Military Spending

The Ultimate Legacy Of American Presidents

American Presidents deal with dozens, if not, hundreds of issues while in office, and they have ups and downs, highs and lows, unavoidably.

But, ultimately, they are remembered for one action in office that either puts them in the great, successful category, or in the disastrous, unsuccessful category, and they may be praised or bitterly criticized for others, but they will always be remembered for one specific policy or event, which has the greatest effect on their legacy.

So when we look at Presidents since FDR, what stands out as their primary legacy?

Franklin D. Roosevelt–his New Deal programs that saved millions of Americans, and gave them hope for the future.

Harry S Truman–his courage in his dealings with the Soviet Union through the Cold War policies.

Dwight D. Eisenhower–the steadfastness of his Civil Rights policies, enforcing court orders and promoting the end of racial segregation.

John F. Kennedy–his forthrightness in dealing with the greatest threat in world history, the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Lyndon B. Johnson–his Great Society programs that advanced civil rights, education, health care, and a war on poverty.

Richard M. Nixon–his paranoia and illegal activities, leading to Watergate and his resignation.

Gerald R. Ford–his appointment of Justice John Paul Stevens, who became a giant on the Supreme Court for 35 years.

Jimmy Carter–his promotion of the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty, the Camp David Accords, which have brought peace for 35 years.

Ronald Reagan–his tripling of the national debt through excessive military spending and massive tax cuts to the wealthy.

George H. W. Bush–his exceptional conduct of the crisis of the Persian Gulf War.

Bill Clinton–his promotion of the Northern Ireland peace agreement, between Anglicans and Catholics, and with Great Britain.

George W. Bush–the prosecution of the Iraq War, a war that was based on falsehoods, undermining the Middle East and emboldening Iran.

Barack Obama–the promotion of the Affordable Care Act, giving millions of Americans their first time coverage for health care.

John McCain, Lindsey Graham, And NEOCON Hawks: Total Lunatics!

Senator John McCain of Arizona and Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina seem ready to have America involved in another major war in Ukraine, as if we do not have enough loss of treasure and life in Iraq and Afghanistan already!

Thank goodness that McCain was not elected President in 2008, and with moron Sarah Palin by his side, a heartbeat away, as we would have been engaged with troops on the ground in Libya, Syria, and Iran, along with staying in Iraq and Afghanistan, under a man who thinks war solves issues, and that America has no limits on military spending!

Lindsey Graham is always at McCain’s side, ready to bomb and attack, while very willing to cut spending for the poor and the elderly, and it makes one wonder how he sleeps at night!

But this is the Neocons at work, destroying our budget and our unity, in their mad dash to impose America’s will, as if this is the Cold War all over again!

The fact is that they refuse to understand that Crimea is to Russia what Mexico is to us, a boundary line that we will defend at all costs. If Mexico became unreliable and a threat to America, we would intervene as Vladamir Putin has in Crimea.

It is not an issue of endorsement of Putin and Russia, but rather an issue of Crimea being their “back yard”, and there is no way that Russia will allow an unfriendly Crimea, where a majority are Russian ethnically, to be hostile to Russian interests.

This is nothing new in history, and considering the numerous examples of US intervention since World War II. some of them justified and many NOT justified, who are we to dictate to other nations on the safety of their borders?

So it is a question of reality, not morals and ethics!

Cutting Military Spending A Good Step, Since We Have As Much Spending as Next Twelve Nations Combined!

The world is an unsafe place, and yes, we have to be prepared for any eventuality, but does that mean that we need to spend as much as the next twelve nations combined?

Can we possibly match the two nations with bigger armies, China and India, when they both have3-4 times our population?

Do we really need so many aircraft carriers, and more nuclear weapons, and more bombers than we have now, which cost billions upon billions, while the ranks of the poor and the near poor continue to grow?

Can we intervene in every international crisis, even if the cause is good and moral, or do we have to pick our battles, and only engage militarily when the urgency of intervention is clear cut?

The plan, announced this week by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, to scale down the military to the smallest number of troops since before World War II engagement, in a world where technology, including drones, is going to be used more and more, makes total sense, as future wars will not be fought like World War II or even the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

We will still be number one, but have extra funds available to help promote the “American Dream” for future generations, emphasizing health care, education, housing, and the revival of the flagging middle class!

The Republican Party will have a “knee jerk” reaction to any proposal to scale down the military, but it can and must be done in a sensible, rational way, or else the national debt increase, much fueled by defense spending out of all control in the past decade, doubling over that time, will suffocate American democracy!

The Founding Fathers did not wish a defense behemoth as the Pentagon has become since World War II, and the Cold War is over, and the whole strategy of defense can be modified safely, and save trillions of dollars over time!

Foreign Policy Debate Tonight Is Crucial In So Many Ways!

There is a tendency among many observers to think that foreign policy is not an important campaign issue this year, but they are wrong.

Foreign policy affects the American economy and its future, as it often adds massively to the national debt.

Foreign policy affects civil liberties, much more than we realize, as our rights are being chipped away in the name of “national security”.

Foreign policy affects the military, and the likelihood of more military engagements and military spending, in a nation which already spends more on the military than the next 10 nations combined.

Foreign policy under Mitt Romney is more likely to bring about a revival of the “neoconservative” influence, and intervention in Iran, Syria and elsewhere, which only benefits the war industries and wealthy people, who are too willing to send poor, unemployed men and women in as cannon fodder for economic gains that make the plutocracy ever more powerful.

What we need is a measured and rational hand on foreign policy, and the record of Barack Obama makes him far better qualified to be our Commander in Chief and our Chief Diplomat.

Mitt Romney would be a massive gamble, a man who knows little about foreign policy, leans on George W. Bush advisers too heavily, and loves to shoot at the hip with his rhetoric, antagonizing even our friends, as well as our rivals. He does not deserve to be in charge of America’s role with the outside world!

American World Commitment Now 95 Years And Counting: A Time For Reassessment!

This first week of April marks an important milestone, as 95 years ago, during the Presidency of Woodrow Wilson, who had entered office committed to domestic progressive reforms, he ended up becoming a war time President.

Wilson accomplished his domestic reforms, becoming the most active domestic President in American history, but later to be surpassed by Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson.

But also, after much delay and attempt to avoid entrance into war, he felt forced to go to Congress and ask for a declaration of war against Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Turks, and in support of Great Britain, France, Italy, and Russia, in what was then called first the Great War, then the World War, and then ultimately the First World War.

America had conducted trade with all nations, had gone to war against Spain in the Spanish-American War of 1898, had intervened in Latin America under Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and Woodrow Wilson, and had engaged in diplomacy with Europe and Asia, particularly under TR.

But the thought of committing troops to a continental war was beyond conception of Americans before the first week of April 1917. On April 2, Wilson delivered a war message, and four days of fierce debate began, with the final vote to go to war on April 6, by a margin of 373-50 in the House of Representatives, and 89-6 in the US Senate.

Since 1917, the United States has been engaged in SEVEN wars–World War I (1917-1918), World War II (1941-1945), Korean War (1950-1953), Vietnam War (1964-1973), Persian Gulf War (1991), Afghanistan War (2001-Present), Iraq War (2003-2011).

Additionally, this nation has been involved in military actions too numerous to list, or even to have an accurate count, including many secret interventions with special forces and intelligence agents in the CIA and other intelligence agencies, many of them secret in nature.

America has involvement in close to 160 countries in some form or manner, and we have become an imperial nation, the leader of the “free world”, first against Fascism and Nazism, then against Communism, and now against terrorism, which is an open ended commitment with no seeming end date.

This nation had a military draft in 1917-1918, in 1940-1947, and 1948-1973, but since, it has been the National Guard and the regular military forces that have borne the brunt of war. It has been easier for many in America to ignore our war involvement, since there is no longer mass participation in war. And that has affected the poor treatment of veterans who commit themselves to war, and now are surviving injuries in greater numbers, but often have mental issues not so easily addressed.

We now have very few members of Congress who have served in the military or in a war zone, and very few children of members of Congress who do the same. And now we will have a Presidential election with neither major candidate having served in the military, the
first such case since World War II.

This commemoration of our entrance into the First World War 95 years ago this week is a good time to stop and reflect and reassess what we are doing, and whether we can afford and also wish to keep spending so much blood and treasure on warfare, which is in many ways undermining our economic present and future.

We have become a security state, that is unwilling to face the reality that we cannot control the world, and think it will not harm our domestic tranquility and agenda. We are becoming a nation that can be compared to other empires that ultimately fell, including the Roman Empire, the Spanish Empire, and the British Empire.

The next President, whether Barack Obama or Mitt Romney, must get beyond the rhetoric, and seriously review the reality of what we are doing, and come to the conclusion that our national security is not helped by a constant state of war, and military spending getting out of control, and undermining our education, health care, and so many other programs and needs that will have to be pushed aside, if we do not stop the mad dash toward total, endless state of war!

Rick Perry And Michele Bachmann Both Claim They Hate The Federal Government They Want To Lead, But Both Have Benefited From Federal Money While In Office!

Governor Rick Perry of Texas and Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann both are favorites of the Tea Party crowd, and like that radical, anarchistic group, they both rail against the “evil” federal government that they wish to lead!

At the same time they are condemning, both have benefited from the federal government they despise!

Rick Perry has been very willing to take economic stimulus money, while claiming earlier that he would refuse to take it, and that money has helped Texas to be able to create more jobs than any other state! Of course, population growth, and the fact that Texas has the second largest population, fueled a lot of the economic expansion, with much of it being from military expenditures, the space program, and the stimulus money. But even with all that, the unemployment rate is not low, being 26th in the nation, at 8.4 percent and rising, and many of the new non government jobs are minimum wage! But without these advantages, Texas would not be able to brag falsely that it is a great success story of private enterprise!

Meanwhile, Michele Bachmann, who worked for the Internal Revenue Service for years, and works now in a federal job in the House of Representatives, has been able to get federal funding for her family farm, federal Medicare money for her husband’s psychological counseling center for gays, and a federally guaranteed loan for a home purchase, even though she condemns federal housing loans!

So both are totally hypocrites and liars, just sowing distrust of a federal government which has benefited them, as it does millions upon millions of Americans every day, and which is essential in the modern 21st century world!

The Lack Of Reality Of The American People As Shown In Public Opinion Polls

It is becoming very clear that the American people, based on public opinion polls, at least, are living in a dream world, avoiding reality!

Polls indicate that the people do not want entitlement cuts to deal with the debt problems the nation faces.

At the same time, they do not want to see the debt limit raised next month!

The lack of economic knowledge and understanding is pitiful, as indeed many Americans lack the ability to balance their own checkbook or take care of their own finances, and yet, somehow, magically, they seem to think that the only thing that matters is do not touch anything, and refuse to recognize that entitlements must be paid for, and that the good faith and credit of the United States government is at stake if the debt limit is not raised!

While it is clear that most Americans want the corporations and the rich to pay more taxes, it is also clear that even doing so cannot resolve the debt or deficit crisis!

The fact is that all of us will have to pay MORE taxes in order to sustain the entitlements that most Americans do not want to be cut back! There is no free lunch, as the saying goes, and praying for divine guidance will also not be enough to deal with reality!

So the answer is to make sure that corporations and the top two percent of the people pay a higher tax rate as they paid under Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton.

Secondly, all of the rest of us will also have to pay higher taxes and stop complaining about it, since we want the various entitlement programs to be sustained.

Third, there is an essential requirement to start cutting back on overseas defense bases and military commitments, which are having a horrible effect on our budget deficits.

Fourth, there is a dire need to reform the Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security system long term, so as to sustain them. Anyone who suggests no changes is being totally irresponsible!

Fifth, the debt limit MUST be raised next month, as not to do so would be totally reckless, dangerous, and detrimental to the economic welfare of the nation, as well as the world at large!

Finally, the spirit of compromise somehow must be promoted, or else the nation will at some point be in as dangerous a situation internally as it was 150 years ago, with economic class warfare, age warfare, racial warfare in the offing, a horrific thought!

A spirit of nationalism, and bipartisanship, is sorely needed, and right now, to resolve the nation’s ills!