Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

September 1, 2010

We Mustn’t Shortchange Ourselves Again

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Mark Chubb on September 1, 2010

Last night’s oval office address by President Obama contained few surprises. As expected, he walked a fine line that restated his opposition to the war in Iraq and his support for our troops and their mission abroad. He spoke glowingly of the grit and determination of our men and women in uniform and challenged us to display those same qualities as we confront the economic challenges we face at home.

Although President Obama stopped short of either drawing a direct connection between the decisions and actions that led to the war in Iraq and those that led to the economic meltdown or blaming any one individual or party for these failures, he did make one observation that speaks to where his administration intends to invest its energy over the coming months:

Unfortunately, over the last decade, we’ve not done what’s necessary to shore up the foundations of our own prosperity.  We spent a trillion dollars at war, often financed by borrowing from overseas.  This, in turn, has short-changed investments in our own people, and contributed to record deficits.  For too long, we have put off tough decisions on everything from our manufacturing base to our energy policy to education reform.  As a result, too many middle-class families find themselves working harder for less, while our nation’s long-term competitiveness is put at risk.

President Obama has maintained from the outset of his administration that any distinction between national security and homeland security represents a false dichotomy. The policies required to promote our security at home and abroad are the very same ones that promote our equity and prosperity.

He notes that this agenda will require cooperation. It is not something he can accomplish alone.

Like those who brought us to this day and presented the Iraqi people with the opportunity to shape their own destiny, especially those who paid the ultimate price, the President asked us to sacrifice our petty personal interests and political agendas to find common ground. He challenged us to commit ourselves to a shared sense of purpose, one that reengages the spirit of creativity, integrity and productivity needed to shape a better future for ourselves, our children and their children.

If, as the President suggests, our expenditures on the war in Iraq shortchanged investments in our prosperity at home, we mustn’t make the same mistake again. Refusing to put aside our differences and work in earnest to rediscover the essence of community and democracy at home shortchanges the men and women who answered the call to service in Iraq and sacrificed so much for our sake and the future of the Iraqi republic.

We owe it to those who served, those still serving and those who will serve in the future to invest not just in education and innovation, but also in conversation and cooperation. Our best chance of making a better future requires tough choices today, and the toughest may well be making a commitment to leaving our differences in the past.

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15 Comments »

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 1, 2010 @ 3:40 am

Of course the distinctions without a difference between the costs and investments in Afghanistan and Iraq by the US seem to still predominate. Why exactly is that? What is it that the militarists don’t get the fact that the seeds of terrorism have spread since 9/11/01 although several terrorists have definitely been cropped! Perhaps it goes back to the definition of “Terrorism”? Clearly there was no addressing US policy in Iraq should civil war break out. Nor if the majority Shia decide to cooperate with Iraq. Or should Iraq decide the world market for oil outside of US or Western Europe demand can more than sustain the Iraq economy. Is is accurate that production of electricity and clean water still is below that available in Iraq before the US invasion? Public health? Education? Food? Housing? And what exactly will be happening to the $2B embassy of the US–largest in any country anywhere in the world and the 50,000 troops still in country and 300K US contractors? Just the facts, please?

Comment by HISTORY DETECTIVE

September 1, 2010 @ 7:44 am

“The new U.S. Embassy also seems as cloaked in secrecy as the ministate in Rome.

“We can’t talk about it. Security reasons,” Roberta Rossi, a spokeswoman at the current embassy, said when asked for information about the project.”

TSA DBA TSI. It’s a mystery to me. Maybe the Washington Post can figure it out. Before the internet, the press could get to the bottom of anything. Now we are more connected as well as more clueless. Fortifications are monuments to mans stupidity. 5,500 people there and half are security. We have around 20,000 people living here. We don’t have 10,000 police officers. I guess they are a bunch of romantics and love is a battlefield. Is there a wedding chapel?

Comment by Dan O'Connor

September 1, 2010 @ 8:09 am

“If, as the President suggests, our expenditures on the war in Iraq shortchanged investments in our prosperity at home, we mustn’t make the same mistake again. “.
But we have made this mistake, many times. President Eisenhower is not given much credit for his presidential leadership…in fact one comment related to his time in office was the bland leading the bland… but his prescience should have been heeded. Eisenhower focused his farewell speech on our future, expenditure and growing materialism. This is the genesis of the military Industrial complex. Of course, the cold war was accelerating but as history has borne out, there was no missile gap or falling behind the Soviets…it was a combination of fear and industry that kept expenditures moving in one direction.
He had battled ideologies and agendas in Congress and within his own administration over increases in defense spending. He pointed out that “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 are not clothed.” And he especially loathed arms merchants who exploited fear and Cold War paranoia to increase their profit margins. Eisenhower predicted that unless restraints were placed upon these “un-elected” factions, (perhaps present day lobbyists, contractors, and think tanks?)”the potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power” would exist.
Are their currently “homeland security merchants” pushing programs and ever expensive technologies to increase profit margins and exploit fear and paranoia?
Keep in mind as we’ve discussed on previous posts that this is not aimed at the guy or gal on the line, building planes or checking bags…this is bigger.
Military hardware only grows in expense. Its part of the technology panacea… The Gulf War alone cost a half billion dollars a day, or about $350,000 a minute. One fighter plane costs about $25 million. One Tomahawk cruise missile: about $1.3 million. One air-to-air missile: about $800,000. Tank shells range from $2,000 to $36,000 each. Where did the money come from? War Bond drives? Surplus? Borrowed from China and Japan? Social Security? Where does it come from? The future…
Translated into more everyday expenses, for the price of one Sparrow radar-guided missile, a school full of hungry children could eat lunch every day for 5 years. Just two machine gun bullets cost about $1.50, or the price of a school lunch. On a typical Gulf War bombing run, a fighter bomber carried about $1 million in bombs and missiles. The cost of a routine patrol for one fighter plane, even if it didn’t fire its guns, was about $10,000, just for fuel and maintenance.
These millions are peanuts, however, compared to worldwide spending on war. The authoritative Stockholm International Peace Research Institute reports that world military expenditures are averaging between $900 billion and $1 trillion a year. Using the $1 trillion figure, that means 2 million dollars are spent worldwide on the military every minute!
A $30 billion, 10-year plan to provide clean water to the poor of the developing world would cost just 10 days of military spending. Eighteen days of military spending yearly could eradicate malnutrition worldwide. Experts believe that $200 million, or about 2 hours of military spending, could wipe out the diseases of diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, measles and polio, which together kill 4 million children every year.
“. . .shortchanged investments in our prosperity at home. . .”. Hell yes!
Health care? Housing? Education? The possibilities are near limitless.
I am not embracing some new growing pacifist, left leaning ideology. Truth be told, I’d peg myself as a conservative/libertarian kind of guy. We need to protect ourselves and project commitment, confidence, and demonstrate unequivocally a consequence for threatening us. But I am a pragmatist and humanist as well. What was gained from the invasion of Iraq? Remove the semantic arguments; remove philosophy and speculation. What was gained? Debt, death, and delusion. Globalization and diminishing influence require greater risks and create ill defined objectives.
BTW, why is the DoD budget so large?
War is and will only become more messy, filthy, confusing, and destructive. We should not assume that there are good wars either. If Clausewitz was correct and that War is a mere continuation of politics by other means, maybe we should suit up politicians…
It’s very easy to send “volunteers”; kids, to do politicians dirty work. Is our diminishing influence an impetus to push our kids out there to “influence”?
“What’s the point of having this superb military you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?” Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright to Colin Powell.
We’ve failed to invest in America and like any neglected house, we’ve got a lot of repairs and maintenance that has come due.
“We owe it to those who served, those still serving and those who will serve in the future to invest not just in education and innovation, but also in conversation and cooperation. Our best chance of making a better future requires tough choices today, and the toughest may well be making a commitment to leaving our differences in the past.”.

No truer words can be spoken. But until we have candid evaluations and the removal of self interests and ideological agendas they are just words; dances in the ethosphere and reality avoidance.

Comment by HISTORY DETECTIVE

September 1, 2010 @ 9:04 am

“It was his last mistake Cause he was gunned down by a heartless woman’s .38” Journey ESC4P3

If it suits thee not, depart. One word explains man. Irrational. Reality…the kids need shoes… dinner needs made…the car needs gas…the grass needs cut. There’s really no avoiding these things. It’s a mistake if you do and at times it’s a mistake to say I do. I do what I gotta do. I’m good at it and the departed aren’t complaining. We’ll keep the streetlights on for you. They’re going LED. Don’t get Miss LED angry. It can get dark.

Comment by HISTORY DETECTIVE

September 1, 2010 @ 10:07 am

“There was no washer, dryer or refrigerator in the BOQ area and, thus, the opportunity to turn a negative into a positive – or should I say a profit? – presented itself.
On a flight to Barksdale with AC Pappy Cole, Willie Lowman and I got to talking about our situation. His primary interest was in cold beer; mine was in clean drawers – ” Amen
http://55srwa.org/MEMORY_LANE/07-1016_Benyunes_Washeteria.html

The Wash Your Own Club is still going strong. The dollar ain’t going as far as it did. How big is the laundry list at the embassy?

Comment by HISTORY DETECTIVE

September 1, 2010 @ 10:15 am

I just turned the page. We have the same quandry as President Johnson and our military advantage is of no use in Iraq. On top of that we are running an embassy the size of Vatican City full of sinners and void of saints. This ain’t going to go well.

Comment by HISTORY DETECTIVE

September 1, 2010 @ 10:23 am

Gee, wonder where the Wikileaks geeks get their data?

Comment by HISTORY DETECTIVE

September 1, 2010 @ 10:33 am

Another day, another washed up President. I guess the tycoons will turn a buck no matter what in the world is happening, so Washington can’t escape the spin cycle. Keep your beer cold and your steel sharp. Watch out for a woman with a .38 Special. She’ll hang you out to dry at a profit. Gotta go, sheets need washed and I need a shower.

Comment by HISTORY DETECTIVE

September 2, 2010 @ 2:34 am

Fact is is that there is no limit to the amount of good that you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit. Who owes who what? Only one needs changed is the baby. You voted for change and all you got was a crappy diaper.

Comment by HISTORY DETECTIVE

September 3, 2010 @ 7:55 am

Grandfather did his duty in World War Two. I asked what does anybody owe you. “Nothing”, he said. The scum also rises and how it does while promising everything. They all learned the art of political logrolling while forgetting the rugged virtues of the pioneer. Every man’s hand is out for pabulum from a swollen bureaucracy, hell bent on soft security. I’m hell bent for leather. Get back on your feet, miss two car payments. Use shoe leather express.

Comment by HISTORY DETECTIVE

September 9, 2010 @ 6:19 am

Went to the beer store. The fork truck was busted, so the beer truck couldn’t drop load. Last week the beer truck busted in half in front of FBI HQ. We’re protecting the scum, because the scum also rises. It just don’t shine. I got a silver dollar and five gems set in o’gold. Stick a fork in them, they’re done. I need to go drop a load and wipe with paper. Failed America, we won’t give up our beer. Brew where you live and live where you brew.

Comment by HISTORY DETECTIVE

September 9, 2010 @ 6:41 am

No funds…More acid attacks on the girls and other road hazards. Watch for oil slicks and other forms of gulf scum. Just caught some dead birds without shells. Now you are going to be put out of my misery. They saw it coming, they just didn’t have time to think about it. I got nothing but time and I love killing. Waste the right people and save time doing it. We’re doing it for free. They got fortifications, which are monuments to mans thick and empty skull. Billfold is empty and I’m loaded. I’m taking a leak and they’re all certain to die. We won’t need to forgive their trespass. They’ll just be No, you know. You get tired of mayhem, so hem a dress and send cash and gun.

Comment by HISTORY DETECTIVE

September 9, 2010 @ 6:58 am

OR don’t and get done, well the way we do it. You can chart it because it’s neat. They end up DBA. At least the buildings stay standing. They’re empty, but that’s the cost of doing our business. When you clear a room, make sure it stays clear. When you bury him, make sure he stays buried. I’m a reseller and researcher and operations don’t change. The baby is wet again, he likes change. That’s change you can believe in as opposed to change and a body count. Nuke Iran looks like a long mission with high loss estimates. If you can count you can estimate. They don’t do body counts. Give them a book deal for bad war planning and count your blessings.

Comment by HISTORY DETECTIVE

September 11, 2010 @ 8:39 pm

OR http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/3429711.bin
Between Bozo in Washington and Bozo in NYC laughter is still the best medicine. Keep the kids laughing guys. Keep the bombs falling and keep your steel sharp.

Comment by HISTORY DETECTIVE

October 4, 2010 @ 9:29 am

Went to get her ring and landed on Luxury Tax $75…Wonder if she’ll settle for a shield. Can’t show it off. Keep it on keep on keeping on. Need to pass Go and collect $200…Maybe I’ll land on the railroad next time around. Train kept a rolling all night long…Kinda pretty from NYC…Rolled into town in a police car…Tookit a little too far!

Draw Chance card. This is so much fun it should be illegal.

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