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How justified are the proposed cuts to defense spending?

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  • mcclark Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 4:25 p.m.

    From the right I hear we are broke, we are broke, we are broke!! But cut defense spending? Oh no cant do that. What if we want to invade someone again for no good reason?

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 4:31 p.m.

    BOTH sides were supposed to be drastically impacted by the automatic cuts (part of the deal to get a budget deal the year before without cutting anything last time and to motivate Congress to DO SOMETHING this time).

    Cuts both sides didn't want were in there (so both sides would be motivated). Seems like it didn't work (NEITHER side did anything).

    ===

    The thing I find very interesting is... only cuts Democrats wanted actually happened.

    Democrats didn't want cuts to social programs. And they got an EXTENSION of unemployment pay checks (hint... that costs MORE money). I don't know how they did it (automatic mandated cuts, and instead they EXPANDED social programs like unemployment). Democrats are tricky.

    Republicans didn't want drastic cuts to Defense. But they actually got cut (drastically).

    Seems like only Republican interests got cut by the sequester. Somehow Democrats were able to escape all the cuts that were supposed to hurt them.

    I guess that's what happens when you have the majority. LAWS don't apply to you when you control everything. You can even vote to make the minority even weaker if you want!

  • BeSmart Cheyenne, WY
    Feb. 25, 2014 4:32 p.m.

    I personally believe that the drawdown is fine.
    The military should not spend more money on personnel cost but technology.
    Get our troops out of harms way, but maintain a force which can repel or deter threats.
    164,000 troops are stationed overseas.
    With 60000+ in Europe. Bring them home and let technology protect us and our allies.

  • E Sam Provo, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 4:43 p.m.

    No, the proposed cuts aren't justified. They are much much much too small.
    We spend more on defense than the next ten countries combined. Cut defense spending in half. We'd still be number 1.

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 5:28 p.m.

    In all of human history there has never been a Great Power that is as secure as we are right now. We have no rival to our power at all. These cuts will not make us weak or defenseless. We will still be far and above anyone else in military capability.

  • Hemlock Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 6:40 p.m.

    We simply must commit US foreign policy to not send our troops into situations for which they are neither trained or equipped. It is very enticing for our president to dispatch military personnel without realizing the commitment that is made. If it were their children going into harms way, they might think differently. Neo-isolationism has it's benefits and drawbacks.

  • Spoc Ogden, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 8:05 p.m.

    Recent articles on solar electricity reminded me that an inherently unstable source has to be balanced with what is known as "spinning reserve" which is a generator that is kept idling without producing because generators starting from a dead stop take hours to get up to the right speed to begin producing electricity at 60 Hz. Without that we would be at the mercy of nature for hours in the dark and cold.

    Likewise, the more unstable the world becomes, the more risk we are at. That risk needs to be balanced with "military ready reserve" because instability can strike at any time and we cannot afford to start spinning up to speed after the call comes. The enemy will take advantage of our unprepared state or find restraint in our readiness.

    The risk doesn't have to be on our soil before we confront our avowed enemies. It was the isolationism of the USA and England that allowed The Third Reich to gain such a foothold in the world, at a cost of millions of lives.

    I tell my Boy Scouts, be prepared.
    Have the right equipment.
    Know how to use it.
    Stay physically fit.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Feb. 25, 2014 9:07 p.m.

    It's time to leave behind the illusion that giant armies are useful. They aren't. In fact, they're just sitting ducks in an age of smart warfare. Let's stop wasting resources maintaining vast, useless armies and invest intelligently in a defense capability that matches our current realities.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 9:49 p.m.

    WOW! Just, wow!

    I cannot believe that so many people actually seem to believe that we live in a peaceful world and that we have a military defense force that is way too large, and that these cuts are without significant risk.

    When will they be holding their "We have Peace in Our Time" rally to celebrate this brave new world we suddenly live in?

    Apparently Iran with nukes, continued radical Islamic jihadis sworn to kill infidels (the more the better!), a crazy man in North Korea with nukes, China moving toward annexation of the western Pacific waters and neighbors, and a former KGB head resurrecting the old Soviet dreams of world domination are noting to worry about.

    It must be nice to live in that world but eventually you will be dragged back to real politik by folks who see us as an enemy. Soon, they will merely see us as easy prey, unable to defend ourselves, or our allies.

    But, cut every dime of defense spending and we would still be bankrupt. We must cut entitlements drastically if we hope to survive. Do that, and I will be willing to talk about defense cuts.

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 10:19 p.m.

    We're just fortunate we have a rational, intelligent President in the WH right now. Domestic spending growth over the past 5 years has been drastically reduced as well. We've got a lot more cutting to do as our economy improves and we work ourselves out of the debt trajectory that was set early in 2000.

  • Ed Grady Idaho Falls, ID
    Feb. 25, 2014 10:37 p.m.

    Bad idea, but hey, this is what the GOP wants.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 11:03 p.m.

    We need to streamline our defense by closing numerous bases around the world. I think we can even keep troop level up to near current levels but just cutting back on bases abroad and pulling out of Afghanistan. I would like to invest in our own people rather than protecting the Japanese and Germans because of some archaic World War II treaty. In fact, our troops could support the border patrol and help in disasters at home and abroad.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Feb. 26, 2014 6:41 a.m.

    Article 1, Section 8 requires Congress to fund defense:

    "To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the law of nations;

    To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water;

    To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;

    To provide and maintain a navy;

    To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;

    To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;

    To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;"

    ----

    Has each duty been fulfilled?

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Feb. 26, 2014 7:29 a.m.

    Leave to the backwards thinking GOP --
    Pres. Obama nailed it against Romney during the debate --

    The GOP still thinks that an Army with the most "horses and bayonets" wins wars.

    Hagel has already told us that the next Pearl Harbor, 9/11 will be on our sophisticated computing systems.

    The Chinese already attack our systems 12,000 DAILY looking for our weak spots.
    Something their fat-cat billionaire friends on WallStreet want America's general public to know.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    Feb. 26, 2014 7:51 a.m.

    To quote preamble of the Constitution of the United States, "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, PROVIDE FOR THE COMMON DEFENCE, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity..."

    Providing for the common defense is one of the duties of our government. Providing for the common defense ensures domestic tranquility, establishes justice, does promote the general welfare, and has the additional benefit of securing the blessings of liberty.

    Defending our county is the most important thing the government can do. Everything else should take a back seat. The list is too long to mention but, the government should not be all things to all people. I would rather have a strong Army than spend the money for someone to be on unemployment for 99 weeks.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Feb. 26, 2014 7:53 a.m.

    DN Subscriber
    Cottonwood Heights, UT
    WOW! Just, wow!

    I don't see YOU or any of the other pro-war group enlisting,
    or taking a 50% cut in pay to work for the DoD.

    A hacker in a bedrooom in Beijing can shut us down and completely wipe us out,
    and NO standing Army no matter how big can stop that from happening.

    Wiping out our banks -- done.
    Shutting down our infrastucture -- click.
    Food, water, electricity, gas -- see 'ya.
    Turning off all communications -- double click, done.

    More damage done than 1 million atomic bombs across the whole land -- just a few mouse clicks away.

    America -- Deaf, dumb, blind, and penniless.

    Makes 9/11 look like a block party.

    Times change.
    WarFare changes.

    Obama knows that.
    Hagel knows that.
    I know that.

    It's just the conservatives living in their 1950's Pleasantville that doesn't know what century we are now living in.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    Feb. 26, 2014 7:55 a.m.

    By the way, I don't think that China, Iran, Venezuala, North Korea, Russia, and others aren't cutting their military. In fact Putin appears to be preparing to invade the Ukraine. Sorry but wars are won with boots on the ground. Technology is fine but the dude shooting the M4 is who wins. Technology can do damage and scare people but boots on the ground are what makes it happen.

  • Jamescmeyer Midwest City, USA, OK
    Feb. 26, 2014 8:02 a.m.

    β€œFor a president who purports to care about economic inequality, drastic cuts to the military β€” as opposed to do-nothing federal departments β€” is both hypocrisy and disgrace.”

    This, and the comment about establishing a fire department -after- a fire starts, are what first come to mind. The latter in particular has resulted in unnecessary deaths throughout history, especially the past century, scrambling to assemble a force whose presence could've been a deterrent and a safeguard.

    Beyond that, if we're going to cut down on military spending, we need to look at entitlements first. Tuition assistance is difficult because many people join entirely for it, but some cuts there may help. High ranking pay is ludicrous, especially when retirement benefits are considered, and retirement coming after only twenty years. I also have really nice health insurance through the service, but given my fitness, I could easily handle some copayments.

    The idea I'm proposing is rather than cutting the actual, current, active force, we shave off things that don't impact the mission directly.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 26, 2014 8:44 a.m.

    It's just amazing that Democrats think there are LESS threats to America today, than there were before WWII, and we need a smaller military now than we had back then.

    Shows how much Democrats think of the military.

    Maybe they just assume that more programs to spy on American's phone calls will fix all those problems?

    Maybe they agree with the IRS... that Tea Party groups are the problem (not North Korea or Iran).

    Maybe they assume they can blame any attacks on America on youtube videos. And besides... as our Secretary of Defense said, "what does it matter"!

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Feb. 26, 2014 8:53 a.m.

    Leave it to the backwards thinking GOP --
    Pres. Obama nailed it against Romney during the debate --

    The GOP still thinks that an Army with the most "horses and bayonets" wins wars.'

    Priceless Lib.

    Remembering the past can be enlightening, but living in the past is damaging. The lesson from 1939 is not we need to be ready to send invasion forces across the globe at a moments notice but rather recognized threats where they exist.

    Iran is not rattling their swords, they're trying to hack our computers and steal our technology and build an atomic bomb.

    Fretting about not having the ability to conduct two land wars at the same time is the modern day equivalent of taking your eyes off the threat.

  • BeSmart Cheyenne, WY
    Feb. 26, 2014 9:09 a.m.

    @ LDS Liberal.
    I agree with defense cuts. First of all NATO is absolutely huge these days and an attack on one is an attack on all (including cyber warfare) so the US should not have to spend so much on defense.
    I also have to agree that other things need to be cut. Interest payments on US debt alone last year was 420.6 billion dollars. That is with super deflated interest. Interest on debt spending will surpass defense spending in a decade. Total debt now equals the yearly GDP (that is not good)
    Entitlements are a problem and can be fixed if both parties could agree. Most of social securities' woes can be fixed by eliminating the social security cap.
    At the current rate the one way to fix the debt issue is to devalue the dollar (which has happened to a small degree) to a large extent to pay it off. Pretty much print more money.
    The European crisis shows that welfare (socialistic states) are not sustainable.
    Romney was right only 47% of the U.S. actually pays the government, other get it back in refunds, welfare, and tax returns.
    Both parties need to figure this out.

  • BeSmart Cheyenne, WY
    Feb. 26, 2014 9:24 a.m.

    @ LDS Liberal
    It would take 34000 B53 nuclear weapons to destroy the intire surface area of the earth.
    1 million would eradicate any life.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Feb. 26, 2014 10:15 a.m.

    Not justified!

    Military provides jobs, and can replace some of benefits misuses.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Feb. 26, 2014 11:01 a.m.

    BeSmart
    Cheyenne, WY
    @ LDS Liberal
    It would take 34000 B53 nuclear weapons to destroy the intire surface area of the earth.
    1 million would eradicate any life.

    9:24 a.m. Feb. 26, 2014

    ========

    Agreed. but the B53 had a 1.2 megaton yield, and were rare.

    I'm not at all savy on the Navy's weapon systems,
    I was USAF -- and the Mk12A and Mk 21 on MinuteMan III ICBMs had a yield of 475 KiloTons,
    and the much more common B61 yield varied from 0.3 - 340 KTs depending on the weapon delivery systems [cruise missiles, fighters, or bombers] and the target.

    At any rate --
    We didn't need nukes, and we already have them.
    We didn't need chemical weapons, and we already have them.
    and
    We didn't need biological weapons, and we alrady have them.

    A Drone in Afghanistan flown by a crew in safely 12,000 miles away via Satellite in South Jordan and Tooele Utah did the job just fine.

    But like I said --
    We -- as a Nation and a Military -- are increasingly more vunerable to cyber-attacks than anything else.

  • Midwest Mom Soldiers Grove, WI
    Feb. 26, 2014 11:33 a.m.

    My son-in-law and daughter are in the service and their little family are looking at cuts to health insurance benefits and the possible elimination of the commissary. People in the military make very little. It is the benefits that make up for that.

    Meanwhile a family friend is working for one of those privatized military businesses that works on infrastructure overseas. He's making money hand over fist.

    The symbol of the American flag lapel pin, that has almost become a brand for one political party, amounts to false advertising. They genuflect before the symbol of our nation without contributing, only profiting the sacrifice of others.

    I think that we do need to cut our military budgets, but not at the expense of the people who actually do the work. Reminds me of the debate about makers and takers.

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    Feb. 26, 2014 12:31 p.m.

    Midwest Mom
    Soldiers Grove, WI
    My son-in-law and daughter are in the service and their little family are looking at cuts to health insurance benefits and the possible elimination of the commissary. People in the military make very little. It is the benefits that make up for that.

    Meanwhile a family friend is working for one of those privatized military businesses that works on infrastructure overseas. He's making money hand over fist.

    The symbol of the American flag lapel pin, that has almost become a brand for one political party, amounts to false advertising. They genuflect before thesymbol of our nation without contributing, only profiting the sacrifice ofothers.

    I think that we do need to cut our military budgets, but not at the expense of the people who actually do the work. Remindsme of the debate about makers and takers.

    ======

    Agreed!
    Well said.

    When I was in the service -- I made $600 a month.
    Our "benefits" were all that keep us alive.

    But -- You know that LockheedMartin & Haliburton are raking it in!
    Takers v. Makers.

    Also, that bit about --

    Lapel pins/Flags/and Party affiliation
    seems to eeirly similar to
    Arm bands/Flags/and Party affiliation.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Feb. 26, 2014 5:20 p.m.

    $600 a month? That is a King's ransom. My father received $25 a month when he served. He was lucky; he was one who returned. My uncle also. They didn't count the money; they counted their freedom. They knew, when they sat at the dinner table, that they had paid all that they could pay for our freedom. They had seen the Nazi's. They had seen the Japanese. They had held the hands and heads of fellow Americans who bled out their lives on foreign soil. They didn't expect "money". They didn't expect a parade. They didn't expect to be "honored" and "saluted"; all they wanted was freedom for themselves and their families.

    Things have certainly changed. Now some "soldiers" want us to pound their backs and remind them that they are super patriots. Every soldier is a patriot. Any soldier who thinks that he deserves more than citizenship in a free country doesn't understand his obligation as a citizen. I thank all who have served but I have contempt for those who demand special favors for their service. We are all Americans. America was built on the backs of citizens as well as soldiers.

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 26, 2014 7:04 p.m.

    Let the grandkids pay for the excessive military costs.

  • Midwest Mom Soldiers Grove, WI
    Feb. 27, 2014 12:32 p.m.

    Okay, Mr. Richards. So the military should work for nothing, just for the honor of risking their lives and maiming their mental health. That's an acceptable sacrifice. But the rest of America gets off without having to play a part?

    How about the patriots who serve, get benefits from those who stay at home. Let the rest of us pay that price for our freedoms.