Monday, May 12, 2008

Cutting Defense to Save It

This is an idea that isn't very popular these days, even with liberals, and which I've mentioned before. Here's William Lind's proposal:

A tanking economy and world credit markets tighter than
Scrooge's fist will require large cuts in federal spending. That will include
the U.S. Department of Defense. If a new administration were to turn to the
military reformers and ask us how to cut defense spending while still securing
the country, what would we advise?Here is what I would propose:

First, adopt a defensive rather than an offensive grand
strategy. The United States followed a defensive grand strategy through most of
her history. We only went to war if someone attacked us. That defensive grand
strategy kept defense costs down and allowed our economy to prosper. We do not
have to be party to every quarrel in the world.Second, scrap virtually all the
big-ticket weapons programs such as new fighter-bombers, more high-tech
Aegis-class ships for the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Army's enormously expensive
Rube Goldbergian Future Combat System. They are irrelevant to where war is

Shocking to think of cutting our defenses during wartime, right? It can and should be done however. I believe the high tech military is hurting rather than helping us. So enamored are we by some future exchange with wonder weapons against an undisclosed peer enemy, we can't see the wars which we need to fight today. President Bush has rightly dragged the West kicking and screaming into the Middle East cauldron, though this is a wound that's been festering for decades.

We should also get over the need for a "Triad" for each service which is incredibly expensive to maintain, with weapon systems that often duplicate each other's missions. Fighter bombers for the Air Force, submarines for the Navy, helicopters for the army, what more is needed?

Here is my favorite quote from the article: ""So long as the money flow continues, nothing will change."