Interesting piece on comments from the Comptroller General:
In the piece, it is noted that:
"The US government is on a ‘burning platform’ of unsustainable policies and practices with fiscal deficits, chronic health care underfunding, immigration and overseas military commitments threatening a crisis if action is not taken soon, the country’s top government inspector has warned.
David Walker, comptroller general of the US, issued the unusually downbeat assessment of his country’s future in a report that lays out what he called “chilling long-term simulations”."
This is pretty interesting because I just finished reading Are We Rome? The Fall of an Empire and the Fate of America (http://www.amazon.com/Are-We-Rome-Empire-America/dp/0618742220/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-0234220-5583264?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1187137641&sr=1-1) by Cullen Murphy.
The book compares the Roman Empire to current day US (the book compares the capitols, force projection, the borders, government privatization, and a few other things). The author concludes that in some ways we are Rome, and in some ways we are not. It is a quick read, and if you have never delved much into the Roman Empire, it is a good introduction.
One good point in the book is that the fall of the Roman Empire did not happen in any one cataclysmic event. Most experts cannot agree, according to the book, as to when the fall happened, or even IF the fall happened. The "fall" crept up on them gradually.
I have been thinking and arguing that the end of the US "empire" could be creeping up on us.
Our infrastructure is crumbling at home. Our military, once vaunted is coming apart at the seams and is stretched way beyond the breaking point (this includes the National Guard which may simply not be there the next time there is an emergency in the homeland). Our multiple military missions (Iraq, Afghanistan, The Balkans, Korea, and others), are simply becoming unsustainable with the current force levels. Our economy, while APPEARING strong is a house of cards built on credit and the promise of cheap, plentiful energy, either of which could evaporate at any moment (and as far as credit goes has been heading that way).
There are other critical indicators as the Comptroller General mentions in the piece above, such as health care (including the broken military health care system), homelessness and hunger, and education.
I liken the current situation in America to the story about the frog in the frying pan (and I never get this quite right). If the pan is hot, the frog will jump out. If the heat is turned up gradually, the frog will be lulled into a false sense of security and will burn up.
A lot of people are saying, well, why don't we just bring back the draft and make the military bigger? This assumes that every mission we are currently involved in is a vital mission, and that stopping any one of them is off the table as a discussion point.
Why not contract the requirements of the current military? This includes asking the hard questions. When is it time to leave Iraq (now, in my opinion). Can we afford to have bases spread out all over the world? Can we afford that kind of empire?
The hardest question not hardly ever asked is WHAT DOES A VICTORY IN IRAQ LOOK LIKE? To save America, we simply must start asking this question. To not ask it is to invite eventual collapse.
The second question to ask your friends and neighbors is DO YOU KNOW THAT THE TRILLIONS BEING SPENT IN THIS WAR IS ALMOST COMPLETELY BORROWED FROM PLACES LIKE CHINA, THUS MORTGAGING OUR FUTURE?
This MUST be understood. The war is not contributing to our security, OR our financial well being.
Bill Lind has recently written a great article on how to win in Iraq. His picture of victory looks pretty sound (unlike the pure fantasy views of victory - establish a democracy in Iraq, defeat the insurgency, etc).
We need to get out of being the frog in the gradually heating frying pan, and wake up to what's going on.