Matty told Hatty about a thing she saw. "Had two big horns and a wooly jaw." Wooly Bully" Sam the Sham (June 1965) - Beware the wolf in sheep'' clothing.
Vladimir Putin may pugnaciously posture with a scary pit bull stare, but the top ten bullies on my scorecard don't have Russian names. They even pretend to be a friend. They are Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Halliburton, BAE Systems, United Technologies, Huntington Ingalls Industries and SAIC, Incorporated.
They steal billions of our collective lunch money every year with a time-honored scheme unbelievably simple and perfectly legal. They hire thousands of lobbyists recruited from top military decision makers, important congressional staffers and duly elected public officials, thereby providing a sweet payoff for "good behavior" over decades of unspoken, unwritten complicity in advancing and approving costly new weapons systems and associated schemes, rarely critical and often completely unneeded. That's just for openers.
One thing they do quite well is frighten us out of our wits, often succeeding to an astounding degree. And they keep FOX News viewers glued to their flat screens or old-fashioned boob tubes, confirming every comforting suspicion.
Right now, these lobbyists are pushing the insane notion that the new proposed federal budget for fiscal year 2015 will reduce our military strength to a level not seen since before World War Two, ignoring the fact that 21st Century warfare operates with completely different dynamics. Global troop strength will be reduced by 9.2% with the active-duty Army trimmed from 520,000 to 450,000, the Army National Guard moving from 355,000 to 335,000 and Army Reserves drawing down to 195,000 soldiers 10,000 less than currently participate.
Here's current Mississippi Senator (R) and probable future Lobbyist Roger Wicker: "Amid Russian President Vladimir Putin's aggression in Ukraine, President Obama is proposing defense cuts that could jeopardize the future vitality and preparedness of America's armed forces. At a time for demonstrating "peace through strength," the presiden's budget blueprint instead suggests America is on retreat."
Are you kidding me? Consider this one critical fact: Even with the reductions outlined above, the total United States military budget for fiscal year 2015 will still be larger than the next dozen nations of the world combined.
According to the highly regarded Stockholm International Institute, 2013 expenditures around the world looked like this: U.S., $1,753 billion; Peoples Republic of China, $682 billion; Russia, $90 billion; Japan, $59 billion; Saudi Arabia, $56 billion; India, $46 billion; Germany, $45 billion; South Korea, $32 billion.
If size matters, Putin's present purchasing punch is approximately 5% of our own. We're 20 times bigger. Ouch. Indeed, we spent more last year in Afghanistan alone than the entire Russian military budget on everything they've been involved with, including outer space.
The day we can simply "send in the jets" and have our way in the world has long since disappeared if it ever existed in the first place. As Secretary of Defense Robert Gates properly observed last year at the Dwight David Eisenhower Library in Abilene, Kansas, "Does the number of warships we have and are building really put America at risk when the U.S. battle fleet is larger than the next 13 navies combined 11 of which are our partners and allies?"
President Eisenhower, the only general elected to our nation's highest office in the 20th Century and victorious Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in World War Two, warned against the dangers of a powerful "military-industrial complex" threatening our American way of life in his famed "Farewell Address" to the nation on January 17, 1961.
In this last public speech of his phenomenal career, Eisenhower also stressed: "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense, a theft. The cost of one modern, heavy bomber is this: a modern, brick school in more than 30 cities." And then he thoughtfully added: "Together, we must learn how to compose differences, not with arms but with intellect and decent purpose." With those words, it's not difficult imagining "Ike" fondly recalling his formative childhood days faithfully attending weekly Sunday School in old Abilene.
"Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God." Matthew 5:9.