Here is looking at you, kiddo!


That's the thing about the deficit, it doesn't matter...until it matters. And then it doesn't matter.

Or is that the other way around? I don't recall. Does it matter?


  1. On February 9, the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) will release a major report at an event on how the United States can revitalize its military officer corps to meet current national security challenges, and those that lie ahead. General James N. Mattis, USMC, Commander of U.S. Joint Forces Command, will deliver the keynote address, in addition to distinguished panel of experts who will offer their perspective on this important issue, including: Rear Admiral James P. “Phil” Wisecup, USN, President of the Naval War College; Major General Charles J. Dunlap, Jr., USAF, Deputy Judge Advocate General at U.S. Air Force Headquarters; Lieutenant General David Barno, USA (Ret.), Director, Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies at National Defense University; and Dr. John Nagl, President of CNAS.

    RSVP online here.

  2. CNAS released yesterday a major report on American power in the sea, air, space and cyberspace: Contested Commons: The Future of American Power in a Multipolar World.

    The authors advocate a renewed commitment to the global commons by pursuing three objectives: build global regimes that preserve the openness of the commons; engage pivotal actors that have the will and ability to protect and sustain them; and develop the hard-power tools and capabilities necessary for the United States to defend the global commons.

    CNAS launched the report today at an event featuring several top military and civilian experts including: Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Gary Roughead, USN; Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force General Carrol H. Chandler, USAF; Chair of the NASA Human Space Flight Review Committee Norman R. Augustine; Director of Defense Group Inc’s Center for Intelligence Research and Analysis Dr. James Mulvenon; and CNAS Fellow Abraham M. Denmark.

    Please note registration for this event is now closed.

  3. When Clinton left office he gave us a "peace dividend." Remember? All of about a one or two billion cut from our so-called defense budget. When he left it was at about 297 billion per annum. Bush more than doubled it. Nor did he raise taxes to fund his Iraq War, asking for supplementals from Congress. This is a budget Obama inherited.

    I bet Bank of America's books are more difficult to read than the federal government's. But even so...... We could easily lop off two or three hundred billion from the actual defense budget and still outspend the rest of the world.

    I can understand Obama's temerity when it comes to cutting Defense. Want a general uprising? Want to be known as "soft on terror?" Can any politician endure such heat?

    That's where the cuts, though, should be. Not to schools, environmental protection, roads, etc., all the so-called discretionary spending.

    Okay, Obama is the great communicator? The magic orator?

    Then why not try to explain to the American people why we don't need such gross, over bloated defense spending?

    Surely he could explain that our safety and security would not be compromised by cutting such over spending. That much of it is money which goes to maintain our empire. He could confess we have an empire, and explain it to the American people. And that the Republicans who will call him an "Osama lover" for cutting Defense are attempting to take advantage of them, the voters. Through fear mongering and even genuine paranoia. That we have no need to fear hobgoblins and should fight our enemies where they are. He could even bring in Eisenhower's reference to the military/industrial complex, and explain how special interests, in both Democratic and Republican states, have a keen interest in maintaining high defense spending for reasons which actually have nothing to do with our safety. And that much corruption needs to be swept out. If he did that might bring about genuine change and reform. He could look back at his first term, even if he is swept out of office, with pride.

    I don't think we are going to see that though. Will we ever?

  4. Maybe a bloated military-industrial complex is all America can be at this point in time.

    All that's left of the American Dream.

    I don't know, I am just asking.

    "Be All You Can Be" has been the recruiting slogan of the United States Army for over twenty years. The slogan was created by E.N.J. Carter while at the advertising firm N. W. Ayer & Son. He was awarded the Outstanding Civilian Service Award for his efforts.

    It's a good slogan.

    It' s part of the American Dream.

    It also carries with it some echoes of Abraham Maslow's notion of "self-actualization."

    Maslow defined self-actualization as "the desire for self-fulfillment, namely the tendency for him [the individual] to become actualized in what he is potentially. This tendency might be phrased as the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming."

    It is a sad thing, however, that so many people in America are left with no real choice in the matter and feel compelled to turn to the army in order to fulfill what sliver there is that is left to them to live the American Dream of being "all they can be."

    Most of the time self-actualization has very little to do with it: many of today's recruits are financially strapped, with nearly half coming from lower-middle-class to poor households. Nearly two-thirds of Army recruits in 2004 came nationwide from counties in which median household income is below the U.S. median.

    For some, the army is the family they never had, a sense of belonging to a great society - a thing that was not theirs in their civilian life, especially if they came from an economically depressed environment. Unlike the rest of our society: the army takes care of its own---up to a point.

    Army suicide rates have risen annually for the past several years. Army officials have not yet confirmed the number of suicide cases for 2009, but in December, the service reported 147 suicides through November, seven more than in 2008.

  5. I think Quinty meant "timorousness" - not "temerity" - in his comment regarding Obama.

  6. An easy enough mistake to make.

    Temerity... Now, that would be audacious, wouldn't it?

  7. Uh, yeah. Right. Timorousness. Thanks.

    Anyone here ever been in the military? Not me. I think though that the army of James Jones may still exist. The day to day life he described in From Here to Eternity. Some things never change.

    Like the training, nocking all individuality out of recruits, molding them to be team members. To think and behave in lockstep. Also, the Christian right seems to be strong in today's military. Gung ho, young recruits believe the orthodoxy, too. Whatever it currently is.

    Saddam is Satan, the latest Hitler in the world. We're there to bring freedom to the world. We are the good guys, they're all bad. Willy nilly the American troops often look down on "towel heads" and the like. They wipe their asses with their hands.

    These kids didn't get into Harvard. They didn't even try. Do we love the troops? They are, after all, fighting for us. They stand between us and our enemies. If you don't back what they do then you don't support the troops. What are they supposed to think?

    We don't want that, do we - negative thoughts, that is. We want morale to remain high. So what are we to do when we send off the troops to fight a needless and stupid war? Stay quiet?

    Though most of the troops will gladly admit that they are there, wherever they are, fighting for us. For our right to free speech. Nobly consenting we have a right to voice our minds, even if its dissenting.

    The troops, most of them, in today's army, are quite conservative. They are indoctrinated to be. They come from rural towns and slums from all over the country. They have no futures. (Though, yes, a few went to Harvard.)

    So why is it so unpatriotic to question what our nation's leaders do when they send off this precious national resource to foreign wars? Why are we somehow elitist or unpatriotic because we question this waste?

    It is a question as old as history.

    (Thoreau questioned the Mexican American War. Mark Twain questioned the Spanish American War. Eugene Debbs questioned the First World War. Everyone questioned the Vietnam War and every war since.)

    Okay, I even tired myself out with all this. Have a pleasant evening.