A Nobler Pursuit

Originally Posted at Writeindependent.org on September 21, 2011

war – military – decrease budget – decrease government – Social Security – cutting programs

How do we decrease government?

Whenever we consider where government should cut, there are a few areas that come to mind. So far, we’ve cut education, we’ve cut government programs like libraries, we’ve cut in areas that maybe wasn’t best for a creating a better future.

But now, when the President talks about not making budget, or not having enough to pay the bills, he talks about defaulting on Social Security benefits. For once, I would like to see him talk about decreasing the defense budget.

We don’t need less defense, we need a different style of defense. Instead of supporting war, we could change our efforts toward humanitarian-style “defense”… What I mean by that is, if we’re in a country, building farms, growing food instead of finding the bad guys, then the people of that country are more likely to see us as a force for good. Sure, the bad guys will come after us, and we have the same motivations as anyone who is under attack: we will protect ourselves. But to be the first to attack? That is unnecessary.

The critical element is that we shift our purpose. We’re no longer promoting blowing things up, but rather on building relationships, on spreading information to improve the well-being of our neighbors.

Everyone has seen clips of soldiers performing amazing feats. It is always when promoting the highest good in people, when seeing the nobler acts that we elevate each other to our greatest good. Humanitarians inspire people, whether they’re citizens or soldiers.

People in other countries have mixed feelings about being occupied by Americans. They love American culture, they want the world to be better, and they see Americans as a beacon of what is possible when people are educated, supported, and enthusiastic about their talents.

But when people in other countries look at their guns, they see: Made in America. And they wonder: why are all the weapons made in such a great country? And how do we stop the flood of war that is committed with this American weaponry?

When George Bush said that we need to win the hearts and minds of the countrymen in our host countries, he was right about the goal. But he was wrong about the methods that would get us there.

Action Plan:

First, start a different paradigm. Bring most of the troops home, and leave a contingent that works for the common good. And in the process, if we are attacked, those folks will get their due.

Second, fire Halliburton. Then lay off all the Blackwater people, and tell them to go home. Then re-train our military to build better relationships by improving living conditions in their host country. Simultaneously, treat all returning soldiers for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder while retraining them for infrastructure-building jobs in the United States.

The money that we would save by firing Halliburton, returning soldiers, and releasing Blackwater would be enough to make budget. And then some.

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