By Jerry Nachison / Las Cruces resident
Why the hype about how so-called sequestrations cuts to the military will make the USA a second-rate military power? Ludicrous! We will lead the world for decades on expenditures alone. Thank you former Secretary Leon Panetta for your comment. Military spending is not a “sacred cow.” B.S. rationales need to go.
The U.S. spends close to 45 percent of the Earth’s military expenditures, followed by China with 8.2 percent. We spend more now than the next 14 countries combined including China, Russia, the UK and France. Iran is not even a blip. Our military budget is nine times China’s and 17 times Russia’s.
This country doesn’t need to direct additional resources to the military. We have ended one war and are ending another. War savings are projected at some $130 billion annually, an apparent 20 percent of the Pentagon’s $680 billion budget. There should be, regardless of hype, lots of existing dollars for Pentagon reprogramming and slimming. Historically, U.S. military spending dropped 31 percent after Korea, 28 percent after Vietnam and 31 percent after the Cold War.
However, I hear literally nothing about slimming the Pentagon by even a penny. The military budgets, even the president’s proposals, just go up — some 35 percent in the last decade, triple the rest of America’s discretionary budget. We are not heeding President Eisenhower’s warning to “beware the military-industrial complex.” That complex now owns us. Seven-hundred-plus overseas bases, incredible duplication of equipment across the services, billions of procurement waste, weapons the military do(es) not want, etc.
There has been little public focus on the matter of 21st-century war. We are still bound to an 1980s-1990s military with reform, like drones — legally questionable — around the edges. Recent thinking shows failure to really act in Syria, the nascent failure in Afghanistan and a slow unraveling in Iraq.
Judicious pruning of current operations and redirection of the military fully to the 21st century is achievable without cutting out the basic beef. The success of America in this century depends on much more than a constantly expanding Pentagon.