Dollars for War in the Republican Budget

2017-10-26 – I am okay with a strong America. If we slight our military, we might be inviting challenges that could lead to war. And that’s my main concern: avoiding war. And a strong America is part of what it takes to avoid war.

Here’s what President Trump has had to say about war: “We never win, and we don’t fight to win,” is what he told the nation’s governors at a White House meeting shortly after he became president. “We’ve either got to win, or don’t fight it at all.”

He’s talking about most of the wars we’ve fought during my lifetime. And he’s right: we haven’t won. The last time we won a war decisively was before my time (and his). It was World War II.

But here’s the thing. During this period of our history, our military has been the strongest on earth. If being the strongest on earth has led us to a string of winless wars, what good has it done?

And what good would it do us to increase our military capability?

Part of the benefit of having a bloated military is that it actually takes war off the table for us and our potential opponents. Mutually assured destruction. But you can’t do better (worse?) than assured destruction. We’ve got assured destruction.

That leaves us warring at the children’s table with small countries and non-state bullies for which our massive military is poorly suited. At the grown-up table, we avoid war with trade agreements. At the children’s table, so far, we’re at a loss for peaceful solutions, but we’re handcuffed by our overwhelming might, so that we don’t even know how to win those wars.

Throwing dollars at the problem is not the solution (unless your purpose is to enrich defense contractors). This is nothing new. Everyone knows this.

Except Republicans.

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