A Tea Party Defense Budget
(The American Conservative) -- by William Lind --
Tea Partiers rightly fear national ruin unless government spending is reduced. The numbers quickly show such reductions must include the defense budget. The national-security state devours about half of all “discretionary” federal spending. Years ago, Sen. Charles Grassley said to President Ronald Reagan, “It’s great that you are going after the welfare queens, Mr. President. But when are you going to go after the welfare queens in the Pentagon?” The Tea Party, to achieve its goals, must answer, “Now.”
Bean-counting won’t do the job. For meaningful savings, we must begin by changing our grand strategy, which presently defines virtually everything that happens in the world as an American interest. Against the Founders’ advice, we are not only playing the great power game, we are attempting to be the globe’s dominant power.
In consequence, America does not today have a defense budget. It has an empire budget—perhaps the Tea Party should call it that. Derailing the neocons’ (and neolibs’) imperial ambitions and returning to the defensive grand strategy America followed through most of her history would save not tens but hundreds of billions of dollars.
We would no longer need a 3:1 “rotation base” for forward-deployed forces because we would no longer have forward-deployed forces. More important, we would have fewer enemies because we would not be inserting our nose into everyone else’s quarrels. That is true national security: reducing the threat by not posing a threat.
A second large tranche of savings would come from designing and equipping our forces for tomorrow’s wars—those that are forced upon us—not yesterday’s. Almost all the ships, planes, and weapons we are buying are designed for conflicts against other states. They are useless or worse for Fourth Generation wars against non-state opponents. Why do we need the F-22 and F-35 fighter aircraft? To shoot down Taliban flying carpets.
Canceling the programs—not just reducing the buys—would save tens of billions now and later. (The more complex the system, the higher its maintenance costs.)...MORE...LINK