Saturday, June 03, 2006

"Militaristic"

On a friend's blog today he commented in passing he believed his own country was "less militaristic" than the USA.

His use of that word set off bells in my head, reminding me once again of the "gap" between what most Americans think of themselves versus what some think are the generally accepted opinions of the "rest of the civilized world".

After losing a half hour or so looking up various references I decided to post on the issue here, rather than use up his own "space" with a lengthy response.

(Besides, it gives me a chance to use my recently installed "Performancing" extension on Firefox).

At times we use words rather carelessly, I think. I hope I would never say his country was "more passive" than mine, although it is. (When I think of passive from my own perspective I think of a herd of cow's lined up in the dairy barn, contentedly eating their feed and all being hooked up to milking machines - being milked. The "ladies" are actually anxious to enter their stalls and co-operatively commence a "disgorgement" process of their swollen udders. This is not a flattering view of what some think to be a dynamic country. So I'll never say it).

Back to "militaristic". Okay, it was a fair comment. He didn't say we were, just that we were more than his own folk.

As an American I don't think in "militaristic" terms. I don't think in terms of relying on our military to enforce my country's POV on the national stage. I would much rather talk than fight. And if the other guy will just talk reasonably, I am content to keep talking for quite a spell. Years. Decades. Centuries, if some progress is apparent.

But as a westerner in the USA I may be more sensitive than some to the odor of cow dung. And when what the other guy is saying begins to smell like last week's pasture-droppings, I don't have a lot of patience for him to realize the conversational phase of our interactive time is drawing to a close - that his future may not be as rosy as his past.

Winston Churchill's dictum, "Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it" is never more apparent than today when millions of well-meaning folk keep "hoping" there has to be some other way than conflict to deal with radical Islam and avoid bloodshed.

Barry Goldwater - IMO the best president there never was - put it best, I think, when he said, "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice; Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue". When I look at the tentiveness with which many of the other western democracies approach some of the current international issues I shake my head in despair. Where is their pursuit of justice? How can they possibly expect a corrupted institution like the UN to function in a reasonably acceptable way? Or is their sense of human justice tainted in some way by their national interests - or just plain passiveness? But forget I asked the latter, please.

There is definately a "gap". We all need to "mind" it very carefully. When it grows larger, the reaction to it can become much too violent. But the recent assignment of some of our northern neighbor's own military to service in Afghanistan helps draw that gap closer. IMO that is a good thing. God speed, "Canucks". I pray for the safety of your young military men and women, too.

14 comments:

Stephen (aka Q) said...

Military spending in the USA measured against military spending in the rest of the world: table.

The data covers the years from 1985 through 1999. At all times, at least one quarter and as much as one third of the world's military spending is courtesy of the USA.

Is that too much? Is it enough? I suppose one can debate the issue.

But honestly, how can you object to the word "militaristic"?

The "gap" between what most Americans think of themselves versus what some [others] think.

I don't doubt there's a gap; but whose thinking is in need of a realignment?

49erDweet said...

Q:

..."whose thinking is in need of a realignment?" indeed.

I looked at the tables, and then looked even further to see what was behind the data, and formed an opinion probably contrary to yours. It seems the US's military budget each year is averaging about 4% of our national GDP. To spend that small of an amount each year in ensuring the survival of our peoples, nation and liberty on this continent seems an insignificant price to pay.

If the US were to cut our military expenditures to the level supported by your country over the past six years would we still be a free country today? No way to prove it, of course, but I would rather not take those chances - thank you very much. To me it's a small price to pay for having 'bullseyes' painted on us by most of the "crazies" in the world.

Back to the post. I stand by what I wrote. I think Canadian troops serving in Afghanistan helps draw our countries closer together. And that is a good thing. Even when friends north of border mistakenly believe I "despise" them.

Cheers

Stephen (aka Q) said...

Now, now, I only said you despise some of the things that I'm proudest of. Not that you despise Canada overall.

And actually I agree with those who think that Canada doesn't spend enough of its GDP on our military, and we aren't pulling our weight internationally. Arguably the USA's spending on its military is inflated because Canada isn't holding up its end of the bargain. (Although actually I doubt that the USA would reduce its spending if Canada increased its spending.)

Also, I support Canadian efforts in Afghanistan, while many of my fellow Canadians do not. So we're not in total disagreement on this topic.

Bill said...

Q is right many Canadians do not support the war. I'm one of those just to out myself so to speak.

I won't bore you with more of my reasoning for pacificism, but point out one thing.

Many pro-justice pro-war writers like to portray the less militaristic or pacifist leaning nations as weak, but it takes more courage to stand in front of a bullet unarmed than with a cannon.

No offense but more cowards carry guns, than the truly brave, who will do as Christ did and die to save the world.

49erDweet said...

Bill, thanks for commenting. You are always a welcome addition to the 'fray', as it were.

You said: "Many pro-justice pro-war writers like to portray the less militaristic or pacifist leaning nations as weak, but it takes more courage to stand in front of a bullet unarmed than with a cannon."

I couldn't agree with you more. "Pacifist" and "weak-kneed" are absolutely not the same thing, at least in my book. So I'll not be taking any verbal pot-shots at those of that persuasion. Nor will I try to match point-by-point your beliefs, etc.

I will express this opinion, however, relative to the arena of WWJD. I firmly believe He would respond as you suggest if it were only His own "self" being threatened.

But if He were 'charged' with nuturing or caring (or protecting) defenceless others, such as small children, etc., are you sure he would allow them to be ravaged without lifting a finger? I'm not.

The other world danger I see in pacificism is that many muslim's also seem to share the "assumption" you mentioned in your excerpt, above. Which leads many of them down strange and dangerous paths, sometimes. Ergo, the recent Toronto arrests.

You are 'spot on' concerning many cowards and their guns. But some cowards also rely on their word processors, cell phones, newspaper columns, radio shows, letters to the editor and other seemingly innocuous 'stuff', too.

I've always considered a gun a 'tool', not a way of life. I understand this is not a world-view shared by many other cultures. It is just me.

Bill said...

I generally understand your position. Although I am a 100% pacifist. The positions raised by many non pacifists can be defended well. Personally however I could not kill something God created. If it happened in defense, I would feel guilty but justified.

Your point on Muslims assuming weakness in pacifist nations may be partially true. First, it is just the fundamental Muslim states that are the problem. Some Islamic states are on the US / Western civ side in this fight. The newest olive branch to Iran I suspect is a way of keeping the whole thing from boiling into a true west vs east conflict. We really don't need even a conventional type WWIII.


As for your comment;

"But if He were 'charged' with nuturing or caring (or protecting) defenceless others, such as small children, etc., are you sure he would allow them to be ravaged without lifting a finger? I'm not."

I would agree but I just want to clarify (and I suspect I am right), you aren't saying that the US is Charged with protecting other states?

I suspect you are defending the proactive nature of the war in Iraq. That I can understand, but don't entirely agree with.

Sadie Lou said...

49erdweet--
perhaps having homegrown terrorists in your own backyard my lend it's self to some Canadians changing their tune when it comes to security.
plenty of people critisize the US for being "militaristic" without really knowing what it means to be the US.
...just sayin'.

49erDweet said...

sl, regardless of our personal political bents, I'm sure if either of us lived in Toronto we, too, would be extremely anxious over this episode.

As I see the situation the way our northern cousins are dealing with this issue right now is by taking a 'wait and see' attitude. And for that I don't blame them. I think a very small percentage (none of whom I personally know) thought "it could never happen here." Most others thought it probably 'wouldn't'. And for that group of islamoterrorists to be nurtured and developed right in their very midst is to them obviously a personal 'gut-cruncher'.

btw, I don't blame the locals because it happened. I DO blame the CBC - and the rest of the North American liberal MSM - for their dishonest and slanted "reporting" practices that invite disingenuousness when it comes to ignoring facts they don't like - such as the ethnicity factor. Since the national presses stop reporting 'facts' a couple of decades ago, substituting the expression of their own 'opinions' has foreseeably led to a huge national "politically correct" blind spot in the bulk of society.

Since I used to be a weekly newspaper editor myself, I never thought I would live to see the day when the TV and print media would become as irrelevent as it has. And of course they continue to "deny" their lack of professional ethics has anything to do with their failing business practices. It's sort of like saying the personal egocentricities of the managing owner over the past decade has had nothing whatsoever to do with the continuing slide to oblivion of the formerly stalwert Oakland Raiders.

Thanks for the visit. God bless you guys.

Sadie Lou said...

Since I used to be a weekly newspaper editor myself, I never thought I would live to see the day when the TV and print media would become as irrelevent as it has.

Thank God for blogging, then. I think people are abandoning their loyalties to former news sources and turning to blogs for their daily dose of opinion and well thought out journalism.

Bill said...

I'm not sure that internal terrorists whether they are Timothy McVeighs or Qayyum Abdul Jamals, require a military response. Is that not what police forces are for?

Historically speaking using the military internally has always been a mistake. Look at Caesar's use of the military and the decline of the republic, or Hitler’s use of the paramilitary Brown shirts.

I am not saying that the US has or will ever go that far, but would it not be better to pour more money into the local level to beef up security and police, rather than allow big government the reigns of internal security?

49erDweet said...

Bill, you are absolutely 'spot on'. And if anything I said above led you to believe I would prefer the US military take the lead in responding to home-grown terrorists, please understand I don't.

I'm even a little anxious when they are used to spot and track the odd "incoming" airborn drug smuggler shipment penetrating US air space from the vicinities of our southern neighbors, too, although I can see the 'training benefit' element in this, at least.

Hats off to the RCMP and the CSIS, plus their local counterparts, who pulled off this incident and nipped the Toronto deal 'in the bud'.

So yes, Bill, it is better to beef up local LE rather than the armed forces to fight this battle. That said, I don't expect the local sheriff's office to do very much outside the US's borders. And it would be really, really nice if the world's 'bullies' would not continue to threaten world peace. Human nature being what is it, however, leads me to believe there is little chance THAT will happen.

Thanks again for your blog. It's fun to read.

Bill said...

Just to clarify my comment on the use of the military internally was in response to Sadies comment that "Perhaps having homegrown terrorists in your own backyard my lend it's self to some Canadians changing their tune when it comes to security. plenty of people critisize the US for being "militaristic" without really knowing what it means to be the US. "

This to me, implied that there was some connection between internal terrorism and the use of the military. Security from within should flow from the justice system. I think we agree that the military has no position on domestic streets unless they are filling sand bags or fixing infrastructure.

As to the use of military outside our respective nations, I am a pacifist enough said eh?

49erDweet said...

Bill, we're cool! I can't speak for Sadie, but I didn't read that particular meaning into what she wrote.

And I'm content to let the first portion of my reply to her comment stand as written, too.

Whatever one's world view or political bent, this has to be an unsettling time to try to make sense of what recently happened in or near Toronto.

Sadie Lou said...

agreed.

New Post! New Post!
*grin*