Look, I’m just a talking pig and I don’t always understand humans. They puzzle me. For instance, yesterday I began to wonder why we Americans are willing to go so massively into dept so we can support our gigantic army.
The government likes to call it “The Department of Defense” so I asked myself, who do they exactly defend us from? Is it the gigantic Chinese army across the Pacific just itching to invade Hawaii? Unlikely, I thought. We’re China’s best customers. They already own a gazillion dollars worth of US bonds, why would they want wreck their cash cow?
I thought back to when I was a little pig and people were always scanning the skies for Soviet bombers bearing H-bombs to drop on my poor fearful head. Could the million-strong Russian Army be waiting its chance to send out the bombers again, or roll their tanks across Europe? Well, maybe. I agree you got to keep an eye on those guys, but you don’t hear too much about that particular fear at the moment.
We certainly don’t need an big army to protect us from terrorists. The whole idea behind terrorism is to terrorize people, not attack gigantic armies. Terrorism is about having one of their guys scare the bejeezus out of us with a bomb or a machine gun or poison. Stopping the Al Qaeda and its friends is a big issue, but I don’t see how driving the debt deeper by maintaining a gigantic army is going to do one little thing to stop them. I can’t see how burning and tearing Afghanistan is going to do anything except create more terrorists. Terrorists sneak around, that’s what they do. If you bomb them out of AfghanaPak they’ll scurry off to Yemen. When you bomb them out of Yemen, they’ll sneak off to Brixton. It’s what terrorists do. Brixton’s in South London, by the way. The Clash used to sing about it in relevant songs like Guns On The Roof and Safe European Home.
This list on Wikipedia shows five armies in the world with over a million soldiers: the US, China, Russia, North Korea, and India. None of these other countries, unpleasant as they may be, have military bases strung all around the world. Or, to my knowledge, strung anywhere except within their own countries. If we’re drowning in debt, why do we need them if they don’t?
I’m not talking about NATO bases. Those are a joint arrangement. If all the other countries are paying their fair share and we still worry about those Russkies jumping into Europe whenever they feel like it, then fine. Same with Japan. If they are begging for us to protect them from the Chinese and North Koreans, and they are paying the freight, then fine. But what about all these other bases, for instance: List of United States Army installations in Germany. What’s the point?
Well, one thought occurred to me. Maybe Americans are cursed with some kind of misguided patriotism that wants America to be the number one country so bad we are willing to do anything, go to any level of debt, to pretend it’s still true and it’s going to be true forever.
The only thing we don’t want to do is pay for it. Do Americans pay by sweating to make sure all our kids get the best education in the world, bar none? A next generation ready to take on any challenge the future throws at us? Do we honor entrepreneurs who come up with products and businesses that will lead America through the next century? Would any any politician dream of saying, “We have the biggest, best military in the world and from here on we will pay for it without going into debt. Whatever it costs, we’ll pay as we go even though it means big big tax increases.”
Crazy, isn’t it? Have a glance at this Feb 1 story from Slate:
Then check out this neat chart from the NY Times:
And, finally, check out this guy…
It seems like liberals, conservatives, Democrats and Republicans should be able to get together on this. It seems so obvious to this pig unless, 1) our leaders have already been compromised or 2) we are all so hopelessly filled with dreams and demagoguery that we can’t see the facts when they stare us in the face.
But hey, I’m just a pig. Maybe I’m missing something.