Tag Archives: Military

Si vis pacem, para bellum – If you wish for peace, prepare for war

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

Si vis pacem, para bellum – If you wish for peace, prepare for war

One of the traits often associated with libertarians is anti-war. I’ve always found this moniker somewhat odd, as I can’t think of anyone who is pro-war. There are merely those willing to fight for their rights, and those who feel there is always away to settle differences without war—you know—the people who have apparently never heard of Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Emperor Hirohito, et al. If you wish to argue Hussein doesn’t belong on that list, tell that to the people of Kuwait.

I understand that some will consider the 2003 Iraq war the result of a pro-war sentiment, but being the type who doesn’t believe complex conspiracy theories easily, I trust that the Coalition-of-the-willing who decided to re-engage Iraq in 2003 were reacting on what they believed was a real and imminent threat, as well as enforcing U.N. resolution 687, U.N. resolution 1441, etc.

The United Nations
The United Nations

Iraq had violated U.N. resolutions 16 times in total after being driven from Kuwait, which ultimately was the legal basis for going to war as noted here. The threat of WMD’s which turned out to be either Saddam Hussein’s own false bravado, or they were simply moved to Syria as reported by Saddam’s former Air Force general, was perceived to be real by all involved and I will not engage any other wild theories about why we removed Saddam from power.

When people say it was an illegal war and all nations who participated are guilty of war-crimes, I generally assume they are mired in Bush-hatred to the point of being delusional. I’m not necessarily condoning the war, but reasonable people must understand that hindsight is 20/20—had we known he wasn’t the threat he worked so hard to convince us he was, I have little doubt we would have continued to work towards peaceful resolutions with Hussein and focused our military efforts solely on Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

But that being said, if we’re not prepared to back up a surrender agreement and/or U.N. resolutions with military force, what is the point of accepting the agreement or enacting the resolution in the first place? If we’re going to allow someone to violate them 16+ times without repercussion, we are a paper tiger.

So about the size and scope of our military, I wish to make a few points.

  1. I believe it is foolhardy to assume that if we just left the world alone, no one would ever attack us. We tried avoiding war during World War II, but Japan attacked us anyway. We are a resource-rich nation with a lot worth stealing, and these resources and our rights are worth defending. Are we involved in too much? Absolutely. Should we be completely uninvolved? Absolutely not.
  2. If we understand point one, then we must have a system of defense. Every organism  has a defense mechanism, why shouldn’t we? I understand the idea of peace, love, and happiness, and I generally support it. But it’s hard to have peace, love, and happiness with people who want to kill you and/or take your stuff. To deny this, would be akin to arguing that every serial killer was simply misunderstood and likely provoked by their victims.
  3. If we are to have a system of defense, there’s not much point in having it if we refuse there’s ever a reason to use it. There must be a point at which you decide it is the best alternative, and reasonable people are always going to disagree on when that is. But for me, it’s when us or our allies’ are attacked or credibly threatened.
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan

So with all that in mind, I’d like to reiterate something I noted in my earlier post, Great Leaders Make Results, Not Excuses. While Reagan was often criticized for military spending, and was arguably the greatest builder of the U.S. Armed Forces, every successive president has placed our military in harm’s way more than Reagan did. So how is this?

It may seem counter-intuitive that a president hell-bent on maintaining the most powerful military in the world would rarely use them, but as most martial arts practitioners or gun owners already know, being trained to thwart any aggression against you doesn’t make you aggressive, it just makes you prepared.

For the benefit of those not alive during the Reagan era like I was, it’s hard to appreciate the overall feeling of the people at that time. We were in a cold war with Russia, and mutually assured destruction hung over us like a dark cloud that could send shivers down your spine just thinking about it. A real and rational fear of death was everywhere.

Don't Tread On MeBut one thing we understood was that if anyone dared attack us, the sleeping giant that was the United States would demonstrate the “Don’t Tread On Me” flag’s message with deadly consequences. Reagan was as affable as any president in modern history, but there was little doubt he would not hesitate to eliminate any threat against us.

For eight years, no one dared to attack us because of the threat of imminent death that would result. With the exception of Grenada, we were pretty keen to leave them alone too.

Andrei Arlovski
Andrei Arlovski

To illustrate this point, imagine you were walking down the street and ran into MMA fighter Andrei Arlovski, even if you hated the guy, you probably wouldn’t pick a fight with him. We all inherently understand the idea of not attacking someone we have little chance of defeating—it’s an example of our DNA’s self-preservation attribute. It’s for that reason that Peace-Through-Strength is the best chance for the safety of the United States.

So when should we attack? I wasn’t alive during Hitler’s reign, but my father was. One point he made to me was that after Hitler was defeated, the people of the allied nations had a collective belief that we could never let another Hitler be allowed to forcibly take over nations in a bid of world dominance. Hitler became more dangerous with every action we avoided taking against him.

Being the world’s last remaining super-power, on occasion, we may have to step in as we did for Kuwait in 1991 for the same reason. Had we not, Hussein surely would have become the Hitler of the middle east without stopping until someone had the courage to intervene as we did.

The United States is undoubtedly spread far too thin around the world. With the miracles of modern technology, we can cut spending by reducing troop levels yet increasing the capabilities of future weapons systems. But the best way to assure the safety of the United States and its allies, is to assure that we are so powerful, no one would dare mess with us.

I will never condone wasteful spending by any government agency, including the military, nor will I condone putting our military in places where we don’t ultimately need them, but I will never believe that reducing our government should involve reducing our military to a level that makes us vulnerable to defeat from an attack. If you truly want peace, you must prepare for war.

To Everyone Who Has Worn a U.S. Military Uniform: Thank You

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

On January 3, 2008 Golf Magazine published an article by David Feherty who was returning from a USO tour in the Middle East. About to return home, he stood as they loaded the caskets next to where he was to be seated on the flight. He commented that, at first, he had presumed they would be in a separate hold, but then realized that they deserved to be seated with everyone else, “…as it should be. This wasn’t cargo. This was another passenger” he wrote. He went on to say:

I wish I knew who was in that casket — one of the 3,887 Americans killed in Iraq as of December — so I could write to the family to tell them what an honor it was to be on the same airplane as their son or daughter, and to thank them.

Click Here for one of the best articles you’ll ever read

David Feherty
David Feherty

America is full of great Americans, but people like David take being one to a whole new level. You see, many of you know David as golf’s wisecracking commentator (who is actually of Irish descent). He only recently became an American citizen and now calls America his home.

He could be just like many Europeans who come here and make a fortune while insulting the country that gives him the opportunity to do so, but he opted instead to become an American citizen and show his gratitude for this great land by going overseas to tell our troops how much their efforts mean to him. In my eyes, that makes him a better American than most natural-born citizens.

Of course, people emigrate all of the time, but take a moment to stop and think; if you were born here, what would it take for you to leave America for a better life? I can’t even imagine a scenario where I feel like my opportunities would be better elsewhere. So when I think of what it must take for someone to leave their country, especially a reasonably civilized country like Ireland, it makes me remember how great this nation really is.

What makes it great? America has an amazing Constitution regardless of what Justice Ginsberg believes, but more importantly, it has an amazing group of volunteers who continue to put their lives on the line to defend it.US%20Marine[1]

The self-preservation instinct is in all animals, and we humans are no exception. However, our military put themselves in harm’s way every single day for what is often a low-paying job, not because of the pay, but because they have no qualms about putting the safety of others in front of their own for no other reason than, “it’s the right thing to do.”

David has been a huge supporter of our troops through the Wounded Warrior Project. We as Americans, for better or worse, are the proverbial spoiled children who often take for granted the freedoms we were born with and enjoy 24/7. While the Constitution outlined them, it’s only a piece of paper and cannot protect us from harm. Only men and women with honor, courage, bravery, and guns can.Wounded Warrior Project

It’s shameful when you see people like the Westboro Baptist followers, whom all were most likely born here yet have no compunction about disrespecting the people who keep them safe, while immigrants like David who weren’t go out of their way to honor those who serve.

I also felt severe shame after the first Republican primary debate when a gay soldier came on the video screen and was booed. It was appalling to me that no one on stage felt compelled to stand up and say, “What is wrong with you people? That man is putting his life on the line for you. Show some respect.” (Which is what I was screaming at my TV)

Whether you agree with their sexual habits or not, does it really excuse booing someone that is risking their life for you?

Close your eyes and imagine bullets whizzing by your head and not knowing where they’re coming from. Imagine being thousands of miles from those you love for not just months, but years. Imagine having 50+ lbs of gear on you suffering in the desert heat because, if you didn’t, a projectile would likely kill you. Imagine driving down the highway and seeing every piece of debris on the side of the road as a possible exploding device about to take your life. Imagine exiting a boat on a beach only to see people on top of a hill shooting at you and your brethren when you have literally nowhere to hide. Imagine flying a plane and seeing antiaircraft ordinance blazing by your wings or your radar lighting up because another plane is behind you with missile lock. Imagine being a lone sniper with your eyes on a scope for days waiting for one good shot.ied-cutout01[1]

Did you close your eyes and imagine these things? Guess what, our men and women in the military don’t have to. They live it, and if they’re lucky, live through it. Any time you find yourself complaining, just stop. You don’t know sacrifice like they do, and thanks to them, you’ll never have to.

So on this Memorial Day, I hope that we all can learn from David Feherty, a truly great American, how to treat other great Americans, our men and women in uniform.

From me, to every soldier past, present, and future, THANK YOU and happy Memorial Day!