Pethokoukis

5 myths about U.S. defense spending

Venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins put together a great, chart-filled budget study a couple of years ago looking at America like it was USA Inc. Frankly, it’s an approach Mitt Romney should have copied. Anyway, here is one telling bit of analysis:

Since the Great Depression, USA Inc. has steadily added “business lines” and, with the best of intentions, created various entitlement programs. Some of these serve the nation’s poorest, whose struggles have been made worse by the financial crisis. Apart from Social Security and unemployment insurance, however, funding for these programs has been woefully inadequate – and getting worse.

– Entitlement expenses (adjusted for inflation) rose 70% over the last 15 years, and USA Inc. entitlement spending now equals $16,600 per household per year; annual spending exceeds dedicated funding by more than $1 trillion (and rising). Net debt levels are approaching warning levels, and one-time charges only compound the problem.

– Some consider defense spending a major cause of USA Inc.’s financial dilemma. Re-setting priorities and streamlining could yield savings – $788 billion by 2018, according to one recent study – perhaps without damaging security. But entitlement spending has a bigger impact on USA Inc. financials. Although defense nearly doubled in the last decade, to 5% of GDP, it is still below its 7% share of GDP from 1948 to 2000. It accounted for 20% of the budget in 2010, but 41% of all government spending between 1789 and 1930.

Indeed, there are plenty of myths about U.S. defense spending:

1. Defense spending doubled over the past decade. Can’t we return to previous levels? No. That would mean returning to an era when general readiness was at a nadir and equipment was aging. Excluding funds associated with war fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the global war on terror, the defense budget from 2001 to 2008 increased by just 4 percent annually, adjusted for inflation.

2. But aren’t today’s defense budgets at historic highs? In constant, “real” dollars, yes. But a better way to gauge the “cost” of defense is by measuring it as a percentage of the US economy. In that respect, the economic burden of defense has been cut almost in half, from a 50-year Cold-War average of about 7 percent to 4.1 percent today (3.4 percent without war costs).

3. We spend more on defense than many other nations combined. Isn’t that excessive? Not if you look at what we ask our military to do and the value it generates. Our preeminence yields enormous strategic returns: (1) It protects the security and prosperity of the United States and its allies; (2) It amplifies America’s diplomatic and economic leadership; (3) It prevents the outbreak of great-power wars so common in previous centuries; and (4) It preserves the international order in the face of aggressive, illiberal threats. These benefits are a bargain at 4 cents on the dollar.

4. Sequestration hits defense and domestic programs equally. Fair’s fair, right? Sequestration does virtually nothing to address the source of the federal government’s fiscal problem, which is the unchecked growth in entitlement spending. In 2012, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security accounted for more than $1.5 trillion in federal spending, compared to $1.2 trillion for total discretionary spending, about half of which was defense. Think about it this way: defense and discretionary spending and entitlements and debt service are not equal slices of the budget pie; indeed, one of the smaller slices is taking a disproportionately high cut. That is not an equal share. Nor is it right to jeopardize the most fundamental function of government—protecting its people.

5.  Does the size of the military matter, given how much more today’s ships and planes can do? No matter how advanced, today’s ships and planes still cannot be in two places at once, nor can they shrink the size of the skies or oceans. Numbers matter in war, and, for deterrence, in peace. The problem with the US military is not just that it is smaller than it used to be, but that, in a dangerous world, it is smaller than it needs to be.

53 thoughts on “5 myths about U.S. defense spending

  1. What you need James is a reality check. There is no country that can threaten the US globally. You still spend more on the military than the next dozen or so biggest spenders combined. All of the interventions are very expensive and seem to be very one sided. China is not bombing Syria or Libya or arming al Qaeda operations in North Africa but the US is. If you look at the total tax revenues taken in and break out the defense oriented spending you find that the military consumes around half of that revenue.

    Revenues come to around 2.2 trillion

    DOD spending come out to around $680 billion give or take 5% or so.

    CIA operations cost around $50 billion. (This supposedly includes the drone operations but the number may be a great deal higher.)

    DOE military related expenditures come out to about $20 billion.

    NASA cost for military satellites come out to $5 to $9 billion.

    VA costs the taxpayer around $60 billion.

    Homeland security comes out to $50 billion.

    Interest on debt accrued from previous wars is around $250 billion but may be as low as $100 or as high as $450.

    When half of the money that comes in as tax revenues goes towards military related expenses the entire argument that military spending is low cannot be taken seriously. I think that you need to try again.

    • What you need James is a reality check. There is no country that can threaten the US globally“…

      Funny but that wasn’t the thought on 9-11…

      You still spend more on the military than the next dozen or so biggest spenders combined“…

      We as a nation carry the water for many of those dozen…

      BTW just out of curiosity vangel where did you derive that bit about spending more than the next dozen countries?

      When half of the money that comes in as tax revenues goes towards military related expenses the entire argument that military spending is low cannot be taken seriously“…

      Sure it can especially when the other alledged half (I don’t agree with your numbers on this but let’s say you’re right anyway) is wasted on corrupt social programming…

      Can defense dollars be spent more wisely?

      Heck yeah!

      That wiser spending can be applied to every federal program and attendent bureaucracy…

        • larry g sayhs: “No one has ever answered what percent of our revenues should be spend on National Defense“…

          Well then allow me, spend what’s being wasted on medicare, medicaid, school lunch, SNAP, and federal housing assistance as a starting point…

        • You should be entitled to any level of protection that you pay for out of your own pocket. Since value is subjective and different areas have different requirements there is no way to come up with on flat fee for everyone. It is certainly true that a state in a favourable location and has a well armed population and a sound militia is far less vulnerable than one that is near border regions and has little in the way of a local defense capability.

      • Funny but that wasn’t the thought on 9-11…

        What country attacked you on 9/11? The way I saw it you were attacked by men who were members of a US funded and supported group. In case you missed it we saw a replay in Libya as the people that you gave weapons and money to when you wanted the government to fall came back and killed your ambassador not long afterwards. If you stopped arming terrorists and meddling in their domestic affairs in the first place they might not be as much of a threat as you think.

        We as a nation carry the water for many of those dozen…

        BTW just out of curiosity vangel where did you derive that bit about spending more than the next dozen countries?

        I got the information from the Economist. And there is no water to carry. China certainly does not need your military to sign energy contracts with Kazakstan, Iraq, Afghanistan, or Iran. For that matter neither does Germany, Russia, France, or Spain. If anything the military adventurism makes it a lot harder to do business around the world. (Those terrorists that you funded to overthrow the government in Libya are now causing trouble in Mali and as a result Western mining companies have had to cut back or suspend their operations.)

        http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2011/12/defence-spending

        Sure it can especially when the other alledged half (I don’t agree with your numbers on this but let’s say you’re right anyway) is wasted on corrupt social programming…

        I think that my numbers are right because they mostly come from your government sources. And as you know I do not favour corrupt social spending any more than I favour supporting the corrupt military complex. Unlike most on the left or right I actually think very highly of the principles that made yours the freest and greatest country in the world and do not wan to see it collapse because of a massive bond bubble that was enabled by the Fed and politicians from both sides. I don’t know about you but I prefer peace to war and a society that supports civil liberties to a police state. I have no idea why you don’t seem to share the same goals.

        Can defense dollars be spent more wisely?

        Heck yeah!

        That wiser spending can be applied to every federal program and attendent bureaucracy…

        The wisest path is one of peace and minding one’s business just as Washington advised. If you don’t like Washington (and I must confess that I do not think that highly of him) how about John Quincy Adams. Didn’t he say that America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy? That Americans wished to see freedom and independence for all but that they would not act as a global cop and impose their ideals on everyone else?

        • Asking the obvious vangel says: “What country attacked you on 9/11?”…

          Saudia Arabia, Saudi-wahhabists…

          In case you missed it we saw a replay in Libya as the people that you gave weapons and money to when you wanted the government to fall came back and killed your ambassador not long afterwards“…

          Personally I thought that was hilarious! Any fool that works for Obama has got have his/her head examined…

          If you stopped arming terrorists and meddling in their domestic affairs in the first place they might not be as much of a threat as you think“…

          Hmmm, yep more Ron Paul syndrome

          For that matter neither does Germany, Russia, France, or Spain“…

          How naive of you to throw in Russia…

          Spain and France can’t collective fight their away across the street if there’s traffic…

          I think that my numbers are right because they mostly come from your government sources“…

          Show us the link…

          Washington? Adams? Nope, I’ll go with Jefferson everytime…

          That Americans wished to see freedom and independence for all but that they would not act as a global cop and impose their ideals on everyone else?“…

          ROFLMAO!

          They’re still speaking French in France and Germany and Japan aren’t in to horrible a shape all things considered…

          S. Korea isn’t the worst place on the planet either…

          • Asking the obvious vangel says: “What country attacked you on 9/11?”…

            Saudia Arabia, Saudi-wahhabists…

            That is not what Bush said. In fact, he promised to support the Saudi royal family from anyone who would oppose it. You were not attacked by a nation but by a terrorist group. That does not require aircraft carriers, nukes, or a large military.

            Personally I thought that was hilarious! Any fool that works for Obama has got have his/her head examined…

            Perhaps you think that having people killed is hilarious but many do not.

            How naive of you to throw in Russia…

            Spain and France can’t collective fight their away across the street if there’s traffic…

            I would not sell the French short. They lost more able bodied men in WWI than you have in your entire history as a country. They can fight and have enough nukes and a military to defend themselves against anyone likely to attack them.

            But, as usual, you are avoiding the issue. The US spends more on its military than then next dozen countries combined. Of those, few can be considered potential enemies over the next decade or so, which means that you are wasting all that revenue on getting some in the military rich. Stop avoiding the points and deal with them with facts and logic instead of diversions and name calling.

            There is no country right now that presents a significant direct military threat to the US. That means that you don’t really need all that spending and wealth destruction.

            Show us the link…

            Washington? Adams? Nope, I’ll go with Jefferson everytime…

            The data comes from the CBO. Go look it up. Or you can find summaries in the Economist, Wikipedia, the WSJ, the CIA or other sources. Actually, if you went to these sources you would find that FICA does not count as the tax revenue that I am talking about. That is yet another Larry fiction that you can find refuted if you go to the CIA Fact Book.

            ROFLMAO!

            They’re still speaking French in France and Germany and Japan aren’t in to horrible a shape all things considered…

            S. Korea isn’t the worst place on the planet either…

            That is not due to the US. In fact, one could argue that your meddling has made things a lot worse for the Europeans. After all, it was America’s entry into WWI that made possible the rise of Lenin and Hitler and laid the foundation for future conflicts. And if you remember your history, you would know that Japan was not an enemy of the US. It was provoked into attacking Pearl by a president desperate to get into the European conflict.

            From what I see the evidence is overwhelming that war destroys capital and kills many people. Your avoidance of the issues shows that you can’t really debate those points.

          • Still thrashing around in the delusional, vangel?

            That is not what Bush said“….

            So what’s your point?

            In fact, he promised to support the Saudi royal family from anyone who would oppose it“…

            You of course of something credible to back up that statement, right?

            Perhaps you think that having people killed is hilarious but many do not“…

            Well that’s to bad! Ha! Ha! Ha! I wonder how of those you claim wouldn’t find it funny were stupid enough to vote for the Kenyan Kommie Klown?

            They lost more able bodied men in WWI than you have in your entire history as a country“…

            No the French lost men alright, but able bodied, able mind?

            Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Go educate yourself on YouTube…

            But, as usual, you are avoiding the issue. The US spends more on its military than then next dozen countries combined“…

            As usual you’re making statements you can’t back in hopes to bolster your at best tenuous grip on that matter at hand…

            There is no country right now that presents a significant direct military threat to the US“…

            And this bit of wisdom comes from what? Your long years of experience as both a soldier and war historian?

            Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Good one!

            The data comes from the CBO. Go look it up. Or you can find summaries in the Economist, Wikipedia, the WSJ, the CIA or other sources“…

            It was you made the statement sans any credible sources, you look it up…

            Wikipedia?!?!? LMAO! What’s next? The New York Times?

            That is not due to the US. In fact, one could argue that your meddling has made things a lot worse for the Europeans“….

            OMG! That is truly hilarious!

            Thanks for playing and there’s a door prize as you exit…

          • So what’s your point?

            My point is that the individuals who attacked you were terrorists. They certainly were not representing the people (or even the governments) of Iraq or Afghanistan. The two occupations were totally useless and have cost far too much in lives and capital just so that a few rent seekers can get paid from warfare.

            You of course of something credible to back up that statement, right?

            Absolutely. All State Departments since FDR have been very clear about the relationship between the US and the Saudi ruling class.

            Well that’s to bad! Ha! Ha! Ha! I wonder how of those you claim wouldn’t find it funny were stupid enough to vote for the Kenyan Kommie Klown?

            I think that conservatives found the event just as tragic as liberals. In fact, I would say that your view is a lot closer to most Liberals.

            No the French lost men alright, but able bodied, able mind?

            Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Go educate yourself on YouTube…

            Your ignorance is showing. You might try getting an education.

            “But, as usual, you are avoiding the issue. The US spends more on its military than then next dozen countries combined“…

            As usual you’re making statements you can’t back in hopes to bolster your at best tenuous grip on that matter at hand…

            But I did back up my statements. I provided you with data that has come from many sources, including your own government. The fact that your country spends more than the next dozen combined is not in dispute in either GOP or Democratic Party circles. It certainly is not in dispute by the Pentagon or NATO.

            And this bit of wisdom comes from what? Your long years of experience as both a soldier and war historian?

            Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Good one!

            No. It comes from your military intelligence assessments.

            It was you made the statement sans any credible sources, you look it up…

            Wikipedia?!?!? LMAO! What’s next? The New York Times?

            I also said CIA and CBO. And if you actually bother to look you would find that the Wiki data actually comes from the CBO. There is other data from the Congressional Research Service, IHS Global Limited, Jane’s, the State Department, etc. Those are good enough and come up with data that is sufficient to give us a look at the big picture, which is something that you are trying to obscure. The fact is that long after the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the USSR the American government is still behaving as if a material threat existed.

          • vangel says: “My point is that the individuals who attacked you were terrorists“…

            You don’t know that…

            They certainly were not representing the people (or even the governments) of Iraq or Afghanistan“…

            Again something else you don’t know…

            Obviously you’ve done little if any work on the subject…

            The two occupations were totally useless and have cost far too much in lives and capital just so that a few rent seekers can get paid from warfare“…

            Yet another baseless comment (something you seem to take pride in making) coming from your long years of international study and a multitude of intelligence memoranda that have come your way?

            Absolutely. All State Departments since FDR have been very clear about the relationship between the US and the Saudi ruling class“…

            And you being the sensible Canuck that you automatically accept these as gospel, right?

            Your ignorance is showing. You might try getting an education“…

            Actually its you vangel considering all these baseless/factless statements that you are prone to make…

            But I did back up my statements. I provided you with data that has come from many sources, including your own government“…

            LMAO!

            You’re backing up your baseless/factless claims with yet another baseless/factless claim?!?!

            ROFLMAO!

            Who do you think you are? Joe Biden?

            You’re done again

          • You don’t know that…

            Sure we do. We know who the terrorists were, what they believed in, where they lived and worked.

            Again something else you don’t know…

            Obviously you’ve done little if any work on the subject…

            Actually, that is what your intelligence agencies concluded. In case you missed it the terrorists were members of al Qaeda. It was a group that was not only funded by Saudi money but also by the CIA when it was trying to get rid of the Soviets in Afghanistan. In fact, the Obama administration is still funding various branches of al Qaeda in North Africa.

            Yet another baseless comment (something you seem to take pride in making) coming from your long years of international study and a multitude of intelligence memoranda that have come your way?

            No. It is the conclusion drawn by your own intelligence agencies who point out that Iraq has been handed over to the Shiites and there is no possibility of gaining control of Afghanistan. All those deaths and all that money was wasted.

            And you being the sensible Canuck that you automatically accept these as gospel, right?

            I think that taking the State Department’s statements at face value and checking them against actual actions make a lot of sense. It is certainly better than making up crap or saying that we should all be like Sargent Schultz and pretend that we know nothing.

            LMAO!

            You’re backing up your baseless/factless claims with yet another baseless/factless claim?!?!

            ROFLMAO!

            Who do you think you are? Joe Biden?

            You’re done again…

            I did provide you the facts. They come from the CIA World Factbook, Jane’s, CBO, and other sources. They certainly contradict your baseless claims that the US does not spend enough. By the way, where do you get your information from? I have yet to see a valid reference.

          • Sure we do. We know who the terrorists were, what they believed in, where they lived and worked“…

            vangel I think I said ‘you‘ not ‘we‘…

            Actually, that is what your intelligence agencies concluded. In case you missed it the terrorists were members of al Qaeda“…

            Actually ‘you‘ don’t know what the intelligences agencies concluded…

            You‘ made the assumption that what ‘you‘ read in what is laughingly called the news media might be factual…

            No. It is the conclusion drawn by your own intelligence agencies who point out that Iraq has been handed over to the Shiites and there is no possibility of gaining control of Afghanistan. All those deaths and all that money was wasted“…

            Yet another baseless claim that ‘you‘ have yet to support with anything credible…

            I think that taking the State Department’s statements at face value and checking them against actual actions make a lot of sense“…

            Obviously an exercise ‘you‘ have yet to attempt if these comments by ‘you‘ are anything to go by…

            I did provide you the facts. They come from the CIA World Factbook, Jane’s, CBO, and other sources“…

            Ha! Ha! Ha!

            You’ve yet to do anything of a sort…

          • How does troops on the ground in the middle east stop terrorists who are independent of nation-states?

            All we are doing is sending young people to be sliced and diced by IEDs and to spend the rest of their life with serious handicaps and what do you tell them they accomplished from their sacrifices?

            and where do you get the money to pay them entitlements for the rest of their lives?

            Is this a good reason for the government to “coerce” taxes from people?

          • larry g whines: “How does troops on the ground in the middle east stop terrorists who are independent of nation-states?“…

            Why do you make the claim they are independent?

            All we are doing is sending young people to be sliced and diced by IEDs and to spend the rest of their life with serious handicaps and what do you tell them they accomplished from their sacrifices?“…

            More faux boo! hoo! from larry g

            and where do you get the money to pay them entitlements for the rest of their lives?“…

            From people like you who did and still do support the nanny state…

            Eliminate the crapola sponsored by this parasitic clown

            Get rid of these constitutional questionable programs

          • larry g whines: “How does troops on the ground in the middle east stop terrorists who are independent of nation-states?“…

            Why do you make the claim they are independent?”

            because they’ve demonstrated that they are in numerous different places including Pakistan and other countries.

            “More faux boo! hoo! from larry g…”

            sending young people to have their arms/legs removed without a good reason is treason.

            “and where do you get the money to pay them entitlements for the rest of their lives?“…

            From people like you who did and still do support the nanny state…”

            so you’re in favor of “coercion” to pay young people lifetime entitlements in exchange for foreign adventurism?

            Eliminate the crapola sponsored by this parasitic clown…

            Get rid of these constitutional questionable programs…

            and you don’t believe what we did in Iraq and Afghanistan was “questionable”?

            dumb-ass is too polite a word for you Juandos

          • Never tiring of making the silly statement larry g asks: “because they’ve demonstrated that they are in numerous different places including Pakistan and other countries“…

            Dude you don’t even know the name of the players let alone the game…

            sending young people to have their arms/legs removed without a good reason is treason“….

            That’s why its called a, ‘volunteer‘ armed forces…

            so you’re in favor of “coercion” to pay young people lifetime entitlements in exchange for foreign adventurism?“…

            Actually if you pulled your head you would realize that the US government has been using coercion for going on 90 years now in order to steal from the individual citizen…

            and you don’t believe what we did in Iraq and Afghanistan was “questionable”?“…

            No you clueless clown I don’t…

            dumb-ass is too polite a word for you Juandos“…

            Said with the comfort that can only come from playing with his mommy’s computer in his mommy’s basement…

            If we as a nation are luck enough larry g will know the joys of his own Nick Berg hair cut

          • Actually, we have plenty of information about what happened and how it happened. The 9/11 event was not driven by some foreign government looking to attack the US. It was a plot among terrorist cells who did not like American meddling in the Middle East. It was clear that the government of Iraq had nothing to do with the attack but GW Bush lied about WMDs only to admit later that there were none. The same is true of Afghanistan. The Afghan government did not plan or contribute to the attacks. Yet, the US chose to occupy the country and install its own version of the typical political puppet when Western powers meddle in Afghanistan.

            As I said, I cite the CBO, State Department, and the CIA World Book when I make my arguments. On the other hand all you do is state your opinion.

          • vangel says: “Actually, we have plenty of information about what happened and how it happened. The 9/11 event was not driven by some foreign government looking to attack the US“…

            You have actually no idea whatsoever…

            It was clear that the government of Iraq had nothing to do with the attack but GW Bush lied about WMDs only to admit later that there were none“…

            Again you have no idea what you’re talking about but I see that you’re quick to parrot the MSM selling points…

            I’d rather be betting on the knowledge of professionals

            As I said, I cite the CBO, State Department, and the CIA World Book when I make my arguments“…

            Yet rarely do you ever have a credible link to back up your fairy tales…

          • You have actually no idea whatsoever…

            Sure I do. There were no WMDs. The attack was not done by a foreign government but terrorists who should have been stopped by your own government, which had the information it needed to arrest them long before the event.

            Again you have no idea what you’re talking about but I see that you’re quick to parrot the MSM selling points…

            MSM? Even Bush admitted that there were no WMDs.

          • vangel again repeats his debunked mantra: “Sure I do. There were no WMDs“…

            Do you lie to your kids like that too or are they hip to your BS also?

          • vangel again repeats his debunked mantra: “Sure I do. There were no WMDs“…

            Do you lie to your kids like that too or are they hip to your BS also?

            You better talk to Bush. He admitted in a press conference that Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11 and that there were no WMDs. Everyone knows that except you.

          • You better talk to Bush. He admitted in a press conference that Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11 and that there were no WMDs“…

            Well vangel Bush never said Saddam had anything to do with 9-11 and unlike your man-crush who defiling the Oval Office today Bush at least had some sense of national security…

            Then again I got to wonder if you’re not Chris Matthews in disguise sometimes…

          • Well vangel Bush never said Saddam had anything to do with 9-11 and unlike your man-crush who defiling the Oval Office today Bush at least had some sense of national security…

            Then again I got to wonder if you’re not Chris Matthews in disguise sometimes…

            Bush went on TV and said that Saddam had trained and financed al Qaeda. That connection was used to justify the war by the members of his cabinet.

            In fact after the war had begun Harold Baer used statements made under oath from Bush Administration officials, including the Secretary of State, and DCI George Tenet to award victims’ families damages that would be paid by Iraq. In his judgment Baer wrote, “The opinion testimony of the plaintiffs’ experts is sufficient to meet plaintiffs’ burden that Iraq collaborated in or supported bin Laden/al Qaeda’s terrorist acts of September 11.”

            Once again you cannot support your false claims with any objective evidence. The more that you try to spin the story the less respect, if any, will be accorded by readers of these postings. I suggest that you try to actually look at the real evidence rather than keep making stuff up.

            By the way, it is ironic that this debate is taking place at an American Enterprise Institute blog because it was the AEI that was the primary driver in favour of the conflict early in the game. They were actually advocating war with Iraq long before 9/11 and the tragedy must have some of its staff very happy in some ways.

          • vangel makesa another bizzare and unsubstantiated claim: “Bush went on TV and said that Saddam had trained and financed al Qaeda“…

            Bush was talking about Salman Pak

          • vangel makesa another bizzare and unsubstantiated claim: “Bush went on TV and said that Saddam had trained and financed al Qaeda“…

            It is not unsubstantiated. Bush administration officials went in front of a judge and told him that the government of Iraq was part of the 9/11 attacks. He went on TV and said that Saddam was involved a number of times before the story began to change after he got his war and it was no longer possible to hide the truth.

            You can cite all of the nutcase idiots who still deny the fact that the WMDs were not there but even Bush no longer supports them and has admitted to the truth. The question is why you remain so blind or stupid in the face of overwhelming evidence.

          • vange claims: “It is not unsubstantiated. Bush administration officials went in front of a judge and told him that the government of Iraq was part of the 9/11 attacks. He went on TV and said that Saddam was involved a number of times blah blah blah blah“…

            I’m sure in your fairy tale land that did indeed happen…

            Meanwhile back in the real world something quite different happened…

            You can cite all of the nutcase idiots who still deny the fact that the WMDs were not there but even Bush no longer supports them and has admitted to the truth“…

            Actually the only nutcase here is the one who’s grip on reality is tenuous at best, that you ;fairy land boy‘…

            UK experts to help destroy Iraq’s WMDs that don’t exist
            By BUSHRA JUHI | Associated Press – Mon, Jul 30, 2012

            Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

            December 16, 1998 – STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

            Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

            Democrats on Iraq + WMD’s (Weapons of Mass Destruction)

            Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

          • I’m sure in your fairy tale land that did indeed happen…

            No. It happened on national TV. I gave you the links and the references.

            And referencing stories about Clinton attacking Iraq to prevent being impeached for getting fellatio by an intern is not exactly a credible approach. After all, Clinton bombed a pharmaceutical plant in the Sudan and claimed that it was making chemical weapons only to have the US government finally admit the truth later. As for the British ‘disposal’ there is no meat to the story. It is easy to call a few tanks of chlorine chemical weapons if you are embarrassed about stupidly attacking a country on false pretences.

            I provided you with a reference to a real court case where administration officials clearly stated that Saddam had a direct part in 9/11. I also provided you with a link to a video on which Bush said that was not true.

          • vangel claims: “No. It happened on national TV. I gave you the links and the references“…

            No you didn’t, you never have…

            And referencing stories about Clinton attacking Iraq to prevent being impeached for getting fellatio by an intern is not exactly a credible approach“…

            Well since you’re the one refererncing fellatio by an intern I’ll let you run with that but it does speak to character if nothing else…

            Otherwise reminding you that intelligence from one administration does follow to the next administration is quite credible but I’m not suprised you don’t know that…

            As for the British ‘disposal’ there is no meat to the story. It is easy to call a few tanks of chlorine chemical weapons if you are embarrassed about stupidly attacking a country on false pretences“…

            The fact is the supposed lack of meat as you describe it is your sad attempt to defend your ignorance and your lying to cover your ignorance…

            This is truly hilarious: “I provided you with a reference to a real court case where administration officials clearly stated that Saddam had a direct part in 9/11“…

            You still think repeating a lie endlessly will make it somehow morph into a fact…

            Thanks for the chuckle…

          • Well since you’re the one refererncing fellatio by an intern I’ll let you run with that but it does speak to character if nothing else…

            It certainly does. All Presidents have the serious character flaws that are required to make it into the office. Clinton bombed sites in Iraq and the Sudan because he wanted to divert attention from those character flaws when he was caught with his pants down and voters could see the type of man they elected. The fact that most of the reasons given for the bombing were false is not important to Republicans because they need the reasons to justify illegal actions that cannot be justified by facts.

            Let us make this clear again without diversions. Bush and his officials said that Saddam had a big part in the 9/11 attacks. They also said that the regime was in the process of building nuclear weapons and that Saddam might be close to building one. They talked of portable chemical weapons labs, special long distance planes, etc. They went in front of a judge and stated that Saddam had a material part in the 9/11 attacks. They said that there were WMDs that could harm the US and Iraq’s neighbours. Almost everything said was a lie or a serious distortion of the truth. A trillion USD later and countless of deaths and injuries to American soldiers, not to mention innocent Iraqi civilians, and voters are beginning to wake up to the scam. The first step was to reelect one of your worst presidents ever, Obama. The next will be to marginalise the idiot fringe of the GOP or the GOP itself if it does not purge that fringe.

            Otherwise reminding you that intelligence from one administration does follow to the next administration is quite credible but I’m not suprised you don’t know that…

            I am surprised that you think that when it comes to military matters and foreign policy there is a difference between different administrations.

            The fact is the supposed lack of meat as you describe it is your sad attempt to defend your ignorance and your lying to cover your ignorance…

            But there is no meat to the story. A few bottles of bleach, some old American chemical weapons that lost their activity in the early 1990s do not qualify as WMDs unless you work for the EPA. You can choose to keep the lies alive but like the boy who cried wolf a few too many times eventually people stop to pay attention.

            This is truly hilarious: “I provided you with a reference to a real court case where administration officials clearly stated that Saddam had a direct part in 9/11“…

            You still think repeating a lie endlessly will make it somehow morph into a fact…

            I think that it is you who are repeating the lies. As I said, the Bush administration officials went in front of the judge and said that Saddam was partially responsible for 9/11.

            As the New York Law Journal reported a few days later, Baer wrote in his opinion that the testimony of witnesses like former CIA Director James Woolsey and terrorism expert Laurie Mylroie was “sufficient to meet plaintiffs’ burden that Iraq collaborated in or supported bin Laden/al Qaeda’s terrorist acts of September 11.”

            Key among the evidence introduced by Woolsey and Mylroie was the Baghdad terrorist camp Salman Pak, where radical Islamists were trained to hijack U.S. airliners using techniques employed on 9/11.

            ….While Judge Baer said the evidence of an Iraq-9/11 link was largely circumstantial and “just barely” met the required burden of proof, he awarded the claimants $104 million.

            http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0511/S00247.htm

            “In his written findings, Judge Baer acknowledged that he based his decision on the statements of Woolsey, Powell, Tenet, and Mylroie, all of whom he considered experts on the Saddam-9/11 connection, and said: “The opinion testimony of the plaintiffs’ experts is sufficient to meet plaintiffs’ burden that Iraq collaborated in or supported bin Laden/al Qaeda’s terrorist acts of September 11.”

            There you have it Bush did claim that Saddam was involved in 9/11 and allowed his staff to go under oath and say so in front of a judge. You can’t spin your way out of that simple fact no matter how hard you try.

  2. What a useless post. It is easy to argue that total defence expenditures (“all-in”) are $1 trillion versus tax receipts (“all-in”) of $2.5 trillion. That’s 40%, Jimmy P.

    Hu’ s your Pac-Master?

  3. There are ways we could reduce defense spending without placing our nation in danger.

    I want to begin with the disclaimer that I am a pacifist.

    The first is the most simple: bring our troops home. Now, I am not talking just about Afghanistan. Bring them home from Germany, and England, and France, and Africa, and the hundreds of other places where they are no longer needed. The Soviet Union is dead, and with it the threat of war in Europe. Turkey is a valuable friend and ally who is willing to take on a bigger role in the Middle East. Israel has proven she can stand on her own two feet. Let’s close down these bases and bring our boys home. It would be significantly cheaper to feed and house them here in the States than in a hundred military bases around the world. Now, one may argue that we need a military presence in the Pacific to keep China in check. Well, fine. I may disagree with that point, but I can see the logic. But why Europe? And the Middle East?

    The next thing we could do is reduce our nuclear arsenal. The number of warheads we have could destroy the world multiple times. You only need to destroy the world once. Nuclear weapon are expensive to maintain.

    Look, if we want to be serious about cutting government spending and reducing the size of the government, then let’s be serious about it. The minute you start declaring things off-limits for one reason or another is the minute you start getting waste.

    The problem with the political discussion right now is both parties are hopelessly stuck in the past. Republicans are still fighting the Soviets and Democrats have a fetish with ideas and technologies that were obsolete before I was born (I’m looking at you, high-speed rails). Both parties need to wake up and realize the world has changed. PBS may have had a place 40 years ago, but not any more. A global military may have been useful 30 years ago, but not any more.

    The politicians today remind me of the sinners in Dante Alighieri’s vision of Hell: They can see the past, they can see the future, but they have no concept of the present. (Any day I can reference The Inferno is a good day :) )

    The face of war has changed. We are no longer fighting nation-states, but rather shadows. This is the same problem that brought down the Byzantine Empire: the Emperor commanded a large military, but it was lumbering and could not defend the Empire from the much more nimble foes such as the Saracens or the Bulgarians.’

    A large military is also an inherent detriment to liberty. Our Founding Fathers knew this, which is why the Constitution requires a small military. Empires have risen and fallen because of the whim of bored generals.

    So, let us be serious about cutting government spending. After all, if the actions of the government are a threat to liberty, than the sword-arm of the government must be even more so.

    • While I can quibble on a few points (are you really a pacifist in the Jainist sense) I agree with the vast majority of what you wrote. Sadly, your view is a minority one in your country.

    • Now, I am not talking just about Afghanistan. Bring them home from Germany, and England, and France, and Africa, and the hundreds of other places where they are no longer needed. The Soviet Union is dead, and with it the threat of war in Europe“…

      Oh! Oh! ‘ron paul syndrome‘ at work!

      Have you heard the name, “Vladimir Putin”?

      Turkey is a valuable friend and ally who is willing to take on a bigger role in the Middle East“…

      Surely you jest…

      The number of warheads we have could destroy the world multiple times“…

      Gotta love those liberal talking points…

      the Empire from the much more nimble foes such as the Saracens…”…

      Well so far the saracens are getting as ass-kicking but that lumbering collection of volunteer soldiers we call the American armed forces…

      All the slow saracens are definitely dead…

      Damn shame there are politcally correct restraints put on the armed forces when it comes to waging war…

      Whenever you hear the term, “collateral damage” you know some pussy politico has got his/her finger in the mix somewhere…

      Some of these politicos also happen to be in uniform…

      Our Founding Fathers knew this, which is why the Constitution requires a small military“…

      Really?

      Small? What? A couple of brigades worth? Less?

      Empires have risen and fallen because of the whim of bored generals“…

      Name one…

      Actually jon you’re calling for more intelligent and efficient spending of tax dollars going towards the military…

      How come I don’t that coming from you regarding something like TANF or medicare for instance?

      • Oh! Oh! ‘ron paul syndrome‘ at work!

        Have you heard the name, “Vladimir Putin”?

        For the record, Putin spends a fraction of what you are spending. And Russia is only spending 4% of GDP while the US is spending nearly 5%.

        “The number of warheads we have could destroy the world multiple times“…

        Gotta love those liberal talking points…

        Here I would have to agree. All nuclear weapons should be eliminated because they cannot target military sites without killing indiscriminately. For a pacifist our friend does not go nearly far enough and seems to resemble you on the nuclear position.

        Well so far the saracens are getting as ass-kicking but that lumbering collection of volunteer soldiers we call the American armed forces…

        LOL…Not many volunteers would actually want to fight in a real war. They certainly did not volunteer in big numbers after Pearl. A while ago Bryan Caplan pointed out that the US had around 17 million able bodied fighting men, many of which were unemployed when Japan was provoked into attacking. But in the three months after Pearl less than 3% of them had volunteered. A true war usually requires lots of fighting and many soldiers. I doubt that the US could fight one without a draft and that would likely end as Vietnam did.

        But as Paul pointed out, your vision of war is outdated. We now live at a time when one can sink a carrier in minutes from a very long distance away. Most of the programs that are funded no longer work against the type of enemy that you might eventually face and that type of enemy is easily defeated by minding one’s business and having good commercial relations with all countries.

        Really?

        Yes. Really. There was not supposed to be a standing army during peace time. Why are you so ignorant of your own history yet keep debating subjects that require knowledge of it.

        • Actually, Vangel, I do call for the elimination of nuclear warheads. They are relics from a bygone era. I was just suggesting changes that could be achieved with relative ease.

          • Well, I am not a pacifist in the strictest sense of the word. I believe in a very strict version of “just war”, as laid out by St. Thomas Aquinas:

            A war is only just if:
            It is not done for self-gain (for example, a war “in the national interest” is not just).

            Peace is a central motive, even in the midst of violence.

            Aquinas also laid out a third tenet (war must be conducted by a vested authority, such as the state or church), but I don’t like it.

            I believe war should be an extreme last resort. Negotiation must always take precedence. I am, of course, preaching to the choir when I say this, but force is never preferable to cooperation.

            Now, I also have theories on how to wage a just war, but that will be a discussion for another time.

        • For the record, Putin spends a fraction of what you are spending. And Russia is only spending 4% of GDP while the US is spending nearly 5%“…

          For the record vangel you have absolutely NO idea exactly what Russia is spending on their defense forces but you’re hardly alone there…

          We have a gargantuan CIA that couldn’t give out an accurate guess either…

          All nuclear weapons should be eliminated because they cannot target military sites without killing indiscriminately“…

          There is NO such thing as ‘killing indiscriminately‘ in war…

          Not many volunteers would actually want to fight in a real war“…

          Ha! ha! ha! What did they were joining? The extension of the Boy Scouts?

          No vangel I’ve yet to talk to a recruit that didn’t expect to go over there…

          Bryan Caplan pointed out that the US had around 17 million able bodied fighting men, many of which were unemployed when Japan was provoked into attacking“…

          Oh boy more revisionist history from vangel

          Who cares naive fool like Caplan has to say?

          But as Paul pointed out, your vision of war is outdated. We now live at a time when one can sink a carrier in minutes from a very long distance away“…

          Does this bit of wisdom come from his or your long years of experience as a naval architect?

          Most of the programs that are funded no longer work against the type of enemy that you might eventually face and that type of enemy is easily defeated by minding one’s business and having good commercial relations with all countries“…

          Obviously you’re not keeping up with the daily realities of modern military functionality…

          BTW do you want to get into the pork trade with some of these idiots pushing sharia?

          You lack the understanding that these guys will stop just because someone is minding their own business…

          Truly a dangerous and naive point of view…

          There was not supposed to be a standing army during peace time. Why are you so ignorant of your own history yet keep debating subjects that require knowledge of it“….

          This is your utter and undisguised ignorance coming out in spades now…

          You can’t find in the Constitution such inane drivel as that…

          What I’m guessing is that you aren’t the least bit embarrassed by saying something so abymally stupid it almost defies description…

          • Juandos calling van a liar? lord O’Mighty… two kettles if there ever were!“…

            Guess what larry g, you’re still an idiot child…

          • Juandos. Hey I AGREE with you , Van IS a LIAR.

            but then so are you boy.

            you guys did not listen to your mommies…

            I’m sure they taught you right but you went wrong.

            it happens.

      • Name one…

        Rome, Byzantium, China, Russia, England, France, Germany, Arabia, Songhai, Japan, Greece, Egypt, Carthage.

        They’ve all had coups where the military disposed the rightful (I use the term loosely) government.

        How come I don’t that coming from you regarding something like TANF or medicare for instance?

        Because I call for the abolition of those programs, not reformation.

        • Rome, Byzantium, China, Russia, England, France, Germany, Arabia, Songhai, Japan, Greece, Egypt, Carthage“…

          ROFLMAO!

          Sorry…

          Dude! the coup was a small part in a very large mosaic of problems they all had…

          The History Of The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire
          by Edward Gibbon

          Thanks jon, I needed the chuckle…

          Because I call for the abolition of those programs, not reformation“…

          Well then OK…

          • Dude! the coup was a small part in a very large mosaic of problems they all had…

            Indeed they were. Coups are often signs of deeper problems, but the lesson remains the same: you make the military too powerful, they will soon turn on their masters.

          • Coups are often signs of deeper problems, but the lesson remains the same: you make the military too powerful, they will soon turn on their masters“…

            OMG! What kind world do you live jon?

            Towards the end of the Roman Empire the Roman Legions were made up of damn few Romans…

            Once we as a nation start putting our collective trust into majority mercernary armies then you’ll have a valid point…

          • It needn’t be mercenary. The Soviet Army overthrew Gorbechev. The German Army overthrew the Weirmer Republic. Hell, Julius Caesar himself lead an army of Romans against the Republic. Oliver Cromwell had an army of Englishmen. Napoleon had a French army.

            The histories of the ancient and medieval empires are that of coups.

            Hell, look at Egypt last year.

            Be careful of a powerful standing army, that is all I am saying. Civilian authority is a very good thing, but just remember which side has the guns.

          • Now, I want to be perfectly clear here:

            I am not saying we are near a coup or anything stupid like that. All I am saying is, historically speaking, standing armies are dangerous things.

  4. Piss off, Murphy.

    Who cares about your first year college sociology essay, now that you have graduated and are a “wet behind the ears” psuedo-economist who can’t afford a new vehicle let alone a new house.

    Make a contribution to GDP.

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