Guess what the House Armed Services Committee just admitted (But their solution will blow you away even more.).
An Admission of Neglect?
Mac Thornberry, Chairman, House Armed Services Committee cited complaints that “over 60 percent of the Navy's F-18s cannot fly,” that they have a shortfall of over 100 aircraft, and that “we have become one of the smallest, oldest-equipped, and least ready forces … in the Air Force’s history.”
If true, what an admission of neglect, considering the military’s budget over the last decade. Some 47 percent of our discretionary budget goes to military spending and we outspend the next six or seven nations combined, including Russia and China and others. What did they do with all that money if they were not maintaining our equipment?
I would ask Thornberry, “With the enormous budget for military, why have you failed to keep this equipment in running condition?” And if the aircraft are in that bad of shape, why is the military keeping them in the first place? (What does one do with thousands of useless aircraft?)
But wait! Are these decrepit F-18’s really Thornberry’s concern?
To fix the problem, Thornberry wants to “ramp up production to 56 F-35As per year to address strike fighter capability and capacity shortfalls” and …
Hold on.The problem was that F-18’s that can’t fly. So you are going to fix them, right? Wrong. Thornberry quickly changes the topic to buying new equipment/ But are those F-18’s emblematic of the inherent wastefulness of our military?
When Thornberry comes to Congress he is like a kid in a candy store. But wait, those “candies” cost $$ millions and billions of dollars each! Thornberry wants “an additional $1.3 billion to procure four additional F-35Bs and six additional F-35Cs.” He also wants an additional $739 million for 10 additional F/A-18E/F Super Hornets to support supposed “shortfalls in Navy strike-fighter inventories.”
Meanwhile, questions linger: How is the military is going to responsibly dispose of those supposedly decrepit F-18’s? What is the lifespan of a new aircraft? How will this affect our carbon imprint? How safe is all this hardware really making us anyway? And at what price to humanity and to the biosphere?
How many babies could be placed in incubators, or how many homeless people could be housed, for the cost of a single fighter jet? Will these weapons contribute to global warming and the destruction of the environment? But more to the point, do we really even need them? The following link compares the number of aircraft owned by various nations: http://www.businessinsider.com/military-aircraft-strength-of-every-country-2015-1 )
As of 2015, Business Insider reported, “It can be difficult to grasp the scope of US air superiority compared to everyone else.” As BI reported, “The US boasts approximately 13,000 military aircraft. Comparatively, China and Russia, the world's next-largest aerial powers, only have a total of 2,000 to 3,000 military aircraft each.”
Flawed Thinking (or so it seems to me)
Of course, numbers do not tell the entire story: If 60 percent of our equipment is non-functional, what is the point of having it? Is our military strength being fluffed up by the military to appear more ominous than it really is? Military commanders must deal with effectiveness or lack thereof, of their various tools, some of which are military hardware. And to be effective they must use the right tools for the right job. But tools we have never tried may be the most effective of all: Communications, empathy, education, insight, compasion, negotiations, the ability to see through the supposed enemy’s eyes, and the elimination of financial incentives for war.
These tools, when combined with a reasonably strong military presence, can be far more effective than all the things we commonly think of as necessary, such as bombs, fighter jets, ships and standing armies. The softer defenses are often the most effective: Foreign diplomacy, foreign policy, negotiation, and (not to be underestimated), the ability to keep business interests and defense needs in different boxes. If the objective is a safer world, greater military might may not always be the best way to “get there,” because let’s face it, if the military-might exists, the temptation to use it also exists. If it is thought that a military solution might be simple and lucrative for preferred contractors, the temptation to start wars is great. Take Russia: Right now, in my opinion, Russia does not want a war with the USA, if for no other reason than that they may be far outgunned. Although they may have their problems, I don’t think they are suicidal at this time.
On the other hand, if the military equipment is more equal, the prospect of getting the hell knocked out of us may cause us to think twice before starting yet another war, especially when more effective, more efficient and more humane methods exist to protect our borders.
There is a need for caution when it comes to relying overly much on weaponry as our first line of defense: Especially given the destructive power that we and our perceived enemies are capable of unleashing. If we listen too much to the Thornberries of the world, the next chapter of world history may read, “Suicidal Tendencies of a Nation.” You know, that thing about an ounce of prevention.
Opinion: Make no mistake, the Green Party is the party of wisdom, restraint and democracy.
Evan Blake,in World Socialist Web Site has attacked the Green Party, perhaps without realizing it, for being in tune with he political beliefs of most Americans. They are right: We are like most Americans, not like the caricatures you see in Washington these days. Possibly you already are a Greenie and just don’t realize it yet, while the major parties have presented the world with grotesque, distorted images of the American people, of Democracy and of the West in general. The Green Party wants to change that. You might even say, we want to make America Great, not by tantrums or displays of force, but by democracy, justice, peace and environmentalism.
Blake’s article blasted the Green Party’s 2016 Presidential candidate, Jill Stein, and her running mate, Ajamu Baraka,as “the continuators of Bernie Sanders’ 'fraudulentpolitical revolution.” Blake grilled them as Sanders’ backers, as part of "the pseudo-left,” and as backers of the “capitalist media.” Some Greenies might agree that CNN is capitalist, but Blake was referring to the Stein/Baraka participation in an interview on CNN with host Chris Cuomo. Actually, many of us believe that Sanders’ support for a peaceful, political revolution were not only right-on, but are imperative, given the fast deterioration of the earth’s environment and atmosphere, as well as the cumulative injustices inherent to the present system. Their woodcut of Sanders was as a warmonger, hence the guilt by association for the Green Party.
Blake alleged a "pro-capitalist character of the Green Party.”
Among their sins, he says, Stein and Baraka abstained from using the words “capitalism,” “socialism,” “working class,” and above all, “class struggle.” Of course, these are buzz words that I assume would turn off the majority of Americans and rightly so in my opinion. Apparently the Greens have learned from history while certain self-proclaimed Socialists have not. Words do matter, and the fact is, the Green Party does not represent the ideologies of the failed Soviet Union and other heavy-handed governments, which proved to be too much even for the Russians. Every nation is unique and is called upon to develop its own unique brand or style of the Green Party.
Friendly is not revolutionary?
The article accused interviewer Chris Cuomo of remaining “solicitous and friendly,” as if that were a bad thing for a reporter to do when interviewing potential Presidential candidates. I guess Blake wanted for Cuomo to fry them like, two green sausages. While Stein praised Presidential nominee Bernie Sanders, the article claimed that, “The Sanders campaign was not — and the Green Party is not — ‘revolutionary.’”
Stein made the supposedly non-revolutionary error of offering “gushing and uncritical praise for the Sanders campaign.” The article does not say what might have made the Sanders revolution more revolutionary. Instead, only “Greens are seeking to tap into the same social unrest in order to contain it within the confines of bourgeois politics.” Well, make no mistake about it, the Green Party is, in my personal opinion, interested in attracting former followers of Sanders, not because of who he is or was, but because of the beliefs that he expressed before his disastrous announcement for Hillary Clinton.
Concerning Sanders campaign, Stein was quoted as saying, “You’ve learned really, in real time, why it is that you can’t have a revolutionary campaign in a counterrevolutionary party … the playing field was really steeply and unfairly tilted against you (Sanders supporters).” She was referring to the Democratic party under control of the Democratic National Committee (DNC)
According toBlake, Stein’s support for Sanders starkly reveals “the conventional and pro-capitalist politics of the (Green Party) organization.” He criticized Sanders’ “groveling endorsement of Clinton” as proof that Stein and the Greens are "seeking to tap into the same social unrest in order to contain it within the confines of bourgeois politics.”
Blake criticized the Stein and Baraka, claiming they characterized the war on terror and other US wars as “catastrophic policies” driven by “incompetency,” instead of “the deliberate actions of the world’s most powerful imperialist state.” Anyone who has spent any time listening to Stein realizes this is a false characterization and that she understands and states explicitly the causes of wars. “Under Hillary Clinton, we could slide into nuclear war very quickly from her declared policy in Syria. … I sure won’t sleep well at night if Donald Trump is elected, but I sure won’t sleep well at night if Hillary Clinton elected. We have another choice other than these two candidates who are both promoting lethal policies.
In addition to that, "There was no mention of the economic impetus for imperialist war, including the drive to secure access to oil resources, nor of the broader geo-strategic interests of the American capitalist class.” Sadly, it seems that for Stein to say less than everything-she-knows in one short interview is enough to brand her as a counter-revolutionary.
In her opening remarks, Stein is said to have called for enacting “foreign policy that’s based on international law, human rights and economic justice, not on military and economic dominance that’s blowing up at us.” All of which seems to me like a big improvement over what the nation has been doing.
Blake resorts to outright lies about Stein
“In effect,” Blake said, “Stein is giving support to wars sanctioned by the UN Security Council, such as the 2011 War in Libya, and the promotion of ‘human rights’ as the all-purpose justification for war used by American imperialism.”
Nothing could be further from the truth. Stein has consistently opposed wars of aggression, including the war in Libya, whether those wars were supported by the UN or not. Stein has been frequently stated her opposition, with language such as, “It would be hard to imagine a more catastrophic war than what took place in Libya, that helped strengthen ISIS” … etc.. It seems that Blake is either ignorant of Stein’s positions, or willing to deliberately lie about them to make his/her point.
In general, Stein wants to close a lot of American military bases. However, when pressed, she refused to say that she would close all of them. Blake objects to this, but I think it is more in keeping with the thoughts of many Americans. By some accounts, no one, not even the Pentagon, can say with certainty how many foreign bases the USA has. I have read anywhere from 38 bases to well over 1,000. If the higher numbers are correct, surely most Americans might agree to closing some of them while preferring to keep others open, regardless of their political leanings. http://occasionalplanet.org/2011/01/24/military-mystery-how-many-bases-does-the-us-have-anyway/
Beyond the above
Stein and Baraka were also criticized for
Failing to challenge the “war on terror.”
Being too militarily aggressive
Greens in other nations have sometimes supported wars
They supported “Black Lives Matter”
The Greens framed the issue of police violence “entirely in racial terms,” rather than in terms of a class struggle and therefor offer “tepid solutions” to police violence.
As to being bourgeoise, as was claimed, the Greens are perhaps the more Rural of the parties. As touching terrorism, I doubt that most Americans are okay with terrorism, and neither are most Greens. The thought that Greens are too supportive of the military and war is laughable. On the other hand, Stein has mentioned numerous times the evils of terrorism, again, in accord with a majority of Americans.
On the other hand, that there may be a class/economic element to the struggle of “Black Lives Matter,” is something that we might be willing to at least discuss, I think, but to claim race and color are not essential elements in police violence is just unrealistic.
Is the Green Party too soft on the capitalism in United States of America? That remains to be seen. I say, let’s give the Green Party half a chance! We are less violent, more social, less autocratic and more democratic, more pro small business, and more pro-small farms than any other viable party. We would support cleanup of nuclear sites and other environmental problems. Our plans would help our economy — with a Green New Deal — and would stop the US Reign of Terror upon the international community, and try to stem the devastation of our environment. The Green Party has an agenda that I can support whole heartedly, without guilt, without remorse, without culpability, and without being so broad-minded as to be flat. Give us a look-see: GP.ORG.
end Note: I apologize for any errors. Unfortunately, I cannot afford to hire an editor so what you see is what you get.