On the Other Hand...
by Jim Davies
$3,000 a year, for YOU
There will be all sorts of hysterical, scornful objections and we'll get to some of them in a moment, but if you will, first grab a hold of that figure: an extra $3,000 of spending money, for the AVERAGE American family. Like yours, perhaps. Could you use an extra $3,000 a year? - I sure could.
That's what we'd each have, if the Feds closed down the military and returned our money, now that the Cold War is over and no foreign government threatens.
Ridiculous? - no, it's not. Stay with me. Remember, you have $3,000 a year to gain if I'm right. Isn't that worth the five minutes it will take you to read about this highly heterodox, but long overdue idea?
First, let's take a quick look at the Law, and I mean the supreme one for I've little patience with the lesser ones; the US Constitution has all the law we need, and maybe then some. And we do find there (Art I Sn 8) that the Feds are empowered to "provide for the common defence". The idea was that if a foreign government threatened any State, the Feds would marshall resources from all other States to its assistance. Defense. Not offense or imperialism. Defense.
There's another bit of the Supreme Law we should notice: Amendment #3. It says "No soldier shall in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law." Now, I've heard several Libertarian candidates for public office say that that's the only one of the Bill of Rights that the government has not trampled all over; but I think it's trampled over that one too. True, no soldier is, today, physically "quartered" in anyone's home; but isn't $3,000 a year about the going rate for a paying guest?
Now, put these two bits of law together and you'll agree that the Feds are violating the Law by defending other nations instead of just this one, and by forcing us each to pay $250/mo for the soldiers' housing allowance.
Okay, it's true that most of that $250/mo ($3,000/yr) goes on weapons rather than housing, but the principle is the same. We are being forced to maintain an entirely unnecessary section of society - to which Eisenhower gave the name, "Military-Industrial Complex." It certainly includes politicians and industrialists (and their employees) as well as those in uniform.
Some will object, Don't be silly, we have to have insurance against foreign attack; we can't wait for the enemy to land on the coast of Maine before we let the Feds get an army together. This annual insurance premium of $3,000 a year per family is cheap at the price.
I beg to differ: I think it VERY expensive. But I must agree that we'll never know for sure until we try it; that is, close down the Federal military machine and let private contractors offer us the service of defending our coasts. Let's see what actual insurance premiums appear in the market!
I think we'll find that they will run to around 10% of the current figure, and here's why: such contractors will focus on the actual task to be performed, and will be obliged by the fact that they have competitors (not by any more noble motive) to keep costs to a minimum by NOT setting out to defend some other country, such as Kuwait or Haiti. Or Vietnam, Korea, France or England.
The single task we do need performed, you see, is to convince all foreign governments, when considering invading and conquering the US of A, that the costs of the expedition would far outweigh any possible fruits of victory.
That's all. Nothing else. If we can so arrange our defense that they all reach that conclusion every time they consider the idea, the job is done. No shot need ever be fired and certainly, no "one and a half wars" need be fought.
My own belief is that by far the best way to furnish that deterrent is to let it be known that each and every US household (100 million of us) is well armed and well prepared to shoot any occupying soldier in the back, 365 dark nights every year, until they give up and go away. I don't think we even need an organized army at all - just the existing Militia, to which all belong anyway, perhaps with some fresh awareness training. And a replacement of all gun-control laws with an official policy that encourages the private purchase of modern weaponry such as surface-to-air missiles and launchers. A few million of those would deter any and every aggressor on the Planet.
The Net Gain
Missile launchers not being cheap, a further objection will be that such spending will make a big hole in the claimed saving of $3,000 a year. So let's sketch in the other benefits we'll see, to restore the advantage.
First, everyone now employed in the Military-Industrial Complex would, after a short if uncomfortable period of unemployment, be doing work useful to society - they'd cease to be parasites and make a positive contribution. We'll all benefit from that. Hard to count, but it IS extra to the $3,000/yr.
Second, whereas today there is a good deal of hatred of America around the world (go abroad and listen!) because our government has thrown around so much military weight in the last 100 years or so, that would cease - leaving only a vast pool of good will, buttressed by a wide admiration of American products and ideals, both. Again it's hard to put a figure on it, but I believe we'd all receive enormous gain from that good will.
Heavily-armed government "defense" monopolies have slaughtered tens of millions of humans and wasted uncountable wealth. The net gain is huge. Let's go for it.
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