In 1989, the year President Ronald Reagan left office and the Berlin Wall came down, total spending by the Department of Defense equaled $468.7 billion in constant 2005 dollars, according to the Office of Management and Budget.
If you don't count Clint Eastwood, whose rambling, Bob Newhartesque conversation with an empty chair included implicit criticism of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Rand Paul may have been the only speaker at the Republican National Convention last week who questioned his party's mindless militarism. The Kentucky senator said, "Republicans must acknowledge that not every dollar spent on the military is necessary or well-spent."
On May 23, President Barack Obama told more than 1,000 jubilant, uniform-prepped-and-polished graduates of the U.S. Air Force Academy that the world has a "new feeling about America."
Conservatives in Congress are fighting to undo mandatory cuts to defense spending, slated to bite in January. Called “the Sequester,” these automatic cuts would gut important Pentagon programs, undermining our national security. Even worse, these automatic cuts do not distinguish between wasteful and efficient spending due to their mechanistic nature.
“Freedom isn’t free.” We usually hear this on occasions such as Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day. It’s meant to remind us of the brave American troops who put their lives on the line daily to protect our liberty and preserve our security.
It's an unwritten law of modern America that a political campaign speech should last no more than 30 minutes. The lecture candidate Barack Obama delivered on the evening of Jan. 24 in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol came in at just longer than one hour and six minutes.
President Obama just ordered massive cutbacks in defense spending, eventually to total some $500 billion. There is plenty of fat in a Pentagon budget that grew after 9/11, but such slashing goes way too far.
Listening to Barack Obama laying out what he calls his new defense strategy, my first reaction was, "Here we go again." Having basically written off the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, Mr. Obama is falling prey to a temptation several of his predecessors found irresistible in peacetime: Cut defense expenditures. Shrink the military. And hope the rest of the world will neither notice nor take advantage of our weakness.
President Obama is calling for dramatic defense cuts that could threaten our national survival while obstructing structural reforms to our entitlement programs that are essential for our national financial survival. It just doesn't get much worse than this.
The U.S. military had better get ready to do a whole lot more with a whole lot less. That's the bottom line of the so-called "new strategic guidance" issued this week by President Barack Obama during a brief visit to the Pentagon.
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