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Comments about ‘My view: Budgeting a defense of this nation’

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Published: Wednesday, Feb. 6 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

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John Charity Spring
Back Home in Davis County, UT

The left-wing would have us believe that the world is full of tulips and kittens, with no real danger. Thus, the left would have us believe that there is no need for a strong military. This is completely wrong.

This left-wing way of thinking is what allowed Hitler to run roughshod over Europe. The European governments said that there was not a danger, and they reduced their military strength.

We must have a strong military or we will find ourselves in slavery.

Kent C. DeForrest
Provo, UT

What we don't need is to shoulder 41 percent of the entire world's military spending. The Cold War ended over 20 years ago. World War II ended over 67 years ago. We do not need 700 to 800 military bases in foreign countries. We do not need 75,000 military personnel in Germany. We do not need to attack other countries unnecessarily and get stuck in interminable wars (like Iraq and Afghanistan). We are not the world's policeman.

That said, we cannot afford to slash any sort of spending suddenly. That would send us into recession. But over time, we definitely need to ramp down all sorts of unnecessary spending, particularly in our bloated military.

Lew Scannon
Provo, UT

JCS:

We will not find ourselves in slavery without a strong military. What nation is crazy enough to invade America? We have so many guns per capita that an invading army would be sorely outnumbered and would have to deal with millions of NRA wingnuts who would shoot them at the drop of a hat. We have millions of Americans just itching for a foreign government stupid enough to force their hand.

Anyway, what country is so desperate that it would even want to try to manage the mess we have created here? If we were smart, we would invite the Swiss or perhaps the Norwegians to invade, lay down our arms, and give them total control of our economy, health-care system, and government.

CHS 85
Sandy, UT

JCS

Please define for us what is a strong military?

How many more aircraft carriers will make it strong? How many more F-22s will make it strong. How many more overseas bases will make it strong?

I'm going to assume you have no answers, only "evil left-wing" rhetoric. I served in the military for twenty years. I saw so much waste, duplication of effort, overlapping of responsibilities that it made me angry. No, I don't think the world is a tulip-filled love-fest, but I also believe in a Department of DEFENSE, not a Department of Imperialistic NATION-BUILDING.

Eric Samuelsen
Provo, UT

What I believe this author is saying is that our armed forces are tasked with responsibilities their resources are insufficient to meet. I think that's a sensible point, well made. At the same time, no reasonable person can look at our military spending and conclude that we really need, for example, to maintain six golf courses in Guam. Kent DeForest is right when he says we spend 41% of all international spending on defense. That's preposterous.
Winding down two unnecessary and foolish wars will help. In the meantime, we need a sober conversation in this country about what our actual defense needs are, and what an appropriate defense posture should be for the world's one remaining superpower. We can and should cut military spending. But we cannot leave our country defenseless.

a bit of reality
Shawnee Mission, KS

This editorial has it exactly backwards: defense spending is the *cause* of our national security problems. It is not the solution. If we reduced our military spending to be in line with those of our allies, that would almost be enough to balance the budget, which is the bigger threat to national security.

Sure, there are bad guys out there. But military intervention creates enemies faster than we can kill them. If our military was actually effective at making us safe, an argument could be made that we should have the highest taxes in the world to pay for the biggest military in the world to make us the safest country in the world. But the fact is that our efforts at being the world's policeman have been an utter failure, resulting in not only trillions of dollars spent, but also thousands of American soldiers dead, tens of thousands of American soldiers permanently disabled, and tens of thousands of collateral deaths of innocent non-Americans.

Building empires through military intervention never works. I’d suggest you read "The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism" by Colnel Andrew Bacevich.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The obvious fact that the American Military is failing it’s job is more that evident by looking at the world today. The reason for the failure is the greed of American businessmen who are so engrossed in making money that they fail to realize the need for the new weapons and strategies of today’s war. Business is giving more importance to being rich than defending America and it’s principals.

VST
Bountiful, UT

@bit of reality said, "If we reduced our military spending to be in line with those of our allies, that would almost be enough to balance the budget…"

Only if you took ALL Defense expenditures to zero. This past year, expenditures for the Defense Department were 28.3% of all total federal expenditures, which was $3.6 trillion.

Obviously, that is not a realistic proposal.

RedShirt
USS Enterprise, UT

To "Lew Scannon" how about China, North Korea, Iran, or so many other countries and terrorist groups that would destroy the US if it wasn't for the strength of the military.

To "Kent C. DeForrest" we spend so much because we protect so many. How many other nations are in Europe providing military protection to the same level that the US is? If the US pulled out of Europe, that would collapse the European economies because they could no longer afford their own defense. In Asia, it would allow countries like North Korea to run rampant over any nation they want.

Are you willing to allow millions of people to die just because you don't want to fund the US military?

procuradorfiscal
Tooele, UT

Re: "What nation is crazy enough to invade America?"

Al Qaeda. Iran. North Korea. China. Russia. And, there are sneakier others, as well.

Some -- like Iran -- really are dumb enough to attack us directly. Its leaders would welcome death and destruction, if it speeds the return of the 12th Imam. But they also act through surrogates.

But, that's not even Mr. McKinney's [or GEN Odierno's] point.

It's perpetual uncertainty about military budgets, due to constant liberal attacks to fund one or another vote-buying social/political scam, that's the REAL threat.

America's military will always do our best with whatever budget we're given. The resilience of the American Soldier, Sailor, Airman, and Marine will likely make up for whatever deficits feckless, reckless politicians create. The question becomes, however, how many Pearl Harbors, Bataans, and 9-11s are acceptable to America?

Politicians must answer that question, fund to the level of risk they'll accept, then back off and let the professionals work, avoiding temptations to place a thumb on the scale in behalf of favorite pet rocks.

Hutterite
American Fork, UT

There's no way the books are going to balance without military spending cuts. We can't have it both ways. Still, I'm pretty sure we could take billions, if not trillions, out of the defense budget and still have the largest, most effective military force in the world.

VST
Bountiful, UT

@Hutterite,

Not within one year. You could take billions, but not trillions out of Defense spending. Last year, Defense spending was about $1.08 trillion – TOTAL.

As for (some) Defense cuts, that is about to happen on 01 March – it is called sequestration. That is why the author wrote this opinion piece.

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

"and the Army must spend at fiscal year 2012 budget levels."

Oh my gosh. Heaven forbid that we dont increase military spending EVERY single year.

Maybe if they are forced to tighten their belts they wont ask for things they don't need or want.

Ernest T. Bass
Bountiful, UT

Cut the military. Now.
"Defense" doesn't mean the US needs military bases on every corner of the globe.
Cut half the bases worldwide and the US could pay for healthcare for it's citizens.

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

"What nation is crazy enough to invade America?"

Lew. Dont you know? They are not worried so much about other nations as they are about our own gubmint turning on them.

RedShirt
USS Enterprise, UT

To "JoeBlow" and how far off are the people who worry about the government coming after its own citizens when you have a President who has authorized drone strikes against US citizens to be policy and indefinate detention of US citizens?

See "Are Obama's Drone Strike Policies Justified?
The United States can kill its own citizens if they are al Qaeda who pose an imminent threat to the country" in USA Today. Who determines if a person poses an imminent threat, and how do you verify an al Qaeda connection?

"NDAA Signed Into Law By Obama Despite Guantanamo Veto Threat, Indefinite Detention Provisions" Huffington Post.

Buford Buckley
Provo, UT

We need at least 100,000 more soldiers. And we can fund it by getting all the free-loaders off of Social Security and Medicare.

1conservative
WEST VALLEY CITY, UT

The bloated defense budget is the result of BOTH political parties pandering to the military/industrial lobby. (something Eisenhower warned us about)

IMHO, the American people no longer are inclined to protect every corner of the globe. Especially not when we can't even afford healthcare for our populace.

Europe will surely miss us. But they need to solve their own defense problems. There's really no reason for them to budget money for their own protection when we do it for them!

But- the defense lobby is VERY powerful.

pragmatistferlife
salt lake city, utah

Red Shirt..how far off are you to worry about a government coming after it's own citizens if they pose an immenent threat..way off. The killing of US citizens is a serious and troubling issue, not because the next step is a drone is going to take out the tea party headquarters in Minnesota, but because it is basicly unconstitutional to kill an American without due process, yet the reality of the world is we have American citizens overseas who are polotting the murder of fellow Americans. I say it's bascily unconstitutional because US citizens are killed every day without due process when they attempt to kill other US citizens and the police make the judgment that lethal force is the only way to stop them.

It's a serious issue and topic and the discussion is not served well with hyperbole extremeisim.

cjb
Bountiful, UT

This kind of thing happens all the time. When a person or a family spends like there is no tomorrow, on things they don't really need, the time eventually comes when they find it difficult or impossible to pay for things they really do need.

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