Even John Milton stumbled in “Paradise Lost,” and Michael Jordan occasionally missed jump shots.
Sen. Rand Paul should similarly be forgiven for his tactical blunder in supporting ultra-bloated defense spending amendment in a non-binding Senate Budget Resolution with matching cuts in domestic expenditures.
There was a semblance of method in this madness from the sole presidential aspirant who has courageously summoned the nation to renounce empire and our corpulent military-industrial complex in favor of Aggressive Self Defense costing a fraction of our current prodigality.
Mr. Paul’s budget neutral amendment was offered as a contrast to the budget-busting defense spending championed by the usual suspects who crave world conquest through perpetual global war: Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Tom Cotton of Arkansas, and their easily frightened colleagues. They bugled for spending increases approaching $100 billion annually with no offsetting cuts. Mr. Paul’s amendment was intended to expose them as monumental hypocrites in composing hymns to limited government while saluting a Leviathan warfare state and spiralling spending.
But Mr. Paul’s amendment was a tactical blunder — too clever by half. By proposing a huge spike in superfluous Pentagon spending, Mr. Paul undercut his long-headed limited government creed of billions for self-defense, but not one cent for world domination hoping to transform Neanderthal nations into flourishing democracies. Mr. Paul recognizes that war is the surest and shortest way to destroy the liberties of a democratic nation; and that an ultra-sized military industrial complex invites gratuitous wars to showcase advanced weapons systems or otherwise. Remember then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s rebuke of then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell over his reluctance to intervene militarily in Bosnia because of its irrelevance to national security: “What’s the point of having this superb military that you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?”
Chinese general and military strategist Sun Tzu provided the answer: “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” Mr. Powell recognized what German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck understood more than a century ago: “The whole of the Balkans is not worth the bones of a single Pomeranian soldier.”
Mr. Paul should consider superior approaches to further his goal of replacing the nation’s policy of perpetual, global warfare fueled by a gold-plated military-industrial complex with Aggressive Self Defense that protects both American lives and liberties.
He should urge a moratorium on all spending on foreign wars or arms sales — including Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, ISIS, Yemen, and Somalia — until the Pentagon’s books have been independently audited. On Sept. 10, 2001, then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld disclosed that up to $2.3 trillion in defense expenditures could not be traced. No sane person would invest a single penny in a company that could not account for such a staggering sum. Just ask Warren Buffet!
Mr. Paul should further insist on Pentagon accountability in the same manner that teachers should be accountable for the educational progress of their students. At present, there are no deterrents to fighting preposterous wars abroad with no more likelihood of success than the discovery of a perpetual motion machine. Mr. Paul should propose that no funds of the United States be used to support foreign wars unless the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the National Security Adviser submit to the House Speaker and Majority Leader of the Senate under oath a joint statement specifically defining war objectives with measureable benchmarks and with promises to resign in two years if the objectives are not achieved.
Mr. Paul remains the sole voice among presidential contenders who supports liberty as the glory of the United States, not the juvenile thrill of world domination for the sake of domination at the cost of national bankruptcy. He is our last best hope for preserving government of the people, by the people, for the people.
For more information about Bruce Fein, visit brucefeinlaw.