Rand Paul: Is Our Military Budget Too Small, Or Is Our Mission Too Large? | Zero Hedge
Authored by Rand Paul, op-ed via Breitbart.com,
Is our military budget too small, or is our mission too large? Since 2001, the U.S. military budget has more than doubled in nominal terms and grown over 37% accounting for inflation. The U.S. spends more than the next eight countries combined.
It’s really hard to argue that our military is underfunded, so perhaps our mission has grown too large. That mission includes being currently involved in combat operations in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Niger, Libya, and Yemen. We have troops in over 50 of 54 African countries. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost over a trillion dollars and lasted for over 15 years.
Unfortunately, none of these wars have been authorized by Congress, and Afghanistan and Iraq have gone far beyond their original authorizations. And when all combined, these wars are draining our treasury. A country can only remain strong as long as it remains solvent.
In Afghanistan, we spend about $50 billion each year. Where does the money go? For troops and weapons, of course, but billions have also been spent on roads, bridges, and schools for Afghanistan. Seems a shame that bridges, roads, and schools crumble here while we persist in nation-building abroad. Maybe it’s time to do some nation-building at home.
Don’t get me wrong. I supported going after the jihadists who attacked us on 9/11. But that mission is long past over. We killed the plotters and their supporters. The question we need to ask is, “When will the Afghanis be able to defend themselves?”
Most conservatives believe welfare should be temporary, and that ultimately the able-bodied must stand on their own. Foreign assistance is no different. If the U.S. coddles and comforts and does all the fighting, the Afghanis will never become self-sufficient. People argue that the Taliban will take over Afghanistan. Not if the Afghanis stand and fight. We’ve given them 15 years of training and billions of dollars of the most sophisticated weapons known to man. Surely, the time for them to step up and fight is now.
Is it worth one more American life to try to build a nation for people unwilling to fight for their own country?
The recent 21% increase in the military budget will buy a lot of weapons, but it won’t win the war in Afghanistan. President Obama already tried that. Obama increased our troops to around 100,000, and, sure enough, the Taliban ran and bided their time for the inevitable troop withdrawals.
The Taliban now controls a sizeable area of Afghanistan. I just can’t, in good conscience, ask our soldiers to go back to Afghanistan to take back the same villages they’ve taken twice, first in 2002 and then again in 2010.
Candidate Trump wisely ran on a platform that the Iraq War was a mistake. But President Trump is surrounded by Generals who’ve never seen a war that they believe cannot be won. And so the wars continue.
My hope is that President Trump will remember Candidate Trump and tell the Generals who surround him: “Enough is enough. I’m bringing the boys home.”
Hey, could the soon-to-be-ex-military learn new skills, like skills that would be required for all the manufacturing jobs, that we should already be bringing back home? Or for simple family self-reliance, as in skills for a family ranch/farm? On their own personal dime, of course. No point in taxing everyone, when its an individual responsibility, especially for such noble heroes, whom should be capable, as any mature adult. Same goes for the military-industrial-academic-congressional merry-go-round of corporate-government collusion-airy types.
Should every other country, also, be keeping their manufacturing in their own country? Wouldn't that guarantee, that any country experiencing severe conditions, could be easily helped, to get back on their own feet, so to speak. You know, like people sending help to the Palestinians, Haiti, earthquake damaged areas, tsunami damaged areas, etc.. Not at the threat of legislated violence, but of their own accord, desire, if any at all.
The Farmer Sharing Quality Seed Corn | George's blog
There was a farmer who grew excellent quality corn. Every year he won the award for the best grown corn. One year a newspaper reporter interviewed him and learned something interesting about how he grew it. The reporter discovered that the farmer shared his seed corn with his neighbors. “How can you afford to share your best seed corn with your neighbors when they are entering corn in competition with yours each year?” the reporter asked.
“Why sir,” said the farmer, “Didn’t you know? The wind picks up pollen from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbors grow inferior corn, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn. If I am to grow good corn, I must help my neighbors grow good corn.”
So it is with our lives… Those who want to live meaningfully and well must help enrich the lives of others, for the value of a life is measured by the lives it touches. And those who choose to be happy must help others find happiness, for the welfare of each is bound up with the welfare of all.
In his story the farmer did not give up his good crop or his lively hood. Neither did he support his neighbors. It is important to understand that he gave his neighbors seed corn. Seed corn is what was required to grow and good quality corn. The farmer did not plant or raise the crop for his neighbors. He did not harvest the corn. The farmer did not carry the final product over to his neighbors.
What the farmer gave his neighbors was the resource needed to work themselves to produce a successful crop. It is sad in our society today that some have taken this vital principle of life and twisted it in an attempt to produce a culture of dependency and entitlement.
A successful life comes when we encourage and resource others to be independent and resourceful. But it does not happen when part of the community (culture) lives in dependency waiting on others to supply them without lending to the process of productivity.
When we live in harmony with this principle that the farmer practiced, we assist others in growing in personal development and independence. We also are aided and benefited in our own lives as our productivity matures.
You have something to share with others. It is something that will benefit and resource them throughout their lives and the cross pollination effect will benefit your life as well.
When you give of yourself to pull others up, you too, will be lifted. Don’t forget this week to share the best of your seed corn with others.