Tornado-level winds have been corkscrewing out of the With the chorus of competing voices, it’s difficult to discern who is right, who is wrong, and which plan is the best to adopt. Primate politics as usual. Expect a post on this topic in the coming days.. area as both political parties clash over the issue of the debt ceiling.
There is one significant difference between Republican and Democratic budget plans that has given me pause to think. In his proposed plan, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would place a cap on funding for military operations in , , and other “similar activities,” sometimes called Overseas Contingency Operations. Apparently, U.S. operations in and fall into this latter category. This could end up reducing budget outlays by $1 trillion, a 13% reduction in ten-year defense spending. House Speaker John Boehner’s plan has no such attribute.
So I’ve been thinking. We’ve long since past a point where defense spending isn’t even considered part of our budget. It’s high levels have been rendered unassailable as to do so would seem crazy, unpatriotic, limp-wristed, or a combination of all of the above.
Let me be clear: I am and have always been supportive of a strong defense. Through the study of military history and the consumption of military fiction (yes, yes, I’ll admit that I’m talking about G.I. Joe), I came to a great appreciation for the sacrifices the women and men of our armed forces make on a daily basis. Because of that, I believe that they are deserving of the absolute best in weapons, gear, and care that we can afford. I also believe in funding advanced research projects to keep our military on the cutting edge.
I must ask, however, is the military really getting what it needs? Are the right projects being funded or is there a great deal of taxpayer waste going on in the form of big money defense contracts and pork projects? One needs only look at the scandal of the Air Force refueling tanker contract of not too long ago to see an example of this sort of thing. Give them what they need, give them the best, but don’t make the budget “untouchable” as that just produces a breeding ground for corruption.
Also, what if the military truly was a “department of defense?” Meaning, they defend us if we are directly attacked and are not implemented for any sort of imperialistic venture. We could bring a lot of troops home. A lot. I don’t just mean from Afghanistan and Iraq, not that Afghanistan was not justified, but from many other locations around the globe. I still think that we should keep a few overseas bases such as in , , and , and forward operating locations such as , but cutting our overseas presence could save a lot of money.
While I’m still uncertain as what to think of Sen. Reid’s plan (I’m concerned it could place troops in the theaters of operation in danger once the cap is met) I don’t think it’s a bad idea to be critical about the defense budget. I really think that we can be sensible, safe, and do right by our troops, but do it for less than what we’ve been spending.
Follow me on Twitter: @Jntweets