Response to a comment about “In Washington the beat goes on”
by Ed Mattson
Today, the day after Thanksgiving, I decided to write a reply to a comment I received on one of the Internet sites which carries my articles. While I may occasionally mention specific replies in follow-up articles I author, this particular comment was to me, so offensive to every military Veteran who ever donned a uniform whether in peacetime or in war, it begged for a fitting response. So for those who have been willing put their life on the line in defense of the freedoms most of us hold dear, I hope I am able to temper my words to a meaningful dialogue.
The comments came in the wake of my article titled, in Washington the beat goes on, which appeared on numerous Internet sites including U.S. Secretary of Defense-U.S. Government Portal and the Veterans Directed Community Services website. At the heart of the article I pointed out the abominable waste, fraud and abuse in the federal government and that those elected to the highest offices in the land appeared to have only one goal in being elected and that was in creating power and a permanent seat in the bureaucracy with little regard to duties those offices demand, including accountability.
Government in Washington is not how it was imagined by the Founding Fathers wherein those elected to office would be part-time legislators who go to Washington to serve their term and then return to their home states to live under the laws they have enacted. The whole system has turned up-side-down with most legislators serving only for their own interests, enriching themselves in the process, and doling out gracious/lavish benefits to a dumbed-down bunch of voters with social services that are the envy of other countries. All this on the backs of hard-working taxpayers that have seen their family wealth and hope diminish through a punitive tax system. Most Veterans didn’t offer to put their lives on the line for a system of government that is so detrimental to our American way of life.
In the wake of Washington politics-as-usual, we occasionally see actions that go above and beyond the pale. Over the last decade or so we have seen there is no bottom rung on the ladder to which the Congress and the Democrats in particular, along with the administration of Barack Obama, cannot find a way to go even lower!
My arguments in support of our never-ending downfall from greatness were well-documented by a step by step check-off list focusing on the total unaccountability and deference of those in power to the good of the country, and in particular to the unique waste, fraud, abuse, and lack of gratitude for those entrusted to the defense of our country…the military. With a Commander in Chief and Secretary of Defense that, in all appearances, display complete disdain for the .045% of the citizenry who choose to serve in the military in favor of the bloated over-populated, under-worked, group of bureaucratic-perpetuating government workers at all levels.
When a government finds itself in a crisis situation whether the crisis is due to inclement weather or a financial crisis due to a financial shut down to our politics-as-usual chaos in Washington, I find it interesting that only “critical government workers” are required to report to work. Interesting phraseology “critical government workers”, as the Founding Fathers I am sure, never envisioned to form a government that would evolve into what it has become today…a government more resembling Santa Claus than anything else with freebies for 50% of the populace.
We have a government that is so big and so unwieldy that it only moves in one direction and that is GROWTH. Like the cult movie The Blob, in which a mysterious creature from another planet, resembling a giant blob of jelly, lands on earth. The resemblance to the Blob by today’s federal government is unmistakable. The voters waiting for their next government handout/entitlement, are like the people portrayed in the move refusing to listen to the teenagers who have witnessed the blob’s destructive power, as it just keeps on getting bigger devouring everything in its path…welcome to Washington DC. This should not be so.
According to James Madison in the Federalist Papers:
- The Constitution gives three types of power to the national government: Delegated (sometimes called enumerated or expressed) powers are specifically granted to the federal government in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution.
- Implied powers are not specifically stated in the Constitution, but may be inferred from the elastic (or “necessary and proper”) clause (Article I, Section 8).
- Inherent powers are not specifically listed in the Constitution, but they grow out of the very existence of the national government.
The Constitution also identifies reserved powers, which are set aside for the states. Unlike delegated powers, they are not listed specifically, but are guaranteed by the Tenth Amendment: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, not prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
The Federalist Papers explain the motives of the Founding Fathers. Often when Supreme Court justices are trying to discern the founder’s intentions, they appeal to these writings. The Federalist Papers are the most important interpretative source of constitutional interpretation and give important insight into the framers’ intent and purpose for the Constitution.
The Constitution’s articles, and the subsequent Amendments, specify the prerogatives of the Feds. They are listed in Article I, Sec. 8; Articles II-V; Amendments XIII-XVI, XIX-XX, XXIII-XXVI. These prerogatives belong to one of the following categories:
- Defense, war prosecution, peace, foreign relations, foreign commerce, and interstate commerce;
- The protection of citizens’ constitutional rights (e.g the right to vote) and ensuring that slavery remains illegal;
- Establishing federal courts inferior to the SCOTUS;
- Copyright protection;
- Coining money;
- Establishing post offices and post roads;
- Establishing a national set of universal weights and measures;
- Taxation needed to raise revenue to perform these essential functions.
Those are the only prerogatives of the Federal Government! The Tenth Amendment states that all prerogatives not explicitly given to the Federal Government, nor prohibited of the states, are reserved to the states or to the people (i.e. individual Americans). So the Feds are not allowed to handle any issues not explicitly listed in the Constitution; their prerogatives are limited to what the Constitution explicitly states. According to Federalist Paper #45, paragraph #9… the federal establishment should be strictly limited to these tasks; all others should be reassigned to the states, local governments, and individual Americans.
With the above information in mind, my article posed the notion that we as citizens have allowed our elected officials to basically legislate away the very notion of limited government; that we have allowed those in office, by way of an apathetic voter block, to build in an almost impenetrable barrier of bureaucratic governmental agencies, regulators, departments, and rules to shield them from any semblance of accountability. As exemplified by the most recent government shut down, about 500,000 federal government employees, were deem as “non-essential”.
That’s 500,000 bureaucratic employees that, under the close scrutiny of any thinking voter would appear to be defensibly NOT NEEDED! Talk about dead baggage in an era when a national debt of $17 trillion mandates we must streamline government, demand complete transparency, honesty, efficiency, and eliminate waste, fraud and abuse.
In my mind, to set the stage for a more limited, transparent and honest government, one first has to position the debate into WHY specific steps need to be taken. This starts with calling out our self-aggrandizing elected officials for the neglect and abuse they have perpetrated on the country. Next is to highlight the bloated bureaucracy, its inherent waste, fraud, abuse, and lack of oversight, and then recognize that there are necessities required by government including those who serve in the military to defend our way of life, as first responders, and those who provide the limited services outlined in the Constitution.
In service to the country, it is these “true servants” who earn the benefits to which they are entitled, along with the portion of the population that paid-in or contributed to mandated programs enacted by government (Social Security and Medicare). All others, except for those truly in need of safety-net programs, are not entitled to largess of the taxpayers just because they made a lot of bad choices in life and are being force to reap the consequences of their actions.
Getting back to the comments I received from that one reader who somewhere along to road to being an American, came up a few French fires short of a Happy Meal. The reader, simply named John, voiced his comment as follows:
“I would never encourage any of my kids to join the military. Since I never had any, I guess I don’t have to worry about it.
The U.S. military has been, for the past 130 years nothing more than hired thugs for multi national corporations….and israhell (sic).
Gen. Butler was right. Mothers don’t let your babies grow up to be soldiers…..
They’ll only get screwed over and such make the rest of their lives like hell, so much.”
As a Marine Veteran I am well aware of General Smedley Butler. Anyone having donned the Marine Corps uniform would have to have slept through boot camp not to be familiar with General Butler, and I have no problem with anyone wanting to quote the words of a true American hero…that’s why 95% of those of us joined the military to preserve the right of freedom of speech for everyone…even John. But let’s not get overwhelmed by the words of General Butler.
In his book titled War is a Racket, General Butler stated, “I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country’s most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.”
For someone wanting to use an individual’s words to bolster his/her position, it is always best to read in detail the source of the words and the background of the individual doing the speaking. Butler was a true hero and became a prominent political figure. He was one of America’s important leaders of the liberal movement of the 1930s. Butler advocated military isolationism and was against American involvement in World War II early-on. His isolationist views are certainly unpopular today, and in fact are not compatible with the current geopolitical situation. His views, however, developed from 33 years of serving as what he called “a gangster for capitalism.”
Though Butler was not a member of the American Communist Party he did give speeches at Communist Party meetings in the 1930′s as well as many speeches for the League Against War and Fascism. When asked about the company he was keeping he noted, “They told me I’d find a nest of communists here. I told them ‘What the hell of it!’”
Butler didn’t choose sides when it came to expressing his views on war. Butler could certainly be considered a liberal. He spoke out against the liberal FDR administration and broke his ties with anti-fascist groups when they called for war to defend against fascism. In 1935 he commented to a veterans meeting on the subject of the growing interest in the FDR administration to become involved in the conflicts of Europe that, “The political leaders of this country are for another conflict to cover up their blunders.”
Though most Americans today would agree that his isolationist views would have been harmful had they been followed by the country in regard to American involvement in WWII his views on imperialism and the economic implications of war are still as relevant today as ever. And yes, even most Veterans can agree that Butler was right about many motives which pertain to politicians sending American’s off to conflicts their stupidity and arrogance have made nearly impossible to avoid, but the remedy is not to denigrate those willing to defend freedom or stop tyranny, the answer is to rid the country of the elected officials who drive the country to that point. An interesting point by Butler:
“I wouldn’t go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket”. Smedley Butler
A point many of those who like to quote General Butler often over look regarding his disdain for war and the sometimes overbearing need to respond, forget that he died in 1940, well before the Japanese provocation of bombing Pearl Harbor, and the millions who became subject to the atrocities of Nazi Germany; and then there’s Korea, the invasion of Kuwait, and the 911 Terrorist Attack (this ought to bring the “911 Truthers” out of the wood work!)
As to the rest of John’s comments, I take offense to being labeled a “thug”, and I know most Veterans feel much the same way. We are Americans who value freedom and liberty for all our citizens and are willing to defend his right to free speech which probably wouldn’t be possible were in not for the 1.3 million military personnel who have died for God and Country. Had not those of the Greatest generation stepped up to defend our way of life in WWII John would more than likely be speaking to us today in German, Japanese, or even Russian, but then again he wouldn’t have a voice, would he?
I do congratulate John on one point, and that is his decision to not have any children, because he wouldn’t want to have to discourage them from joining the military. He did America a big favor by not diluting the “gene pool”.
Short URL: http://www.veteranstoday.com/?p=279408
Posted by Ed Mattson on Nov 29 2013, With 0 Reads, Filed under Economy. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.