FROM SOARING EAGLE TO SITTING DUCK
By Mary Pitt
Having long been an observer of history and having lived through much too much of it, I have fond memories of the time when the United States was seen as the savior of the world. Whenever despotism reared its ugly head, nations of the world looked to the United States of America to come to their aid, to free them of their oppressors, and to assist them in rebuilding their country. And we did. Our military might was so great that opposition would fold before our unmitigated power. We fought for what was right because we were convinced that it was right and needed no other incentive. Our young men left their farms and factories willingly to vent their indignation against those who would enslave humanity and destroy freedom.
During the long "Cold War", when there was a potential enemy out there who could afford us a significant threat of a fearsome foe, our military strength was the greatest in the history of the world. However, after the collapse of the Soviet Union and its loss of influence over half the world, we determined that it was no longer necessary to maintain a huge standing army. In addition, after the Vietnam debacle, the prospect of a career in the military sort of lost its luster in the minds of young men. The Vietnam "refuseniks" had cast the entire idea of a draft into disrepute, and it was determined that the United States would develop an "all-volunteer army".
This plan did have a few unforeseen difficulties, however. The draft took only single men or those without children to support, and acquiring a number of dependents could earn one a discharge. In the "career army", however, the dependents came into play. Young military people would marry and have many children which required a higher pay scale to maintain them. Soon there were complaints about military dependents being required to apply for food stamps and welfare in order to survive. However, we ploughed on, building a fighting force that was "leaner, meaner, and more effective", according to "Stormin' Norman" Schwarzkopf.
This military machine was adequate to push Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait when he decided that the Kuwaiti princes should be punished for the crime of "angle-drilling" Iraqi oil. It also served well during the United Nations "peace-keeping" excursion in the Baltic nations as they erupted after having gained their independence from the Soviet Union. They also would probably have been more than adequate to pursue and capture Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan, had their numbers not been further reduced in order to prepare for the pre-planned invasion of Iraq.
Now we are beginning to learn that, despite both record Federal budgets and Federal deficits, our military might is beginning to fray at the edges. Our Navy is being used as mere support for land-based fighting and troop transport as the ships of the fleet require ever more maintenance due to increasing age; The Coast Guard is attempting to keep our coastlines patrolled against both potential invaders and smugglers with ships that are 35 years old and inadequate in number, and our land-based troops are stretched to the breaking point as they not only fight wars on two fronts but man bases in Germany, Japan, South Korea, and other countries that the average American does not even know exist.
At the same time, much of the rest of the world is starting to rebel against our unwise and arrogant intrusion into other sovereign territories and "areas of influence" in our campaign to control the world's most valuable resource, oil. In this this article by Sorcha Faal, we learn that China, in alliance with some of the small nations where we have established bases in Asia, is demanding that we remove those bases and, thus, our influence and proprietary threats from that area. To that end they have activated 10 combat-ready divisions to surround the the large American bases in Uzbekistan and Kyrgystan and have ordered the Americans to leave. To many, this is seen as handwriting on the wall. Coupled with the threat by China that they are willing and able to resort to nuclear war to prevent our interfering with their planned takeover of Taiwan, it seems that we about to have our bluff called by someone who will be a formidable opponent against our depleted strength.
Should the Neo-Cons, the international oil corporations, and the super-Christian evangelical doomsday hawks continue their aggressive, swaggering, "play-em-like-you-got-em" foreign policies, we may find ourselves faced with a couple of million fresh, well-equipped military forces, ready and willing to play the Bush brand of hardball. China is now the pre-eminent threat to the projected power-grab of those who plan for a World Dominion and we would be well served if we would respect that threat as we did during the Korean War. We were careful then to prevent a confrontation with the "Sleeping Tiger" and we should also consider that eventuality now.
We have reached our present state as the result of some bad judgements by administrations over the past fifty years. It is time for us to withdraw from the many nations in which we now have a presence, adopt a more conciliatory attitude toward other countries, and return to relying on the long-neglected art of diplomacy in order to keep the peace as we allow our "Mighty Eagle" to rest, restore her strength, and live to fight another day. If we continue on the present path, bullying other nations to comply with our wishes under threat of invasion, we may find that our beloved nation is a sitting duck against an alliance that is simply fed up with us.
Mary Pitt is a septuagenarian Kansan who is self-employed and active in the political arena. Her concerns are her four-generation family and the continuance of the United States as a democracy with a government "of the people, by the people, and for the people". Comments and criticism may be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.