Whatever Happened to Prudence?

George H.W. Bush was once discussing a policy measure during his term of office. When explaining why he could not accept a certain policy, he said "It wouldn’t be prudent".  

Whatever happened to prudence when considering the "war on terror"? Why are we spending hundreds of billions of dollars to "protect" ourselves from violence that we could prevent largely by changing our own behaviors? Why did we need to invade Iraq to take their oil in the first place? Wouldn’t Iraq or some other nation have just sold us the oil? After all, can Arab economies or those of any oil-producing nation persist and flourish without customers, such as those good old American gas guzzlers with their SUVs and pice’em’up trucks from Ford and Chevrolet?  

More importantly, couldn’t all that spending be put to better use — with prudent consideration of real risks to the American people? For instance, wouldn’t it be prudent to invest in air scrubbers for industry so we don’t contribute so heavily to pollution and global warming? Wouldn’t it be prudent to invest heavily now in hydrogen fuel cell technology and the related infrastructure that will drive our economy in a much more environmentally friendly way in the future? After all, isn’t the Hubbert’s Peak of oil production in view now, meaning that soon oil production will be in an irreversible decline, with raising prices, increased worldwide competition, and more and more sporadic availability?  

Aren’t there other threats to our national security even worse then "terrorism"? Doesn’t the burning of coal sicken and kill many hundreds of thousands of people each year? Why are we invading Iraq when we should be cleaning up our coal industry for the benefit of American lives at home?  

There are many threats to our national security that are being totally overlooked and under funded because of the expensive "war on terror". And if we treated other nations nice, wouldn’t that be prudent so they would have no reason to attack us, and we would have less need to maintain a super-expensive military? Switzerland flourishes, as does Norway and Thailand, without a big, expensive military. America could, too. We do not have to be the World’s superpower or policeman. We would be better off by far defending our imprudent military operations and getting along like the Swiss and using that money to bolster a much more productive economy among a world of friends. Instead, we are set on antagonizing the world, alienating people, making enemies, and forever having to plan on defending ourselves.  

It just is not prudent.