Mitt’s Dilemma: Memorial Day Speech Claims ‘Two Paths Forward’

Vows to Keep Military Overwhelmingly Huge and Expensive

The idea that America can either pay for its massive social spending or pay for its massive military is a common enough statement, but is usually more often used as an argument against endless wars and runaway Pentagon budgets. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, oddly, opened his Memorial Day speech with exactly this option.

Insisting that the US has “two paths forward,” Romney presented the dilemma between “the pathway to Europe,” noting how much smaller European militaries are than in the early 20th century and how that had made them less influential, “to shrink our military smaller to pay for our social needs.”

Romney made it clear that he prefers the other option, in which the US keeps a massive military that is way bigger than any other power on the planet, and urged action against Syria. He also rattled off a list of enemies to be confronted militarily, including not just Iran, but Pakistan, Russia, China, Venezuela, and Mexico as well. Though his opening centered on the money issue, he provided no indication how he intended to pay for this military.

Romney was joined by Sen. John McCain (R – AZ), whose speech centered on how Memorial Day was a good chance to “fire up the grill” and how the holiday was the result of the death tolls in past wars, and that more wars were needed. The fairly run-of-the-mill speech was interrupted briefly when someone in the crowd interrupted and asked him about the USS Liberty. The man, who McCain termed a “jerk,” was quickly captured by Secret Service, though his fate is unknown.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.