The truth about defense

More defense spending is irresponsible and won’t make us any safer.

Hemang Sharma

With the U.S. national deficit at $1.1 trillion and our national debt topping $16 trillion, there is no qualm that we need to spend our money wisely. Both Gov. Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama are trying to convince us that they can make the nation more fiscally sound by eliminating wasteful spending. What I have failed to comprehend is their absolute disregard toward our massive defense budget.

Romney in the third debate mentioned that America needs to increase its defense spending in order to be a stronger nation, to have a military that no one in the world can match, to go back to the strategy championed by former President Theodore
Roosevelt.

All these things are already in place. We do have the strongest military, we are involved in multiple countries and no one can match our strength. Romney wants to increase the military budget by another trillion dollars over time, something that the military has not asked for. Is it really that wise to be fighting more unnecessary wars? The fiscally responsible Republican Party nominee seems to have forgotten one of the party’s own core principles: Don’t make the government bigger than it has to be. To put things in perspective, our military is the richest in this world — more than the next 10 countries combined. Heck, we outspend the next big military superpower, China, by six to one.

The fact is that the defense spending supports countless jobs. It feeds the corporations that manufacture these weapons and pays for the salaries of the troops we still haven’t brought home from Germany, Japan and other places where conflicts haven’t occurred in decades. Our national arsenal is comprised of nuclear submarines, large aircraft carriers and fighter planes that are collectively more powerful than we ever imagined. We have the biggest stick, and nobody is going to mess with us. What we don’t have is the money to keep living like kings. As President Bill Clinton said at McNamara Alumni Center yesterday: “It’s arithmetic.” We can’t be serious about the debt until we start cutting an agency that drains  nearly a fifth of our budget.