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Just what is the role of the military in national policy?

by Keone Michaels Fri Apr 27th, 2007 at 02:35:33 PM EST

This diary began as a comment in a dialogue with someone on a diary at KOS about another topic.  As it turned out the writer I was responding too said he was a stationed on a destroyer and his wife was also in the Navy, active duty which gave me pause to reflect.  

I wondered how to respectfully point out that his present "profession"and the way it is defined and presented in public discourse is part of the problem?

I feel it is time we let go of the notion that warriors and wars are inevitable and even admirable part of a national policy.  The exigencies of life on a changing planet guarantee that doing business like a 19th century industrial bully in a 20th century world will end in failure!

Some think that the role of the military is in"Conducting wars?"  I disagree that the role of the "Military" should be "conducting wars."  Now, go ahead and laugh, but wait a second;

1.) words shape our thought and our actions.  By implication this definition implies our military is an aggressive arm of our foreign policy.  I think we should offer a more benign definition:  

The role of the military is to defend our homeland!
even this simple definition provides a practical and logical basis for such activities as intelligence gathering.  But, it doesn't start out with a chip on our shoulder.

2.) Our country has just exited several centuries where our nation aggressively expanded it's role in the world via "conducting wars" of basically economic expansion.  I live in a state, Hawaii, that was acquired, illegally, in just this manner.  Look it up if you don't believe it.

3.) As the intelligence information analysts say, "the information set" has changed globally:
   a.)  America let the nuclear cat out of the bag at Hiroshima and Nagasaki and now any fool with enough money can purchase the fixins and row a boat with a nuclear warhead into a destroyer (think if the guy who did the Cole had a nuke in his boat?) or New York City.  We are reaping the whirlwind of our military action during WW2, today.  Everybody on the planet now has a shot at mutually assured destruction.  In the long run perhaps ending the war the way we did was not such a wise thing?
   b.)  CHINA will soon eclipse us both militarily and economically.  They have more paper (they own our large debt)on us than the rest of the world combined.  It is my prediction that after the Olympics in China in 3 years they will start making their move on the dollar. When they start buying oil in Euros we are in deep deep shit.  Also, their sheer size and production capacity make them the comparative industrial colossus as we were in WW2.  We cannot kick their ass.  

4.)  Our planet has problems of a natural nature that are becoming more pressing as time goes on.  Massive responses are needed to survive the coming crisis.  We all must work to a common goal to succeed.

5.)  Fifth and perhaps not the least important is the psychological set we have embraced when we abandoned a "volunteer, citizen soldier" army for one composed of "professional warriors!"  A professional military in my opinion is like having a loaded gun in the house; The temptation and access and it's very existence make it more likely to be used.

It is time for a paradigm shift my friends.  The testosterone that has served us so faithfully for centuries needs to be re-tasked to work toward consensus peacefully.  Our resources are limited.  The planet is at risk.  Let us muster Chewbacka and R2D2 and the rest and get to the real issues that threaten our lives not our pocketbooks alone.

We need to wage peace not war and "protect" our homeland, not "conduct wars" on foreign soil in a illegal manner to assure a profit margin to some corporation.  Enough.

Think about it.  Alexander the great's time has passed.  Let's get some new heroes.

Also posted at KOS ....

by Keone Michaels on Fri Apr 27th, 2007 at 02:36:47 PM EST
I just finished reading a bit about the Spanish-American war and the abuse of the Philippines by our forces.

The same arguments were being made by intellectuals then as have been made now. The same arguments about the need to bring the benefits of democracy (and Christianity) were made then as now, although we play down the religious aspects better now.

The US has been a military aggressor for over 100 years and there seems to be little prospect for change on the horizon. Most people seem to believe that the only way we can get the materials and open markets that we need is via force. I'm sure you are aware of the history of Hawaii and how the government followed the interests of the agricultural producers who had established themselves in the region and used a pretext to annex the islands.

There is no interest in the US becoming more temperate in its foreign affairs as can be seen by the support for a "strong defense" that both parties promote. As resources become more scarce we can expect to see even more militarism.

Let's face it, we are using more than our fair share and we know it, even if we won't admit it, so switching to another model of international relations isn't likely to happen voluntarily.

Policies not Politics
---- Daily Landscape

by rdf (robert.feinman@gmail.com) on Fri Apr 27th, 2007 at 10:45:09 PM EST
Rome fell.  So will the USA when China ascends to world dominanace in the next few decades. IMO.

by Keone Michaels on Sat Apr 28th, 2007 at 01:51:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
i remember when i lived in HI reading that the usa annexed hawaii, not because it wanted it, but because they didn't want the brits or russkis to grab it first.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Apr 28th, 2007 at 03:43:02 PM EST

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