Thursday, October 30, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Shrivel the military and watch out

By
From page A11 | March 13, 2014 |

Let’s shrivel our military and rescue ourselves from debt, say some. They are confused. They should note for starters that this is the second decade of the 21st century, a far distance from the days when military spending took up as much as half the budget. It’s 18 percent now, a dwarf next to the budgetary Goliath it used to be. The Goliath today is entitlement programs.

Many people don’t get that – it’s not entirely clear the Obama administration gets that – but the old news is that military spending came down significantly after the Soviet Union waved goodbye. Remember how economically jovial the Clinton years were? One reason was major military reductions in federal spending.

Today, however, you could start substituting pea shooters for drones as part of a transformation-to-tiny military budget and still witness bloat in overall spending over time as baby boomers retire and Medicare, Social Security and other programs usher us to a continent-shaking debt calamity.

Never mind, says the administration as it proposes something resembling a pea-shooter initiative that includes the hacking of Army manpower to the lowest levels seen since before World War II. The president frets little about the entitlement threat, instead giving us another entitlement, something a third of Americans say has already made their lives worse despite his legally dubious delays of its imposed tribulations. I speak of Obamacare. I speak of gross negligence.

The confusion about military spending does not end with faulty awareness of what’s big and small in dollar distributions. It extends to the point of not knowing how dangerous the world still is or what kinds of strategies might make a difference.

You see, there’s Russia, and there’s Vladimir Putin, and while he is not exactly another Soviet premier, he is tap dancing in that direction. There’s China playing bullying games with Japan and still making threats about Taiwan as it enlarges its military in another great leap forward. There’s nuclear-armed North Korea headed by someone whose less-than-reassuring character attributes appear to be murderousness and wackiness. We haven’t even mentioned Africa or the Middle East or jihadism yet, and when you put it all together, it’s not as if there’s nothing that may need deterring, no possibility of aggression requiring response.

On, no big deal, retort some, observing how our military is larger than the next 10 largest militaries without getting it that it’s not a helpful idea to make this a fairer fight if it comes to that. We want to win decisively with as little loss as possible and we want to keep it from coming to that by scaring possible aggressors to shivers and shakes. Not only that, but the challenges to us come from every possible direction, meaning our forces could be spread here, there and yonder fighting many enemies, some of them plenty powerful in plenty of ways.

Yes, it’s true that any bureaucracy will have waste, that priorities and needs change, that readjustments are forever needed and that sometimes some savings are involved. But when you run across liberals or libertarians telling you that we can cut military spending enormously, ask them about strategy.

I asked a libertarian that once after a debate had arrived at a question-and-answer period, and he snarled that I was expecting him to say all we had to do was have weapons and troops on our shore lines. No. I was looking for an analysis equal to his opponent’s intricate illustrations of what might achieve what where. As best I understood by the time this person had quit rambling in search of an answer was that he thought we could just have weapons and troops on our shore lines.

I am sorry. It won’t do.

Jay Ambrose is an op-ed columnist for McClatchy-Tribune. Readers may send him email at speaktojay@aol.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 2 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Rich GiddensMarch 13, 2014 - 8:30 am

    We have always reduced military spending after a war---especially if the war was won. The danger now is the war on terror was not won! We lost and people won't admit it as the government turns on the citizen! We loyal citizens are now the bogeyman terrorist enemy! We normally reduce military spending after a war for a good reason----to pay for the debt of the war and to realign our forces to prepare for the next war which should arrive within 10 years of the conclusion of the last war! America has always fought wars but in recent times we have lost 2 major wars---The Vietnam War and the speciously named ''War on Terror'' which seems to be morphing into the ''war on the citizen and taxpayer''.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Mike KirchubelMarch 13, 2014 - 12:03 pm

    Yes, Jay, let's waste more money on more tanks that the Army doesn't want and mothballs immediately. Let's continue to spend tax money on bloated, over-budget projects that enrich the few at the expense of the many. How about a slow, billion dollar fighter jet that costs $20,000 an hour to fly, to bomb cybercriminals? Let's continue to spend more money on war than the next twenty nations put together. And what about our national debt? I guess it only matters when you talk about food stamps for the poor, but it's not as important as feeding the wealthy and their corporations. "Brilliant piece," I said sarcastically.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

 
Home: Some things never change

By Mayrene Bates | From Page: A2

Holiday boutique set for weekend

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Live Your Dream award applications due Nov. 15

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
 
Victim of Tuesday traffic incident dies

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3, 6 Comments

 
Transportation Info Depot opens Monday in Suisun

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4, 3 Comments

Salvation Army set to host Kroc Fest

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

 
 
Deadline looms for vote-by-mail ballots

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

 
Fairfield police log: Oct. 28, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5

Suisun City police log: Oct. 28, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
.

US / World

 
Pentagon orders 21-day Ebola quarantine for troops

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 2 Comments

US health care unprepared for Ebola

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
California orders risk-based Ebola quarantine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 46 Comments

Suge Knight, Katt Williams charged with robbery

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Military jet crashes in California, killing pilot

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Army blows up houses, Egyptians evacuate near Gaza

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Peshmerga troops cheered by fellow Kurds in Turkey

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

New York, New Jersey look back 2 years after Sandy

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Russian rocket engines suspected in launch blast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

Al-Qaida: IS should rejoin group and fight West

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Bill Clinton says voting is cure for polarization

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 3 Comments

Lava 100 feet from Hawaii home, nearing main road

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

 
Police: Man decapitates mother, is killed by train

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

.

Opinion

Davenport, Pal, Spering best choices for vote

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A7

 
Measure A helps students

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A7

Jane Day for council: She cares

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A7

 
Do you trust Spering?

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A7, 5 Comments

Support for Spering, Moy

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

 
Measure A a simple choice

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

Mraz is desperate

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A7, 12 Comments

 
We’ve got to stop meeting like this

By Kelvin Wade | From Page: A7

 
Editorial Cartoons: Oct. 30, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Measure A a wise investment

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Spering record not set straight

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 4 Comments

In support of Brian Thiemer

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 2 Comments

 
Debate was eye-opening

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 3 Comments

Vote for Catherine Moy

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 3 Comments

 
Tonnesen right choice for City Council

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

Vote for Tonnesen

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Learn to say no

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

Support for Bertani

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 9 Comments

 
Better uses for negative campaign mailer costs

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

Proposition 47 fails to advance state

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Mraz not best officer for council post

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 3 Comments

Moy is the leader we need

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Vote for Moy; Vote for Fairfield

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 4 Comments

Time for something new: Integrity

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 9 Comments

 
Supports Timm for Fairfield council

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 10 Comments

.

Living

Community Calendar: Oct. 30, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Oct. 30, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Oct. 30, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A10

 
My sister won’t talk to any of us, I’m worried about my nephew

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A10

.

Entertainment

Taylor Swift talks books and music with kids

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
‘House of Cards’ actress Norment dies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Orson Welles’ last film may finally be released

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

.

Sports

Selig’s imprint seen in Game 7 of World Series

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Giants fans revel in victory

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Giants ace Bumgarner wins World Series MVP

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Royals’ dream season falls short in World Series

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Bumgarner, Giants beat KC to win World Series

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 5 Comments | Gallery

 
Bumgarner, Giants beat KC 3-2 in Series Game 7

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Warriors whip Kings 95-77 in season opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Jose Canseco resting at home after shooting hand

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Sacramento breaks ground on new Kings arena

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

It’s Thursday Night Lights for SCAC

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B2

 
49ers rookie center Marcus Martin to make NFL debut

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Stanford men looking to build on NCAA tournament run

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Carr prepares for tough test vs. Seahawks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Vanden’s McDaniel repeats as SCAC singles champion

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B3

 
.

Business

Gov’t pushes air bag maker on replacement parts

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Fed ends bond buying and cites brighter job market

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

.

Obituaries

Hardie Lee Doshier

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Howard Lenowsky

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

.

Comics

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A10

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A10

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A10

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A10

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A10