|Remember Pearl Harbor and 9/11|
|Written by Bob Dill, Publisher|
|Wednesday, 07 December 2011 00:00|
For the fifth time in my lifetime, the American people are about to allow the Congress to dismantle the defenses of our country and leave us vulnerable to attack from foreign enemies.
As a nation, we have a very short memory and never seem to learn from our mistakes. As a result of being unprepared, we pay a horrible price in blood and lives each time we are forced to go to war.
We dismantled our defenses following World War I and invited the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. We dismantled our defenses after World War II and invited the Communist attack on South Korea. We found ourselves unprepared and unwilling to achieve victory in Vietnam. Then came 9/11 and we have been at perpetual warfare for a decade without the manpower, equipment and national will to achieve victory.
Once again, the president and Congress are cutting defense spending to historic lows as we face the sword rattling of China, Iran and North Korea, among others. Being unprepared invites attacks, costs lives and makes the cost of coming from behind to respond to an attack much more expensive than maintaining adequate trained and equipped forces.
In every respect it makes sense to be prepared to defend the republic against all potential enemies. Procurement time for weapons is extremely long and with the rapid advances in technology, we must constantly be upgrading weapons systems.
Extensive training and realistic combat experience is necessary to maintain a ready fighting force. We must maintain adequate human and technical intelligence sufficient to provide warning of possible surprise attacks.
Adequate defense is costly, but our current cost as a percentage of the total government budget is very low, even during the conduct of two or more active wars.
While the current President is jetting around the world in Air Force One, and along with the First Lady are giving lip-service to support for troops, veterans and their families, he and his White House staff and administration are making plans to cut their benefits to the bone.
Unless Congress acts by January 1, 2012, payments to doctors for Tricare and Medicare will be cut by more than 20 percent. That will have a double impact on military families and retirees. Co-pay for medicine has already increased and each month more and more new drugs are deleted from the list available to military veterans and retirees and their dependents.
If the cuts in benefits continue, the all-voluntary force will be in jeopardy and imposition of the draft will be necessary in case of a national emergency.
We tend to elect people to national office who want to make us comfortable and tell us what we want to hear. They like to spend our money on things that buy votes. Defense spending does not buy votes. As a result, defense is neglected and we invariably find ourselves unprepared for emergencies. Despite warnings and the prices paid by many of our ancestors, we do not “Remember Pearl Harbor,” and are quickly forgetting the pain of 9/11. Those who serve in uniform and the career military retirees are a very small segment of the population, yet they are fiercely patriotic and loyal to their leaders, whoever they are. They are insignificant as a voting block nationwide.
That is why and how a President and members of Congress can lie to and short change the military and provide patriotic lip service to the general public regarding their mythical support of the troops and their families and get by with it.
Finally, Americans have become conditioned to perpetual war. Many have no interest unless an immediate family member is in harms way. A poem written by an old soldier many years ago holds true today:
God and Soldier we adore
In time of trouble, not before.
Trouble gone and all things righted,
God is forgotten and the soldier slighted.
Remember Pearl Harbor and 9/11.
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