You may not like this: Eisenhower’s Warning Remembered After Tuscon Tragedy

20 Jan

Eisenhower’s Warning Still Challenges a Nation

Above, I’ve linked to an article transcribed from an NPR episode of Talk of the Nation, in which is discussed President Eisenhower’s final presidential speech to the Nation in office and it’s warning: that our country had (at the time) perhaps built ourselves too strongly overseas as a military force and should seek to bring our interests closer to home before the “military-industrial complex” becomes too much for America to control.

Astounding words from fifty years ago, aren’t they?

Some of our Presidents have taken them to heart:  Reagan, Clinton, Obama is trying…but it also seems that we have such vested interest in each of these countries, so much more so and beyond that of just military interest, that the President cannot simply order our troops out of those countries.

For example, take our impact in South Korea.  Not only have we been permanently stationed there (and legitimately so) for over 50 years, but to leave there would do two things.  #1: Give Kim Jong-Il a tacit green light to do as he wishes with the 38th parallel and anyone living nearby, but #2: our economic impact on the area would be stunning.  Just like any home town in America is devastated when their troops are deployed, so would such a long-standing military involvement impact the economy of their populace.  It would, at this point, be irresponsible to “immediately” evacuate our troops.  There are more involved implications, but these are the simplest for my point.

This is just one of so many hundreds of involvements where our military investments have become economic and commercial investments as well.  In fact, there are very few foreign countries that we have military involvement where we don’t have some sort of vested interest in their economy.

We have so much invested outside of our own country and yet involved in our own interests that it has, by Eisenhower’s predictions and warnings, become the precursor to our downfall as the United States.  I would put out that such stretching of our interests and abilities, beyond our capabilities, is mostly at fault for the devaluation and inflation of the dollar (not to mention that several authorities think that if we run out, we should just print more.  Thank you for taking us off the Gold Standard.  I still don’t understand that one.)

Now, I am not saying that we should shun global economics.  It is clearly impossible to have a cohesive and functioning society at the speed of Mastercard that we’re used to without the involvement of global trade.  I do, however, wish that we would, as Americans, focus more on our own responsibility AS AMERICANS,  instead of foisting these responsibilities on the government to handle.  Shoving our responsibilities on them only forces our governing body to create more laws and more presence in our lives, costing more money (translating into our country’s debt).

Where am I going with this?  How does this involve the Tuscon Tragedy?  Ok.  I’ll get to the point now.

Our Second Amendment Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

Why?  In light of the Tuscon Tragedy, Arizona is scrambling to vet in copious gun control laws.  What will that do?  Honestly.  What criminal mind will obey the law?  Will an assassin stop and think “Oh! I can’t shoot them there, there’s a gun law!”  No.  As the facebook post is saying, guns kill people like spoons make people fat and pencils make people illiterate.  It’s our actions that bespeak our fate, not the objects that we use.

Yes, this object is highly dangerous.  Yes, if there were less of these objects on the streets, there would be less of a chance of someone LAW ABIDING shooting someone.  But that’s the point again.  Someone intent on breaking the law will not stop because there’s a law in place.  It’s only a sentence on a piece of paper to them.

Now, if this had happened in Texas, an open carry state, I don’t think we would have had a tragedy at all.  Too many people take the responsibility of personal safety upon themselves to allow someone acting strangely around a large gathering to roam freely.

This, I believe, is crucial to Eisenhower’s Warning.  I think it’s a way to fix the over-involvement of our military, using ambassadors and emissaries as should be (and they are used, I know, but they are used in conjunction much more so than they should be).

Think about it.  Remember the stories from Pearl Harbor as to WHY Japan chose that location to attack America instead of ANY WHERE ELSE.  They, or the USSR (at the time our enemies, now both our allies) could have easily slipped across the Aleutian Islands into Alaska and down through Canada.  They could have flooded up through Florida from Cuba or made treaty with Mexico and invaded from there.  Why didn’t they?

Think about it very carefully.  What was different in the 30’s and 40’s from today that’s relative to my discussion here?

Most everyone kept a firearm in their household.  Men, women, children, all knew how to use one as a fact of life whether they liked it or not because it was the responsible thing to do.  We, as Americans, were not very far from a lawless society (then, about 50 years from Jesse James and in the prime of Mafia Wars) and understood that the bad guy could easily be around the corner and would just as easily shoot you dead as the next person.  Prisons were worse then, and some would argue they would be places to stay out of more and make a person more desperate.  Perhaps.

But back to my point, when interviewed as to why no one invaded the country itself, enemies always replied: It was crazy to do so.  Everyone was armed and it would be like fighting an army the size of a country.

Now, before you get yourselves tied into a knot about how irresponsible it is to give a firearm to everyone, I’m not saying EVERYONE.  I’m saying be RESPONSIBLE.

We should teach this responsibility as we do manners, societal norms (no spitting, no mooning, that sort of thing).  Someone who is taught to respect a weapon and understand what it can do from an early age will also be less likely to take it to school and shoot up their enemies.  Some of you will not understand this logic, I accept that and move on.

If we gather this responsibility unto ourselves, if we take our own safety to ourselves instead of relying so heavily on a reactive entity like the government (be it civil, state, federal or martial), then we give them less to do, they spend less money, and one of my favorite quotes from Eisenhower’s speech will become reality:

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense, a theft. The cost of     one modern, heavy bomber is this: a modern, brick school in more than 30 cities.”

It’s frightening, isn’t it?  And everyone who asks the government to spend less money, I give you this:  In order for them to spend less, we have to take back more.  WE, AS CITIZENS, HAVE TO TAKE BACK MORE RESPONSIBILITY.

Personal safety is only one avenue, but I promise you, it is the fastest, most effective, easiest, and will have the most financial impact.  Will it happen in two, three, five years?  No.  Ten?  Maybe.  If people start right now.

One Response to “You may not like this: Eisenhower’s Warning Remembered After Tuscon Tragedy”

  1. denagray January 27, 2011 at 5:44 pm #

    This *sort of* backs what I’m saying.

    SecDef Gates is pushing for some budget, ANY budget, that will allow him to keep the military and pentagon running on a reasonable dime and recently trained. So far, Congress is pushing his request aside. Why? Because his budget cuts aren’t deep enough for one team and too deep for another.

    I still hold that if we took other things out of their hands, we could maintain a cleaner budget. America, as a whole, relies entirely too much on our government for things that we should be doing on our own.

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