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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 2/25/14

Cutting Defense Spending, a Shell Game Masquerading as Something Substantial

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The Pentagon January 2008
The Pentagon January 2008
(Image by (From Wikimedia) David B. Gleason from Chicago, IL, Author: David B. Gleason from Chicago, IL)
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Aerial view of the Pentagon

Yesterday the Obama administration proposed a budget plan that would include downsizing the Army to pre- W.W.II levels, eliminate the U-2 spy plane, retire the A-10 Thunderbolt jet fighter, draw down the Marine Corps from 190,000 to 182,000 and mothball half of the Navy's 22 cruisers, (just a little something from all the service branches so it's all equitable).

As expected the proposed cuts drew criticism from the usual suspects with Republican Senator Marco Rubio commenting, "Reducing the size of the Army to its lowest levels in seventy years does not accurately reflect the current security environment. Cutting key Air Force and Naval capabilities just as we are trying to increase our presence in the Pacific does not make strategic sense". Thank you Marco for your not so keen insights. Will someone inform this fool the cold war ended in 1991 and fabricating a new one with China is sheer lunacy.

But back to the proposed cuts; if one looks closely at them as well as what is to be expanded, it's really a shell game masquerading as something substantial in cutting defense spending.

To begin with cutting the Navy's fleet of 22 cruisers is offset with the building of 32, new generation, "Littoral Combat" ships. The original plan called for building 52 of these ships but you don't have to be a mathematical genius to recognize that's a plus 10 ships on the high seas.

Then there's the mothballing of the A-10 "Warthog" fleet offset by fully retaining the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter force just coming on line, the most costly program in Pentagon history. Hmm, replace one type fighter jet with a more expensive one. Don't ask for logic, just read on.

Consider the plan to shrink the size of the Army from 522,000 to between 440,000 and 450,000 and the Marines dropping from 190,000 to 182,000. This is offset by increasing special ops forces by several thousand to some 69,700. These are the same special ops forces conducting night raids, kicking in doors, calling in drone strikes and missile attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia where operations kill and maim scores of innocents in funeral processions and wedding parties, but hey, "collateral damage" happens, So we must pursue insurgent "suspects" wherever they may be lurking in the hinterlands of the world to salve the harebrained likes of Marco Rubio and his ilk even as they bleat we're going to put U.S. security at risk.    

As for eliminating the U-2 spy plane what do you need that for when there are satellites operating in space that can see everything.

Then last but not least, spending for cyberwarfare will increase under the proposed plan. Just in case you had a memory lapse, cyberwarfare was first initiated in the world in 2010 by us and the Israeli's with "Stuxnet", a computer virus that temporarily crippled Iranian computers controlling their centrifuges enriching uranium.

This of course has led others to conduct cyberwarfare against us attacking computer systems of major corporations, universities, even the Pentagon. It's not exactly standing on high moral ground and express indignation against others for doing what you started considering you were the perpetrator initiating the practice.

It's certainly enlightening when one looks beyond the "veneer" of these Pentagon budget cut proposals as a whole different picture emerges.

And let's not forget it isn't only Republican lawmakers making harrumphing noise about the proposed "cuts". Democrats too have been behind the unnecessary, bloated defense spending with the manufacture of various weapons systems spread among jurisdictions in 44 of the 50 states.

So these proposed defense cuts are presented as necessary under "sequester," that calls for automatic federal spending cuts.

Yet it's all just a ruse, a con game by officials in tailored suits, just an updated version of the old "flim flam" man conning some unsuspecting rube, getting him to try his luck and choose which shell the elusive pea is under. Ah sorry, you lose.     


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