MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Opinion

March 18, 2014

THE PEOPLE SPEAK — Strong national defense is top priority

“To provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty” is the part of our Constitution’s preamble that clearly states that a strong military is vital to the protection of our nation’s interests. Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution also clearly states that it is the sworn duty of Congress to provide for a standing armed forces — its training, governing rules and regulations, equipment, and financing.

Do we necessarily need the size of military force that existed during World War II (13 million men and women) or during the height of the Vietnam War (5 million men and women)? No. However, we live in a nation that has a population of more than 315 million people, with 2.3 million of that population currently serving — active, reserve, National Guard, and auxiliary. That is less than 1 percent of the country’s population being asked to defend the rights and freedoms of the other 99 percent.

In my opinion, the wisest course of action in regard to our national defense is the reallocation and redeployment of troops to areas where and when they are needed and required, namely within and along our nation’s borders in order to secure and protect it from any internal and external forces that would compromise our security. Force reduction should be done only after troops have been reallocated and there is considerable surplus of personnel afterwards.

We owe it to those still serving and the memory of those who have come and gone before us to ensure that the men and women who protect our country receive the best training and equipment and the best benefits for their families while they are deployed.

Without a strong national defense, issues such as economic growth, education for our youth and affordable health care would be irrelevant because we would have no freedom to pursue and take action on those issues. I strongly urge our leaders to consider that point when approving the military budget and/or cuts to it. God bless our troops and the U.S.A.

STEPHEN D. EZELL

Muskogee

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