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June 11, 2004

Military Buildup Unprecedented; May "Skew" American Foreign Policy More Towards Military Intervention

Seems... like... old... times.

But honestly, the Pentagon can't have every single light it wants on its tree.

Highlights:

As Congress moves ahead with a huge new defense bill, lawmakers are making only modest changes in the Pentagon's plans to spend well over $1 trillion in the next decade on an arsenal of futuristic planes, ships and weapons with little direct connection to the Iraq war or the global war on terrorism.

House and Senate versions of the 2005 defense authorization measure contain a record $68 billion for research and development -- 20 percent above the peak levels of President Ronald Reagan's historic defense buildup. Tens of billions more out of a proposed $76 billion hardware account will go for big-ticket weapons systems to combat some as-yet-unknown adversary comparable to the former Soviet Union.

Yeah. We wouldn't want to plan for the unknown. If 9-11 taught us anything, it's that the world is a nice, safe place where arms are made for huggin'.

On the Pentagon's wish list are such revolutionary weapons as a fighter plane that can land on an aircraft carrier or descend vertically to the ground;

Erfff... is that really "revolutionary"? Do any of these defense reporters know what they're talking about?

Harriers and any other VTOL aircraft can both "land on an aircraft carrier or descend veritcally to the ground."

I assume this dope is talking about the JSF, which will come in three versions, one for the AF, one carrier-ready for the Navy, and a VTOL model for the Marines. But this dummy doesn't get that the same plane will not be serving all three missions. Three variants of the same design, yes.

a radar-evading destroyer that can wallow low in the waves like a submarine while aiming precise rounds at enemy targets 200 miles inland;

This is cool. It looks just like the one in that James Bond movie.

Everything cool winds up looking like Darth Vader's helmet.

and a compact "isomer" weapon that could tap the metallic chemical element hafnium to release 10,000 times as much energy per gram as TNT.

That's interesting. That's really interesting. Our cruise missiles are limited by the small amount of explosives they can carry. Obviously, we'd like more potent explosives for missiles (at the very least).


So far this year, the debate in Congress over the defense bill has largely skirted the budgetary or strategic implications of this buildup, largely because Republican and Democratic politicians are unwilling to appear weak on defense after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

"In the public mind there is clearly a present danger, so we can't trim back the defense budget in any manner even though counterterrorism spending only accounts for a small part of it," said Carl Conetta, co-director of the Project on Defense Alternatives.

Yes, Carl. But only "in the public mind." Not in reality, certainly.

But as Congress comes under new pressures to fund the war in Iraq, provide better physical protection for troops in the field, help financially strapped military families and defend U.S. shores, some lawmakers in both parties say Congress and the Pentagon must begin to choose among competing defense priorities.

"We are in a massive train wreck financially," Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.) recently told members of the House Armed Services subcommittee on tactical air and land forces, which he chairs. "The time has come to be tough about the way we are spending money on programs that we cannot see the ability to fund" in later years.

War costs and modernization are expected to drive defense spending to nearly $500 billion in 2005, above the inflation-adjusted Cold War average, and $50 billion above 2004. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the long-term price tag for all the planes, ships and weapons the military services want will be at least $770 billion above what the Bush administration's long-term defense plan calls for.

In a major speech last week, Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, called for cutting back funding for a national missile defense system -- a priority of the Bush administration -- to pay for increasing the size of the active-duty Army.

Great idea. And when North Korea threatens us with a nuclear-tipped missile, we can just send our extra two divisions of troops to erect an enormous human pyramid in order to block the attack.

ther lawmakers are concerned that a defense budget that gives the Pentagon the resources to challenge adversaries in the air, sea and on land throughout the world for the next half-century will inevitably further skew the nation's foreign policy toward military intervention.

This is always liberals' fear. They claim they're worried about our boys getting killed; they're not. They're worried about our boys killing their boys. They don't care about our casualties; they always care only about our enemies' casualties.

This is why they were so ashen-faced after Desert Storm, Afghanistan, and the Fall of Baghdad. Because they understood that the more powerful our nation is, the more it might be willing to use that power. And they can't stand that. They, like the French, want a weaker America, because a weaker America won't be so keen to engage in "illegal war-making" on innocent genocidal tyrants.

They're loving the current problems in Iraq-- they like that our boys are dying. Because the more of our boys die, the less likely Bush will be to blockade North Korea or bomb Iran.

I can prove this pretty easily.

If they're so concerned about American casualties of war, why did they deride the near-perfect Gulf War as a "push-button" war? If they're so concerned about our boys' safety, shouldn't they be happy about a "push-button" war?

[Yes, I know the war wasn't "push-button." But they claim it is. It was undeniably a very low-casualty war, push-button or not.]

So, we've had one almost-flawless military victory with just over 100 American deaths.

They hated that. They called it a "push-button" war.

We've had one almost-flawless military victory in Afghanistan with even fewer American deaths.

They hated that, too. They didn't call it a "push-button" war, but they whine that we made a lot of use of indiginous fighters to win that war.

We had one almost-flawless military victory in Iraq-- the war phase, I mean now.

They hated that especially. Peter, Dan, and Tom's faces were all frozen in a grim rictus of death. Or rather, a grim rictus of too few deaths.

And now we've had one painful, costly, bloody insurgency-war costing some 650 American battle deaths.

They claim to hate this one, too, but inside they're ecstatic. They whoop and cheer with the French: Finally, America's nose has been bloodied and she understands she can't just throw her weight around.

So, there's the proof. If the left was really chiefly concerned about American battle deaths, why didn't they cheer the first Gulf War? Why didn't they cheer Afghanistan? Why didn't they cheer the war phase of the current Iraq action?


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posted by Ace at 04:16 AM

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