Taking Away America's Big Stick
A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet
softly and carry a big stick." Those words are attributed to US
President Theodore Roosevelt. It was, as it turns out, a fairly
effective policy for Teddy, and it would seem, for the US for many
decades. Then we let our guard down and Pearl Harbor went up in flames
with well over two thousand Americans killed in a Japanese sneak attack
on a beautiful Sunday morning in December of 1941.
For six months after American took up arms to fight the Japanese, US
forces lost battle after battle, conflict after conflict, piling up the
bodies of dead patriotic Americans who, for the most part, voluntarily
made the ultimate sacrifice.
America's big stick had been allowed to shrink because, as our national
legislature came to believe, there were things far more important that
national defense. They were wrong then, and as we shall see, they are
Eventually, we won that war with both the Japanese and the Germans. But
the price was far higher in lives of American soldiers than it should
have been, and would have been -- had the United States been prepared.
would have thought the US government would have learned it's lesson.
You would have been wrong. As soon as the victory celebrations were
spent, the trash swept away, the red, white, and blue bunting taken down
and placed in storage, we immediately began cutting our military forces
-- both in man power and in materiel for war-fighting.
In less than five years the US was at war again. This time in a place called Korea.
Again, American troops, many green, many Reservists and National
Guardsmen. were chewed-up by the enemy because the US was not prepared.
We didn't have the troops. Worse, the troops we DID have were not
properly trained -- and -- we didn't have the war-fighting materiel
necessary to go to war and expect victory.
We did not win the Korean War. At best, it ended in a tie. To this
day, the US maintains some 30,000 to 40,000 combat troops on the border
between North and South Korea to help insure the "ceasefire" holds.
Technically, we are still at war on the Korean peninsula.
Before the decade of the 1950's was finished, I, myself, was in the US
Army. Every so often we would hear of a place called Vietnam. Nobody,
it seems, knew where the heck that place was. We heard rumors of
"special" troops, Rangers mostly, being trained in the jungles of
Central and South America to be sent to that "place" as advisors to the
military forces of that country's dictator. In another five years the
name Vietnam was on practically every Americans lips. The US lost some
58,000 young Americans in the steaming jungles of that place -- and we
didn't win there either. We just threw up our hands and walked away in
disgust. Combat troops came home telling stories about rules of
engagement that would not allow them to win the war. In fact, America
won every battle -- and still lost that war.
Besides the little "brush fire conflicts" we managed to stay out of a
major war until our little incursion into Kuwait in the early 1990's to
liberate that tiny desert country from the forces of a Middle Eastern
nut case, Saddam Hussein. This time we HAD the highly trained manpower
and the materiel and it took us about a week to win that conflict --
decisively. But, we stopped too soon.
In September of 2001, the US was attacked by Islamofascists and we were
off to war in a place called Afghanistan, which, by the way, is next
door to Iraq.
Instead of going in and cleaning out the terrorists in Afghanistan, then
pulling out, our government decided to stay and build a new democratic
nation in Afghanistan. DUMB mistake!
Then Hussein, next door in Iraq, began kicking up his heels and making
hegemonic utterances again, so the US military was directed to invade
and topple his government and liberate Iraq -- all while trying to root
out terrorists in Afghanistan and build a new democratic country
America found itself fighting those two wars simultaneously. Turned out
we could do that, just as we had claimed. It also became clear that we
absolutely sucked at nation building.
The US government decided to use the military as ambassadors rather than soldiers in
that program of "nation building." It was, for liberal's, equivalent
to a paroxysm of ecstasy. Soon nation building was in full bloom in
both Iraq and Afghanistan and -- nation building proved fatal to our war
efforts in both countries.
Again, we simply walked out of Iraq, our nation building an abject
failure and we are currently headed toward the same exit strategy in
Afghanistan. Both countries will soon return to their former "hell
hole" conditions. Of course, the official accounting of how the wars in
Iraq and Afghanistan ended will not reflect the failure of nation
building, nevertheless, the truth is right before our eyes.
Already, Iraq is slipping right back into the cesspool it was before we
yanked their dictator out of a hole in the ground and hung him, and
Afghanistan, well, let us just say that Afghanistan is showing so signs
of conversion to anything approaching a democratic form of government.
In all likelihood, the US will throw up it's hands, again, and walk out
of Afghanistan in 2014 -- in failure. Even today the Taliban is
reasserting itself and the government of that country, such as it is,
will fall within hours of the exit of US forces.
The problem is as clear as day: Our government does not have the will
to use the "big stick." That's problem one. Problem two is that
program from hell -- nation building.
The military is for destroying nations -- not building nations. The
conflict between the two is blindingly brilliant, and yet, our leaders,
most of whom have never spent a day in uniform, can't see it.
There MUST be a price to pay for attacking the United States. There must be
a price to pay for bringing the might of the US military down on your
country. As it is, these days, war with the US is turning out to be a
form of "urban renewal" with US troops and US taxpayers footing the
While our troops are busy trying to prop-up the government of
Afghanistan the US is nearing completion of a massive build-up of
military forces just off shore of Iran. A Middle Eastern regional war
is just a button push away. It could come at any moment.
Look. Fighting wars in the Middle East is akin to playing "catch" with a
tar ball. Once you pick up the ball, you can never drop it again.
Benjamin Harrison, the 23rd President of the United States said: “We
Americans have no commission from God to police the world.” As it
turned out, a celestial commission was not needed and America got the
job by default.
There are times when the nation upon whose shoulders the burden of
global sheriff has fallen, finds it must wield the "big stick." When
those moments come, and they seem to be rolling around far more often
than they have in the past, it is incumbent upon the US to have a
formidably "large cudgel" to wield.
Today the US military is engaged, in one way or the other, in at least
100 countries around the globe. We have seen, within the past three and
a half years, what happens when the US attempts to withdraw from it's
role as global police. Large portions of the world go up in flames that
threaten the entire globe.
Now. Let's talk insanity. With all this ongoing, our government is set
to gut the US military to the tune of five hundred billion dollars over
the next decade, or so. That figure will be added to cuts approved
With sequestration set to take effect beginning the first of the year
(January 2nd, 2013) the US is looking at the expectation of a hollowed
out military unlike anything this country has experienced since before
World War Two. If this were medieval times we'd be lowering America's
draw bridge, draining the moat, and throwing open the gates of the
city. Yes, it's THAT bad.
"The Defense Department's senior leaders strongly warned Congress Feb.
16 that doubling defense spending cuts would leave the military without a
workable strategy to counter staggering global threats." SOURCE: http://article.wn.com/view/2012/02/22/DOD_Sequestration_would_defeat_military_strategy/
THIS is taking away America's big stick -- and don't think for one second our enemies will not take advantage of this lapse in sanity.
Look. It is a simple equation: Pay for war in piles of money, or pay for war in piles of dead Americans. Stark -- but true.
For all the reasons above, and far more, Congress should de-trigger sequestration immediately.
J. D. Longstreet
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