War

Who’s Really In Command Here?

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President of the United States… Also known as: Chief of State; Chief Executive; Chief Diplomat; Chief Legislator; Chief Administrator; Commander-In-Chief… Those are the roles of the President as outlined in the Constitution. Two other roles the President must fill are: Chief of Party and Voice of the People.

So, right off, that’s a lot. I’m going to break it down with just a sentence or two each.

  • Chief of State: The President is the head of the government; rules over the government.
    • Pretty obvious, but important to note.
  • Chief Executive: Has executive powers that are limited by the other two branches of government, Judicial and Legislative.
    • Again, obvious.
    • Can sometimes be used interchangeably with Chief Administrator.
  • Chief Diplomat: Recognize foreign governments and helps keep the US legitimate in the eyes of the world.
    • Representative of the US Government.
    • Basically, a sort of a host for a party? That’s a pretty good way of putting it, albeit unusual; but it works.
  • Chief Legislator: Shaper (not controller) of law.
    • Basically, upholds the law and may ask or insist Congress (the makers of law) enact laws.
  • Chief Administrator: Manager of the executive branch of government.
    • Keeps information flowing with the different departments of government.
    • Can sometimes be used interchangeably with Chief Executive.
  • Commander-In-Chief: Head of the military, full stop.
    • Every action taken, every death suffered, is the President’s responsibility.

So, those are the ones outlined in the Constitution, the ‘official’ roles.

Here are the ‘unofficial‘ roles:

  • Chief of Party: Leader of the country as a whole.
    • Not just the government, a specific branch, or the military, the entire country.
  • Voice of the People: Representative of the United States of America.
    • This may seem redundant, and, in a way, it is, but it’s important to note.
      • As the ‘Voice of the People’, the President is who tells the world what we stand for.
        • We the People.
          • As in all of us.

Now that that’s finished, let’s get to the focus of the post: Commander-In-Chief.

The President of the United States has refused to take responsibility for the death of US Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens. A death that occurred during a failed raid in Yemen that the President himself gave the orders for.

Not only is he refusing to take responsibility for this death, that he ordered, but he’s blaming his generals. Generals that he commands.

Let that sink in for a moment; I’ll wait.

Got it? Good.

The President of the United States is not only refusing to take responsibility for a Navy SEAL whose life he controls, but is deflecting that responsibility onto people under him.

This is a man who has personally draft-dodged, avoided serving, the military that he now commands.

Five times.

Now, before I go any further, I’m going to state, for the record, that I abhor the military. I abhor its practices, purpose, and use. But, and this is important, I recognize that the military is a necessary part of our country, and indeed, the world we live in. I recognize that they are the ones that keep us safe, day in and day out; that they literally put their life on the line for us. I understand that.

I respect that with the same respect those individuals in the military have for our freedoms and country, the reasons they fight for us. Those same individuals are not the ones I have a problem with. The system is what I have a problem with. The need for the system is what I have a problem with.

Having said that, I understand and, yes, empathize with the President’s actions in his past.

However, I believe that anyone that wants to be President should have either firsthand military experience or firsthand experience with the responsibilities that they will hold in regards to the lives of others.

Let me explain.

If you’re going to have power over life, you should know the consequences and be willing to take responsibility for those consequences.

That is your responsibility as someone with control over other people’s lives.

You need to know what you’re doing and you must take responsibility if and when things may go wrong. (This goes for all aspects of life, for everyone. See here.)

Here’s where my problem lies: we have a president who is refusing to accept and deflecting the consequences of his actions.

That is not what a leader is. That is not what the Commander-In-Chief does.

To put simply, that is not what a President is.

So I ask: who’s really in command here if we don’t have someone willing to accept the consequences of their actions, if we don’t have a president?

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The Cost Of War

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“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some 50 miles of concrete highway. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. This, I repeat, is the best way of life to be found on the road. the world has been taking. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.”

– President Dwight Eisenhower, Address “The Chance for Peace” Delivered Before the American Society of Newspaper Editors, 4/16/53

I, once again, begin my post with a quote, this time from Republican* President Dwight Eisenhower.

(*Keep in mind, over the course of history, the Republican and Democratic parties have switched platforms numerous times.

For instance, while Abraham Lincoln was president, he was technically a Republican, but, in the time since then, the parties have switched platforms three times. Meaning, the Republicans of Abraham Lincoln’s time were the Democrats of today.

I’ll be making an entire post on this sometime in the future, as it’s one of my favorite facts to bring up that most people don’t know, so I’ll link it here with more information and specifics after that point.

For right now, keep in mind that I’m not 100% sure that the Republicans of Eisenhower’s time were still the Republicans of today, or if Eisenhower was just a bit of an outlier**, though I do know that the last time they change platforms, into what they were today, was as recently as the last fifty years, in the 70s if I’m remembering correctly. I just looked all of this up to confirm and make sure of the number of times the platforms switched a couple weeks ago, but I can’t definitively, at this moment, confirm, simply because of the reasons stated above.

You’ll just have to take it on my word, unless you’d like to go back and look it up, until I make that post entirely about this issue.) (**I just skimmed through his Wikipedia page and an official website dedicated entirely to him for this specific quote; he seems to be more on the left, going from the quotes, if that helps anything. Again, I’ll be making an entire post about this and linking it here.)

Back to the issue at hand, every penny we spend on war, on our ‘defense’ fund, is money that isn’t being spent on other things, such as education, healthcare, comprehensive police training, homelessness, veterans, etc. so on and so forth.

We spend 36% of the entire world’s military spending, $604.5 billion. Compare that to the country closest to us in military spending, China, who spends $145B. That’s less than 1/3 of our spending. Let’s go down the list one more, to Russia, who spends $58.9B. Yes, you read that right. Russia, often touted as the United State’s “greatest enemy”, spends less than ten times in military than the United States.

Let me phrase it another way: The United States spends more on military than the 12 next highest military-spending nations combined.

Read that again.

We spend more on military than the next 12 nations that also spend a significant amount on military combined.

And the Trump Administration wants to add $54B on top of that. That would bring the prospective total up to $658,500,000,000.

Look at all of those digits. I count twelve.

Think about that. That’s astonishing.

Think about what you would do with that money. Most people I know would take care of their families, make sure they all had homes, cars, and enough money to live a good life. Then they would give the rest to people who need it.

Now think about what we’re doing with that money, as a country. We’re spending it on weapons, tanks, fighter jets, warships, bombs, and murder. Literal, actual murder. Of human beings in other countries and our own. Sure, some of them are bad people, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not being murdered.

Now think of all of the other things that we need: better education, healthcare, veterans, the list goes on.

Think of all the things that you need in your city, in your county, in your state. Think of how broken (and it’s only going to get worse) our education system is. Think of how many homeless veterans there are; how many homeless people there are; think of how many empty houses there are, just waiting to be bought.

If you think of all of those things and you still believe that we need to spend all of that money, all of those billions, those twelve digits, on a military that we use to kill and destroy and incite terror (AKA: terrorism)…

I don’t know what to say to you.

I just don’t know what to say.