Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Gates Warns Against Defense Cuts (Or, The Sky Is Falling)

UPDATE 08/15/11:
'Doomsday' defense cuts loom large for select 12

For the Pentagon, "we're talking about cuts of such magnitude that everything is reduced to some degree," said Loren Thompson, a defense analyst at the Lexington Institute, a think tank. "At that rate, you're eliminating the next generation of weapons."
Oh, no! Eliminate the next generation of weapons? We can not do that! Oh, no! That'll mean that we will only have our creaky old F15's and those mindless drones (aircraft not politicians!) to bomb and strafe guys with rusty Kalashnikovs and RPG's.

BTW, I am all for equipping ground troops with the best of the best, and I'm all for better salaries for troops, and I am all for boosting veterans' benefits -- I think these guys should have housing and health care covered for the rest of their lives -- but we are not talking about that. The hue and cry over potential (and unlikely) "defense" cuts is about white collar welfare for manufacturers of overpriced F-35 Joint Strike Fighters and V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft and aircraft carriers that we do not need. Not now, not ten years from now. We do not need them.

Another thing I am for: get our troops home from Afghanistan and Iraq, and use the money we save to educate our veterans' children, and invest in a renewable energy and public transportation workforce so those veterans have some place to work (besides in the extortionist, fat at the top military industrial complex). Smart investment in renewable energy would create 4.5 million jobs, over and above those lost by coal miners, and other dirty-energy workers. And it would add $4.3 trillion of domestic revenue to our economy.


WASHINGTON — In a grim warning about financial priorities during a time of fiscal crisis, the defense secretary, Robert M. Gates, said Sunday that budget pressures must not limit Pentagon spending such that the military is unable to defend American interests in an unpredictable world.
Gates Warns Against Big Cuts in Military Spending -- NY Times -- May 24, 2011
But he would say that, wouldn't he? I mean, he is Secretary of Defense. Is this really front page news? Now, if Mr. Gates said the world is more peaceful than he thought, that would be news. If he said the military did not exist to protect overseas, off-shored, corporate interests, that would be news.

Still, someone needs to tell Mr. Gates about the budgetary crisis created by his Republican colleagues as part of their "Starve the Beast" program. At some point, his Republican comrades are sure to recognized that defense is the big, bulging pot belly of the beast, aren't they? You can't always get what you want, Mr. Gates. Unless we borrow the money, or raise taxes. And you're not into that, are you? Besides, folks who aren't Secretary of Defense will tell you the US spends far, far too much on defense; that defense is really offense; and that defense is a big, white-collar welfare program, and it should not be. Let's cut every expenditure that is not for personnel by 80%. That'll get us at least $4.2 trillion in ten years. That's the sort of trimming your fiscally responsible brethren can sink their teeth into, Mr. Gates. And I promise, our "defense" will be just fine.


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