November 8th, 2005

coyote Phil

How to cut the offense budget

NPR is hosting a web game where you try to balance the federal budget. One of the rules of the game is that you can't cut the defense budget. A caller complained about this, and the person who designed the game said that our defense budget isn't too big and shouldn't be looked to to reduce the deficit.

Isn't too big? When we spend as much money on our military as the REST OF THE WORLD COMBINED?

When you think about it, our DEFENSE budget only needs to be big enough to repel an invasion by either Canada or Mexico. (Or, if you want to be conservative, a joint attack by both at the same time.)

What we have is not a DEFENSE budget, but an OFFENSE budget. A DEFENSE budget wouldn't have items like funding insurgencies in Afgahnistan, Nicaragua, Iraq; invasions in Panama, Afghanistan, and Iraq; stationing troops in Germany, Turkey, Cuba, Japan, and pretty much everywhere else in the world; defending Taiwan; training the police forces of Central-American dictators; patrolling the Mediterranean; etc.

Now, sometimes, the best defense is a good offense. It's good to have offensive capabilities. But clearly, DEFENSE is more important than OFFENSE. And when people say that the defense budget is sacred and that anyone who would even think of cutting it is un-American, what they mean is the DEFENSE budget.

Maybe, just maybe, if our military budget were listed as separate budgets for defense and offense, people would see the OFFENSE budget as less than sacred. Maybe we could bring the boys back home - from Germany and Japan, at least.