Saturday, July 05, 2008

In Defense of Defense

A Senator was recently castigated for embellishing his military service record, claiming that he had been in a certain conflict when he had not. It turns out that he served during that time frame but in a different area and he never saw any action. Is he any less significant in that he did not see any action? Untested, maybe. But no less significant. He served and I respect that. He lied and I cannot respect that.

I recently toured one of the three Army forts that had been established in 1900 to defend the Northwest's Puget Sound: Fort Casey, Fort Warden, and Fort Flagler. These three forts created a "Triangle of Fire" for any enemy ships that might try to attack the Sound. The forts were not cheap to build or maintain. Hundreds of soldiers were stationed there during the first half of the 20th century. The enemy never came and the forts never saw any action. Was this a waste of resources?

Just think of the money and manpower we could save if we could only deployed troops where they would be needed? No "useless" forts or ships. No military personnel that have never seen combat. Target the enemy where they are and let everybody else go about their business. But, that is not the nature of war. Is it?

If any enemy realizes that all of our troops are committed to a specific area, instead of sending reinforcements there, they could just send a much smaller force to attack where we have no troops, causing greater damage and more casualties. With no reserves, our flanks are exposed.

Our defensive shield consists of more than just our troops committed to any immediate action:
  1. Ready airmen, marines, sailors, and soldiers are deployed around the world providing a first line response to any possible aggression. In the absence of aggression, they provide a fine deterrence.
  2. The National Guard and the Reserves provide a ready and able pool of Americans willing to step in and fill any gaps on short notice.
  3. If the gap widened, most of the veterans I know would gladly stand shoulder to shoulder again. Branch rivalry aside, all Civil Servants, Grunts, Puddle Pirates, Jarheads, and Squids* would gladly serve with each other.
  4. Last but not least, is our Second Amendment. A recent news report I heard said we have more guns per capita than any country in the world (They said this like it was a bad thing). Our armed citizenry is the ultimate poison pill for any future Napoleon or Hitler that is somehow able to breach the first three lines of our defenses.
No! Freedom isn't free. Nor does it come cheaply. It requires constant vigilance and an able defense. Some will pay the ultimate sacrifice. Hopefully and prayerfully, most will not. But it also requires that we have troops, forts, equipment, and weapons that may never see any action. It requires that we have men and women ready to serve wherever they are needed. It behooves those of us who have served to support those now serving and share with them why they are needed. It's a team effort, true patriotism.

I heartily thank all of those that have served, are serving, and will serve. For those of you who would rather see us become more like Europe: ready to appease the enemy, avoiding any aggression, and obliterating our Second Amendment right; I would like to wish a pox upon you. But that would not be right. You have the freedom granted in our First Amendment to say what you believe. I just don't like you because your are going to get us killed.

* For the uninitiated: Civil Servants = Air Force; Grunts = Army: Puddle Pirates = Coast Guard; Jarheads = Marines: and Squids = Navy.

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