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The Feb. 14 edition included a written piece by Colonel Mark “Puck” Mykleby from the U.S. Marine Corps. His opinions are logical, but likely unpopular. Nonetheless, they should be shared:
"Today, the words 'national security' invoke the specters of our worst fears, anxieties, and angst…Al Qaeda, China, Iran, etc…all threats that must be defended against. And this is the problem. As a product of the Cold War, we have blurred the distinction between defense and national security; so much so that we tend to use the terms interchangeably. The end result is that we are effectively undermining our national security in the name of defense and contributing to the unsustainable nature of our entire national system.
"Simply stated, we are depleting our national resources and bleeding our national strength by seeking to preserve a perceived status quo with an almost obsessive focus on risks and threats.
"In 1961, President Eisenhower presciently warned against such a dynamic in his farewell address to the nation. In his address, he shared his concerns over the 'military industrial complex' and its inherent threat to our nation’s fiscal solvency. Today, we are seeing Eisenhower’s warning come to fruition in front of our eyes. We continue to expend enormous amounts of national resources on a machine whose original purpose, national defense, has been eclipsed by the need for the machine to feed itself even at the expense of the security of our nation. We continue to pour more and more resources into calcified organizations, inflexible institutions, irrelevant processes, and paradigmatic weapon systems without ever challenging the logic or efficacy of our actions.
"All the while, we marginally address the root causes of the most problematic, complex, and very real challenges to our national security: an exorbitant national debt and the real possibility of fiscal insolvency; waning global influence and credibility as a result of our perceived national hubris; the pervasiveness, corrosive synergies, and state-like influence of nefarious non-state networks (terrorist organizations, illicit narcotics industries, organized crime syndicates, etc); suburban sprawl incoherently designed to accommodate cars rather than people; a gluttonous national lifestyle that creates systemic, preventable health problems that cost our nation billions of dollars each year; a food production and distribution system dependent on subsidies, petroleum, and farming techniques that degrade our soil and damage our national health; unsustainable energy policies and infrastructures that disregard the limits of the earth’s energy resources; a general disregard for the environment and the overt rejection of our responsibility to bequeath to our children a world worth living in; and a lackluster educational system that has resulted in a general decline in our national capacity to innovate and compete on a global scale."