- May 25, 2022
Trying to research statistics on any upticks in military deployments for reserves and guard units is almost impossible. Still, among our local community, I have heard from a few folks I know who are in part-time military service. They have been told to get their gear together for some active service. It does not take
Trying to research statistics on any upticks in military deployments for reserves and guard units is almost impossible. Still, among our local community, I have heard from a few folks I know who are in part-time military service. They have been told to get their gear together for some active service. It does not take a rocket-science-brain-surgeon to figure out that this is in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Since the early part of the twentieth century, the United States has almost continually been on a war footing in one way or another. After World War I, came World War II, then the Korean War, the Vietnam War, then a short lull in the 1970s and 80s that was the Cold War interspersed with some troubling incidents like the one in 1983 where 241 Marines were killed when their barracks were bombed in Beirut. Then came the 1990’s war with Iraq and on into the 21st century with more serious engagements with Iraq and Afghanistan.
This brings us to our present day and the turmoil in Ukraine right now. Technically, at the present time, our country is not directly sending troops into this conflict but positioning them in what could be seen as a standby mode. However, we are directly supporting Ukraine with lots and lots of money and military hardware. To date, we have recently given them $13.6 billion, and President Biden has now asked Congress for $33 billion more. The stated purposes for these funds are artillery, antitank weapons, other military hardware, and economic and humanitarian aid.
There is a certain déjà vu feeling to all this, given the rather ugly finality of the US support of Afghanistan in their struggles against the Taliban, which besides the death of 2,442 US troops and another 20,719 who were wounded, and also cost the US in military operations and support to the Afghan government an estimated 2.26 TRILLION dollars. (Note: that is Washington, D.C.’s figures, other private studies have noted some “off the books” expenses, which have placed the cost much higher!)
Thus, given the high cost of manpower and money, it would seem prudent to ask a basic question — why? Why are we supporting Ukraine? We have no commitments or obligations to do so. They are not a NATO country; a treaty we signed in 1949 to provide collective security among countries that agreed to mutual defense in response to an attack by any external party. If, for example, Russia had attacked one of the Baltic countries, Lithuania, Latvia, or Estonia (all of which have been NATO countries since 2004), then this would make sense for the USA to help defend them.
In what sense is Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a threat to the United States? It threatens nearby NATO countries, to be sure. Still, the oath of enlistment for our Armed Forces pledge is to “defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic.” It does not say we are to defend our friends against their enemies. In other words, are not our actions signifying that we consider Russia an enemy of our country? Thus, are we not, in fact, at war with Russia?
It is somewhat ironic that war is bad when there is a Republican president, but war is necessary when a Democrat holds the presidency. Evidence is the recent visit to Kyiv, where House Leader Nancy Pelosi made some bold statements on behalf of our country’s commitment. “America stands firmly with Ukraine,” and “Our commitment is to be there for you until the fight is done,” and later tweeted to the Ukrainian people that “We are with you until victory is won.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell splashed some cold words of caution on this hotbed by stating, “After just two months, our aid to Ukraine has drawn down a quarter of our entire stockpile of Stinger anti-air missiles and a third of our Javelin antitank missiles. This would be less of a problem if we had a robust defense industrial base to quickly refill our armories. But defense manufacturers have admitted that the production lines for some critical components have dried up, and it could be years before they could replace the weapons we’ve sent to Ukraine.”
There is no question that what Russia is doing to Ukraine today is horrific and untenable. Personally, I weep for Ukraine. I have many friends and colleagues there. Yet, I am first and foremost a citizen of the United States of America. In my own lifetime, I have seen tens of thousands of lives of my countrymen and women who have fallen in battle on foreign shores and trillions of American dollars that have been spent in these wars that we will be paying for many generations to come.
Our country needs to stop and take a long, hard look at where all this saber-rattling is leading us right now. Are we protecting our freedom or acting as the world’s policemen? Has not a century of involvement in foreign wars taught us anything? Where is the line that we are drawing in the sand?
I am a decorated veteran; three of my four children are vets, and two of my grandchildren are currently active in the Armed Forces, so I definitely am not a pacifist. I would like to believe I am a patriot of my country. I have a right to ask about the military commitment that is taking place right now — What is our commitment? Where is it all going? When will it end?