Ted Turner in Denver: ‘We ought to outsource the military’

Ted Turner was in town today to talk about climate change and environmental issues with Gov. Bill Ritter and Colorado Conservation Voters.

He did that, but he couldn’t help also getting in a few zingers about war, communism and money.

He recalled a time in the 1990s when the United States didn’t pay its dues to the United Nations. “We had an obligation, but then the Congress didn’t appropriate the money so then the UN couldn’t pay their peacekeeping troops and that’s why I coughed up a billion dollars. If the rest of the country won’t pay, I’ll step up and do it. It was only a billion, so..

“Thirteen years ago a billion dollars was real money. You want to make that kind of impact now, you’d need a trillion.

“It costs a million dollars a year for us to put one soldier in Afghanistan. You can get a thousand Nigerians for that price.

“What we ought to do is outsource the military (he was joking, probably). One thing Americans don’t want to do is go and fight. How many of you have sons or daughters in Afghanistan? (No one in the crowd of several hundred raises a hand.)

“Not a one. We don’t fight anymore. We let the poor people do it. If we’re going to fight, we ought to fight. When I was a kid, I joined the military.

“Now nobody goes in. One congressman out of 435 had a kid in Iraq or Afghanistan.

“There are only four communist countries left. I think we ought to declare communism an endangered species — keep ’em around for political diversity.

“I went to Cuba for the first time in 1982 and I said, ‘We’re afraid of this?’ They were riding around in rickshaws.”

Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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