Musings From the MountainsMay 13 | Posted by writer | News, Opinion Tags: Gary Meier, Guest Column
Guest Column by Gary Meier
Questions needing to be asked.
President Obama, the great inheritor, benefited from Bush policies, enhanced interrogation techniques, anti-terror apparatus, information from Guantanamo detainees and intelligence that resulted in a win for America. OBAMA GOT OSAMA.
The next priority is dealing with another problem in the Middle East. Obama and other countries have invaded Libya in an apparent effort to quell an uprising in a terrorist state. Done with “permission” from the United Nations, the U.S. is likely becoming involved in another protracted affair, this time against strongman dictator Moammar Gadhafi. The difference is, Osama was a hunted terrorist and war criminal, Gadhafi isn’t.
That we are caught up at all in Libya begs a plethora of questions. Why are we involved in the civil war of another sovereign country? Are we ethically justified in interfering in the domestic affairs of another country? Why are we supporting rebels with documented ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and el-Queda? How does Libya threaten American security? What is in our national interest to attack Libya? What are the stated goals of this attack? What is the exit strategy? In how much diplomacy did Obama engage before these attacks?
All this while America tries to extricate itself from one of the worse economic crisis’ in history. Which leads to other questions. Are we being financially responsible becoming involved in another military action? Should we be taking care of things at home and let the Libyan’s take care of their own problems?
We don’t just have a military presence in the Middle East. World War II ended 66 years ago, the Korean War 58 and Vietnam 36. Yet, we still have military bases in those areas as well as in countries throughout the world. The extent of our global military presence is staggering. More than 800 military bases on every continent except Antarctica. More than 600,000 spies, technicians, teachers and civilian contractors deployed including 369,000 active duty military personnel in 156 countries. More than 50,000 local foreigners hired. More than 845,000 different buildings and equipment located on 30 million acres of foreign soil. Spending to maintain these bases is in excess of $250 BILLION a year.
Not only does this stretch our resources in a time of economic catastrophe, but often our presence around the world leads to unwanted and unnecessary fallout – noise, pollution, environmental destruction, expropriation of foreign land and hostility on the part of the countries in which we are located.
Is this behemoth global military footprint really necessary? The Pentagon replies that we are providing security for the world. In the 21st. century world of tactical weapons and rapid deployment, do we need to be there or do we need to be able to get there in times of emergency?
The summary question is: Are we morally charged with being the world’s policeman? The summary answer is NO…we need to close the bases outside of the Middle East, bring the troops and civilians home and let the rest of the world become responsible for defending themselves. At the same time the United States needs to become responsible for addressing a $14.3 TRILLION national debt and a 2011 federal budget deficit of $1.65 TRILLION. Realizing $250 BILLION a year by closing unneeded military bases would be a good start.