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Ben Franklin's bifocals Monday, June 12, 2017

John Roebling Old Brooklyn Bridge
[1806 - John A. Roebling, civil engineer, designer of the Brooklyn Bridge, born in Muehlhausen, Prussia]

Lee Richmond
[1880 - Lee Richmond pitches first major league
perfect game (Worcester 1, Cleveland 0)]

Filipino National Hero Jose Rizal    Philippines Flag
[1898 - The Philippines gain their independence from Spain]

Actor William Lundigan    Actor William Lundigan
[1914 - William Lundigan, actor, born in Syracuse, New York]

Producer Irwin Allen    Director Irwin Allen
[1916 - Irwin Allen, producer, director, born in New York City]

Actress Uta Hagen    Actress Uta Hagen    Actress Uta Hagen
[1919 - Uta (Thyra) Hagen, Tony Award-winning actress, writer, teacher, born in Gottingen, Germany]

F-I Driver Innes Ireland    Driver Innes Ireland in a Lotus-18
[1930 - Innes Ireland, military officer, engineer, writer, and F-I auto racer, born in Mytholmroyd, Yorkshire, England]

Ribbon Cutting at Cooperstown    Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown
[1939 - The Baseball Hall of Fame is dedicated at Cooperstown, New York]

Medgar Evers    Medgar Evers Arlington headstone
[1963 - Medgar W. Evers, an NAACP official, is murdered in Jackson, Mississippi]

Here We Are Again

The war drums haven't missed a beat. Our new president kept more troops to Afghanistan than he said he would and the Chicken Hawks are calling for a deeper involvement in Syria and Iraq. On we must march, they say, pouring blood and treasure into another couple of sinkholes on foreign soil. It should be evident by now that this nation made serious blunders in national policy as regards the military forces and the manner in which they should be employed. The last four foreign adventures with our military have cost well over 65,000 US lives, several times that number maimed and damaged, many hundreds of thousands of dead, injured, and displaced persons in foreign countries, without any significant benefit to this country or its security, and at the cost of trillions of taxpayer dollars. All this without a declaration of war or a legitimate threat to our homeland. It is time to stop this folly.

One notes in passing that the presidents that committed these forces (with the exception of Bush I) had little or no actual combat experience. It is far too easy for leaders who lack firsthand combat experience to send other people's children to fight and die. Nor can we count on the legislative branch to restrain the beast once the Commander in Chief has unleashed it. The decision taken in the '70s to transition our armed forces to an all volunteer force means that the troops who deploy and die are seldom comprised of the sons and daughters of the Congress, the Executive, or our other power elites.

This country existed in a dangerous world for over a century and a half with a very small professional military that in time of war was swelled in its ranks by draftees and volunteers from all economic classes and from every corner of the land. The costs of war were borne by taxes on the citizenry, and the nation was called to sacrifice so the wars could be prosecuted. These conditions served as a natural check on the impulses of leaders to engage in foreign adventures. In these times, with large standing forces, the ability to send the tab for current wars on to our children and grandchildren, and little effective oversight of the government propaganda organs by a skeptical press, it has become far too easy to send the Country to war.

William's Whimsical Words:

President Obama is a lot smarter than George Bush, and he has not surrounded himself with a flock of chicken hawks, but he seems to be marching down the same well-worn path.

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Last updated on June 12, 2015

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