Skip to comments.Rebuilding Military Requires Sacrifices But Can Be Done, Experts Say
Posted on 06/28/2007 9:57:10 AM PDT by Paul Ross
Rebuilding Military Requires Sacrifices But Can Be Done, Experts Say
By Monisha Bansal
CNSNews.com Staff Writer
June 27, 2007
(CNSNews.com) - Asserting that the U.S. military is "stretched thin," policy experts debated Tuesday whether the country can afford to rebuild the military to necessary levels and how it should be done.
"We should spend whatever it takes to make sure we're secure, but by doing it in a very candid way," Robert Hormats, vice chairman of Goldman Sachs International, said at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C.
"Funding the military in the next decade is going to be very challenging if people are soured on the military because they are soured on the war in Iraq," he said.
Hormats said the military's responsibilities have been expanding without an expansion in active duty forces, which is now "stretched thin by operations in Iraq and Afghanistan."
"Wartime financing is not just about raising money for the war. It's about engaging the American people in the war effort," he said. "It's about giving them some sense of participation in the war.
"When your troops are fighting abroad, Americans should be making some sacrifices at home," Hormats argued. He advocated increased taxes and war bonds to cover current military costs as well as new equipment and recruitment.
Hormats said Americans in general have never been engaged in the war in Iraq and "have been led to believe that you can finance national security on the cheap. With Americans not engaged, it is going to be very hard to come up with the money we're going to need."
"We have to budget for the long haul," he said. "You can either raise taxes to cover the costs ... or you can borrow more and bloat our debt."
Hormats challenged the view that the U.S. was already spending far more than necessary on the military, saying that compared to historic levels, today's national security budget as a percentage of gross domestic product is "very small."
During World War II, he noted, the defense budget was 35 percent of GDP, and currently it is below two percent of GDP.
"We can afford this war," he concluded.
Thomas Donnelly, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, said that if the U.S. was to build a "million man active duty force - which is essentially what we had at the end of the Cold War" - the most it would cost would be a little more than a further one percent of GDP, over the course of time.
AEI resident scholar Frederick Kagan countered that borrowing in order to fund war is "not unusual, in fact it's the norm in modern warfare."
"Modern warfare consists of the continual search and discovery of new ways to pay for war," Kagan argued. "It turns out that there are lots of unconventional ways to fund wars that other people haven't thought of that can be very effective and can take by surprise enemies that can only think conventionally about this."
For others, the debate isn't about how to fund the military but about slashing the spending.
"We have an overblown, bloated defense budget that is based on an old-fashioned, two-dimensional perspective [of] how to achieve our security and stability in the world," said Gael Murphy, spokeswoman for anti-war group Code Pink.
"Making more weapons and giving away more bloated contracts to war profiteers is really not the direction we'd like to see our country go in," said Murphy.
"There's a huge amount of waste in the Pentagon and it is just unconscionable that people can sit there and just talk about blowing up the budget even more when it is out of control," Murphy added
Yeah, like putting the US market off-limits to all of our enemies, and revoke MFN status to them. That would produce at least a trillion dollar increase in the US economy as production came home.
We cannot afford not to rebuild our military. We need to reverse what Clinton did by cutting our military in half. Idiot.
If the govt didn’t spend it’s money on numerous extra-constitutional agencies, the money would be readily available at present taxation rates.
We also need to learn Bush SR /Cheney had their part in it as well. The downturn began BEFORE Gulf War One. Under Poppy policy we lost our newest Kitty Hawk Class carrier to poor deployment rotations and a final straw that broke the camels back deployment under Clinton. I had anb explosion pier side. Ironically Bush Jr sank it. Under Poppy we lost any possible further production of the best carrier based Navy Fighter aircraft ever built. Doofus Cheney ordered it's tooling destroyed. Plenty of blame to go around. But the GOP must take as much blame on this issue as Clinton. He could not have done it without their help.
Remember this simple fact Clinton only had a House and senate majority two years. The GOP had six years to stop him and did absolutely nothing on the issue. They had nearly as long under Bush. What did they do besides fire two Navy Captains? I want to know? Even after taking us into war Bush and congress have been sucking their thumbs and still not addressing this critical issue. Bush is too busy being LBJ Part 2 and the GOP leadership failures are too busy following his pathetic policies to be bothered.
The idiots in this Administration should have realized that boots on the ground is obsolete. It requires overwhelming superiority which they did not muster. We achieved this in WW II when 15,000,000 were in uniform. With today’s demographics, we will be unable to attain that again.
We can control any/all of the ME with superior air and sea power. It was wrong to put troops in and it is wrong to keep them there. If they want to kill themselves, let’s get out of the way.
Here’s a crazy idea for rebuilding our military, all foreign aid, and I mean ALL foreign aid, ceases, stops, for say five years. All that savings goes to the military. Cut out half of the welfare programs until we rebuild our military. Do a review of all of the countries where we have military now and see if we can bring some of our guys home. Fifty years in Korea is ridiculous.
Because Hillary Clinton is the President...? ;-)
We always knew that SHE was a communist, but W?
Makes you wonder, though, doesn't it, with the huge number of other redistributionist wealth-transfer activity of this current President...
From his domestic spending, his Federalization of State responsisbilities...his illegal alien amnesty position (and his willingess to lie about it), his African AIDs giveaways, his refusals to prosecute Clinton and croney criminality commensurate with the crimes, and his funding of the United Nations....and to his recurrent effort to sneak through the Law Of the Sea Treaty.
I agree with you.
What is not kosher is that no one has the balls to openly confront this Administration...with the exception of Duncan Hunter...and to a lesser extent, Fred Thompson and Mit Romney when they tacitly disagree with the President by pointing to the need to drastically increase defense numbers...both personnel and procurements.
The liberals are in accord with Bush...and the putative conservatives are self-censored by misbegotten sense of loyalty or...knowing how much worse the RATs are on the issue... the seemliness of attacking the "half-a-loaf" President.
Hunter put the brakes on Rummy’s plans to some degree.