Friday, February 12, 2010

Our Military Abroad

Three items in the paper on successive days last week called my attention to this issue. First a column by Pat Buchanan, entitled "It's time to bring our Marines home". Pat points out that it has been 65 years ago that Japan surrendered, and yet our Marines still occupy Okinawa. Japan doesn't seem to want them there, so why stay?

Pat ends: "With the exception of the Soviet Union, few nations in history have suffered such a relative decline in power and influence as the U.S. in the last decade. We are tied down by two wars, are universally disliked and are funding back-to-back deficits of 10% of gdp, as our debt is surging to 100% of gdp.

A stategic retreat from Eurasia to our own continent and country is inevitable. Let it begin by graciously acceding to Japan's request we remove our Marines from Okinawa and politely inquiring if they wish us to withdraw US forces from the Home Islands as well."

In an era domoinated by superifcial day-to-day analyses of immediate political concerns, it is refreshing to see a longer range and more thoughtful analysis of an issue, any issue. An example of the former: "The Daily Show" had a hilarious depiction of the news accounts of the first day of school for Obama's daughters. It showed network after network devoting precious air time to this frivolous so-called story. Living in an era like this, any example of real thought and analysis is a breath of fresh air.

The day after Buchanan's column appeared, the paper had an editorial decrying the huge defense budget being proposed. Even after adjusting for inflation, the budget is significantly larger than at the height of the Vietnam War, or at the height of the cold war. Have we gone mad? And where is the "change you can believe in" that Obama promised?

Then the next day a news item saying that Japan is balking at the $2 billion a year it is costing to support the 47,000 American military stationed in Japan.

According to Wikipedia, as of 2008 our military was stationed at more than 820 installations in at least 135 countries. This is more than half the countries in the world! Most of them would prefer we not be there, but often our presence is tolerated because of the economic benefits to having soldiers spending money in the country. Let's demand an end to American imperalism and bring our troops home, all of them, wherever they may be!

1 comment:

chessart said...

Specifics from the editorial are (figures from The Center for a New America):

current budget is 13% higher than at the peak of the Korean War, 33% higher than at the peak of the Vietnam War, 12% higher than at the peak of the Cold War, and 64% higher than the Cold War average. This is after adjusting for inflation!