[I sent the below letter to the local paper, but I figured Bob might also want to post it here. I found Obama's press conference comment to be remarkably honest.]
In 2003, Vice President Dick Cheney's wife chose the following quote for their annual Christmas card: "If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?"
Asked about the quote, Cheney said: "It did not refer, or should not be taken as some kind of indication, that the United States today sees itself as an empire."
Donald Rumsfeld said: "We don't do empire. We're not imperialistic. We never have been. I can't imagine why you'd even ask the question."
It appears President Obama is not as timid as Cheney and Rumsfeld when it comes to describing America's future role in world affairs. On Thursday January 6, Obama became the first U.S. President to hold a press conference at the Pentagon. He said the following:
"Over the past 10 years, since 9/11, our defense budget grew at an extraordinary pace. Over the next 10 years, the growth in the defense budget will slow, but the fact of the matter is this: It will still grow, because we have global responsibilities that demand our leadership. In fact, the defense budget will still be larger than it was toward the end of the Bush administration. And I firmly believe, and I think the American people understand, that we can keep our military strong and our nation secure with a defense budget that continues to be larger than roughly the next 10 countries combined."