Face It, Washington: Defense Budget Must Shrink

Pentagon's policies 'outdated'; deficit's the biggest threat: Romesh Ratnesar
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Apr 11, 2011 12:20 PM CDT
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), chairman of the House Budget Committee, holds up a copy of the 2012 Republican budget proposal during a news conference April 5, 2011 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – The latest budget compromise may have resulted in “sweeping” and “historic” cuts, as the White House, Congress, and the media have claimed—yet “not a solitary penny” was cut from defense spending. Instead, spending will break $700 billion in 2011, which happens to be a post-World War II record and 35% of the world's total military spending. It’s time to get serious about reducing our defense budget, writes Romesh Ratnesar in Time. And neither President Obama’s nor Paul Ryan’s plans are brave enough to make the cuts we need.

Our approach to foreign policy is “outdated”: For one thing, “al-Qaeda is weaker today than at any time since 9/11,” and it’s “more likely to be eradicated through targeted drone strikes and commando raids than by counterinsurgency campaigns.” What’s more, “the US faces no major power rival.” America and its allies claim 80% of the world's military power, while possible threats like North Korea and Iran control a total of about 2%. "The one clear and present threat to the American way of life is the size of the national debt"—and what we need to do is shrink the size of our forces, cut back on pricey missions, and rethink where and how we get involved in conflicts. Much of the public backs “real cuts” to defense. "They're just waiting for leaders with the courage and wisdom to make them."

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