Over the last few months, talks of budget cuts in general and Sequestration in particular have filled the news. I agree with many of the cuts. I’m opposed to waste in government since it involves our tax dollars. Even some of the proposed military cuts are logical. For example, the grounding of the Navy’s Blue Angels and the Air Force’s Thunderbirds is a reasonable cut and won’t do much harm. I enjoy watching their shows, but will not be harmed in any way if I never see another one. Other cuts, however, could very well threaten military readiness. The Defense Department predicts that the slashing of ship and aircraft maintenance and the curtailing of training will occur with the currently proposed budget cuts.
I don’t pay much attention to politics on television, even though I do watch the national news nightly. When the report on North Korean progress with powerful weapons appeared on the same night as military cuts, I sat up and took notice - a little bit nervously, I might add.
The twenty-eight-year-old leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Un has been spitting out fighting words for some time now - practically since he replaced his dead father last December as leader of the country. Perhaps he’s trying to prove himself, as believes Rep. Mike Rogers, the chairman of the House intelligence Committee. Back in December, 2012, they launched a satellite into orbit on top of a long-range rocket. Some experts say that the North Koreans won’t be a real threat for many years now. Some other experts think they are dangerous today. I always try to listen to the experts, but I want someone to tell me definitively if we are ready for either eventuality.
On Saturday, March 15, North Korea announced that it would not negotiate with the United States over its nuclear program. Earlier this month its leaders announced that they were abandoning the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War. Considering their behavior and even their words, how much can we trust these North Korean leaders? They make me edgy, especially when we’re talking cuts to our military budget.
If we had just one enemy to keep an eye on, it might not worry me so much. We don’t.
Thirty-two percent of Americans mention Iran when asked to name the country that is the United States’ greatest enemy, up from 25% in 2011. We do know that Iran, too, is manufacturing weapons and not doing much to hide it. How capable are they of attacking us on our own soil?
The faces of the enemy may have changed a tad, but they’re out there and just as strong - maybe more so.
We’d better consider al Qaeda, the Taliban, and computer hackers. They do nothing to hide their animosity. They’ve been here already, a black day in our country’s history, that bright September 11th morning in 2001. In a mere twelve years, have we slipped back into our lethargy enough to slash our military budget? How soon we forget!
I know that massive waste exists in the military as well as in other areas of government. What governmental department never wastes money? But if we really need to save money enough to weaken our military to do so, maybe we should consider downsizing government rather than our military ranks. There are whole departments that we could cut and never miss, never even notice. Only the people who drew checks for whatever they did would clamor. I have no idea how all these departments were ever established in the first place. We the people were not paying attention and our government slipped something - many things actually - right by us.
Perhaps we’d better wake up, contact our representatives at all levels and insist that they start to do their jobs in a more efficient manner. I don’t want this crisis to arise again next year when they can’t seem to make a budget on time. I also wish our leaders would make our safety their top priority.