Due to the inability of the pathetic Super Committee to agree on deficit reduction of $1.2 trillion of $14 trillion in federal debt, over 10 years, the automatic cuts built into the law, including $600 billion in defense, will kick in by 2013. But guess what?
The war hawks are already trying to back out of that obligation and the Pentagon is saying the cuts will be devastating. Well, good. Their budget is the most bloated and out of control piece of spending and, at the behest of Congress, does a lot of costly stuff that goes beyond keeping us safe.
Most citizens would agree that we need a strong national defense. Psychologically, it’s tied up with patriotism, nationalism and fear, making it difficult to appear “soft.” In general, that means keeping us safe; our lives, homes, and our freedoms. When it extends to protecting our way of life, which includes appropriating a disproportionate share of scarce natural resources, like oil, or our “vital interests’ which means anything we’ll go to war for, like regime change, it goes beyond basic safety.
Also it has been used at the whim of neocons, as in Iraq, or as a tool of foreign policy, as a projection of strength or show of force, or to protect business interests around the world. These are all costly and questionable endeavors.
To politicians and the Pentagon it usually comes down to numbers; How many billions do we spend, the number of battalions or aircraft carriers or missiles or bombs. Every decrease is seen as a diminishment of national security. More is always better, regardless of need or effectiveness. All our defense dollars did not stop 9/11.
How does it make the homeland more secure to dump hundreds of thousands of vets with Post traumatic stress or traumatic brain injury, back into civilian life with no jobs. Many turn to drugs and alcohol, become abusive, destroy their families and end up homeless or committing suicide. Some end up on the Tim McVeigh trajectory of homegrown, military-trained terrorists. This is what we get for our tax money?