The utterly discredited libertarian traitor Doug Bandow has once again reared his ugly head and blamed the DOD for America’s fiscal woes (for which it is not responsible). Writing in the Forbes magazine, Bandow admitted that defense – unlike many other federal programs – is a constitutional responsibility of the federal government, but he called for deep defense spending cuts, which would gravely weaken the US military (you can’t have a strong military without an appropriately-sized defense budget – the military needs funds to maintain all of its divisions, wings and fleets and to buy weapons).
He called for a military budget appropriate “for a Republic, not an empire”. Yet America is a Republic, not an Empire, and has a military budget appropriate for a Republic, NOT an Empire. America’s total military budget, including GWOT spending and funds for DOE nuclear weapon programs, amounts to just 4.5% of GDP (the level of military spending reached in FY1979, during the nadir of the Carter era); America’s FY2011 defense budget (the budget devoted to actually maintaining America’s defense rather than waging the GWOT) constitutes just 3.59% of America’s GDP. In absolute numbers, it totals $525 bn under the FY2011 ConRes, and is $17 bn smaller than the FY2010 budget ($542.76 bn in CY2011 dollars).
Of course, these cuts are not the “deep defense spending cuts” that Bandow wants implemented. What exactly should be cut, according to him? The force structure, among other things. Bandow believes that America is an empire and that the current force structure is a product of that “empire”. But America is NOT an empire. America merely deploys troops in certain countries which have formidable enemies and need to be protected (e.g. South Korea and Japan) as well as certain countries that are longtime allies of the US (e.g. Britain, Germany, Italy and Turkey). That is the right policy.
He falsely claims that the current force structure is a relic of the Cold War. This is an utterly false claim which, like all of his other lies about defense, proves how ignorant (or how dishonestly lying) he is. Since 1989, the force structure of the US military has been severely reduced – by the Bush I, Clinton, Bush II, and Obama Administrations. The Clinton Administration alone reduced the size of the US military by 40% (and the size of the USN by over 80 ships). The Bush Administration retired over 114 aircraft and the Obama Admin about 250 aircraft. The USN had almost 600 ships in 1987; now it has only 285. The nuclear arsenal of the US and the arsenal of the means of delivery have been significantly reduced since 1989: the US now has only 5113 warheads and 870 means of delivery whereas, in 1991, it had 10,000 warheads and 1600 means of delivery. In 1989, the US military numbered ca. 3 mn personnel; now, the active-duty military numbers only 1.2 mn troopers and the reserves another 1.2 mn people. In 1991, the USN had 15 carriers; now it has 11.
The global deployments of the US military have also been radically changed since 1989. The vast majority of American troops who were stationed in Europe in 1991 have returned home since then; the Bush Admin alone brought back 70,000 troopers and 100,000 family members from Europe, Japan and South Korea. The character of the force structure has also changed: whereas there were few, if any, UAVs and troops dedicated to assymetrical warfare, there are now thousands of them in the ranks of the military. This is a result of the policies implemented by Secretary Rumsfeld.
So Bandow’s claim that America still maintains a Cold-War-era military posture is a blatant lie.
Bandow also falsely claims that
“While defense-unlike so many domestic programs-is a core federal responsibility, the government’s duty is to defend America, not the rest of the world.
In essence, military spending is the price of one’s foreign policy. Do less around the world, and you need fewer air wings, carrier groups, and armored divisions. And conventional forces are what cost the most.”
Firstly, military spending is NOT the price of one’s foreign policy; not exclusively. It is the price of a defense against existing and projected enemies. It is determined by what enemies a country has. Secondly, the claim that the force structure could be radically reduced if the US military were to defend ONLY the United States (and not any allied countries) is utterly false. Under that scenario, the US military would need a force structure no smaller than that of today; that is, it would need no fewer carrier groups, armored divisions and AF wings than it has today. This is because 1) force structure cuts weaken the military, so it cannot afford them; 2) America is a huge country with a population of 300 mn people and a territory of over 9 million square kms spanning several time zones – it is a huge country that requires a large military to defend; 3) America has numerous strong enemies who have large standing militaries (China, Russia, North Korea, Iran) or midsized ones (Venezuela and Syria). China’s military has more than 3 mn troopers; Russia’s military 1 mn men under arms; North Korea mantains a military of 1.1 million soldiers. Each of these countries has thousands of tanks, thousands of combat aircraft (Russia has almost 2000 fighterplanes and China has almost 1600), and hundreds of warships. In fact, the force structure of the US military is already too small to defend America (even if only America) against these countries. So America cannot afford to reduce its military’s force structure any further, even if the military is to defend only the US.
The force structure is likewise too small to defend America’s allies, which Bandow doesn’t want the US military to do. But dumping America’s key allies (note the term KEY ALLIES, and please distinguish it from the term “free-riding minor allies) would be a huge mistake, for several reasons: 1) it would ruin America’s reputation and make foreign countries believe that America cannot be counted upon as an ally; 2) it would mean ejecting the US, its military and its influences from foreign countries; 3) it would mean surrendering these allies and the rest of the world to aggressors such as Putin, Hu Jintao, Kim Jong Il, Ahmadinejad, and Hugo Chavez – because without America defending them, its key allies would be attacked and overran by the militaries of China, NK, Iran and Venezuela. Yet Bandow, who subscribes to an outdated policy of isolationism, believes that America should not defend ANY of its allies – not even key allies such as Japan, SK, Israel, or Colombia (America’s last anti-communist bastion in South America). Last June, while the US was observing the 60th anniversary of the Communist aggression against South Korea, Bandow called on the US to… withdraw all of its troops from SK and revoke the American defense commitment to that country. Bandow, who has NEVER served with the military of any country, even dared to accuse South Koreans of not doing enough to defend their country, even though the SK government drafts EVERY South Korean male into its military.
Clearly, America’s allies are of no value to Bandow. He believes that American troops defending them are occupiers serving an empire, not defenders of democracies. It is not the forementioned threats that Bandow is worried about, it is the mythical “American empire”. He subscribes to the ridiculous notion that threats to America and its interests are limited to the borders of the US and that there are no external threats to the US. That is utter gibberish, and was always gibberish. Even during the 1800s, there were threats to America away from its borders – namely, Barbary pirates. In 1941, that ludicrous libertarian notion was again utterly discredited, this time by Japan, which attacked Pearl Harbor. And on 9/11/2001, this ludicrous libertarian notion was again utterly discredited (and Bandow was discredited with it), when America was attacked by a threat that originated 6000 miles away from America’s borders.
These days, there are numerous threats to America and its interests beyond America’s borders: Communist China, North Korea, Venezuela, Iran, and Syria just to name a few. Without a strong military and an appropriately-sized defense budget, America cannot deter and defeat these threats. That means GROWING, not reducing, the military’s force structure and the defense budget.
Bandow has lied that “the Soviet Union has collapsed, Maoist China has been transformed, and pro-communist Third World dictatorships have been discarded in history’s dustbin.” The truth is that Russia is rearming and reasserting itself, under old KGB thug Vladimir Putin and his KGB pals Ivanov and Patrushev; China has been transformed economically but not politically and is a sworn enemy of the US; Third World communist dictatorships still exist (vide North Korea, Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Bolivia).
Bandow frequently writes anti-American, pro-Communist, anti-defense columns for the treasonous Antiwar.com website, a liberal/libertarian website run by his fellow libertarian loon Alex Jones, who (like many other libertarians) believes that the US government deliberately staged the 9/11/2001 attacks. His lies have been debunked on YT by Ryan K. Owens. In 2007, he proclaimed that the GOP is “The Party of War” and that conservatives stand for war and foreign intervention; so, since he opposes such policies, he is NOT a conservative.
All of Bandow’s claims are blatant lies. The defense budget is NOT to blame for America’s fiscal woes; the military’s force structure is not a relic of the Cold War era; it is insufficient to defend even America itself (a huge country with a population of 300 mn and a territory of over 9 mn sq kms), let alone America’s allies; and dumping America’s allies would be a foolish mistake which would mean ceding the world to aggressors. His “solution” to America’s budget crisis – a deep reduction of defense spending – would be a disaster for the country, not a solution. All of his claims are blatant lies, and all of his proposals must be rejected. The Forbes magazine has irredeemably discredited itself by publishing his article.