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The Overhyped Defense Cuts
Townhall.com ^ | July 10, 2011 | Steve Chapman

Posted on 07/10/2011 8:35:33 AM PDT by Kaslin

Politicians often rail against government spending, except when it goes to the military. Conservatives believe there is no such thing as too much defense spending, and liberals don't argue, for fear of being labeled appeasers. So when there is talk of the two parties agreeing to cut the Pentagon budget, it sounds like a monumental change.

But probably not. It's a good thing that defense, which accounts for roughly a fifth of all federal outlays, is no longer considered immune to the need for frugality. But both supporters and opponents have a stake in portraying any trims as far more significant than they really are.

The Obama administration reportedly has decided to boost its planned defense cuts from $400 billion over the next 12 years to as much as $700 billion. That sounds like a lot -- considering that the earlier, smaller figure had sparked furious objections.

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld warned it would be "a grievous mistake" that would someday "be measured in American lives lost." Mitt Romney, in line with most other presidential candidates, insisted "we should not reduce our commitment to national security."

Some Republicans in Congress may be prepared to subject defense spending to the sort of scrutiny applied elsewhere. But if you think the tea party favorites will demand serious fiscal discipline, you are in for a disappointment.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's heralded budget plan would, according to Cato Institute analyst Christopher Preble, leave the Pentagon "essentially unscathed." Michele Bachmann wrote recently, "Blaming our budgetary woes on the military is reckless and misinformed."

(Excerpt) Read more at townhall.com ...


TOPICS: Editorial
KEYWORDS: budget; cuts; defense; defensecuts; military; obama; obamaswars

1 posted on 07/10/2011 8:35:36 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

It’s likely that defense sending could be cut to some extent. What this country really needs is some “real” jobs and not a bunch of “make-busy” crap. A good place to start would be oil production. There are no lack of places to drill and that includes Anwar. Let the environmentalists be damned!


2 posted on 07/10/2011 8:43:41 AM PDT by davisfh (Islam is a mental illness with global social consequences)
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To: Kaslin

Easiest way to save some serious defense dollars is to stop fighting our 3 overseas wars.

Plus we ought not to have bases in countries that don’t want us (unless there is an overriding strategic reason, that is).


3 posted on 07/10/2011 8:48:37 AM PDT by gogogodzilla (Live free or die!)
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To: Kaslin
So when there is talk of the two parties agreeing to cut the Pentagon budget, it sounds like a monumental change.

I'd almost bet the DoD is the ONLY place in the budget that has seen REAL CUTS to its budget since WWII.

All other programs that have been "cut" have seen growth slowed, but the budget either stalled or still went up some.

Yes, Defense cuts are on the table, but they must be reasonable. Defense is a Constitutional obligation of the US Government, and one that is necessary. Other areas do not hold this distinction.

4 posted on 07/10/2011 8:49:37 AM PDT by SteamShovel (Smart Grid is Stupid)
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To: Kaslin

I’ve been employed in the military-industrial complex for 33 years. The waste is huge, but the waste is demanded by government contracts. Let’s say the government is going to buy a hammer. You get the contract. The contract insists you test 50 samples to destruction ($5,500 each test) and submit a report (40 hours at $155/hour). You’ve of course got to be ISO 9001 certified (55 million for the first year and 20 million per each year after for my most recent employer.) You’ve got to meet EOE, OSHA, EPA and all sorts of standards. You can’t use any number of banned materials or processes. The list goes on and on and on. Every line in that contract costs the manufacturer money and he doesn’t dare to say, “Wait, you don’t need that.” As a matter of fact, the manufacturer likes all those requirements because profit is a percentage of costs. If you make 10%, your take is much more on $50,000,000 than on $50,000.

We could provide a credible military at a fraction of today’s costs, but it would require undoing just about everything as it now practiced. For example, let’s say the country wants to buy 500 fighter jets over 10 years. The cost would drop dramatically if the manufacturer would build using automation. But since automation required 10 years to amortize and the money for the multi-year buy is allocated year by year, every fighter is built like it’s a one-off item. (Very expensive.)

I could go on for pages, but you get the idea. As Pogo said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”


5 posted on 07/10/2011 8:56:22 AM PDT by Gen.Blather
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To: SteamShovel

What gets me in the defense cuts is how many times has the military said they don’t need this or that program like some jet and some congress critter or senator pushed it through anyways, because it benefited him. The troops do not deserve a cut


6 posted on 07/10/2011 9:01:28 AM PDT by Kaslin (Acronym for OBAMA: One Big Ass Mistake America)
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To: Kaslin

The only problem with this logic is, that defense is the only thing this government is actually authorized to spend large sums of money on.

Defense DOES NOT equal 20% of the budget either, but if the government wants to cut just 80% of the budget items, I’ll settle for that amount.


7 posted on 07/10/2011 9:03:25 AM PDT by DoughtyOne (F me, you, everybody, the new Dem/Pubie compromise. No debt reduction, + wild spending forever...)
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To: DoughtyOne
Defense DOES NOT equal 20% of the budget

He said roughly a fifth of the budget. 18.74% is close enough.


8 posted on 07/10/2011 9:15:32 AM PDT by Doe Eyes
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To: Kaslin

The best way to reduce defense spending is to increase taxes to pay for it and to give the military an incentive to end wars rather than provide a blank check for endless.


9 posted on 07/10/2011 9:17:40 AM PDT by ex-snook ("Above all things, truth beareth away the victory")
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To: Kaslin

Good morning, all. If the government would just get out of everything but defending our shores against the enemy think of the money we could save! I mean if they had just kept to what they were meant to do from the beginning think how much better off we would all be! It’s mind boggling! The dollar would be sound. Prices would be affordable. There would be even ground for all to prosper.

God would be in our classrooms. Stores would be closed on Sundays. Mothers could stay home and support fathers and together they would raise fine children. There would be no need for street gangs. We wouldn’t need to lock our doors anymore. I am old enough to remember when most of these things existed in America.

History has been history in the schools for the past two generations at least. Most people have no memory of what life was like in America. Have any of you read “The Light and the Glory”, by Peter Marshall and David Emanuel? It is the best read on the history 9of early America from l492 forward. Beautifully written, extremely well documented, a book every American should read, regardless of age. You can order through Borders. I’ have done that for giving to several of my grown grandchildren.And I plan to order more for their parents!

It is so true that if we don’t know where we came from we won’t know where and how to go. God bless America.


10 posted on 07/10/2011 9:25:40 AM PDT by Paperdoll (NO MORE BUSHS!)
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To: Kaslin
The troops do not deserve a cut

Definitely true. Cut the programs that are wasteful, spend where it is needed. Good troop pay is needed and proper.

11 posted on 07/10/2011 9:27:21 AM PDT by SteamShovel (Smart Grid is Stupid)
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To: Doe Eyes

Actually I found a breakdown in the Washington Post that did peg it at almost precisely 20%. Do you believe it’s reasoned to take the military budget in a time of war and use that as your baseline for the military slice of the pie?

Take the current cost of the war into account, and that figure drops 2.5 to 3.0% Of course the over budget total also drops, increasing the percentage a bit.

The point is, the military IS NOT the 80 to 83% of the pie, that needs to be cut.

Here’s what the Left does. It spends like there’s no tomorrow. Then when they get taken to the woodshed over it, they raise the issue of the only approved thing the government should be spending on, and that’s the focus.

And then folks on our side say, “Well, that does sound reasoned after all. If the left has to cut it’s 83%, we should be willing to slice and dice the 17%.”

Baloney!

I don’t approve of waste, but other than that I do want a very strong military at the ready.

Has the military been cut? Yes. We have half the Navy we did under Reagan. We have closed a number of military bases in the U.S. We instituted cost cutting measures across the board.

What other programs in the government can we address that did that? None. If you raise welfare, I’m going to call you on it. We both know we’re paying out too much money in this area. Oh they shift the titles around, but it’s the same old shell game it always was.

I know of people who were given less than half-time volunteer jobs where the government paid the salaries. Working much less than half time, these people were none the less deemed employed. It wasn’t considered Welfare anymore. These games are being jobbed on us all over the place.


12 posted on 07/10/2011 9:48:17 AM PDT by DoughtyOne (F me, you, everybody, the new Dem/Pubie compromise. No debt reduction, + wild spending forever...)
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To: Kaslin

Why doesn’t Congress use this device to contain current spending: Cut the budgets of all programs and divisions of government by a small percentage such as 3% and tell the various departments to find their own way to meet the budget cuts.

They could furlough employees, cut waste, refuse to spend the money left at the end of a fiscal year, end useless programs, etc.


13 posted on 07/10/2011 10:08:19 AM PDT by wildbill (You're just jealous because the Voices talk only to me.)
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To: Gen.Blather
I’ve been employed in the military-industrial complex for 33 years. The waste is huge, but the waste is demanded by government contracts. Let’s say the government is going to buy a hammer. You get the contract. The contract insists you test 50 samples to destruction ($5,500 each test) and submit a report (40 hours at $155/hour). You’ve of course got to be ISO 9001 certified (55 million for the first year and 20 million per each year after for my most recent employer.) You’ve got to meet EOE, OSHA, EPA and all sorts of standards. You can’t use any number of banned materials or processes. The list goes on and on and on. Every line in that contract costs the manufacturer money and he doesn’t dare to say, “Wait, you don’t need that.” As a matter of fact, the manufacturer likes all those requirements because profit is a percentage of costs. If you make 10%, your take is much more on $50,000,000 than on $50,000.

Not only that, but everything sold to the government has to meet certain specifications.

A few months ago, I was tasked with investigating the destruction of a computer. One of the rebuttals that the guy who destroyed the computer came up with was that the same computer is available at amazon.com for a third of the price I had determined to be the fair market value of the computer. So, to make sure my investigation would stand up to legal scrutiny, I had to do a lot of research on computer specifications. Only certain chips can go into a government computer, and they must contain chip types not used in other computers. The components can only be produced by approved manufacturers. The list goes on. As far as what the computer actually cost the government, that guy did not end up even coming close to reimbursing the government.

14 posted on 07/10/2011 10:24:51 AM PDT by exDemMom (Now that I've finally accepted that I'm living a bad hair life, I'm more at peace with the world.)
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To: ex-snook
give the military an incentive to end wars rather than provide a blank check for endless.

The military does what it's ordered to do by the civilian government and under what rules of engagement it has to operate.

Unleashed from those constrains, our military could've ended Iraq and Afghanistan in months, not years, but we try to fight "nice" wars now.

15 posted on 07/10/2011 10:26:21 AM PDT by newzjunkey ("cave" it's not just a hole in the hillside)
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To: gogogodzilla
That may not be a way to save "serious defense dollars" if it means exiting before victory. We do not want to be returning to unfinished business or see what we leave behind fall to Iran.

The wars, costly as they are, are a drop in the bucket at $130 billion for FY12. Libya is an illegal war and should get $0. The wars also add .5% growth to GDP. Last I checked growth is around 1.8%.

16 posted on 07/10/2011 10:34:28 AM PDT by newzjunkey ("cave" it's not just a hole in the hillside)
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17 posted on 07/10/2011 10:46:50 AM PDT by TheOldLady (FReepmail me to get ON or OFF the ZOT LIGHTNING ping list.)
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To: Kaslin

Further information, the US defense budget (2010)

Components

Operations and maintenance $283.3 billion
Personnel $154.2 billion
Procurement $140.1 billion
Research, Development, Testing & Evaluation $79.1 billion
Military Construction $23.9 billion
Family Housing $3.1 billion


Total Spending $685.1 billion


18 posted on 07/10/2011 10:52:29 AM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy
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To: Doe Eyes

I think that pie chart is rather “clever” in that it separates Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid...making each look like “less” of the pie, but combined they equal 40% of all spending.


19 posted on 07/10/2011 10:53:13 AM PDT by dawn53
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To: Gen.Blather; exDemMom
The waste is huge, but the waste is demanded by government contracts.

Could not agree more.

Don't even get me started on women/minority owned business contract requirements.

The entire DoD contracting process has become more of a social welfare program than a method of procurement.

20 posted on 07/10/2011 11:33:57 AM PDT by seowulf ("If you write a whole line of zeroes, it's still---nothing"...Kira Alexandrovna Argounova)
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To: newzjunkey
"The military does what it's ordered to do by the civilian government and under what rules of engagement it has to operate."

That is true. But both the Bush and Obama administrations have sought military advice before making decisions. I would figure the military would have told them how to win. I'm sure Eisenhower and MacArthur told Roosevelt what they needed to win and he agreed. There is no sense to stay in wars we do not want to win.

21 posted on 07/10/2011 11:48:54 AM PDT by ex-snook ("Above all things, truth beareth away the victory")
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To: DoughtyOne
Do you believe it’s reasoned to take the military budget in a time of war and use that as your baseline for the military slice of the pie?

I was responding to your statement, "Defense DOES NOT equal 20% of the budget either". Nothing more.

22 posted on 07/10/2011 1:26:26 PM PDT by Doe Eyes
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To: dawn53
I think that pie chart is rather “clever” in that it separates Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid...making each look like “less” of the pie, but combined they equal 40% of all spending.

Did you know that Federal Income Taxes make up 41.6% of Federal Revenue in 2010, while taxes for Social Security and Medicare made up 40%?

Federal Revenues by Source

23 posted on 07/10/2011 1:31:55 PM PDT by Doe Eyes
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To: Kaslin

Link-a-dink-dink

24 posted on 07/10/2011 1:32:33 PM PDT by MontaniSemperLiberi (Moutaineers are Always Free)
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To: Gen.Blather

“As a matter of fact, the manufacturer likes all those requirements because profit is a percentage of costs.”

Truth.

In Pharmaceuticals it’s even worse. They adore FDA requirements.


25 posted on 07/10/2011 1:34:56 PM PDT by MontaniSemperLiberi (Moutaineers are Always Free)
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To: Doe Eyes

Great Chart.

Note that interest on the debt is 4.63%. That is the interest when the Fed and the Chinese are buying our debt at 2.5%. When (not if) interest rates go to their historic norm of about 7.5%, that cut of the total budget goes from 4.63% to over 13%. Then our debt goes up geometrically and then we go Greek.

God help us.


26 posted on 07/10/2011 1:42:00 PM PDT by MontaniSemperLiberi (Moutaineers are Always Free)
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To: MontaniSemperLiberi
Then our debt goes up geometrically and then we go Greek.

You remember the "crazy" man that ran for President many years back saying, "you don't finance long term debt at short term rates". Ross Perot would have fixed this long ago.

27 posted on 07/10/2011 1:59:00 PM PDT by Doe Eyes
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To: Doe Eyes

I know you think you scored here, but cutting a war-time budget would leave a woefully inadequate peace-time budget. The military DOES NOT make up 20% of a non-wartime budget.

This is the kind of logic and game-playing that costs us F22 and F35 programs. It cost us half our Navy and many U.S. Military bases.

It might also be of interest to note that the total budget for the FBI was included in that military budget.

I don’t blame you for not addressing more than those figures, because those figures are bogus and misrepresentative for purposes of this discussion.


28 posted on 07/10/2011 3:09:42 PM PDT by DoughtyOne (F me, you, everybody, the new Dem/Pubie compromise. No debt reduction, + wild spending forever...)
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To: DoughtyOne
I know you think you scored here

I don't have any idea what you are talking about. Please post a quote from me that in any way back up the lies you are posting here.

29 posted on 07/10/2011 7:23:53 PM PDT by Doe Eyes
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To: Doe Eyes

Please quote a lie from me.


30 posted on 07/10/2011 7:41:45 PM PDT by DoughtyOne (F me, you, everybody, the new Dem/Pubie compromise. No debt reduction, + wild spending forever...)
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To: DoughtyOne
Please quote a lie from me.

"I know you think you scored here, but cutting a war-time budget would leave a woefully inadequate peace-time budget."

I never suggested cutting the defense budget.

31 posted on 07/10/2011 7:47:06 PM PDT by Doe Eyes
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To: DoughtyOne
Please quote a lie from me.

"This is the kind of logic and game-playing that costs us F22 and F35 programs. It cost us half our Navy and many U.S. Military bases."

What logic are you attributing to me?

32 posted on 07/10/2011 7:50:40 PM PDT by Doe Eyes
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To: gogogodzilla

I will agree to stop fighting the overseas wars if our enemy will also agree to stop fighting.

If he doesn’t agree, I don’t think we can stop fighting. Rather, we have to have a clever plan on how to continue fighting effectively, using our strengths against enemy weaknesses.

Pres Bush did a great thing, using our strengths against the terrorists in Iraq, and sucking in terrorists all over the world where they could be identified by Iraqi allies, processed by US intelligence, and killed by US firepower.

Iraq as Flypaper. Thanks to our success on that campaign, Saddam was hanged, Libya agreed to fork over its (and Iraq’s) nuclear program. Iran, sandwiched between Iraq and Afghanistan mothballed its nuclear program.


33 posted on 07/10/2011 9:58:47 PM PDT by donmeaker (I)
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To: ex-snook

Of course what would happen is the government would collect the tax, then siphon off the money for other things. Like they did for Social Security, and DEFENSE!


34 posted on 07/10/2011 10:01:35 PM PDT by donmeaker (I)
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To: Paperdoll

Whose G-d?


35 posted on 07/10/2011 10:03:29 PM PDT by donmeaker (I)
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To: Doe Eyes
Please quote a lie from me.

"I know you think you scored here, but cutting a war-time budget would leave a woefully inadequate peace-time budget."

I never suggested cutting the defense budget.

Please quote a lie from me.

"This is the kind of logic and game-playing that costs us F22 and F35 programs. It cost us half our Navy and many U.S. Military bases."

What logic are you attributing to me?

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

It's unfortunate, but the discussions here take on an adversarial aspect so often that I have to try to discern what the posters are trying to say, when they don't come right out and say it.  I'll explain why I took your post to mean that you supported the writer's premise in the article that started the thread.
In your first post to me, you provided a graph depicting the military budget was 18.74% of the overall budget.  You quoted my comment regarding the initial post on the thread, "Defense DOES NOT equal 20% of the budget", and then stated, "He (the writer of that article) said roughly a fifth of the budget. 18.74% is close enough."  You didn't just provide the information.  You also provided an evaluation, a defense (of the writer) of sorts.  This lead me to believe you were in support of his positions.  What other conclusion would be reasonable?

I did some research and came up with a graph showing the military spending was almost exactly 20%.  I did however explain that this was a wartime budget, and that normal military spending is less than this, a smaller percentage.  I also mentioned that the complete FBI budget was included in the figures I found.

From my point of view it seemed as if you were trying to prove my post wrong, where I stated military spending wasn't 20%.  You having provided that information, it seemed like you were taking the side of the writer, defending his estimate of our military spending.  And quite naturally, I responded as if your take on things were similar to his.

Sorry, I have gone round and round here with folks who think our military should be cut considerably.  Many of them start out with short comments intended to prove you wrong without being confrontational.  When you begin to discuss the matter with them, this whole long ideology unfolds.

Here's a question from my initial post to you.  I don't think it's out of line, but look at your response.  It was giving you a chance to clairify your position.  You could easily have explained that you didn't think your numbers were quite as solid as you first did.  We would have dropped the whole thing right there.  Instead you refused to respond, after re-posting the question.

Do you believe it’s reasoned to take the military budget in a time of war and use that as your baseline for the military slice of the pie?

I was responding to your statement, "Defense DOES NOT equal 20% of the budget either". Nothing more.

Look at that.  You provide a graph that depicts our military spending to be 18.74% of the entire budget, and say that is close enough to prove the writer right.  Then when I point out that this is a war-time budget, you suddenly claim to only be providing information, and not interested in making any other comments.  That's funny, because earlier you had been willing to comment that the 18.74% was close enough, when it backed the writer.  Now that it might not actually back up the writer's premise, you don't want to talk about it.

Okay, so I responded with this:

<>I know you think you scored here, but cutting a war-time budget would leave a woefully inadequate peace-time budget. The military DOES NOT make up 20% of a non-wartime budget.
This is the kind of logic and game-playing that costs us F22 and F35 programs. It cost us half our Navy and many U.S. Military bases.

It might also be of interest to note that the total budget for the FBI was included in that military budget.

I don’t blame you for not addressing more than those figures, because those figures are bogus and misrepresentative for purposes of this discussion.  (And they were)

Was it reasonale for me to make these comments?  Yes.

You refused to be candid about what the numbers you provided actually meant.  How was I supposed to react to that other than to take you to be hostile to my point of view?

Did I state here that you actually backed anything?  Well actually no.  I merely mentioned what the thinking of people who disagreed with me normally wound up costing us.

Then you responded saying I was lying about you.  No, actually I wasn't.

In the future, you may wish to think twice before entering a thread to prove someone wrong, if you're not willing to discuss what the information you provide actually means.

As for the moron who wrote this article, he spend quite a bit of time saying very little in order to post stats that support the notion that military spending is out of control.

And while you didn't actually back him on that point, you were pleased as punch to back some of his underlying claims, specifically the percentage of the full budget, that the military makes up.

Well, it isn't one-fifth of the budget.  Sorry to ruin your day.  Nice try.





36 posted on 07/10/2011 11:38:17 PM PDT by DoughtyOne (F me, you, everybody, the new Dem/Pubie compromise. No debt reduction, + wild spending forever...)
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To: donmeaker

If you want to win a war, you have to fight to win a war. What we are doing in Afghanistan is a holding action. For every village we ‘liberate’... we then leave, and the enemy ‘retakes’ it.

If we aren’t going to seriously plus-up the number of military personnel in our armed forces to the level necessary to occupy each and every town and village in Afghanistan... then we need to consider reducing the number of towns and villages to the level that accomodates permanent garrisons of military personnel.

And doing anything like that is now considered a ‘war crime’. Relocation = ethnic cleansing = war crime. So we are now bound to a failed set of rules in this.

So, since we ain’t fighting to win, why bother fighting at all? It just exhausts our treasury and our troops, making us vulnerable to our enemies when the time comes.

(And as an aside, smart weaponry was one of the biggest mistakes we ever made. For it shields our enemy’s citizenry from the horror of war. And as long as they don’t experience the horror of war, they will continue to support armed resistance after we win. In other words, the enemy is not their military, it is their citizenry. Get the citizenry to give up their support for war, and their armed forces stop fighting.)


37 posted on 07/11/2011 4:37:40 AM PDT by gogogodzilla (Live free or die!)
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To: donmeaker

There is only one True God, my firend.


38 posted on 07/11/2011 11:19:00 AM PDT by Paperdoll (NO MORE BUSHS!)
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To: Paperdoll

And his name is: Jupiter, Zeus-Pater, G-d the Father, Erlik, Crom, Yahweh, Jehovah,...


39 posted on 07/12/2011 9:46:00 PM PDT by donmeaker (I)
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