Why Not Defund the Military

February 2nd, 2023 - by Jacob G. Hornberger / The Future of Freedom Foundation

Why Not Defund the Military?
Jacob G. Hornberger / The Future of Freedom Foundation

(January 31, 2023) — Amidst all the talk about defunding the police, notice something important: No one talks about defunding the military. That’s because the military establishment is too powerful and has come to be accepted as a permanent feature in American life. Except for libertarians, everyone treats the military as their god.

But defunding the military, whose taxpayer-funded largess is now around $800 billion per year, is precisely what we need to do. This is especially true given the out-of-control spending, debt, and monetary debauchery that is threatening to take our country down from within, not to mention the fact that the military establishment is now doing everything it can to embroil the United States in a nuclear war with Russia, China, or both.

According to a September 7, 2022, article at Omni Financial, the United States has around 450-500 military bases here in the United States. All 50 states have at least one base. Several have dozens of bases. California has 123, Texas 59, Florida 56, Hawaii 49, and Alaska 47.

What purpose does this empire of domestic military bases serve?

Answer: It serves no purpose whatsoever. These bases all exist for their own sake — that is, simply to serve as a place for military personnel to live and work, as they spend that $800 billion in annual taxpayer-funded largess.

Think about it. In the 19th century, it made sense to have military bases to protect communities from attacks by Native Americans. But today, there is no threat of attack on any communities by Native Americans. That threat disappeared a long time ago.

Again, I ask: What purpose do all these military bases serve? Answer: No purpose whatsoever.

What about the threat of a foreign invasion of the United States? Couldn’t it be said that those 450-500 bases protect Americans in the event of foreign invasion of the United States?

But there is no threat of a foreign invasion of the United States. None!

It is now clear that the Pentagon hoped to re-convert Russia into a grave threat against the United States, just as it did during the 45 years of its Cold War racket. Recall what military officials were exclaiming after they used NATO to provoke Russia into invading Ukraine. They were saying that Russia’s invasion showed that it intended to move west after conquering Ukraine, with the ultimate aim of taking over all of Europe, after which it was going to cross the Atlantic and invade and conquer the United States.

Whoops! As we now know, Russia isn’t even able to conquer Ukraine. The great big “threat” to the United States was exposed as a sham. There was never any possibility that Russia would be able to cross the Atlantic, invade the United States, maintain its supply lines, conquer the country, and take over the federal government and America’s public schools.

It was all a crock. But that was clearly the plan — to present Russia, once again, as a giant threat, one that could be used to justify the continued existence of all those needless 450-500 domestic military bases.

What about China, the other nation that the Pentagon and its acolytes in the mainstream press consider to be America’s other major “adversary,” “competitor,” “rival,” “opponent,” or “enemy”?

China would have a difficult time even conquering Taiwan. It doesn’t have the remotest military capability, including the problem of maintaining supply lines, to cross the Pacific, and invade, conquer, and occupy the United States. For that matter, China doesn’t have any interest whatsoever in invading the United States, conquering the nation, and forcing Americans to learn the Communist Manifesto in America’s socialist public-school systems.

But in order to justify the existence of those 450-500 domestic military bases, the Pentagon is desperately doing whatever it can to demonstrate that China poses a grave threat to the United States, much as it did during its Cold War racket.

What about Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea, Nicaragua, Syria, or other Third World socialist or communist countries that the Pentagon considers are a threat to “national security”? Once again, they lack the military capability, money, armaments, troops, and even the interest to invade, conquer, and occupy the United States. In fact, if they tried, there is little doubt that America’s well-armed citizenry would quickly dispose of them.

Of course, military statists would exclaim, “Without our empire of domestic military bases, the Pentagon would not be able to sustain its empire of foreign military bases!” They would be referring to the 750 bases in some 80 countries. Yes, imagine that: the Pentagon has more military bases abroad than here inside the United States!

We should close those too. What purpose do they serve? None, expect to provide the Pentagon with the ability to control foreign regimes, invade and occupy foreign countries, and gin up foreign crises and wars, as it has done most recently in Ukraine. Remember what Martin Luther King said about the US national-security state — that it is the “greatest purveyor of violence in the world.”

How is all that deadly and destructive foreign interventionism in the interests of the American people? All it does is inflict death, suffering, and destruction that engenders anger and hatred, which then manifests itself in retaliatory terrorism, which is then used to justify the existence of that vast empire of domestic and foreign military bases.

Let’s not forget something else that’s of critical importance: the destruction of our liberty here at home at the hands of the national-security establishment. Examples: The USA PATRIOT Act, mass secret surveillance, the super-secret rubber-stamp FISA court, indefinite detention, military tribunals, denial of due process, and state-sponsored assassinations and torture of American citizens.

Our nation was founded as a limited-government republic. That’s the governmental system that the Constitution called into existence. That was our governmental system for more than 100 years. It was characterized by a basic, relatively small army. The last thing our ancestors wanted was a gigantic military establishment with a gigantic empire of domestic and military bases that America has today. They fiercely opposed standing armies.

The conversion of the federal government to a national-security state was the worst mistake our nation has ever made. Not only is it a major factor in the out-of-control federal spending, debt, and monetary debauchery that is threatening our nation with bankruptcy, it also is now threatening our nation with life-destroying nuclear war.

We need to repeal and dismantle the national security establishment and restore a limited-government republic with a relatively small military force. We need to do it now. Our liberty, peace, prosperity, harmony, and possibly even our survival depend on it.

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, he became director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations and on Fox News. He has appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context.

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