Thursday, January 06, 2011

About those Impending Defense Cuts...

 Officially, of course, this is coming from the Defense Department-- but of course their boss is President Obama, so it's unofficially from him.

So you remember in the 2008 campaign when candidate Obama would say that he was really the one stronger on defense-- stronger than a POW war hero? When he said that he would increase the size of the military to reduce stress on military personnel and their families? Well-- he's decided that this is the time to break that promise to save some money that could have been cut elsewhere in the budget.

A clearly sad-faced Defense Secretary Robert Gates has announced that the size of the active-duty United States Army and Marine Corps would be cut by 2015 in a cost-cutting measure. Naturally, most people should be happy that the government is trying to save some cash, but it would appear that the move is unnecessary. Simply keeping the armed forces the same size would save money that is already allocated for increasing the size of active-duty servicemen and women and would also reduce recruitment efforts and bonuses. Furthermore, reductions in the size of the reserves (which would not be a good option, either), would make more sense than reducing those ready to respond to a crisis.

Of course, the thinking goes that the United States would be out of Iraq and Afghanistan by then. The logic of leaving the latter has not yet been confirmed, and even if true, there could be other potential problems in places like North Korea, Somalia, Yemen, Nigeria, Venezuela, Iran, Syria, Turkey-- that could require US presence. Not to mention the fact that active-duty personnel could also be needed for natural disasters in our country and abroad.

At a time of "extreme fiscal duress," he said, "every dollar spent on excess overhead or unneeded programs . . . is a dollar not available to support our troops" or to deal with future threats.
"We must come to realize that not every defense program is necessary, not every defense dollar is sacred or well-spent, and more of everything is simply not sustainable," Gates said. 

I do have sympathy for Secretary Gates, who is making the best of a bad situation. However, reducing our capabilities to defend ourselves is not worth the savings. Take the $78 billion from the leftover stimulus funds yet to be disbursed or from the 2014 start of the ObamaCare proviso. That would make more sense and would save more money and from more regulation and waste.

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