I saw a TV commercial last weekend that had the late Bruce Lee in it, and the point of it was to show that small things can still be strong.
As a shirtless Lee kicked butt in a flurry of hits and kicks, the voiceover in the ad said something like this: “People once thought that bigger meant strong, but a man weighing 135 pounds destroyed that notion.”
I think it was a Mazda commercial.
And then on Sunday, I was watching a TV news program that had some old interview clips with Lee. He was saying how he used every ounce of his body to throw a punch or fly through the air with a kick.
In a way, the U.S. Army is slimming down from a 250-pound heavyweight boxer to a precision-based, improvisational, yet deadly, fighter like Lee was.
There’s an argument out there that our president is weak by not following up on threats to use force and allowing our military to downsize and, in essence, weaken.
But I just don’t buy it. With today’s technology, a smaller force does not mean a weaker force.
First off, our fleet of drones — or as the Army likes to call them, unmanned aerial vehicles — gives our soldiers an edge that the enemy just doesn’t have.
And there’s a big payoff to being the best equipped, best trained force in the world: You can be the best without being the biggest.
Proposed cuts would slim down the Army’s current 522,000 soldiers to between 440,000 and 450,000. Both China and North Korea have more than
1 million troops (and I read on one site that China has more than 2 million, which seems believable).
Can a U.S. Army of 450,000 match up against an army of 2 million?
I think the answer is yes, if you also look at the technology, the training, the weapons and other factors.
One big thing the American military has been able to do in the past 50 years or more has been to act as a deterrent in potential world conflicts. North Korea would have invaded South Korea long ago if it hadn’t been for the many American troops who get stationed there year after year. China would have probably taken over Taiwan, too, if it weren’t for America promising to side with Taiwan.
And as bad as it is, turmoil in the Middle East probably would have been much worse if not for America’s military standing by as a show of force to countries contemplating invading another.
In short, with unmatched technology and well-equipped troops, we can still maintain that superpower perception even if we are small. However, the rest of the world will likely still need the occasional evidence that we are still No. 1.
Jacob Brooks, a former Army tanker, is the city editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7468.