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Stop the Hypocrisy

April 13, 2009

There’s a case to be made to cut military spending and to say that, because of the economic situation, America is forced to make a choice between being prepared for a ‘traditional’ war and being equipped for fighting insurgencies. While the French Cowboy wouldn’t buy those arguments even if the current administration had proven itself to be genuinely interested in keeping deficits and national debt low, the case Monsieur Gates tries to make with his newly announced DoD budget is ludicrous in light of the Obama philosophy that government spending is the cure to all evil.

While campaigning for his so-called economic stimulus and his ‘more debt than all American presidents accumulated’ budget, Monsieur Obama reminded us again and again that if we don’t “invest” into public schools now America will be outsmarted by other nations in the future, that if we don’t “invest” into green energy his promise of lowering sea levels won’t come to pass, and that effectively nationalising health care will somehow reduce its costs. He even said that if government doesn’t “invest” in all those areas America won’t be competitive economically, as if it had been the public sector that has driven inventions and innovations in the past.

By this logic, defence spending with its shovel-ready projects for an almost exclusively American workers-employing industry should be a goldmine for government-induced prosperity. And yet, for some funny reason, it is the Pentagon that has to make those “difficult decisions” about where to cut costs in order to drop some water into the bucket that is national debt. This wouldn’t even make sense in a peacetime environment, but it’s worse when the country is engaged in two regional wars and “overseas contingency operations”, and with North Korea and Iran launching missiles and aspiring nuclear weapons. In such an environment you have to be positively anti-military in order to scale down your missile defence shield projects, your naval power and your F-22’s, effectively giving up your airspace supremacy.

Not all is horrible in the defence budget and, as mentioned before, if your goal is to reduce costs, re-structuring the military to adjust to new strategic plans at the cost of preparedness for traditional threats is not necessarily suicidal. But while the country is still digesting the news of a yet unseen expansion of government in virtually all areas of life that was said to be both short-term stimulus and long-term assurance of prosperity, how can the administration be so shameless as to try and sell a reduction on defence spending in times as these as dictated by fiscal necessity? While the White House sees virtue in meddling in all kinds of private sector areas, the one role that even the staunchest libertarian would assign to the government is singled out for decrease. So, go ahead and expand government, cut defence, ignore the opposition if you will, but, je vous prie!, stop the hypocrisy.

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