Thursday, 01 September 2011

Military General Advocates Cuts in Military Spending

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Usually when U.S. citizens argue in favor of downsizing the military budget, they are treated as anti-American by neoconservatives and other "hawks." When presidential contender Ron Paul advocates bringing the troops home and reducing federal military spending, he is called an isolationist. But what can critics say of a military general who makes such assertions?

Brigadier General John Adams, in a piece for The Hill, makes such declarations. He claims that while the federal government has increased military spending, it has not increased national security, and such spending only serves to threaten economic security and fiscal sanity:

Over the past 10 years, the DOD budget increased from $297 billion to $549 billion, not including the Overseas Contingency Operations, which alone stands at $159 billion for FY11. Even if we factor in inflation, in an era of constant budget deficits, this rate of spending is unsustainable.

Out-of-control defense spending is a major cause for the calamitous state of our overall budget. This threatens the peace and prosperity that responsible national security planning is designed to protect. We cannot allow the Pentagon to continue to spend exorbitant amounts of money without thought to overall strategy or long-term interests.

Adams offers a number of ways in which the military budget can be reduced.

First, he contends that the Pentagon needs “an updated and realistic national security strategy with 21st Century priorities,” and for Adams, that includes a drive to reduce nuclear arms and eliminate weapons we do not need.

Likewise, Adams advocates a national security strategy that includes diplomacy and peace. He asserts that national security should go “beyond bombs and bullets.”

Third, Adams supports the notion of working with allies, not leading them. He claims America’s allies should be “full partners.” He writes, “It is time NATO countries fully contribute to their national security by putting appropriate resources into their militaries.”

The last item Adams recommends is tied to the third suggestion in that he declares the United States should stop pursuing “unilateral wars that undermine our nation’s security.” First and foremost, the United States should end its involvement in Iraq at the end of 2011 as promised, he says.

Adams, like a number of others, argues that America’s economic crisis forces a painful but necessary discussion of spending priorities, and contends that nothing should be off the table when it comes to spending cuts. And that includes military spending.

Adams also refuses to allow the federal government or the Pentagon to “hijack the debate” on American national security and federal spending. As in the case of public education, increased military spending does not bring about increased achievement and progress.

In fact, much of the military spending has been counterproductive. For example, recent investigations found that nearly $60 billion of American taxpayer dollars allocated for defense has landed in the hands of America’s enemies and criminals in Afghanistan and Iraq by way of subcontractor deals and other means.

Therefore, Adams concludes that Americans should reconsider continuing down the path of more of the same, and instead “seize the opportunity to refocus our often wasteful, counter-productive defense spending.”

It is important to note that Adams’ views are representative of what appears to be a growing number of military members opposed to America’s foreign policy and military spending. After all, GOP presidential Ron Paul has garnered more financial support from active military members than any of the other Republican presidential contenders combined, and it is in large part because of his message of non-interventionism and how that policy would contribute to fiscal sanity.

Like Paul, Adams asserts that the United States must “set a course that safeguards the peace and prosperity of the American people.”

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