The inspiration for this article comes from several sources. Among them is a Joe Biden quote, hearing several authors speak about their disparate books on Book TV and our recent attack on Syria. Let’s explore.
“Don’t tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.” That wisdom came from Joe Biden. Now that Joe Lunchbucket is starting to see that the Trump Tower Tax Cut really didn’t raise his net pay by much the Republicans are trying to sell the increase in the military budget as their great accomplishment in this Congress.
There is another saying about America fighting the last war.
We attacked Syria last Friday primarily with missiles. That action hardly qualifies as a war. The last major attack on America took place in 2016. The enemy never fired a single shot, launched a missile or dropped a bomb. The Russians attacked our democracy by hacking into computer systems and stealing data. While investigation results are still incomplete and therefore inconclusive, it appears that their manipulation (aided by the purloined data) may have been significant enough to have affected the outcome of the Presidential and several Congressional elections. In any event the attack took place and it had an impact. The real danger is that a cyber force may defeat democracy by making the public lose any faith in it. Whether direct or representative (like America’s) a democracy can only be successful if it is a participatory democracy. If Republican voter suppression efforts coupled with Russian hacking efforts are successful the pool of voters will no longer be representative of the population.
If you look at the military budget the main priorities are to buy the hardware of past conflicts. Is our spending, (which is reflective of our values), too concentrated on weapons of past conflicts? I’d say it is. We certainly do need tanks, ships, planes and such but what are we doing in cyber warfare? Is it sufficient? That is where the latest battles are being fought and future ones will also be fought.
Could part of the problem be that we are too invested in the “old technology”? The infrastructure of the munitions makers is established, its lobbyists entrenched and the political establishment adept at getting their piece of the action from them. That includes Don Trump who wants to get his beak wet on every significant government contact.
The new technology isn’t virgin clean, but it is not as adept at feeding the swamp creatures. Their competitors are established and have well lubricated revolving doors with the Pentagon and Congress.
Trump reportedly wants a military parade down Pennsylvania Avenue. Other than for making America look like a dictatorship and flattering his fragile ego I have no idea why. While wasteful and outrageously expensive, it is relatively easy to roll tanks down the street and fly airplanes overhead. A parade of geeks would not be nearly as impressive. However armed with some powerful computers they could do a much better job in a cyber battle.
I’m the typical liberal who thinks there is a tremendous amount of waste in our military budget. What makes me even more concerned is that we may well be feeding the past while starving the future. The reason to have a strong military is to keep us safe which our military cannot do if it is not equipped to combat the current threats.
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