The Dillard Doctrine

Urban Conservative Commentary on Politics & Life

Approaching Spiritual Doom?

In war-gaming a fight between the US and North Korea yesterday with my liberal-minded friends at JJP, this quote by MLK came up:

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”

…which launched an interesting discussion between myself and Monie, whose spouse is active-duty Army (and, I believe, preparing to deploy). The conversation:

Me-Have I ever mentioned how much I dislike that MLK quote?

National defense is, by nature, expensive….unless you’re the Vatican (or, more realistically….Lichtenstein). And social programs-though admirable and necessary-won’t defend us against people who wish to do us ill.

That quote suggests-at least to me-that there’s no middle ground. And I know that’s not true, even if we haven’t found it.

Monie-No, you haven’t……but I kinda figured you may not like it, since you are a self-described defense hawk…..and that’s why i’ve used it a couple times here at JJP to irk you :>)

This is my analogy D.

If I live on a street and pour money after money into barricades, spy cams, satellites and everything else to ‘protect me”…..yet with all that protection, I have no clue how to create or make better goods for myself so I buy up everything from the neighbors I’m trying to block out, won’t grow my own food, and me and other relatives in the home have almost given up on acquiring more knowledge and innovating my tools and won’t spend adequate money to ensure all of us are learning and learning WELL at that……then what is the purpose of the “exterior” barricades when i am letting the “interior” of my home rot away?

The most tragic thing about Iraq is that so many lost their lives, not because we don’t spend endless money on weapons, many which were not used in this conflict btw, but because those who were determined to have ‘knowledge” about war planning had none at all……and US and coalition troops didn’t die at the hand of sophisticated weapons, but from homemade IEDS, and were not protected with the proper armor……yet contractors today ain’t hurting for shyt.

It’s a disgrace…and I might not persuade you otherwise, but that’s how I feel.

Me-Yeah, I noticed you pull it out on occasion. 🙂

So where do you think is the middle ground? How do we strike a balance that doesn’t favor one over the other?

Monie-It is a delicate balance indeed. And I am not sure the true equation or percentage…but I do think we HAVE to use history and true knowledge, NOT ideology(,especially not the neo-con, chickenhawk kind), to get us forward and become a beacon again. We both know where we stand on the actions of Bush…..but you have to admit, the missteps hurt us tremendously and I don’t think we can simply keep the attitude that “Oh well, we are the US so we can do as we please….the global framework is too interconnected for that now….look at the economic crisis and the ripple effect it has caused. You CANNOT fight a global war on terror when essentially you are the only one who is really fighting it.

And I know many hate war and conflict…hell me and my husband both hate getting in arguments since our childhoods were shaped by volatile relationships, especially mine but occasionally we still do, we will NEVER see eye to eye on everything…..but I do know disagreement, conflict and wars have been here as long as mankind.

During previous wars…like WWII namely, while the troops were fighting there was a concerted effort back home to get most citizens to help keep the jobs going, ( even though Blacks were still discriminated and treated as second class citizens), innovation was still rampant, and PEOPLE not consumerism, greed and corporations reigned higher.

Even the news, I believe back then wasn’t based on corporate interest and advertisement dollars and journalism had MUCH higher standards.

Even my grandparents and parents can recall a different “community” than what we know as “communities” today…..a much greater sense of unity and not simple partisan, political and moral and ideological wars.

Some aspects of our culture is rotting because over the years, though great, great progress was made during Civil Right’s and Women/feminist’s movements, thee has been a lingering divide and the powers to be have EXPLOITED those differences to rise to power…..and I know you could care less about Move On and some of the organizations on the Left, but I have to tell you….Michelle Bachmann, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity…..these people are dangerous, and they THRIVE because they reach the most racist, xenophobic, and ignorant (as is, void of knowlege)crowds.

Any way I could write on and on…..I do think defense is important…..but I do know just like many other areas in our country…A LOT of money is wasted in defense and it is one of the most ripe areas for fraud and abuse in our government…that’s a fact. If you recall, over a trillion dollars was annouced unaccounted for at the Pentagon on September 10, 2001…and the timing of that announcement could not have been anymore suspect…but I’ll leave that alone for now.

And yet, we still lag so many other nations in critical areas like education and technology/innovation. There needs to be a change for all of our sakes.

I’ll say that I don’t think there’s more relevance for this quote than under our current president, whose DoD just offered up a series of major program cuts (to the F-22, DDG-1000, carriers, LCS, the Air Force’s next tanker and strategic bomber programs, and the Army’s Future Combat Systems black hole program). Now, some of these programs we need, some we don’t, and some we can live without for the time being. I’m reminded of the old bumper sticker that said it’d be a great day when schools had all the money they needed and the Air Force had to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber (for the record, how many brownies would you have to sell for that?).

Can we strike a balance between what’s necessary to protect our country and what’s needed to keep our country educationally and technologically superior? Of course we can.

Question is, where is that balance?




Written by Coby Dillard

April 8, 2009 at 7:51 am

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