The Nacilbupera Guzzle

Whoever examines with attention the history of the dearths and famines … will find, I believe, that a dearth never has arisen from any combination among the inland dealers in corn, nor from any other cause but a real scarcity, occasioned sometimes perhaps, and in some particular places, by the waste of war, but in by far the greatest number of cases by the fault of the seasons; and that a famine has never arisen from any other cause but the violence of government attempting, by improper means, to remedy the inconveniences of a dearth. (Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations IV.5.44)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Honor Armed Forces Day Today by Bringing Home the Troops

Although not even published as a holiday on my credit union's wall calendar, today marks the 63rd celebration of our nation's Armed Forces Day.  We have the best, most noble Armed Forces in the world:  a military of paid volunteers defending our Constitution and protecting our country and performing one of the few Constitutionally-mandated responsibilities of the Federal Government.  Their service and sacrifice make me proud to be an American!

Yet on this rightfully celebratory day, I reflect upon the many lives which are lost in far away lands on expensive missions authorized by presidential edicts.  It seems our American President (including but by no means limited to President Obama) lacks the courage to bring the troops home when our mission is accomplished. 

According to the latest available Department of Defense statistics (Dec 31, 2010) we have tens of thousands of troops in other lands fighting or preparing to fight other nations' conflicts, and I'm not just talking about Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Consider the Korean War which ended some 58 years ago:  over these many years we have provided our close ally, the Republic of Korea, with an average of 40,000 troops (Heritage Foundation) arising from a mutual 1953 defense treaty.  Isn't it about time to bring these troops home?  Yet in 2008, then ROK Defense Minister Lee outlined the Korean expectation for "the U.S. [to] continue to provide bridging capabilities until Korea acquires sufficient defense capabilities." (  All this despite Korea's  own military force of 680,000 to defend its borders! (US Dept of State, 2010)

Maybe the Koreans are right:  58 years is just way too soon for these feeble, namby-pamby Korean troop allies to defend their own homeland.  For example, in Europe we boast 55,000 troops in Germany and 10,000 troops each in Italy and the UK left over 66 years ago from WWII!  And the debilitated Japanese force home to the once mighty Samurai gets only 35,000 American troops.  So just when will these countries be mighty enough to bring troops home?  Well if enough politicians feel the way McCain does, it could be 100 years! (Youtube)

And then there's the pointed question of just how in the world does a fiscal conservative justify the expenditure of troops in foreign countries for decades with no exit strategy when our own economy is ready to tumble under $14T of debt?

We do have an war going on our southern border:  human and narcotic trafficking are out of control.  If any asset or ally should be defended right now, it is our own neglected border.  Let's honor our armed forces today by having them fight for American soil and American blood.  After being attacked on 9/11, we were right to fight Al-Qaeda the Taliban, but it is now past time for the troops to come home from Afghanistan...and many other places from around the world.

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