By necessity, President Obama has had to spend $787 billion on a stimulus package to rescue the American economy from the current recession/depression. In doing so, he has also indicated a sense of fiscal responsibility by requiring that we find the means to pay for this tremendous expenditure. The President has stated flatly that this financial burden should not rest on the shoulders of his or our children. Some means had to be found to balance the huge stimulus package with savings or tax cuts. Since tax cuts were out except for the very wealthy, savings had to do it.
The obvious savings - the low-hanging fruit of savings - would come from the gold-plated weapon systems that by any reasonable measure do not serve American security needs. This category of wasteful military systems was designed decades ago to fight Russia on the plains of Europe and have become obsolete in purpose and function.
Outstanding examples of wasteful military spending are the F-22 fighter plane, the Zumwalt class of destroyer ships, the non-functioning, mis-named missile defense system and nuclear arms, to name a few.
That's where the battle begins.
Every one of these costly military expenditures have their rabid defenders both in and out of Congress. They know that they can't justify these military projects on the basis of national defense, so they resort to their standard fall-back position: protecting jobs. Especially during this economic downturn, they say, jobs have got to be preserved.
The fact is that with the stimulus package in place, this is just the right time to convert unnecessary and wasteful military plants to civilian use. Despite the cry that no time is the right time to convert, now the money from the stimulus package is available to ease the transition. With Obama in office, we now have the money, the will and the military necessity to update our military forces to fight the battles of today, not yesterday.
The need to provide our military with the weapons and supplies necessary to fight guerrilla forces in the mountains of Afghanistan is critical. As an example of military misappropriation, the U.S. Navy is larger than the next 13 navies combined, and Afghanistan is land-locked. Political and job considerations must give way to the needs of our fighting men and women; hugely expensive, out-dated weapon systems must be replaced with the weapons, supplies and training needed to fight in the mountains of Afghanistan.
President Obama has indicated that he is ready to reduce this unnecessary spending on obsolete weapon systems and his Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, is admirably suited to do just that. Gates is a Cold War veteran and has had years in military intelligence. He has the depth of experience to dispel the warnings that doing away with these outmoded weapon systems would leave us vulnerable to military threats from other countries. In the current issue of Foreign Affairs magazine, Gates has indicated that the U.S. military still has the military power to deter aggression from any quarter.
Prepare for battle. The military-industrial complex has the money - drained from government contracts - and the ear of Congress to protect their turf. The corrupt triangle that pushes money from Pentagon spending to defense contractors to the campaign coffers of political incumbents is powerful and well entrenched. President Obama has stated the need for change and savings in our military procurement - the battle is on.