Thursday, November 18, 2010

320 / Did You Say Defense?

I am quite a fan of San Francisco Chronicle columnist Jon Carroll, and his column on politics, on Tuesday morning, was another good one.

I do have one quibble, however. The column talks a lot about "defense," as in the "Defense Department," and about our massive expenditures for "defense."

My mother, I remember well, refused to use this characterization, which she considered nothing more than propaganda. She reminded me on numerous occasions that we should call it the "War Department" (as it used to be called, when she was a girl), and not the "Defense Department."

"Defense" sounds so worthwhile (and it seems to make so much sense to spend all that money on "defense"). But my Mom was right. The United States has a "war" policy, and a "war" department, and we should call it like it is.

Maybe it's a good idea to be spending all this money on "war" and the "military." But let's not pretend that these outlays are for something they're not. Our expenditures are for "war," not "defense." That's the truth of it.

Thanks, Mom!

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