This is an article I wrote for last week’s issue of the The Northern Light, but it got axed due to repeats of topics and space-crunches.
It is not a very popular message right now – that America may just have to scale back on our military efforts around the world. It is part of a growing reality that Americans have to face – that our economy is in trouble and it needs work.
At a general assembly meeting of the United Nations, held on the September 21st, President Obama spoke. He had a simple thought about how peace among nations is done.
“Ultimately, peace depends on compromise, among people who must live together long after our speeches are over, long after our votes have been tallied.”
Unlike his economic policies, here he makes a very valid point. Peace between nations, and inside of nations is something that people have to come together to figure out. It is poetic that he brings up this notion, because right now, America needs to scale back what we are doing.
Following the events of September 11, 2001, the people all clamored for what we called “justice” to be brought to the leaders of Al Qaeda. It has always been a point of interest how some Americans seem to believe that killing another person is justice. This country went to war, led by a President who was very open to the concept. This was a mistake.
Obama came into office with two wars we were involved in. Now, this country is involved in five. For a nation that was in a severe recession, and is heading in the direction of a double-dip recession, this is not a good thing.
It cannot be argued that America’s economy is in a really bad place. The August reports showed no job growth at all. America’s credit rating has gone down. The Stock Market is going down. The big question becomes, how do we fix this? How do we make it so that this nation doesn’t suffer an economic collapse? The answer may not make people happy.
Military spending in this country is one of the biggest holes that money keeps getting thrown into. According to the National Priorities Project, over $1.2 trillion have been spent in total in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Alaska has paid over $2 billion in this war effort, and the numbers are growing every day.
America has the largest military force on Earth. It is larger than the top ten nations that come behind us combined. What makes this problematic is that not only does our nation have the largest military on Earth, but it is over-burdened and over-extended.
“We have tens of thousands of troops in Korea and Japan. We have over 50,000 troops in Germany. Hitler, ladies and gentlemen, I think we got him,” said Bill Maher on his stand-up special But I’m Not Wrong.
That’s a good perspective to have. Not even examining the major wars that we are involved in, how much money is being spent in places that we serve no purpose? What’s more, how we use the military is a waste of time.
To go after those who destroyed the World Trade Center, we should have done so with a scalpel, not a sledgehammer. Richard Dreyfuss was asked if 9/11 was a civics lesson, and if we learned the right lessons from it during an interview on CNN.
“We’ve learned the wrong lessons from it. We are learning the wrong lessons from it, because we’re lying about it.”
The fact is that Bush made the decision to call it the war on terror, instead of calling it the war on extremist Islam, of even just the war on Al Qaeda. That would have opened the door for the other groups to distance themselves, and even aid America. Instead, that door has been closed, and when the moderate Muslim community has tried to play nice with American efforts, a lot of the time, our country ignores it.
Take the instance of the “Underwear Bomber.” The father of that man had met with a member of the CIA and told them that his son was going to bomb us, and they ignored him. So our efforts are misplaced on all fronts.
The cold reality is that this country can literally not afford these wars anymore. America is heading into another recession, and it is time to scale back, and slash the military budget into ribbons. That is a part of the answer to what is plaguing this country.
And what’s more, the people need to get on board. For a long time, the mentality of this country has been, if you are not for the wars, you are a bad person. Dissent and discussion needs to come back to this country, and more than anything else, that is what should also be considered when discussing our social and economic future.