Edition: 030817 – Words: 913 – Audio: N/A

MORE MONEY FOR THE PENTAGON!

I love the military.  Always have.  When I was a kid I had all the plastic soldiers (typically in WW2 image as Vietnam was just starting up and hadn’t yet been a quagmire).  I loved also all the TV war shows of the early to mid
60’s.. Combat!12 O’Clock High, and The Rat Patrol were my faves.  To this day The Longest Day, Patton, and Kelly’s Heroes were the big screen favorites.  When it came my turn to serve I didn’t try to dodge military service.  I did wait until my draft number was pulled.. 53.. and that made me select the Air Force.  Since those days I have always had an affinity for the military.  But as I’ve grown older I’ve adopted more of a political balance in the needs of the military.  Of course I believe in a strong military, but as with most things in life just shoving money at something usually has a cost somewhere else.

Trump has favored a strong military, and truly, who doesn’t.  But I often wondered just what do we need regarding the military.  I mean, the Cold War is over, the Soviet Union is history, and the wars these days are really less about Abrams tanks and more about a house-to-house infantry.  The Navy has built some cool, modern ships recently, and their rail gun is amazing technology.  The Air Force continues enhancing stealth and drones.  And while many feel the military-industrial complex is a bad thing, it’s been just that which has kept us in the front of military development, with less destructive crossover civilian applications.  You need an M-IC to stay ahead, but you don’t need to feed it constantly.

BUT (and you knew that was coming)… it would seem some perspective needs to be a critical part of increasing military spending.  Now, I know damn well Trump didn’t just dream up giving the Pentagon more money.  He listened to some generals.  Yet strange as this sounds, generals and admirals are human just like any of us and as such they have a variety of opinion.  It matters not that they all came from the same respective military academies, they still all wage war differently.  Some generals will say that the military needs more vehicles.  Another general might say the military needs a better rifle.  One admiral might say we need new carriers and less destroyers.  From my own research it seems there are a number of admirals and generals who are suggesting  elements of the Naval fleet need upgrading or maintenance, that the aging missiles in the silos need upgraded electronics or structural rehab, that our 60 year old B-52 strategic bombers need replacing.

So, Trump listens to a few generals and admirals and decides the Pentagon could use another 56 billion bucks.  Well, I looked all over the internet and could find no place that gives a breakdown of how that money is to be used.  Apparently I am not the only one a bit reluctant about shoving more money toward the Pentagon.  This last Sunday on CNN, Fareed Zakaria GPS had a segment that reveals some interesting tidbits that questions this proposed increase.  Like with most things Trump seems to want, the numbers frankly don’t support the effort.. as well as his idea to slash the State Department budget at the expense of tossing more money to the Pentagon.  You remember the State Department; they are the ones who make diplomacy, not war.

Fareed reports…

“President Trump is a proposing a $54 billion increase for the Defense Department, which would be offset by large cuts in the State Department, foreign aid and other civilian agencies. Trump says he wants to do this so that “nobody will dare question our military might again.” But no one does. The U.S. military remains in a league of its own. The American defense budget in 2015 was nine times the size of Russia’s and three times that of China’s.”

Our military budget is nine times greater that Russia… our inherent military opponent??  And three times greater than China??

Another observation by Fareed…

“None of the difficulties the U.S. has had over the past 25 years have been any way been because its military was too small or weak.”

But Trump accuses the military of losing all the wars (even though it was the fault of the politicians.. duh).

He continues…

“Trump says, “We must do a lot more with less.” But the obvious target for this effort should be the Pentagon, which is the poster child for waste in government. The Pentagon is now the world’s largest bureaucracy, running a cradle-to-grave quasi-socialist system of employment, housing, health care and pensions for its 3 million employees. A recent report from its defense business board concluded that it could easily save $125 billion over five years by removing operational inefficiencies. Senior officials, of course, quickly buried the report. Those savings alone would fund the entire State Department plus all foreign aid programs for two and a half years. (former Secretary of Defense) Robert Gates used to note, “We have more people in military bands than we have Foreign Service officers.”

But wait.. aren’t foreign service officers part of a diplomatic peace policy?  They were until Trump sliced up the State Department and gave the money for making war.

Yes, I agree, Mr. President.. just WTF IS going on?

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