economic collapse. China owns us, not because of its military power, but because of how much of our debt it holds. To keep our country safe, we have no choice: we MUST cut our budget.

    Of course we have to cut it across the board: libraries, schools, health care, the elderly will all suffer. But that means the military, too. I'm not saying we shouldn't provide for our soldiers (I know the bigwigs in DC probably think this is the one place to cut, but I don't). Instead, we are going to have to reduce what we're actually doing. That means, yes, getting involved in fewer countries. I mean, Libya? What the heck? We helped put their current government in control in the first place. And we still have soldiers around the world in places they're no longer needed -- allowing other nations to hand us the bill for their defense.

    We simply can't afford to do this, even if we want to. The US isn't a charity or a global police force. Our own interests are the ones we should be considering.

    As far as how far we should go to serve our interests, we may need to rethink that as well, based on what we can afford. But for now, the cuts proposed are only bringing us back to 2007 levels. That's not particularly drastic.

    I care about the military and the personnel in it. I don't want my family members to lose their jobs (if that were possible) or suffer a cut in pay. However, I have to be objective about this: we cannot, realistically, keep spending what we are. Every cause out there -- education, healthcare, social security, the military -- has a bleeding heart begging us not to cut it, but the fact is, we're going to have to cut everything, and cut it a lot, if we want to survive.

    The government's current tactic has been spending to "fuel the economy," but that leads to massive debt and inflation. Am I glad that the government is willing to cut my husband a paycheck? Personally, well, yeah. But do I admit that it can't keep doing that forever? Objectively, I have to. We -- the American people -- are going to have to find sources of prosperity that do not come from the government's printing press. What we're doing now simply won't work in the long term.

  2. Well said, Jennifer. Well said.

  3. Oh, definitely, points well taken. I could stand for the government to be A WHOLE HECK OF A LOT smaller than it is. It just bugs me that people look at the government, in all its bloated glory, and think, "Hey, the military. One of the very few things that it's actually the Federal government's Constitutional responsibility to provide! Yeah, let's make them get rid of that!"

    I completely agree with your blog post about subsidiarity, too. The "solution" to education, for example, is for the government to have nothing whatsoever to do with it. Probably ditto for healthcare. And the same for most other "public services." If the government would get it's big butt out of the realm where towns, counties, states, and (gasp) Churches should have freedom to operate as they see fit, lots of our problems would go away.

    Aaaaaand then the government could still spend money making sure that China doesn't steal L.A. in the night. Because no matter what anyone tells you, it isn't intelligent or sensible cuts in defense spending that anyone is trying to make. They want to cut development, intelligence, and other major programs that protect the country from foreign enemies. My dad is in the military, too, remember. My father-in-law does research into non-lethal weapons. They're getting long faces from the money guys. Development, research, intelligence. Stupid, mindless things to cut, but exactly the kinds of things that, whether you realize it or not, anti-war people end up advocating for when they hop on the "we're not the world's police force" wagon.

    We're our OWN police force. Anywhere we go, anywhere we live, we protect our citizens and our interests. We've done it for 200 years, without a break. There have always been, somewhere and somehow, American military forces deployed to foreign soil. If that's a problem for you, so be it. But keep in mind that removing that force in readiness from the global stage means removing protections for American citizens who live overseas (whom I'm sure you think have a right to be protected from harm), denying countries in crisis from much-needed humanitarian aid (the US Marines can be ANY.WHERE.IN.THE.WORLD in 12 hours), and most importantly removing a very effective barrier from the aspirations of Communist and Fascist countries around the world to dominate their surrounding regions.