Monday, April 17, 2017

THE U.S. MILITARY KNOWS WHAT IT NEEDS

“Our military is building and is rapidly becoming stronger than ever before. Frankly, we have no choice!” - Donald Trump

Above is the moron’s latest tweet. It came in Sunday morning. I’m ignoring the others that arrived the same morning, the ones that had to do with the tax rallies around the country -- held in honor of the federal deadline for filing income tax -- for the simple reason that I don’t believe the moron’s rantings about “the election is over” and who is paying the rally folk to rally, are part of any existential threat to the nation and the world. They are merely the ravings of an eight year-old. This one about the military, however, cuts some real mustard.

First off, every word is a lie. In fact, the moron has yet to do anything to make sure that our military is building and rapidly becoming stronger; no major legislation has been passed, no budget amendments have been locked into place, and Northrop Grumman has not hired thousands of new employees to build any new super-fighters. Our military is what it was yesterday and what it was the day before and what it was under Obama. In other words, the most overblown and deadly force in history. That said, in his budget proposal, Trump did say that we ought to ramp up the military another 10%, but a budget proposal is just that -- a proposal -- and saying isn’t getting, hence no new budget has been passed. In fact, most of what Trump has done since his inauguration is roll back Obama initiatives (clean air and safety) in favor of making sure that mentally ill people can purchase guns and it’s easier to shoot sleeping bears from helicopters (I didn’t make that up).

So “our military is building and rapidly becoming stronger than ever before” is a lie. The other lie in his tweet is “stronger than ever before.” What in the world could that mean?  Stronger than during World War II? Stronger than during the Civil War? Stronger than at any time we had a conscripted force? Or perhaps he’s only alluding to our massive stockpile of nuclear weapons, which are actually pretty low-cost as far as killing goes.

The sad thing isn’t that the President of the United States is writing this, or even that he believes this flagrant untruth – for I don’t think he believes this or, in fact, anything at all (hence the vaguely insincere exclamation mark). No, the sad thing is that he knows millions of people will believe what he’s saying, nod their heads, and continue to support Militia Gargantua at any cost – most often at the cost of their own health, liberty, ability to put a roof over their own head, etc. – that he twitters on without shame, blush, or embarrassment.

Mark me: Trump wants a shootin’ and killin’ war. He wants it because he has discovered, surprisingly late, that the most effective thing an American President can do to make folks talk about him as if he's a real President – including leftist press and moderate intellectuals, who should know better – is start dropping bombs. Americans lose their minds and fall all over themselves supporting their President the minute he starts blowing up buildings, airstrips, and people in far away – ideally Muslim – lands.

The irony is that this isn’t what the military wants. The military has made clear what they want. They want a State Department that follows both the Marshall Plan and the Truman Doctrine, which is basically to make friends and influence enemies through the proffer of fruit baskets, by which I mean cash, industry, and, if necessary, old weapons. This has been our strategy since the end of World War II, and as unwieldy as it’s been, it’s kept us from stumbling into World War III. Sadly, Trump likely has no idea who George C. Marshall is or why there should be more elementary schools named after him than John F. Kennedy. Kennedy, after all, took us eyeball-to-eyeball with the Russians, whereas Marshall extolled the very best in the American character and fed and rebuilt a continent.

The reason the military wants diplomacy above bombs is because our military has morphed over the last thirty years, more specifically the last fifteen, into a remarkably knowledgeable diplomatic force. It was the commanders and advisers on the ground, after all, who told George W. Bush that the last thing the United States should do is “de-bathifize” Iraq, advice neither Bush nor his idiot ambassador L. Paul Bremer chose to follow, thus creating… ISIS! It was the military who tried to explain to their civilian bosses the intricacies of a limited skirmish in Afghanistan, and the military who warned us about the dangers of not responding to the threat of chemical weapons in Syria. U.S. military leaders are no longer the guns and guts types that perpetuated Vietnam in lockstep with their McNamaras but, in the case of many, extremely erudite, multi-lingual, cultured professionals who know where the potholes are in the road and wish someone would listen to them.

Sadly, the last person listening to them is the President of the United States. The American people aren’t listening, either. And, as a result, more money is going to be apportioned for the hardware the military doesn't want and not the diplomacy it craves, and more soldiers and civilians are going to die for no reason other than to perpetuate the ignorance of Donald J. Trump and everyone who ever voted for him.

The mind only boggles to consider what George Marshall would say about who needs the rescuing now.

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