Do The Freakin Math

Liberals and conservatives alike frequently rely on limited evidence, personal experience, religious beliefs or gut emotions to determine solutions for complex problems. From immigration to global warming - taxes to terrorism - or health care to free trade - analytical study is rare. Science based policy making isn’t the way of Washington. And the consequences are catastrophic. Change is urgently needed. Just do the freakin’ math.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

National security vs capitalism

Dear Editor,

Frank Gaffney, Jr. accurately details the lethal dilemma in US military systems relying on “foreign suppliers” for key logistical needs, but, then states that our ‘tanker’ capabilities are “arguably one of the most important determinants of US ability to project power around the world”.

Mr. Gaffney simply doesn’t understand several other components that are far more important to protecting the lives, freedoms and prosperity of the American people.

First, our nation’s prosperity is key to maintaining any semblance of military superiority that Gaffney and others believe are the key to our nation’s survival. Yet this ‘national’ prosperity is entirely dependent upon a global capitalist system that currently has an absence of enforceable national government controls. And we can clearly see that unregulated private capital investments anywhere (U.S. Mortgage finance rules or OPEC oil supply decisions) can harm prosperity everywhere.

Second, Gaffney makes a catastrophic error in assuming military threats are the only (or even the greatest) threat we Americans face. Pandemics, climate change or natural disasters could cause far more devastation than some European country failing to join with us in executing yet another questionable war.

Third, Gaffney assumes that domestic companies will provide near perfect military systems -- yet current examples of corruption in ‘cost plus contracts’ with Halliburton or their incompetence in supplying US troops with clean water or body armor, or the repeated instances of spies within U.S. companies to providing useful information to our enemies.

Forth, there is also the military itself that provides weapons and advanced weapon systems and technology to those who are the ‘enemy of our enemy’, who will likely someday become our enemy again. Arming the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation in 1980s or providing Saddam with chemical and biological weapons components as he was gassing the Kurds and Iranians before he became our enemy are just two of hundreds of such examples of such insanity.

Last, military power is not ‘one of the most important determinants” of US power projection. Our moral ideals expressed within our ‘Declaration of Independence’, our ultimate devotion to the rule of law instead of the law of force, and our innate tolerance for diversity of thought, religious belief and phenotype are far more powerful in influencing human behavior throughout the world – when we chose to practice them.

Mr. Gaffney and others like him must eventually come to grips with reality. We cannot rely on independent forces to protect us in an irreversibly and entirely interdependent world. We must either chose a globally regulated capitalism system where national sovereignty does not reign supreme, or continue retaining the faulty ideal of national sovereignty and abandon any and every aspect of an unregulated or even partially regulated global capitalist world. Trying to maintain both is truly a “ plane wreck” in the making.

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