VICE-PRESIDENT ELECT CHENEY - VIEW OF THE MILITARY
The below letter was published in the Washington Post and it is making
its way on Military.com and other websites.
On my way to work last week, I stopped behind a purple Geo Metro with
my least favorite bumper sticker ever plastered across the back.
"It'll be a great day when schools have all the money they need
and the Air Force has to have a bake sale to buy a bomber."
At that moment, I realized who the most undervalued and under
appreciated segment of society is. And it ain't teachers.
Teachers, I believe, rank second on that list. Heading the list
are the men and women of the armed forces, who, throughout history,
have protected our country from the Hitler's and Stalin's - they who
would have had our white children marching to the school bus in
jackboots and our minority children locked up in laboratories and
The U.S. military - the most powerful and influential group of people
in the world, hands-down - gets an awfully bad rap these days. Many
Americans seem to think that simply because the communist Soviet Union
no longer exists, the world is as safe as Beaver Cleaver's
neighborhood. This, of course, ignores three facts:
Dozens of countries have nuclear weapons that could take out millions
of people with the turn of a key.
Leaders of several countries (e.g. North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Libya,
Lebanon and perhaps China and Russia) would love to see the U.S. and
its people blown to pieces and, most importantly
The U.S. has the greatest collection of human, economic, natural and
technological resources anywhere on Earth, making it the greatest
natural target for military aggression.
Though some would like to fashion the U.S. of the 21st Century as a
flowery feel-good fantasy where war and violence are mere after
thoughts of a time gone by, that can never be the case. As bad as our
crime and drug problems are, we're still considered the jewel of the
planet by the half of the world that has yet to make its first phone
In ancient Greece, the people of Athens were unparalleled world
leaders in art, philosophy and technology. Their rivals in Sparta were
not; instead, the Spartans built massive, well-trained armies.
When the two countries fought, who won? Sparta. And guess
who lost their entire civilization because they didn't think it was
important to build an appropriate army?
Athens! Right now, the U.S. has the best of Athens and Sparta:
we are the most cultured and most well-defended country in the world.
As we continue to lower our defenses by devaluing the military, we
open ourselves wider and wider to a takeover. A takeover of the U.S.?
Ridiculous, one might say. But why does it seem so unlikely?
Because the power and protection of the U.S. military has been so
overwhelming in the last century that Americans have been free to
enjoy a comfort level unlike any in the world. We all take it for
granted that we will never be invaded by another country, but few
other countries can afford to be so sure of themselves. It's not only
Americans who can go to bed feeling safe.
Children everywhere from Israel to England, from Brazil to Japan –
know that, if their country is attacked, the U.S. will be there to
help. On TV, the military is often represented by stiff, buttoned-down
generals or the occasional drill sergeant who is accused of feeling up
a female recruit. In reality, things are much different.
The men and women of the armed forces are, in most ways, just
like everyone else: they are mechanics, pilots, cooks, photographers,
engineers, secretaries and X-ray technicians.
They work from 8 to 5 and then come home to their families.
The one difference comes when the U.S. or any of its allies is
threatened by a foreign power. In that case, military people pack up
and ship out, off to fight - and many times die - so the rest of the
country, including teachers, can continue their lives without
Teachers mold young minds into intelligent, independent people, and
they should be admired for the job they do; however, I don't know any
teachers who are required to catch bullets and swallow shrapnel if so
ordered by the principal. So, old-fashioned as it may seem, I'm happy
to give my taxes to the military and tell the tots and teachers to
fire up the oven if they want extra dough. Make muffins, cookies and
candy and be happy you're allowed to. Because, as the old saying goes,
if it wasn't for the U.S. military, we'd all be speakin' German
"It is easy to take liberty for granted, when you have never had
it taken from you."
-- Dick Cheney