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Play it again, Uncle Sam

City Sage

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You may be surprised to know that Colorado Springs has a foreign policy — and it's not some vague, feel-good document touting God, Tim Tebow and the American Way.

Nope, this is the real stuff; powerful, muscular, assertive and, best of all, carefully structured to assure our continued prosperity. And by "our," I'm referring to us — not a bunch of namby-pamby coastal liberals whose tax money we need to use (for their own good, of course)!

Our own Secretary of Defense/Congressman Doug Lamborn was kind enough to explain our foreign policy in an interview with KOAA Channel 5 a few days ago.

"I have a fundamental difference in opinion than the President," said Lamborn. "He sees defense as the first thing to cut, and I think it's the last thing to cut. I'm really bothered by the fact that he only seems to be able to cut defense and he ignores the rest of the budget.

"The mentality seems to be," Lamborn continued, "let's have a pre-set budget number for defense, and all the missions have to fit around that predetermined amount. What I think we should do is look at the security needs of the country and base [the budget] on what the needs are, not what the dollars are."

Translated, Lamborn's carefully diplomatic language simply restates our region's long-held belief about national security spending: Only too much is enough. And since there's no way to measure how much is too much, the best course is to increase such spending substantially every year. Otherwise, the nation is at risk.

Don't think so? Without massive spending on defense, we wouldn't have been able to achieve our historic victories in Vietnam (which kept the Chinese from becoming an economic superpower), in Iraq (which transformed that country into a peaceful, democratic nation) or in Afghanistan (which forged a modern national identity from a once-desolate shithole populated by murderous tribes of opium traffickers).

Despite a few minor glitches, our national security policy will remain unchanged if Rep. Lamborn has anything to say about it. After all, the congressman well understands that close to half of our city's economic activity depends directly or indirectly upon the federal funds that flow into our local military installations. Any substantial diminution of those flows would trigger a local recession that could cripple this city's economy for years.

Republicans, locally and nationally, are trying to make defense spending a partisan issue. Those weak-kneed Democrats, trying to hollow out our military and expose America's jugular to her enemies! Throw out those frenchified surrender monkeys, elect patriotic Republicans, and we can all sleep well at night!

Good politics, and who knows — it might work. But it won't matter.

November's election will likely offer voters a choice between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. Both are coldly cerebral problem-solvers who see the world as it is, not through the distorting lens of emotion and ideology. Absent Iraq and Afghanistan, both will make drastic cuts.

The obvious cuts — to our nuclear arsenal, to the F-35 fighter program, to certain overseas commitments — are already in process. The next round will call for drastic cuts in the Army, which no longer will be fighting two wars. If, as proposed last week by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, the Army is reduced from its present level of 570,000 to 490,000 members, Fort Carson surely will take a hit.

It may get a lot worse, especially if Romney is elected. Democrats are often gun-shy with the Pentagon, terrified of being undermined by the generals who not-so-secretly despise them. Just as Richard Nixon went to China and Bill Clinton reformed welfare, only a tough-minded Republican can really take on the military.

If Colorado Springs takes a devastating economic hit as a result of his policies, would Romney care? Sure — just as much as he cared about all those folks who lost their jobs when Bain Capital "restructured" their employers.

Conclusion? We'd better forget about a new brand and get to work building a new community with a vastly reduced military presence, one better suited to a peaceful, non-interventionist country.

A dismal prospect, I know — but don't abandon hope. Bogart and Bergman will always have Paris ... and we still have Iran and North Korea.

hazlehurst@csindy.com

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