Skip to comments.Fighting for What’s Right on Defense
Posted on 02/22/2014 9:03:21 AM PST by Kaslin
Its easy for conservatives, who are forced to spend much of their time these days opposing bad ideas, to neglect the great responsibility of advancing good ideas.
That was the impetus behind the Feb. 10 Conservative Policy Summit convened at The Heritage Foundation by its political arm, Heritage Action for America.
Its not sufficient for conservatives to run against agendas, Heritage President Jim DeMint said in his opening remarks. They must advance ideas and legislation that will build a stronger America.
The first and perhaps the most important thing for conservatives to get right is a wise foreign policy. Only after we ensure we have a sufficiently strong national defense can we turn to the important domestic issues that merit our attention.
That means, for starters, making sure that we have sufficient troop levels to defend ourselves and our allies adequately. Yet continued cuts to the defense budget imperil our ability to do that. Recent statements by military officials indicate that the Army may soon shrink to its lowest active-duty end strength size since before World War II.
Indeed, all the recent talk of using more unmanned ground and air vehicles flows from efforts to make up for expected troop reductions. Do more with less, right? But weve been here before (such as prior to World War II), and although we manage to make up for the shortcomings and prevail when serious threats emerge, it always costs more time, treasure and trouble than it would have if we hadnt cut our forces to begin with.
When it comes to weapons, we need to stop relying on international pacts that are questionable at best. Why, for example, did President Obama agree to a New START treaty that forces us to cut our nuclear weapons to 1,550 by 2018 when the Russians have a track record of violating such accords? Why stand behind the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, a pact that other nations flout with impunity and that allows our arsenal to atrophy through disuse?
Our nuclear modernization efforts are anything but. Under current policies, replacement systems wont enter our arsenal until 2030. By then, the U.S. will have 60-year-old intercontinental-range ballistic missiles (ICBMs), 40-year-old submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and 35- to 70-year-old bombers. This needs to change. We should be economical, yes, but trying to defend ourselves on the cheap is no defense at all.
Another crucial item on our defense to do list is one that many Americans think we already have: a comprehensive missile defense. We have a rudimentary one in place, but we need one with land, sea, air and space capabilities. That means locating sensors throughout the world -- and above it. It also means increasing the number of interceptors we have to counter long-range missiles. With a layered system, we have a much better chance of destroying an incoming missile.
Such a system can protect us not only against a conventional nuclear attack (launched either deliberately or accidentally), but from an EMP -- a high-intensity burst of electromagnetic energy from a nuclear warhead exploded above the ground. Its purpose: to cause severe current and voltage surges.
An EMP could fry all electronic devices within a large radius, including all the cell phones and other devices we rely on in our daily lives. It could shut down the entire power grid and transportation systems over a large region of the country. Its that serious.
When it comes to the war on terrorism, we must maintain a sufficient fighting force in hot spots such as Afghanistan. Pulling out entirely by years end would be a huge mistake. We need a robust force there beyond 2014. If the people there know that the U.S. will remain engaged for the foreseeable future, it will weaken the hand of terrorist networks who are counting on the U.S. vacating before the situation is stable.
You ask how to fight an idea, Messala says in the film Ben-Hur. Well, I'll tell you how. With another idea. Conservatives should take heed. Thwarting bad policy is vital, but we cant stop there, especially when our security is at stake.
Buying into the liberal notion of a pro-active government is a trap for conservatives. The government doing ‘something’ about healthcare, creating jobs and building prosperity is wrong, when the best the government can do is create a positive environment for free people and a free economy to function and do what it’s been doing successfully for 200 years. The government mostly needs to get the hell out of the way.
Those 200 years of success ended when we started to export factories and jobs under Clinton, Bush put exporting jobs on steroids, and Obama kept it rolling. Bring back MADE IN USA to reset.
This latest trial balloon floated by the FCC and the push back it is receiving provides a natural launching point for such an education effort.
Feulner's emphasis on defense policy is good, but an informed citizenry is critical to achieving what he proposes here.
Although the FCC now purports to be "abandoning," or "suspending" that step toward abolishing the First Amendment's protections, informed citizens know that is just a political tactic.
"Suspended" is just another semantic maneuver designed to lull unsuspecting Americans into complacency. So-called "progressives" never stop their determined efforts to control.
Perhaps these enemies of freedom who fear a truly free press should consult the Founders. Although President Thomas Jefferson, Author of America's Declaration of Independence, was the object of criticism from the press of his day, here are some of his warnings about the necessity of a free press:
"The press [is] the only tocsin of a nation. [When it] is completely silenced... all means of a general effort [are] taken away." --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Cooper, Nov 29, 1802. (*) ME 10:341
"Since truth and reason have maintained their ground against false opinions in league with false facts, the press confined to truth needs no other legal restraint. The public judgment will correct false reasonings and opinions on a full hearing of all parties, and no other definite line can be drawn between the inestimable liberty of the press and its demoralizing licentiousness. If there be still improprieties which this rule would not restrain, its supplement must be sought in the censorship of public opinion." --Thomas Jefferson: 2nd Inaugural Address, 1805. ME 3:381
"The functionaries of every government have propensities to command at will the liberty and property of their constituents. There is no safe deposit for these but with the people themselves, nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free, and every man able to read, all is safe." --Thomas Jefferson to Charles Yancey, 1816. ME 14:384
"Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it." --Thomas Jefferson to John Jay, 1786.
And, finally, but by no means the entirety of Jefferson's thoughts on the need for a press free of bias toward any one political figure or group:
"No experiment can be more interesting than that we are now trying, and which we trust will end in establishing the fact, that man may be governed by reason and truth. Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues to truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is the freedom of the press. It is, therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions."(Underlining added for emphasis) --Thomas Jefferson to John Tyler, 1804. ME 11:33
Soros's funding of these efforts in the universities represents the mindset of the Left and the "mind controllers" in the Administration.
Youth have not been taught enough about "the American way" to know what that means. They may even confuse it with the kind of liberal thought of "People for the American Way"--another older "progressive" organization.
There is a truly principled argument to be made for the Founders' Constitution's protection of free speech and freedom of the press.
When one dimension of liberty is threatened, then all are at risk, and this blatant example of unconstitutional intrusion of government power by this "battle" deserves a more competent argument than is currently being provided by even Fox or so-called "conservative" organizations.
It's time for a long overdue history and civics lessons, especially for the young! Tell young Americans about why Thomas Jefferson, who was criticized by the press of his day, was so outspoken on the idea of a free press! Bet they've never heard it in school.
Claim a larger battleground--a battle of ideas. Contrast those ideas with those of dictatorships and totalitarian governments which have oppressed their citizens and controlled the marketplace of ideas by restricting the press!
Stop playing in the Administration's playpen. Force it onto an unfamiliar battleground where the ideas of liberty are presented versus the ideas of tyranny. Contrast the 200-year history of America with that of every totalitatian regime, and future generations will mark this as a turning point for freedom.
"But none of the means of information are more sacred, or have been cherished with more tenderness and care by the settlers of America, than the press. Care has been taken that the art of printing should be encouraged, and that it should be easy and cheap and safe for any person to communicate his thoughts to the public. And you, Messieurs printers, whatever the tyrants of the earth may say of your paper, have done important service to your country by your readiness and freedom in publishing the speculations of the curious. The stale, impudent insinuations of slander and sedition with which the gormandizers of power have endeavored to discredit your paper are so much the more to your honor; for the jaws of power are always opened to devour, and her arm is always stretched out, if possible, to destroy the freedom of thinking, speaking, and writing." - John Adams, A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law, 1765
"Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter." - Thomas Jefferson