Thursday, March 01, 2012

Of Obama, Waterloo and Cheap Nags

Last night, while re-reading John Keegan's The Face of Battle, his masterful book on military strategy and historiography, I got to thinking of President Barack Obama's draconian reductions in America's military spending. While endlessly boasting about his borrowing trillions upon trillions to try and pay for bloated, wasteful and woefully inefficient welfare projects, Mr. Obama refuses to spend the appropriate amounts which would guarantee the very first duty of government; namely, to safeguard the citizenry from enemies.

And just what in Keegan's book made me think of our President's misplaced spending? It was the tragic mistake of Major-General Sir William Ponsonby whose death at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 need not have happened at all.  But happen it did because the General, who had no trouble spending his fortune on more superfluous pleasures, became a cheapskate when it came to military matters.

The tragedy of what befell the commander of the Union Brigade which had been ordered by the Duke of Wellington to counter-attack the dispirited columns of D'Erlon's 1 Corps is well known. But this is how Keegan describes it:

"Ponsonby, the Brigade Commander, was among those killed, and lost his life because of a false economy. He had left his best charger, worth far more than the government compensation fund would pay if it were killed, behind the lines and chosen to ride instead an inferior hack. The French Lancers caught him struggling to safety over heavy ground [mud], easily rode him down, and speared him to death."

I know that Barack Obama doesn't read much. But I sure wish that someone would tell him the story of Sir William Ponsonby and remind him of the critical need to prioritize military preparedness in his budget.

We simply can't afford all the other foolishness he is spending our money on (not to mention, our children's and grandchildren's money).

Neither can we afford to go cheapskating with our defense capabilities. Not in a world in which the likes of China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, and assorted terror cells severely and increasingly threaten America's interests.

It's a very frightening reality to contemplate. While Barack Obama is spending our treasury on failed programs, on skyrocketing Nanny State handouts, on Planned Parenthood, on counter-productive government employee unions and so on, he is forcing America's very survival to ride on a Ponsonby nag.

While right there before us are the lances of our enemies.