Complacency (n) - A feeling of contentment or self-satisfaction, especially when coupled with an unawareness of danger, trouble, or controversy.

Roll back the clock if you will to a time when our nation's attention was squarely fixed on cutting the size of our military. There were congressional commissions charged with deciding which bases should be closed and the best methods to use to lure soldiers, airmen, sailors and marines to abandon the rigors of military life. We sang rousing strains of kum-bay-ah while basking in the light of our victory over our greatest foe. The time had come when we could finally stand down. We could finally look to "balancing our budgets" and beating our swords into plowshares. Medals were handed out, backs were patted and cigars lit for celebratory smokes.

I remember it clearly. I was a veteran of the cold war sitting in a bar listening to CNN and talking with some friends. They were all enamoured with the prospects of the cold war finally ending.

I was not. I told them of the small towns I had seen encircled in barbed wire where children played in their yards under the watchful eyes of armed guards who would not hesitate to shoot them if they chased their ball too near the wire. I had told them of seeing mile after mile of razor wire fences bristling with mines stretching as far as the eye could see and of small towns shorn in half by those fences. These people, I told them, were pure evil.

They laughed and told me that I was just exhibiting the hatred of my foe that the army had brainwashed into my head. They cited some idiotic Sting lyrics about the Russians loving their children too:

In Europe and America, there's a growing feeling of hysteria
Conditioned to respond to all the threats
In the rhetorical speeches of the Soviets
Mr. Krushchev said we will bury you
I don't subscribe to this point of view
It would be such an ignorant thing to do
If the Russians love their children too
How can I save my little boy from Oppenheimer's deadly toy
There is no monopoly in common sense
On either side of the political fence
We share the same biology
Regardless of ideology
Believe me when I say to you
I hope the Russians love their children too
There is no historical precedent
To put the words in the mouth of the President
There's no such thing as a winnable war
It's a lie that we don't believe anymore
Mr. Reagan says we will protect you
I don't subscribe to this point of view
Believe me when I say to you
I hope the Russians love their children too
We share the same biology
Regardless of ideology
What might save us, me, and you
Is that the Russians love their children too

I told them that I enjoyed the melody of the Sting song, but that hopeful lyrics would provide no shield. I explained that the Russians were not adverse to trading territory for time. They had done this extensively during World War II and they did it to Napoleon. It was a traditional tactic of theirs. I told my listening friends to mark my words. That those who ignored history were doomed to repeat it.

They laughed and bought me another beer, dismissing my words as the grumblings of a doom-saying brainwashed veteran.

Then I watched as the Russians ceded more and more territory and all the while we were growing more and more complacent... disarming and defeating ourselves.

Then I grumbled under my breath when the Russian president ordered the rusty Russian navy back to sea. I sighed when Bear bombers resumed threatening Alaska with nuclear devastation. Again and again the soul-less former KGB agent increased the stakes and ratcheted up the pressure. I nodded knowingly when Gary Kasparov was jailed for deigning to striving to create a political opposition. Finally I was vindicated when Russia rolled into Georgia brutally pulverizing a free and sovereign nation.

Now here we are; the Russians have signed a ceasefire agreement. The puppet president of Russia has promised again and again to pull out of Georgia and yet continued to build their fortifications inside the besieged nation.

We've sent our Secretary of State to hold meetings and talk to the Russians. They appease her and move missiles into the disputed province of South Ossetia. We threaten to kick them out of the G8. They say "that's nice" and take Georgian soldiers hostage.

We threaten to introduce a resolution into the UN Security Council. They laugh and confiscate US military material that was in Georgia to train Georgian troops for their missions in Iraq. We sign a deal with the Polish to build an anti-missile shield to protect them from Iranian nukes and the Russians threaten to target them with their nukes. Our allies look on aghast as the supposed "most powerful nation of the Earth" is impotent to stop Georgia's torment.

Oh yes Virginia, this gnarled old veteran was right. We scrapped the military might that set the Russians back on their heels. We sent thousands of veterans home with a handshake. We took the tanks from our very best forces and gave them trucks instead. We stopped allotting money to train the troops that remained. All of this we did without ensuring that the bear wasn't just playing dead. Now when that bear suddenly now comes around, baring its claws and flashing its fangs we ask it nicely to get back in its cave but we have nothing to compel that to happen. Our complacency has cost lives. How long will it be until it costs American lives? In a dangerous world it is folly to not be prepared to face those dangers and we unfortunately are folly's children.

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