Does the Military Need to Be Rebuilt?

“The number one priority of President Trump is to rebuild our military” ~ Vice President Mike Pence

Rush Limbaugh rarely has guests on his radio show, but sometimes makes an exception for Republican politicians.

This time it was for Vice President Mike Pence. Limbaugh was asking him about the Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R.244) that Congress passed to fund the federal government until the end of the fiscal year (Sept. 30, 2017). Pence defended the budget compromise because it increased defense spending. Said Pence:

I think this sends a decisive message to the world that under President Trump’s leadership we’re gonna make the strongest military in history even stronger.

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Rush, let me be real clear. The number one priority of President Trump is to rebuild our military, to restore the arsenal of democracy. And I gotta tell you, to get Democrats in Washington, D.C., to agree to a $21 billion increase in a short-term budget bill — and, you know, the president’s calling for the largest increase in military spending since the Reagan administration in the upcoming budget, I think is no small — it’s no small accomplishment. Gun Control and the Se... Laurence M. Vance Buy New $5.95 (as of 07:20 EDT - Details)

Conservative think tanks agree with Trump and Pence. But of course, they have always pushed for increased spending on the military.

An article for the Heritage Foundation maintains:

The Congress acted correctly and courageously in 2017 to begin to regrow the Army by adding 17,000 active-duty soldiers to President Barack Obama’s proposed request for 460,000. There is near consensus that the last four years of strength cuts have reduced the Army’s ability to execute its missions and significantly raised strategic risk to the country.

Now faced with a similar situation for fiscal year 2018, Congress should act again to incrementally increase the size of the Army and authorize the prudent growth requested in the Army’s unfunded requirements list.

Congress should not allow a “pause” in the rebuilding of the Army. It should instead continue to reverse Obama’s ill-advised cuts to the Army.

An article for the American Enterprise Institute maintains:

President Trump’s budget will not begin to rebuild America’s military. To confront rising threats in Eastern Europe, East Asia, and the Middle East, America needs to adopt a three-theater force-sizing construct. This requires robust and balanced investments in the military to replenish the shrinking inventories and aging technologies of a force that can no longer “shock and awe” its adversaries.

Many critics have called out Trump for his underwhelming defense budget. They rightly contend that rebuilding the military requires significantly more funding than the president has requested.

President Trump’s military budget request for fiscal year 2018 is $603 billion, plus $65 billion for overseas contingency operations (foreign wars). The House’s version of the National Defense Authorization Act (H.R.2810) calls for a total military budget of $696 billion. The Senate’s version (S.1519) calls for military spending of $700 billion.

The question before us is a simple one: Does the military need to be rebuilt?

Of course not.

The United States spends more on national defense than the next eight biggest spenders combined. That is more than China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, India, France, Japan, and Germany combined. Washington’s military spending is nearly three times that of all other NATO members combined.

The Defense Department regularly squanders American taxpayers’ money. Between 1997 and 2015, the Pentagon spent $58 billion on 22 weapons programs that were later cancelled. The military flew nearly $12 billion in shrink-wrapped $100 bills into Iraq, then distributed the cash with no proper control over who was receiving it and how it was being spent. The Pentagon acknowledges that it can’t account for how it spent $6.5 trillion. King James, His Bible,... Laurence M. Vance Best Price: $15.36 Buy New $19.95 (as of 07:15 EDT - Details)

In 1990, Congress passed the Chief Financial Officers Act requiring every department and agency in the federal government to produce verifiable financial statements that can be fully audited. Every major agency has completed this task except one—the Defense Department. The Government Accountability Office stated in 2013 that it could not complete an audit of the entire federal government because DOD financial statements were “unauditable.”

Real defense spending is much higher than the defense budget. In fact, real defense spending is over a trillion dollars a year. The true figure has been calculated by economist Robert Higgs and verified.

Although each of these things is enough to raise doubts about whether American taxpayer dollars should be spent to rebuild the military, I believe the main reason why the military doesn’t need to be rebuilt is that the Department of Defense has become the Department of Offense.

The purpose of the military has been perverted beyond all recognition. The U.S. military should be engaged exclusively in defending the United States—not defending other countries, and certainly not attacking them. It is U.S. borders that should be secured. It is U.S. shores that should be guarded. It is U.S. coasts that should be patrolled. It is U.S. skies where no-fly zones should be enforced. The U.S. military does everything but these things. And it certainly doesn’t defend our freedoms or keep us safe from terrorists.

The military doesn’t need to be rebuilt, not when it engages in

  • invading other countries
  • occupying other countries
  • nation building
  • regime changes
  • fighting foreign wars
  • making widows and orphans
  • garrisoning the planet with troops
  • fighting immoral wars
  • launching preemptive strikes
  • torture
  • transporting insurgents and detainees to torture-friendly countries
  • spreading democracy at the point of a gun
  • fighting unjust wars
  • using humanitarian interventions as a guise for imperialism
  • unleashing sectarian violence
  • supplying peacekeepers
  • fighting senseless wars
  • bombing other countries
  • fighting unnecessary wars
  • building overseas bases
  • being the world’s policeman, fireman, and social worker
  • being the president’s personal attack force
  • killing civilians and dismissing it as collateral damage
  • enforcing UN resolutions
  • destroying foreign industry, culture, and infrastructure
  • providing humanitarian aid in other countries
  • enforcing no-fly zones in other countries
  • providing disaster relief in other countries
  • unnecessarily sending American soldiers to their deaths
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  • intervening in other countries
  • creating terrorists and insurgents because of its interventions
  • making us less safe because of its interventions
  • being a global force for evil
  • carrying out an aggressive, reckless, and belligerent U.S. foreign policy
  • carrying out drone strikes that regularly miss their targets
  • fighting wars that are not constitutionally declared
  • going where it has no business going
  • supporting a network of brothels around the world
  • offense instead of defense

Not only should the U.S. military not be rebuilt, it should be cut and then limited to defensive actions only.