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Military Spending A Poor Investment

July 25, 2012 by  

Military Spending A Poor Investment
A U.S. Navy pilot exits an F/A-18C Hornet aircraft after landing aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in the Arabian Sea on July 9. The pilot and Hornet are attached to Strike Fighter Squadron 151.

The issue of whether the Federal government should cut defense spending has been coming up this week in the 2012 Presidential campaign, and one thing is clear: If you believe that American military spending should be thoroughly examined and trimmed, neither Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney is your guy.

Obama, during a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars on Monday, accused Republicans of putting Pentagon funding in danger by calling for tax cuts. The cuts, claims the President, will further deepen the Federal government’s massive deficit and allow for automatic spending cuts, which don’t spare the military, to kick in.

“People in Congress ought to be able to come together and agree on a plan, a balanced approach that reduces the deficit and keeps our military strong,” he said to VFW members in Reno, Nev. “And there are a number of Republicans in Congress who don’t want you to know that most of them voted for these cuts. Now they’re trying to wriggle out of what they agreed to.

“Instead of making tough choices to reduce the deficit, they’d rather protect tax cuts for some of the wealthiest Americans, even if it risks big cuts in our military. And I’ve got to tell you, VFW, I disagree.”

Romney, in turn, criticized the President for even positing that across-the-board defense cuts were an option.

“Don’t bother trying to find a serious military rationale behind any of this, unless that rationale is wishful thinking. Strategy is not driving President Obama’s massive defense cuts. In fact, his own Secretary of Defense warned that these reductions would be ‘devastating.’ And he is right,” Romney said.

The candidate continued,”… I am not ashamed of American power. I take pride that throughout history our power has brought justice where there was tyranny, peace where there was conflict, and hope where there was affliction and despair. I do not view America as just one more point on the strategic map, one more power to be balanced. I believe our country is the greatest force for good the world has ever known, and that our influence is needed as much now as ever. And I am guided by one overwhelming conviction and passion: This century must be an American Century.”

Obama, in a rare visit to the Pentagon earlier this year, held a press conference to discuss what he called a plan to reduce the size of the military while making sure that it remained a strong defensive and strategic force. Included with the plan was the agreement between the White House and Congress to cut a projected $480 billion from the Pentagon budget over the next decade. The cuts, however, are largely symbolic, as the military budget will simultaneously increase to account for the rate of inflation during the same time. By the end of the year, if Congress fails to reach a budget agreement, an additional $700 billion in defense cutbacks is set to be triggered. Lawmakers are unlikely to allow this to happen, according to most analysts.

As Romney and Obama make the same defense-cuts-make-us-less-safe arguments and offer different solutions (Obama’s tax increases and Romney’s politically impossible promise to increase defense spending without higher taxes), special interests are also having their say.

Last week, former Vice President Dick “Halliburton” Cheney told House Republicans that it would be fine to slash military spending in a safe world, but we don’t live in a safe world.

“There is no significant change in our strategic stance to justify these cuts,” Cheney told members of the House Republican whip team in the basement of the Capitol, according to a POLITICO source in attendance. “Actually, things are not better, they’re worse.”

With a spending allotment that has roughly doubled over the past decade as the United States finds itself perpetually battling “terror,” it seems Cheney’s claim that things are worse should defeat his own argument against cuts. If American defense policy isn’t really working (or, in Romney’s words, bringing “justice where there was tyranny, peace where there was conflict, and hope where there was affliction and despair”), why keep throwing money at it?

Here’s what American taxpayers have gotten for their benevolent investments:

Nearly a decade occupying Iraq at a cost of about $1 trillion in overall military spending has yielded a country rife with violence and extremism — a country less stable and arguably far more violent than it was under Saddam Hussein’s regime.

The ongoing struggle in Afghanistan with 2,000 Americans killed; 16,000 Americans wounded; 12,000 Afghan civilian deaths and U.S. expenditures of $400 billion has yielded a politically corrupt and violence-stricken country with a bleak future. The country will likely depend on the United States as a crutch for decades, despite the fact that American-trained members of its military and police continue to shoot American service members and civilians.

The United States intervened in Libya earlier in the year, handing the country over to Islamic extremists; a similar scenario will likely play out in Syria in coming months.

Each of the places that have seen U.S. military intervention in the past decade, some experts argue, have become hotbeds for the same sort of violent Islamic extremism that sparked the Mideast invasions following Sept. 11, 2001.

Cheney is right; things are getting worse abroad. Of course, defense contractors and companies that receive government contracts for nation building won’t see anything get worse unless across-the-board budget cuts kick in. Last week, as Cheney was making his rounds speaking with Republican lawmakers, another man with interest in defense spending was also seen at the Capitol: the president of Lockheed Martin.

Sam Rolley

Staff writer Sam Rolley began a career in journalism working for a small town newspaper while seeking a B.A. in English. After learning about many of the biases present in most modern newsrooms, Rolley became determined to find a position in journalism that would allow him to combat the unsavory image that the news industry has gained. He is dedicated to seeking the truth and exposing the lies disseminated by the mainstream media at the behest of their corporate masters, special interest groups and information gatekeepers.

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  • Michael J.

    Yes, I have no doubt that both of the Rothschild surrogates Obama and Romney, heretofore refferred to as “Robamney” have the same outlook on defense as well as healthcare. You better get used to Obamacare, endless war and U.N. encroachment via Agenda 21.

  • revnowwhilewecan

    As long as there’s a Middle East we will have wars to fight. Interesting story of how the military has a M.E. hit-list going back to ’01.
    BTW. How do Romney and Obama’s policies differ?

  • Al Sesona

    Personally indicating being against massive military spending quickly gets one indicted as an un-patriotic and un-American, which if the truth be told,,, is not the case… Defending our nation’s population and treasure means restricting military might considerations based on that premise… Supporting military contractors year after year , squandering the wealth of our treasury, merely to generate high paying jobs and suuport troops based in all parts of the world serving no purpose vital to our defense, is foolish wishful thinking. A concept baseless in form, having been announced way to first President Washington. So we haen’t learned too much, have we? Quite frankly, there’s no future for America having become bankrupt chasing such empty promise. Like it or not, the future contains lots of sacrifice and genuine compromise, reigniting the American dream. It’s all so sad.


    If there were cuts in the Military budget, what would actually be cut? Would it mean sacking American soldiers and saving on wages and increasing your unemployment ? or cutting Military Hardware made in the USA resulting in more direct and indirect flow-on unemployment? These are the questions i would ask and the answers would probably show that you dont want to create more job losses from cuts to your military spending which I’d imagine both Obama and Romney are already aware of.

    You dont want to lose the hundreds of specialist engineers and welders and others who make up the complex web of employment levels of teams…just so you can save a few billion. Why ? becuase once you downsize…it would take ten times longer to re-hire and form those complex specialist teams if you suddenly needed them in the future. Your dont want to risk that just like insurance…you need it even when you dont want to pay.

    Waste is relative. you can ‘waste’ money on military wages and hardware or you can waste peoples skills some of which move on to other jobs, others stop spending on McDonald meals= less demand for burger meat, less demand for staff…etc just a basic example.

    I suggest you increase income taxes on those who are making a profit on military hardware contracts and others who have government contracts and there are lots of those when you start digging deeper.

  • Wayne Leach

    Lawful, defensive wars only. No middle eastern nation has attacked our country; and their lifestyle and political philosophy is of no concern to us until they have attacked. Therefore, bring home the troops until Congress declares war for good, legitimate reasons.

  • Chester

    Wayne, may I remind you of 9/11? Now I suppose you are going to tell me that had nothing to do with what is going on in the middle east, even though all the hi-jackers WERE middle easterners. Also, they were ALL Muslims, but that I count as less of a problem than the FACT that they were all indoctrinated into the idea that suicide while killing or disabling one’s enemy is a GOOD thing, which comes from the more radical side of Islam. Will say, that for all Christianity’s faults, that is one low they have never reached. Then too, Christianity, for all its middle east beginnings, is more of a western type religion.

    • Average Joe

      You write:

      “Wayne, may I remind you of 9/11? Now I suppose you are going to tell me that had nothing to do with what is going on in the middle east, even though all the hi-jackers WERE middle easterners’

      I think most of us remember 911, so what is it that you feel the need to remind us of?
      While you remind us that they were all middle-eastern in origin, you fail to mention that they were mostly…from Saudi Arabia….not from Afghanistan or Iraq…yet we didn’t attack Saudi Arabia…we instead attacked ( yes ATTACKED) two nations with no involvement in 911 whatsoeveras, for OSama Bin Laden, even the FBI has publicly stated that there wasn’t enough evidence to even charge him..let alone convict him of any association with 911…. so, your reasoning is flawed..what’s going on has nothing to do with 911 (great reasoning from folks like you who only the little dot in the middle of the picture, rather than seeing the whole picture).
      What is going on the middle east has to do with stealing resources from other sovereign nations and giving to to American interests (for profit) who want access to those resources in the middle east. All the while using our military and the lives of our citizens to do the dirty work of “making it safe” for them to steal from these countries. Why? because it is cheaper for them to occupy a country with US forces (on the backs of the taxpayers)..than to actually have to deal fairly and honestly with the people of those countries to obtain those resources.
      Bottom line, it’s all about the profit for those corporations who happen to have big ties to our “supposedly” elected representatives…at our expense…period. It is cheaper to send our troops in at taxpayer expense…than for those corporations to hire their own private armies to do the dirty work themselves. If you can’t figure this out, I feel sorry for you. (it’s always cheaper…when someone else foots the bills). Our soldiers are nothing more than cannon fodder for the corporate elitists and crony- capitalists looking to make a profit at OUR expense…Got it?.
      It’s time for you to pull your head from wherever is has been, smell the coffee and take a look at the bigger picture around you.

      The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.
      John F. Kennedy

      Best Wishes,

    • TML

      Good comments Joe…. although, by Chester’s comments about Muslims in contrast to Christians, I infer that his motivations are religions rather than political… just another Crusader Christian that see it as a holy war with Muslims rather than any particular country.

      “What resources are we ‘stealing’ from ME countries?”

      It’s well known that the western world has an interest in gaining control of the oil reserves in the Middle East…. from Saudi Arabia (a puppet state of America) to Iran (who locked British oil companies out for the second time after the 1979 Iranian Revolution). There’s also a planned pipeline to run through Afghanistan you should read about being built by Halliburton.

      • Average Joe

        TML says:

        “There’s also a planned pipeline to run through Afghanistan you should read about being built by Halliburton.”

        I believe that this pipeline through Afghanistan was the real reason for the invasion of that sovereign nation.
        Before we invaded and “installed” Karzai, the Afghan Govmnt. wanted no part of the pipeline coming through thier country. As soon as we “installed” karzai, the pipeline was immediately approved.
        I guess it’s always easier to get what you want from the barrel of a gun…especially when you are the one in possession of the gun.

        For those people who don’t get it, I suggest that they read “Hoodwinked” and “Confessions of an economic hitman” for a better understanding of what is been going on since at least the the end of WW2, from the perspective of someone that was actually involved in these shennanigans.

        Best Wishes,

      • Average Joe
    • RichE

      9/11 that’s so funny, still trembling after fifteen guys with box cutters… We don’t need a military we need TSA!!! Romney fires military and outsources TSA or Obama makes TSA branch of military.

    • BigBadJohn

      The majority of the attackers on 9/11 were Saudi’s. why did we invade Iraq? Was it so Bush could fly 12 billion in cash into the greedy out stretched hands of his favorite military contractors?

    • michaeljbeglinjr

      But they did not represent a country, they represented a religion. If we were going to attack the 9/11 killers based on country-of-origin, the Saudi Arabia would now be a U.S. gas station.

      We should either declare another Crusade against islam, or bring our troops home. Closing all of those overseas bases, in all 130 countries we are currently in, would save us billions upon billions of dollars every year.

      We could let the military guard our Southern border for real, and also have them fix our infrastructure. Two birds with one stone.

  • James Maxwell

    The prime reason that America has been sucscessful and grown to a world power is
    in a large part due to the military strength we have. In the past when Socialist Liberals
    have cut the military down to unsafe levels we have seen War break out and our nation
    has had to struggle to recover from attacks. The Socialist Liberals in the democrat party
    love to cut and reduce the military and reduce our capability to respont to threats so they
    can creat more and more welfare programs and creat more dependency upon the
    government. Sort of like ocommuist last slogan “Hype and Chains” now he wants to
    go “Forward” to completely dependency upon the government and tax us into chains
    and slavery.j

    • momo

      Actually, the last time the defense budget was meaningfully cut was under Eisenhower.

      • BigBadJohn

        True. Clinton actually INCREASED spending over what GH Bush left him. He did continue with Bush’s idea of consolidating bases – which is of course what everyone screams about….

  • dunce

    Defense is not an investment, it is a necessary expense, is there waste ,yes but there is waste in all govt. programs.

    • Average Joe


      You Write:

      “Defense is not an investment, it is a necessary expense, is there waste ,yes but there is waste in all govt. programs.”

      While it is true that defense is not an investment, what we are engaged in is not Defense…it is Agression…against other sovereign nations. Defense would be having our troops here, in the US, patroling our boarders and shorlines, rather than being in other nations watching out for corporate interests. Seems like everyone has forgotten the meaning of Defense vs. Agression.

         [dih-fens or, especially for 7, 9, dee-fens] Show IPA noun, verb, de·fensed, de·fens·ing.

      resistance against attack; protection: Two more regiments are needed for the defense of the city.

      something that defends, as a fortification, physical or mental quality, or medication: This fort was once the main defense of the island.

      the defending of a cause or the like by speech, argument, etc.: He spoke in defense of the nation’s foreign policy.

      a speech, argument, etc., in vindication: She delivered a defense of free enterprise.


         [uh-gresh-uhn] Show IPA

      the action of a state in violating by force the rights of another state, particularly its territorial rights; an unprovoked offensive, attack, invasion, or the like: The army is prepared to stop any foreign aggression.

      any offensive action, attack, or procedure; an inroad or encroachment: an aggression upon one’s rights.

      the practice of making assaults or attacks; offensive action in general.


      And since there is so much waste in all government programs, would it not correct to state that Government…IS the problem…rather than the solution?

      Best Wishes,

    • michaeljbeglinjr

      You cannot technically defend your country on someone else’s soil. You can only defend if they are on your soil. We are on offense.

      • Thor

        ‘Offense’ of course being the ‘best defense.’ Eh?

  • Silas Longshot

    We can have the strongest military in the world, but why do we have to be the world’s ‘policeman’? This meddling in other contries affairs, unless THEY SPECIFICALLY ask us for intervention (and are willing to foot the bill) should NOT be common policy for the USA. Coming to the aid of our allies is the only overseas priority we should even consider. Guarding our own borders against terrorists and illegals should be our real priority. They ‘might’ get around to actually doing that, but only AFTER another major terrorist attack, perhaps using a suitcase nuke that was walked across the southern border while our politicians wrangled for the Latino vote over national security.
    click the pic.

    • BigBadJohn

      Agree! cut the meddling in other countries ans SHUT DOWN THE BORDER!

    • michaeljbeglinjr

      Well stated. Thank you.

  • randydutton, CDR, SC, USNR-Retired

    Solutions from a military budgeteer/contracting (Retired Navy Supply Corps; DAWIA Level III Contracting trained):
    1. Change the government operations and maintenance (O&M) budgets to biennial from annual. This will dramatically reduce costs, improve contract performance and participation, and reduce contracting staffing.
    2. Eliminate Congressional earmarks to the DoD budget. This will reduce unnecessary military purchases and maintenance of bad systems and materiel.
    3. Stop using DoD as a social justice platform.
    4. Stop acting as the world’s policeman.

  • ihatetocomplainbut

    How ridiculous to say that both Romney and Obama are saying the same thing. Every other word out of Obama’s mouth is a lie. How can you compare what a person who is serious says (Romney) to someone who will say anything he thinks the audience he’s before wants to hear even though his actions have shown just the opposite (Obama). Why not just make the article about military spending pro’s and con’s. Quoting what Obama says about anything verges on the ridiculous.

    • michaeljbeglinjr

      Agreed. Obama has spent the better part of four years lying to us every time he speaks. I am amazed people still take him seriously. He is our Liar-in-Chief, not our President.

  • Robert Rashbrooke

    Some months ago Scientific American did an article on the USGS survey of Afghanistan, an eight year, military protected, survey of just about all of the country.

    Gold, tin, lead, copper, manganese, rare earths, and an abundance of lithium, together with other precious ores, were found and charted. I can only imagine that the US government intended to be able to benefit from these findings. However, the first development, a 29 billion dollar worth copper cache is being developed with the building of a mine operated by the Chinese government! Perhaps we are going to utilise only the lithium found, in our advanced battery projects for future electric vehicles still awaiting development.

    Maybe THIS explains why we are still operating militarily in Afghanistan

    • michaeljbeglinjr

      We need to be doing as the Chinese are here and start developing every source of minerals that we can get to. We could use all of that. I’m sure the Afghanis will be happy to sell us stuff instead of bombing them all day.

  • Thor

    “Nearly a decade occupying Iraq at a cost of about $1 trillion in overall military spending has yielded a country rife with violence and extremism…”

    While US military intervention funded by the US taxpayer may not have yielded a trillion dollars worth of empirical difference in Iraq, it is the so-called Islamic faith that is the cause of “a country less stable and arguably far more violent than it was under Saddam Hussein’s regime”—just as it is fomenting that same instability throughout the Maghreb. What is more—it is sheer folly to think that if we just leave them alone and try to live in peace, they will simply do the same. Such philosophy was put into practice prior to 1100 A D and again prior to 1914. It failed both times and actually facilitated the history we now live.

    One either takes a stand or is absorbed into a collective that is not of his own making and which does not meet with his approval.

  • Robert Rashbrooke

    I never realised that Mitt wore tunnel vision spectacles before today. Of course, there are always two sides to an argument, Mitt has one view, but I’ll bet that most of the countries you invaded/policed or interferred with have a much different view.

    It never ceases to amaze me, a Brit, how Americans can postulate that NO ONE can interfere with YOUR internal affairs, but that YOU have every right to do just that with any other country that you feel needs it just because it does not benefit you economically or culturally. To listen to Mitt expounding that philosphy as his future method to restore this country to it’s once predominent position totally disregards all of the history of the last 100 years. America – the governmental organism, not individual Americans – became so despised throughout the world not because you polluted so much, watched porn so much, or drove big cars – everyone else does the same to some degree or other – but precisely because you interferred in THEIR affairs. Bin laden was not fighting you for those reasons, he wanted YOU out of HIS country.

    Having watched the UTube video of Mitt showing his 180 degree change in attitude on every subject he was pontificating on since his days as Governor of Massachusetts compared to his stance trying to get himself elected President, I cannot understand why anyone would choose him as their President, he would be just too untrustworthy. Not that Obama has much better qualifications, but you are currently restricted to either of them.

    Neither of them has said publicly what they intend doing about the Fed or the national debt, I suppose we will have to wait till the election is much closer to see if either of them has ANY IDEA what can be done. And as for turning America into a DEFENDED country using it’s own military, rather than continuing with an aggressive army scattered around the world, neither candidate has expounded on that policy yet. If the Dollar loses it’s status as the reserve currency, you may just be forced to retrench due to the otherwise exorbitant costs. I do not hold out much hope for the future, no matter whyo will be leading it.

    • RichE

      You can hope for change but I doubt it’ll happen. Might will always be right, at least that’s what the conservatives on this site strive for.

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