I had to ask myself the question when the Army unveiled its new doctrine today.
Army commanders stated that their future missions will be centered on “nation building” and “stability operations” rather than “conventional combat.”
Catch phrases aside, these army commanders don’t choose their missions, they go where they are sent. They carry out the missions they are given. They obviously see the writing on the wall as far as our foreign affairs policies under either Senator Obama or McCain and they want their men to be equipped and trained for it. I can’t say I blame them.
I read a lot of other “disturbing” phrases nestled in their projections between the catch phrases. Things like “frequently called upon” and “longer lasting” and “expensive”.
The one thing that strikes me in reading all of these things, none it of seems to have to do with defense. I find this curious since these missions are expected to be performed by none other than the “Department of Defense”. A return to less “politically correct” times when we titled men like Henry Knox as the “Secretary of War” doesn’t seem entirely accurate either.
Senator Obama has stated that his foreign policy will not be war/intimidation driven but will be centered on “democracy promotion.” Well, democracy is a good thing. So how will we promote it? Obama has used this term when describing how he wants expand the size of the army in order to send troops to stabilize the southern regions of Sudan. It also props up when he has spoken about ousting the Zimbabwean dictator who rigs elections and run a corrupt government.
Maybe if Obama becomes president we can place our military under the jurisdiction of the “Department of Democracy Promotion”
Obama isn’t the only candidate spouting interventionalist foreign policy however. McCain has called Bush’s policies to be “too timid”. Two invasions weren’t enough for him. He felt we needed to send more forces to Iraq, should not have taken the military option off the table in dealing with North Korea, and has sang songs about bombing Iran in public. I wonder how angry we would get if an Iranian presidential candidate sang a song about dropping bombs on us. I guess the Department of War wouldn’t be too far fetched for a McCain Administration.
Semantics aside, as much as I love them, the question we really need to ask ourselves, is this what we want our military to be dong?
Should we employ our forces around the world to remove regimes we don’t like, to occupy remote and ungoverned areas, or should we use them to protect our boarders and our citizens from hostile forces.
We need to put the “Defense” back into the “Department of Defense”
I am not saying that our military should not be strong or that we need to withdraw our troops we have stationed around the world. Quite the opposite. Having soldiers stationed in friendly nations such as South Korea and Germany is vital and well as having naval bases in countries like Japan and The Kingdom of Bahrain is essential to that defense. It gives the ability to rapidly deploy troops and maintain supply lines if we are attacked by an aggressor. The key word in that statement is “attacked”.
A significant amount of money is wasted on these nation building efforts, I have seen it first hand. We cut funding to advanced weaponry programs that could protect American citizens and hand it over to corrupt governments instead.
For a few personal examples, I was recently stationed as the liaison officer in Djibouti, Africa. The US government rents land from the Djiboutian government to maintain my former home, Camp Lemonier. The president’s wife uses the money given to them by the US to buy Khat and then manages the sale and distribution of the narcotic throughout the country. The US government spent 20 million dollars to build an AIS receiver array for their coast guard. Within 2 weeks of turning it over to Djiboutian control, the locals stripped the towers of the solar panels used to power the array and used them to build huts. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) and Space & Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) both put in bids to build the Djiboutian Coast Guard a coastal radar system. Both received funding, 12 million apiece. When it became realized that they both were planning to build identical systems in identical spots, neither would budge and they decided to put their radar towers right next to each other, doing the same exact thing. I can continue on for hours on wasted money in one of the world’s smallest and insignificant countries.
I also sat through many meetings and conferences in Bahrain. Admirals and Captains would complain about how they gave billions to Pakistan each year so they could buy weapons and help us fight terrorist. They did buy weapons, but all of them ended up on their boarder with India, not in the hills bordering Afghanistan. Their solution was to give Pakistan more funding.
Instead of building other nations, lets use those resources to continue building ours. We have enough problems to fix right here in America. Let’s take of those first before we worry about others.
Leave OUR military to do what it was designed to do, to protect OUR citizens and OUR boarders.