From Pine View Farm

Untouchables 1

In the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Gordon Adams and Matthew Leatherman of the Stimson Center, a think tank named after Henry L. Stimson, attack five myths which make defense spending politically untouchable.

I do not agree with all of them, particularly their implication that soldiers and sailors might be overcompensated in both pay and health benefits, especially when the mercenary corps, led by such noble corporate citizens as Blackwater Xe (Oh! I forgot. Blackwater Xe’s founder is now a noble resident of Dubai) are so handsomely compensated.

Nevertheless, the untouchable nature of the defense budget needs examined. I suggest that the examination start with giving DoD back its historical name: Department of War.

A nugget from the article:

2. The larger the defense budget, the safer we are.

Excessive defense spending can make us less secure, not more. Countries feel threatened when rivals ramp up their defenses; this was true in the Cold War, and now it may happen with China. It’s how arms races are born. We spend more, inspiring competitors to do the same — without making anyone safer.

For example, Gates observed in May that no other country has a single ship comparable to our 11 aircraft carriers. Based on the perceived threat that this fleet poses, the Chinese are pursuing an anti-ship ballistic missile program. U.S. military officials have decried this “carrier-killer” effort, and in response we are diversifying our capabilities to strike China, including a new long-range bomber program, and modernizing our carrier fleet at a cost of about $10 billion per ship.

This country has remained secure in eras of declining defense budgets, such as the postwar period of the Eisenhower presidency and the early post-Cold War years. Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton reduced active-duty forces by 700,000, Pentagon civilians by 300,000, defense procurement dollars by 53 percent and overall national defense spending by 28 percent — and we were still able to carry out one of the Pentagon’s top planning scenarios: occupying Iraq in 2003.


1 comment

  1. Blackwater Watch » Blog Archive » Untouchables « From Pine View Farm

    January 24, 2011 at 1:06 am

    […] Read more… […]