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America's Strategic Necessities vs. Dogs, Soldiers, and Sailors: Keep Off the Grass

Constitutional governments, whether monarchic or republican, have three related obligations: to provide justice, to promote internal peace, and to defend the nation against its enemies. That is, such governments have the duty to preserve the community of the nation. The manner in which it shall be done is the principal issue of politics in a democratic republic.

That which is to be defended are the people, the territory upon which they dwell, the constitution under which they rule themselves, and their way of life. Without defense, neither justice nor internal peace can be ensured.

The Constitution of the United States puts such matters first in its Preamble:

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

While government, under the U.S. Constitution, has the obligation to organize and apply the resources of the nation to promote its preservation, it rests with the general citizenry to supply the resources, both human and material, necessary to carry out the policies that government formulates.

Because the general citizenry is both the object of defense, as well as the supplier of the resources for its conduct, that citizenry must come to understand, as though it were instinctual, what constitutes the strategic necessities of the nation. Rood argues that they must understand that, as well as they understand their rights as a free people.

Professor Rood received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees from University of California (Berkeley) and studied at Stanford University, Oxford University, and University of London. In addition to Claremont McKenna College, he taught at Claremont Graduate University, University of Southern California, Southwest Missouri State University, and U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. And he has written a number of scholarly articles, research reports, and books, including Kingdoms of the Blind (Carolina Academic Press, 1980).

The Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies and the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum are pleased to co-sponsor a public lecture by Dr. Harold W. Rood, who retired in June 2001 as the W. M. Keck Foundation Chair of International Strategic Studies at Claremont McKenna College.