Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Proposal to Cut Military Is Rational - But Will Repuke Congress Cooperate?

The proposal to cut the bloated military by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is both rational and honorable. In the current parlous economic climate we simply cannot afford to maintain 4,700 bases worldwide nor use the military as a default "jobs program".  The last is especially egregious as it deflects national resources and effort from creating actual jobs with benefits in the private sector.

Hagel's proposal is said to "reflect the nation's  transition from 13 years of war" (Denver Post, today, p. 18A) but it actually reflects a needed transition from 13 years of unnecessary occupations - which have arguably only inflamed the Middle East further. Iraq was certainly unnecessary, there never was any al Qaeda, and Afghanistan long since turned into a nation building endeavor which the Afghans themselves don't even want as Karzai's recent responses to continued U.S. occupation (through 2024) disclose. (I.e. refusing to sign an agreement for extension and freeing dozens of Taliban from Afghan prisons.)

Our national resources can be much better spent, therefore, with a  trimmed down fighting force - as opposed to a bloated, surplus one -  which poor leaders will otherwise be tempted to interject in unwise military adventures.  Hagel's proposals include:

- Shrinking the active duty Army from 520,000 to between 440,000 and 450,000. This compares with the post World War II low of 480,000 but bear in mind that in that era there wasn't the access to high technology that might compensate for manpower.

- The Army National Guard would drop to 335,000 from 355,000 by 2017.  The Army Reserves would also drop by 10,000 to 195,000

- The Marine Corps would shrink from 190,000 to 182,000

- Changes in military compensation, including: smaller pay raises, a slow down in the growth of tax free housing allowances, and a requirement that retirees and some families of active duty service members pay a little more in health insurance deductibles.

As Hagel said:

"This is the time for reality and the time for explosive growth in military budgets is over."

Indeed, that growth has negatively impacted all aspects of our society - from forcing even more cuts in food stamps on those who already go to bed hungry each night, to cutting unemployment benefits to increase the suffering of families nationwide.

Yet pro-military whores like Doug Lamborn want the burden to continue to fall on the already sacrificed and indigent. In response to Hagel's proposals, Lamborn retorted (ibid.):

"Our national security should not be a budgetary punching bag! Instead the rest of the federal government needs to take some cuts!"

Is this imbecile serious? The national security a "punching bag"? In fact, the national security state has gorged itself at the expense of nearly every other domestic sector. Included in the latter we've already beheld successive cuts in food stamps to the poorest citizens, ending with the latest round amounting to an added $9b in cuts via the Farm Bill just passed. That means 15.9 million kids going to bed hungry each night by one estimate in Mother Jones magazine.. Then add to that the December elimination of long term unemployment benefits and you have even  more suffering.

And this inveterate fool wants the "rest of the federal government" to take MORE cuts! So wait, let's triple the food stamps cuts so that even toddlers will be starving at night, along with parents and older siblings.

But why be surprised? Lamborn is an unrepentant, unapologetic whore, after all. According to  The Denver Post  article('Defense Cuts Put Lamborn in Tough Fight', Nov. 11, 2013, p. 5A):

"Lamborn receives his heftiest campaign contributions from military contractors. Just in this election cycle, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman- both with offices in Colorado Springs - gave him a combined $10,000, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. He has also received contributions from Honeywell International and Boeing."

Can you spell W-H-O-R-E? No, it doesn't have to be anyone who jumps into bed for pay! It also includes congress critters who jump into bed with their military interests for campaign dough!

In the same article, Lamborn made no bones about  wanting to "go full tilt come January"  when further defense cuts are on the block,  and according to the Post, "intends to find other places to chop, including entitlements like food stamps and Medicare, to shield the military."

In other words, cut from the least vulnerable citizens as opposed to Dougie's beloved warhawks for whom he's clearly ready to do almost anything imaginable.  (Lamborn's also been fighting for a "combat air brigade" for Colorado Springs, equipped with 122 Apache Longbow choppers - amounting to yet another military-industrial pork barrel waste, even as many citizens in this burg remain underfed, homeless and unemployed.)

The time to act is NOW, and Chuck Hagel's solution provides a blueprint. It is time to pare the overly fat Military down to a size that comports with the austerity situation all other citizens must endure.  Not to do so is to invite economic and domestic catastrophe.

But don't look for the military porkers and grafters in the Repuke House to cooperate! They're quite prepared to let the bogus military "jobs' program continue in return for the kickbacks received from their paymasters.

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