Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Proper Use of the U.S. Military

Do you ever wonder why we are still in Iraq after defeating Saddam Hussein’s forces in March, 2003? Are we peacekeeping until the Iraqis can establish “stability” and “democracy?” Will that ever come? Why are we in Afghanistan? Proving we can outlast the English and the Russians in an endless battle with Afghani tribesmen?

Why are we still guarding the 38th parallel in Korea, almost 57 years after a truce was declared? More than 28,000 U.S. troops currently are stationed in South Korea. Why? Supposedly, we are there to protect our ally South Korea against attack from North Korea. But South Korea is an economic and technological dynamo compared to its communist neighbor to the north, a centrally planned dictatorship that is such a pathetic economic basket case it can’t even feed itself. In fact, the North Korean regime has had to rely on foreign assistance for the past several years to prevent mass starvation of its population. Consider the following statistical comparisons of the North and South Koreas from the CIA’s World Fact Book.

With its population base, economic base, industrial base, energy, technology, infrastructure, transportation, education, agriculture — virtually every relevant measure — South Korea dwarfs North Korea, and has done so for many years. So, perhaps we should be asking, particularly in light of the recent rattling of sabers, firing of missiles, and flaring of tensions between Seoul and Pyongyang: Why are the lives of tens of thousands of Americans still being put at risk on the Korean Peninsula? Isn’t it time for South Korea and the “economic tigers” of Asia to defend themselves?

And with our nation trillions of dollars in debt and running annual deficits of over a trillion dollars, we have to ask ourselves, from a purely economic standpoint, why do we still have more than 35,000 troops stationed in Japan and 78,000 troops stationed in Europe?