Why We Must Reduce Military Spending (Interesting bi-partisan op-ed by Barney Frank and Ron Paul)

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    Jul 07, 2010 12:04 PM GMT
    I'm very curious as to what others here think about this. I have long thought that America acting as the global police force incites hatred against us and is likely to bankrupt the country. I also find it fundamentally insane that our tax dollars are going in foreign aid to support Britain militarily. Is Ireland making a move that I'm not aware of...

    Why We Must Reduce Military Spending

    By Barney Frank and Ron Paul

    As members of opposing political parties, we disagree on a number of important issues. But we must not allow honest disagreement over some issues to interfere with our ability to work together when we do agree.

    By far the single most important of these is our current initiative to include substantial reductions in the projected level of American military spending as part of future deficit reduction efforts. For decades, the subject of military expenditures has been glaringly absent from public debate. Yet the Pentagon budget for 2010 is $693 billion -- more than all other discretionary spending programs combined. Even subtracting the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, military spending still amounts to over 42% of total spending.

    It is irrefutably clear to us that if we do not make substantial cuts in the projected levels of Pentagon spending, we will do substantial damage to our economy and dramatically reduce our quality of life.

    We are not talking about cutting the money needed to supply American troops in the field. Once we send our men and women into battle, even in cases where we may have opposed going to war, we have an obligation to make sure that our servicemembers have everything they need. And we are not talking about cutting essential funds for combating terrorism; we must do everything possible to prevent any recurrence of the mass murder of Americans that took place on September 11, 2001.

    Immediately after World War II, with much of the world devastated and the Soviet Union becoming increasingly aggressive, America took on the responsibility of protecting virtually every country that asked for it. Sixty-five years later, we continue to play that role long after there is any justification for it, and currently American military spending makes up approximately 44% of all such expenditures worldwide. The nations of Western Europe now collectively have greater resources at their command than we do, yet they continue to depend overwhelmingly on American taxpayers to provide for their defense. According to a recent article in the New York Times, "Europeans have boasted about their social model, with its generous vacations and early retirements, its national health care systems and extensive welfare benefits, contrasting it with the comparative harshness of American capitalism. Europeans have benefited from low military spending, protected by NATO and the American nuclear umbrella."

    When our democratic allies are menaced by larger, hostile powers, there is a strong argument to be made for supporting them. But the notion that American taxpayers get some benefit from extending our military might worldwide is deeply flawed. And the idea that as a superpower it is our duty to maintain stability by intervening in civil disorders virtually anywhere in the world often generates anger directed at us and may in the end do more harm than good.

    We believe that the time has come for a much quicker withdrawal from Iraq than the President has proposed. We both voted against that war, but even for those who voted for it, there can be no justification for spending over $700 billion dollars of American taxpayers' money on direct military spending in Iraq since the war began, not including the massive, estimated long-term costs of the war. We have essentially taken on a referee role in a civil war, even mediating electoral disputes.

    In order to create a systematic approach to reducing military spending, we have convened a Sustainable Defense Task Force consisting of experts on military expenditures that span the ideological spectrum. The task force has produced a detailed report with specific recommendations for cutting Pentagon spending by approximately $1 trillion over a ten year period. It calls for eliminating certain Cold War weapons and scaling back our commitments overseas. Even with these changes, the United States would still be immeasurably stronger than any nation with which we might be engaged, and the plan will in fact enhance our security rather than diminish it.

    We are currently working to enlist the support of other members of Congress for our initiative. Along with our colleagues Senator Ron Wyden and Congressman Walter Jones, we have addressed a letter to the President's National Committee on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, which he has convened to develop concrete recommendations for reducing the budget deficit. We will make it clear to leaders of both parties that substantial reductions in military spending must be included in any future deficit reduction package. We pledge to oppose any proposal that fails to do so.

    In the short term, rebuilding our economy and creating jobs will remain our nation's top priority. But it is essential that we begin to address the issue of excessive military spending in order to ensure prosperity in the future. We may not agree on what to do with the estimated $1 trillion in savings, but we do agree that nothing either of us cares deeply about will be possible if we do not begin to face this issue now.
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    Jul 07, 2010 4:15 PM GMT
    Prepare to be peppered by the "peace through strength" crowd. I have popcorn. :-)
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    Jul 07, 2010 4:19 PM GMT
    I don't think we should have troops anywhere in the world other than within our borders and those Islands in the pacific we own/lease.
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    Jul 07, 2010 4:35 PM GMT
    One of the chief factors in the downfall/disintegration of the Soviet Union was the disproportionate amount of the gross national product that was going to support the military. It essentially bankrupted the Soviet Union.

    The right wingers in the Soviet Union fought Gorbachev tooth and nail over this issue, and so will fringe right wingers in this country. I'll have to check, but I seem to recall that the "tea party" platforms being foisted around the country by states' Republican parties contains language about the military budget.
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    Jul 07, 2010 4:39 PM GMT
    will never happen as long as the military industrial complex has any say in the matter.... and seeing that it does... i guess it will be another one of those if cow had wings thing...
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    Jul 07, 2010 4:39 PM GMT
    shuttupp you are toeing anti-Semitic territory here if you start asking ANY questions about military spending

    like these guys..


    http://www.amazon.com/Israel-Lobby-U-S-Foreign-Policy/dp/0374177724
    mrw4.jpg

    another jealous type because he's non-Chosen.. haha the budget will just keep growing for us, thanks patriotic US taxpayer lollz
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    Jul 07, 2010 4:47 PM GMT
    southbeach1500 saidCut the defense budget, definitely. And a good place to start would be Europe. Time for them to start defending themselves and stop relying on us.


    Wow. We're in total agreement on that. icon_smile.gif
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    Jul 07, 2010 4:50 PM GMT
    Britain set to finally pay off WWII loans to US
    (4) Related Tags:CanadafinalloaninstalmentpaymentsBritain's final Second World War loan payments to the United States and Canada will be paid off this week.

    This Friday will see Britain paying the last instalment on the US$4.33 billion (£2 billion) loan, which was given by the US in 1945, and Canada will receive a final repayment on its Can$1.25 billion (£500 million) loan.

    The last instalment of US$83.25 million (£43 million) to the US Government and Can$22.7 million (£10 million) to Canada are the final of 50 that have been paid since 1950.

    The loans were required to cover costs that arose from the Second World War, such as settling financial claims from other countries involved, and they also provided essential funding for the construction work that was required to rebuild Britain.

    Ed Balls, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, said: 'This week we finally honour in full our commitments to the US and Canada for the support they gave us 60 years ago. It was vital support which helped Britain defeat Nazi Germany and secure peace and prosperity in the post-war period.'

    The final payments will be transferred electronically, and they are timed for this Friday, as it's the last working day of the year.
  • groundcombat

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    Jul 07, 2010 4:52 PM GMT
    Treading carefully as this is the hand that feeds me at the moment, I've been curious about this for years. Republicans always claim that spending was through the roof but none ever said anything about how much we spend of defense with it being the largest chunk of the budget.

    I think the problem with cutting defense spending is the backlash into how many people would lose jobs if we did. And it's got a powerful lobby behind it too I'm sure.

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    Jul 07, 2010 4:54 PM GMT
    southbeach1500 saidCut the defense budget, definitely. And a good place to start would be Europe. Time for them to start defending themselves and stop relying on us.


    To say that Europe is "free riding on the US" implies that Europe is getting something. Yet those who make these kinds of claims never explain just what it is they think Europe gets out of America's colossal levels of military spending. Most Western Europeans don't see themselves as deriving any great benefit from America's disproportionate defence outlays; it is not clear how Europe's security would be harmed if America did cut its defence budget. And it is not clear how European security would be enhanced if Europe dramatically increased its defence spending.
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    Jul 07, 2010 4:58 PM GMT
    groundcombat saidTreading carefully as this is the hand that feeds me at the moment


    Don't tread carefully. It's time for people to say this loudly.

    If people are labeled as traitors for suggesting that the military budget be scrutinized more carefully, they are liable to shut up and let the smoke and mirrors people shift your attention to the pittance costs associated with illegal farm workers in Arizona (compared to the mind-boggling Pentagon budget).

    We're seeing this on these very Forums.
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    Jul 07, 2010 5:02 PM GMT
    Never going to happen.
    Cut the funding of the largest employer who has the highest paid employees is a recipe for complete defeat of any party that mentions doing so.
    There is a reason this is a sacred cow, the same reason the military complex has such disdain for Democrats.
    Besides, it is too late now, if anything we should increase spending in this area; that way when China comes calling for their money back we can tell them to fuck off
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    Jul 07, 2010 5:04 PM GMT
    Mil8 said
    To say that Europe is "free riding on the US" implies that Europe is getting something. Yet those who make these kinds of claims never explain just what it is they think Europe gets out of America's colossal levels of military spending.


    Europe was definitely getting something during the Cold War. Clearly, the European nations could not be expected to defend themselves against the nuclear might and the rapaciousness of the Soviet Union.

    But that was then and this is now. Europe is getting next to nothing from us, and, thankfully, Obama, I think, is going to be pulling many bases out. As I said above, expect the fringe right to scream and moan about these things...because they see bases and American presence as an indication of American might.

    I am sure conservative Brits had the same issues was the British "Empire" retracted to Great Britain. I think we in the U.S. who are mindful of this need to be wary of the false patriots who view military presence as God-bestowed "might" and an extension of American superiority.
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    Jul 07, 2010 5:16 PM GMT
    armylad said

    The final payments will be transferred electronically, and they are timed for this Friday, as it's the last working day of the year.


    And the Brits have been as good or better friends to us than we have been to them.

    Thanks for pointing this out, because the xenophobes in this country are liable to be continuing to whine about the U.S. rescuing Europe in World War II (which was indeed honorable and courageous and truly an inspiring chapter in America's history) as if Europeans don't recognize that .

    Let me tell you as an American how much I appreciate the friendship of Great Britain, and also France and Germany, in particular, given the reprehensible manner in which the latter two were treated by the Bush Administration. I'd throw Canada in there too, but we are discussing Europe now.
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    Jul 07, 2010 5:19 PM GMT
    southbeach1500 saidCut the defense budget, definitely. And a good place to start would be Europe. Time for them to start defending themselves and stop relying on us.



    sorry But when did United States join second world war?

    On December 7, 1941, Japan had attacked Pearl Harbor declaring war on the United States. The next day, the U.S. declared war against Japan, Germany, and Italy
    We had been fighting from 1935
    countries like United Kingdom, Commonwealth countries and Russia


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    Jul 07, 2010 5:28 PM GMT
    Of course, it would be wrong not to credit the US with its historical assistance in defending Europe, but we are talking about the here and now.
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    Jul 07, 2010 5:40 PM GMT
    southbeach1500 said
    Mil8 saidTo say that Europe is "free riding on the US" implies that Europe is getting something. Yet those who make these kinds of claims never explain just what it is they think Europe gets out of America's colossal levels of military spending. Most Western Europeans don't see themselves as deriving any great benefit from America's disproportionate defence outlays; it is not clear how Europe's security would be harmed if America did cut its defence budget. And it is not clear how European security would be enhanced if Europe dramatically increased its defence spending.


    The sheer size, power and expertise of the United States military is what Europe is getting. And that serves as a very powerful deterrent.


    To whom?
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    Jul 07, 2010 5:43 PM GMT
    There's two reaities that dont concur:

    1) The happiest countries in the world are those that spend their cash on health and education (Costa Rica, highest rated omn the Happiness Index, no army, high ecological conservation practices, free heatlh care etc)

    2) the countries that are involved in war right now.. are perpetually paranoid that every other country in the world wants to take them over... or are fighting over cultural differences .... Europe was mostly at war with iself in the WW's, with the US taking one side of the battle, it didnt protect Europe, it hlped the side it was interested in helping to fight communism and despotism, because it saw them as a "threat" to its freedom

    So as long as people perceive their freedom to be endangered, they wont stop spending money on protection... and will not be very happy for it... living in fear doesnt make one happy
  • metta

    Posts: 39143

    Jul 07, 2010 6:15 PM GMT
    Link to the original OP article


    Why we must reduce military spending
    http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/economy-a-budget/107229-why-we-must-reduce-military-spending-reps-barney-frank-and-ron-paul
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    Jul 07, 2010 6:18 PM GMT
    Christian73 said
    southbeach1500 saidCut the defense budget, definitely. And a good place to start would be Europe. Time for them to start defending themselves and stop relying on us.


    Wow. We're in total agreement on that. icon_smile.gif


    Ditto.

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    Jul 07, 2010 6:42 PM GMT
    amar_m saidThere's two reaities that dont concur:

    1) The happiest countries in the world are those that spend their cash on health and education (Costa Rica, highest rated omn the Happiness Index, no army, high ecological conservation practices, free heatlh care etc)

    2) the countries that are involved in war right now.. are perpetually paranoid that every other country in the world wants to take them over... or are fighting over cultural differences .... Europe was mostly at war with iself in the WW's, with the US taking one side of the battle, it didnt protect Europe, it hlped the side it was interested in helping to fight communism and despotism, because it saw them as a "threat" to its freedom

    So as long as people perceive their freedom to be endangered, they wont stop spending money on protection... and will not be very happy for it... living in fear doesnt make one happy


    win
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    Jul 07, 2010 7:02 PM GMT
    DjDorchester said
    Christian73 said
    southbeach1500 saidCut the defense budget, definitely. And a good place to start would be Europe. Time for them to start defending themselves and stop relying on us.


    Wow. We're in total agreement on that. icon_smile.gif


    Ditto.



    Agreed!
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    Jul 07, 2010 7:06 PM GMT
    amar_m saidThere's two reaities that dont concur:

    1) The happiest countries in the world are those that spend their cash on health and education (Costa Rica, highest rated omn the Happiness Index, no army, high ecological conservation practices, free heatlh care etc)

    2) the countries that are involved in war right now.. are perpetually paranoid that every other country in the world wants to take them over... or are fighting over cultural differences .... Europe was mostly at war with iself in the WW's, with the US taking one side of the battle, it didnt protect Europe, it hlped the side it was interested in helping to fight communism and despotism, because it saw them as a "threat" to its freedom

    So as long as people perceive their freedom to be endangered, they wont stop spending money on protection... and will not be very happy for it... living in fear doesnt make one happy


    I wish it could be done like that, because war is horrible.. This isn't very realistic though being the kind of world we actually live in unfortunately.

    Some countries have the luxury of not worrying about spending money on defense, because they know other countries will protect them.
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    Jul 07, 2010 7:34 PM GMT
    groundcombat said...

    I think the problem with cutting defense spending is the backlash into how many people would lose jobs if we did. And it's got a powerful lobby behind it too I'm sure.




  • coolarmydude

    Posts: 9190

    Jul 07, 2010 7:41 PM GMT
    southbeach1500 saidCut the defense budget, definitely. And a good place to start would be Europe. Time for them to start defending themselves and stop relying on us.


    Actually, that idea has already started in practice. About 30,000 troops are scheduled to be relocated from Germany over the next few years and started about two years ago. The same already happened in South Korea. The unit I'm going to in Germany is scheduled to relocate out of Germany by 2012.