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Are We Spending Enough On Our Defense?

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From an earlier thread:

Generally speaking, a moral government would have just enough resources (raised by user fees, tolls, lotto, donations) to protect individual rights. If $10 billion or $10 trillion is required to accomplish this task is anyone's guess and it's not what Objectivists are concerned with. http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.p...ndpost&p=115856

Ayn Rand once said, "Accept 80% taxation if you have to, in order to preserve a free society." It is clear to many who are concerned about keeping America safe that we are not doing enough. (See, for example http://www.newamericancentury.org/statementofprinciples.htm ) Even if we eliminated all waste in the Department of Defense, we would still need dramatic increases in our military budget to ensure our freedom in the future. We have not secured our borders, built a shield against missile attack, taken adequate measures towards ending the many states that sponsor terrorism, nor countered the growing threat from China.

Fiscal Year Military spending as percent of GDP

1940 1.7

1941 5.6

1942 17.8

1943 37.0

1944 37.8

1945 37.5

1946 19.2

1947 5.5

1948 3.5

1949 4.8

1950 5.0

1951 7.4

1952 13.2

1953 14.2

1954 13.1

1955 10.8

1956 10.0

1957 10.1

1958 10.2

1959 10.0

1960 9.3

1961 9.4

1962 9.2

1963 8.9

1964 8.5

1965 7.4

1966 7.7

1967 8.8

1968 9.4

1969 8.7

1970 8.1

1971 7.3

1972 6.7

1973 5.8

1974 5.5

1975 5.5

1976 5.2

1977 4.9

1978 4.7

1979 4.6

1980 4.9

1981 5.1

1982 5.7

1983 6.1

1984 5.9

1985 6.1

1986 6.2

1987 6.1

1988 5.8

1989 5.6

1990 5.2

1991 4.6

1992 4.8

1993 4.4

1994 4.0

1995 3.7

1996 3.5

1997 3.3

1998 3.1

1999 3.0

2000 3.0

2001 3.0

2002 3.4

2003 3.7

Source:
http://www.truthandpolitics.org/display-su...php?topicId=400

As you can see from the chart, in terms of our wealth today we are spending only a fraction of what we spent on the military during the last world war. In 1945 we spent 37.5% of our GDP on defense. In recent years we have spent only about 4%. Imagine the kind of weaponry and fighting forces we could have if we were spending $3 trillion per year instead of $400 billion!

I'm all in favor of dismantling the welfare state and instituting a system of voluntary taxation. But we must first make sure that the United States stays around long enough for those reforms to be enacted.

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Ayn Rand once said, "Accept 80% taxation if you have to, in order to preserve a free society."
Do you have the page number for that quote?
As you can see from the chart, in terms of our wealth today we are spending only a fraction of what we spent on the military during the last world war.
So what? Are you arguing for increased inefficiency? Give me the evidence that America is being invaded because we are not taxing people enough.
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Do you have the page number for that quote?

The source is John Hospers in "An Open Letter to Libertarians," an essay that appeared on several websites during the 2004 election. You should be able to Google it up.

So what? Are you arguing for increased inefficiency?
Your question presumes that increased military spending means increased inefficiency, which is not a given. In any case, if more waste is an inevitable byproduct of more spending on national security, then it may be viewed as one of the necessary costs of protecting Americans from foreign aggressors. That does not make my post an argument for increased inefficiency any more than calling for more police cars is an argument for increased air pollution.

Give me the evidence that America is being invaded because we are not taxing people enough.

Since I never claimed that America is being invaded (present tense), I am not obliged to defend that position. However, there is considerable evidence that our nation is no safer than it was on 9/11.

  • Our borders are not secure
  • Despite much "Star Wars" R&D during the Reagan era, we are still vulnerable to long range missile attack
  • We lack the means to respond to and contain a biological warfare attack
  • Threats posed by China and terrorist nations (some with the help of Russia -- see http://ObjectivismOnline.com/blog/archives/000718.html ) remain unchecked

Feel free to show how we can have more military strength by spending the same amount of money.

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The source is John Hospers in "An Open Letter to Libertarians," an essay that appeared on several websites during the 2004 election. You should be able to Google it up.

His line in that letter is this

But as Ayn Rand memorably said at a party I attended in 1962, in response to complaints that "taxes are too high" (then 20%), "Pay 80% if you need it for defense."

First, I'd hesitate to rely on something "someone said at a party" 40 years before, especially without collaboration. Second, I'd love to hear what context she said that in, what it was really in response to and what the conversation was completely about.

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His line in that letter is this

First, I'd hesitate to rely on something "someone said at a party" 40 years before, especially without collaboration. Second, I'd love to hear what context she said that in, what it was really in response to and what the conversation was completely about.

To respond to your second point first, the context was given by Hospers: a complaint by some people at the party that taxes were too high. As for the authenticity of the quotation, Hospers kept notes of his meetings with Ayn Rand. So we cannot easily dismiss it as an instance of poor memory.

But for the sake of argument, let us suppose Ayn Rand never made the statement. As Toolboxnj said in the quotation at the top of this thread, Objectivism is not concerned with the particular level of government revenue collection. Objectivism is concerned with the proper role of government, which includes protecting its citizens from foreign invasion. If a government's military is too weak to ensure the continued freedom of its people, then it is neglecting a fundamental responsibility.

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But for the sake of argument, let us suppose Ayn Rand never made the statement.

I try not to get sidetracked with the specifics of what Ayn Rand said or dind't say. However, in an essay about government financing in a free society, Miss Rand stated such financing would need to be higher during wartime.

This is very obvious. It stands to reason military expenditures are higher in wartime than they are in peacetime.

Therefore if she ever made the 80% comment, she probably meant during wartime.

Now, back on topic, I am concerned about the rather low levels of military spending in the West. But the money needed depends on the objective to be accomplished. If we're going to occuppy and rebuild other countries, then we'll need a lot of money. Imagine doing in Iraq and Syria what we're doing in iraq and Afghanistan.

On the other hand, if we were to deal with Iran by means of airstrikes, raids and blockade (or any combination of these), I think current spending levels are adequate.

As for the border situation and responses to biological attacks, that money would be in the Dept of homeland Security, would it not? Rather than Defense. What are the amounts allocated to it?

Edited by D'kian
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It’s worth noting that there is a very high correlation between economic and political freedom and the percent of GDP spent on the military. This was as true for ancient Rome as it is today.

I have three theories as to why this is so:

(1) An army is expensive and wasteful by its very nature (tanks are not useful for much besides killing people) and once established, it needs a justification for its existence. It’s bad enough when politicians invent foreign enemies, but they will just as often make enemies of their own people.

(2) Military spending is necessarily arbitrary. There is no market mechanism to determine the “proper” level of military spending, or the allocation of government contracts, so there is a strong corrupting incentive on politicians and the market. Once established, the so-called “military industrial complex” has its own inertia.

(3) The need for large-scale military action is ultimately a failure of diplomacy and intelligence. Every tyrant starts out small, and failure to contain a crisis at the onset indicates a deeper philosophical/ideological failure than large-scale action only makes worse.

The worldwide terrorist movement we face today could have been prevented if we had refused to surrender oil wells in the 50’s, given Israel a free reign in the 60’s, acted decisively against Iran in the 70’s, not been pragmatic with our arms deals in the 80’s, or responded decisively to Bin Laden in the 90’s.

Each small-scale diplomatic/intelligence created the large-scale crisis we face today. The philosophical corruption present in each low-level failure will only be amplified in a large-scale response. Witness the hundreds of billions and thousands killed due to our self-sacrificial policy in Iraq. Witness how we destroyed Nazi Germany only to assist Stalin and Mao.

No amount of money can change the fact that altruism and pragmatism remain the key principles of a foreign policy.

We have not secured our borders,

Our border is too secure - most murders in this country are not due to terrorists but trade restrictions. Walls only stop businessmen, not terrorists.

built a shield against missile attack,

I think this has been due to massive incompetence and corruption rather than a lack of funding. Sending 50 billion after a wasted 15 isn't going to fix things.

taken adequate measures towards ending the many states that sponsor terrorism

I don't think dropping a nuke or ten on Iran is that expensive - and that's all it would take, really.

nor countered the growing threat from China.

Do you prefer WWIII to our mostly-peaceful (and gradually improving) relationship with China?

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The source is John Hospers in "An Open Letter to Libertarians," an essay that appeared on several websites during the 2004 election.
When I quote Ayn Rand, I actually quote what she said, not what other people said. Read the writings of Ayn Rand: she never said such a thing.
Feel free to show how we can have more military strength by spending the same amount of money.
I don't need to. You have not shown that our military is weak and needs strengthening. There is no threat of invasion of US soil by any foreign power, and it is not the function of the military to prevent Mexicans from entering America. Despite this imminent threat of long-range missile attack that you refer to, we have never been attacked by any missle. Biological R&D is not within the purvue of the military (you should be arguing for massive tax increases to fund public universities, if you want a cure for the plague). We do have the means to respond to any attack, and that means exists in tens of thousands of megatons. If you want to whine about America's weakness, direct your whine at the politicians who will not use the means that we possess.

I don't think dropping a nuke or ten on Iran is that expensive - and that's all it would take, really.
Ah, well, you beat me to it, I see.
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D'kian wrote:

Now, back on topic, I am concerned about the rather low levels of military spending in the West. But the money needed depends on the objective to be accomplished. If we're going to occuppy and rebuild other countries, then we'll need a lot of money. Imagine doing in Iraq and Syria what we're doing in iraq and Afghanistan.

On the other hand, if we were to deal with Iran by means of airstrikes, raids and blockade (or any combination of these), I think current spending levels are adequate.

I respectfully disagree. Clearly, we are only treading water in Iraq and not making significant progress towards shutting down the terrorist groups there that keep that country in a state of perpetual anarchy. Yes, we need more airstrikes (including nukes), and, yes, we need to disregard altruistic disabling concerns about the deaths of "innocents." But airstrikes and blockades won't cure the disease.

We must do the equivalent of de-Nazifying the country, by expelling every official and bringing down every branch of its government. This goal cannot be achieved painlessly, by weaponry alone. It requires invasion by ground troops, who will be at serious risk, and perhaps a period of occupation.

--Dr. Leonard Peikoff,
http://www.capmag.com/article.asp?ID=2635

Dr. Peikoff was speaking of Iran, but the same considerations apply to Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Once a country is softened by a series of nuclear strikes against its military and urban centers, we will still have to send in a large occupation force to subdue the surviving population and perform the equivalent of a de-Nazification program. Considering that this service will have to be performed in about a half dozen countries in the near future, there is no way that we can avoid an increase in defense spending.

As for the border situation and responses to biological attacks, that money would be in the Dept of homeland Security, would it not? Rather than Defense. What are the amounts allocated to it?

As an aside, having a Department of Defense and a Department of Homeland Security is an absurd and costly redundancy. In any case, the steady flood of illegal immigrants and the absence of a credible system to contain and combat biological warfare means that we are as vulnerable to attack today as we were in 1940.

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Our border is too secure - most murders in this country are not due to terrorists but trade restrictions. Walls only stop businessmen, not terrorists.

Your comments raise a lot of questions, for me:

If "secure" means protected from threats of aggression, how can the U. S. border be "too secure"?

What evidence and argument proves that "most murders in this country are ... due to ... trade restrictions"?

If border "walls," figurative or actual, don't stop terrorists from entering this country, what would?

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When I quote Ayn Rand, I actually quote what she said, not what other people said. Read the writings of Ayn Rand: she never said such a thing.

As a matter of logic, the absence of a particular statement from a author's collected works does not prove that the statement was never made by the author. Ayn Rand made statements to Edwin Newman, Mike Wallace, Phil Donohue and Johnny Carson that are not in her collected writings.

I don't need to. You have not shown that our military is weak and needs strengthening.
I’ve given several examples. But let’s focus on one: what will stop a nuclear-tipped missile from entering U.S. airspace and detonating over a large U.S. city?

There is no threat of invasion of US soil by any foreign power, and it is not the function of the military to prevent Mexicans from entering America.

The 9/11 disaster did not require an invasion. And just how do we know that a truckload of migrant workers from Tijuana does not contain an agent of al Qaeda?

Despite this imminent threat of long-range missile attack that you refer to, we have never been attacked by any missle.
And prior to 1941 Pearl Harbor had never been bombed.

Biological R&D is not within the purvue of the military (you should be arguing for massive tax increases to fund public universities, if you want a cure for the plague).

Really? It is legitimate to protect a population against enemy missiles but not against enemy germs?

We do have the means to respond to any attack, and that means exists in tens of thousands of megatons. If you want to whine about America's weakness, direct your whine at the politicians who will not use the means that we possess.

What country do we bomb with these tens of thousands of megatons if a virus is secretly introduced into our dairy supplies?

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If "secure" means protected from threats of aggression, how can the U. S. border be "too secure"?

I didn’t mean secure in the usual sense – I was attacking people who mask their xenophobia by claiming that they don’t hate immigrants – they just want “secure” borders.

What evidence and argument proves that "most murders in this country are ... due to ... trade restrictions"?

I am speaking about organized crime related to drug smuggling. While exact statistics are hard to come by, the trend is very clear. For example, see the statistics here: http://www.drugwarfacts.org/crime.htm

If border "walls," figurative or actual, don't stop terrorists from entering this country, what would?

Nothing can. It’s simply impossible to keep someone with determination and resources from coming into a country outside of a total slave state. (And even then, when we couldn’t get agents into the USSR, we created them on the inside.) The idea that we can prevent Al Qaeda from bringing in a suitcase nuke by building a wall (physical or virtual) is ludicrous.

The only way to deal with terrorists is to either destroy them or take away their motivation.

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I’ve given several examples. But let’s focus on one: what will stop a nuclear-tipped missile from entering U.S. airspace and detonating over a large U.S. city?

...

The 9/11 disaster did not require an invasion. And just how do we know that a truckload of migrant workers from Tijuana does not contain an agent of al Qaeda?

...

And prior to 1941 Pearl Harbor had never been bombed.

All very good examples of fear-mongering. What will stop a nuclear-tipped missile? Our current dominance of military power. If China continues to ramp up military forces as they are, perhaps then I would say we need to up ours too. We only need to have enough military power to repel what is out there and retaliate, not 100% stop every conceivable type of attack. That is impossible. Good politics and the fear of retaliation is the only thing that is a real detterent. If it's a suicidal group that has no fear of death, well, the only detterent is to give them a helping hand and kill them first.

9/11 I believe was a preventable event. We had opportunity to stop that before it happened, and it was not by military defenses or military spending. With Pearl Harbor there exists very good proof that the US government knew about the attack and let it go as a means to force the isolationists into going to war. The preemptive strike against us was caused by our political manuevering which threatened Japan's oil supplies among other things.

Edited by Lathanar
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Given that the 9/11 hijackers were all here legally, border security is a red-herring. Before dealing with border security, the U.S. has to figure out an effect way to screen those who present themselves at a port-of-entry and come in legally.

On the topic of the thread, though, I agree with those who have said that more money will not fix anything. If the budget for the Iraq-war doubles, I doubt the result will change at all. Right now, what is missing is the moral certainty and the will to use resources effectively.

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I didn’t mean secure in the usual sense – I was attacking people who mask their xenophobia by claiming that they don’t hate immigrants – they just want “secure” borders.

So, your original statement, taken in the usual meaning (you specified no other), was false.

I also asked: What evidence and argument proves that "most murders in this country are ... due to ... trade restrictions"? You answered: "I am speaking about organized crime related to drug smuggling. While exact statistics are hard to come by, the trend is very clear. For example, see the statistics here: http://www.drugwarfacts.org/crime.htm."

In the first place, I would question whether statistics -- "exact" or not -- prove anything in accounting for crime. They certainly can raise questions, though.

I examined the paragraphs of that site that appear to relate to murder. I saw no proof that "most murders in this country are ... due to ... trade restrictions." In fact, the trend to more murders seems to have started prior to the War on Drugs. I wouldn't be surprised that "trade restrictions" have increased the number of murders over what they would be without the trade restrictions. I just do not see any evidence that they caused most (at least 50% plus one) of the murders.

Did I miss the evidence and the argument leading from that evidence to your conclusion? Could you point it out, specifically?

P. S. -- I certainly agree that you are right in attacking those conservatives who are advocating increased immigration restrictions as a result of xenophobia (and, more specifically, racism). But I hold to making the issue explicit -- reason versus xenophobia, and individualism versus racism (or nativism).

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All very good examples of fear-mongering.

If calling for government to fulfill its obligation to protect its citizens is fear-mongering, then make the best of it.

What will stop a nuclear-tipped missile? Our current dominance of military power. If China continues to ramp up military forces as they are, perhaps then I would say we need to up ours too. We only need to have enough military power to repel what is out there and retaliate, not 100% stop every conceivable type of attack. That is impossible.
Dominance of military power does not prevent aggression in every case. The ability of the United States to field the greatest army and navy on earth did not prevent the Japanese pre-emptive attack of Dec. 7, 1941. If our government has the means to build a system of intercepting U.S.-bound missiles (and it does), then refusal to do so is nothing but a confession of cowardice and appeasement.

Good politics and the fear of retaliation is the only thing that is a real detterent. If it's a suicidal group that has no fear of death, well, the only detterent is to give them a helping hand and kill them first.

Giving a policeman a good handgun is a deterrent. Giving him a bullet-proof vest is protection for when the deterrent does not work. The same policy applies to missile defense, a rational system consisting of both offensive ICBMs and anti-ballistic missiles. As for the policy of killing suicidal groups first, easier said than done.

9/11 I believe was a preventable event. We had opportunity to stop that before it happened, and it was not by military defenses or military spending.
So you would have opposed any pre-9/11 launches of cruise missiles at al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan and the Sudan? And was there any point in our armed forces going into Afghanistan after 9/11?

With Pearl Harbor there exists very good proof that the US government knew about the attack and let it go as a means to force the isolationists into going to war. The preemptive strike against us was caused by our political manuevering which threatened Japan's oil supplies among other things.

Regardless of any foreknowledge by our government, the fact remains that our potential military might was insufficient to serve as a deterrent against Japanese aggression.

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Given that the 9/11 hijackers were all here legally, border security is a red-herring.

No, the fact that the 9/11 hijackers, who shared a common background in a Islamic jihadist mosque in Hamburg, were let into this country is a testament to just how pathetic our border security/immigration apparatus is.

Before dealing with border security, the U.S. has to figure out an effect way to screen those who present themselves at a port-of-entry and come in legally.
Why the dichotomy? Screening out threats to national security = border security.

On the topic of the thread, though, I agree with those who have said that more money will not fix anything. If the budget for the Iraq-war doubles, I doubt the result will change at all. Right now, what is missing is the moral certainty and the will to use resources effectively.

Really? Then would cutting the budget for the Iraq War in half change anything?

After the United States was attacked by Japan in 1941, was it wrong to throw more money at defense? Should we have just gotten by with the same 1.7 percent GDP allotment that the Department of War had in 1940? And after the Soviets stole our A-Bomb technology and exploded their first atomic device in 1949, should we have just gotten by with the same 3.5 percent GDP allotment that we had given defense in 1948? And ignored the fact that the Soviets had the bomb and intended to outpace us in nukes?

Question: Is there any stage in a nation’s history where citizens should do more than say to their government, “Just use your existing resources more effectively”?

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I respectfully disagree. Clearly, we are only treading water in Iraq and not making significant progress towards shutting down the terrorist groups there that keep that country in a state of perpetual anarchy.

And I respectfully diagree. Wars against guerrillas are long and slow. We've made some progress; more since the second battle of Fallujah. The terrorists themselves have acknowledged that much, if you can believe captured enemy papers.

Yes, we need more airstrikes (including nukes), and, yes, we need to disregard altruistic disabling concerns about the deaths of "innocents." But airstrikes and blockades won't cure the disease.
Using nukes against Iran right now would be overkill. Besides, after bombing known and suspected nuclear sites, we'll want to inspect at least a few (that's part of where raids come in). That's much harder to do after nuking the target.

Besides, right now I don't see that we can expect much from confronting iran other than to destroy or cripple its nuclear weapons program. Had better policies been employed earlier, I'd say we could do much more. As it is, no. One problem, I'm coming to realize, is that even Bush seems to see this as a part-time war.

As an aside, having a Department of Defense and a Department of Homeland Security is an absurd and costly redundancy.

True. however, since you brought up budgetary figures for Defense only, I point out some of your concerns are not, at least for now, part of that department.

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Dominance of military power does not prevent aggression in every case. The ability of the United States to field the greatest army and navy on earth did not prevent the Japanese pre-emptive attack of Dec. 7, 1941.

Since you love to bring up Pearl Harbor, we were NOT the dominant greatest army and navy in the world at the time. Japan had been fighting China for 10 years up to Pearl Harbor and winning. The Nazis were storming Europe, we were sitting on our hands because of the isolationist whiners. We had in fact been ramping our war effort at the time by saying we were simply supplying arms to Britain, but the elements within the public and government that felt that the war in Europe and Asia had nothing to do with us stopped us from entering the war like Roosevelt wanted to. Provoking the Japanese into an attack was the perfect way to swing the public pressure. Do you not see how this has NOTHING to do with military readiness?

So you would have opposed any pre-9/11 launches of cruise missiles at al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan and the Sudan? And was there any point in our armed forces going into Afghanistan after 9/11?

Regardless of any foreknowledge by our government, the fact remains that our potential military might was insufficient to serve as a deterrent against Japanese aggression.

Where have I stated I am a pacifist? If we're going to up military spending, I'd rather it be going to use in squashing these other governments that we perceive to be a threat. I'll go and shoot them myself.

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As a matter of logic, the absence of a particular statement from a author's collected works does not prove that the statement was never made by the author.
The burden is on you to prove that Rand said such a thing. Shoulder it.
what will stop a nuclear-tipped missile from entering U.S. airspace and detonating over a large U.S. city?
The moral certainty that an enemy's doing so would result in utter obliteration. Do not bother objecting that we would not do such a thing, becuase that is a political problem and not a military one.
And just how do we know that a truckload of migrant workers from Tijuana does not contain an agent of al Qaeda?
You proposal then has to be something more than increasing military spending -- we should also declare martial law. How does this have an iota of bearing on military spending?
And prior to 1941 Pearl Harbor had never been bombed.
And prior to 1941 (well, really the 50's) we did not have the power to rain down utter destruction and devastation out our attackers without leaving US territory.
It is legitimate to protect a population against enemy missiles but not against enemy germs?
I don't understand your point. If someone throws an anthrax bomb at us, we can nuke them into submission. If you want a cure for anthrax of the plague, then that's not a military matter, that's a scientific question. The military has its role, and scientific institutions have their rule, and neither of them requires coersive taxation.
What country do we bomb with these tens of thousands of megatons if a virus is secretly introduced into our dairy supplies?
Syria, Iran, North Korea... refer to something in reality, not an imaginary scenario. We will find out who, and punish them utterly. Are you now changing your position to one where we need better intelligence, and that we don't need to give more money to the military?
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Since you love to bring up Pearl Harbor, we were NOT the dominant greatest army and navy in the world at the time. Japan had been fighting China for 10 years up to Pearl Harbor and winning. The Nazis were storming Europe, we were sitting on our hands because of the isolationist whiners.

So was sitting on our hands not the proper policy? Hmm, would beefing up out miltary not have been in order? Or is there some principle in Objectivism that forbids kicking up military readiness a notch?

We had in fact been ramping our war effort at the time by saying we were simply supplying arms to Britain, but the elements within the public and government that felt that the war in Europe and Asia had nothing to do with us stopped us from entering the war like Roosevelt wanted to. Provoking the Japanese into an attack was the perfect way to swing the public pressure. Do you not see how this has NOTHING to do with military readiness?
Oh, I see we provoked the Japanese into bombing us. And I also suppose we provoked bin Laden into using our airliners as missiles against us. Yes, I'm quite familiar with the Blame Us First School.

Where have I stated I am a pacifist? If we're going to up military spending, I'd rather it be going to use in squashing these other governments that we perceive to be a threat. I'll go and shoot them myself.

Who's stopping you?

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Oh, I see we provoked the Japanese into bombing us. And I also suppose we provoked bin Laden into using our airliners as missiles against us. Yes, I'm quite familiar with the Blame Us First School.

Yes I am stating as clearly as I can, I believe enough proof exists to assert that we provoked Japan into attacking us to give us a clear entrance politically into the war. If we had been a rational society at the time, we would not have needed to. We would have ramped up and been over before the English were kicked out of France. We would have balked and yelled when Hitler annexed surrounding countries. We would have put our foot down when Hitler began rearming. Would would have been helping China out when Japan invaded them in the 30's. Japan would never have dared to attack us.

As for Bin Laden, we provoke him by our existence. I blame no one but the US for Bin Laden. The CIA trained and supplied him to fight a jihad against the Russian occupation of Afghanistan. They did their job well, trying to turn it into a war waged by all Muslim countries and at one time had up to 100,000 foreign islamic radicals fighting against the Russians. Does the scenario ring a bell? If we as a country had simply had the balls to go in and do what needed to be done instead of fighting wars by proxy, but then we knew Russia would retaliate and had the force to back it up... hmm.. pretty decent detterent.

Who's stopping you?

Five children and a wife that need me more than the country needs another fighter.

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Did I miss the evidence and the argument leading from that evidence to your conclusion? Could you point it out, specifically?

Sorry, you’re right, I made up that statistic. What I should have said is that restrictions on trade and immigration ultimately harm many more people that the terrorists.

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Yes I am stating as clearly as I can, I believe enough proof exists to assert that we provoked Japan into attacking us to give us a clear entrance politically into the war. If we had been a rational society at the time, we would not have needed to. We would have ramped up and been over before the English were kicked out of France. . .

So if “ramping up” was the rational policy in the 1940s, why isn’t it the rational policy today?

As for Bin Laden, we provoke him by our existence.
Is there any way we can say we’re sorry?

I blame no one but the US for Bin Laden. The CIA trained and supplied him to fight a jihad against the Russian occupation of Afghanistan.

And some say we actually blew up the WTC ourselves.

If we as a country had simply had the balls to go in and do what needed to be done instead of fighting wars by proxy, but then we knew Russia would retaliate and had the force to back it up... hmm.. pretty decent detterent.
If we’re going to fight Russia, we’re going to need a bigger army.

Five children and a wife that need me more than the country needs another fighter.

I guess that means you’ll have to use a proxy.

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The burden is on you to prove that Rand said such a thing. Shoulder it.

I can’t prove it. But then I can’t prove the authenticity of any of Ayn Rand’s posthumously published writings. How does one know that every word in The Journals of Ayn Rand was written by its purported author?

The moral certainty that an enemy's doing so would result in utter obliteration. Do not bother objecting that we would not do such a thing, becuase that is a political problem and not a military one.
So the best way to dissuade suicide bombers is to threaten them with death?

You proposal then has to be something more than increasing military spending -- we should also declare martial law. How does this have an iota of bearing on military spending?

How does imposing martial law on St. Louis and Cleveland improve border security? It is the role of the military to keep foreign enemies from attacking us. It is irrelevant as to whether the invaders are being transported in warplanes or in a pickup truck. If we already have sufficient money and personnel sitting around in the Dept. of Defense to secure our borders, then why wasn’t it done years ago?

And prior to 1941 (well, really the 50's) we did not have the power to rain down utter destruction and devastation out our attackers without leaving US territory.
We had it on 9/11 and still were attacked.

I don't understand your point. If someone throws an anthrax bomb at us, we can nuke them into submission.

Just as we nuked the person who sent anthrax-laced letters to NBC and the National Enquirer in 200I?

If you want a cure for anthrax of the plague, then that's not a military matter, that's a scientific question. The military has its role, and scientific institutions have their rule, and neither of them requires coersive taxation.

Defense against weapons of mass destruction is both a military and a scientific matter. How do you expect our troops to perform their duty if they are vomiting and running a high fever? Providing them with vaccines is just as essential to the success of their mission as providing them with helmets.

Syria, Iran, North Korea... refer to something in reality, not an imaginary scenario.
Fine. Syria, Iran, or North Korea. Pick the one who gets nuked for the 2001 anthrax attack -- which is not an imaginary scenario.

We will find out who, and punish them utterly.

Utterly? In October five years will have passed since a photo editor in Florida died from anthrax mailed to his office.

Are you now changing your position to one where we need better intelligence, and that we don't need to give more money to the military?

In case you hadn’t noticed, a large part of the nation’s intelligence apparatus is under the command of the military. And even civilian agencies like the CIA may be considered part of our defense. And, yes, there ain’t no such thing as a free intelligence agency.

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