If it was your son or daughter who was being deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq, what would be your opinion of these wars?
I recognize that Iâ€™m no foreign policy or military strategy expert, but I can see how bravely parents of deployed troops silently bear their pain and fear. I watch how intensely parents pray for the safety of their children and their comrades at church each Sundayâ€”almost holding their breath until they return home. At the local grocery store, you see mothers staring at the cereal displays lost in their private thoughts. When I ask how their military son or daughter is doing, they answer with nervous pride, and we both avoid that deeper emotion thatâ€™s like adding one more drop of water to a glass full to the brim before it overflows.
These fellow citizensâ€”mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, even sons and daughtersâ€”deserve sound and focused leadership of their familiesâ€™ courage and sacrifice.
I understand the mission â€œto kill terrorists before they kill usâ€ as a legitimate narrowly focused self-defensive military and political objective. I donâ€™t understand nation-building when some other family gets their child killed or mangled to advance any State Department missionâ€”not building schools, not educating foreign women, not paving their roads while ours buckle, not providing humanitarian relief in countries where they shoot our soldiers delivering aid, etc. Back when leaders led from the front and spilled their noble blood among the blood of their regular troops, you can imagine that the missions were brutally focused and the rules of engagement practical.
Armies destroy, should be used rarely, and violence is only legitimate in the cause of self-defense. Something or someone else can build other peopleâ€™s nations.
Speaking of those at the top of our political, social and financial ranks, what has happened to the concept of â€œTo those whom much is given, much is expectedâ€? Where are the Bushâ€™s, Obamaâ€™s, Oberweisâ€™, Gatesâ€™, and Hastertâ€™s? Is it proper that their fame, fortunes and power are protected by other familiesâ€™ childrenâ€™s lives? Ah … those invincible during peace but invisible during war.
Say what you will about Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Joe Wilson, the person who shouted â€œLiarâ€ during the State of the Union Speech, but they have multiple sons serving and deployed. And, please do not cheapen their heroism by snickering, â€œWell, you know, thatâ€™s the only job they can get …â€
War most certainly feeds some of the rich, while it buries many of the poor and the patriotic. Our most liberal president since FDR has submitted the largest defense spending budget in U.S. history at approximately $700 billion for this year alone. The entire U.S. national debt accumulated from 1791 until 1977 (186 years) was $699 billion. Lockheed Martin, Northup Grumman, Raytheon, General Dynamics and Boeing defense allocations have grown from a total of $61 billion in 2000 to $156 billion in 2007 (a 155 percent increase), and their collective profits have grown to $13.5 billion. Of course, we can defeat the Taliban and al-Qaeda, but itâ€™s a question of how much of our strength we are willing to commit and what is the most effective way to protect ourselves from twisted fanatics who see glory in killing innocent men, women and children.
Whom do cowardly bullies beat up on childrenâ€™s playgrounds? Itâ€™s certainly not the strong kid in the class, but rather the troubled child who wipes his nose with the back of his sleeve. Are vicious terrorists who kill to make their political point any less rational in selecting their victims? It is an unfortunate reality of human nature that we can only achieve peace and security through military and financial strength. While some in America fatten up on steady diets of sliders, Big Macs, and MTV, enjoying security they have not paid for, there are others, â€œbetters,â€ who harden and tighten themselves through incredible physical exertion and the core values of duty, honor and country.
But, just as the kid who plays unmolested on the school playground is strong, he neither looks for nor starts fights. He knows his strength is meant to protect himself, not to hurt others. Prudent American foreign military policy has been based on self-restraint and self-defense, all the way back to General George Washingtonâ€™s caution to avoid â€œentangling alliances,â€ whether these involve traditionally aggressive nations or more modern, self-centered multinational financial corporations and cartels.
We are borrowing money by the billions from totalitarian Chinese Communists to fuel a tsunami of cash that intensifies corruption, fuels resentment and more hostility among the civilian population towards us, and props up an unreliable, antithetical central government in Afghanistan, while the Chinese capitalize on massive raw material developments (northeastern multi-billion dollar copper mines) with no security responsibilities. America fights, China profits.
There are 60 countries where al-Qaeda is operating cells. We will have to align our forward defense strategy to cover their offense, or it will be like the â€œpound-the-gopher headâ€ game over at Luigiâ€™s, but with life-and-death consequences.
State Senator, 25th District