Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Armageddon on our Doorstep

The United States of America is remarkably primitive. We still believe in war. We spend more on our military than we do on education, welfare, transportation, space exploration and actual cost of running the government combined. We spend more on our armed forces than the next seven nations combined. We have around 700 bases in dozens of countries across the globe. The majority of these bases remain in areas which must be considered very low risk for invasion by neighboring countries; in fact, the face of war has changed dramatically since we invaded Iraq in 2003, yet we maintain all these sites and the military presence that they infer. Our presence does not serve as a deterrent to any existing “threat,” that I can see, but Americans love their guns and their glory. We believe in putting people to death. Be plain: the death sentence is not about justice, it is about revenge. It is also more expensive to house an inmate on Death Row for the duration of the appeals process and the execution itself than keeping him in prison for life. I have always believed that, if someone commits a crime, his or her rights are forfeit to the degree of the violation, but that the State is not the moral arbiter to decide when a life is forfeit. But, then, I believe that no one should be forced to kill for anyone, but that’s just me. We believe we are generous and helpful to others – and we are – but we can’t even fix our own infrastructures or keep our own children from going to bed hungry. We do seem pretty good at blowing things up. The truth is, we Americans love war. We have not lost our taste for it, as apparently have the nations of Western Europe and Japan. Maybe we need an Armageddon on our doorstep. I hope not. I hope we can learn from the experiences of others without repeating their mistakes. We have made plenty of our own mistakes out of that misguided love.

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