Tuesday, August 9, 2011

It Will Bury Us

There's been some talk/chatter about reductions in military spending as being part of the deficit reduction plan. I know this chaps the hide on more than a few conservatives because there seems to be this emotional attachment to military spending woven into the right winger's DNA.

I know it because I am guilty as well. As a right-wing child of the Cold War, I grew up with the notion of the need for a strong defense. The thought being that we needed as much destructive shit out there as we could produce. The more the better. The best defense was a better offense that you hoped would never be needed.

Well, the world changes, and it certainly has changed since those good old days of the cold war, when we knew from where the threat was coming. It's a all different now. As Brian (esteemed House Of Shreds commenter) pointed out a few months ago, to paraphrase: when you leave cool shit laying around it doesn't take much excuse for The Man (in this case, Obama) to find a reason to use it (Libya) for questionable enterprises.

And conservatives need to realize that a limited government also means a less powerful government. This also means a less Offensive government. War costs money, and I can make the argument that 90% of our wars we had no business taking part in the first place.
So tell me again why we have all this offensive capability when our primary enemy lives in stone age comfort and drinks unpasteurized goat's milk?

Conservatives, relax. We can do without a few extra thousand tanks if we just mind our own damned business. Be conservative for real. That would include a more conservative approach to foreign intervention as well.
Haven't you noticed that every time we mount up and 'save' a bunch of third-world losers the deal also includes nation building and food drops. Oh, here's an idea... just think of foreign intervention as another form of food stamps and welfare for brown skinned people. There. Is that easier?

We can't afford to be doing these things anymore. So let's not, OK?


John said...

Agree with a couple of comments.

The cost of new capability like new airplanes, ships, and tanks is going through the roof for a bunch of reasons like cost of technology, complexity, shrinking industrial base, etc. The question is how much are we willing to pay for that? The professional acquirers in government apparently believe no cost is too high for the US taxpayer.

The cost of personnel and annual operations and maintenance is the largest portion of the budget. I am doubtful we can find a good way to reduce those numbers with all the second guessing and lobbying that goes on to protect self-interest.

Finally, two engagement questions. As you look at the world do we need to be prepared to engage the next great power if US interests are threatened and as we eliminate most overseas basing how large a force do you need to support contingencies like Japan, Haiti, Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Philippines, Syria, Yemen, et al? Those are the 64,000 dollar questions and is critical to right sizing the DoD.

So, your observation that if we stop being the people who always come to the rescue and meddling in other peoples business we can reduce spending is right on. The only problem, it will remove one of the Presidents (any President) favorite tools of US diplomacy.

Bike Bubba said...

It seems to me that Scott Joplin, Henry Ford, and Elvis Presley do a lot more for world peace than does our government--they are the ones, after all, who have sold the idea of America to the world, no?

Vanesa Littlecrow W. said...

I have an even better idea, layoff as many military pencil pushers as possible, and use the savings to actually give our soldiers the battle armor and weapons they need.

Brian said...

I have nothing really to add, except that I agree with Gino. And that actually doing much about this is damn near politically impossible, given the entrenched interests of defense contractors, congressmen with bases in their districts, and veterans.

Gino said...

John: thats where the sausage making part of policy comes into play.

warfare at our level has changed. boats and planes have been replaced as force multipliers by a few nerds with laptops.
we can adjust.
the next 'blitzkreig' will take place via satellite over the internet, as signals get jammed, the ATM's stop working... stuff like that. ask China what they're up to, and it's not about accurate rifles or thicker tanks.