In Defense of Defense
Howard “Buck” McKeon represents California’s Twenty-fifth Congressional District, which is home to an Army fort, an Air Force base, a Navy weapons station, and a Marines mountain warfare training area. So if anyone is perfectly qualified to head the House Armed Services Committee it’s old Buck.
Thank God that conflict of interest concerns don’t disqualify the honorable McKeon from guiding where and how our military money is spent. Because without defense hawks like old Buck to keep an eye on our security, we might get lackadaisical and let our guard down, and the next thing you know a bunch of Al Qaeda will be waltzing into the Wal-Mart with nuclear bombs in their backpacks.
We’ve previously mentioned in this space that the peace-loving U.S. of A. spends more on defense than all of the other nations of the world combined. There’s a good reason for that: We’re in a constant state of war, and we have been, more or less, since the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989). This requires vigilance, courage, and a very large budget.
Even in the face of an omnipresent threat to our families, our children, and our churches, a great number of Americans are asking that our national defense budget be cut! They want billions of dollars we normally spend on killing Pakistani civilians be redirected to programs that don’t advance our national security concerns, like education and healthcare. What these folks don’t understand is that even though we’ve doubled defense spending in the past dozen years, the world is more dangerous than ever. Perhaps we need to triple our spending.
Once more we thank God for making Buck McKeon the captain of our defense (budget). He’ll do whatever he can to make sure we don’t slip into a September 10, 2001 mentality. He knows what every good football coach knows: the best defense is a good offense.
Another thing Buck McKeon gets is that our enormous military apparatus around the world doesn’t merely keep our families, our children, and our churches safe. It projects an aura of power. We can all agree that this is very important to our national self-esteem. Indeed, there’s hardly a price you can put on power projection – that’s how crucial it is to our nation’s future.
In 1953, that closet pacifist President Dwight Eisenhower, a five-star general and a Republican, once said: “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed.”
Now here’s how Representative Hank Johnson (D – Georgia) sees it: “From time to time there are disturbances throughout the world, and these disturbances may disrupt our various interests throughout the world, and our various interests around the world, and it is necessary for us to have some kind of force to maintain order. It’s like competition, like capitalism.”
So if you’re against capitalism, go ahead and slash our defense spending. Otherwise, skeptical taxpayer, don’t let our most sacred priority be compromised on account of saving a bunch of entitlement programs. Social Security. Medicare. Things that no one is actually entitled to, when you analyze it.
Look, we don’t like that our tax dollars pay for cops to cruise around in gas-guzzling Crown Victorias, but we still contribute our share and we still respect the awesome aura of power that our cops project. The point is, what kind of America do you want to live in? Do you want to live in a nation that’s not the only global superpower? Not a global power? Well, that is not who we are as a nation. We’re America. Either we rule the world or we’re not really Americans.
What if, all of a sudden, we don’t have troops in Europe, we don’t have troops in Asia? That would make us pretty much like every other country in the world.
When it comes to stewarding our republic through these perilous times – again, we stress, more perilous than possibly at any time in history – having a remarkable man like Buck McKeon in charge gives us hope. A man who is not a marginal outlier but a mainstream leader. A man who has won many awards. A man who, like many other members of Congress, understands the utmost importance of our military and is able to do so because of superior intelligence and foresight, Mr. McKeon having never actually served in the military.
May he, and all the industrious weapons makers and trained killers he represents, keep us safe from those who hate our freedom.