Montana Politics

What is National Security, Really?

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In light of the recent report by the American Friends Service Committee that the Iraq War is costing the United States $720,000,000 every day, or $500,000 a minute, Iraq war cheerleader Frederick Kagan was unconcerned:

"Either you think the war in Iraq supports America's
national security, or not," said Frederick W. Kagan, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. "If you think national security won't be harmed by withdrawing from Iraq, of course you would want to see that money spent elsewhere. I myself think that belief, on a certain level, is absurd, so the question
of focusing on how much money we are spending there is
irrelevant."

Absurd. Right. Wondering how much money a war that was going to pay for itself might
cost is absurd. Wondering how much a war whose occupation could
last five decades might cost is absurd. When it comes to national
security, no cost is high enough.

Kagan might be right, if he understood what national security
really meant. National security hasn't been enhanced by
radicalizing the Muslim world, securing non-existent weapons of
mass destruction, or weakening the military to its breaking point.
Real national security means things like educating our children,
providing homes for people who've lost them to disasters, and
securing our ports and borders from real threats, all things that
could have been accomplished without breaking our budget or
throwing away billions of dollars.

It's time for neo-cons to give up their bogeymen and stop
protecting us from phantom enemies. As long as their paranoid
illusions define what security means, we may never be safe.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it’s a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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