[Editor's Note: Today's blog post is by guest author William Seebeck. I've known Bill for decades, going back to our time working together at Lexis-Nexis in Dayton, Ohio during the 1980's. Bill has a wealth of experience in online systems, banking, publishing, and public relations.]
By Bill Seebeck
I think Ed Starr was on to something when he sang out the words of this popular anti-war song in 1970.
This was confirmed by my college economics professor, Dr. Emily Sun, who observed that no nation could sustain itself for long periods of time on a wartime economy. Simply put, Dr. Sun would say, when you invest in war there is no direct economic return. I mean if you buy chickens, you will have eggs for breakfast and ultimately, roast chicken for dinner. When you buy bullets, you get spent cartridges.
It seems that President Reagan understood this concept as it is generally acknowledged that his administration engaged in a military spending competition with the Soviet Union, such that their economy could not sustain the effort against the U.S. and ultimately collapsed taking communism with it.
However, the war in Iraq has been the longest engagement by the United States in daily combat in its history. It has also cost the American people close to two trillion dollars, the lives of thousands on both sides and helped wreck our economy.
Somehow we didn’t understand the implications of the Reagan plan well enough.
So, here we are deep in the deepest financial crisis in our history and we cannot ignore the great challenge that confronts us, as a result of our strategic, foreign and military policies.
Economics alone dictate that we disengage as soon as possible. Military sense dictates that our forces have been “punished” by continuous deployments with most serious long-range implications as to the type of force available to us for the future.
So what do we do?
Experience in the region tells me that we should acknowledge that we are willing to maintain supportive relationships with governments that are not religiously driven. We should further acknowledge that many countries that are ruled by religious bodies have a poor view of the West and as long as they make no designs on the United States, we should have no designs or interest in them.
With regard to Iraq, I believe that as long as civilians run their government, we will support their efforts to further modernity and that would include a joint military assistance program. As for Afghanistan, I believe that unless and until we have a very broad, disciplined and honest relationship with Pakistan, that we should forgo further interests in a country long dominated by war-lords with an agricultural economy focused around one product – heroin.
In the short term, we should remove our troops from both Iraq and Afghanistan. In our own self interest, we should make sure that the pipelines of oil that fuel our economies in the west are maintained without interruption through whatever needs required. As for the terrorists that attacked us, they should never have rest from our vigilance.
What's your opinion? I hope that you will share it below and with your elected officials.
© 2009 WBSeebeck