Mitt Romney's Blueprint for a Strong Defense with 'No Apology'

Tuesday, 02 Mar 2010 09:29 PM

By Mitt Romney

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Former Massachusetts Governor and 2008 presidential candidate Mitt Romney is offering a dramatic new blueprint for the nation to confront our most critical issues. Newsmax is pleased to present exclusive excerpts from Gov. Romney's just released book, "No Apology: The Case for American Greatness." In "No Apology," Gov. Romney exposes how the Obama administration and even the Republican Party are failing to confront budget deficits, declining global competitiveness, a weakened military, inadequate healthcare, failing education, and our energy needs. In this exclusive excerpt for Newsmax.com, Gov. Romney discusses how to provide a strong and dynamic American defense:

Americans have paid more for freedom than for anything else. The price for Alaska was $7.2 million and the Louisiana Purchase cost only $15 million. In national treasure alone, however, the cost of liberty has been in the trillions. In the cost of American lives, our greatest treasure, the sacrifice has been far greater. Almost 50,000 lives were lost in the War of Independence and the War of 1812 with Great Britain. More than 600,000 people gave their lives in the Civil War, which brought freedom to the slaves and preserved the Union. And since the close of the Civil War, our costliest conflict, more than 600,000 more lives have been lost in the many battles in distant places to ensure liberty for America and other freedom- loving peoples.

There has never been a time when our liberty was "free." From the founding of the Republic forward, wars have followed wars. It is foolish and dangerous to assume that human history has changed for the better when it comes to its unbroken record of strife and war. For a time after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the dream of freedom in a world at peace seemed to be on the brink of unfolding.

Special: Get Mitt Romney's New Book, "No Apology" - Incredible FREE Offer - Click Here Now.

Instead, new tyrants emerged, new wars and threats broke out, and our men and women in uniform once again were forced to enter harm's way. They expelled Saddam Hussein's army from Kuwait, fought extremists in Somalia, secured peace in Bosnia, then in Kosovo, and cleared the skies over Iraq. Then came September 11, 2001, and we were in Afghanistan and, soon thereafter, in Iraq once more.

It has always been the case that we have been unable to predict with anything approaching certainty when or from which corner of the earth would come the next threats to freedom.

We thought that we could avoid being drawn into the first great war of the twentieth century, but we were wrong. Confident that the ghastly toll would never be forgotten and that World War I would be "the war to end all wars," we turned our attention to our domestic travails and dramatically reduced our army and limited our navy. Japan's 1941 attack and Hitler's worldwide aggression proved these to have been very unwise indeed.

When the peace was won in 1945, we failed once again to learn from experience and we disarmed once more, only to be called on to defend South Korea from invasion. More recently, our dismissive attitude toward the threats posed by the jihadists throughout the 1990s left us unprepared for the horrific assault that followed. The 9/11 Commission declared that our lack of preparation was a "failure of imagination." In fact, ours has been a long history of failing to imagine the very real threats to freedom and peace. Perhaps what was most unusual about the failures that led up to September 11 is that we remained complacent even though the jihadists had declared open war against us, had killed marines in Beirut, had bombed our embassies in Africa, had nearly sunk a destroyer, and had previously bombed the World Trade Center.

As President Obama proposes to once again reduce our investment in national defense, I acknowledge the public fervor and widespread wish that world peace will prevail nonetheless. But history, the growing threats around us, and the reality that even now the jihadists are killing Americans, all demand that the truth of our peril must trump hope.

The truth is that we are at war with a formidable enemy and that nations like Russia and China are intent on neutralizing our military lead. The truth is that hatred and tyranny are pervasive; that we will be attacked again and that we cannot confidently predict the nature of the attack, or when or from where it will come. And so the truth is that for our freedoms to endure, we must pay a large price to maintain our freedom, and if we do not pay enough in dollars, we may be forced to pay the price in blood.

When former secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld said that "you go to war with the army you have," he was roundly criticized because it had been the administration's decision whether and when to go to war with Iraq. But the statement itself was correct, of course. You may do your best to rapidly power up once you know the enemy and the nature of the conflict, but in the interim, you can fight only with the soldiers and equipment that have previously been readied. Years ago, the training of soldiers and the production of armaments of warfare were rudimentary.

Washington's minutemen had muskets at home and they already knew how to shoot. Munitions and cannons could quickly be cast in crude foundries. Even decades later at the commencement of World War II, the production of aircraft, tanks, and small arms was relatively straightforward- auto plants were transformed into tank and aircraft plants in just one year.

Even so, because we significantly dismantled our military prior to World War II, the investment required for us to catch up and confront our enemies was massive. The defense budget reached 34.5 percent of the GDP in 1945, about nine times today's 3.8 percent, and the delay prolonged suffering and loss of life.

Given the lead times necessary to produce the advanced technology of modern warfare and the extensive training required by today's fighting forces preparing to wield those technologies, wars of the future will necessarily be fought with the soldiers and armaments at hand and long delays will accompany even the most pressing mobilization. An F-22 can't be built anywhere but in a specialized and dedicated facility by highly skilled engineers and workers; substantially ramping up production could take years.

Our F-22 program began in 1986, but the first fighter wasn't battle- ready until 2006. The Joint Strike Fighter, commissioned in the mid- 1990s, is not expected to join our fleet until 2013. Similarly, the training, equipping, protecting, supporting, and even feeding of our personnel are highly sophisticated and time-consuming endeavors. An officer corps and noncommissioned officer corps take years to put in place. To protect America against the many threats we may face in the future, we cannot wait until they are upon us. We must build a military today that is capable of defending against the threats of tomorrow.

Some people argue that we should sharply narrow the scope of our military and defend against only our current menaces- terrorist insurgences and asymmetric warfare. Their motivation is unquestionably budgetary. If we spend less on the military, they reason, more money will be available for entitlements and social programs.

Because we have never been able to accurately predict the nature and timing of the next war, and because it takes years of research, procurement, and training to build military capacity, following such a course is certain to be dangerous and quite possibly disastrous. Optimism as to the prospects of peace could cost tens of thousands of lives, and maybe even more.

I can think of no social program that is more valuable than the lives and freedom of our sons and daughters. Rather than scale our military according to our hope for peace or out of a desire to shift funds to domestic priorities, we should build it to be capable of fulfilling each of the missions necessary for our sure defense. Only then can we be confident that we will secure America's place in the world and preserve life, liberty, and prosperity.

Editor's Note - Read more of our exclusive excerpts from Mitt Romney's 'No Apology: The Case for American Greatness':

* Romney Part One: A Bold Blueprint for America -
Click Here


Mitt Romney is a former governor of Massachusetts. Best known for his 2008 race for the Republican nomination for president, he has a remarkable career in private business, with his investment company, Bain Capital, helping to grow companies like Staples, Domino's Pizza, FTD Florists and The Sports Authority, among others. In 1998 he left Bain to serve as CEO of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. A frequent speaker and national television commentator, Mr. Romney has recently formed the Free And Strong America Political Action Committee. His latest book is "No Apology: The Case for American Greatness" from St. Martin's Press.

Special: Get Mitt Romney's New Book, "No Apology" - Incredible FREE Offer - Click Here Now.

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