Monday, May 18, 2009

Gates in Wonderland

"Defense Secretary Robert Gates, a man not known for having his head in the stars, announced his strategic Pentagon blueprint this week, saying his proposals 'will profoundly reform how this department does business.' We hope he informed Congress, home to 535 procurers in chief. ... So give the Defense Secretary an A for optimistic effort, even if we have our disagreements with some of his strategic choices. In announcing his spending priorities, Mr. Gates said he wants to focus on the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, rather than on the unknown wars of the future. ... But it's worth remembering that the reason our enemies have resorted to terrorism and insurgency is because US conventional forces overwhelmingly dominate on the ground, in the sea and in the air. ... China and Russia are upgrading their conventional forces, and China in particular is aiming to build a navy that can neutralize US forces in the Western Pacific. ... Even so, the Navy is left with a fleet of fewer than 300 ships, which strikes us as perilously small. When a US-flagged container ship was briefly taken by pirates off Somalia this week, the Navy's nearest vessel was hours away. Mr. Gates's decision to kill the stealthy F-22 fighter jet, which outclasses everything in the sky, is also troubling. We already have 183 F-22s-original plans called for 750--and Mr. Gates wants to order just four more before shutting down the production line. His proposal to double the number of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters the Pentagon buys next year--to 30 from 14 in 2009--is no quid pro quo. The F-35 is a cheaper, more multipurpose plane but it can't begin to compete with the F-22 as a fighter jet. Pentagon spending is now about 4% of GDP and is expected to decline, which means too little investment against potential threats. In particular, Mr. Gates's budget priorities give no indication of how the Pentagon will ensure that US military dominance extends to the battlefield of the future, outer space. ... The $1.4 billion in cuts to missile defense are especially worrisome, with losers including the Airborne Laser, designed to shoot down ballistic missiles in the boost phase, and additional interceptors planned for the ground-based system in Alaska", my emphasis, Editorial at the WSJ, 10 April 2009.

Gates doesn't concern himself with a potential war in space. He lives there and figures so does the rest of the US military.


Anonymous said...

The U.S. spends as much (within one or two percent) on its military as the rest of the world combined, esily six or seven times as much as either Russia or China.

You're shilling for the military-industrial establishment (coupled with the financial elite, don't forget Daddy Warbucks) that has bled this economy white, to where it is today.

Independent Accountant said...

You are enrtitled to your opinion. I do not share it. How do you KNOW what Russia or China spends on its military? Would you ask either country? I wouldn't. Further, why is it relevant? Or should US troops be paid what the People's Liberation Army pays its troops?
I have been accused of many things, but "shilling for" the financial elite? That's a first. During the Eisenhower administration the US spent about 9-10% of GDP on defense. Now it's about 3.5% What are you talking about?
What do you think the US needs for an effective defense? What weapons should we have? How many?

Anonymous said...

I'm with Ron Paul on this one. We are an exhausted empire with troops needlessly scattered around the globe pursuing foolish adventures like Vietnam and Iraq and Afghanistan that bring us no gain and no respect, just to keep a bunch of bloated military contractors and their shills in Congress happy. Reread Eisenhower's comment on MIC.

Anyone who thinks our energy problem is going to be solved by occupying the Middle East has rocks in his head. And that was the strategy pursued by Bush I and II that Obomba appears to be following.

Independent Accountant said...

I remember Ike's 18 January 1961 speech. I heard Ike deliver it on the radio. Really. I have read it many times since 1961. I opposed our Iraq and Afghanistan adventures. So? I live about 45 miles from Ron Paul and know of his positions. So? I do not know why Bush attacked Iraq? Do you? Suppose Bush told you. Would you believe him?
It's social spending that is primarily responsible for the increase in federal spending since 1961. Check it out.
In 1961 US military spending was 9.4% of GDP. In 2003, 3.7% Here's a table for you: Learn.

Anonymous said...

A dollar wasted is a dollar wasted, no matter where. The northern europeans are happy with their social spending, by the way. see

Our military is the biggest terrorist organization in the world, hasn't been for national defense since 1945.

Jr Accountant said...


This is strange but I actually caught Gates' "budget" spiel on C-SPAN a few weeks back (I don't have a TV but happened to be lazing around at a friend's house that day)... I recall him being terribly bland and evasive. He did not offer any real explanation as to why certain things were eliminated and certain things were expanded... Bloomberg and the rest of the usual suspects didn't seem too bothered by this and asked the usual bland questions.

Point being, what sort of signal are we sending making our weakness so obvious?

We're being publicly looted from the inside in front of the entire world and now showing that we aren't all that fortified from outside threats either. Our bumbling idiots are strategically placed around the world, and if Geithner was aware of any of this he'd hand us over to China in a second.

I heard something about Obama extending Iraq spending far beyond his promised goal of 2010 or whatever it was. I'm convinced he's just evil at this point. Should have listened when some warned he was a Chicago thug...

does nuclear disarmament even matter?