Washington had the right idea


Pg06-Opinion-Williams, D.R.

When our founding fathers were imagining the future of this soon-to-be great nation, do you think they imagined our military bases occupying land in more than 70 countries?

Would the great isolationist George Washington find it acceptable to remove entire regimes from power because of hypothetical fears?

Not a chance. He would find it criminal to spread out our assets when we need them back home.

History has shown that empires fall when they over-expand.

As a nation, we spend around $550 billion a year on our military all over the world—a number the Congressional Budget Office says has increased 31 percent since 2000.

When World War II ended, the United States never left Germany. After the bombs dropped in Japan, the United States stayed behind to ensure safety.

The United States has had about 25,000 troops stationed in South Korea since the 1950s with no plans of withdrawal, according to the Department of Defense.

Today we have 10,000 troops in Afghanistan after promises of bringing them home followed by justification for why they are needed there.

One thing is for certain: Once we decide to occupy territory we will never leave, damned the price tag.

Throughout his presidency, Washington knew the example he set would guide later generations. When he left office after a second term, he implored his successors to stay neutral in the world so as to not be tied to the fate of any other people.

“The nation which indulges toward another an habitual hatred or an habitual fondness is in some degree a slave,” he wrote.

He knew the importance of our independence from others to maintain our sovereignty and our values as a nation.

Some would say our presence is needed more than ever today to ensure safety; that we have not done enough to protect our people and sniff out threats. But to this I ask: to what end? Would that not make us the tyrants we were fighting in 1776?

We go about expanding our shadow over the globe while enacting cost-saving solutions that result in poisoned tap water for entire cities back home.

Our society claims to support its troops but in reality, the Veterans Administration has said more veterans are homeless today than actually died in combat in Vietnam.

We should not be the world police when we need a whole lot more nurses, teachers, ditch-diggers and plumbers fixing the real problems at home.

We’re always going to have the biggest and best “toys for our boys” (and girls), but imagine if all of our citizens had clean water, funded schools and politicians who thought like George Washington.

Williams is an idealist who believes in liberty or death.

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