Monday, December 19, 2011

Support the man the troops support

Support the troops! God bless our troops!

We hear that all of the time and often the people who say those phrases are the ones who support policies that put those men and women in danger and do nothing to defend the security of the United States. What is telling is the level of support Ron Paul gets from our active duty military. Watch this outstanding video...

9/11 didn't happen in a vacuum. The history of the U.S. involvement in the Middle East has consequences but because we assume that America is always right, we ignore them. The video of Donald Rumsfeld chumming around with Saddam Hussein is stunning. We supported the majahideen when it served our purposes and then a few decades later we have been fighting those same people. Our Constitutional mandate does not give America the responsibility or the right to tinker around with the affairs of foreign nations that pose no threat to us without a formal declaration of war, something we haven't done since World War II even though in the interim we have been involved in Korea, Vietnam, the Middle East in general, Grenada, Iraq twice and Afghanistan plus countless other conflicts in places like Somalia and Haiti.

Let’s look at the example of the Korean peninsula since the nutcase dictator of North Korea just died. While information is hard to come by, it is assumed that North Korea has a population of around 24,000,000. South Korea has twice the population at around 48,000,000. South Korea’s GDP is well over $1 trillion while North Korea has a GDP of around $40 billion, in other words South Korea’s economy is 25 times larger than North Korea’s. So we have two nations in a state of conflict for the last sixty years. One of these nations is a major economic power and has double the population. The other nation saw millions of its own citizens starve to death in the 90’s because their economy is such a disaster and they have isolated themselves from the rest of the world. Although North Korea has a huge military, so does South Korea. According to Wikipedia (references provided): Consequently, South Korea has the world's sixth largest number of active troops, the world's second-largest number of reserve troops and the eleventh largest defense budget. So it is not like South Korean can’t take care of itself.

Meanwhile the United States has had a sizeable military presence in South Korea since the Korean War, from 1950 to present day or over 60 years. We maintain a presence of over 28,000 troops in South Korea even though South Korea has some 687,000 active duty personnel and 8 million various reservists. Granted the North has over 1 million uniformed personnel but given the economic disparity it is without question that the South has far better equipment. What a lot of people forget is that during the Korean War, the UN forces drove all the way through North Korea and captured Pyonyang. That precipitated the Chinese response which led to the current stalemate. Were it not for Chinese intervention, Korea might well have been unified. Unlike the Korean War, in the event that North Korea initiated new hostilities with the South, the Soviet Union is gone and China has no interest in seeing a shooting war on their borders.

Meanwhile we have stationed tens of thousands of troops in Europe, in Asia and around the world for decades preparing to fight an enemy that no longer exists (the Soviet Union and the rest of the Warsaw Pact). Our former enemies in World War II (Germany, Japan and Italy) are now some of our closest allies and trade partners. The world has changed but the Constitution has not and unfortunately neither has the unwavering support for the military-industrial complex. Ron Paul’s foreign policy is neither naïve not dangerous. What is naïve and dangerous is giving virtually limitless spending to the Federal government no matter what it is spent on. Likewise trusting that the Federal government can be trusted with control over the world’s most powerful military force with little more oversight than “Support Our Troops” bumper stickers.

Let me say it again. It is stunning that "conservatives", people who mistrust the government and want to shrink it put on blinders when it comes to the enormous military budget supporting a huge standing army that clearly is benefiting a small subset of people financially but costing America hundreds of billions in debt and worse thousands of America lives, not to mention the tens of thousands of civilians killed as "collateral damage".

If you disagree with Ron Paul’s foreign policy, that is your prerogative. I just ask that you actually think through the subject before parroting back what you hear from talk radio hosts.
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