What’s Left: Slimming Down



Will Hazzard

I wouldn’t say that I’m morally opposed to the idea of war. To a certain extent, it serves a purpose in the world community. It should be a last resort and diplomacy should always be employed to the utmost extent. However, war is far more than a simple issue of diplo­macy and international relations. It is also an economic issue. War is an engine of industry, driving production and research.

This country has a long history of defense spending to help fuel the economy. But now, we have reached a very different time.

Every American is feeling the crunch of the economic crisis, and the United States can no longer spend $663 billion a year on the military. This country can no longer rest on the crutch of military spending.

We need to cut back significantly on our defense spending if we want to solve the national debt crisis and improve our economic situation.

Let’s start with the obvious issues, which are the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. These simultaneous conflicts are nothing but a festering wound. They are bleeding our budget dry. We are de­voting a tremendous amount of resources to these wars, but what have they truly accomplished?

We now have a long-standing presence in the Mid­dle East that will either aid or harm our political clout in the area.

We have taken the offensive in the war on terror and weakened enemy combatants. However, it’s hard to tell the effectiveness sometimes.

Is this really worth the investment, not just in dol­lars, but in American lives as well? Personally, I don’t think so.

If the American people need to make tough decisions, then the government needs to as well.

We may be sacrificing a military presence in that part of the world, but the economic benefits greatly outweigh the diplomatic ones. But a part of me knows this won’t happen, especially since we are only involv­ing ourselves further.

Look at Libya, for instance. We fired around 120 missiles during the initial attack, each one costing $1.4 million. That is a tremendous amount of money for a conflict that isn’t even our own.

We can’t continue to engage ourselves in these sorts of military engagements unless it is absolutely necessary to our security.

But then there is the rest of our military spending. The source of our current military superiority comes from constant high defense spending.

While American military dominance is impor­tant, does it really deserve an untouchable status when it comes to the budget? Total cuts to defense spending are estimated at $350 billion over the next decade, but is that really enough?

We invest so much money into private security forces and research into new weaponry. I can’t really see the justification in all of it. We are leaps and bounds ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to military might, so it doesn’t seem necessary to keep increasing that gap at a constant rate.

Now, I know that a lot of civilian technology is derived from military research, but it just seems like a lot of fat that can be trimmed. I’m not saying that we should halt all defense spending and focus all these billions of dollars into other avenues, but I believe it’s time for America to take a hard look at itself and its economic resources and decide what’s really important. Our well-being doesn’t rest solely on the shoulders of the military, and our budget needs to reflect that. An economic collapse poses more of a risk than an attack on American soil.

Contact Will Hazzard at [email protected]