Does being pro-national defense make one pro-war?
I recently suggested to someone that a nation that doesn’t defend itself will soon find it doesn’t really have to worry about much else.
It was in response to this quote by Dr King: “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”
For my purposes here, I’m not even going to address the rest of that quote – the assumption that it’s a nation’s business to spend money on programs of social uplift.
But it remains true that if a nation doesn’t spend enough money on military defense, then it soon won’t have to worry about spiritual doom, or social uplift, because that will soon be the problem of a DIFFERENT nation… the one that takes over after it bombs the snot out of you or kills all your leaders.
After this, it was suggested that I was pro-war.
But I’m not sure I agree that being pro-national defense makes one pro-war. Defense suggests, um, well… defending.
Let’s take this down to a more personal level. Let’s say that I own a gun (I do). I own a gun for defensive reasons. If someone comes into my home with a weapon, I have the means to cause enough damage that they leave. But I’m not taking my gun out and waving it around and shooting around the community, right? I don’t go to other people’s houses with my gun and shoot them. I’m not using it offensively. (But an important point is that I WOULD use it offensively if I needed to. I can’t think of a reason I might need to, though. I was going to use the Revolution as an example, but I think even that would be considered defensive.)
Or there’s Big Bubba, a large, musclar, former NFL linebacker. Bubba isn’t out to prove anything, but he can effectively defend himself if the need arises. But it really doesn’t arise that often, because most people are too intimidated by Bubba’s size to cause trouble with him. His offense is a good defense. But if somebody DOES dare to, oh, I don’t know, hit his wife… he can take them out with a good solid punch. That being said, he doesn’t walk from town to town punching random people. Also, an important point, Bubba DOES defend himself when necessary. Because he knows that if he doesn’t, soon people will learn that Bubba doesn’t fight back, and they’ll be able to easily defeat him.
Being strong on national defense doesn’ t mean being strong on national offense. It means having enough army, weapons, etc., to defend yourself. And enough to scare off most of the bad guys in the first place. And having the willingness to fight when necessary.
So I’m strong on National Defense. I think we need to have a good, strong, trained military. We need to have top-notch weapons and plenty of them. We need to have the collective balls to use our army (navy, marines, etc.) and weapons when needed. That definitely entails spending money on these things. That entails defending our country physically against intruders and attackers. That means that when Japan bombs Pearl Harbor, we go kick some Japanese butt. That means that when our strategic allies are being attacked by Hitler, we go kick some Hitler butt. (though I could also agree that we didn’t necessarily have an argument with Hitler ourselves, but that’s clearly a post for another day.)
That doesn’t mean I think we need to go start wars, or get ourselves entangled in everyone else’s business. I obviously don’t think we need to go take over countries.
That doesn’t mean that I even LIKE war when it is necessary. Who does? It’s so easy for the “peace” crowd to label others as being Pro War, but it’s really a misnomer (akin to my calling pro-abortion people Pro-Death). Nobody is pro war (except insane people, which would include terrorists). To quote Henry Blake: “Look, all I know is what they taught me at command school. There are certain rules about a war and rule number one is young men die.” Who wants that? Nobody wants that, and to imply otherwise is intellectually dishonest.
But to be honest, I don’t really understand what the average “the army should have a bake sale” bumper sticker-toting person actually wants or is “for.” I know what they’re “against” and that’s the military. (Or, should I say, they would probably say they’re for the military, but against spending money on it, so they’re actually for sending our military out with sub-par equipment and less than great training?) I don’t honestly know. I know what the Big Wigs who anti-military-spending want, but I don’t think they represent the average liberal… or at least, I hope not.
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