The Dillard Doctrine

Urban Conservative Commentary on Politics & Life

Getting the Story Right, Part 2


Big “honor bound” to Jack Turner at Jack and Jill Politics (JJP) for letting me use this.

Was involved in a discussion yesterday on JJP about the last democratic debate in SC. Somehow, the conversation delved into a discussion on expanding the U.S. military between myself and one Bruce Dixon, who is apparently the managing editor at the Black Agenda Report. Some excerpts from the discussion:

Bruce Dixon said…
Brotha O(bama) wants to add 103,000 more troops to the army and marines and jack the military budget even higher than Bush. Hillary wants to add 83 or 88 thousand, more troops to the army and marines.

Adding troops to the military and raising the military budget even higher, as both the Democratic front runners intend to do, takes money from every human need we know black people are in favor of, from job creation to education to health care and more. Why no questions on this?

D. said…
Bruce,
Post-Iraq, the military does need expansion. Whether you want to admit it or not, “waging peace” under the democrats in the 90s has contributed to some of the problems the military is currently experiencing. This is one of the few things I agree with them on.

Bruce Dixon said…
The US military budget is bigger than that of the next dozen countries combined. There are more than 800 US military bases, about three quarters of them outside the US borders.

And you are telling us Barack and Hillary are right about needing to expand it further? You are also telling us that King was flat out wrong when he said that a nation which spends more on the military than on programs for people is approaching spiritual death. You are also telling us that most African American voters, who want to see the military budget cut because it conflicts with everything we need to see the money spent on here — are wrong too.

The military breaks things, kills people and spends money. Lots of things, lots of people and lots of money. To suggest that we need more troops and a bigger military is just plain wrong.

D. said…
Bruce,
Yes, the military breaks things, kills people, and spends money. It also contributed to the end of slavery, Nazism, facism, and will ultimately contribute to stopping the spread of radical Islam.

Or were these things no big deal to you?

Yes, the military is a big, expensive machine. But the purpose it serves-to keep this country safe and to preserve the right of people like you to complain about it-cannot have a monetary value placed on it.

Bruce Dixon said…
That’s utter nonsense. I owe nothing whatsoever to the US military. Plenty of people outside the US live great lives, and have longer vacations, faster broadband, better medical care and as much freedom of speech as I do, or more. And their countries don’t have hundreds of foreign military bases or an utterly bloated military budget.

The US military exists not for the purpose of defending citizens, but to impose the will of this country’s elite upon the rest of the planet. There are, according to Dr. Chalmers Johnson, about 800 US military bases, three quarters of them outside the borders of the US. Those bases are not defending me. They are defending the privatizers who dictate to third world countries that they have to sell their natural resources at a deep discount to American and European elites and their local compradors. AFRICOM is not defending me. The two or three nuclear armed carrier task forces in the Persian Gulf are not defending me, nor are troops which have been in Korea for the last 50 years.

And no, I do not feel threatened by “radical Islam”. I am a lot more threatened by some right wing Christians, quite a few of whom are in command positions in the Us military, like that crazy general who said his God is bigger than the Somali’s and that a haze around Mogadishu was evidence of “demonic presence”. That guy is number two or three in the Defense Intelligence Agency right now. Really, we need protection FROM the military.

Couple points of contention here, then I’ll get to my opinions.

1. There are, according to Dr. Chalmers Johnson, about 800 US military bases, three quarters of them outside the borders of the US.

Best reference I could find for this was an article by Dr. Johnson entitled America’s Empire of Bases, published in 2004. The article contains the following:

According to the Defense Department’s annual “Base Structure Report” for fiscal year 2003, which itemizes foreign and domestic U.S. military real estate, the Pentagon currently owns or rents 702 overseas bases in about 130 countries and HAS another 6,000 bases in the United States and its territories.

Couldn’t find the 2003 report online, but found the 2007 report. According to it, the DoD’s Worldwide Facility Footprint shows DoD operating in 468,469 buildings in the US and its territories, and another 108,356 overseas. Couldn’t find anything on the exact number of actual bases DoD owns/leases, but if you want to read the entire report (221 pages), it’s here.

2. The two or three nuclear armed carrier task forces in the Persian Gulf are not defending me…

In 1994, the DoD completed a Nuclear Posture Review, which contained the following statements:

As a result of the NPR, the following decisions were made regarding U.S. nonstrategic nuclear force structure:

Eliminate the option to deploy nuclear weapons on carrier-based, dual-capable aircraft.
Eliminate the option to carry nuclear Tomahawk cruise missiles (TLAM/N) on surface ships.
Retain the option to deploy TLAM/N on attack submarines (although none are currently deployed, they could be deployed if needed).

No change to this policy was listed in any unclassified excerpt of the 2001 Nuclear Posture Review that I could find. In addition-and in the interests of full disclosure, I was not in a job that handled any sort of weapons-I was stationed onboard an aircraft carrier for my first three years in the Navy, and there were no nuclear weapons onboard.

3. I am a lot more threatened by some right wing Christians, quite a few of whom are in command positions in the Us military, like that crazy general who said his God is bigger than the Somali’s and that a haze around Mogadishu was evidence of “demonic presence”. That guy is number two or three in the Defense Intelligence Agency right now.

The person in question, retired lieutenant general William G. Boykin, made the following comment in 2003 (taken from his entry on Wikipedia):

“He (referring to Osman Atto, a Somali warlord) went on CNN and he laughed at us, and he said, ‘They’ll never get me because Allah will protect me. Allah will protect me.’ Well, you know what? I knew that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol.”

Then there’s this:

Boykin issued a public apology stating, “My comments to Osman Otto in Mogadishu were not referencing his worship of Allah but his worship of money and power; idolatry. He was a corrupt man, not a follower of Islam. My references to Judeo-Christian roots in America or our nation as a Christian nation are historically undeniable.”

LTG Boykin retired in August 2007. His last duty was serving as Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence. Currently, he is a college professor.

Now, some opinions.

As I stated in one of my responses to Mr. Dixon, the military is a big, expensive machine. It does serve the purpose of killing people and breaking things when necessary. By its nature, it is also expensive.

However, the military-whether domestically or forward deployed-serves to protect the fundamental ideas of liberty, freedom, and equality that are inherently tied to our survival as a nation. By showing its strength, and by participating in humanitarian missions around the world (i.e., the tsunami relief efforts in 2004, as well as countless other relief missions), our military projects the essence of what people can do when they choose not to live under dictators or other repressive governments. Establishing, protecting, and preserving the rights of free peoples worldwide serves only to protect, preserve, and strengthen our democracy here at home.

To suggest that our men and women in uniform serve “to impose the will of this country’s elite upon the rest of the planet” is fundamentally wrong. Our country is not-nor will it ever become-an empire of conquest. If anything, we have become an “empire of influence,” using the combined strength of our political, economic, and military systems as a weight to show those who aspire to freedom and democracy the benefits of it.

I’ve reached out to Mr. Dixon via JJP, and offered to share some of the results of my research with him. I have yet to hear from him, but ultimately, I hope to share this with him, and continue this discussion.

At the end of the day, our military-whether expanded or not-exists solely to preserve the rights and liberties of our nation’s citizens, including the right to disagree, argue, or protest in opposition.

I didn’t know Mr. Dixon during my six years in the Navy. But my service-along with that of countless others before, with, and after me-allow him the freedom to believe things as he sees them.

It was-and will always be-an honor to stand up for him.

HB2DF,

-D.

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Written by Coby Dillard

January 24, 2008 at 3:47 pm

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3 Responses

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  1. You ain’t standing up for me, buddy. That might be what they tell you. But it jes’ ain’t so.

    Not an empire? How do you have troops in dozens of countries on every continent, and NOT be an empire? Have you somehow defined the word out of existence?

    Name one other nation on the planet with military bases in a dozen countries outside their borders. There might not be any. France and Britain are the only contenders, really, and both of them imperial powers, albeit far smaller than the U.S.

    The “800 bases” and the “three quarters outside the US borders” were both lifted from audio of an on-air conversation with Dr. Chalmers Johnson in December which you can find on the site of Media Matters, Robert McCheseney’s weekly show on WILL-AM.

    Bruce Dixon

    January 24, 2008 at 9:25 pm

  2. Because those troops are not there as a conquering power. That distinction is important between your definition of “empire” and mine.

    And, also remember, some-though admittedly, not all-of the countries where we have bases have invited us to base there, or have put in place some sort of agreement for our military to base there. You’re making the assumption that we have taken over these countries and just set up shop.

    And to use your words, it jes’ ain’t so.

    -D.

    D.

    January 25, 2008 at 1:26 pm

  3. …and by the way, the radio interview that you’re referencing-which I will give a listen to-was done on Dec. 3, 2006. Not sure how up to date whatever data he used for that discussion would be now.

    D.

    January 25, 2008 at 3:24 pm


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