Feb 192002

Marshaling Forces Verses Marshall Plans

Many say that watching G.W. Bush play politics is like watching a cow snowboard. Just when you think the bovine is about to complete a phenomenal double misty with a tailgrab, it falls on its back with a squishy thump, yelling a pathetic, frigid, “moo.” Bush’s fall started with the State of the Union Address, and he’s been yelling a pitiful “moo” ever since.

The first problem was calling certain nations, particularly North Korea and Iran, part of an “Axis of Evil,” something that can only conjure pictures of Nazism and evil-goose stepping SS armies. The leaders of Iran certainly are “evil,” at least from our point of view. Development of nuclear weapons, the sale of weapons to militant Palestinians, and harboring al-Qaeda members can be defined as no less. The common folks of Iran, however, were not so pleased with being called evil, or at least that’s what I think they meant when they compared America with the Great Satan. So now, in addition to having a country full of evil leaders, we have a country full of angry common citizens who also hate America.

Similarly, Bush’s Asia trip also ought to be fun, trying to convince South Korea that an undeclared war against their kooky communist neighbors to the north won’t affect them in the least.

And then there’s Iraq. Ousting Saddam won’t be very easy, particularly when our allies against terror, such as Russia, don’t think an all out attack to displace the leader of a sovereign nation is a good idea. And what about armies? We were lucky in that we could use the Northern Alliance in our battles against the Taliban, but how comfortable will we be using Kurds and other small groups of Saddam’s political enemies as pawns in our next wars?

In all seriousness, though, Bush wasn’t completely retarded when he suggested we should watch out for these evil “Axis” countries. His speech was crude and indelicate, yes, completely retarded, no. But then he had to go and make his budget.

Sometimes I wonder if G.W. Bush has an inferiority complex; that he has to prove he’s cooler than his father or something. His budget suggests this and more. He’s willing to toss away all the economic progress we’ve made as a country to get out of deficit spending and toss it out into a garbage heap. He’s willing to make a lot of people sad when they someday want to draw on Social Security. All this to escalate his military goals.

Yes we need defense. Yes we need an offense for a strong defense. But what about after the wars, or, more importantly, during the wars?

Former President Clinton recently made an interesting observation, one I think should be quoted in full: “It would be a mistake in my judgment to spend all that we have to spend in the war against terror on defense and homeland defense, and spend nothing the way General Marshall spent it to build a world with more partners and fewer terrorists.” For those that failed history, the Marshall Plan is basically a way to rebuild enemy countries into friendly countries though economic aid. Instead of needlessly squashing defeated and/or bitter nations under the “boot-heel of justice,” as was done to Germany after WWI, it is better to make them into friends, like what was done to Japan after WWII. Clinton believes that for less than 20% of the increases being planned for military and defense, we could double our efforts to beef up the world’s economy and make a lot of friends in the process. His suggestion would be to implement Marshall Plans in regions that can become friendly, strong allies in otherwise unstable regions. More friends would be neat because they could do things for us like not allowing terrorists on their soil and not become terrorists themselves. They might even hunt down some terrorists for us. That would be cool. Implementing a Marshall plan in defeated “Axis” countries would be a good idea as well, before whatever evil leader that replaces the old one decides to be militant in 20 years. I’m hoping that Congress thinks this, too, before the Little General creates more enemies than any economy can ever handle.

Ken Hamner is graduate student studying microbology.

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