Thursday, January 12, 2012

Fire the Army

It's time for small-government conservatives to rally around the president. Mr Obama has proposed downsizing the Army to a leaner, meaner, more mobile force. Implicit in the cuts to classical combat forces is the promise that we will not again attempt a decade of conquest and pacification of distant, restive countries, as we did in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

The president's proposed cuts would offset the perpetual growth of the military and the military-industrial complex, which is as strong and as corrupt as ever. It would shrink the size of government and lower the permanent tax burden on American taxpayers. It would underscore the vital Constitutional principle of civilian control of the military.

The general change in strategy would seem sound coming from a Republican president, right? We need a more mobile, responsive military. We can't waste lives and treasure trying to force democracy on people at the point of a gun. Of course, a Republican (other than Ron Paul) wouldn't dare decrease total military spending. Is that because of a real concern for national security? Or is it because the GOP depends as heavily on military and military-industrial donations and votes as the Democrats do on dependents of the rest of government.

Conservatives, don't let your party loyalty confuse you: President Obama is right on this issue, and it will strengthen - not weaken - the conservative cause to rally behind him and stand up against interests whose real goal is to dip as deeply as they can into the public fisc.

Write your GOP congressman or senator and let him know that you are conservative first and Republican second. And shrinking the size of government - including wasteful military spending - is fundamentally conservative.

5 comments:

Chops said...

I emailed Sen. Scott Brown a similar note. And an additional point is tactical: if some GOP reps go along with these cuts, they could do so with concessions from Democrats, leading to even more cuts.

Budget hawk Republicans, this is the time to make some noise!

Anonymous said...

Done. Also told him he has - until the moment he incorrectly references a Red Sock - my full support.

taoist said...

I'm fine with reducing the level of military spending in absolute terms, but the problem is that I think military spending should go up in relative terms to the entire budget. Just as with personal investments such as retirement funds, we should have an expected percentage of the budget we devote to the military (and of course a capped and balanced budget), and the percentage of the budget that we're devoting to defense is historically low.

--Ian

Carol L. Douglas said...

Just saw this, relating to Taoist's post above:

http://www.heritage.org/budgetchartbook/defense-entitlement-spending

Chops said...

Taoist -

The idea that military spending should be a fixed proportion is monstrously silly on its own. There are many reasons that total government spending moves over time - should our military spending policy be dictated by those? Depending on the movement of total spending, that could leave us with wasteful, useless military spending, or cuts so severe that they compromise our defensive abilities.

I'm not sure why you have this idea; one possible source is the notion (held by some) that the military and its contractors are a group in society entitled to government support, with much the same attitude as seniors or educators. That's wrongheaded. The military serves the nation, not vice versa, and they aren't "entitled" to anything. By contrast, they are employed by the American people to do a job. We, the people, will decide how much we want to spend on defense, and we will increase or decrease it as we see fit, matching the marginal benefit of a dollar on military spending to the marginal benefit of a dollar spent elsewhere (and to a dollar untaxed).

Social engineering and patronage have no place in our military spending policy.