Dueling Twins

Defense

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The 'Dueling Twins'


There never was a good war or a bad peace. - Benjamin Franklin

Point:

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America Revamps Her Defense Policy, Perhaps

James Hall - From the Left

In the complex political give and take of America's two party system, each party has carved out a role for itself in the affairs of state. Among other things, Democrats are the champions of the nation's social safety net, while Republicans remain the champions of a strong national defense. When the time comes for great changes in long-standing government policies, Americans tend to trust only the champion party to make them.

So when it was time to thaw the Cold War, Americans were more comfortable with strident anti-Communist Republicans like Richard Nixon (who broke the cold war ice with China) and Ronald Reagan (who thawed relations with the Soviet Union) to lead the way to peaceful relations. When it was time to end the welfare entitlement created by Democrat Lyndon Johnson's war on poverty, only Democrat Bill Clinton could get it done. Now that a major shift in US defense policy is being seriously contemplated, only a pro-defense Republican president like George W. Bush has a reasonable hope of accomplishing it. Or does he?

One of candidate Bush's platform promises was to revamp the post-Cold War defense policy created by George H. W. Bush's National Security Adviser Colin Powell. After the demise of the Soviet Union in 1989, the US and its NATO allies were left to justify a huge military buildup to meet the diminishing threat of a crumbling Russian Federation. Powell reconfigured the military's argument for defense to meet conflicts against lesser opposition. The new goal was the Two War strategy: to simultaneously fight and win two wars against unfriendly "rogue" nations like North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Libya and Cuba. For this purpose, Powell argued that the US needed a military at 75% of Cold War force levels.

Powell's Two War policy was designed to save as much of the Cold War US military as possible by giving it a robust new mission. But he underestimated the support for defense spending that exists in the post-Cold War US. In the past decade, the military and its friends have been able to boost spending levels in the US military back to 90% of Cold War levels against no credible threat to the United States. The military remains on a Cold War training footing, with Cold War weapons systems like the aircraft battle group and M1-A1 Abrams tank still operational despite the lack of a Cold War-sized opponent.

After a decade of a varied small conflicts, many of them unforeseen, defense theorists want to refashion the US military yet again, making it smaller, faster, more techno-savvy and capable of meeting a variety of challenges. The range of conflicts envisioned varies from small actions standing off bands of guerillas in countries like Macedonia, to the more robust challenges of a Yugoslavian/Kosovo campaign, up to Iraq-class wars involving a million soldiers engaging after a short buildup.

In each case, the US strategy would be to create an overwhelming force and inflict crippling damage on the opposition without seriously risking the lives of American soldiers. The blueprint for this plan is Operation Desert Storm, the successful action against Iraq. Winning conflicts with few or no military casualties is almost a requirement in the post-Vietnam political environment. Support for military action drops off as casualties rise.

To make the necessary changes, Bush brought in Donald Rumsfeld, Gerald Ford's chief of staff and defense secretary and the principal proponent of an ABM system for America. Rumsfeld has the knowledge and the drive to make the hard decisions, but combines a close-to-the-vest, autocratic style with a love of bureaucratic infighting that has made him political enemies in the powerful defense establishment. This hurts him in an environment where each service jealously guards its share of funding (spending percentages haven't changed in decades), and whose senior officers are wedded to weapons systems and tactics of the past and skeptical of radical changes in the future.

These services have their own champions in Congress. Rumsfeld recently found this out when the Bush administration offered its defense budget for 2002. The budget, while raising overall revenues significantly for defense, would cut B-1B bombers flown by National Guard units and eliminate MX nuclear missiles. Legislators in states affected by the base closures were quick to react negatively to the budget request.

Yet these cuts are only the tip of the iceberg that Rumsfeld is preparing to float to Congress. Defense experts speculate that he will promote a policy that retires vulnerable naval carrier groups in preference for stealth submarines and lighter, stealthier warships, reduce the number of heavy armored divisions and the total number of active divisions in the Army, and cut the Air Force's strategic bombers and missiles while at the same time building a space force capable of protecting America's satellites and taking out the satellites of a potential enemy.

Some of the proposed changes will require agreement from America's allies. Rumsfeld wants to substantially reduce the number of America soldiers and sailors based overseas and the number of bases they operate out of, mainly because the bases and overseas duty expose Americans to terrorist attacks and overseas duty represents a hardship that causes many Americans in military service to leave early. Rumsfeld would replace overseas forces with smaller, mobile units of Americans based at home but capable of deployment within hours or days to any place in the world.

Rumsfeld and Bush also have talked about canceling a generation of new weapons systems now on the drawing board, like the F-22 fighter jet, Crusader cannon, and DD-21 "Zumwalt"-class destroyer in order to create another generation of largely automated weapons--pilotless jets, small, stealthy navy ships and submarines with minimal crews, pinpoint satellite guided munitions and units of lightly armored, mobile soldiers working together to quickly defeat a foe with casualties. It's the Desert Storm scenario applied to any and all future warfare. But the current generation of weapons systems has strong support in Congress and in the politically influential defense industry that has developed them.

Bush's hardest task will be to pitch the approval of his program to members of his own party, just as Clinton had to work hardest on Democrats to remove welfare as a federal entitlement. The plan will close a lot of little used bases, cancel weapons systems supported by the major defense companies and their legislative allies, and even change the funding formula going to each service, which would affect the Pentagon's internal balance of power. For this reason, expect a major battle on Capitol Hill when Rumsfeld's plan is introduced in its entirety.

The Cold War is over and it's time for America's military to accept a different role in a different world. But in order for that change to come, the call must come from a friend and ally. Yet it's not a sure thing that even rancher George W. Bush can turn the great lumbering bull that is the US military industrial complex somewhere it doesn't want to go.

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Rebuttal:

It's difficult to respond to James' rant on international interventions when the topic is national defense. What kind of national defense do you want, James? A Cold War era force like we have today? A lighter, mobile force like the Bush administration is supporting, or do you have in mind some vision of a nation of Charleton Hestons shaking their muskets--er, automatic rifles--over their heads as our national defense?

I'll agree with James that how we use that defensive force is pertinent to the argument over its make-up. But that's less a debate over defense policy than it is over national policy. James seems to be arguing for a completely passive defense that only responds to direct aggression. That's an outdated concept. The best defense is a good offense and the will to use it against enemies before they become large enough or dangerous enough to do significant damage. Two world wars and a host of lesser wars has demonstrated that we can't sit on the sidelines and let ourselves be attacked first.

Even the Bush administration seems to be getting this. They've backed away from their foolish commitment to pull the US contingent out of the Balkans before peace and stability have been restored to that region, and their strategic plan for more Desert Storm-type of military actions indicates an awareness that sometimes US interests are just as important three thousand miles from our shores as they are in the American heartland.

Ultimately, James, it's a waste of time to urge soldiers to disobey their political leadership. Worse still, it seems to invite the kind of military intervention into civilian politics that has afflicted much of South America and Africa. The obedience of the military to our elected civilian leadership is one of the cornerstones of the Constitution, and anyone telling soldiers to pick and choose which commands to obey is opening up a Pandora's Box far more dangerous than a temporary US presence in Kosovo or Saudi Arabia.

James Hall, From the Left

Counterpoint:

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Just What Is National Defense?

To comprehend the nature of national defense, you must be able to understand the forces that rule American policy and government. Foreign Policy has been hijacked for well over a century by elements of Elite's that endorse an Internationalist interventionism for the United States. This is a fact that cannot be denied. The relevant question has always been who benefits from this course? Attempts to answer this question within the confines of the popular political party distinctions is futile. Looking to explain foreign policy from the military industrial complex venue, also leave you with voids in analysis.

National Defense and the present Foreign Policy is a contradiction of terms. The premise that America is being served by maintaining a world military presence that effectively acts as an enforcer for a 'New World Order' is at the core of any intelligent discussion on protecting the Nation. Diversions into which kind of military systems are needed or which strategies will best defeat possible adversaries is absurd to entertain. These false avenues lead only to avoidance of the central issues of real national defense. The enemies of America are the globalist's that seek to destroy her independence and darken the beacon of Liberty that has always made the United States unique in history.

Mainstream thinking only feeds erroneous conclusions. If you ask the wrong questions, you will never reach solutions to real problems. The Corporate/State has an alliance that is more in keeping with the deeds of the Axis during the last great war. All the platitudes that roused an entire generation into sacrificing their lives for a cause that ultimately betrayed the principles of the Nation, is the real issue that requires deliberation.

So what is real Defense? To answer that question, we will exclude what it is not, nor should be. Protection of international business interests that operate outside our borders. Safekeeping of the interests of other countries other than our own. Expansion of an American neo-colonialism. Enforcement of world order through an active military presence. Forced acceptance and compliance to the world community will, by threat or bribes. International Court prosecution for dissenters. And surrendering of American sovereignty to world organizations that seek to destroy our Constitutional Republic.

Effective Defense is more about policy than force, the correct policy. The need for a credible military deterrent in an unstable world is acknowledged. But the purpose for that preventive structure is to defend our shores and her people. Aggressive expansion which seeks to promote superpower status is counterproductive to the actual safety of America. Our military forces should not become hired assassins in the defense of an empire.

The reason that the United States has so many enemies throughout the world is that many foreign elements view our government as the major threat to their way of life. If America is seen as wanting to dominate the entire Globe, her security will be at constant risk. The powers that direct the mechanism of this government are the controllers of this unholy alliance of industry, military, and policy. It is entirely foolish to think that they will voluntarily relinquish their grip on the reigns of rule. So who is the real danger to America's security? Can her true defense be attained with a next generation of technology? Or will it take a complete reassessment as to the nature of the Nation, the protection of her People and the overthrow of a Policy that only protects the interests of the Elite's, while the average citizen is left to exist under constant fear and delusion?

The absence of a didactic foundation in Foreign Policy that venerates the principles of a free people and protects their Republic, is the salient topic that serves the National Defense. So how can this internationalist cult of despotism be defeated? The military itself may provide the answer. The military culture drums into each recruit that America IS the Government and that their sworn duty to obey orders that protect, execute and implement the interests of the Federal State. Now having a voluntary service, each individual must search his or her conscience when taking that oath of allegiance and ask if they willingly, are loyal to America, or to the current central Government? The mission of following orders, loses its moral imperative when the commands run counter to the defense of the citizens of our Nation.

The military has a very clear decision, to make. Accept your duty to the Nation, or abandon it for advancement of career and benefits? Robert E. Lee understood the choice, and made the correct determination. The State Department has demonstrated that the notion of duty is more foreign than the lands their officials visit. The intelligence Community seeks to blackmail any official to further their own vested interests. Elected Politicians have shown that many among their ranks are in the employ of foreign governments. Presidents have routinely betrayed national secrets to advance treasonous policies. Only the military remains as the last remaining bastion to resist the systemic sell out of the American people.

When the order comes to deploy overseas for the next enforcement escapade, boycott and stand down, or go AWOL. Ask yourself if such adventures have anything to do with achieving and advancing real protection for America? Continued bellicose involvements never secure peace, but breeds hatred for a belligerent government.

All the new technology in the world will never make any nation secure when its government is earning the loathing of the rest of the world. That is the context that must be examined and debated. Any other side diversion is simply a waste of time and energy. Defense must serve people and not power cabals. We need General James Mattoon Scott now more than ever. If you dont know who he is, look him up. There always is hope . . .

James Hall - aka SARTRE

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Final Word:

The minions of an American interventionist Foreign Policy are unwilling to understand the meaning of security and defense of our Nation. The correct model to follow, would be Switzerland with neutrality as the official course. Citizen preparedness and training with a required firearm in every house. Serious civil defense has never been instituted in this country. Why not? The insane notion of 'MAD' as a defense policy reflects the delusions of pure evil in the likes of Strangelove McNamara and his successors. This culture attempts to protect extermination systems, while exposing our own population to assured annihilation. Offensive aggression will never provide security. And some say that an effective fortress America who's mission is the defense of our borders is out of date! Get real, we are already being invaded along our southern boundaries. It is time to defend and close those borders . . . from a real invasion.

Only a toady, would claim that the US is justified in creating a murder machine whos only product is the inflection of horror throughout the world. Where is the defense of the American people when blood drips from our own hands, for bombing innocent peasants while providing sophisticated technology to Communist countries? The Republic was lost as a result of both World Wars, Korea and Viet Nam. And you contend that we can't allow to be attacked first! But when dimwitted dupes are unable to understand who IS the real enemy, they sound off and wave the 'bloody flag', while telling their sons, daughters and grandchildren to kill in the name of your government.

So you fear that Pandora's Box will open and we could become a Banana Republic! FLASH to the shallow minded: "We have been there, already for a long time". Defense is the protection of the people who are legitimate citizens committed to the Republic. Protection of MultiNational's is not worthy of one American life. Quislings make and direct our Foreign Policy. Flunkies carry out their orders. And morons defend their consequences, while failing to grasp what the U.S. is supposedly defending. With sure sound thinking as this, only fear and constant war will exist. Stopping this madness will safeguard our people. Pax American is equivalent to coercive subjugation to the 'New World Order'. The next war will be an assault upon the financial system and a collapse of the interdependence of fathom entries in the ether zone of commerce transactions. You want defense? Defend this threat! Bring the troops home, the momentous fight is being waged within the Beltway.

James Hall - 'The Right'


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The justest dispositions possible in ourselves, will not secure us against it [war]. It would be necessary that all other nations were just also. Justice indeed, on our part, will save us from those wars which would have been produced by a contrary disposition. But how can we prevent those produced by the wrongs of other nations? By putting ourselves in a condition to punish them. Weakness provokes insult and injury, while a condition to punish often prevents them.
- Thomas Jefferson

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