RON HART: Military spending: Fewer good men

Published: Thursday, March 13, 2014 at 04:58 PM.

We currently spend more on defense than the next 13 highest spending countries combined. China is second at $125 billion a year and they are only spending that because they want to be ready to come collect on all the money we have borrowed from them. 

The Defense Department has become the Offense Department. We invade and occupy, we do not “defend.” The staggering amount we spend on defense does not include military aid to countries like Pakistan and Egypt , nor does it include border security, Homeland Security, the NSA, the CIA, the FBI, etc. Folks, we spend a lot of money on “security” that we don't need to. It benefits the government to scare us so it can keep growing all its myriad agencies.

The F-35 fighter is a classic example. It is a jet many believe we don’t need. It got funded because it is built in 46 states. Defense contractors spread their money around different districts to ensure that their products will be funded. Long ago, economic logic yielded to politics in our military procurement system.

The military–industrial complex might not need a war. It can make money selling weapons to Obama to use against Congress and Fox News. 

American voters’ appetite for wars is fading. Only 25 percent wanted us to strike Syria , and the other 75 percent still want to know why we occupied Iraq and Afghanistan . We will need fewer soldiers going forward. Future wars are going to be more drone- and special ops-driven, like the bin Laden raid.

Should a major enemy evolve, it would do so slowly over time. We could get back into a war footing pretty quickly, like we did in World War II. If there is a galvanizing cause, Americans will come together.

We need to pay veterans what we owe them for their service and stop making so many of them. And we need to thin the top-heavy, war-itching, military brass. If you have a hammer you are always looking for a nail, thus our wars.

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