Archive for May, 2022

Fixing Our Military

May 10th, 2022

I don’t think that there are many who would argue at this point, with the statement that, “Our Military Is Broken.” With the over-deployment of our troops, the reassignment of our national guard and reserves, and the constant recycling of our soldiers into combat, conditions seem quite bleak. Our nation stands unprotected, without a standing militia, and our borders remain unsecured more than five years after the events of September the 11th, 2001.

Under the policies of Donald Rumsfeld, our Military has become broken. Under the Wars and edicts of President Bush, our Military has been overtaxed and exhausted. More of our soldiers have died in Iraq now then died in the attack on the World Trade Center. Over 20,000 of our troops have sustained serious injuries, most losing limbs to improvised explosive devices.

Our nation stands today at the weakest it has been since heavy deployment overseas in World War 2. We are far weaker today, in fact, as a nation that ignores the War. During World War 2 the nation was involved, ready, and able. Today we as a society are, not, not, and not. We as citizens have become disconnected from our military, most likely as a subconscious self defense mechanism, a way of distancing ourselves from actions we find unpleasant. I do not seek to assign blame to Americans for this separation, but I do think it is important that we recognize it within ourselves.

This country is a nation of unity, created and maintained by the people. Our military, as well as our government, should reflect in it’s actions our will as a people. I feel that the first step in fixing our military, in rebuilding it into what it once was, and what it could well be again, the first step is to reconnect the people with the military. We as a society must become actively engaged in the political debate. We must make our views known, not just to our representatives, but to the media, and to our soldiers in the field.

We, as a people, need to re-evaluate our concept of what an ‘Army’ is, and what an ‘Army’ should be. We need to take a close look at the death and devastation our Wars in the middle east have caused. We need to understand War, to understand how to avoid it. We also need policies that establish and maintain peace, and we need to remove policies that will lead us inevitably upon certain paths to War. The foremost responsibility of the United States Armed Forces, in my view as a citizen, is to guarantee the continuance of government, and to repel any invasion or threat to the democracy established by the people.

I feel it is important also, to get the opinion of our founding fathers, on what an ‘Army’ should be, when evaluating our expectations from our current Armed Forces. The U.S. Constitution has this to say about the ‘Army’, when it gives the Congress the power to create it originally:

The Congress Shall Have The Power:

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

The Entire U.S. Constitution Can Be Found At The Following Link:

Let’s fast forward for a moment, to the final (by my count, 9th) reason, according to George W. Bush, that the United States is in Iraq today, “We are fighting them over there to prevent them coming here…”

Interesting the powers this President has assumed without Constitutional Authority, isn’t it?

Fighting Them Over There To Prevent Them Coming Here…

To address this notion, my first thought is, ‘Are you kidding me?’ After laughing a bit, I begin to see that some Americans are buying this load of (explicative). Allow me to clarify things for you, if you are amongst the few who believe that ‘fighting them over there will prevent them coming here’. “They” must be defined.

If the “They” we are talking about here is Al Queda, then lets not kid ourselves. Al Queda operates in cells, highly decentralized. They plot and plan and set up, then they strike. There is absolutely nothing we can really do to stop that, according to the President. War in Iraq will certainly not stop an Al Queda operative from attacking a target in the U.S.A. They are well funded, well armed, and attack targets of their own choosing.

Now, please email me if you feel there is an argument here I haven’t seen, but I’d like to drive the nail into the coffin on this line of propaganda.

Let’s redefine the “They” for just a moment, shall we? Let’s call “They” China, for a minute. Yes, you know, China, that country that outnumbers our troops, and has a tremendous armament and air/sea warfare capability? How does fighting a War in Iraq help us there?

If China wanted to invade the United States of America, (I’m not saying that they do…) we’ve pretty much left the door open on our way to War, and we took our home security with us because we needed more troops. There are no gun battalions along the shores of Long Beach, as there were in World War 2. There are no troops here on the Homeland left to repel any sort of serious invasion. It would be left to the Police, the Fire Brigade, and the Citizenry to defend the homeland, should the United States actually come under physical attack today.

Lets think about that for a moment. Obviously, it’s a worst case scenario. It may sound like a scene transported from another dimension, or another time. I don’t really think it’s likely that China will invade the U.S., and probably for the same reasons that you don’t think it’s likely either. Could China (the world’s most robust military force) successfully occupy the United States of America? The answer of course is no. Just as we cannot ever hope to successfully occupy Iraq, or any other nation George Bush has on his hitlist.

Conquest is not possible. It is the impossible dream. Democracy, Freedom, Hope, these principles have swept across the globe like waves across the ocean, crashing at times in great and terrible storms. The civil and human rights these principles represent are an unstoppable force, and eventually these principles must prevail for our world to ever know true peace.

Defensive Stance…

Offense is not always best defense. If there is one topic I am qualified to share my expertise on, it is fighting. As many children grew up involved in basketball or football, I grew up heavily involved in the Martial Arts. I have an extensive record in the tournament circuit, and have trained in three styles. I have taught, and I have used my training in the real world, when forced.

There are several edicts that exist within the various styles of Martial Arts. These truths are universal, and any Sensei who has been properly trained will teach a student these edicts as imperatives. Fighting, on it’s most basic level, is fighting. War is an extension of combat on a personal level, and many of the principles that a trained martial artist employs can also be applied to War.

One of the first lessons that I learned, at a very young age, was that, “Karate is for Defense only.” Karate, or ‘empty hands’ grew out of necessity, on a small island called Okinawa. Under occupation by the Chinese, the islanders were not allowed to own weapons, or to train. Under these restrictions, the citizens developed Karate as Kata, or ‘dance’. All fighting is essentially a dance between two opponents.

Another important principle I learned in the martial arts, ‘To be aware of yourself and your surroundings gives you power.’ I also learned, through many bruises, the most important lesson, that ‘Every time you attack, you leave yourself exposed to attack.’

As a child, I was much smaller than other children my age, and had a hard time blocking punches and kicks effectively until I was about 8. I remember one teacher’s lesson, that has helped me on many occasions since. ‘A miss is a block.’ He said to me. ‘If someone swings at you and you don’t let it connect, you have blocked the punch, whether you used your hands or not.’ ‘You don’t have to fight at all, if you don’t want to, and you can still “win” the “fight”.’ This lesson seems counterintuitive, and false on the surface. I’ve found in my personal experiences however that it is true of any situation. Following the path to War in Iraq, this lesson was certainly lost on our current Executive.

Further on into my training, I learned to deal with attackers that had weapons. An important lesson I learned right away in this period of training, was that, ‘If you get into a knife fight, you are going to get cut.’ This teacher then said to me, ‘Make sure that when you get cut, it’s in a place like your forearm where it won’t kill you.’

These lessons all were good advice, both on a real level, and metaphorically. These lessons can be applied not only when fighting, but to life in general. These lessons are just a small few of the truths known to true warriors, and must be examined when discussing the future of our Military Forces. All of these lessons come full circle, back to the first lesson, that Martial Arts are for Defense only.

You must take a strong defensive stance, and be willing to defend yourself, but you must not attack without necessity. There was a word for Warriors like this, who understand War and it’s implications. There was a word for such men and women, the word was ‘honor’. It has been pronounced, ‘knight’, it has been called ‘samurai’, it has been referred to by many names. Warriors with honor are not feared by the public. Warriors with honor are a necessary part of human society, and always have been. We must regain such honor within the ranks of our military. We must demonstrate such honor to the world.

Cutting and Running…

The question has been asked, mostly by right wing pundits who cannot fathom the swallowing of pride, “How can we just cut and run in Iraq? Wouldn’t that be taken as a loss by the world community?” In short, the answer is yes, our exit from Iraq will inevitably lead us to be perceived in the world community as having ‘lost’ this war. The reason for this is the manner in which we’ve conducted ourselves.

It did not have to be so. Had we actually treated Iraq as a sovereign nation, worthy of our respect and diplomacy, we would not be in this mess. We picked this fight, we started it, and we’re going to eventually end it. When you pick a fight, start it and finish it, you are not the ‘good guy’, it’s really that simple. But I’d like to take this concept one step further here. Let’s pretend that this conflict was unavoidable, is it possible at all to have a violent encounter with someone and then just walk away? Why yes, yes it is.

I’d like to tell you a quick personal story. My friend Jake and I were coming out of my apartment building in the Bronx a few years ago, when we were verbally assaulted on the street by two large homeless men. We walked our way, and entered the corner store. The two men followed us, intent on trouble, and Jake, not being from NYC, was pretty frightened.

I calmly went down an aisle and grabbed a can of peaches. I walked up to the counter and paid, and put that can into the plastic bag the vendor gave me. I twisted that bag up and readied my weapon.

I told Jake to go left when we exited the door, and to watch for the men, who were on the right. I came out the door first, and one of the men took a swing at me. I saw it coming, and stepped back into a defensive stance. As I moved, I swung the can around by the bag and aimed it at the man’s head. He saw what was happening, and fell backwards trying to avoid the can. His friend picked him up and they ran off.

Not all violent situations will end like this, but this one did. It ended because I made it clear that I could defend myself. I made it clear that even if these men killed me, I would hurt them severely in the process. I made it clear that they had nothing to gain by sticking around.

I’ve been in many such situations in my life, and I find that to be the best defense policy. A Miss Is A Block. Violence Is For Defense Only. If You Attack, You Leave Yourself Open To Attack. Had Jake and I attacked these men, the situation would have ended very differently. Someone has to be the honorable fighter. Someone has to diffuse. Someone has to walk away.

War is no different. We cannot change the actions our President has taken. Our honor as a nation and as a Military Force has been compromised. The only way to change this is to begin again to act with honor. We must remove the Commander and Chief from office, and bring charges against him and his staff for the War Crimes and Geneva Violations they have committed. This is the honorable thing to do as a nation, as a first step in fixing our military. We must route out their policies of pre-emptive conflict and fear based rule. We must begin once again to adopt as a nation, a defensive stance.

A defensive military’s goals are the prevention of domination, not conquest of other nations. It is important to take a moment to consider here, just what exactly is an actual threat to our nation?

America is vast. Many cities make up it’s citizenry. The only threat our entire nation might face, would be one of nuclear attack. This has been a real and present danger since the 50′s. It is not a new threat, it is not unique to terrorism.

Our department of defense spends millions of dollars each year detecting and cataloging the world’s nuclear armament. We do a fairly good job detecting incoming missiles, and are working to defeat multiple ICBM attacks from other nations.

It is alarming to me, five years after the attacks on September the 11th, that we are still not prepared to detect and/or deter a nuclear assault from a terrorist cell within the U.S. To date, our borders lay wide open, and our seaports are largely unhindered with inspection as cargo comes and goes.