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It is commonly argued that the U.S. should maintain a strong national defense. Here are some rebuttals:
- Ron Paul received more campaign donations from active members of the military than all other candidates put together. The soldiers must have some reason for thinking him their best friend. (Caution: this argument may be a fallacy of relevance.)
- Ronald Reagan also pulled all troops out of the Middle East after the Beirut attack because he cared about the soldiers and knew their presence was the main reason for Muslim terrorism against the US. We never suffered another attack against Americans until Bush Sr. stationed troops in Saudi Arabia again. The libertarian defense message is primarily about intervention and occupation, which make us less safe.
- The intelligence that has come out about the 1981 release of the Iranian hostages indicates that it was negotiated between Reagan's people and the Iranians between his election and inauguration, that the Iranians mainly wanted to stick it to Carter for sheltering the Shah, and that it was improved relations including the money later funneled to them by the Reagan administration during the Iran Contra scandal that was the motivator, not fear that Reagan would want to start a war with a country of 200 million people. Besides, why were the hostages taken in the first place? It was because of Iranian anger over the CIA overthrow that put the Shah's father in power: intervention itself is what led to the hostage taking. Intervention makes Americans abroad targets.
- Most military spending is driven by contracts with politically-favored businesses. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, hardly a dove without an understanding of defense, warned in his farewell address to Congress of a growing military-industrial complex that would try to keep people scared and Congressmen financed in order to keep the money flowing. It's obviously working.
- Countries suffer economically when production goes heavily into things that can only rust or explode, and the ability of a country to prosecute a long war depends on its economic strength.
- Free trade is the key to peace. Nobody worries about the Chinese attacking us because of our high level of trade.
- The largest and most powerful military in the world didn't prevent 9/11, while all of the countries with puny militaries have suffered no attacks whatsoever. The military spending that goes to maintain bases in 130+ overseas countries leave American territory as virtually an afterthought.
- Free trade and military non-intervention are not utopian views of naive people, but hard-headed practical building blocks to build positive relations and avoid negative relations with others.