Moral Outrage
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Military budget scare tactics by Leon Panetta

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta wants you to be scared. Panetta warned that after possible cuts in the military budget, “we would have the smallest ground force since 1940, the smallest number of ships since 1915, and the smallest Air Force in its history.”

Which would be pretty damn bad … [excerpt] Panetta’s comparison is logically nearly irrelevant. In fact, even the most massive cuts currently under consideration would return American military spending only to 2007 levels.

If Panetta had been interested in logical relevance, though, he wouldn’t have referred to the past at all. He would have focused on the present, and in the present, we spend more on our military than the rest of the world spends combined. And we spend more than five times more on our military than the second biggest military spender, which is China (numbers 3 and 4 are France and the UK, American allies).

But Panetta doesn’t want you to know these numbers. If you did, you might laugh at him when he describes military cuts as meaning “doomsday” for America.

The closest Panetta comes to anything specific about America’s defense needs is to note that cuts would be bad for contractors. At which point, you start to get a feel for what really drives him and who he really represents. It’s long past time that Americans understood the military is, among other things, a special interest, and reacted to its lobbyists.

[Excerpt of article by former CIA agent Barry Eisler]

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