Thursday, September 29, 2005
A bigger safer budget
Does a larger defense budget make our country a safer place? The Skeptical Optimist hints that our reduced spending in the late 90s left the country vulnerable to attack, and could be responsible for our current entrenchment in two wars. Is this believable? Was Iraq emboldened by our cutbacks? Probably not, because evidence has shown that they had not resumed programs to created WMDs. Was Al Qaeda cowed by our impressive array of weaponry? Didn't look like it. We are currently involved in a "War on Terror", which makes our probable opponents terrorists. Terrorists by definition fight against overwhelming odds by attacking soft targets and avoiding direct conflict. Because of this, a military of immense size does little to deter their activities. But when the terror was connected to a state sponsor (Afghanistan's Taliban), surely our ability to shock and awe caused them to cringe? No. They still refused to hand over Bin Laden. We continue to fight insurgents in both of the countries we occupy, despite an overwhelming military superiority. So the War on Terror is not necessarily helped by building new aircraft carriers and stockpiles of missles. We are the world's biggest spender in terms of military budget. In fact, it takes the next 27 highest countries to equal our budget. Are we that much safer? Perhaps its time to focus more on providing security and quick response at home instead of expanding our network of over 700 overseas bases (not counting bases in Iraq or Afghanistan).