Dwight Eisenhower was the last president and last politician who had the public standing as the Supreme Allied Commander – WWII – to be able to criticize the military industrial complex without being effectively politically demagogued for it.
Since then, we have gone through periods of $700 hammers and multi-billion dollar cost overruns and anyone who has suggested that the military budget was inflated unnecessarily was subjected to the sharpest scorn challenging their patriotism, failing to support our troops.
The result has been that the military has had nearly a blank check from taxpayers to meet every threat real or imagined by the neo-cons who have been in control of our foreign policy.
The U.S. now represents 45 percent of the world’s military spending. No single potential foe spends a close second.
The Military Industrial Complex, as Eisenhower called it, has gotten smart about defending its budget, spreading its spending through as many states as possible so as to always have a gaggle of governors coming to their aid fearful of losing the economic benefit that the defense department brings their states.
The Pentagon has been forthright over the negative impact of the sequester on military budgets relative to readiness.
They are wrong, however, about the size and configuration of our military relative to the missions it should undertake. A huge re-evaluation and re-set of the military industrial complex is needed.
Famous military scientist Sun Tzu is credited with writing the “Art of War,” an ancient work on universal laws of war. It identifies factors leading to victory or defeat and stresses the importance of calculations.
Today my calculation is that while the U.S. has decimated Al Qaeda and killed Osama Bin Laden that until we regain our economic stability we have not won the war on terrorism.
While the terrorist elements have suffered, how else would they challenge a power such as ours and would they not see great success in the fiscal turmoil that they have contributed to, splitting the fabric of U.S. society and shaking the world’s economic reserve currency.
We are wasting huge sums bleeding the treasury on military spending. Canada recently withdrew its plan to purchase 65 new generation F-35 fighter planes because of the $46 billion lifetime cost. While Canada balked at the cost, we never do. Nothing is ever too much to spend on our national defense.
To sustain the military industrial complex we need enemies. The neo-cons will continue to make new ones so we will never run out. The lifetime cost of the F-35, still struggling in development and production, is estimated to be $1.5 trillion for 2,457 jets.
The F-35 program has been described as a disaster, but it is a politically protected disaster as it creates 133,000 jobs in 45 states, a job total that will double when it goes into full production.
The sequester is reportedly curtailing our ability to maintain two carrier battle fleets in the Persian Gulf.
The U.S. provides virtually all of the security for global oil trade; or better put, U.S. taxpayers do.
Within a short period of a few years we will no longer need any oil from outside the North and South American Hemispheres. New technology has created a boom in U.S. oil and gas production with Canada and even Brazil adding to the total.
With the contribution of renewable energy the U.S. is on the path to hemispheric energy independence.
Why are we footing the whole bill today protecting China’s oil, Japan’s oil, South Korea’s oil and everybody else’s oil for both developed and undeveloped economies? Someone else ought to be putting the second carrier battle group into the Persian Gulf along with ours and other taxpayers in those countries ought to be contributing to the cost.
But why would they, when we do it for them for free?
No one knows the true cost of Middle East oil more than the U.S. Navy, which is why it has led development of alternative fuels. The cost of a gallon of gas is far higher when the defense subsidy is added to the price at the pump.
We do not need F-35s flying skycap over U.S. ethanol plants.
I think that we need an unprecedented re-evaluation and reset of our defense policy and spending and you can bet that the oil industry, along with the military industrial complex, will do everything they can to see to it nothing changes.
President Obama is not exactly Dwight Eisenhower. Personally, I believe that the status quo military policy, budget and political condition is making this country weaker, draining precious economic resources.
Our financial distress makes us vulnerable in ways from which more ships, planes and guns won’t help defend us.
David Kruse is president of CommStock Investments Inc., author and producer of The CommStock Report, an ag commentary and market analysis available daily by radio and by subscription on DTN/FarmDayta and the Internet.
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