Letter to the Editor: No one wants war, but we have to be ready for one

Dear editor:
After reading the post about Mr. Ray Sittauer and attending the service at the cemetery yesterday, this came to mind. “War Never Solved Anything” was a comment that appeared in response to a post by Michael Schindler, the executive director of Operation Military Family. I believe the topic was budget cuts in the military.

It really didn’t register with me at the time but has been niggling in the back of my mind. What the comment maker said of course is nuts. It was a WAR that created this Country. It was another WAR that kept us from being two Countries instead of one. It was another WAR That entitles us to speak English instead of German or Japanese. It has been several more WARS that have allowed us to maintain our sovereignty as a self governing nation under God. We honored today the millions of Americans who served and those that died fighting for the very rights that many use and abuse. I don’t know of a single person who wants another War. But when the time comes, and it will, we better be ready.

Dave Page

  1. Mr. Page,
    I agree with you that there have been wars in the past that have garnered desirable results, and were even necessary. However, to say you don’t know anyone that wants war, is really naive. If we are getting technical, then we haven’t fought a “war” since WW 2. I believe every conflict since then has been a police action or some other misnomer. Only Congress can declare war, and they have not!
    To my mind, and many others, we have been bankrupting this country on illegal military acts of aggression.
    And if corporations are now people, then there are many many many “people” that certainly DO want war. It makes many corporations richer and gives the military/security complex more and more power.
    Even the “war” on terrorism has eroded our civil liberties to the point where the Bill of Rights is not longer sacred or even valid, in some cases.
    While I am grateful to people that have risked their lives and even payed the ultimate price for our freedoms, I think it is nuts (to use your word) to keep giving blank checks to our govt. to pass along to the war machine. These recent “wars” do not make us safer. Quite the contrary, they are economically and politically motivated. There is nothing noble in dying to make corporations richer and our military bigger.
    I believe true patriotism is questioning authority. I’m grateful that we still have the freedom to do that and to have this conversation.
    Respectfully,
    Chris Herman

  2. I’ve heard for years that it is public unions and military spending that is bankrupting this country. While some do think this, this belief is an unfortunate and ill-informed perception – it is NOT the “illegal military acts of aggression” that are bankrupting this country.

    The real issue is unfunded political promises / commitments – not to defense, but…get ready – our elderly. I know that this statement is not going to win me fans, and I will one day be elderly as well, so believe me, I’m not placing blame on the elderly. But if we are going to fix a problem, we have to assess where the actual problem is before we can move forward with a solution.

    When we look at spending, the federal government spends $4 on elderly people for every $1 it spends on those under 18. Most elderly people did not and are not contributing the full freight on what is being paid out.

    Social security and Medicare beneficiaries are not paying via payroll taxes nearly what is needed to fund what they are getting paid, which shifts the burden to the younger generation. We are borrowing from tomorrow’s worker (and China) what has been committed to this present generation.

    The same is true for pensions.

    Let’s talk defense – I would argue no one wants war but there are MANY in foreign countries that do and many who would like to see our way of life disrupted. Corporations are in the business of manufacturing product based on demand. And foreign governments and groups pay big bucks. We often times sell our products to those we fight – one could argue that if we stopped manufacturing the weapons, the issue would go away; not a chance. So, we need to be prepared. But in some ways, this issue funds itself.

    Bottom line: The “blank checks” as you call them aren’t going to the war machine, but rather to fund promises made to our elderly.

  3. Mike, you fail to note that while social security cosumes about 22% of the government outlays versus 19% for defense, social security provides 24% of the government’s revenues vs nearly nothing from defense

  4. Harry – true. But when you add in pensions – government pensions, that 22% increases vastly. We both know that government isn’t in the business to make money or make a profit – but rather, it should run on a balanced budget. We have a number of individuals who are and have rolled off the “contribution” side onto the “liability” side. Defense is a cost, I’ll give you that – (what is the alternative?); how we address Social Security and Pension pay-outs is the bigger question – we can cut costs on defense, which we have; but there is political firestorms when we even suggest tackling the long-term problem of social security and pension payouts – which are not sustainable.

    1. Let’s set the record straight on military spending.

      From Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_budget_of_the_United_States
      The invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan were largely funded through supplementary spending bills outside the federal budget, which are not included in the military budget figures listed below.

      By the end of 2008, the U.S. had spent approximately $900 billion in direct costs on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The government also incurred indirect costs, which include interests on additional debt and incremental costs, financed by the Veterans Administration, of caring for more than 33,000 wounded. Some experts estimate the indirect costs will eventually exceed the direct costs. As of June 2011, the total cost of the wars was approximately $3.7 trillion.

      The U.S. Department of Defense budget accounted in fiscal year 2010 for about 19% of the United States federal budgeted expenditures and 28% of estimated tax revenues. Including non-DOD expenditures, military spending was approximately 28–38% of budgeted expenditures and 42–57% of estimated tax revenues. To put this in perspective, we spent about 2% of the federal budget on education. According to the Congressional Budget Office, defense spending grew 9% annually on average from fiscal year 2000–2009.

      And from the Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/01/07/everything-chuck-hagel-needs-to-know-about-the-defense-budget-in-charts/
      All told, the U.S. government spent about $718 billion on defense and international security assistance in 2011 (aprox. 24% of the federal budget) — more than it spent on Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP (21% of fed. budget). That includes all of the Pentagon’s underlying costs as well as the price tag for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which came to $159 billion in 2011. It also includes arms transfers to foreign governments.

      (Note that this figure does not, however, include benefits for veterans, which came to $127 billion in 2011, or about 3.5 percent of the federal budget. If you count those benefits as “defense spending,” then the number goes up significantly.)

      U.S. defense spending is expected to have risen in 2012, to about $729 billion, and then is set to fall in 2013 to $716 billion, as spending caps start kicking in.

      We spend more on our military than the next 13 highest military spending nations in the world COMBINED. In my opinion, we cannot afford to keep exploiting the developing nations for their resources and then “protect our interests” with tax dollars given to the military security complex. We need to get back to national DEFENSE and stop engaging in economic imperialism. Instead of fighting for forced compliance, our goal could be making friends and developing amicable partnerships worldwide.

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