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Topic: America's Defense Spending< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 27 2013, 2:01 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Click here for a short but illuminating video on America's defense spending.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 27 2013, 2:25 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I prefer reading over videos:
http://comptroller.defense.gov/defbudg....ook.pdf

And the President's request:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites....nse.pdf

In the context of:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Overview

At a quick look the outwears don't appear to reflect the sequester (sequestration is discussed at any rate, maybe not shown because it's an each year trigger event and not law for the full ten, it's dependent on whether Congressional action takes place to delete a particular years sequester), unless that's why they're flat rather than significantly increasing, baseline accounting makes my head hurt.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 27 2013, 2:33 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Great resources -- but they don't quite encapsulate the insanity of our defense spending!  Whatever happened to the post-Soviet "peace dividend"?  Our defense industry took 'em.  But they (along with our government and our media) keep telling us 'it's a scary world out there'...   What a country....

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 27 2013, 2:36 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Ben2World @ Nov. 27 2013, 11:33 am)
QUOTE
Great resources -- but they don't quite encapsulate the insanity of our defense spending!  Whatever happened to the post-Soviet "peace dividend"?  Our defense industry took 'em.  But they (along with our government and our media) keep telling us 'it's a scary world out there'...   What a country....

The numbers look insane enough to me.

A sustained doubling over pre-9/11 doesn't need much aid in interpreting it seems to me.

ETA: One aspect that is true is the fallacy of the "peace dividend", international terrorism did replace many previous threats so transitioning to face the new threats would consume funds no longer being needed to continue long established programs. And taking down obsolete bases etc. also costs money…

And personnel costs keep escalating, another consequence of not having a draft I suppose. As do new realities in equipment costs: comparing an old style vulnerable HummVee or jeep to the newer, safer, mine and IED resistant replacements. Then there are investments in new large equipment such as ships as the old "cold war" bought ships reach the end of the functional lives, ships who will take fewer crew to man with a subsequent savings but a current large investment.

There certainly are "old thinking" programs that I shake my head at, the biggest being that F-35 Strikefighter. How that persists in the age of missiles and drones always causes a shake of my head. Some things just have become that "best buggy whip ever" and need to be cut off.

Oh and that it IS a scary world out there is indisputable to anyone caring to look: now how scary is subject to discussion...
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 27 2013, 3:17 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Why are we still deploying the National Guard overseas if we have plenty of defense spending?

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 27 2013, 4:28 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(gunslinger @ Nov. 27 2013, 12:17 pm)
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Why are we still deploying the National Guard overseas if we have plenty of defense spending?

Because that's what they signed up for?

How's that relate anyway? They're only cheaper when they're NOT deployed.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 27 2013, 5:39 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(High_Sierra_Fan @ Nov. 27 2013, 4:28 pm)
QUOTE

(gunslinger @ Nov. 27 2013, 12:17 pm)
QUOTE
Why are we still deploying the National Guard overseas if we have plenty of defense spending?

Because that's what they signed up for?

How's that relate anyway? They're only cheaper when they're NOT deployed.

The correct answer is because we don't have enough regular army personnel to fulfill the mission.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 27 2013, 6:44 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(gunslinger @ Nov. 27 2013, 2:39 pm)
QUOTE

(High_Sierra_Fan @ Nov. 27 2013, 4:28 pm)
QUOTE

(gunslinger @ Nov. 27 2013, 12:17 pm)
QUOTE
Why are we still deploying the National Guard overseas if we have plenty of defense spending?

Because that's what they signed up for?

How's that relate anyway? They're only cheaper when they're NOT deployed.

The correct answer is because we don't have enough regular army personnel to fulfill the mission.

Spending more than the next 16 countries combined and we don't have enough regular army personnel to deploy... methinks that goes right back to what I said earlier:  our defense industry -- not the privates -- has been sucking in vast amounts??  Where did the $600+ billion each year go?  ???


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 27 2013, 7:20 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(gunslinger @ Nov. 27 2013, 3:39 pm)
QUOTE

(High_Sierra_Fan @ Nov. 27 2013, 4:28 pm)
QUOTE

(gunslinger @ Nov. 27 2013, 12:17 pm)
QUOTE
Why are we still deploying the National Guard overseas if we have plenty of defense spending?

Because that's what they signed up for?

How's that relate anyway? They're only cheaper when they're NOT deployed.

The correct answer is because we don't have enough regular army personnel to fulfill the mission.

I think it's well passed time to revisit what our mission is.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 27 2013, 7:24 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(wycanislatrans @ Nov. 27 2013, 4:20 pm)
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I think it's well passed time to revisit what our mission is.

Indeed.  Ours is clearly the mother of all mission creep...


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 27 2013, 9:51 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Because the US as a country believes it has some bizarre moral imperative to protect the world from itself.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 27 2013, 10:15 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(gunslinger @ Nov. 27 2013, 5:39 pm)
QUOTE

(High_Sierra_Fan @ Nov. 27 2013, 4:28 pm)
QUOTE

(gunslinger @ Nov. 27 2013, 12:17 pm)
QUOTE
Why are we still deploying the National Guard overseas if we have plenty of defense spending?

Because that's what they signed up for?

How's that relate anyway? They're only cheaper when they're NOT deployed.

The correct answer is because we don't have enough regular army personnel to fulfill the mission.

Talk to someone currently enlisted. The military has a tough time finding things for all them to do. They spend most of their time twiddling their thumbs.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 27 2013, 10:26 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Well the good news is we'll be out of the "war" business right near the end of next year which should relieve those much worked Guards (having finally ended the wars with the "forces you got" to quote Rumsfeld eh?...) and start reducing costs. And if Karzai keeps up the attitude we'll really be dropping the Afghanistan expenses. Something at this point I'd look forward to. A lot of wasted opportunities are going to be left behind in that place.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 27 2013, 11:36 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(High_Sierra_Fan @ Nov. 27 2013, 7:26 pm)
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Well the good news is we'll be out of the "war" business right near the end of next year which should relieve those much worked Guards (having finally ended the wars with the "forces you got" to quote Rumsfeld eh?...) and start reducing costs. And if Karzai keeps up the attitude we'll really be dropping the Afghanistan expenses. Something at this point I'd look forward to. A lot of wasted opportunities are going to be left behind in that place.

Another peace dividend?  How will the defense industry keep up their sales and profits?  Watch for them, the media and the government to drum up more fears...


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 28 2013, 6:42 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

HighGravity
QUOTE
Talk to someone currently enlisted. The military has a tough time finding things for all them to do. They spend most of their time twiddling their thumbs.


and...

High_Sierra_Fan
QUOTE
And personnel costs keep escalating, another consequence of not having a draft I suppose. As do new realities in equipment costs: comparing an old style vulnerable HummVee or jeep to the newer, safer, mine and IED resistant replacements. Then there are investments in new large equipment such as ships as the old "cold war" bought ships reach the end of the functional lives, ships who will take fewer crew to man with a subsequent savings but a current large investment.


Not meaning to "jerk chains" too much. But looking at it from another angle - I wonder what the US "great recession with no real recovery in employment" would look like without the huge military spending? The "labor participation rate" would certainly be lower. Perhaps it would be MUCH lower when you factor in the investment in the equipment, military technology, drones, ships, etc.

The military and military spending suck up a lot of employees when you include all the contracts and contractors.

Maybe the huge military spending has helped the US avoid a depression worse than the depression of the 1930's - a politically incorrect Keynesian view.

Just a thought provoking idea.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 28 2013, 6:56 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

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The "labor participation rate" would certainly be lower....
....when you include all the contracts and contractors.

The parent company of the company I work for has a lot of military and other government contracts. While I think military spending  (along with a lot of other spending) is way too high, if military spending was seriously cut, a guess is 5000-10,000 people would lose their jobs with no job prospects in sight just in the company. Now add in (actually subtract) all those businesses with their employees who depend on those others getting a paycheck and spending it. How many of those go under and out of work?

Defense spending is out of control but unemployment would at minimum double, and quite likely more, if that spending was reduced.
Sooo... is reducing defense spending and causing massive unemployment going to save money over sending that same money to the unemployed who are also not paying nearly as much in taxes?


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 28 2013, 8:43 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Montanalonewolf @ Nov. 28 2013, 5:56 am)
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Defense spending is out of control but unemployment would at minimum double, and quite likely more, if that spending was reduced.
Sooo... is reducing defense spending and causing massive unemployment going to save money over sending that same money to the unemployed who are also not paying nearly as much in taxes?

The answer to your question is YES, we'd save more money by cuts to military spending even when factoring in loss of taxes collected and unemployment benefits paid out. Our enormous military expenditures go far beyond the wages/salaries of those who work in the MIC.

But's that's far from the only option. Your question points out that government spending on the military employs people who pay taxes. People with jobs and money to spend are the foundation of any economy, but I would argue that military spending is a very poor option when compared to putting the same number of people to work rebuilding our nation's infrastructure. In the long term we need to retrofit to sustainable energy, which can be a tremendous source of economic activity.

How much we spend on our military should be a matter of necessity, certainly not justified as a make-work program. The problem with the entrenched MIC that Eisenhower warned us about is that it has become a self-perpetuating necessity. The elites of wealth and power at the helm of the MIC pull the strings of politicians whose election campaigns they finance. Policy follows capability, and our vast military is put to use protecting overseas corporate interests. We have a history of supporting repressive regimes that serve those interests, spawning terrorist threats used for justifying interventions and even greater military spending.

Something is definitely wrong when our military spending surpasses all the other large powers combined while our economy stagnates and our infrastructure crumbles. Politicians ideologically opposed to government spending at home (except in their districts, of course) are the biggest protectors & promoters of the MIC and denounce their opponents as weak or terrorist "sympathizers" when suggestions are made to change this dreadful course.

MLW, given the question you asked would you be opposed to creating an equal number of jobs at home with government spending redirected from the MIC to our nation's infrastructure?


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 28 2013, 9:21 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Bass @ Nov. 28 2013, 6:42 am)
QUOTE
HighGravity
QUOTE
Talk to someone currently enlisted. The military has a tough time finding things for all them to do. They spend most of their time twiddling their thumbs.


and...

High_Sierra_Fan
QUOTE
And personnel costs keep escalating, another consequence of not having a draft I suppose. As do new realities in equipment costs: comparing an old style vulnerable HummVee or jeep to the newer, safer, mine and IED resistant replacements. Then there are investments in new large equipment such as ships as the old "cold war" bought ships reach the end of the functional lives, ships who will take fewer crew to man with a subsequent savings but a current large investment.


Not meaning to "jerk chains" too much. But looking at it from another angle - I wonder what the US "great recession with no real recovery in employment" would look like without the huge military spending? The "labor participation rate" would certainly be lower. Perhaps it would be MUCH lower when you factor in the investment in the equipment, military technology, drones, ships, etc.

The military and military spending suck up a lot of employees when you include all the contracts and contractors.

Maybe the huge military spending has helped the US avoid a depression worse than the depression of the 1930's - a politically incorrect Keynesian view.

Just a thought provoking idea.

Yes that's what Eisenhower warned us against, creating a military industrial complex.  It's interesting that the same people who oppose social programs and stimulus packages continue to support the military industrial complex, especially considering much of the money spent on it ends up overseas.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 28 2013, 10:15 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

QUOTE
MLW, given the question you asked would you be opposed to creating an equal number of jobs at home with government spending redirected from the MIC to our nation's infrastructure?

Not at all but it would mean changing the restructuring of our entire society. One thing that many would not want to change, and it would be across the whole political system, is no more aid to foreign countries and governments.

It is NOT our job or purpose in the world to be its police force or moral guide.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 28 2013, 11:18 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Montanalonewolf @ Nov. 28 2013, 9:15 am)
QUOTE
QUOTE
MLW, given the question you asked would you be opposed to creating an equal number of jobs at home with government spending redirected from the MIC to our nation's infrastructure?

Not at all but it would mean changing the restructuring of our entire society. One thing that many would not want to change, and it would be across the whole political system, is no more aid to foreign countries and governments.

It is NOT our job or purpose in the world to be its police force or moral guide.

Restructuring of our entire society, how? Federal and state governments already spend on infrastructure, but not enough to keep up with deterioration or to meet evolving needs.

I agree we should not be the world's police force, but I don't know what you mean by "moral guide." IMO we should be a shining example for others to follow, with no compulsion by us on them.

I disagree with you on foreign aid. It can be very much to our own advantage if done properly. Let's just be clear there's a difference between humanitarian aid and helping others to help themselves, versus military aid and rebuilding countries we invade & occupy.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 28 2013, 11:28 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

One of the obvious problems is that so much of our economy is tied to the defense industry. Cut back and you would really hurt some areas of the country.  Example -  the air force maintains a small tactical fighter squadron at our city airport - actually a separate facility.  When they proposed to shut it down because it served no logical purpose, the hue and cry from local businesses was huge.  They finally did move but had to replace it with another AF facility equally useless.  And that was just small facility.  Imagine closing a major one.  And then, of course, there is huge defense industry which, admittedly, for better or worse, does provides thousands and thousands of jobs.  It's called the military-industrial complex, Ben.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 28 2013, 11:59 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Drift Woody @ Nov. 28 2013, 10:18 am)
QUOTE
I disagree with you on foreign aid. It can be very much to our own advantage if done properly. [Edited: And quite a bit more advantageously when done improperly.] Let's just be clear there's a difference between humanitarian aid and helping others to help themselves, versus military aid and rebuilding countries we invade & occupy.
The accounting for what is called "foreign aid" needs to be closely examined to understand exactly what's included, and what it really means. Much of it is not exactly what I'd call "aid". It's more like "invasive economic exploitation" (oftentimes) augmented by the threat of more explicit and more violent military invasion if rejected.

(hikerjer @ Nov. 28 2013, 10:28 am)
QUOTE
One of the obvious problems is that so much of our economy is tied to the defense industry. Cut back and you would really hurt some areas of the country.  Example -  the air force maintains a small tactical fighter squadron at our city airport - actually a separate facility.  When they proposed to shut it down because it served no logical purpose, the hue and cry from local businesses was huge.  They finally did move but had to replace it with another AF facility equally useless.  And that was just small facility.  Imagine closing a major one.  And then, of course, there is huge defense industry which, admittedly, for better or worse, does provides thousands and thousands of jobs.  It's called the military-industrial complex, Ben.
Solution: convert the military to civil medical and infrastructure engineering. Build hospitals, roads and bridges instead of blowing them up. Same people, slightly different training target.

The up side? Solves two problems without causing "economic chaos" at home. If we don't tell the Republicans what's going on, they'll become advocates for "government investment" without realizing it, though this isn't likely. They tend to favor the rich, of course.

And Ben? Well, let me suggest that a reduction in the U.S. military would certainly make every agent of the Chinese government very, very happy.

Have you ever wondered why Ben seems to relentlessly harp on this subject? I mean, the guy is positively in love with that goofy Edward Snowden.

Not that I'm suggesting a "subtext", of course... :^> However, he is Chinese...and we never hear about any women from him. Coincidence? (I think not.)
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 28 2013, 12:32 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(hikerjer @ Nov. 28 2013, 8:28 am)
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It's called the military-industrial complex, Ben.

Indeed.  And no one is suggesting that we eliminate it.  The context is whether it is wise to be spending this much !

Go back to the video and compare spending between China and us (or view the graph below).  Remember, China now has the world's second largest economy -- and yet, its military spending -- while growing -- is still just a small fraction of ours!

And China has been steadily building high speed rail, expressways, new airports and seaports -- and improving their schools.  And us?  How are we investing in our kids' future?  Obama talked about similar back six years ago... but that's pretty much it.  We don't have the money!  Now imagine cutting our defense in half and freeing up three hundred billion dollars!  Imagine how much more we can invest in our schools and infrastructure -- and maybe even pay down some of our debts!  Scary?  No, because we would still be outspending the world's next five spenders combined:  China, Russia, Britain, France and Japan!

Investments in education and infrastructure also generate employment -- and provide "fuel" for future economic growth  in ways that adding missiles and drones doesn't.  Are we spending so much on security that we end up sacrificing our future economic competitiveness?



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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 28 2013, 6:04 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hey, Ben, I'm not arguing with you at all.  Just stating the reality as I see it.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 28 2013, 9:11 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Take note on the chart in #23 that even though the US spends more than the next 14 countries combined, Saudi Arabia spends more than 2X what the US  does in relation to GDP and Russia almost as much. Some spend about ½ what we do as a percentage of GDP.
So wouldn't a better comparison be percentage of GDP rather than a "straight" dollar amount?

Not that that would excuse the excessives of the US.

Take a look at the budgets for 2012 VS 2013. From the piecharts I saw, defense was 24% for 2012 but 2013 was 57%.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 28 2013, 11:34 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

This is a tough one for me.

I know first hand that this is a world in which if you look like lunch, you'll get eaten.

That said we were established to be the freest, best governed nation in the world, not to be a superpower or the world's policemen.

We seem only to know how to fight rich man's wars.  Then again if more people were willing to serve in the military as true national service maybe defense would not be so expensive.   Back in the day, when the Militia Act of 1792 was passed, every male 17-45 had to serve and provide their own equipment.

I also know DoD likes to buy gold plated systems that brief well but are too delicate and complicated for real world use.
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Montanalonewolf
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So wouldn't a better comparison be percentage of GDP rather than a "straight" dollar amount?


I think so too. It is good that Ben's chart also has "spending as % of GDP".
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 29 2013, 8:24 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Three @ Nov. 28 2013, 11:34 pm)
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Back in the day, when the Militia Act of 1792 was passed, every male 17-45 had to serve and provide their own equipment.

Being part of the state militia is not quite the same thing as requiring someone to serve in the military. In fact, not even close.

It's interesting how those who rail so loudly against big government are quick to change their tune when the military is involved. Just goes to show how effective government propaganda is on certain types of people, particularly the devoutly religious.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 29 2013, 9:48 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

A couple of points.

1. History has shown that if your economy cannot support your military and it's excursions that everything under that umbrella will collapse. Having too big a military and military mission(s) can be dangerous for national security.

2. Our track record of intervening in other nations is not good and it has not been good for relations around the world. Maybe we should consider a more "hands-off" approach.

3. As pointed out, we are riding on an infrastructure nationally that is aging. Other nations are building theirs, we are falling behind in this category. Refering back to point one, if we do not keep up in this aspect we will fall behind.

4. Following that point, if we are REALLY concerned about national security, rebuilding our country and balancing the national budget to get ready for the rest of the century is more important than having large international military excursions and a bloated military.

5. Prior to WWII, we did NOT have the world's most powerful military. We were able to engage as a nation to meet the threat. The effort was a combination of economics and military fueled by a unified desire to protect from a real threat. I have no doubt if presented with an equal threat that Americans would do so again. Our greatest threat is ourselves.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 29 2013, 10:01 am Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Gabby @ Nov. 28 2013, 9:59 am)
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And Ben? Well, let me suggest that a reduction in the U.S. military would certainly make every agent of the Chinese government very, very happy.

Have you ever wondered why Ben seems to relentlessly harp on this subject? I mean, the guy is positively in love with that goofy Edward Snowden.

Not that I'm suggesting a "subtext", of course... :^> However, he is Chinese...and we never hear about any women from him. Coincidence? (I think not.)

I'm not sure if you are being sarcastic or just a jack@ss, but my dog has better etiquette than you.
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