Is it time to lower the US military ceiling? ('Los Angeles Times', USA)

Is it time to lower the US military ceiling? ('Los Angeles Times', USA)The economy is weak, unemployment is growing, the political system is dysfunctional. Why does the White House and Congress continue to see the United States in the role of world gendarme?

A week ago, when John Beyner rushed over the capitol, he tried hard to convince members of the House of Representatives from the Republican Party to vote for the national debt ceiling bill, which the leader of the Senate majority Harry Reid called stillborn, Ryan C. Crocker in distant Kabul. As reported by the media, taking the oath, he made a short speech in which he stated that the Western powers should not “rush to the exit” from Afghanistan.


Today in Afghanistan, after almost a decade of war, initiated by the United States, no one is out of the way and not in a hurry. Air strikes, night raids, assassinations, ambushes, the death of military and civilians - all this continues and will not end not only in the 2014 year, but later. However, despite the panic in Washington over debt payments, we will continue to spend huge amounts of money on this war.

Meanwhile, in Iraq, in the eighth year of the American military operation, it is planned to leave a significant contingent even after the 2011 year, at the end of which the withdrawal of troops is scheduled. And the State Department is preparing to hire a small army consisting of approximately 5 000 armed mercenaries (with its own mini-Air Force), so that the "mission" of the United States in this country continues. It will cost billions of dollars.

In Libya, the US / NATO military operation, conceived as a lightning strike that would overthrow the dictator Muammar Gaddafi, has been going on for the fifth month and is not expected to end. Moreover, no one is trying to conduct a serious reassessment, let alone a cost analysis. In Yemen and Somalia, operate drones, CIA agents and the military, there is a build-up of special forces.

Meanwhile, in Washington, the cost of national security, apparently, it is only planned to increase. According to Lawrence Korb, former Assistant Secretary of Defense under President Reagan, the Pentagon’s budget of 2011 billion dollars in 526 year (excluding the costs of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq) - “whether in real dollars or adjusted inflation is ... higher than in any period after the end of the Second World War, including during the wars in Korea and Vietnam and in the midst of the arms race at Reagan. " They promise that in 2012, the Pentagon’s budget will be even higher.

Recently, Senator John McCain raised the issue of Pentagon spending in a difficult economic environment, talking to Army General Martin Dempsey, the newly appointed chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He asked about President Obama’s plan to cut the Pentagon’s budget for 400 billion dollars over 12 years, as well as some congressmen’s ideas for reducing the budget for 800 billion dollars over the same period.

Dempsey responded: “I was targeted at 400 billions. Considering how difficult it would be to cut the budget by 400 billions, I think it would be extremely difficult and risky to achieve a reduction of 800 billions.”

Perhaps this is the most vivid confirmation that the Obama plan to “cut” the Pentagon’s budget does not mean any cuts. Imagine an obese person who continues to eat, but limits his dreams of future even more magnificent meals. Thus, the White House proposes to "cut" only the projected future growth in Pentagon spending.

This is the question that should be asked now, when financial mania took Washington by the throat: how to characterize the state of minds of our generals, who continue to behave as if the United States has no better purpose than to be a world gendarme forever?

As a child I was fascinated by a series of posters with visual absurdities, such as, for example, a five-legged cow flying through the clouds. The caption to each picture read: "What's wrong here?"

Let us now look at the actions of elected officials in Washington. America’s credit rating is threatened by a decline, jobs are disappearing, infrastructure is falling apart, the number of homeowners is drastically reduced, eviction for debt has reached an unprecedented scale, difficult times, and even the president acknowledges that the political system designed to correct the situation is “dysfunctional,” but Congress and the president are still firmly committed to defending these global bastions, waging these wars and developing this complex of national security, which has reached such proportions that we could not even think about the years when the atomic superpower opposed the United States.

Tell me what's wrong here?

All the attention of Americans is focused on raising the debt ceiling - they say it is necessary to avoid a catastrophe. Meanwhile, few people ask the obvious question: isn't it time to lower the military ceiling of America?
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