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Monday, November 5, 2012

HOW CAN WE REDUCE OUR MILITARY BUDGET?

Unexpectedly in my old age...and possible maturity...I have become outraged at our bloated military budget.  U.S. News and World Report has a public debate club, and less than a year ago I actually won the debate on defense spending, beating out people like presidential candidate Ron Paul (left) and Rep. J. Randy Forbes (right), Chairman of the House Military Readiness Subcommittee.  Paul came in #2 and Forbes #9 and last.

So, in my mission to save Planet Earth and Humanity, I had to react to an article in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser today entitled, "Shift in targets, costs leaves Air Force behind."  Fox 12 Oregon headlined:  "U.S. Air Force keeps fleet of aging warhorses flying."  Eric Talmadge was the author, and he does not work for the Military Industrial Complex (MIC), but the MIC is not run by a bunch of idiots.  They're very clever about strategy and timing.

The facts:

1.  The USA spends almost as much on defense than the rest of the world combined.  Here are our competitors:
Comparing military and education spending:


The defense budget (WITHOUT including the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars):


What this graph shows is that if that feared trillion dollar defense sequestering happens beginning next year, the military budget will still catch up to all-time highs!  This is ridiculous.  There is no Soviet Union anymore.  The Cold War is over.  China will posture, but it does not want to conquer the U.S.  Well, maybe economically, but not at war.  We need to initially cut our defense budget in half, then, depending on what is required to handle those pesky terrorists, further reduce military spending.  There are other priorities like education, infrastructure, global warming and energy that overwhelm our need to police the world.

I can go on and with visuals, but here is why we spend so much on defense:

1.  Every State in the Union would be negatively impacted by budget cuts.  You can't get elected if you threaten the livelihood of voters.  In the final presidential debate Obama quipped something about "bayonets and horses" in retort to Romney's claim about our Navy getting smaller.  Obama could very well lose the state of Virginia with that "careless" comment.

2.  The Military Industrial Complex provides considerable funds to political candidates, more to Republicans than Democrats, who tend to vote according to this support.

Let me, though, quote from a HuffPo posting entitled, "Public overwhelmingly supports large defense spending cuts":

That's according to the results of an innovative, new, nationwide survey by three nonprofit groups, the Center for Public integrity, the Program for Public Consultationand the Stimson Center. Not only does the public want deep cuts, it wants those cuts to encompass spending in virtually every military domain -- air power, sea power, ground forces, nuclear weapons, and missile defenses.
According to the survey, in which respondents were told about the size of the budget as well as shown expert arguments for and against spending cuts, two-thirds of Republicans and nine in 10 Democrats supported making immediate cuts -- a position at odds with the leaderships of both political parties.
On one hand, while these same citizens show a huge disconnect with the U.S. Congress, and especially with Republicans, the article did not go into how they would feel if their own naval base were to get axed.  That is part of the problem, but the other is that the all-powerful MIC continues to dominate.  For the umpteenth time, I again refer you to one of our former Republican presidents and Army General, Dwight D. Eisenhower, who warned us of the Military Industrial Complex more than half a century ago.  You can also read his entire speech.  And here is the story behind Eisenhower's final address to the people.

So how can we reduce the military budget?  Let your Congressional members and White House know how you feel.  Will this work?  Probably not, but I can't think of anything else.

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