Consider the Syrian civil war. Romney and Obama agreed that the U.S. should organize the rebels and arm them, either directly or by proxy. Although they promised they'd be careful not to help America's enemies, so far most of the weapons supplied to the opposition have ended up in the hands of Islamic extremists.
Romney said he sees no need for direct military intervention in Syria "at this stage." Obama said, "For us to get more entangled militarily in Syria is a serious step." But neither of them ruled it out, and this is where the logic of overthrowing tyrants to make America safe from terrorism leads.
Perhaps recognizing that reality, Romney wants to boost military spending, even though, as Obama noted, we already "spend more on our military than the next 10 countries combined." Romney poses as a fiscal conservative, claiming he wants to eliminate every program "we don't absolutely have to have." Yet when it comes to military spending, he is completely unwilling to prioritize, insisting that any "cuts," even if they only amount to a slower rate of growth, would be "devastating."
The grotesquely bloated military budget that Romney supports is not necessary for defense, unless you define that function so broadly that it requires policing the planet. Republicans are supposed to be skeptical of government's competence and wary of unintended consequences. Unfortunately, that skepticism stops at the border.
Jacob Sullum is a senior editor at Reason magazine. Follow him on Twitter: @jacobsullum. To find out more about Jacob Sullum and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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