America should spend less on the military

I was reading the conscription thread and I remembered that Americas Armies were vastly lower before WW2. Now WW2 was a entirely unnecessary war to enter unless you value it for taking us out of the depression because there was almost no threat to the US. We hear lots of officials complain that we shoulden’t reduce spending on armies but there is no one who will fight us because of the huge water barrier. So I think that America should focus on things besides the military so we wont meddle so much in the worlds affairs.


Hmm…we have an alliance of powers that committed acts of genocide, declared war on America’s allies, and then attacked American forces and invaded American territory. What’s your definition of a threat?


With the world as it is today, hostile towards Americans, we need a very strong military. We can be invaded. We can be attacked. Our large, advanced military is one thing which causes other nations to hesitate because they know if they lob a nuke over here, we’ll turn them into a major parking lot.

Besides, the last time we decreased the military, people got complacent, reduced funds, and when a war began, were so used to being pacifists that not only did we turn away refugees, but protested against the US getting involved, shipped supplies to friend and foe alike for a time, and ignored the fact that once Europe fell, we would be next. Several of our major politicians of the time agreed with the aggressor and wanted to help him out, even though he was attacking our allies from WW1.

When we were attacked, we were caught flat footed and it took us a couple of intense years to get up to speed at rather a great cost to our allies and ourselves.

The war was WW2. The aggressor was Hitler. We were sitting back and letting England get pounded as we turned away Jewish refugees, restricted the immigration of every other nationality and refused to accept shiploads of distressed children. We were living the ‘good’ life, unused to war.

Now, as the richest nation in the world with the highest standard of comfort, many other nations are pissed off at us. Especially the Middle East. China would unhesitatingly join any large scale attempt to wipe us out. With the proliferation of nuclear weapons by nations ignoring the international ban, the increase in unrest in 3rd world nations, the many, many skirmishes and holy wars, to stand down the military now is opening the doors to attacks.

The Russians join us in ventures in space and commerce but have flat warned us to stay out of some of their military ventures over rebelling, once communist territories. I don’t think it would take much to tip them against us. After all, they freely sell advanced military technology to people who have stated that they hate us.

Each time, historically, we reduced the military, we were drawn into a war.

You like your standard of living? If we reduce the military, get into a war and have to catch up, you’ll get to first hand experience at least a 50% drop as rationing begins and factories turn to the production of war materials.

We must keep a strong military.

It’s really time to stop arming the world. There are border wars fighting now in so many areas with our arms on both sides.

It’s the same as cynical corporate softmoney contributors to both sides of a campaign. They will then have backed the winner. Only in war there are no real winners.

We’re not arming the world. Old weapons (by current military standards) have circulated around, yes… do you think they were put there purposely? And do you think, just because Rwanda and Bosnia have M-16’s and AK-47’s, that we should decrease the strength of our own armed forces?

No it isn’t. You’re bringing up a whole 'nother debate. The fact remains that there are serious threats to our nation’s security running around, the largest of which we are aware of, but many which are still invisible (Bin Laden being just one example). This is hardly the time to think about shrinking the size of our military.

Hmm… I seem to recall the U.S. trouncing Britain something good back in the late 1700s… and the Allied powers whupping Germany and Japan back in the 1940s… oh, and we won the Gulf War… and the Rebellion beat the crap out of the Empire… :smiley:


No threat at all. Oh wait, I seem to recall quite a few ships and sailors killed on December 7th 1941. I guess there was a legitimate threat after all.

With our current military obligations we aren’t spending enough on them. We’re suppose to have enough resourses to fight a war on two fronts. Right now we do not have the man power or the resources to do so.


Well, I think it depends on what we’re spending the money on.
Are we spending it on training new recruits and making our army better and more disciplined and more efficient?
Or are we spending money on massive destructive weapons that we’ll probably never use because they are so destructive they would destroy the entire planet?

Guinistasia said:

What weapon do you suppose would accomplish the destruction of the entire planet?

Well, given that all right-wing loons–er, noble patriots–know that “Billary” and his/her evil henchman “Algore” are the absolute epitome of evil, worse than Nixon, worse than Hitler, worse than Marilyn Manson, I’m sure that they must be secretly constructing a “Death Star” battle station somewhere. I’m mean, you’re not really buying all this propaganda about the “International Space Station”, are you?

By the way, thanks Asmodean for taking a perfectly defensible policy position–that the U.S. has an almost ludicrously large and powerful military, which faces drastically reduced threats from the end of the Cold War, and should be reduce its military spending (I would add, and restructure its military to be able to deal with the threats it does face)–and mixing it up with the ridiculous idea that it wasn’t necessary for the U.S. to a) respond when the Japanese Empire sunk half the Pacific Fleet and b) stand up in general to Axis murderous and genocidal military aggression. Really, if you want to argue the point about World War II, it should be in a separate thread. As far as the first point (that the U.S. should reduce its military spending now), I posted this article link before on a different thread, but what the hell, it’s an interesting article, and very relevant to the main point at hand here:

“Apocryphal Now: The Myth of the Hollow Military” by Gregg Easterbrook from The New Republic.

America is a luxurious nation with such a high standard of living and such a vast expanse of land that many third and second world nations dislike us. Actually, the general people don’t, but their leaders keep telling them that they should because we are a threat to many of their plans. When they toss religion into the mix in an effort to keep their people under control and give then a Holy reason to fight, it gets nasty.

American influence in goods, money and technology is a threat to the old guard religious leaders who are used to almost complete power.

Many nations would be pleased to see us weaken, then catch us off guard in an attempt to slaughter us. We cannot have another Korea or Vietnam. Both were political wars. Vietnam was hideously waged by politicians instead of military leaders, which hurt us more than the actual losses.

The American military is one of the most disciplined, advanced and well run militaries in the world. The technology is the most advanced. You don’t hear other nations in trouble called for help from the French, the Italians, Canadians or Australians do you? We have been regulated as peace keepers by the United Nations, mainly because when we go into a nation, we will kill.

Unlike United Nations Forces who get their butts kicked because their assorted leaders squabble over actions to take, American forces listen to American commanders and when we show up, the ‘enemy’ knows that. Even the British know to keep a powerful military on hand and learned well from lessons of the past. Their special commando group rivals our Navy Seals and Marines. They even hesitated over the under sea tunnel to France because of the potential for it to be used as an invasion route. Now, they have safeguards on their section to make sure it can be sealed if necessary.

With so much turmoil in the Middle East, India and Pakistan, with Russia selling off military secrets and weapons scientists, as soon as some dirt based nation figures it has the balls, they will ‘test’ our strength and if we fail, war will follow.

Unfortunately, no matter what people think, we have international laws about knocking off governments and leaders we dislike. So long as fanatics are in various power positions, we’ll need to be strong.

The Middle East, especially, is nuts. Sadaam invaded. We pushed him back. Now, we get gripes from the people we saved from being enslaved because we attacked on a Holy day, we are punishing him through sanctions, blockading his illegal oil ships – with illegal cargos headed to buyers among ‘allies’ of ours, and made us stop at the borders because of their religious beliefs. (If you attack a Muslim who is attacking another Muslim, and you are not Muslim, then they will join forces to kill the infidel, and go back to slaughtering each other. Had we gone in and slaughtered Sadaam, we might have turned Arabic nations against us, even though we were protecting them.) We are being criticized for starving innocent people with our sanctions, but no one is blaming Sadaam for not stepping down, which would open the doors to aid and rebuilding by us.

No one seems to be worried about his creating the biggest, known ecological disaster in the world, nor seems to acknowledge that Americans put over 50% of the fires out.

Plus, the OPEC members, in grateful recognition of our having done all of this, raised the price of oil again.

With this type of turncoat mentality, we need to stay prepared.

To echo some other posters, I’d like to point out that the expansionist and genocidal tendencies of Nazi Germany and the Japanese Empire were indeed a threat. Even if they hadn’t attacked Pearl Harbor, do you really think they’d let us live as we wanted to once they’d beaten the UK and USSR?

I think the US should spend enough on its military to meet its mission requirements (defense of the U.S. (not a tough one to meet), commitments to NATO and South Korea, and peacekeeping commitments).

Could we meet these requirements with less spending? Maybe… it depends on whether we want to prepare to fight two major wars, one major and one minor war, or so on.

I think we should provide the military with sufficient resources to fight one major war (e.g. Korea), and still maintain commitments to two peacekeeping operations (e.g. Bosnia and Kosovo). Why do I include peacekeeping operations? Because I believe that if we can keep minor conflicts from escalating early, in the long run we’ll save on military expenditures (and far more importantly, on lives, both American and foriegn). Keeping America involved in maintaining international stability could prevent major wars from breaking out in many parts of the world. The Balkan Wars in the beginning of this century and both World Wars serve as examples of how conflicts can escalate unless the major powers act together to maintain peace. Without the United States, I’m not sure any coalition of major powers would have the needed strength.

Keeping the peace is like preventive maintenance on your car; it’ll save you a lot of grief in the future.

Well, apparently, you’ve never heard of the mystic Rubber Chicken of Zing-Zoong Dong.

Well, I do, but I pay attention to more than the US media.

Partially true. What about the fat ? DOD is not held anywhere near to the same standards of “leanness” that other useful US agencies are. Yes, there’s alot of bureacratic fat in the gubbiment in places, but many things are cut down to the bone.

Here in Hawaii, just putting up statues and monuments on bases this year exceeded the operations budget for the National Park Service, US Geological Survey and the Fish & Game combined. I don’t begrudge DOD the money, but when politicians scream cut “gov’t pork” I am annoyed by the hypocrisy of excluding DOD from budget trimming and reallocations.

We got just six or so EPA folk out here to cover the entire Pacific (Guam, Hawaii, Samoa, etc…), and that includes the receptionist. I am more worried about water quality at my house than the variety of CDs available at the PX.

However due to our nuclear missles and the atlantic and pacific do you think we could simply spend more during wartime?

All wars are political. Period. You have political goals to achieve in the national interest. Not all wars are total wars a la the World Wars. Not even all U.S. wars have been total wars.

Sometimes ones goals are better served by not going for the schoolyard concept of victory and playing smart. Korea, had we tried for total victory (what was that?) would have provoked another world war. Keeping South Korea non-Communist was the original goal and that was attained. Was it in U.S. interests to drive to the Chinese border, when both the Chinese and Soviets considered that a threat? No, and very stupid too. Putting yourself in their shoes (often helpful for understanding one’s opponent) we would have reacted much as China did, with Russian help. Both sides maintained a limited war in Korea. In the long run, we won. South Korea is now a prosperous nation and we maintained our position in Asia without a disasterous redux of world war or too costly war in Asia.

Vietnam stems from our ignorance of colonial history and stupid (political true enough) decisions to directly intervene in what was a civil war. Now imagine French or British direct intervention on one side or another in our civil war, to the point one side or the other really could not continue without their troops. Imagine what that would do to the credibility of the government (foreign puppets, etc.) Put this in the context of the long Vietnamese war of independance against the French, the fact that we idiotically supported the French war (paying for most of it, and equiping the French) giving more credence to Communist agitprop, its no surprise that our efforts to support the Southern Vietnamese regime --which was in the end weak and corrupt-- failed.

The schoolyard desire to bomb the North into the stone age or go for total war forgets two things (1) we would have lost by winning. Winning would have required total war against a little nation – you can imagine the near genocide that might have required given the losses the North was already absorbing. Great for image and cuase. (I hope it was democracy) In support of a brutal corrupt regime? Should have cut our losses earlier and focsed on regimes in SE Asia more supportable, as in Thialand. (2) China would likely have entered the war, even though there is little love lost between them and the Vietnamese. Bingo, we have the conflict escalating out of control. Is ‘liberating’ Vietnam worth that? Nah. Is a school yard desire to say we’ve never been beated worth it? I don’t think so. Sometimes one learns more by losing a small battle and winning the war (the Cold War.). In the end the cautious, deterant route proved correct, rather than the hysterical roll the commies back route. The commies imploded.

If our goal was stopping Communism, the problem was the simplistic and wrongheaded slippery slope analysis (or domino theory). We mistook a nationalist, anti-colonial war for something else. Our white and black soldiers in uniforms just like those of the French not ten to twenty years before did what to help the Southern regime’s legitimacy? Nada. Looked just like the French part deux.

Well, if you read non-US media, you would.

This rather undermines best-disciplined doesn’t it. However, its true, the US military has not had strong peacekeeping experience to date, although I’d attribute that to US congressional opposition based on rather simplistic analyses. But I think you were confusing peace keeping with peace making (as did many people in the Somalia intervention.)

There is no such thing as international laws about knocking off governments in the way you mean. It’s generally not in one’s interest to go around toppling governments as it doesn’t do much to build good will with others.

Come on now, let’s not be too ignorant. How many Muslim nations attacked us in the past decade? Some fanatics think this way, but there’s no reason to engage in gross religious slurs like this. Get a grip.

WTF is all this whinging about oil prices? You don’t think that paying for most of the conflict (Saudis and Kuwaitis) as well as a good DECADE of dirt cheap oil – so cheap in the last two years that production began to verge on uneconomical-- is not grateful recognition? WTF do you want, oil below cost for the rest of eternity? Booming economies have produced as much of the price increase as anything.

Supply and Demand, and with production in the majority of oil producing nations and refineries running flat out its hard not to conclude that even without the modest production cutbacks that OPEC agreed to that prices would not have gone through the roof. Of course it helps to note that in real prices (adjusted for inflation) oil is still cheaper than before the Gulf War, so if we think about inflation we realize a lot of whinging is utterly misplaced.

Also, so note much OPEC oil, and oil that we buy does NOT come from the Middle East, so blaming oil arabs is pretty simple minded. The Venezuelans, Mexicans and other non-Arab producers are also part of the picture. We need to stop being whiny little f’ers and just recognize we’ve become oil hoggs and deal with it in a rational way rather than crying like babies.

None exactly-a bit of hyperbole on my part. I mean, are they spending it on more nuclear weapons and massive crap that they don’t need, in other words?
Just fun toys and such…instead of spending it on their priorities.

To further strengthen this point, I would like to further point out that Germany declared war on the U.S. without any justification at all on Dec. 12, 1941; the U.S. did not declare war on Germany when they declared war on Japan. They only got around to that after Germany went first.

Contrary to popular belief, Germany was not required under their agreement with Japan to go to war against the U.S. after Pearl Harbor. It was, simple as it sounds, a snap decision on Hitler’s part.

And to beat the rapidly dying horse, can we say “unrestricted submarine warfare” in deed if not name? My granddad, an naval engineer was twice torpedoed before Dec 1941. Only luck prevented him from being killed either time. Both times were open sea but far from the war zone.

Good point. I’m aware of the famous stories about waste in the military, and I’ve seen some of it firsthand. The thing I’m not sure about is how different that is from other gov’t agencies, I really don’t have enough knowledge to compare.

Also, perhaps having a large budget automatically makes one more wasteful. If the military’s budget were considerably smaller, would it be more efficient?

I’ve been in the military since '86, and in my experience the answer is an unqualified “No.” The ratio of meat to fat seems to have actually decreased during the long drawdown as far as I have seen, although perhaps that is partially due to my increasing exposure to it as I move up in rank. Several years ago the Department of the Air Force cut officer and upper enlisted positions broadly because they recognized that there was a lot of useless managerial paper-pushing going on that could be done away with. The last mention I heard of this was an article a couple years ago in the Air Force Times that lamented that the numbers had swelled almost to their pre-cut levels again. Meanwhile, ops tempo has increased dramatically and retention rates among critical career fields have fallen quite a lot. Still, the fat remains.