- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 3, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The Pentagon is the most dangerous adjunct to the federal government in existence. It was established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as a temporary means of handling two wars, in Europe and Japan, and its utility ended in 1945.

The American Constitution forbids standing armies. Intending to prevent them, Article 1 Section 8 limits appropriations to raise and support armies to just two years.

At the end of World War II, American standing armies were disbanded as unlawful to maintain, leaving 24,000 Army personnel in a huge building with virtually nothing to do. “The Department of Defense” — defending against what? All those Army generals without an army to command? Where do the promotions and medals come from? The Defense Department was overloaded with personnel with nothing to do.

What they needed was a war. See, a war — any war — would circumvent the two-year funding limitation to fund an army. Theoretically, a war would keep congressional funding going indefinitely to maintain the standing army the Constitution forbade.

Army generals lobbying for a war — behind the scenes — were ecstatic when President Truman, using the United Nations as a front, sent an expeditionary force in a “police action” to Korea when North Korea invaded South Korea in 1950. Pentagon generals had their war, and Congress began funding what has become a standing army ever since as a consequence of the following series of presidential wars.

Presidential wars have come and gone ever since, but the Pentagon’s generals had their wars, and America’s standing army remains intact. The latest two — in Afghanistan and Iraq — President Bush seeks to maintain indefinitely into the future.

The bottom line is that America’s Constitution has been subverted and Americans’ tax money has been squandered by the trillions to maintain a standing army for more than half a century.

You may blame a string of presidents who created their presidential wars, but the real blame lies with Congress, which funded them all. It continues to do so. The lobbying efforts of the Pentagon and the military-industrial complex are ferocious. Does Halliburton come to mind?

Until the Pentagon is vacated and demolished, Americans will suffer hundreds of thousands of young Americans killed and trillions of tax money wasted for nothing.

SAMUEL A. HILL

Weare, N.H.

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