By Nancy Thorner and Elizabeth Clarke -
To “provide for the common defense" is a phrase in the preamble to the U.S. Constitution, it signifies one of the reasons that the individual states are banding together in a union: to provide an effective, unified military force to protect all of the states together (as opposed to each state fielding its own military to protect itself independently).
It means that the government will have the power to form whatever is needed of Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, etc. to protect Americans from foreign enemies.
Recently, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has proposed cuts that would reduce our Army to its smallest size since World War II, lay up half of our Navy's cruisers, cut the acquisition of modern Littoral Combat Ships from 52 to 30 vessels, and set the stage for mothballing one of our few remaining aircraft carriers barely halfway into its planned for service life. Additionally, the Army National Guard would shrink by 20,000 troops; the Army Reserve would be cut by 10,000 troops, and the Marine Corps by 8,000 troops. Moreover, all of the Air Force's famed A-10 Warthog close air support aircraft would be sent to the junk yard.
Our President and a large segment of the American people seem to have forgotten what is conveyed by the words "providing for the common defense," practiced over the years at a loss of much blood and treasure of those who answered the call to protect this nation in times of war and in peace.
It's understandable why many Americans are war weary from years of involvement in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. It doesn't help that we have a president who is eager to remove all troops from Iraq and Afghanistan -- caring not if our security is put at risk -- so money is freed up for his domestic programs at home.
Most Americans are too young to remember World War II. Then too the teaching of American history, if taught at all, is not to think of this nation as above other nations or as a guiding light and example to the rest of the world. Instead, it is to see this nation as greedy and selfish and at odds with the concept of American citizens being endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness
Nancy Thorner and Elizabeth Clarke remember WW II, with Elizabeth's memories stretching back to an even an earlier time. The following account related by Elizabeth Clarke tells of apathy among the American people after WW I and of positive action taken post-WW I by individuals worried about disarmament that made all the difference when America entered WW II:
When I was married at Fort Sill, Oklahoma in 1941, I remember that my husband had to spend time every night polishing his riding boots. The Artillery was horse-drawn then; meaning that it took six horses to pull a cannon and another six horses to pull the Caisson "ammunition" for the cannon. There were four cannons in each unit depending on the size of the guns. As a lieutenant, my husband was in charge of training the men and the horses.
President Roosevelt realized that the citizens of the U.S were determined to stay OUT of Europe's wars, where Hitler's Germany was taking over, but he managed to persuade the Congress to pass the Thompson Act to require ROTC (Reserve Officer's Training Corps) officers to serve one year of active duty. ROTC trained students in military activity and was a way for students to pay for college. Other students signed pledges that they would "NEVER JOIN THE MILITARY, THERE WAS NOTHING IN THE WORLD WORTH FIGHTING FOR."
The attack on Pearl Harbor changed everything! The military was thankful for the two oceans, the Atlantic and Pacific to protect us. We lost a large part of our Navy in the Japanese attack so we had a difficult time at sea.
Then we found that spies were telling the Japanese Emperor about our ship movements, commercial as well as naval. After three months of trying to get the California Japanese to help stop the spying, the President ordered the round-up of Japanese, Germans, and Italians into camps where they were well treated but could not communicate with their home countries.
My dad was on the Artillery Board, whose members were worried about the disarmament of the military after WW I. The Board drew up detailed plans for the equipment that would be needed should the U.S. be attacked in future years. So when Pearl Harbor was attacked the Artillery and other branches of the military were able to tell the factories what to build, including the details of the machinery needed to make the tanks and other equipment. Having those plans saved months of planning, but it still took two years before our military was beginning to be equipped and trained. As the U.S. had been sending guns and ammunition to England in Lend-Lease to help England resist the Nazi Regime, our military was really short on essential equipment and vulnerable.
Now we are putting the U.S in the same pathetic unpreparedness as we were in 1941. BUT THE OCEANS WILL NOT HELP GIVE US TIME TO REARM NEXT TIME!!!
Is this the time to retreat from the world? Can we afford apathy now? This is a dangerous world with events unfolding rapidly in the Ukraine, as Russia under Putin has thoughts of grandeur to return to the glory days of the former Soviet Union to recapture its prominence in the world
This is all happening at a time when President Obama is behaving in an inexplicably weak manner in dealing with the Russians. But such behavior on the world-wide stage has been the norm ever since President Obama took office in 2009, during which time there has been a consistent weakening of this nation both strategically and militarily. It should concern the American people that President Obama would rather spend billions on food stamps than he would on a strong military or support for our troops.
Who will fill the void if this nation sticks its head in the sand and summarily abandons its allies. It is unlikely that the void will be filled by a country who is sympathetic to democracy and human rights. Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea must all be applauding Chuck Hagel's recent call for big cuts in defense.
Is this what Obama meant when he said he was basically going to transform this country? Will the American people wake up before it's no longer possible to change the course of a once proud, strong and grateful nation, founded on the principles of freedom and liberty which were granted through the grace of God?