I wonder how many Americans realize that the U.S. national-security state has brought the possibility of automatic war — that is, a war that involves no presidential or congressional deliberation.
That’s the case with Korea.
Today, there are 28,500 U.S. troops in Korea. Why are they stationed there? They’re stationed there to ensure automatic U.S. involvement in a war that breaks out between North Korea and South Korea.
U.S. troops in Korea are what might be called a “tripwire.” If North Korean forces attack the South, it is a virtual certainty that some of those 28,000 U.S. troops will be killed in the process. The Pentagon knows full-well that those deaths will automatically guarantee that the United States will be part of the war.
That is not what the Framers had in mind when they brought the federal government into existence with the Constitution.
The federal government that the Framers brought into existence was notable in the following two ways: One, the federal government had no standing army. Two, before a president could wage war against another country, he was required to first secure a declaration of war from Congress.
Obviously, the situation is exactly the opposite today. The federal government maintains an enormous permanent military establishment, a CIA, and a NSA, a type of governmental structure known as a “national security state.” Moreover, presidents routinely ignore with impunity the constitutional requirement requiring a congressional declaration of war.
Interestingly, this fundamental change in America’s governmental structure was done without even the semblance of a constitutional amendment, which is the prescribed method of changing the structure of the federal government.
This change in the structure of the federal government has not only brought the risk of automatic war in Korea. It has also brought perpetual wars, endless crises, out-of-control federal spending, an empire of foreign military bases, thousands of domestic military bases, regime-change operations, a giant military-industrial complex, an army of “defense” contractors, secret mass surveillance schemes, assassination programs, coups, torture, indefinite detention, denial of due process, rendition, and support of foreign dictatorships.
I wonder how many American families realize that during the Korean War in the 1950s, the U.S. national-security establishment forced American men to leave their families and jobs to go fight in Korea, notwithstanding the fact that there was no congressional declaration of war. Many of those conscripts were killed or maimed. It is a virtual certainty that in the event of renewed warfare in Korea, the national-security establishment would need more bodies to send into the war zone. That’s why young men are required to register for the draft — so that the government knows where they are and can quickly seize them and send them into war.
American statists say that the U.S. government has a moral duty to come to the assistance of the South Koreans in order to save them from communism? Really? Then why not the same moral obligation with respect to the people of South Vietnam? Should the U.S. government reinvade South Vietnam to save them from communism? How about the people of Cuba? Should the U.S. government invade Cuba again rather than lift its decades-long embargo on the island? How about China? There are a lot of people living under communism there.
Is there a risk of a war breaking out in Korea? Well, consider that just recently South Korean officials began barraging North Korea with pop music from loudspeakers in retaliation for two South Korean soldiers who were injured by a land mine.
Now, that doesn’t seem like any big deal, right? Well, except for the fact that North Korea considers it an act of war, and South Korea knows that. North Korean authorities told South Korea to either turn off the loudspeakers or face all-out war. South Korea finally decided to turn off the loudspeakers after North Korea expressed regret for the injuries suffered by the South Korean soldiers.
Silly? Of course but also deadly serious. Imagine: 28,000 American soldiers subject to being killed and the American people subject to being automatically sent into a vicious war over a loudspeaker dispute. Keep in mind: If war were to break out, the United States would automatically be a participant in the war, thanks to the decision by the U.S. national-security establishment to keep those 28,500 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea.
In 1951, when President Truman sent U.S. troops into Korea without the congressional required congressional declaration of war, the justification was that if the North Korean communists were to defeat the South Koreans, the communists would end up coming here to the United States and takin over the federal government and our country.
It was a ridiculous notion then, just as it was when it was later used to justify entry into Vietnam’s civil war. There was never any chance that North Korean communists were going to come and get us, any more than there was any chance that the Vietnamese communists were going to come and get us.
And today, some 25 years after the end of the Cold War, the notion is even more ridiculous. Even if North Korea were to defeat South Korea in their decades-long civil war, a very unlikely possibility given the enormous economic and military strength of South Korea, Americans would not have to again be looking for communists under their beds.
The adoption of a national-security establishment has been a disaster for the United States. The disaster will be tremendously compounded if the United States were to be automatically sent into a major war by virtue of those 28,500 American tripwires in Korea. And think about all the more infringements on our freedom and privacy at the hands of the national-security establishment that such a war would bring, not to mention the financial and economic chaos from the federal spending such a war would require.
Bring those 28,500 troops home now. If Americans wait until war breaks out, it will be too late.