Supposedly Fiscally Conservative Republicans Make Exceptions For Defense Spending

Credit: DoD photo by Master Sgt. Ken Hammond, U.S. Air Force/wikimediaCredit: DoD photo by Master Sgt. Ken Hammond, U.S. Air Force/wikimediaSome supposedly fiscally conservative Republicans are upset that the Obama administration has proposed that Department of Defense spending for fiscal year 2015 be limited to roughly $496 billion.

Chairman of the House Budget Committee Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), said that the Obama administration’s plans to cut the defense budget were “disappointing,” and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said that the proposed defense budget would put the U.S. military’s ability to protect American interests abroad, provide a deterrent to attack, and provide security for allies at risk.

Former Congressman Allen West (R-Fla.) issued a bizarre statement in response to the proposed budget, saying that it is being cheered by our enemies and that small cuts to our vast defense budget will “decimate our military capability.”

You would think that those who like to talk about fiscal responsibility would be more open to cutting defense spending, especially given that U.S. defense spending dwarfs any other country’s.

According to the International Business Times, in 2013 the top 20 military spenders spent $1.316 trillion on “defense-related expenditures.” The U.S. was responsible for an astonishing 44 percent of that spending.

A graph below from the Economist based on data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute illustrates how much of global military spending the U.S. was responsible for in 2012:

Anyone who claims to be for cutting government spending should consider the Department of Defense as one of the prime candidates for cuts.

It is worth keeping in mind that, despite what Sen. Rubio said, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey believes that the Defense Department’s budget proposal "represents a responsible and, more importantly, a realistic way forward." The New York Times reported yesterday that officials believe that the proposed budget will allow for a military that will be "capable of defeating any adversary, but too small for protracted foreign occupations.”

Reason reached out to Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), and Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) for comment on the Defense Department budget proposal.

Sen. Cruz's D.C. Press Secretary Catherine Frazier told Reason the following:

It is a shame that instead of going after going after waste, duplication and bureaucracy, Sec. Hagel is instead looking to reduce the number of men and women that are bravely serving to protect our country. We can comment more specifically on his proposal when we see the budget details next week.

This post will be updated as the lawmakers (or their staff) respond to request for comment.   

UPDATE (2:29pm on 2/25/14): Statement from Rep. Massie (R-Ky.) below:

Overseas military interventions and protracted foreign occupations are expensive, and have contributed to U.S. debt over the last decade, while stretching our military resources thin. Defense spending must be efficiently focused on defending our country while fully compensating the brave individuals who volunteer to serve.

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  • John||

    The bigger problem is that we can no longer have an intelligent discussion about defense spending. The GOP will oppose any cut despite DOD being incredibly bloated and in desperate need of reform. The Democrats and of course Reason ( who has in my time reading the magazine never had a serious thought about the issue) will endorse any cut of any kind.

    For what I have seen the proposed defense budget is a disaster. Hagel is doing exactly what I feared he would do. He is using the need to cut defense as an excuse to gut readiness and actual war fighting ability while preserving the bureaucracy and waste and paying off the defense contractors. Obama and Hagel are trying to turn DOD into the kind of welfare agency that its critics have accused it of being.

    Since Reason and the Democrats in Congress never saw a defense cut, no matter how ill conceived, they didn't love and the GOP refuses to admit there is a problem, we can't even discuss the issue. It is just one giant stupid fight and will no doubt end with a lot of harm being done.

  • Brett L||

    Close the thread, this is the summary of 200 ever more sharply worded comments.

  • Dances-with-Trolls||

    Pretty much agreed in this case. Though there are many Ds that oppose any cuts in their own districts as well.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    I think you give the Democrats some short shrift here. They absolutely will oppose a defense cut that impacts their district.

  • Dances-with-Trolls||

    Curse your scruffy but speedy fingers.

  • Swiss Servator, mehr Käse!||

    You get those herding nerf. Or so I hear.

  • Swiss Servator, mehr Käse!||

    Uh...yeah, what he said.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Without even reading the proposed budget, I think John's analysis is more likely to be true than the more optimistic analysis.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    I think what was proposed yesterday was a step in the right direction. The only thing I disagreed with is it isn't quite enough.

  • Swiss Servator, mehr Käse!||

    As long as the legions of civilian employees are thinned, the cost overrun special toys get cut and the flag officer ranks are reduced, we are on the right path - if it is "cut 5 brigades and the best ground attack plane we have, keep everything else" then it is bad.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    I don't know if you followed up on the discussion yesterday, but the A-10 needs to go. There is no (well maybe one) function the A-10 serves that cannot now be performed better by other means.

    It was great in it's day. Now it is a redundant money hole.

  • Swiss Servator, mehr Käse!||

    It is proven, cheap, effective - and the AF hopes some supersonic fast mover can do the job instead.

    I will just have to agree to disagree with you on this.

  • Dances-with-Trolls||

    The A-10 is the beautiful grandchild of the Ju-87g and Il2 Shturmovik, and for tearing up Soviet tank formations it was by the gods made. But Apaches do that job better and safer. It's time for the now old girl to retire.

  • Swiss Servator, mehr Käse!||

    I can only point to the experience of many in Afghanistan that can show how helicopters are not "better and safer" - and they cannot go as fast, take as much punishment and carry as much in armament and munitions. They do not like dust, high altitude and crash a lot.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Do you know which platform did the most CAS in Afghanistan?

    It was the B-1. It dropped 70% of the weapons (in the entire conflict) and flew 10% of the sorties. The vast majority of those missions were CAS.

    It was the weapon of choice. It could loiter unrefueled for hours. It carried a shit-ton of precision weapons and could be from one side of the country to another in a fraction of the time of an A-10.

  • Swiss Servator, mehr Käse!||

    B-2's did a lot when I was there. The most interesting, and repulsive, BDA I saw was when a B-2 dropped a lovely JDAM into a position full of Talib, halfway up a mountain. When the guys got up to see the result, they found a slick of mess, and one thumb.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    It is proven, cheap, effective

    It's slow, unsurvivable and and a one-trick pony.

    the AF hopes some supersonic fast mover can do the job instead.

    There is no "hopes" about it. Fast movers have been doing the job for the past 13 years. And it's not a function of the platform, it's the capabilities of the weapon.

  • John||

    The A-10 needs to be replaced with close support drones.

    The A-10 is still useful in the right kind of conflict. But, Hagel and Obama seem to have no idea what kind of conflict they want to be prepared to fight.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    The A-10 is still useful in the right kind of conflict.

    I agree with that statement. BUT, those mission can also be accomplished using other platforms that have capabilities BEYOND CAS (namely interdiction). It makes NO sense to keep a one-trick pony. It is the logical system to cut.

    And you're right. We need a national strategy assessment, so we can equip to face the most likely threat rather than attempting to maintain a military that can take on the entire world.

  • John||

    The problem with the other systems is that they are so expensive. Do we really want to take a $300 million or whatever it is F22 and use it for CAS and expose it to ground fire? Why not use a cheap A-10 for that?

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    F-22 is an air-air platform. It won't be going much, if any bomb dropping. But your argument is germane for the F-35.

    The bottom line is, an A-10 in unsurvivable on a modern battlefield. The F-35 will be the ONLY platform (other than expendable drones) able to provide CAS in such an environment.

    Would the AF like to keep the A-10 around to be used in permissive environments? Sure. But given the fiscal constraints you need to pick the systems that give you the most capability, and the A-10 ain't it.

  • Swiss Servator, mehr Käse!||

    When the AF try to be be good at everything in one system, they end up mediocre at all.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Couldn't agree more. That's why we need both the F-22 and the F-35.

  • Cytotoxic||

    The F-35 is a boondoggle and the F-22 is an trainwreck.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Not true.

    Models of efficiency? No.

    But they are no more boondoggles or trainwrecks than any other military acquisition in the past half century.

    The military acquisition system is designed for failure.

    However, the F-22 is an amazing success as a weapon system. And from what I hear from sources in the flight test community, the F-35 is doing much better than the media would have you believe (although that's second hand knowledge).

  • Cytotoxic||

    However, the F-22 is an amazing success as a weapon system.

    And as a deathtrap!-you know, because oxygen runs out sometimes. And it's also really good at failing to meet basic criteria.

    The F-35: somehow, I doubt this is the case. Still costs too much.

    But they are no more boondoggles or trainwrecks than any other military acquisition in the past half century.

    The military acquisition system is designed for failure.

    Then we have to draw the line somewhere, and I'm drawing it here.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    And as a deathtrap!-you know, because oxygen runs out sometimes.

    Fixed. Wasn't the aircraft it was the g-suit (Combat Edge)

    Which basic criteria hasn't the F-22 met? From a capabilities aspect it's been an overwhelming success. It just cost more than they claimed. (This is a failure inherent to the system, and it is caused by Congress)

    Then we have to draw the line somewhere, and I'm drawing it here.

    You're not listening. You've already paid for it. You are advocating getting rid of something you've already paid to develop so you cannot have the capability you paid for for the next 20+ years.

  • John||

    It is not. There is no cuts to the bureaucracy. There is no recognition of the cost of contracting out so many functions over the last 15 years.

    The problem that we have is that the Congress has never been honest about the size the army. The army is much larger than it appears because of the contractors. What they seem to be doing is cutting war fighters but then not cutting the associated contractors. That is idiotic.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    There was a huge increase in troops thanks to the Iraq and Afghanistan Nation Building Debacles (things you in your infinite defense wisdom supported). As we disengage from those it makes sense to cut some of them.

    And from a libertarian perspective it makes even more sense in that my money is not taken to support all those government employees with their 20 year retirements and such.

  • John||

    There wasn't a huge increase in troops. There was a huge increase in contractors and that allows there to be more trigger pullers as uniformed personnel were no longer required to fill those jobs. The Army never got that much bigger in terms of actual numbers of uniformed soldiers. It grew mostly by hiring civilians and contractors.

    What they want to do now is cut back the uniformed slots with no corresponding and proportionate cut in the civilian and contractor force. And that is idiotic.

    The fact that you think that there was a huge increase in troops, as opposed to civilians, shows how little you know about this subject.

    I don't know anything and you won't listen to anyone who wants to tell you what is going on. So, there isn't much we can do for you.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    "There wasn't a huge increase in troops."

    Notice the huge increase in active duty troops detailed Table 1.04 of the Demographic Reports 2011.

    http://www.militaryonesource.m.....Report.pdf

  • John||

    Yeah. Page five. The Active Duty Army was 502K in 1995 and was 561K in 2011. That isn't even a 20% increase, despite fighting two long term occupations.

    Thanks for making my point for me. Now go look at the increase in the Army budget. It is a lot more than 20%.

    Bo, you need to either get some canned talking points from somewhere or not engage in these discussion.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    No, wait, you are the expert on military matters, and you said:

    "There wasn't a huge increase in troops."

    And you can tell what is being talked about here are what others have referred to as 'the ground and pounders,' ground troops such as found in the Army and Marines. And those two branches have seen surge significantly from 2000 numbers. It makes total sense given we are drawing down from two major wars that people like you got us into to draw down those ground and pounders.

  • John||

    And remember, those AD numbers include reservists being called up. So that is not the permanent size of the force.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Notice the huge increase in active duty troops detailed Table 1.04 of the Demographic Reports 2011.

    Let's see...Table 1.04 shows more active duty troops in 1995 than any year afterwards through 2011.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Red Tony is full of shit again.

    Any cut from a (D) will jeopardize "war readiness" and turn the Pentagon into a welfare agency! Only Team Red is qualified to cut the fat out of that huge bloated Pentagon budget!

    All pure political bullshit - no facts cited.

  • John||

    Shreek, not only are a retard, you manage to know less about this topic than you do anything else. You don't even fuck up the talking points here.

    Just go post on threads where Kos at least gave you talking points to fuck up.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I know. More and more this place is lousy with some liber-Republican hybrids. John, an acknowledge Republican and not a libertarian, can insult Reason for taking what is the standard libertarian line on defense spending, and most of the response are 'right on.'

    Incredible.

  • John||

    Bo,

    I have forgotten more about this subject than you will ever know. You are just a moron but make up for it by being a concern troll.

    You have nothing to say on this subject beyond name calling about how I am a GOP shill. I guess you figure people are too stupid to read the part of my post that excoriates the GOP for being unwilling to admit there is a problem and DOD is bloated.

    It is pretty obvious that you know nothing about this subject and don't even have any canned Dem talking points to post. Some of us do know a little. Do us a favor and go concern troll somewhere else so we can have a discussion without you fucking up the threads.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    It is plain what you are doing in your comment re the GOP, their position is indefensible and the height of hypocrisy, but you, as always in your Team cheerleading, want to turn it around not only on the Dems, but once again into a criticism of the hosts of this website itself. If you find Reason so unthoughtful, why would you hang out here so very much? You're not a libertarian, so that can not be the reason.

  • John||

    Bo,

    When you have something to add about the actual defense budget that is not completely moronic, please feel free to do so. As it is, you have embarrassed yourself enough. And enough people have posted agreement with how fucked up this situation is, you really are not even effectively concern trolling or changing the topic to avoid arguments you don't like.

    Make a point worthy of engagement or go home.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    What are you adding? 'Cuts should be smart not dumb?' With respect, duh.

    The point is or military is insanely bloated, and an axe can be taken to the budget without our national security suffering in the least.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Woosh! Point missed!

  • From the Tundra||

    What is this "standard libertarian line" of which you speak?

    No such thing, dude. Marketplace of ideas and all that.

    John nailed this one.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    The standard libertarian line is the one in the article: we spend way, way too much on defense and need to spend way, way less. It has been part of the LP platform for decades, part of Cato's policy research, etc.

    It is amazing so many here seem to find all this mysterious and strange. How did the culture on this board get so far from the kind of libertarianism Reason is known for throughout libertarian circles? It is like it has become some way-station for Republican-lite wanderers.

  • robc||

    The standard libertarian line is the one in the article: we spend way, way too much on defense and need to spend way, way less.

    I havent seen anyone, even John, disagree with that. Its the location of the cuts that matter. Everyone but you seems to agree with massive cuts in contractors, officers and fancy equipment, with less massive cuts in enlisted.

    If we are going to have a standing army, experienced enlisted is the core element of it.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    'Make smart cuts not dumb ones' is hardly insightful. The point of the article is that our military is so massively bloated that there really are not many bad cuts to be made. I mean, look at that graph!

  • robc||

    there really are not many bad cuts to be made.

    This isnt true. The officer:enlisted ratio is an important measure. If the cuts increase that ratio, they are bad cuts.

    I would also say that closing US bases is a bad cut, not because I oppose that, but because it encourages a larger percentage of troops to be stationed overseas. We need to close overseas bases first.

  • Swiss Servator, mehr Käse!||

    NCOs, more than anything, need to be preserved. They are the key.

  • From the Tundra||

    How did the culture on this board get so far from the kind of libertarianism Reason is known for throughout libertarian circles?

    Ask Donderoooooooooooo.

    Oh, and drink!

    Bo, there is no standard libertarian line about fucking anything. We start at "fuck off, slaver" and muddle through from there. Everyone can agree on cuts. It doesn't make one a Republican (lite or otherwise) to suggest that cuts need to be made that do not fuck up one of the ONLY legitimate purposes of the fedgov.

    Come on, man, you are spending too much time with the Buttplug and not enough with Epi. Free your mind, etc. etc.

  • robc||

    Bo, there is no standard libertarian line about fucking anything.

    Time yet again for robc's 2 rules of libertarianism:

    1. Everyone agrees with libertarians about something.

    2. No two libertarians agree about anything.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    robc, that is true in a technical, literal sense, but there are some pretty broad areas of agreement across the many libertarian organizations I have been involved with. Sure, people will argue about IP or whether there needs to be a military at all, but I have yet to come across a group of libertarians who, when asked about cutting our current military budget, started to fall over themselves with concern trolling that maybe we would be cutting the wrong parts.

    I mean, can you imagine that applied to any other area of government largesse? Hayek and Friedman, for example, supported elements of welfare spending, but can you imagine if the topic of making cuts to our welfare programs came up and some left wing version of John showed up and said 'while I agree we need some cuts in this area, we need to be really careful to cut in the right spots and keep what is great.' Do you think most groups of libertarians, disagreeing about many things as they do, would not shout that down?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Epi uses this board as his Facebook account. He is devoid of ideas.

    At least John is regular GOP army and utterly predictable as a Bush conservative.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Our current military is so far away from the legitimate purpose the federal government might have in that role that the light from it would reach us far after we cease to exist. Concern trolling about the cuts not being in the right place is preposterous.

    Of course libertarian opinion varies, but it is pretty standard for libertarians to want to see the military budget cut back quite a lot. This is especially true for the kind of libertarianism Reason is known for in libertarian circles.

    I mean, I have to ask: how many people here participate in any libertarian organizations other than commenting here?

  • robc||

    how many people here participate in any libertarian organizations other than commenting here?

    I think we may have been wrong calling Bo "Blue Tulpa". I think he may be "Blue Dondero". Isnt that straight from the Donderoooo commenting playbook?

  • From the Tundra||

    I mean, I have to ask: how many people here participate in any libertarian organizations other than commenting here?

    True Scotsman? Really? I'm gonna be too wasted to work.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I do not think the 'True Scotsman fallacy' means what you seem to think it does, but perhaps you can show me wrong here. How is that question a 'True Scotsman' fallacy at work?

  • From the Tundra||

    You insist that libertarians are cool with any cuts, because Standard Libertarian Line. A couple of libertarians show up to express dissent. So instead of acknowledging that perhaps not all libertarians think the same, you immediately call into question their libertarian "credentials" by once again citing Standard Libertarian Line. So, no true libertarian could possibly concern themselves with appropriate defense cuts, right?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    The way the fallacy works is that when someone brings up a counterexample someone denies that the counterexample is a true member of the group in question. I am not doing that. I readily concede that there are some self-styled libertarians who would agree with John's point more than Reason's, my point is that in general libertarians I know and know of would take Reason's side, that it is much more common, but in contrast here we see the reverse.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    How did the culture on this board get so far from the kind of libertarianism Reason is known for throughout libertarian circles?

    Because Team Red jackoffs like John (among others) bully everyone here - or at least attempt to.

    But no one fights as nasty as I do. That is why the 'Johns' here despise me.

    And that is fine with me.

  • Swiss Servator, mehr Käse!||

    "But no one fights as nasty as I do."

    Best laugh I have had in years. Ever been in a real "fight"? Commenting behind a screen name on a website is not "fighting".

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Please, no 'internet tough guy,' it is just silly and sad.

  • KDN||

    It was the center space on his troll bingo card. He had to play it sometime.

  • Swiss Servator, mehr Käse!||

    "just silly and sad"

    That will be his epitaph.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Bo is actually making me side with John here.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Surprise, surprise. One of my first amazements when I started commenting here was seeing someone defend drone strikes. Cytotoxic, of course. Methinks you would easily take John's side were he here arguing it or not (and again, this proves my overall point even more: when Reason says one thing, and an acknowledged non-libertarian and Republican like John says something else, the fact that so many of the 'libertarians' here support John says a lot about lousy this site's culture has become with GOP wanderers).

  • Cytotoxic||

    Oh butthurt woe is thee. Being the Arbiter of Libertarian Virtue is such a burden, and Bo was so noble he took it on voluntarily! Truly he has died for our sins.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I hope you have other qualities of a parrot as well, like pretty colors.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    That fact says many good things about the intellectual health and intelligence of Reason commenters, as a matter of fact. Being able to respond to -- and even be convinced -- by someone who is not your kin (ideological and otherwise) is the hallmark of a developed mind; it would be foolish, for example, of a libertarian to dismiss the entirety of George Orwell or Hitchens' body of work despite both men identifying with the extreme left. One of the best histories of the 19th century comes from an unrepentant Stalinist (Eric Hobsbawm). Ghettoizing one's intellect is a good way to squander same.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    As I have said, of course it is nice to have an open mind, and one should not mindlessly parrot the Reason line, I am just saying that the fact that more people here would agree with an acknowledged Republican on this issue is, at the least, the complete inverse of what would happen if this were discussion being held among a group of active libertarians elsewhere.

    Sure, maybe all of these libertarians just decided the more general libertarian position on this was incorrect, but I bet it has to do with something else, namely that a lot of the people here are more Republican conservatives than anything else. That is fine, the world needs conservatives and I agree with them on many things, I only note that it is particularly odd, and for a more faithful (or 'doctrinaire' if you will) libertarian such as myself, more concerning to see so many on Reason's site. Essentially, what's up with that? If anything Reason is known in libertarian circles as a more left leaning (perjoratively called 'cosmotarian') libertarian strand associated with Cato, Volokh, etc.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    I am just saying that the fact that more people here would agree with an acknowledged Republican on this issue is, at the least, the complete inverse of what would happen if this were discussion being held among a group of active libertarians elsewhere.


    ...yes, and? Even if true, I don't see the significance.

    I bet it has to do with something else, namely that a lot of the people here are more Republican conservatives than anything else.


    Sure it does.

    If anything Reason is known in libertarian circles as a more left leaning (perjoratively called 'cosmotarian') libertarian strand associated with Cato, Volokh, etc.


    I don't know that I'd characterize any of those institutions as 'left leaning' or 'right leaning' except if we're using the insane shit posted at LewRockwell.com as our barometer for conservatism.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I am glad you agree that there are a lot of people here more Republican conservatives than anything else. Your overall reply seems to be 'so what?' And that's a fair response, so let me do the same for you. To me the 'so what' is because I am a libertarian and I think conservative Republicans are essentially statists much like progressives. I live in a deeply red state and progressives are simply not responsible for much of the statism I encounter daily.

    Since I have been a libertarian I have seen conservative Republicans try to co-opt libertarian individuals and organizations. The Kochs recently tried something like this with Cato. I think it would be an unfortunate thing if libertarianism were co-opted into a branch of conservative Republicanism in this way. Reason, much like Cato, has resisted this co-optation at the level of editors and commentators, but it seems like something like that is going on at the level of the comments pages.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    I am glad you agree that there are a lot of people here more Republican conservatives than anything else.


    Not what I said; not even close.

    I think conservative Republicans are essentially statists much like progressives.


    Again, so what? I'd rather talk to an intelligent statist than a dumb libertarian, especially if they're making interesting points. I'm not an anarchist, but I like reading Epi and Killaz's comments because they're funny and often insightful. It's pretty pathetic that your first response on seeing something John says is to tattle on him for being Unpure.

    The Kochs recently tried something like this with Cato


    KOCHTOPUS!!!

    Dude, Koch bros were for gay marriage, legalized prostitution, pro-choice position, non-interventionism, and any number of things in the socially liberal goody basket since the 70s. They also support what you call the 'left leaning' periodical you're reading right now. If you think they are some kind of conservative stalking horse it says more about you than it does about them.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Yes, yes, leftists can be quite silly about the Koch brothers. I am not invoking that, so perhaps you can keep your pat internet answers for them. Unless you have head in the sand regarding libertarian circles you are surely aware that the Kochs have made some rather aggressive pushes to get some of the libertarian organizations they support to align more closely and explicitly with conservative Republicanism, a move that was highly resisted by the strand of libertarianism I align with, including several Reason writers and former Reason writers.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    the Kochs have made some rather aggressive pushes to get some of the libertarian organizations they support to align more closely and explicitly with conservative Republicanism


    [Citation needed]

    Dude, just... dude.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    OK, now I think you are being a bit disengenous. Am I to believe you do not know about the whole takeover thing with Cato?

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    I'm familiar with the Ed Crane debacle, but I saw no evidence indicating that your allegations regarding motive were based in fact and no reason (given their prior allegiances and history) to indicate that they have a reason to want to sympathize with SOCONS or whatever.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Ah, I see, you were aware of it, you were just on the other side! Well, I am not much surprised, and yes, I am sure we will judge it differently (the 'Ed Crane debacle' tells me enough about that) but I hope you can at least see that for someone on the other side, someone who thinks more alignment with the Republicans and conservatives is not a good thing for libertarianism, such an even might have been a bit concerning.

    Here is what interests me about our conversation here. You have been fairly upfront with me that you do not think of yourself as a libertarian. We have had some discussions where you have indicated differences with the LP on some issues, differences in which you break toward conservatives and away from the LP (note, I am not using the LP as a litmus test for libertarianism, but rather as a wind sock if you will).

    On the other hand I do identify as a libertarian and can not think of any part of the LP platform I disagree with.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    (continued)

    The very fact that you find John's disagreement with Reason to be accurate and refreshing or that the Koch Brothers and their Cato takeover was a harmless or good thing, and that I do not, kind of supports my overall point. To the extent one identifies with libertarianism and adheres closely to the closest thing to a libertarian line there is, one is going to be concerned and appalled at such things, but of course if you lean Republican in your libertarianism, it is 'all good' as people say.

    OK, fine, but allow me to remain puzzled as to why persons like you are so much more common on Reason than persons like me.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    you have indicated differences with the LP on some issues, differences in which you break toward conservatives and away from the LP


    To be proper, my identification is with classical liberalism, which doesn't put in a great position vis a vis conservative vs progressivism. I am more of an environmentalist than either conservatives or libertarians seem comfortable embracing, for example and have opinions on animal welfare that would put me to the 'left' of either group.

    allow me to remain puzzled as to why persons like you are so much more common on Reason than persons like me.


    Allow me to explain why I like commenting here. The people here, while they do care about consistency, are not like other libertarian communities in that a) they seem to have something resembling personalities and intelligence, and b) are not as obsessed with purity of thought and dogmatism as some other communities, be they 'paleo' or 'cosmo'. I don't really care to read secondhand what the Apostle Rothbard had to say about a given issue, and appreciate that people here are willing to be opinionated. It is convenient for me that the community is similar to me in political views, but in all honesty I would feel comfortable as a contrarian on a thoughtful progressive or conservative site as well. You're probably getting a poor reception precisely because no one here cares how far up the libertarian totem pole you are -- something you seem obsessed with.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    "You're probably getting a poor reception precisely because no one here cares how far up the libertarian totem pole you are -- something you seem obsessed with."

    Actually, no. I never commented about anyone else's libertarianism until I began to get attacked about it when I posted about socons doing statist things. I started by saying 'why would you be upset about that?' Then I started to see how people broke on the usual issues that see left and right libertarians divide (abortion, immigration, gay rights) and noticed there were a lot more of the other kind around here.

    But again, my point is a bit different. I would not like a Rothbardian orthodoxy here myself, but there is something between there and a site where an acknowledged Republican conservative non-libertarian can frequently, and caustically, disagree with the Reason writers and nary a person disagrees. Orthodoxy is bad, but at some point a movement or philosophy has to have some philosophical coherence and integrity, and that seems in danger here.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    "It is convenient for me that the community is similar to me in political views"

    I have said a lot, far too much, in this thread, so let me end with this observation, and thank you as is usually the case with you for the polite discussion.

    Take your line I excerpted here at the top, and understand that we differ philosophically. Now, what puzzles me to no end is this, why are there so many more people here with views like yours rather than mine, given that my views are rather doctrinaire libertarian, and if they are close to a strand of libertarianism they are closer to the same strand as most of the Reason writers? I have a question, how did the culture of a comment board for a 'cosmotarian' libertarian website become a comfortable home for conservative Republicans and classical liberals with Burkean tendencies, and a concern, being someone of the 'cosmotarian' libertarian bent that wants that strand to flourish and have more voice in the world, that troubles me.

  • Robert||

    The people here, while they do care about consistency, are not like other libertarian communities in that a) they seem to have something resembling personalities and intelligence, and b) are not as obsessed with purity of thought and dogmatism as some other communities, be they 'paleo' or 'cosmo'.


    Amen.

    Purity of thought tends to degenerate into purity of team. And as RAW said, "Convictions make convicts."

  • Robert||

    how did the culture of a comment board for a 'cosmotarian' libertarian website become a comfortable home for conservative Republicans and classical liberals with Burkean tendencies,


    See above, but also, Reason has hx. The Reason Foundation has been much less of a home for team players than many competing places over its hx, even though it has gone thru periods of indulging certain hobby horses (such as this "cosmotarian" orient'n you note).

    The only freer-swinging, consistently relevant, and widely-known online venue was the unmoderated automated (majordomo, mostly) e-mail list, Libernet-d, which was the discussion forum for the less interesting Libernet. Prior to that, there was the print-based Connection, but that could never achieve anything like the circulation achievable thru the WWW, or even thru Fidonet as was the case for its Liberty and Liberty NW echoes. The libertarian-oriented Usenet groups never held that good a focus for long.

    I do miss those peer-to-peer, no-practical-time-limit formats compared to the rush of this group blog-and-comment format, but at least Reason's bloggers have been pretty damn good. And the core of it is Reason, the magazine, which got a good reputation for all those decades by not being quite as susceptible to team play as others.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    TIT, what do you consider yourself, politically speaking?

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    I'm a classical liberal with Burkean tendencies. My personal opinion is that libertarians have a wonderful ideology that does about as well as any ideology could do at solving most political problems in a satisfactory way, but I don't identify with the libertarian impulse to systematize all political coordinates (kind of soured on grand ideological projects after my socialist days) and I don't think it's possible to do so, anyways. IMO the western world -- especially the US -- was roughly on the right course (politically speaking) right before WWI broke out and everything went to shit and would favor an idealized version of that type of liberalism (with modifications) above either idealized systems which have never been tried (libertarianism is included in this) or what we have now.

    The "Burkean tendencies" part reflects my concern with radical change. Change is good, but implementing it so that it sticks is something we still don't understand very well so I favor gradual changes towards the system I ultimately want over the sudden imposition of libertopia, since it will be more stable and inevitable error can be corrected more easily.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    There is no such thing as left/right leaning libertarian. There is only libertarian.

    The reason you perceive there is a right leaning bias is simple. More conservative issues are happen to align with libertarian philosophy than do progressive issues.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    "There is no such thing as left/right leaning libertarian. There is only libertarian."

    Again, in some sense that is true, but anyone who has spent anytime around libertarian organizations and websites is, I think, aware of the divisions between 'paleo and cosmo libertarians,' between places like Mises and Cato.

    I think conservative rhetoric plays much, much more lip service to libertarian ideals than progressives, and I actually think conservatives are, today, on a whole, generally more friendly to libertarianism. That being said I think they are very much statists.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    The only difference in libertarians is how much one is willing to make exceptions to libertarian principle. We all do, in part because it's not a perfect philosophy. It has a few dark corners (although vastly fewer than most).

    I see Reason fall off the wagon to the right just as much as they fall off to the left. Yes, some writers have their peeves. Nick, for instance is rabidly anti military (not a libertarian position), but by and large, I'd say the average is right where it should be.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    I think Reason's problem covering military and foreign policy issues is that they don't have anyone on board who has experience with either one of those areas. Economic issues are easy for a libertarian periodical to cover: throw a rock in any given freshwater school and you're bound to hit someone with at least some libertarian sympathies and willing to do research/theorize on the issue and write up an op-ed. The military definitely has a strong libertarian component, but it's not as easy to do that with and unless you have an exceptional journalist (like Balko) or work to find good sources and reporters in the military sympathetic to your ideals, you're likely to hire someone who doesn't know jack or squat about the military.

    Their coverage on drones (by far one of the best developments in military hardware in the last 10 years) is simply cringe-worthy.

  • Robert||

    Reason used to have military experts, but yeah, they seem to be lacking these days. But you watch, they'll get some again some day. Reason always bounces back eventually.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I like where Reasons' writers fall Francisco, it is the commentariat that I am talking about.

    Your comment about the military is telling to me, it reminds me of IT's comment one day about how he and many people here like 'military culture.' The military is a government agency which takes my tax money without my consent as surely as the local department of motor vehicles. Why I, or any libertarian, would not be anti-military and dislike military culture is frankly beyond me. But I think it makes sense if the person leans or comes from conservatism, which of course fairly worships the military.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Having a military is a legitimate function of government. There is nothing anti-libertarian about it. It exists to protect the rights of individuals. It's up to the civilian governing authority to ensure it is used IAW the NAP.

    If you have issues with how it's funded, fine, so do I. I have issues with how the entire government is funded. It's NOT anything the military has the authority or the ability to decide.

    I am not a fan of the "military culture". It stems from a fucked up promotion system where performance and efficiency are not incentivised. But I seriously doubt you know the first thing about military culture. You only think you do. The military is plenty fucked up, just not how you think.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    It's clear that Bo has a huge issue with socons, probably because of The gay thing, and he identifies John as the resident socon so will battle him on everything he posts, even a fairly accurate post like John made at the top.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I do not think John is a SoCon at all, he's plainly what he has described himself as, a national security conservative. While I think like most conservatives he values socons as allies he seems easy to mock them and disagree with him. I just think his post 'at top' was conservative concern trolling. Out military is vastly bloated and in need of cuts, when they are proposed he says 'oh noes, maybe those cuts will be the wrong ones!' Can you imagine a bunch of libertarians calling such a comment about any other concededly bloated government agency 'fairly accurate?'

  • John||

    No. It was a post that made a valid point that detracted from the team Blue point you wanted emphasized. You only went nuts and started calling me names because you had nothing substantive to say and were desperate to get the thread off a topic that was damaging to Team Blue.

    Everyone on here sees what you do Bo. It is not hard. Why do you insist on thinking you are fooling anyone? Wouldn't it be easier just to stop and instead just make honest arguments and concede when others make such?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I love how you, an acknowledged member of Team Red who must turn every single discussion, even ones that are about a Team Red failing, into your usual attack on Team Blue, accuse me of shilling for Team Blue. Of course you can never show where I have ever deviated from the NAP or the LP Platform, you just know. That's projection you are feeling.

    I mean, you come onto this libertarian site and, for like the third time in two days, call out the Reason writers and what you find needing explanation is that someone pushed back on you about it, so much so that you have to come up with the explanation that it must be a Team Blue shill. The fact that you got such little pushback just shows how lousy this site has become with GOP activists such as yourself.

  • John||

    The fact that you got such little pushback just shows how lousy this site has become with GOP activists such as yourself.

    Yeah, I am the GOP activist. And no one but and the other resident leftists seem to think that or care about if they do think that I am that. Funny that.

    That couldn't be because you are in fact nothing but a Team Blue concern troll could it? No, it is because you care so much about the objectivity of this board. You care so much, you only feel the need to constantly troll every thread I post on but never object to anything any of the honest leftists and Dems on here say.

    Try harder Bo.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I do not know what to tell you John. you can not produce any instance of me siding with Team Blue over the LP, not one. On the other hand, you rather frequently acknowledge you are not a libertarian and even criticize our libertarian hosts here. That you do not get more flack in that says something quite concerning about this board, not about my leanings.

  • John||

    I do not know what to tell you John

    Yeah, this whole thread makes that point.

    You went a bridge too far here Bo. No one but shreek, who is an admitted leftist fascist, agrees with you. I made valid points about both sides. You are only angry because you view it as your mission in life to obscure arguments that cut against Team Blue as much as possible.

  • John||

    And please don't use buzz words like "national security conservative" when you clearly don't know what they mean.

    The fact that I have consistently argued against the abuses of the NSA prevent me from fitting into your "national security conservative" invective.

    Bo, I have seen about 15 different liberal concern trolls come and go on these boards. And every single one of them has zeroed in on me as the public enemy number one with the idea of concern trolling to marginalize my points and turning the board into a Team Blue cheering section. It never works.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Your amnesia is pretty incredible, it was you that labeled yourself that in one of the first discussions we had here.

  • John||

    How I use that term Bo is not the same meaning as you use it.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Again, I have not said at all here how I mean it, so how do you figure that?

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    What was fairly accurate are John's predicted results of any discussions/negotiations between the two Teams.

    "The GOP will oppose any cut despite DOD being incredibly bloated and in desperate need of reform."

    "..the GOP refuses to admit there is a problem"

    Sure sounds like conservative concern trolling to me.
    My 2 cents mean nothing, but here they are. I'm tired of reading threads dominated by your beef with socons, with your reasoning being that they're not mocked as much as lefties so that means this site has a bunch of closet socons/repubs/whatever.
    The lefties control the Fed Gov't, most major media, Education, etc. - that's why they're mocked more often. If you were here during the Bush years, I'm sure you would have been satisfied with the level of socon/repub hatred.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    You obviously do not live in a deeply red state like I do. At the federal level progressives are flatly the worst evil libertarians face, I have acknowledged this repeatedly. But that does not make socons anything other than enemies of liberty, and this is palpable in states like mine where progressives control pretty much nothing.

    I have never argued that socons and progressives need to be mocked here or anywhere equally, I have only remarked at how very upset so many people here get if you do mock socons when they are pushing statism. Either there is some strange idea that there is a zero sum bucket of well of criticism and mocking statist socons takes from mocking progressive socons or people here are more friendly to socons than they should be.

  • John||

    I have only remarked at how very upset so many people here get if you do mock socons when they are pushing statism.

    Which is a complete lie. No one ever gets upset when SOCONS are called out for legitimate wrongs. You just pretend people do as an excuse to concern troll and claim the board is too far right.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    You yourself have done it. I have never posted about socons unless they were pushing a NAP violation or they were engaging in some Amanda Marcotte level of silly prose, but on many occasions you have screamed that I was focusing on the right instead of Team Blue where I should be.

    Others have too, and it is funny how in a few exchanges they indicated that they either have 'sympathies' with socons (robc's words) or, like Restoras, flatly admitted they do not oppose socon NAP violations. I am betting your upsetness was similarly situated, after all, socons are a big faction in your Team, and who wants a big part of their Team to be the focus of any sustained opprobrium?

  • John||

    And the irony of t he whole thing Randian, is that I am not a socon. I don't attend church and have deep theological views that are at odds in some way or another with pretty much every organized church in existence. And at a personal level am more than a bit of a libertine.

    I tend to defend SOCONs on here for the simple fact that few others are willing to and I am generally a sucker for standing up for people when no one else will and like many on here am at home being a contrarian.

    The fact that Bo equates "willingness to defend SOCONS" with being a SOCON tells you all you need to know about his intellectual integrity.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    This is what I have come to recognize as a standard John post; several paragraphs that totally ignore everything I said supra. I said quite plainly I did not think you were a socon at all, and you write a long attack that it is amazing that I think you are a socon. Bizarre.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Completely agree. Beyond the sheer incompetence and self-interest of DOD bureaucrats, there's also the problem that wise, judicious cuts require some idea of appropriate foreign policy goals and a working knowledge of what you need to make achieving those goals a possibility. From my observation, the Obama administration wants to 1) contain China, 2) democratize the ME, 3) engage various countries in Africa and SE Asia to jump aboard, 4) wage war in Afghanistan indefinitely, 5) restore Russian relations, and 6) now is committed to a pro-EU policy in Eastern Europe at the expense of Russia.

    Putting aside whether any of those things is possible or desirable, any one of them is costly -- and it is stupid to suggest that all of them can be done with excellence while cutting a military already exhausted by two wars. Let's call this what it is: an attempt to funnel more cash into a collapsing welfare state at the expense of current foreign policy commitments.

  • Drake||

    Yep - we discussed some of this yesterday.

    I bet Hagel's proposals will cut actual combat units - which are extremely slow and difficult to rebuild when you need them.

    But, we'll see no cuts to the bloated civilian side of the DoD (who now outnumber actual Soldiers). Also no cuts to the F35 or other political pet projects. So, we'll spend a little less for a lot less Defense.

    I like the Ted Cruz's quote, but most Republicans will resist any cuts instead of forcing attention on the waste.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Can I ask you why you think cutting the F-35 is smart?

  • Swiss Servator, mehr Käse!||

    It continues to fail to meet its stated purpose/abilities, costs astounding amounts of money and should be killed with an ax and buried with a stake though its heart.

    Expensive, ineffective complexity is not what is needed.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    There is NO alternative. Hasn't been for a decade.

    1. The systems it is replacing are literally falling apart, and they won't last another acquisition cycle.

    2. An acquisition cycle is about 20 years. China/Russia have already fielded 5th generation platforms. If you reopened assembly lines for our 4th generation fleet, You'd be facing 5th generation threats with 4th generation technology for the next 20+ years.

    The F-35 will be fielded, as there is simply no choice.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Then we'll avoid fights with China or Russia or use any of our other bazillion battlefield advantages to overcome the 4th vs 5th disparity. The F-35 is consistently disastrous.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Do you really think China and Russia aren't going to sell them?

  • Dances-with-Trolls||

    Was recently talking with an aviation engineer who worked on this project. He loved the thing with all his heart but plainly admitted it made not fiscal sense.

  • Dances-with-Trolls||

    Was recently talking with an aviation engineer who worked on this project. He loved the thing with all his heart but plainly admitted it made not fiscal sense.

  • Drake||

    Because I would rather keep the 5 brigades and buy new current generation off-the-shelf aircraft.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Obsolete off the shelf aircraft, incapable of protecting those 5 brigades.

    Your ground troops would be torn to ribbons from the air.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Oh, and they are not off the shelf, as they would require manufacture, opening closed lines, retooling, retraining workers...

    The F-35 line is up and operating.

  • John||

    They seem to be cutting the size of the uniformed force but not doing any corresponding cuts to the civilian and contractor force. An intelligent cut would cut both proportionally.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    "Reason ( who has in my time reading the magazine never had a serious thought about the issue"

    Again with the Reason bashing. Why do you come here so very much if you hate libertarians so much?

  • John||

    If you have an example of Reason saying something beyond "we love cuts", provide it. If you don't, then you have nothing to add, which is typical but also a waste of time.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    John, cutting government is kind of a defining feature of libertarianism, and all evidence to the contrary this is, after all, a libertarian website.

    With a military this bloated you do not need anything more thoughtful than if it is a cut it is good.

  • Swiss Servator, mehr Käse!||

    "you do not need anything more thoughtful than if it is a cut it is good"

    Technocratic Wisdom

  • John||

    With a military this bloated you do not need anything more thoughtful than if it is a cut it is good.

    That is the dumbest thing you have ever posted. We still need a military you fucking half wit. It still has to function. You can't just blindly cut and think every cut is good.

  • robc||

    While Im in favor of WAY more cuts than John, John is right, you have to cut properly.

    We dont need as many uniformed soldiers as we have...it doesnt take very many to defend US territory. But what we really, really need to cut is stupid overpriced weaponry and contractors and officers.

    The officer:enlisted ratio is historically high, IIRC.

  • John||

    The officer and rank inflation is a huge issue Rob. We have more generals now than we did in World War II. That is nuts. Why don't we derank the military and cut the number of field grade and GO slots to save money before we start cutting the actual number of forces?

    There seems to be no effort at making the military more efficient. They want to cut its size but leave it just as or probably even more inefficient than it is now.

  • robc||

    We have more generals now than we did in World War II. That is nuts.

    This is one of the things I learned from Heinlein. And Pournelle. High officer ratios destroys a military.

  • John||

    Yes it does Rob. It is one of the reasons third world militaries are so ineffective.

  • Robert||

    Seems to me a big part of the problem is that they never fully adjusted to the all volunteer force, and are still acting like they expect a bunch of draftees cycling thru. The Pentagon welcomed the AVF, but maybe not so much the competition for the limited amount of brass!

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    We could do all the things IT mentions (most of which we should not be doing, btw) with much less troops and equipment than we have now. Much less. Engaging Africa, restoring relations with Russia, these are largely diplomatic things.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    No, we can't.

    Despite what Star Trek has taught us, diplomacy is not sitting everyone down and moralizing/placating until the "bad" or "misunderstood" side reconciles with the other. There is a very good reason that the relationship has not been repaired until now: that reason is that our interests and theirs don't entirely cohere at the moment. There are many potential solutions to this problem, but the main ones are these:

    1) Give up something thought to be in your interests to accomodate a better relationship with the other country. (In the case of our relationship with Russia, it's kinda hard to do that while constantly moving its neighbors like Ukraine into military and economic partnerships which have the effect of sidelining or even threatening Russia).

    2) Have and demonstrate sufficient force of some kind to impose a solution onto the other side -- and to keep imposing it as needed. This doesn't necessarily mean military force, but it often does.

    If Russia knows that US forces are depleted from other wars, that civilian war exhaustion is high, and that we are shrinking our forces they have no reason to consider the stick, and since we've boxed ourselves in we have no recourse to use carrot. Cutting indiscriminately and engaging our forces recklessly certainly impacts diplomacy -- only a fool would think otherwise, and for a project as large as rehabilitating a relationship with a Great Power our military strength definitely comes into play.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    There are many ways to engage and influence other nations, soft power is quite real, especially for an economic powerhouse like the US.

    Regardless, given that we spend exponentially more than Russia or China, we are nowhere near close to having too weak of a military to provide support for our diplomatic goals.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    This ain't Rome: Total War. Military effectiveness =/= military spending

    Much of our military spending in the last two decades has been dedicated to nation-building and counter-terrorism/counter-insurgency, neither of which is particularly applicable to either country's measurement of our strength as opposed to theirs.

    As for "soft power", it has its uses but tends to be a phrase peddled by idiots and people who don't know what they're talking about. It is not the vague feel-good concept people tend to envision and requires the commitment of resources, especially the sort of resources anathema to most libertarians (economic aid, for example). It means very little to great powers if not backed up by military strength and means nothing when there are no tangibles that the other nation perceives. In the case of Russia, we've drastically limited what avenues we could use for soft power by committing ourselves to the expansion of the Eurozone to Eastern Europe (which may be the best thing for human rights and our own interests but definitely damages our relationship with Russia).

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I think there is a lot in your comment that supports my point, for example, one of the biggest factors in dealing with Russia has nothing to do with our military strength but with diplomatic decisions such as expansion of the Eurozone to use your phrase.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    But that would require a change of policy, which gets to the whole point of my original comment:

    In order to have cuts that make any sort of sense, you have to know what your mission is and proceed from there rather than either cutting because "any cut is a good cut" (and being surprised that your foreign policy is then shit), or refusing to cut anything on the basis of the Precautionary Principle.

    It might be a great idea to cut the Eastern Euros loose for the chance to have a better relationship with Russia -- or it might not. Such would need to be examined given foreign policy goals *and then* decisions about diplomacy, military funding levels, what gets cut, etc. made, *not* the other way around. This is why phrases like "smart diplomacy" and "soft power" tend to get thrown around -- they make people sound intelligent and serious without actually implying any commitment to a particular course of action. It is the "cut wasteful spending" of the foreign policy world, meant to imply that there are no trade-offs, in a world that is simply full of them.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I see what you are getting at about the overall mission, but I maintain that given we are drawing down our two big troops on the ground commitments it makes eminent sense to reduce the number of troops. Whatever our Russia policy goals having a bunch of our troops on the ground to deal with Russian troops is a distant potential.

  • Wandering Texan||

    Dear fuck, this is most ignorant shit I've ever read on this subject.

    The DoD needs massive cuts, but not in these areas. Folding the multi-branch intel units, reducing contractors and civilians, eliminating out-dated warfare strategies and related equipment (A10, LCS, LHD, LHA, PC, LCC), reducing bad research projects (Stryker, Growler), holding contractors accountable for over-cost programs (F-35), closing overseas bases, reducing the bloat in the upper ranks, etc. Fuck, a decent argument could be made for reducing benefits going forward, including medical separation pay and retirement.

    Cutting ground-pounders solves nothing. Cutting the numbers of any specially trained type of personnel whose job has no civilian equivalent is a terrible idea. The DoD is bloated to all hell, but defense and a standing Army/Navy is necessary in the modern age. Warfare is too complex for rapidly-accrued conscript or militia forces.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    "The DoD is bloated to all hell, but defense and a standing Army/Navy is necessary in the modern age."

    What we have is light years, light years away from what is necessary to defend this country. As you can see, we spend about as much as the rest of the world (much of whom are long time allies btw) COMBINED.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    we spend about as much as the rest of the world (much of whom are long time allies btw) COMBINED


    We also commit our forces much more than other countries -- hence, why we spend much more, as well.

    Point being, you don't get quality cuts without some idea of what the fuck you actually plan on doing. Cuts are not fungible, and neither are all military engagements made the same.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I get your point about committing more, and I am confident you agree with me we should do less of that. I think though that the ratio of our spending to others is still higher with those commitment differences taken into account.

    Of course, there is also the idea that when you have something you tend to find excuses to use it. If our military were indeed 'stretched thin' then hopefully it would induce our pols to return it to actual defense of our nation and not foreign adventurism.

  • Dances-with-Trolls||

    Bo, whatever talents you may possess, you clearly know fuck-all about this topic. Sometimes it's better just to listen.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Yes, I should bow to the obvious wisdom of 'smart cuts are better than dumb' and flat out misstatements such as that ground troops have not increased due to our recent wars which are now being winded down, but we should watch out for cutting back that increase.

  • Wandering Texan||

    Thanks for ignoring everything I said! Good job! You get a gold star! Your form of cuts would give us tanks without a supply line, jets without runways, and rifles without grunts.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    If I did so I was merely 'returning the favor.'

  • Robert||

    Since...the Democrats in Congress never saw a defense cut, no matter how ill conceived, they didn't love and the GOP refuses to admit there is a problem,


    I wouldn't say never, but to some extent since the late 1930s, and increasingly locked in that way starting in the 1950s and cemented in the 1960s. A historic accident produced by the international situation and especially the Cold War. Once you're a political party and have certain friends & enemies, they become their own justif'n, self-reinforcing. And yeah, it means the merits of the issue never get taken seriously by those who count.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    National defense is the biggest legitimate area of responsibility of the federal government.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    But then we get into a debate over the *means* of defending the nation. The people who say we should limit the military to national defense strictly interpreted get called "isolationists."

  • Dances-with-Trolls||

    Often demonstrating a limited understanding that to effectively defend in modern warfare includes the ability to hit key enemy C&C, manufacturing capacity, logistical centers, etc. Many of which will not be located within our own imaginary lines and require force projection to affect.

  • Hillary's Clitdong||

    When has the US actually had a "need" to "hit key enemy C&C, manufacturing capacity, logistical centers"? Why is the US "force projecting" at all?

    If the point is simply that it helps to have offensive capability in warfare, that's not exactly blowing my skirt up, since I disagree with most of the wars that the US gets into in the first place.

  • Dances-with-Trolls||

    Understandable, and having lost friends in pointless wars a point I can embrace. That said national defense is one of the few areas that the federal government actually should be involved with. Modern militaries are not something that can be run up at a moment's notice. They require training and familiarity within the units and with their often complicated equipment. Preparing to be invaded will require the ability to project force (differentiated from pointless war and prick waving propaganda missions) to successfully prosecute.

    I want them kept here until it would (hopefully never) be essential, but we need the capacity.

  • robc||

    we need the capacity.

    [citation needed]

    Lots of countries seem to get by just fine without the capacity.

    Switzerland, to pick one example, has no ability to do anything but defend their home land from invasion, but Im pretty sure they can do that well.

  • Dances-with-Trolls||

    we need the capacity.

    [citation needed]

    History of the world. Next.

    Switzerland is not the prize the US is. Switzerland would be hard pressed to combat an actual invasion by a few of it's neighbors if they wanted it badly enough. Bad example.

    I'm a passionate libertarian, but on this issue many of my ilk refuse to come to grips with reality, or have learned about those realities through too many movies or video games.

    Real war is brutal, ugly, and has been the norm for the world since time began. I want to see the US military shrunk and have it's objectives limited and clearly defined. I don't want any more of my friends or even my kids (or anyone else's) dying for BS reasons, but I want it done effectively.

  • robc||

    Switzerland would be hard pressed to combat an actual invasion by a few of it's neighbors if they wanted it badly enough.

    Which of our neighbors are you worried about? Canada or Mexico?

    We defeated the Canadian invaders in 1814 without a standing army.

  • Dances-with-Trolls||

    in 1814

    Dude are you even thinking?

  • robc||

    I fail to see the point.

    You think Canada is better prepared to invade today than 200 years ago?

    I figure without a standing army, there are enough good ole boys in the south willing to try yet another invasion of Pennsylvania to hold off the frozen hordes. Sure, they might let them have upstate New York, but no loss there.

  • Dances-with-Trolls||

    Who says Canada could never form an alliance counter to US interests? Or Mexico? Or that others may use them as a pathway for invasion?

    There is much to be said for partisans resisting against an invading force, but you will need a military to make use of their sacrifices.

  • robc||

    you will need a military to make use of their sacrifices

    ???

    If the partisans repel the invaders, what more is there for the military to do?

  • Dances-with-Trolls||

    If the partisans repel the invaders

    Too many movies category, maybe?

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Rob, the last example of a large effective partisan operation working against a conventional military invasion by a large power was by the Soviet Union during WWII. The result was 20 million dead (~15% of the Soviet population), much of European Russia devastated, and most of the parts of the country conquered by Nazi Germany being utterly destroyed. Oh, and the tide only turned once the USSR started rebuilding a proper officer corp and armed forces (decimated by the Great Purge).

    So thanks, but I'd rather not have Louisiana turned into a hellscape by invading powers.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    With all due respect, this reeks of Red Dawnish paranoia. There is no country anywhere close to being able to even think of invading Louisiana.

    I think this is a mirror image of how progressives think. They take something that could be a concern but that is rather distant and magnify and exaggerate its potential to justify massive collective, federal level action to address the distant potential. I think you're doing the same here.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    With all due respect, this reeks of Red Dawnish paranoia.


    What does? I stated a historical fact -- one which is highly unlikely to repeat itself in the US, but which is certainly relevant for a hypothetical discussion of partisan capability against conventional forces.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    For a hypothetical maybe, but it is so distant from happening today it should not even be a factor in this discussion. It's is as if we were talking about some small cut to one of many welfare agencies and the discussion led to throngs of children starving in the streets.

  • Hillary's Clitdong||

    The notion that the US faces a realistic threat of invasion already reeks of paranoia. Even in the complete absence of the Army and Marine Corps, it's still a massive country with an enormous overlapping arsenal of nuclear weapons. Just because there are many countries in the world that could be considered opponents of America's world interests doesn't mean that any of these nations poses a realistic invasion threat.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    This!

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    I agree, the threat of invasion is highly unlikely. The likelihood of unconventional threats, of border skirmish, of attempts to dictate who we can and cannot trade with, of attacking our embassies, diplomats, and military facilities, of attacks on our shipping vessels, of stealing our technology and trade goods, of damaging our properties, of creating alliances against us, our allies, and our interests, and of invading our allies is more likely -- and failure in defending on any of these (and other) fronts makes our weakening and invasion more likely. No formerly great power started out weak and prone to invasion, they got that way because they prioritized irrelevancies and neglected important areas of their defense. That description is becoming the new normal for our own foreign policy IMO.

  • Calidissident||

    We could handle all of the things you describe with a military a fraction of the size it is today.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    I agree but we will never have that military if cuts are made randomly without any idea that a military dedicated to what I describe above is the ultimate goal.

    (Right now, for example, the lion's share of change in spending over the last 15 years has been counter-insurgency and nation-building, neither of which is necessary to our own defense.)

  • Cytotoxic||

    Seriously? Comparing Switzerland to America? One of these kept the USSR from taking over much of the world the other did not. See also 'all of history'

  • Hillary's Clitdong||

    And it's also a great way to funnel money into your local Congressional district! A Congressman would vote to fund the creation of working synthetic syphilis if the R&D money was spent in his district.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Anyone who claims to be for cutting government spending should consider the Department of Defense as one of the prime candidates for cuts.

    Agreed. It's right behind the two illegitimate functions of government called Social Security and Medicare.

  • Drake||

    You forgot Agriculture, Commerce, Interior, Justice, Education, and all the others I can't think of off the top of my head.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Agreed. But those are drops in the bucket compared to the big three.

  • Swiss Servator, mehr Käse!||

    HHS, DHS.

  • John||

    Of course unlike those things, national defense is an actual Constitutionally mandated and authorized function.

    How about we eliminate all of the functions that aren't before we go after the ones that are?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    By this logic we should leave the Post Office alone.

  • Calidissident||

    Key word there is "defense."

    I would agree that certain cuts are far better than others, nor is there an infinite amount of money to cut that I would consider good. That said, I'm skeptical that even with all the bloat, that $500 billion isn't enough to properly defend the country.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Agreed, but I don't think any one is disputing that point. What some of us do dispute is whether or not there is a wrong way to cut the military.

  • Calidissident||

    I agree there are some ways that are far preferable to others, and I agree that there are certain ways to cut that would be good to a certain degree, but bad if taken too far. I'm sure there are better ways to cut than what is being proposed. What I'm saying is that I'm skeptical that these cuts are so deep that they cross the threshold I described above of going to far to the point that they are bad.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    From what I've read, they're leaving DOD untouched in exchange for cutting Army, esp active-duty enlisted. That's a terrible trade-off; the worst armies in the world are almost universally characterized by a lack of NCO core, being top-heavy and having huge bureaucracies associated with them.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    The problem is, there hasn't been a threat based assessment for national military strategy done in over a decade.

    It has become:

    Republican = more is always better
    Democrat = Less (except in my district)

  • Hillary's Clitdong||

    The Democrats are also in favor of increasing the vagina/penis ratio in military units. And everybody loves military benefits.

  • Brett L||

    I'll just leave this here.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    This.

  • John||

    THIS

    And thanks to the use of contractors, there hasn't been an honest statement about the actual size of the military.

  • sarcasmic||

    Every defense-dollar's sacred, every defense-dollar's great,
    When a defense-dollar is cut, conservatives get quite irate...

  • Mike M.||

    It would be wonderful if the significant defense cuts we're about to make would truly go towards reducing the deficit and putting us on a path towards long term fiscal sustainability.

    But for some funny reason, I don't think that will come even close to happening. I think what's going to happen instead is the same exact thing that happened during the last major round of defense reductions in the early to mid '90s: the money that gets taken away from defense is simply going to be redirected to other big government departments and the endlessly expanding welfare state.

    In other words, we're going to end up saving absolutely no money whatsoever. We're just going to continue to stupidly go down the same path western Europe has been going down in recent decades, and any idiot should be able to see that path is leading them to disaster. So in the end there's going to be nothing at all to celebrate.

  • lap83||

    That's true, it's not like Democrats would ever allow the money spent on defense to return to taxpayers.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Except the deficit was erased by the end of the 90's and "the era of big government was over".

    But then 9/11 CHANGED EVERYTHING!

  • Brian D||

    If the deficit was erased how come the national debt kept growing?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    I have answered this many times.

    Social Security surpluses are, by statute, required to be put into special issue (for SS only) Treasuries.

    So if the federal government minus SS broke EVEN, and SS receipts grew by $50 billion, then Treasury DEBT would increase by $50 billion.

  • Cytotoxic||

    IOW the surplus was bullshit.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    No, it was real. But the fact that the debt went up those years is only one part of the financial picture.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Nope it was an accounting gimmick by your own admission. See I have the facts on my side, that's why I kick your ass everytime. PWND

  • Brett L||

    Brett's proposals:
    1) No new weapons systems contracts - mothball any that aren't already five years old. No extensions or additions
    2) Decommission 1 carrier group
    3) No new enlistment bonuses
    4) Fire every fourth civilian worker

    Then let's see where that gets us.

  • Swiss Servator, mehr Käse!||

    I would refine that to a very simple....

    Bye bye F-35, bye bye 20% of the GS horde, 20% of the flag ranks (and their posses) hurry up and retire, or be separated involuntarily, so long Korea, so long Western Europe (we can keep Ramstein, Landstuhl and nothing else).

  • Brett L||

    As I understand it, getting rid of every fifth flag rank will pretty much lead to voluntary separation of a bunch of the two or three ranks beneath as people realize they aren't in line for a star anymore?

  • Swiss Servator, mehr Käse!||

    That is one of the effects I would hope to see.

    I left, despite being able to cling a while longer and make O-6...at the expense of the younger, tougher and better. I wanted to be able to look in the mirror and not see "that guy".

  • Wandering Texan||

    Ugh, again with the carriers. Try the Amphibious Assault groups. Carriers have a legitimate defense role. The amphibs are for foreign entanglements only.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Sometimes your legit defense roles involve 'foreign entanglement'. We have way too many carriers.

  • Brett L||

    Do we need 6 operating groups? No.

  • Wandering Texan||

    It takes four to maintain one at sea. Right now we're running the few we have into the ground, and their sailors along with them.

    There are huge cuts to made to the Navy, but carriers are not it. Retiring the next two on schedule while winding down their deployments would be a workable cut.

  • Calidissident||

    We have what, 11 or 12 carriers? IIRC, no one else has more than 2 or 3.

  • Wandering Texan||

    Ten, with the current class leader commissioned in '75.

  • Calidissident||

    Ok ten, with 2 under construction, 1 ordered, and 7 more planned. The notion that we need that many carriers to provide proper national defense is absurd.

  • Wandering Texan||

    The reason I pointed out the age of the Nimitz is that is will be retired soon. It is coming up on forty years since being commissioned. That is an exceptional amount of time for a ship.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    I don't know shit about the Navy, but my assumption would be that at least a portion of those 9 are to replace the aging boats rather than add to totals. Shit doesn't last forever, especially when it's overused.

    As to the proper number, military end-strength (spending) should be based upon a threat assessment. We haven't had a real strategy in a long time. The current strategy is "more is better".

  • Calidissident||

    I realize that most of those planned are replacing old ones. Nonetheless, I don't think 10 carriers are in any way necessary to face the plausible threats we should be prepared for. I looked it up and the only other countries with more than one carrier are India and Italy. And our carriers are far larger superior to virtually all, if not all of the carriers of any other country.

  • Drake||

    So the Army will get smaller, but the NSA, FBI, ATF, DEA, Homeland Security, and IRS will continue to grow.

    Maybe they did do a threat assessment.

  • Hillary's Clitdong||

    Conspiratard! Birther! RACIST!

  • Swiss Servator, mehr Käse!||

    TEALIBAN!!!! REICHWING 2ND AMENDMENT SUPPORTERZ!!!

  • The Late P Brooks||

    War is welfare by other means.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Then let's see where that gets us.

    Killed in our beds by terrorists.

  • Brett L||

    Well, we can make a different plan when that happens.

  • Pro Libertate||

    There are undoubtedly shitloads of cuts that could be made to the military, to the tune of at least $100 billion/year, even while retaining World Cop capabilities. But we'll undoubtedly cut good things in favor of politically important but militarily pointless things.

  • ||

    "Gentlemen, we have to make some cuts. Do we get rid of the F-65 Moneywaster program or the Marine Corps?"

  • Brett L||

    They don't pay good wages to build widgets to make Marines in my district

  • Pro Libertate||

    I do think we should keep the EM-50 Urban Assault Vehicle in honor of the late Harold Ramis.

  • SugarFree||

    "It seems the police have themselves a recreational vehicle."

  • Pro Libertate||

    'Scuse me Egon? You said crossing the streams was bad!

  • Cytotoxic||

    Initially I sided with FeeneyReason but John and others made such persuasive arguments that I have now come to their position more or less (still, fuck the F-35/22). Also, fuck Bo.

  • NL_||

    Probably doesn't make sense to scale US defense spending against every other country. Should probably be scaled against non-state actors, such as rebels or terrorists, as well as fairly hostile states like Iran and North Korea, then maybe secondarily against mildly hostile powers like Russia and China (as a very rough proxy of their willingness to fund some military activities). So the full scope of humans acquiring deadly weapons is far greater than just state military spending, but the scope of deadly weapons spending likely to threaten or rattle in the direction of US soldiers is considerably less (moreso if you handicap Russia/Chinese spending for the fact that neither one is likely willing to get into a war with the US any time in the next few decades).

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