Of all the controversial ideas in the Bowles-Simpson deficit-reduction plan, the "most welcome" is the one about slashing defense spending and at long last taming the infamous military industrial complex, writes Eugene Robinson. He lays the blame for out-of-control spending on Republicans, who talk a good game on small government but view the Pentagon's outrageous budgets as sacrosanct—and he hopes the infusion of Tea Partiers into their ranks will change things.
If it does, the surest way to save money quickly is to bring the troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan. That's underway in Iraq, but "what kind of return are we getting on our $119.4 billion investment in Afghanistan this year?" he asks in the Washington Post. "Our enemy, the Taliban, remains powerful and entrenched." China, meanwhile, is cashing in on lucrative contracts while we go broke trying to bring peace. "Let's save American lives and a ton of money," he suggests: Pull out of Afghanistan.