ILSM on Military Needs

This one is by ILSM…

The last two sentences of the November 13 New York Times editorial read:

The presidential candidates will have to do a better job. They can start by explaining how they plan to withdraw American troops from Iraq and then how they plan to rebuild a military capable of defending this country from a new generation of threats.

The Guilliani military build up does not hack it. He is speaking to ‘contractors and lobbyists’ at the expense of the US public. The Pentagon needs to go on a diet. The F-15 needs to be refitted with most of them retired to make money and parts available to keep a small number, for continental air defense against whom I do not know, running. That is because the F-15, as the B-52, B-1 and B-2 to name a few are not needed to defend against actual dangers.

The US needs to recognize that maintaining air superiority, or control of the seas, over some remote battlefield have become meaningless and far more expensive than worthwhile. That forward interventions are not worth the cost and that maintaining huge peacetime forces are wasteful.

Particularly given other needs in our society.

Elsewhere in the NY Times editorial, it says:

The next president and Congress will also have to insist on a serious review of what is truly needed to protect the country from a new generation of threats — and not just line the pockets of contractors and their lobbyists.

There is a 4 year review, aptly titled a Quadrennial Review, next will be 2009 with a new president. In the past these reviews have been more of the same, phoney “threats” designed to do as the Times says ‘line pockets’ justified by most expensive responses to imaginary threats. I would add to the list of contractors and lobbyists that there are some lobbies for military bases not connected with contractors that lead the run to waste as well as the contractor lobbyists.

This is a good sign. Serious debate is needed about the whole military structure and we will see the hand wringing about the people put out of work and the seriousness of not having 12 aircraft carriers bigger than our smaller group of biggest ships in the world. The defense establishment about 4% of GDP needs to go on a diet to paraphrase an article I read a few weeks ago. Our NATO allies seem to see their obligations as being met at 1% of their GDP, why the US so profligate: “lining pockets” is the answer.

This one was by ILSM.