Monday, February 24, 2014
Obama Administration To Shrink Military Back To Pre WWII Levels
Pravda-on-the-Hudson has leaked Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's proposals to downsize our military to pre WWII levels.
The Army is going to be cut to between 440,000 and 450,000, as opposed to a post-9/11 peak of 570,000. A lot of the troops we're getting rid of include battle hardened and experienced officers, NCO's and enlisted men whom served in AfPak and Iraq...not to mention experienced and successful commanders like General Stan McCrystal and the Marine Corps' General Mattis, who have already been forced into early retirement for political reasons.
Our entire fleet of Air Force A-10 attack aircraft, one of the best anti-tank planes in the world are going to be eliminated while more money is going to be spent on what the Times calls 'the controversial F-35 warplane'. It's controversial, all right.
The Navy will be limited to adding two destroyers and two attack submarines every year, but will have to give up 11 heavy and light cruisers, which will go into what's called 'reduced operating status'. That simply isn't enough to maintain America's naval superiority on the world's oceans.
The Navy managed to save all 11 of its aircraft carriers for now, but some of them are approaching mid life and we're not going to be building any new ones. The USS George Washington is going to be overhauled and will get a nuclear refueling, but there's no guarantee for any of the others, especially if the defense budget continues to shrink under the Obama Administration as it likely will.
In an effort to discourage retention and new enlistment, pay and benefits are being cut markedly. Pay for officers is to be frozen, while enlisted men will get a single 1% pay raise before their pay is frozen as well. At the same time, a lot of the perks and subsidies that make military life affordable at the current rate of pay are being eliminated or severely cut back. Tax-free housing allowances for military personnel are going to be sharply reduced, and so is the $1.4 billion direct subsidy provided to military commissaries, so groceries and other goods at the PX are going to be a lot more expensive.
Health insurance deductibles and some co-pays will increase for some military retirees and for family members of active duty servicemen, and new enlistees will see even higher rates for these items. This is on top of the screwing our active military already took on their retirement benefits and COLAS.
Aside from the F-35, the areas where the defense budget isn't shrinking? Cyberwarfare, special ops and drones, of course.
What's going on here is pretty easy to figure out, and I said it back when Hagel was first confirmed as SecDef - the idea is to sharply reduce our military capabilities, eliminate our military's ability to fight a two front war, and to use the 'savings' for the president domestic agenda. Instead of jobs for engineers machinists, scientists, assemblers that actually create growth, and instead of providing training in various fields for our military, we'll just hand out more food stamps and welfare checks. Instead of national defense, more green energy scams and more trillion dollar stimulus programs,
And of course, most of Pravda-on-the Hudson's reader thoroughly approve:
The size of the army is not the problem; the size of the Pentagon budget is. Replacing soldiers with gold-plated weapons systems is not the answer; demilitarizing the US economy is. The country needs a multi-year plan to cut defense spending in half without sending the economy into a tailspin. Each year 10% of the Pentagon's budget should be transferred to a new agency charged with rebuilding the country's infrastructure. In five years when half of today's trillion dollar military spending has been moved to civilian use, that new agency be phased out by cutting its budget 10% per year. In a decade, the US would finally have a peace-time economy for the first time since 1941.
From St. Louis:
It's high time that Americans have a conversation about our national values. Are we a country constantly at war, using the military as our #1 jobs program? Or are we a nation of peace, where we invest our resources and young people in more productive ways?
Given the long-term effects of war on our citizens, and the cost of caring for disabled veterans like my own father, it just seems obvious that we should scale back the military to pay for things like infrastructure, cleaner energy, job training and education. Let's hope Congress agrees.
And from San Francisco
Not only do we currently spend roughly the same annually on our military than the rest of the world combined, we currently spend ~4x more than the second place spender, China. Even if we scale back adventurous aircraft projects (that can likely easily be replaced by simple unmanned drones), other countries have a long way to go before catching up with us. The parallels drawn in the comments to WWI are unwarranted; we are not going to quickly be overtaken by any other country's military. Were another nation state to begin to turn into a threat we could also still adapt and increase spending. This is a fantastic decision to help balance our budget, and certainly wiser than cutting all known domestic aid programs...
As others have mentioned, the days of nation-against-nation combat are over. Outmoded cold-war-sized armies do no good against terrorists in bunkers. The time is right for intelligent trimming of the military.
Every one of these comments could be datelined 1938 and would fit in quite well.
This is quite a gamble to take, given what's going on with Iran, the PLA's increasing strength and a resurgent Russia,but that is after all what America voted for. Hey,what could go wrong?