Is it safe? Is it safe?
The villainous character in the 1976 movie suspense thriller, Marathon Man, played by Sir Laurence Olivier, kept asking that loaded question over and over again as he drilled without anesthetic into the teeth of his captive, the Dustin Hoffman character.
That’s the first image which came into my mind Monday while watching Mitt Romney’s speech to an audience of military vets at the Veterans Museum and Memorial Center in San Diego.
“The world is not safe,” warned the Republican Party candidate ominously as he made his inane pitch characterizing the 2012 presidential election contest with the Democrats as a “choice” between “a nation that is weakened militarily” versus "a strong America."
Any critically thinking American would surely think about that utterly stupid statement: When in the 4.5 billion year history of planet Earth has the world ever been safe?
As we all know, the answer is simple: never.
And clearly no amount of military buildup will ever make the world safe. It will make the world less safe. The nuclear arms race between the U.S.A. and the Soviet Union, for example, has made the world less safe. Every military adventure since the dawn of civilization has made the world less safe for human beings.
But Romney’s message completely ignores that obvious reality.
Americans "have two courses we could follow" when it comes to the direction of the country, he declared:
"One is to follow the pathway of Europe, to shrink our military smaller and smaller to pay for our social needs… and hope for the best … But if we followed that course, there would be no one stand and protect us … The other is to commit to preserve America as the strongest military in the world, second to none, with no comparable power anywhere in the world."
What kind of nonsense is that? The U.S. could slice its military spending in half right now and still easily preserve the strongest military in the world, second to none, with no comparable power anywhere in the world. Surely he must know that.
Right now, our military forces are more powerful than all the other military forces in all the other nations of the world combined. It’s the main reason why America is nearly $16trillion in debt with no substantial reduction in sight.
Since when is supporting an enormously bloated and unnecessary military more important than securing the financial stability and viability of the country? Since when is wasting money on bullets and missiles and bombs more important than protecting the general welfare of the citizens?
There are plainly more than just two courses we can follow. Right now we need more than ever to stop the unnecessary spending on both domestic and military pork.
Romney, referring to a laundry list of potential “risks,” including "Iran rushing to become a nuclear nation" and the growing military strength of China, opined that protecting America's military strength isn't just to "win wars and prevent wars" but to deter wars. "A strong America is the best deterrent to war that ever has been invented," Romney declared.
Well, I’d like to remind Mr. Romney, (not that he gives a shit), that our bloated military strength didn’t prevent or deter the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, the Iraq War, the Afghan War, and every other minor conflict and foolish war in-between.
On the contrary, the fool’s errand of our military buildup and military adventurism all over the globe was responsible for starting wars – including the present never-ending War on Terror which has gutted the liberties and financial security of every America loving United States citizen without exception.
There is absolutely no conceivable military threat to the people of the United States posed by any other nation in the world now or in the foreseeable distant future. That is not just my opinion; it is the informed and educated opinion of U.S. military experts.
The scattered ill prepared ragged bands of terrorists who wish to harm America and other first world nations do not pose any military threat. They are simply criminals who pose a criminal threat. Osama Bin Laden was not a military leader. He was a common criminal, no more powerful than the likes of Timothy McVeigh, who pulled off a brilliant suicide attack with the help of a small band of criminals.
All Americans should realize and accept these solid facts. But politicians hate to let facts interfere with their irrational visions of glory and American exceptionalism.
Romney was joined at the Memorial Day event by his former 2008 rival John McCain, a Vietnam veteran and former prisoner of war whom Romney referred to as "a national treasure."
McCain praised Romney as a candidate who believes in "American exceptionalism" and would make a great president.
Sadly, from my humble point of view, it is precisely that attitude of "American exceptionalism" which is mostly responsible for the trouble we find ourselves facing in the world today.
If the world isn’t safe, it’s because of them.