US Debt Reduction: The Military

As announced a week ago I hope to write a bit about the recommendations of the co-chairmen of the US presidential debt reduction committee.

One of the recommendations of the co-chairs is the reduction in military expenditures. This chart speaks to the degree of spending the US incurs verses the next six countries that spend money on their military forces.

There is a hash-tag on Twitter (#bringthemhome) that is speaking to the frustration that many have about the War in Afghanistan. These tweets are advocating that the troops be brought home. Here are a few Twitter entries:
  • In one week the date for major withdrawal in Afghanistan has been pushed from 2011 to the end of 2014. Now the US is backing off that date.
  • It's time the US stops rebuilding other countries and starts rebuilding our own.
  • The United States spends more on the military than anyone and more than the next 16 countries combined.
Cynically, I do wonder about the post election timing of the announcement to keep troops in Afghanistan. Yet I do think that these tweets reflect the mindsets of many Americans when it comes to the recent war in the middle east. I groaned when I read about the delay in bringing the troops home. I am frustrated by the amount of money that was spent rebuilding Iraq. And I do not understand why the United States still has to be the world's police force.

I am not an expert in defense spending but I do question our military presence in places like Italy, Germany, Greece, Japan, South Korea and other places around the world. That said I do admit that I may really be naïve about such things. I know that some of these are strategic in nature. Perhaps these bases should be in those places and military spending should be cut in other places. In any case I think that there is fat in our military spending.

Boiling it down I think that the issue is one of ideology. If one believes that the US has a responsibility to go it alone in places like Iraq and Afghanistan then there will always be a justification for the expenses and other countries will not have to be involved in the war on terror. But if one has a different mindset then perhaps they might embrace the spending cuts. I guess I would like to see more of a sharing of these expenses amongst the nations.


  1. I guess I would like to see more of a sharing of these expenses amongst the nations.

    Me too! But you know that ain't gonna happen! At least not in our lifetime!



I love to get comments and usually respond. So come back to see my reply. You can click here to see my comment policy.