Time To Choose
By Charley Reese
10/23/07 "KFS" - -- - Most politicians, when they talk about
reducing spending, chatter on about cutting waste and fraud.
That's OK, but it's a mere nick on the federal budget. If you
really want to reduce spending, you must dismantle the overseas
Excluding Iraq, Afghanistan and the other facilities in the Gulf
states that have been built since the Republican war, the
Pentagon lists 702 overseas bases in 130 foreign countries on
which are stationed more than 250,000 uniformed troops. There
are also dependents and civilian employees on many of those
One of the oldest military clichés is that the generals always
want to fight the last war over again. Well, there's some truth
to that. In fact, though, we will never again fight World War
II, so why in the heck do we have bases still in Germany, Italy,
Japan, Guam and South Korea?
Just whom do we expect to fight from these bases? How do they
contribute to the defense of the U.S.? They don't. They are,
frankly, a residue of World War II and a reminder that the
military is, after all, a bureaucracy and hates the very idea of
"losing" any facilities and billets. We don't need to have
troops permanently stationed in any of these countries. Nor do
we need to maintain our membership in the North Atlantic Treaty
Organization, which is a residue from the Cold War.
I don't wish to disillusion anyone, but Asia and Europe are not
our responsibilities. If there is any need for defense, it is
the responsibility of the countries on those continents. We know
from personal experience that Japan and Germany can field large
and competent armies if they should decide they need them. They
do not need our protection.
At the present, there are only two countries in the world that
have the capability of waging war against us. Those are China
and Russia. In both cases, the war would be fought with
intercontinental ballistic missiles. We are never going to see a
land war with either of those countries. It should be the No. 1
priority of our foreign-policy establishment to see that we
never have a war at all with either of these countries.
Wars start when empires wish to expand. That was the cause of
the Spanish-American War, World War I and World War II. The
Korean and Vietnam wars were civil wars in which our politicians
involved us. The wars against Afghanistan and Iraq are again
wars of an empire trying to expand. In these cases, we are the
empire, and you might as well face the ugly truth that our
invasions of both countries were no different from the Nazi
invasions that led to World War II. Neither Afghanistan nor Iraq
had attacked us or were even capable of attacking us.
In Afghanistan, we could have gone after al-Qaeda without
overthrowing the Taliban government. In the case of Iraq, like
Adolf Hitler did with Poland, we simply published a pack of lies
to justify our invasion.
Americans need to realize that we are not the police force of
the world. It is not our responsibility to overthrow dictators
or effect regime change in other people's countries. It is not
our responsibility to stop slaughters such as seem to be a
permanent feature of Africa.
If we could only learn to mind our own business and see to the
needs of our own people, we could lead a peaceful, prosperous
and happy existence. As for the terrorists, they are mainly a
problem for intelligence and police. If any military force is
necessary, one company of Rangers or Marines would be enough.
You can't have a free republic and an empire. It is time to
Charley Reese has been a journalist for 49 years.
© 2007 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
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