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Excerpt from a possible novel: Suicidal tendencies of a nation

An ounce of prevention ...

Monday, November 20, 2017

An opinion: Dedicated to my Green Party Friends on Facebook:

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? 

Thornberry’s Proposal

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: )
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. 

#war #peace #HASC $weaponry #americanpolitics #nationaldefense


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