The Shrinking Military

I don’t pretend to be a defense specialist who knows exactly how many troops, missiles, and weapons systems are necessary to protect the nation. Neither do I know precisely how much fat there is in the military budget. As someone who always seeks to reduce excessive government spending, I remain open to cutting back anywhere, even in the military, if money is being spent unwisely. Yet the new proposed defense budget offered by Defense Secretary Hagel this past week has raised no small amount of concern; therefore, I must be concerned as well.

We are so accustomed to legislating and spending without any regard to constitutional limitations that it may be good to remember that military spending is absolutely constitutional. We have so much money currently being thrown around unconstitutionally by the federal government that we ought to at least pause before slashing indiscriminately the forces that ultimately keep us safe in a hostile world.

Is that world any less hostile today?

Shrink the Military

Yet we are now contemplating massive budget cuts that many say would cripple us militarily should we have to be in more than one place at a time. The new numbers would reduce our active army from 520,000 to 420,000 eventually, a level unseen since the Cold War began at the end of WWII. Is this really wise? The Marine Corps could drop from 192,000 to 175,000. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says those numbers are too low for us to be an effective fighting force. Yet a president who has shown no real interest in balancing a budget is bent on hacking back on this part of it:

New Defense Budget

What else? The pay increase for our troops would be slowed from 40% since 2001 down to 1%, housing budgets will go down, and commissaries will have to raise prices. Is this because our troops are living in too much luxury? Everyone knows that’s not the case. Yet they will bear the brunt of this cutback. I’m sure that will be a great morale booster as we seek to attract more soldiers:

Want to Cut

Does the president think this can be done without anyone raising questions?

Won't Even Notice

America’s status in the world already is suffering. Our influence is waning under this administration. How is this going to help?

Shield Smaller

So, the one clearly constitutional duty of government—protecting its citizens—takes a back seat to everything else the federal government finds more compelling?

Suck in Gut

I hope you will excuse me for questioning our priorities.

Obama’s “Flexibility”

A few days ago, President Obama met with the Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev. At one point, when he apparently thought the microphone was off, he leaned toward the Russian president and pled with him to tell Vladimir Putin that after the election, he would have more “flexibility.” The context was a discussion about missile defense. From the beginning of his term, Obama has been no fan of developing our missile defense, and he seems to lean toward the Russian position on that. The issue also involves our protection of European allies like Poland. Obama’s not too keen on that either.

Since the outcry over his comments, he has tried to distance himself from himself, claiming that people are reading too much into what he said. It seems pretty obvious to me, though, what he really meant.

Of course, he will have the same approach when it comes to domestic policy. He will campaign as a reasonable, middle-of-the-road uniter, while planning to veer leftward again if he should happen to prevail and win a second term.

Some may wonder how he can get away with the charade. Remember, he has a ubiquitous ally:

Unfortunately, more of those allies are being churned out of journalism schools throughout the nation:

The real question at hand is whether “we the people” will allow Obama to get away with it again. Will we do more to expose the charade? A nation’s future is at stake.

Obama & Defense

Last week, President Obama announced major cuts in the nation’s defense program. I’m certain there is waste in every area of government operations, including the military. For that reason, I don’t have a knee-jerk reaction to defense cuts, as long as they do target waste and don’t weaken the nation’s ability to respond to threats.

But is that what the president has done? I’ve read analysis on both sides of this issue, and while I understand the desire to focus more on drones and other high-tech operations, is it really safe to cut back on the number of troops available? Do we put too much trust in high-tech gadgetry? The old refrain, “boots on the ground,” is still relevant.

I might not be quite as concerned if I could trust the man in charge. If, for instance, a Ronald Reagan-type of president argued for a new direction in defense, I would be more comfortable with the rationale simply because I would know he wouldn’t sell out the country’s protection. Obama, however, doesn’t inspire the same degree of trust. In fact, I deeply suspect everything he does. Why? Because I understand his worldview. He has a long history of sympathy for radical causes, both within the U.S. and in foreign nations. His “church” for twenty years was an apologist for the terrorist organization Hamas. He is also blatantly anti-Israel.

With respect to our dependence on drones, it was just a couple weeks ago that Iran captured one of them and now has access to its technology. What was President Obama’s response to this capture? He meekly asked for them to please return it. They laughed. What an astute negotiator.

Defending the nation from all enemies domestic and foreign is the primary reason for the existence of the national government. It’s the one most obvious area of the budget that is completely constitutional. I fear he has undercut our national security. I hope I’m wrong, but it would be in character.

I’m still praying this nightmare will end in November.

For Memorial Day

Yes, war is bad. Sometimes, though, not going to war is even worse. Would we really want a Hitler controlling all of Europe? If not for the Cold War, and Reagan putting the pressure on the Soviet Union, more of the world might have come into the Soviet orbit. The lesson is clear:

It would be better if we could all agree on this. That agreement has been somewhat sporadic, however:

We talk a lot about the national debt, but there’s one type of national debt we don’t speak about often enough:

May we always remember.