Mission Statement

Mission Statement: This blog is dedicated to both political philosophy and application to current issues based on the ideas of limited government, free markets, and individual liberty. Additionally, this blog strives to create an atmosphere where intelligent discussions based on the principles of logic, no matter the viewpoints expressed in their conclusions, are not only welcome, but also thrive.

To learn more, feel free to read the introduction and subsequent posts which explain the aforementioned philosophy and purpose of this blog in more detail.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Issues 15: Changes in the American Military

          As I mentioned in my last post, the military intervention that the US cannot seem to avoid is not just a political policy question, but one of systems.  When we talk about what the military policy of a free nation should be, the inevitable question arises of what that country’s military should look like.  This latter question will help to drive the answers to the first.
          The modern American military is a gargantuan unmatched in the world. Not only is the standing force large, but monetary expenditure far outpaces any other nation in the world. In return we have perhaps the most capable force with technological supremacy and the ability to deal with conflicts various in scope throughout the globe. But should we?
          According to a principle of non-initiation of force, the military exists solely to defend Americans from foreign militaries and foreign force. There are entire books dedicated to the subject of just and unjust wars, but on the base idea of protecting against force only, preemptive and preventive wars as well as wars over “national interests” are not in line with libertarian philosophy.
          The current philosophy directing the use of the military is in itself destructive to national interests (read previous article here). Besides the selfish morality of losing American lives for a cause that did not threaten America in the first place, there are other selfish principles such as the exorbitant military budget. Additionally, the American reputation is tarnished by military intervention throughout the world. Military presence creates a target for terrorism and an object by which enemies of America can rouse ire against us. While these all point to military non-intervention as self-interested, it is also for the good of those countries on whose behalf we may intervene. Just like on an individual level, if you do something for a person for a long time, they will become incapable of doing so themselves.
          So how does this affect our military itself? It is not just politics. The very size and structure of the military suggests political ends to which it may be used. In an ideal libertarian country, the Army branch of the military would consist almost entirely of a National Guard or Reserve force. Since the purpose of such a force would be defense of the homeland, not expeditionary conquest, it would not need to be largely standing. A much smaller standing Army would serve to be a first reaction and form the core of a professional organization that retains constant capability to defend the nation. The US Army should transition to a smaller standing Army while increasing the size of its National Guard and Reserve forces, maintaining the ability to defend the nation while making it more difficult to send the Army to foreign shores.
          The Navy and Air Force should be by far the largest standing branches of the military. Since most enemies must traverse a great space in order to threaten America in the first place, having a method to prevent attack by both sea and air serves to defend the country. As there are also “moving pieces of America” in our ships and planes, it is also important to be able to defend these as they roam the globe. The Air Force would not take trips around the world to bomb dictators into submission or strike politically opportune targets. Instead it would defend American skies and maintain the capability to travel the world only should the US be attacked. The Navy would largely keep doing as it is, without the intervention of planes launched from carriers except as national defense.
          A smaller standing Army with a more domestically based Navy and Air Force would serve to reduce the military footprint of the United Sates throughout the world, create less ire against America in other nations, and reduce the budget currently spent maintaining an arm of force that is all too often initiating rather than defending. A larger Reserve and Guard force would maintain the ability to secure the nation.
          These ideas seem far fetched on the surface, but only in light of how the military has been used recently. The Founding Fathers were scared to death of a standing Army for fear that it would be used to suppress political opposition in the United States. They built safeguards against this, which work wonderfully. However, they could not have envisioned that the same concern would centuries later apply to the military force at a global level. Reducing the military to a defensive structure is completely in line with the views that founded America, and more importantly, better serves the Constitution that governs us. The title Secretary of War has long ago given way to the title Secretary of Defense. Now we need to adjust policy to match.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love it - and I know that if we needed a larger army in case of invasion, lots more men would be willing to sign up to defend California or New York rather than invade Iraq or Afghanistan.

Well said.