Tuesday, February 28, 2017

New York Times: Trump to Seek $54 Billion Increase in Military Spending

President Donald Trump has not a clue about the nature of today’s conflicts the U.S. Armed Forces face or will face in the future. His vision is the military of World War II, Vietnam, and Dessert Storm, with huge ground, sea, and air forces all engaged to win a glorious victory over the enemy. That is why he claims, “The state of the military is a ‘disaster,’ it is ‘depleted,’ and as president he will ‘rebuild’ it. Put simply, Mr. Trump wants to add more troops and ships and planes.”

In today’s environment “ . . . America fights its current wars with drones and smart bombs, it ‘employs’ far fewer men then during WWII. It is a different world.”

Who knows—this dangerous man may have visions of basking in the glory of a wartime President of a victorious nation.

Here are two views worth considering:

Robert Reich:

Trump’s plan to increase military spending by $54 billion next year makes no sense. U.S. military spending is already huge, larger than the 7 next largest national military budgets put together.

He has no idea why this money is necessary anyway, because he has no foreign intelligence. He's dumped on the U.S. intelligence agencies, downgraded the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Defense Intelligence Agency, and put Steve Bannon on the National Security Council principals committee.

Dan Rather

Let me begin by making it clear that you never met anyone who has more respect for the American military. And I long have been a strong believer in military preparedness; a believer that we had better be ready to fight because we may have to.

With that as prelude, however, I respectfully and humbly submit the following:

The United States became the most powerful nation in the history of the world in part because of our military might, but not entirely, not even nearly.

The news being floated of President Donald Trump's budget priorities represent a misunderstanding of the nature of the threats we face. The press reports say it is going to be a huge increase in "national security." $54 billion to be exact to the military, with that money being offset by deep cuts in other government functions..

But this runs the risk of being a dangerously narrow view of "national security." In my mind, and I believe the historic record will show, national security can also be measured in a strong economy and an educated population. It can be measured in protecting ourselves from disease and pushing the boundaries of science. It can be measured with vigilant and intelligent law enforcement, protections of our civil rights, housing for the poor, and robust innovations in agriculture and energy. The announcement of deep cuts to the already minuscule budget of foreign aid makes for a talking point with worrisome consequences.

I believe in a strong and well-resourced military. But wise government is about making choices. These are often difficult choices. There is only so much money to go around. In the choices announced here I do not see wisdom. I believe we will be a less safe, less prosperous, less fair nation if they are allowed to go forward. At the very least there should be careful, measured debate about our priorities, with the goal of reaching a national consensus. This is too important for something created in chaos and hurriedly rammed through on a foundation of rhetoric.

Always supportive of the troops-Crowds in Macon
 welcome back 200 members of the
Georgia National Guard's 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team
returning from Afghanistan September 2014.
Credit: David Goldman AP
By Michael d. Shear and Jennifer Steinhauer
FULL EVENT: President Donald Trump Speech at CPAC 2017 (2/24/2017) Donald Trump Live CPAC