Does Size Really Matter?

By Charles Bayer

Will further enlarging our gigantic military machine, as the President and Congressional Republicans want, make us and the world safer?  Will it help make America Great Again?  Only if you think that bigger is better. 

Do you recall from early in last year’s political campaign Trump bragging about his ability to dominate women? His boast was that if you are rich enough and powerful enough you can get away with whatever you want to do—whatever you want to grab. Whether one is talking about ego, a bank account, or any other agency, device or physical attribute, does size really matter? At least that is what Trump believes.

The bigger the better.

In the drive to prove to the world that he has made America great again, he has taken the nation’s mammoth military machine and tried to feed it with another 54 billion dollars. So America’s greatness will be further rooted in our power to destroy. Nobody will want to mess with us. He demonstrated this draconian thesis when we dropped the biggest non-nuclear bomb—20,000 pounds of explosive power—on a remote facility that may or may not have been part of an ISIS deployment. We’ll show them that size matters!

Now we are proving to the world how great we are in a very strange war where our definition of just who is the enemy changes every few days. It appears we are at war with ISIS.  But we are also at war with the regime of Bashar al-Assad. But so is ISIS. Does that make ISIS our partner? Wait a minute. Russia is also at war with those forces attacking the government of Syria.  But we are not at war with Russia. At the same time there is a collection of other military forces trying to overthrow Assad. Some of them are allies of ISIS and some of them are not. You just have to check out the daily news to discover who are our enemies and who are our allies. Anybody have an up-to-date scorecard?

Not only have we already dropped the most powerful non-nuclear bomb in the history of warfare, we have reserved the right to use our massive store of atomic weapons if the nations we want to control do not submit to our will. Really? Trump has already suggested the possibility, and this threat has been backed up by Vice President Pence during his recent visit to Korea. Here is how Pence put it: 

Just in the past two weeks, the world witnessed the strength and resolve of our new President in actions taken in Syria and Afghanistan. The administration will encourage Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear weapons through peaceful means, but all options are on the table.

If our adversaries think that the recently dropped big bomb limits the size of our threat, let them review what happened to two Japanese cities in 1945. What is more, we reserve the right to decide who can have nuclear weapons and who cannot. Israel is not only allowed to have them, but we will help pay for their production. On the other hand, Iran is prohibited under threat of total destruction even from pursuing a path to their development. Doesn’t anyone have the courage to suggest that a universal ban on the possession or development of these obscene weapons might make for a far safer world?

We instigated the demise of stability throughout the Mideast when George W. Bush conned Congress into authorizing his invasion of Iraq. Since then life has been unbearable for tens of millions of people in that part of the world—and terribly difficult for the rest of us. And all we seem to do is dig the grave deeper, hoping that somehow if it is deep enough, we can climb out.

Has the greatest adventure that is democracy, in which we pledged to be the world’s best hope for peace and universal stability, descended to this? Every day the straitjacket we designed grows tighter, and with the present Administration things are only getting worse. I believe America is better than that. Far better.