Land of the "Free" & Sequestered
Alan Hendrix, a pen name (prepared in May 2013)
Sequestration got me thinking: How hard is it to find programs to cut worth $85 billion? And
where is it most prudent to cut from? $85 billion sure seems like a lot, but compared to some of
America's many wasted expenditures; it's a drop in the metaphorical bucket - the metaphor being
a monetary system backed by nothing but perception. But that's another topic, for another day.
Today is a day to discuss simple, meaningful ways to improve our economy and our way
of life. Forget getting rid of fast food and soda pops; that boat has sailed. Too many people demand
the personal freedom to mar and vandalize their temples (bodies).
Today is about not impeding upon others' temples (places of worship). It is more about not
shooting hot lead through other human beings' temples (side of head). I think most rational
humans would agree with the idea of not killing other humans ... but I'm an idealist.
The idea of preserving "freedom" seems so simplistic, but when you break down how much of
our tax money is utilized to implement new and existing ways to kill more and more people, it's
quite contradictory to the idea of "freedom", at least in the way I define "freedom".
Imposing our military's will on groups of people who already weren't "free", to make us more
"free" seems incongruous. We attacked Iraq and Afghanistan after we found out that it was 15
Saudis, an Egyptian, a Lebanese and a UAE citizen who hijacked jumbo jets and flew them into
the Twin Towers ... seems prudent.
To protect our "freedoms" we felt it necessary to endanger the lives of our sons and daughter,
fathers and mothers. Over 4,400 American soldiers' lives were lost in the decade-long Iraq war.
In addition, it was "necessary" for 174,000 Iraqi civilians and combatants lose their lives to
ensure our "freedoms" and theirs (we are not selfish, nor "freedom" hoarders). The Iraqis are
now free to defend their freedoms freely amongst themselves. Some might call that a "civil war",
but we know better. In order to be "free" you have to make others less "free"; it's a yin and yang
Of all the money spent in the world on arms, America spends 41 of it. America and its allies
spend between two-thirds and three-quarters of the world arms dollars. We have spent nearly $26
billion on the drone programs alone since 2001.
Honestly, I'd be happier ifno money was invested in killing someone else, regardless of the facts
that they're halfway across the globe, we didn't kill them brutally, and we just watched them
explode on a computer screen from a headquarters thousands of miles away from the blast
With tensions brewing in Syria, North Korea, Iran and Palestine (Though, I don't think it's ever
not been brewing on the Israeli-Palestinian line) it's hard not to see another military venture on
the horizon. More troops in more places just means more people disliking us; and that's the best
recruitment tool for which Al-Qaeda has ever wished.
I don't get why we can't follow Switzerland's model: the army does not take part in armed
conflicts in other countries, but takes part in peacekeeping missions domestically and around the
world. Granted Switzerland is just less than twice the size of New Jersey, they spend only $4
billion annually on their peacekeeping militia.
Some people will call me a "hippie" for not wanting to kill people and defend our "freedoms";
some of those people attend weekly church services. But I thought that not killing people was
one of the bigger, heartier Commandments.
The only reason I bring up religion, is that many of the pro-military families in America (from
my perspective) are biblically inclined. I, unlike the Catholic Church, do not believe our current
wars constitute the "Just War" moniker; to me it's 'just another war".
It's hard to see in the world picture how America is not seen as the "bad guy" to most foreign
nations' citizenry, especially those countries where we have combat boots on the ground. As of
June 2011, America has spent over $3.1 trillion onjust the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq ... neither
of which have been "successful" in my humble opinion.
Although G.W. "accomplished" the Iraq mission a decade ago, American personnel remain on
the ground in both countries, not to mention the corporate guns for hire (organizations like
Blackwater) that are ensuring maximum "freedom" initiatives for local Afghans and Iraqis.
Luckily, these para-military groups do not have to answer to any pesky bureaucratic oversight.
They are "free" to impose "freedom" on the "free-less".
In 2013, Congress passed a $472 billion budget for the military. That's a down year for the
military, but still five sequestrations worth of money. In 2000, before the "War on Terrorism",
the defense budget was just under $300 billion, it rose to as much as $750 billion during the peak
Not to mention the $2.3 trillion (trillion with a "T") for which Donald Rumsfeld said the
Pentagon could not account. He stated that nearly one-fourth of the annual defense budget is
squandered, lost and/or misappropriated. Ironically, Rumsfeld made these statements on
September 10,2001. The next day, as we all know, everything changed.
Twenty-five percent of this year's "defense" budget amounts to nearly $120 billion dollars; all of
that to be lost within the Pentagon ... Surely, those dollars could be used more wisely to get our
poorest communities out of a jobs lull. But alas, "defending" "freedom" and perpetuating death
is an expensive business.
I'd like us to make a pact to stop spending money on ways to kill people. Clearly, we do that
better than-anyone else ... but maybe it's time for a change. I know, I know. I'm crazy! This
country was fueled and funded by wars and the military industrial for decades. It led to the
creation of the middle class. But now, it's time to change; now more than ever, as the middle
class begins to sublimate.
I absolutely support the men and women who volunteer for our militia, I merely do not support
their mission; they have no control over that. I have quite a few friends in the military and would
hate to see them go overseas in a war-like scenario.
We have enough bullets, enough guns, enough ICBMs, enough war fighters and ships to where if
someone attacked us (in a Pearl Harbor-esque attack) we would be ready to respond. My advice:
pull back all troops into our borders, reduce the size ofthe standing militia and try not to piss
anyone off more than we already have. Let's spend those billions domestically to rejuvenate our
homeland before we go staking claims to other nations' military outposts.
I'm by no way saying that I represent the majority ... quite the contrary. I would say that my ideas
are inherently radical, but crucially necessary; necessary for the future prosperity of America and
for repairing our image across the globe.
Simplified conclusion: Instead of cutting programs that benefit American citizens across the
board (sequestration), let's stop spending money on killing other human beings, regardless of
their country of origin (war).
"Fiscal Year 2013 Budget of the U.S. Government". United States Office of Management and
Budget. Retrieved February 13,2012
. 1\ Weisman, Jonathan (February 10,2012). "Obama Budget Bets
Other Concerns Wlll Trump
th; Deficit".New York Times. Retrieved April 22, 2012.
http:/ /www. cbsnews . com/ 8301-18563162-
http :// www. dailytrech .com/ Report+One+in+Three+US+Warplanes+are+Drones/
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