Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Editorial: Scared of the dark

Today the unnamed Courier editor hops up and down about the idea of cuts to the military. Apparently he missed how much we've spent and how little we've gained in warmaking over the past, oh, I dunno, six decades or so.
   We've all grown up as citizens of the American Empire, so it's no surprise that the editor is enthralled by the myths that have sustained it for so long. It's disappointing, however, that someone we depend on to understand public policy issues is so poorly educated in them.
   In our warmaking policy, the concept of "threat to national security" is defined so broadly that it can be stretched to justify military intervention in any economic dispute or ordinary criminal behavior. The underlying purpose of this is not security for Americans, but rather securing profits for warmaking corporations and votes for warmongering politicians. It is also a license for allies to spend their money on building social and business infrastructure instead of defense, thereby eating our lunch for us in business and quality of life, or worse, maintaining policies of aggression against their neighbors and even their own people.
   If we were to redefine "threat to national security" to sensible limits, such as "imminent military threat to the physical security of US persons or the territorial integrity of the US or treaty allies," we could obviously reduce our military commitments by 80% or more.
   This will not happen, as most Americans have bought into the editor's idea that we are under constant existential threat by dark forces everywhere, and our military policy is insane as a result. But what we learned in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union, that it never had anything like the capabilities or aggressive motivations that our government ascribed to it for so many years, ought to give everyone pause.
   We have a ridiculously big military not because there's any real threat, but rather because we are collectively frightened of our own shadow. It's time to grow up and get over it.

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