Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Consequences of a Weakened U.S. Military

This ain't no video game
"Republicans on the U.S. House and Senate defense committees say they’ll work to block $500 billion in defense budget cuts resulting from the failure of the deficit "supercommittee" to reach agreement yesterday.  President Barack Obama said he’d veto any attempt to void the automatic cuts.  Under the law, automatic spending cuts for all departments and agencies would take effect in 2013.  The Pentagon already is cutting about $450 billion over the next decade as a result of the budget control act of Aug. 2, the same measure that created the supercommittee.  Thus the Defense Department’s budget would face reductions of about $1 trillion over a decade, the most of any department.  If Obama exercises his authority to exempt military personnel from cuts, other Pentagon programs could be slashed in 2013 by 23 percent." (Bloomberg)  Ever since man emerged from caves the first responsibility of government has been the common defense.  But the U.S. doesn't just defend the U.S., as we all know it polices the world.  (Some might say for better or worse, but I'd say for the better.)  From WWII to post-war communist expansionism, and cyber/biological/chemical threats to an increasingly malevolent China, the U.S. - warts and all - has provided the only credible deterrent to evil-doers.  Just ask yourself, "If the Nazis, Russians, Iranians, or Chinese were running the show what would life be like?"  Answer: it would be just as it was/is inside the borders of those regimes - ugly.  Back in the 60's we used to talk about the "military-industrial complex", and one has only to spend a little time south of the 49th parallel to realize how true that is.  Yet, despite the lobbyists and Teapublican rhetoric, I believe there's enough fat in the system that these reductions can be accomplished without compromising the effectiveness of the U.S. military.  Perhaps if the military looked on such cuts as a "patriotic duty" to "save the economy" they'd embrace the concept of budget cuts more enthusiastically.