Ron Paul caught lying about military spending


During the Tea Party GOP primary debate, Ron Paul said that he would not entitlement spending, that the SS program is reforming itself and getting itself on sound financial footing, and that he would instead cut spending on wars, and he claimed that the US is spending $1.5 trillion a year on “wars we shouldn’t be in.” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-e4lHGGLQHw)
This was not surprising to hear, because 1) Ron Paul has long been an ardent defender of entitlement programs and arguing against any cuts to them; 2) Ron Paul has always been a staunch opponent of a strong defense and a staunch proponent of military spending cuts.
But him claim that the US is spending $1.5 trillion a year on wars is a blatant lie.
The total US military budget for FY2011 is $688 bn, which may sound like a staggering figure, but it’s far smaller than the $1.5 trillion per year figure that Paul claimed. $528.9 bn of that is the core defense budget (a budget which pays for the defense of America itself; specifically, it pays for the maintaining, feeding, housing, training, paying, healing, and equipping of the military as well as for weapon and nonweapon R&D porgrams). Only $159 bn of that is the war budget, which pays for the Afghan, Iraqi, and (the recently ended) Libyan war.
So Ron Paul exaggerated America’s war spending by a factor of almost 10:1.
So the problem with Paul’s claim is not that I disagree with it, but that it’s a blatant lie.
Unfortunately, no other Republican called him out on it.
Later, Ron Paul called for massive military spending cuts and claimed that the US has 900 bases in foreign countries, whereas the real number is ca. 700 and the vast majority of these 700 bases are tiny military installations. Only a few dozen of them are big bases like Ramstein, Spangdahlem, Kadena, and Misawa.
His claim that the US was/is occupying other countries was also false. A country occupies another country if the occupied country doesn’t consent to the presence of the first country’s troops on its soil. In all countries where American troops are present, they are there because the host countries’ governments want them to be there.

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