With long faces and grim predictions, U.S. politicians from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on down are starting to implement budget cuts to the U.S. military. Am I the only one who’s ecstatic about the first cuts and eager for more to come quickly?
Panetta warned last month that cuts would be “devastating” to the Pentagon. Republicans have solemnly warned against cuts that go beyond the relatively minor cuts that Congress agreed to in August. Officials of both parties warn that the defense needs of the country might suffer with the automatic cuts that are going into effect after the congressional “super committee” gave up on its effort to find other budget solutions.
The military is supposed to find $450 billion in additional cuts over a 10-year period. Does this mean we can’t invade countries such as Iraq anymore? Does it mean that if some military action is required — such as attacking terrorist training facilities in Afghanistan — that we can strike somewhere and then leave the country alone afterwards? Does it mean that we won’t be spending money to help overthrow various governments — such as Libya’s — so that one dictator can be replaced by another bad regime?
Does it mean we can shut down U.S. military bases in Europe — and let the Europeans defend themselves? Does it mean that we can bring the troops home and send many of them to productive jobs in the civilian world?
I want for the U.S. military to be used for actual defense. (What a strange concept, huh?) That means defending this country from invaders. I don’t want to the U.S. military to be the world’s police force. Anyone who thinks Pax Americana can be a reality is just as delusional as those who thought Rome could stay in power and enforce its peace forever. More to the point, U.S. taxpayers shouldn’t bear the burden of paying for the huge standing military we have today.
I don’t care whether it’s sane politicians who bring these cuts about or if it’s automatic cuts. (Since I don’t believe there are enough sane politicians, the automatic cuts sound good.) I want to quit invading other countries, shut down foreign bases around the world, and reset the military to truly guard the territory of this country.
Even though Democrats and Republicans are united in their belief that military cuts are a terrible thing — and they might not sell well to voters — they’re going to make me very happy if they come true. Sadly, I have a sinking feeling that there will be a bi-partisan bailout of the military-industrial complex. It’s sad that the things the mainstream parties agree about most strongly tend to be terrible ideas.