3 Reasons Conservatives Should Cut Defense Spending Now!

The Congressional Budget Office projects that if we keep spending the way we have been, federal debt held by the public will grow from around 60 percent of GDP to a whopping 82 percent of GDP over the next decade, with no end in sight. That’s the sort of borrowing that can ruin a country's economy.

Conservative Republicans are happy to talk about cutting spending on the poor, education, and cowboy poetry readings, but they insist that spending on defense and homeland security be increased.

Given that spending on defense and homeland security accounts for a whopping 20 percent of the government’s budget, that’s a non-starter. As with every other legitimate function of government, we need to squeeze spending down to the lowest level possible that still gets the job done.

Here are three reasons conservatives – and all other red-blooded Americans – should cut defense spending now.

1. War is Over! Didn’t we just win – or at least end – the war in Iraq? And aren’t we winding down in Afghanistan? After World War II, Vietnam, and the end of the Cold War, military spending got cut, as it should have been.

More to the point, spending on the military and homeland security grew by 90 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars since 2000. If al Qaeda and most international terrorists groups have been largely vanquished, we should not just be bringing the troops home, but dollars too.

Unless, that is, conservatives want to seriously argue that nearly doubling outlays for the past decade haven’t yielded results that would allow us to dial down defense spending.

2. What price safety? The United States already accounts for about 45 percent of the planet’s military outlays – more than the next 14 countries combined. Most of those countries are our allies as well, so we should be able to stay safe while reducing our military spending.

It’s a conservative truism that government programs, even ones that are sanctioned by the constitution, tend to be bloated, inefficient, and incompetent. Surely that same logic applies to the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security. In fact, Republican Reps. John Mica and Paul Broun marked the 10th anniversary of the Transportation Security Administration with a report that concluded that after spending $56 billion in security measures, flying is no safer now than it was before the 9/11 attacks.  

If conservatives can’t find wasteful spending and useless programs in defense and homeland security to cut, they’ve got bigger problems than terrorists to deal with.

3. Attacking the Military-Industrial Complex is a Republican Virtue – And Good Politics. It was a Republican president – the war hero Dwight Eisenhower – who sounded the alarm about the military-industrial complex’s insidious ability to grow and grow like a cancer on the American body politic. And right now, it’s Democrats such as Defense Secretary Leon Panentta leading the cry for a blank check despite admitting that there are tons of duplicative programs in his department.

In his proposed 2011 budget, President Barack Obama actually calls for bigger spending on defense and homeland security than the Republicans do. Obama’s recent announcement that he may trim some planned increases over the next decade doesn’t change that.

Americans are rightly tired not just of dubious, inconclusive wars that have led to the death of thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of others. A growing number of us are tired of out-of-control spending by a Washington elite that is totally out of touch with everyday Americans.

If conservatives want to push forward on reducing spending on Medicaid and other domestic programs, they should show that they take their own limited government philosophy seriously by pushing for defense cuts between now and the 2012 elections.

About 3 minutes long. Go to Reason.tv for downloadable versions of all our videos and subscribe to our YouTube channel to receive automatic notifications when new material goes live.

Nick Gillespie is editor in chief of Reason.com and Reason.tv, and the co-author of The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong with America. Follow him on Twitter: @nickgillespie.

Meredith Bragg is a producer at Reason.tv, a 2010 finalist for digital National Magazine Award for his video work, and an active musician and performer.

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  • ||

    Sure you should cut it. But you should only cut it if the money isn't going to be squandered elsewhere. If you cut defense as part of a broader program to cut the size of all government, great. If you cut it just to fund a bunch of bullshit and do nothing to eliminate the deficit and get us out of debt, then you are better off spending it on defense.

    Second, if you cut it, you have to cut the right things. You have to cut the brass and end the over ranking. You have to cut the contractors and the needless programs. And most importantly you have to cut the bureaucracy before you cut the few people we have left who pull triggers.

    The problem is they will do neither. The money saved from defense will be squandered elsewhere. And the defense budget will be cut in every way possible to reduce effectiveness and ensure that no contractors or connected brass feel any sting.

  • sarcasmic||

    What's the difference between a contractor and connected brass?

    The connected brass isn't drawing a pension. Yet.

  • Restoras||

    This is exactly right.

  • Mike M.||

    Agree, and the only thing I'd add (though it's rather obvious), is defense should only be cut if the military's responsibility is also going to be cut.

    Cutting the military while simultaneously asking the active force to fight more and more wars is beyond idiotic. It's time to tell the rest of the world to pick up some of the slack.

  • Gojira||

    But you should only cut it if...

    So...are you advocating not cutting it at all then, since your conditions will not be met?

  • ||

    If cutting it means taking they money and wasting it elsewhere and destroying readiness to save the jobs of a bunch of generals and contractors, then no we shouldn't cut it. If you want to cut a no shit government respsibilty like defense rather than something the government has no business doing in the first place, then you owe a showing how plan to use the money better elsewhere and how your cuts won't destroy the function

  • Gojira||

    No offense, but by that logic, nothing will ever be cut.

  • ||

    Why? If cant explain that you plan to use the money saved to do something useful like cutting the debt and you can't figure out how to cut it in an efficient way, then you haven't made your case. No offense but you seem to be saying we should cut something even though the money will still be wasted elsewhere and we will cut the most important parts of it. That strikes me as pretty stupid

  • Gojira||

    Because no one in our government can or will ever make that case. Money will always be wasted - that's the nature of the beast, period. If they lay out a plan that meets your requirements, then a future congress will just do an end-run around it.

    You have to take the axe to everything, immediately, and force them to make the cuts in the most efficient manner possible. If you sit around saying, "well we'll just keep spending more and more forever until somebody comes up with a good plan", then that's exactly what you'll end up doing - spending forever.

  • ||

    You have to take the axe to everything, immediately

    If you do that, then you are not wasting the money elsewhere. We are saying the same thing. Note I said above that you should only cut it as part of a broader program to cut the overall size of government.

  • ||

    You have to take the axe to everything, immediately

    If you do that, then you are not wasting the money elsewhere. We are saying the same thing. Note I said above that you should only cut it as part of a broader program to cut the overall size of government.

  • Gojira||

    That was perhaps poor phrasing on my part. Obviously I would prefer to cut everything all at once, but I'll take cuts anywhere I can get them, anytime, whether part of a broader plan or no.

    And then if they beef up waste somewhere else, I'll protest that as loudly as I can, also. But it doesn't mean that the fear of that happening would prevent me from advocating the initial cuts.

  • ||

    I won't take any cut anywhere. There are actually a few things the government needs to do. And don't think for a moment Congress won't cut those things to save their steeling. In fact that is exactly what they will cut in order to more effectively extort money for other things.

    What you really are saying is we should give up having a national defense so Congress critters don't have to stop stealing. No thanks.

  • Gojira||

    I actually disagree that there is anything a government needs to do, but pointless ancap debate aside, I challenge you to build a case that cutting defense = gov't not having enough money to do something else. The money is there - they just have to be forced to use it correctly. Which I don't believe they can do, hence my being against all gov't.

    And btw, cutting current defense =/= giving up having any national defense. We could cut it to 2000 levels, at which time I am fairly certain we still had an army, navy, and air force (at least I hope we had an army; otherwise I spent that year in some kind of crazy scam being run by powerful persons for no clear reason).

  • ||

    Sure we could have an army and such at 2000 levels. But we wouldn't if you let Congress spend on the money on graft and corruption, which is exactly what they would do.

    Again, cut it yes. But cut it effectively and cut it for a good purpose. Otherwise you are just robbing one of the few legitimate functions of government to pay for all of the illegitimate functions.

  • ||

    The legitimate functions are decided by the Constitution. Those who understand the Constitution is a living document knows that those legitimate functions can be expanded by whatever process that makes the Constitution a living document.

  • General Wayne||

    The Founding Documents are not living nor do they breathe, so why don't you read the Intolerable Acts, The Declaration of Independence, The Articles of Confederation, The Federalist Papers, The Anti Federalist Papers and the Constitution for the united States of America and then tell me if they live or breathe?

  • k2000k||

    Well we should cut to 2000 levels adjusted for inflation.

  • Chatroom Crank||

    It is not a no shit United States government responsibility to defend Germany, Japan, S. Korea, Israel or the Saudi princes. Better it be poured down an American rathole than spent to defend any of those places.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    Not that I like the idea of wasting money on anything, but another lesson the U.S. could teach Europe/Japan/etc. by leaving is that their socialist paradises are only barely feasible when the U.S. essentially foots the bill. What is going to happen once we leave and the German find a need to beef up their forces? Maybe certain state-run schemes would have to be scaled back to make room from new expenditures previously covered by our dumbasses. And if they (Germany, Japan) don't find a need to beef up their forces it proves that our troops DID NOT TO BE THERE TO "PROTECT OUR ALLIES" anymore.

    The real reason the U.S. maintains these bases is so they have semi-secure locations to mount bombing runs against various Easterners offensive to Washington on a whim. That, and fuck, German prostitutes are the best.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    You raise an interesting point--it makes one wonder to what degree some European welfare states are being propped up by American servicemen spending their salaries in the local economies on both living expenses and tourist junkets.

  • k2000k||

    Well no doubt it is being propted up, how much I can't say. But it is hard to believe that a nation like Japan wouldn't beef up its, already large, military force considering they have a very large neighbor who hasn't forgotten, or forgiven, the past.

  • Realist||

    "Sure you should cut it. But you should only cut it if the money isn't going to be squandered elsewhere. If you cut defense as part of a broader program to cut the size of all government, great. If you cut it just to fund a bunch of bullshit and do nothing to eliminate the deficit and get us out of debt, then you are better off spending it on defense."
    Agreed.

  • ||

    Only three?

  • 04||

    cutting multi-year, allied joint projects aint easy. but cutting manpower is the quickest.

  • ||

    And the dumbest, unless you are cutting the top ranks. More privates, fewer generals.

  • 04||

    but cutting end-strength is exactly what's happening.

    Entire Army battalions and regiments are to be disbanded on their return from Afghanistan, a memo sent to officers discloses.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/new.....loses.html

  • 04||

    gave you the link to the brit manpower cuts. here's the Army memo -

    http://cpol.army.mil/library/staff/manredux.html

  • wayne||

    The link is to a manpower reduction from 1998.

  • 04||

    oops - my bad, corrected;

    Army, Marine Cuts

    Panetta may outline troop reductions beyond those announced in February 2011.

    The fiscal 2012 budget request called for 547,400 Army personnel and 202,100 in the Marine Corps. The current plan calls for reducing the force in 2015 and 2016 by 27,000 GIs and as many as 20,000 Marines.

    http://mobile.bloomberg.com/ne.....ter-review

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Army, Marine Cuts

    From the article:

    The Defense Department won’t rely on cuts in weapons programs as the main way to meet its spending-reduction goals, Deputy Comptroller Mike McCord said Nov. 30.

    Christ on a cracker. These people never fucking learn, do they?
  • k2000k||

    I don't see that as a problem. Military investment in weapons technologies isn't nearly as high as we would like to think, kind of like spending on NASA. Using wikipedia spending on military weapons research only amounts to 11% of the military budget. I'd much rather see that be a higher number, as maintianing a technologically superior military force over our rivals correlates to the protection of our nation, at least in my mind. I would personally like to see a cut in military spending, but have a greater portion of the remainding military budget be dedicated towards technological research.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    I would personally like to see a cut in military spending, but have a greater portion of the remainding military budget be dedicated towards technological research.

    But it didn't say "weapons research," it said "weapons programs." That means shit like the F-35, which has gone through delay after delay and has seen the costs go up while the procurement number has gone down.

    Technology is way overrated in the execution of wars. Look at the V-22--the perfect example of the military being dazzled by shiny gadgets, paying through the ass to get them operational, only to end up with a smaller number of much more expensive planes that don't nearly have the reliability that Bell-Boeing said they would. It's the same philosophy that made the Air Force stick with dogs like the F-111 for decades, and accept Navy planes like the F-4 that didn't even initially have a gun for dogfighting MiGs, because the brass stupidly thought that dogfights were a thing of the past and air-to-air combat would be fought at long-distance with "fire and forget" missiles.

    All those toys don't mean a damn thing without the people in place to operate and support them. Without the maintainers, the crew chiefs, the communications operators, the aircrew safety guys. Without those people, those fancy toys are nothing more than multi-million dollar paperweights.

    And that's just the Air Force. The minute a country starts prioritizing toys over the people that keep them operating, the military starts going to shit. The Nazis had far superior weapons systems to the Allies in WW2, and they still got beat. The Romans didn't conquer the Mediterranean because they had better weapons, they did it because they had better soldiers, better tactics, and better will.

    The backbone of western armies for milennia has been its people, not its technology. Investing in a military's toys over it's people is like investing in a Lamborghini without the engine--it might look nice, but it's not going anywhere.

  • Matrix||

    Nobody wants to stay a private forever. The pay is crap and so are the restrictions. Plus, we already had a problem when we cut a lot of NCO positions during the Clinton years. By the time we went to Afghanistan and then Iraq, the military suffered from a lack of experienced NCO leadership. We do not need to make those mistakes again.

  • wayne||

    Very, very, true.

  • Mitch||

    We are going to make the same mistakes again and have the same issue result from those mistakes.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Cuadruple Asshole,

    cutting multi-year, allied joint projects aint easy


    Yes it is:
    "Sorry, there's no more money. Fuck you."

    See? Easy.

  • ||

    But, who will defend Djibouti???

  • l0b0t||

    The same military unit that has been defending it since the end of the Second World War, the 13th DBLE of the Légion étrangère.

  • Realist||

    Old Mex LOL

  • romulus augustus||

    Conservatives should take a page from the liberals who always complain that some new government benefit was too
    small, didn't cover enough voters, etc.
    So conservatives should be complaining
    Obama's "cut military spending" is far too weak and non-comprehensive.

    And, say, isn't the military lousy with Lt. Colonels these days? And
    Sergeants too - every soldier I see in the airports seems to have his or her stripes.

  • wayne||

    Eliminate the department of education.

    Eliminate the department of energy.

    Eliminate HUD.

    Eliminate the TSA.

    Then make appropriate cuts to DoD.

  • ||

    You missed about 10,000 federal entities, among them major departments and agencies, in that list.

  • wayne||

    it's a start.

  • ||

    I would put DoD first on the list, then the rest below it to be perfectly honest. We have the technology today to slash it to virtually nothing, yet keep our levels of power above all other countries.

  • wayne||

    I would put DoD last, not least because defense is a constitutionally authorized expenditure.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    First to go on any sane list.

    DEA
    BAFTE

  • wayne||

    I agree. Consider my list amended.

    Which one of the Republicans (or Democrats) is going to eliminate DEA and BATFE?

  • ||

    Funding for unconstitutional, endless wars against ideological groups, that do not directly defend America, should end immediately, before everything else on that list.

  • Realist||

    ^^^This^^^^

  • ||

    Dwight Eisenhower was probably an anarchist peacenik, right, GOP National Committee?

  • Ricky Scrotorum||

    He was a GD commie.

  • ||

    But Iran and North Korea still exist.

  • David Brophy||

    You are right and as long as they exist we must defend our freedom against them. Libertarians always think the world will work together but the truth is there are countries that want to destroy us. We need a stronger military to keep up with the growing threats of terror and Iran's nuclear capabilities. Wake up guys the world is not a safe place.

  • sarcasmic||

    How do Iran and North Korea threaten my freedom?

    The greatest threat to my freedom is the federal government.

  • sarcasmic||

    And the state government.

  • sarcasmic||

    And even the stupid town government that decided that while the state government will now allow fireworks that were once illegal, they will not.
    Anything bigger than a sparkler and a nice man with a club and a gun can lock me in a cage.

  • David Brophy||

    Go ahead Libertarian and get wrapped up in sparklers when North Korea has nukes pointed at us.

  • sarcasmic||

    You are aware that North Korea has no way to get their nukes (that assumes they have more than one) anywhere near US soil, don't you?

    Please explain to me how Iran and North Korea are a greater threat to my freedom than my town government which has the power to lock me up for possession of explosives if they catch me with a firecracker.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Pyongyang Fats will find a way. He's a genius among the geniuses, apparently.

  • l0b0t||

    No Viet-Cong ever called me a nigger.

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    The direction their nukes are pointed isn't relevant, since the Norks couldn't hit water if they were aiming for the Pacific Ocean.

  • Realist||

    Exactly!

  • Arcaster||

    You're a fucking pussy if you think either of those countries pose any serious threat to us. We could cut military spending by 1/2 and still destroy any 2 countries in the world. And guess what, asshole. They're not a threat to our freedom. Big government dickheads like you that have no problem with shitty legislation like the Patriot Act are the biggest threat to our freedom.

  • Realist||

    A million times so!

  • Chatroom Crank||

    Iran and North Korea have a combined population of roughly 100 million people. How exactly are they going to ally, invade and conqueror the US? We can stop any invasion fleet cold in the water. Both nations know that if they even toss a cherry bomb our way, we will wipe them off the table. We could do that in 2000, there is no reason why defense spending can't be cut.

  • David Brophy||

    It's not just Iran and N. Korea you have to take into account Cuba and Myanmar in Asia too. In Africa there is Zimbabwe and Syria and even Belarus is a rogue country. Any of these countries pose a threat to us even if you doubt their capabilities. The world is hostile to us because of what we stand for. And that is freedom supported by a strong military.

  • sarcasmic||

    Any of these countries pose a threat to us even if you doubt their capabilities.

    lmarotff!

  • Arcaster||

    FFS. This has to be a spoof. No one seriously believes other countries hate us because of what we stand for. That is one the the dumbest ideas ever. Other countries hate us us for sticking our noses into their business when we have no reason to do so. Please make sure your kids are first in line to enlist whenever we invade another country.

  • Gojira||

    You know it's a spoof when we're warned to fear the Doom Legions of Myanmar and Zimbabwe.

  • AlmightyJb||

    Just send in Christopher Walken to take care of them.

  • k2000k||

    No David, simply no. Myanmar and Zimbabwe don't give two shits either way about the United States. The fact is the United States is a known 'tough guy' history is replith with nations that tried to fuck with us, or simply looked at us sideways, and got plowed. Just ask, Germany, Japan, North Korea, Iraq, Afgahnistan, the Barbary States, Spain, Pancho Via, so on and so forth.

  • Emperior Wears No Clothes||

    "The world is hostile to us because of what we stand for. "

    America actually stands for dropping bombs on women and children? I thought it was football and ridiculously lax gun laws.

  • Realist||

    "We could do that in 2000, there is no reason why defense spending can't be cut."
    Wrong we could have done that in 1950.

  • ||

    But not South Vietnam. But we saved a few bucks by not funding their military (as we promised to do).

  • ||

    It's clear that there's room to save a great deaf of money in many areas of the budget, including the military. We could do that while maintaining the Pax Americana, if we must. But if we were willing to reduce our role as world cop just a little, we could save even more.

    Also, if we'd fix the regulatory framework and some other problems here, the amount of technological innovation would likely skyrocket, giving us an even greater edge. One of the nice things about high-tech military equipment from our perspective is that it usually needs an advanced infrastructure to support, meaning that even wealthy countries can't always effectively duplicate what we're doing.

  • Mike M.||

    But if we were willing to reduce our role as world cop just a little, we could save even more.

    Absolutely. The first troops that should be cut are the ground troops that are still stationed in places like Germany, Japan, and Korea.

  • Chatroom Crank||

    Don't forget the wasteland known as the Middle East. What are they going to do? Not sell their oil? They like gold toilets and Russian prostitutes way too much for that.

  • ||

    End the pointless, endless, high casualty wars in the Middle East first, then close overseas bases. Stop the active (and actively killing military personnel as we speak) "world cop" activities before the passive ones.

  • Apatheist||

    OT: this study was reported on in the Houston Chronicle this morning with a similar misleading (or lying really)headline:
    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-50.....ood-study/

    Yes the headline is that nicotine replacement "won't help smokers quit for good" when the very study they cite says that 2 thirds of people in the study were successful. Would anybody write a story saying "Alcoholics Anonymous won't help alcoholics quit drinking" even though it has a far higher relapse rate?

    How insane has this country gotten about tobacco? There are even studies that nicotine in and of itself might provide a mild health benefit like caffeine does in moderation.

    My e-cig has worked perfectly thank you very much (something even more denigrated that patches/gum).

  • ||

    The difference is AA requires totally abstaining from alcohol. If you're still getting some pleasure or enjoyment from an evil drug like nicotine, that's "cheating" and the nannies don't like that.

  • Brett L||

    Who wants to quit for good? If I wanted to quit using nicotine, I'd go through with the withdrawals. I just don't want to give myself lung disease from inhaling plant matter or be that guy who gets jawbone cancer from dipping.

  • sarcasmic||

    Chantix works. Not only does it help you quit smoking, as a added bonus you fart constantly and get really wacky dreams.

  • Brett L||

    No thanks. To many possible psychotropic side-effects, and my crazy is close to the surface and easily tripped by stuff like that.

  • ||

    Meredith Bragg is a producer at Reason.tv, a 2010 finalist for digital National Magazine Award for his

    Whoa, Meredith is a dude? NTTAWWT but I'da gone with my middle name or cultivated a cool nickname or something.

  • Make My Monster GROW!||

    "Murderith" Bragg?

  • ||

    I have a bitch-name too....hence my moniker.

  • ||

    Oh, I know you probably don't want to tell us exactly what it is, but maybe a short list of possibilities? Ashley? Christie? Laurie like in Little Women? I've met a man called Shannon and a man called Stacy and for some reason those kind of worked.

    Just tell me if I'm close. I won't mock, I promise.

  • ||

    Sure, you might not mock, the rest of us, on the other hand.....

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Courtney? Angel? Dana? Kim? Whitney?

  • ||

    I knew a kid growing up called "Karri." I always spelled it "Kerry" in my head just so I could remember he was a boy. Why do people do this to their children?

  • sarcasmic||

    Is Jordan a girl's name or a boy's name?

  • ||

    Jordan and Taylor are now truly neutral, I think. To my ear neither sounds weird on a boy or a girl.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    And for god's sake don't name your kid anything that rhymes with any body part, body function, or body fluid!

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    So, Rantsorum is out?

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    What's the verdict on Jayden/Jaden/Jaiden? I thought it was more of a boy's name until I stumbled "accidentally" onto porno with starring Jayden James. One thing's for sure, the first Destroyer spawn be it boy or girl will be named Brick Shithouse and that's the end of it.

  • KDN||

    Courtney seems to be the most common bitch-name where I live. Coincidentally, they've all been black.

  • Make My Monster GROW!||

    I don't think it's as much of a coincidence as you'd think.

    Since they'll all end up in prison, it makes sense to give them a bitch-name.

  • Tango Mike||

    My parents told me Tracy was a common male name when I was born. That's why I've met two in my 53 years. How I wished I was named a common boy name. It was brutal growing up.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    It's not the name that bothers me, instead it's the moody, quiet, indie rock he plays. Rock is meant to be loud, fast, and obnoxious.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Whiny white guys playing acoustic guitar should be fucking completely fucking ignored by any sensible person.

  • wayne||

    The real money to be saved is not in defense, it's in entitlements and boondoggles.

  • AlmightyJB||

    You can take our entitlements but how dare you go after our boondoggles! What kind of monster are you.

  • ||

    Are you in the military, by any chance? Or just a chicken hawk?

    Yes, there is very real money (hundreds of billions) to be saved in defense. Afghanistan and Iraq (not to mention Libya) have nothing to do with defending America. Nothing.

    Thousands of American military men and women, mostly young, have died since 2001 for no reason at all. Their deaths have not protected or advanced our freedoms (which were in far greater danger from our own politicians and cops than they ever were from Al Qaeda); their deaths have not made it safer for us to travel.

    The deaths of these young men and women were and continue to be a pointless waste. At no time have they ever had any effect on Islamofascist terror plots except to exacerbate their growth.

    We can not only save money, we can save thousands of American lives by ending this ridiculous, jingoistic "Team America World Police" program and restricting military deployments to Constitutionally-authorized defense operations.

  • wayne||

    Nope, not in the military and not a hawk of any sort. I am a vet, but have been out of the army for 37 years.

    I agree that Iraq was a mistake, and Afghanistan was reasonable but we should have been out of there for about 9 years now. That was mostly all money down the crapper, not to mention lives lost for no good reason.

    I am just stating the obvious, military spending is a small part of the federal budget. If you want to save real money, then entitlements are where you have to cut. On top of that, defense is a legitimate government function.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    Straight DoD is 600 billion. No other department gets that much. It's 20% of all expenditures.

    All defense spending adds up to over a trillion. You're telling me there's not room to save some money in there? Romney said something about having a military no one would want to take on. We could cut $250 billion and no one would want to take us on.

  • Kount von Numbacrunch||

    HHS spends a lot more than DOD. Every nickel HHS spends is counter productive and is not a proper function of the federal gov.http://www.gpoaccess.gov/usbudget/fy11/pdf/budget.pdf

  • Kount von Numbacrunch||

    "The deaths of these young men and women were and continue to be a pointless waste. At no time have they ever had any effect on Islamofascist terror plots except to exacerbate their growth."
    That's what I call the beaten wife argument. Don't fight back, it'll only make him mad. I deserve it anyway. Obviously killing terrorists by the thousands makes us safer and the sacrifices of me and my comrades were not for nothing. Your ridiculous and offensive remarks do not belong in a discussion of budget priorites.

  • Emperior Wears No Clothes||

    Kount Numnuts,
    You buddies' lives were wasted.
    Sorry you have to face the truth.

  • Mitch||

    The lives that were lost in Afghanistan since teh wun took office are really wasted....since we are going to negogiate with the taliban who were responsible for letting al queada have a safe haven in the rathole of afghanistan.

    Not like they give a rats ass about those who have died....just a political prop to say they care to get re-elected.

  • Kount von Numbacrunch||

    You're still breathing, but is your life of any value, smart ass?

  • Tony's Wet Dream||

    Those that were died were republicans so its all good.

  • ||

    ""The real money to be saved is not in defense, it's in entitlements and boondoggles.""

    Like the GI Bill?

  • wayne||

    Which do you see the GI bill as, entitlement or boondoggle?

    I see the GI bill as deferred, earned compensation. If you want the GI bill, then enlist and do your four years.

  • Gojira||

    Entitlements are not in the Constitution. Defense is. Therefore, even if we spend every single cent on defense, it's OK.

    /neocon

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    There is a pretty sizable argument that a lot of what is spent on in the name of "defense" does not actually qualify as defense. Therefore, the constitutionality of some(most?) "defense" spending should be questioned vociferously.

  • Chatroom Crank||

    ^^^^ This

  • Gojira||

    Oh I agree with you whole-heartedly. I'm just saying there are many (some in this very thread) who don't.

  • Zack Erwin||

    Not sure if you have or have not read the constitution but I can assure you that arguing unconstitutionality of "defense spending" or whatever qualifies as such, would be nearly impossible. Being that the constitution does not specify say what is classified as defense spending or "common Defense". Which is mentioned in Article I Section VIII of the constitution "The Congress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes, duties, impost, and excise, to pay debuts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States". However it is Also mentioned in section VIII that , "Congress may maintain an army. To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for longer term than two years." I would suppose that this could help your case of unconstitutionality of some spending. Either way arguing for spending in this case is much easier in my opinion.

  • ||

    "General welfare" is in the Constitution. You can debate what that is, as much as you can debate what defense is.

    The problem is the definition of both has been stretched.

  • AlmightyJb||

    Why do we even need a standing military. We have hundreds of millions of privately owned firearms.

  • sarcasmic||

    WOLVERINES!

  • AlmightyJb||

    Yeah, not to mention the fact that if some country was stupid enough to send soldiers here, they would probably defect.

  • sarcasmic||

    I never thought of that but you're probably right.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    North Koreans would stop their invasion as soon as they hit the first grocery store.

  • fish||

    Those Koreans are gonna be pissed....Hostess just filed Chapter 11.

    The Humanity!!!!

  • Chatroom Crank||

    ^^^^ And this

  • k2000k||

    Well we have always, always had a standing military. We had a standing military before we had a country.

  • ||

  • Peter Griffin||

    And the Pentagon? You look me in the eye and tell me that isn't a big anus.

  • Zack Erwin||

    Although it is easy to argue for cutting of defense at the closing of a war, especially in the state of our economy; one should not forget that just because the war(s) is coming to an end does not mean that our enemies are gone. To cut defense with counties such as Iran, North Korea, and arguably Russia constantly testing what they can and cannot get away with is not a smart thing to do. Cutting defense could possibly help our dwindling economy but it will be seen as weakness across the world. America would be essentially telling the world that it does not have the power to hold its own, or defend its allies or itself. If you look at our own history following nearly every war after, and including, World War Two you can see that we have done this before, and it did not help America’s economy more than leave us un-prepaid for the next war. More specifically, looking at the Truman cuts after WWII, where Harry S. Truman began "rapid demobilization” across our armed forces. This including but was surly not limited to major defense cuts such as were seeing now. As a result America, going into the Korean War, did not have the supplies or man power to even manage a block-aid of North Korea, and at one point were forced to re-commission out dated Sherman tanks left in Japan. By not looking at pervious wars and the actions of governments at those times America risks making the same mistakes as before, like those times in our past cutting of our defense budget can potentially help our economy. That economic improvement however, is not worth the weakness that it would create in the country should the need arise for more military action.

  • ||

    As a result America, going into the Korean War, did not have the supplies or man power to even manage a block-aid of North Korea...

    I think you're confused. I have looked at a map recently, and Korea is not part of America.

    Israel is not part of America.

    Europe is not part of America.

    Sovereign nations whose people are stupid enough to want to be Communists or live under Sharia law are not part of America.

    If the only argument you have in favor of unquestioned defense spending is that we might look weak to rogue crazy-assed despots who are doing whatever the hell they want right now, when our defense spending is higher than at any time since WWII, then you have no argument.

    America is not the world's mommy. It has no responsibility to spank Iran, Russia, NoKo or China unless these nations threaten or attack us directly. It is not our duty to "reprimand" anyone but those both domestic and foreign who interfere with our freedom to move about peacefully.

  • k2000k||

    And how can anyone argue that America is going to look week after we just fought 3 wars in the span of a decade?

    How can anyone argue that America looks weak when it is only one of three nations with a true blue water navy (the others being france and england)

    How can anyone argue that America is weak when we have enough atomic weaponry to destroy krypton along with the earth?

    How can anyone argue that America is weak when America is the only national in the world with a vast spaced based GPS network?

    America rules the waves, it rules space, it rules pop culture, it rules finance. How the fuck are we weak again?

  • Zack Erwin||

    What you are suggesting is isolationism which as history has shown us through the world wars does not work. If america had of kept its policy of isolationism then in all likelihood Nazi Germany would currently control Europe. I'm not saying that we should poke our nose in every conflict in the world but we should actively (not overly)protect our allies. That being said we need to begin to take steps to make sure we are not the only country being the worlds "mommy" as you said. Also as far as I know the wars in the middle-east are not and never were about communism and if I remember correctly South Korea was invade. That dosen't exactly sound like a sovereign nation that wants communism, it sounds more like an america ally being invade...

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Anyone who sees either Iran or No Korea as some existential threat to our freedom and sovereignty is a fucking idiot who should completely fucking ignored.

    Unfortunately it's those fucks who are in charge, and nothing sells to the Law and Order folk like goddamn war.

  • Zack Erwin||

    If you are referring to my comment then you obviously did not thoroughly read it. Being that at no point did I state that either North Korea or Iran poses a threat to "our freedom and sovereignty", But that by cutting defense america would appear weaker to country's such as those. Leaving them with the idea that they can get away with certain actions with little reprimand from America. (i.e. North Korea against South Korea) Also on a different note, anyone who believes that someone should be "completely fucking ignored", no matter there beliefs or ideals completely goes against many of the core values of america.

  • ||

    But that by cutting defense airport security theater america would appear weaker to country's terrorist such as those. Leaving them with the idea that they can get away with certain actions with little reprimand from America

  • Realist||

    Great points Nick.

  • ||

    The United States won the war on Iraq? Define "won". Seems you guys haven't won a war since 1945, unless you're including Granada.

  • ||

    The definition of "won" is about as loose as the definition of "start".

  • Kount von Numbacrunch||

    When the enemy dictator is hanged and his sons are shot to pieces it's hard to say we lost. You're losing sight of the obvious. If the Democratic propaganda (which, by the way is no longer operative) confuses you, you should turn off the television.

  • ||

    You neglect to note that among the cuts in military spending after Vietnam were the ones that allowed the North Vietnamese Army to march into Saigon, South Vietnam (which was a separate country as per UN Treaty) virtually unopposed by the under-supplied South Vietnamese Army. Since that time Vietnam has been among the leaders world wide in human rights violations.

    And if it appears to you that the nondemocratic countries of the world are lining up to peacefully coexist with the USA and its allies I suggest you take another look around, please.

    As far as I can tell there has NEVER been an actual cut in spending of an existing "social program". The time for this has come, especially in light of the fact that most of these programs have not produced the intended results.

    Finally lets not declare we have a Peace Dividend until we have a chance to see if Peace actually develops.

  • ||

    The people of Vietnam choose how they want to live and what sort of government they want. They choose by action, or they choose by inaction. If they want to dump their government and change it, they are responsible for doing so.

    As for leaders in human rights violations, let's talk about Israel. And let's talk about America itself. And some of its allies, like Egypt. You cannot expect anyone who reads the news to take you seriously--or do anything but laugh heartily--when you imply that we must maintain astounding and unquestioned levels of defense spending so we can effectively spank the world's human-rights violators. Boy, please.

    Vietnam is today one of the world's hottest calderas of capitalist growth. (Vietnam had an average growth in GDP of 7.1% per year from 2000 to 2004, and is expected to be 70% of the size of the UK's economy by 2050.) Everything in Vietnam, from libraries to schools to doctors to public parks, is pay-to-play. I would say that they have chosen their destiny regardless of what America's warhawks think it should be, and I'd say, based on recent reports from people who've been there for extensive periods, that we could learn a great deal from how they run things.

    America is not the world's mommy. Non-democratic nations are not wayward children that we need to shake our fingers at or send off to boarding school.

  • k2000k||

    You neglect to note that among the cuts in military spending after Vietnam were the ones that allowed the North Vietnamese Army to march into Saigon, South Vietnam (which was a separate country as per UN Treaty) virtually unopposed by the under-supplied South Vietnamese Army. Since that time Vietnam has been among the leaders world wide in human rights violations.

    Thats South Vietnams fault for not fucking standing up for themselves. Not ours. We cannot bleed and win for others their freedom. It cannot be granted, only earned.

  • Almanian||

    Have we won in Bosnia Somalia Iraq LIbya Afghanistan yet?

    Again - I'm counting Germany in the "win" column since Berlin was unified.

  • Almanian||

    Forgot "Korean Peninsula"...

  • k2000k||

    peace keeping operations are never about winning. It's about keeping the peace, whatever the fuck that means.

  • Kount von Numbacrunch||

    FDR went to war to unify Germany? You are some kind of confused!

  • Kount von Numbacrunch||

    If I were king, we'd reduce defense spending by 100's of billions annually, but that would still leave us with a trillion dollar annual deficit. Entitlements will be cut one way or another pretty soon. The defense budget is the only one that ever gets cut and it's the only part of the government that works well.

  • RighKlik||

    Spending cuts on defense WILL be used to allow for higher rates of spending increases elsewhere. If vote-purchasing programs for Democrats seems more appealing than military spending, the by all means, demand cuts in defense now.

  • Mitch||

    Cut defense spending...its needed, but we need to cut entitlement spending or at least reform it. The thing about reforming entitlements is the lefts reaction that the children are gonna starve....sheesh.

    Anyways, some shared sacrifice should be applied to the rest of the alphabet departments if we are gonna cut the military like we are.

  • karen millen ||

    Nice information, many thanks to the author. It is incomprehensible to me now, but in general, the usefulness and significance is overwhelming. Thanks again and good luck!

  • ||

    We are still at war. We have been at war since the first terrorist attacks on American citizens, sometime back in the 1970's (if not the 1960's). The best way to prosecute that war is to maintain a certain level of military preparedness. The alternative, which I seriously fear, is to blunder along, blithely ignoring the situation, until we suffer a serious terrorist attack, lose our collective temper, and find ourselves armpit deep in the middle east mire for the next century.

    Now, if it were that simple then NOT cutting the military budget would be a slam-dunk. Naturally, it isn't. The issue isn't "cutting the military" the issue is WHERE do we propose to cut the military.

    On top of which, there's the matter of the military (and, to mention another prospective cut) the Post Office are among the few completely constitutional expenditures Congress makes. And talking about cutting them is the National version of local politicians talking about cutting Police and Fire services ..... and not their own bloated staffs.

    So I have VERY mixed feelings about this. We need to examine it closely. Unlike, say, funding for BATF, which could more usefully be use to caulk drains.

  • SouthernAnCap||

    Didn't Panetta recently admit that there is no evidence that Iran is working on WMDs?

  • Tajik Man with Giant Mussels ||

    I want to marry this meredith bragg. She touches me with her wits.

  • ||

    A former Naval officer, I observed waste everywhere in the Navy. Very few programs are efficient and streamlining is resisted. Afterall, "if we don't spend everything this year, they may cut it next year." Some programs are just directionless, or worse, obsolete prior to any implimentation. We spend a million per year to support EACH frontline soldier. Saddly, retention of NCO's and junior officers is declining while senior military- field grade and flag is up. We have admirals doing the work of commanders and full lieutenants at the Pentagon. Why? The pay is good and they can get the next bump in pay and rank from the inbred good old boy system. Many of these guys are entrenched REMF's who NEVER put country above career.

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