Recently in the new budget we added $64 billion to the defense budget. Does that contribute to the notion that America is great? I don’t think so. I am quite aware that it is important to protect the country, the question is how is that protection best achieved?
Here is an observation that may be controversial. America is more protected by the fact that it is admired and has allies. In 1947 America made an enormous investment in the same places that we had recently vanquished. We invested $112 billion in today’s equivalent to rebuild Europe and Japan through the Marshall Plan.
It made a certain amount of sense to rebuild our allies, but Germany, Italy, and Japan? Yes! In one grand move we showed the world that we were ready to change conditions so radically, that further conflict made little sense. The result has been peace in Europe that has lasted more than 70 years.
When we elected John F. Kennedy in 1960 he took an idea from Representative Henry Reuss of Wisconsin. It was called the Peace Corp. President Kennedy created the Peace Corp by Executive Order. Later it was written into law. As a promoter of peace and cooperation the program is an on-going success. The entire cost of the Peace Corp in this year’s budget is $318 Million. That price-tag is less than one B-1 Bomber ($388 million). Which of those expenses increased the security of the US more? I’ll let you guess. The legions of effective leaders that returned to the US over the years has been remarkable. Leaders that went into various fields such as medicine, politics, and business created a culture of Americans that are a well-respected fraternity.
Here is a suggestion that will help the country. America has 10 Giant nuclear powered aircraft carriers and 2 more on order. In addition we have 9 conventional aircraft carriers. All of them are huge vessels with about 5000 service people on board. By the way, Russia has one aircraft carrier and it is a candidate for the scrap yard.
What if we took several of these vessels and converted them to FEMA vessels. They would be outfitted with a variety of heavy construction equipment, a hospital section, urban rescue trucks, electrical restoration equipment, deck equipment that could lower small vessels to enable rescues. Large scale generators and large refrigeration units. These ships would carry only light armaments. Protection would be accomplished with the usual fleet complement.
When disaster strikes these vessels would be deployed to the stricken area. This worldwide rescue force would be devoted to saving human lives whether the country be a friendly nation or not. As long as these vessels were not already in use serving an American city or territory.
The ancillary benefits of this endeavor would be very substantial:
- The service will train many skilled workers at approximately the same cost as military training
- Personnel would have the choice of going out to industry after 2 years
- The program would give the young people who would participate a meaningful work experience
- I could easily see these vessels of mercy working in a tsunami in the Pacific, a hurricane in the Caribbean or a big assist to a city as large as New York
- The service would tend to draw talented men and women from all over the country in an enterprise that would foster a feeling of unity among our citizens
My vision- The effort once established could invite other wealthy nations to participate. This would truly lend itself to making “America Great Again.” Ernie Fazio