Rush Is Wrong
"The intent of the committee is to neuter the United States of America. They've done it by rewarding a pacifist." ~ Rush Limbaugh
In addition to being a Nobel laureate, Barack Obama is many things. After his election, I wrote in Liberty of his radical associations, his life spent in the service of racial preference, his aberrant Christianity, and his plan to further redistribute the wealth of taxpayers to taxeaters. I haven't changed my mind. The black conservative Alan Keyes simply calls him "a radical communist." Obama may personify the extreme left wing of the Democratic Party, but a pacifist he is not.
Just days after taking office, Obama killed his first victims in Pakistan via predator drone. Over 120,000 U.S. troops are still in Iraq. And not only has Obama already escalated the war in Afghanistan, he is contemplating an additional troop surge. The United States still maintains an empire of troops and bases around the world. Obama has threatened to take military action against Iran.
Although conservatives have bemoaned Obama's plan to decrease defense spending ever since he took office, it turns out that defense spending is up for fiscal year 2010, which began October 1. Back on May 7, Obama sent to Congress his proposed defense budget. He requested a base of $533.8 billion and an additional $130 billion to continue the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to a Department of Defense press release: "The base budget represents an increase of $20.5 billion over the $513.3 billion enacted for fiscal 2009" (Bush's last defense budget). And according to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates: "This budget provides the balance necessary to institutionalize and finance our capabilities to fight the wars we are in today and the scenarios we are most likely to face in the years ahead, while at the same time providing a hedge against other risks and contingencies."
Obama's first defense budget (FY 2010) is almost as much as the rest of the world's defense spending combined. The U.S. Navy's battle fleet is larger than the next 13 foreign navies combined.
So much for Obama "destroying your country as a superpower" and "emasculating this country," as Rush Limbaugh also intoned.
The Senate just passed by a vote of 93—7 a $636 billion appropriations bill (H.R. 3326) for the Department of Defense for fiscal year 2010. This bill previously passed the House by a vote of 400—30. This means that 34 out of 40 Republicans in the Senate and 170 out of 178 Republicans in the House agreed with the president on the defense budget. What a bunch of pacifists.
Thanks to the work of economist Robert Higgs, we know that the real U.S. defense budget is really over a trillion dollars, and has been for several years.
There are 120 U.S. soldiers who have been killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom since Obama became president. I'll bet these soldiers who died for a lie wish Obama were a pacifist. In Afghanistan, there are 231 soldiers who have been killed in Operation Enduring Freedom since Obama became president. Of the 872 U.S. soldiers who have died in Afghanistan, over one fourth of them (231) died during the short time that Obama has been in office. I'm sure that these soldiers likewise wish Obama were a pacifist. And if it were possible to ask them now and they said otherwise because they swallowed the line that they died "defending our freedoms," there is probably someone in their family who would rather Obama were a pacifist so their son, grandson, father, brother, cousin, or nephew would still here. But if not, then there are millions of Americans like me who don't think anything in Iraq or Afghanistan is worth one drop of American blood. Yet, we are the ones who are considered by conservative warmongers to be traitors and America haters.
Since Obama took office earlier this year conservatives and Republicans have shown the world that there is something they love more than their movement or their party — war. Leading the way are Republican politicians (McCain, Gingrich, Huckabee), conservative pundits (Limbaugh, Hannity, O'Reilly, Scarborough, Kristol, Coulter), conservative intellectuals (Kagan, Hanson, Boot), conservative organizations (Heritage, AEI, FOX), and conservative publications (Weekly Standard, WSJ, National Review).
Reagan misspoke when he said: "The very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism." The very heart and soul of conservatism is war. Patriotism, Americanism, and being a real conservative are now equated with support for war, torture, and militarism. Although conservatism today is generally defined by opposition to Obama, the president can count on conservatives and Republicans to support any further military actions he undertakes.
Rush is wrong. Obama is no pacifist. And too bad. Just think of all the Americans that would not have been killed in senseless foreign wars if McKinley, Wilson, Roosevelt, Truman, Johnson, Nixon, and Bush had been pacifists.
October 13, 2009
Laurence M. Vance [send him mail] writes from Pensacola, FL. He is the author of Christianity and War and Other Essays Against the Warfare State and The Revolution that Wasn't. His newest book is Rethinking the Good War. Visit his website.
Copyright © 2009 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.