It sure is convenient that when the military industrial complex faced the hint of a reduction in their $1 trillion per year corporate welfare programs, the new ominous Russian threat to world security just happened to materialize. Remember – war is a racket. Remember – it’s a big club and you’re not in it.


Submitted by Ron Paul via The Ron Paul Institute,

Last week Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel proposed an additional 40,000 reduction in active duty US Army personnel, down to 450,000 soldiers. As US troops are being withdrawn from the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, it might make sense to reduce not only the active duty military but the entire military budget. However, from the interventionists’ reaction to Hagel’s announcement you might think President Obama announced he was shutting down the Pentagon!

Rep. Michael McCaul, Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, claimed that this slight reduction in personnel would hurt our military readiness. He blamed the exploding spending on welfare entitlements for the proposed military cuts, stating, “It’s all being sacrificed … on the altar of entitlements. This president cannot take on mandatory spending, so all we’ve done in the Congress — and this president — is basically cut discretionary spending.”

McCaul is partly right. Welfare spending is bankrupting the country. But military spending is also welfare: it is welfare for the well-connected military-industrial complex, which enriches itself manufacturing useless boondoggles like the F-35 fighter. We should never confuse legitimate defense spending – which I support – with military spending, which promotes interventionism overseas and actually undermines our national security.

Neoconservative Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain were also quick to criticize Hagel’s announcement. They said the cuts were dead on arrival in the US Senate. “We are going to kill it, not let it happen,” said Graham. McCain added, “We live in an ever-increasingly dangerous world and this budget is out of touch with reality.”

What McCain and Graham won’t admit is that much of the reason we are in an increasingly-dangerous world is that the neocons keep inviting blowback with the interventions they are constantly pushing. If we minded our own business we would live in a far less dangerous world.

Nevertheless, although the neocons make a big deal about this small cut in military personnel, in reality these are not military cuts at all. These are token proposed cuts in troop levels which Congress won’t allow the administration to do anyway. What Hagel proposes is not cuts, but instead a shift in spending away from personnel and toward new high-tech weapons which are favored by and profitable to the military-industrial complex.

The F-35, for example, will continue in production according to Hagel’s plan, despite the numerous cost over-runs and design flaws. This is likely because the F-35 is built in 46 US states and nine foreign countries! That makes it particularly popular in Congress, regardless of its flaws and expense.

We do need real cuts in military spending, not just moving spending around from troops to new weapons systems. But what we really need is for the president to downsize US foreign policy. Maintaining a military presence in 140 countries while continuing to stir up trouble can lead to problems when the military is downsized. So, it’s our intervention that needs downsizing.

A proper foreign policy would mean a strong national defense, but a huge reduction in interventions and commitments overseas. Why are we stirring up trouble in Ukraine? In Syria? In Africa? Why are we defending South Korea and Japan when they are wealthy enough to defend themselves? A proper sized foreign policy would defend the United States instead of provoking the rest of the world.


  1. A good article but no surprises. On many issues other than military spending (black budget included.) I’ve tried to learn about various details to become informed but long ago reached the point where I know all I need to know to want to completely reform government despite the insane odds.

    I truly respect the knowledge and insight of those who submit articles here and many who comment on them. But it does get sickening after awhile because for me it always quickly boils down to “throwing the bums out” and overhauling government. I don’t take pleasure in examining minute details not because they aren’t important or that I’m incapable of this but because I don’t need to.

    Military welfare, social welfare, welfare for the rich, big banks, and big industries, politicians, welfare for low-wage and illegal workers, etc. These and many other serious problems are all reasons for major and immediate reforms.

    Unfortunately, politicians, big bankers, and the Fed seem to be able to keep pushing the stock market higher even as the middle class disintegrates, even as more businesses and retailers lay off workers or don’t hire, even as personal and national debt keep rising, and even though we aren’t growing anywhere near enough good paying jobs for most citizens to prosper.

    Politicians take care of this for many by providing monthly government subsidies (aka bribes). Nevertheless, this all defies financial logic – at least for me. Of course since the Fed is in control and can create money out of thin air to keep propping everything up, this is no different than relying on magic to operate the financial system. I’d rather look at Barbara Eden (in her heyday) running the Fed than Yellen but it would still be magic. I don’t trust magic – and reject propaganda about economic “recovery”.

    Keep creating more money and keep creating massive debt while creating few good paying jobs and somehow everything will be just fine? Does any rational person really believe this?

    No economic charade or Ponzi scheme can last forever. But if most citizens prefer to be financially dependent and exploited by the big special interests who control government instead of reforming it to create the conditions in which most have opportunity to prosper, our fate is sealed.


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