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September 1, 2011

Boots on the Ground Here!

Blaine R. Young

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Now, I am not sure if we are truly desperate at the moment. Yes, the economy is down, business is tough; and many good qualified people are out of jobs. But I suppose things could be worse. And I certainly hope they don’t become so.


But if these times are not truly desperate, they are at least different and difficult. Money is not coursing through the economy the way it did just a few years ago which makes it much harder to come by. Therefore it makes us think twice – or even three times – before we spend it.


The economy is not the only thing that is different from some years back. The world has changed, and along with it the notion of where lie the most immediate threats to our national security, and, thus, how best to utilize our military.


No one loves the special people who put on the uniform every day and serve their country more than I do. I go to every local event I can find that honors the military. I have made many visits to Fort Detrick over the last few years, and the Twilight Tattoo ceremony is one of the highlights of every year and something I would not miss.


It is time to re-evaluate how to best utilize the courage and dedication of all these fine people.


Maybe it is time for us to stop serving as the unofficial and unappreciated protector of the entire world. Presently we have over 50,000 U.S. troops stationed in Germany, 10,000 in Italy and 30,000 in South Korea. Along with various other small European deployments, that means we have 100,000 U.S. military personnel serving, living and spending their hard earned money in foreign countries. And this does not include all of the current active duty personnel currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.


We need to ask ourselves if this is still necessary. And, is it appropriate? Is it our role and responsibility as a country?


It seems like any time we have made a decision as a nation to use our military over the last 30 or 40 years, we have heard constant and chronic complaining from our so-called European allies. It seems that they want us to have our military, send our personnel to their countries, and let us bolster their economies; but, for some reason, they don’t want us to ever actually use our military might.


I’m tired of their complaining, and I think it is time to send them a very clear message. We should start sending these people home, and put them to work within our borders and on our borders.


If many of these western European countries hate our foreign policy initiatives so much, let them try to do better. Let them take care of themselves. Couple this new philosophy with the ever-increasing advancements in military technology, and maybe we can protect our national interest without so many boots on the ground in foreign lands. In any event, I would like to give it a try. Take a look at from whom we borrow money, such as China, and see how many countries in which they have a military presence. Very few, if any, to my knowledge.


And think of this. Obviously, we have to take care of these people after we bring them home. We hear constantly about our crumbling infrastructure and how we need to beef up our presence on our borders. Why not take those who want to continue to serve their country and provide them with real marketable skills in the construction and other similar industries. Teach them how to build bridges and maintain them – dams, roads and any other things we are told are being neglected.


I can’t believe it would cost any more to pay these good people to take care of our problems here at home than it does to keep them thousands of miles away, with all their expensive hardware. This could give our economy a nice boost when we really need it, and we give our service personnel marketable skills to assimilate them into the private sector when the economy turns around.


I know this is a radical idea; but, in my view, different times call from different thinking. I’d like to see some discussion on it, but I very much doubt that will happen.


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