Thus Belial with words clothed in reason's garb
Counselled ignoble ease and peaceful sloth, not peace.
- Milton, Paradise Lost
FDR understood the need for a strong military - as did JFK and LBJ. But not today's modern left. They live in a world of suicidal fantasy, where the only threat to world peace is the U.S. and its military.
Between 1950 and 1994, spending on our military never fell below 4% of GDP and at times was a high as 14%. Eyeballing the numbers, it would appear that average spending on the military as a percentage of GDP for the period 1950 to 1994 easily exceeded 6%. That ended with Clinton who dropped military spending to a post WWII low of 3% of GDP. It rose under Bush to as we prosecuted two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but still stayed below 5%.
Enter that master of our national disaster, Barney Frank. Having already played a central role in destroying our economy through social engineering in our financial sector, he now portends to gut our military capacity in order to pay for Obama's profligate spending and to leave a vast pile of money for Democratic entitlements and union pay-offs.
Our budding Sun Tzu, Frank, has overseen the preparation of a 56 page report, Debt, Deficits, & Defense: A Way Forward. In it, he asserts that we have no enemies that can do us any harm. Indeed, for but one example, he describes Iran as a small, local threat offset by its own enemies in the region. Thus, Frank says, there is no need for a robust military. Frank recommends that we adopt what he names a "Strategy of Restraint." Actually, that name is disingenuous because, despite Franks use of the word "strategy," what he proposes is not a military strategy, but rather a political policy to unilaterally disarm to the point that our ability to project force would be extremely, if not fatally, compromised.
Frank would have America withdraw the vast majority of what would be left of our military to within our boarders, apparently leaving token forces in NATO and withdrawing from the vast majority of our commitments elsewhere. Frank would further forswear all foreign wars unless we are first attacked within our borders by an expeditionary force. The amount of military force Frank would leave us with might - just maybe - allow us to defend our borders.
Here are Frank's specific proposals, with his projected savings in red:
1. Reduce the US nuclear arsenal; adopt dyad; cancel Trident II - $113.5 billion
• 1000 deployed warheads
• 7 Ohio-class SSBNs
• 160 Minuteman missiles
2. Limit modernization of nuclear weapons infrastructure and research - $26 billion
3. Selectively curtail missile defense & space spending - $55 billion
4. Reduce troops in Europe and Asia, cut end strength by 50,000 - $80 billion
5. Roll back Army & USMC growth as wars in Iraq and Afghanistan end - $147 billion
6. Reduce US Navy fleet to 230 ships - $126.6 billion
7. Retire two Navy aircraft carriers and naval air wings $50 billion
8. Retire two Air Force fighter wings, reduce F-35 buy $40.3 billion
Procurement and R&D
9. Cancel USAF F-35, buy replacement $47.9 billion
10. Cancel USN & USMC F-35, buy replacement $9.85 billion
11. Cancel MV-22 Osprey, field alternatives $10 b. – $12 billion
12. Delay KC-X Tanker, interim upgrade of some KC-135s $9.9 billion
13. Cancel Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, field alternatives $8 b. – $9 billion
14. Reduce spending on research & development $50 billion
15. Military compensation reform $55 billion
16. Reform DoD’s health care system $60 billion
17. Reduce military recruiting expenditures as wars recede $5 billion
Maintenance and Supply Systems
18. Improve the efficiency of military depots, commissaries, and exchanges $13 billion
Command, Support, and Infrastructure
19. Require commensurate savings in command, support, and infrastructure $100 billion
What Frank proposes is a recipe for disaster. History teaches a brutal lesson - that peace is achieved only through superior military power. Europe has enjoyed only two extended periods of peace over the past two millennia. They were the Pax Romana and, most recently, the Pax Americana. The flip side of that coin is that weakness has always been an invitation to attack.
Frank states that we should maintain a small military core that we can then expand as the need arises. But the days when there was safely time to "ramp-up" military capability to meet a threat ended about World War I - and at least by World War II. Indeed, we were fortunate in WWII in having several years to prepare before we entered the war. But forgetting the lesson of preparedness, we were almost destroyed in Korea within a few weeks because we were there with forces unprepared for war and with second rate weaponry.
When we fought the Iraqi military in conventional war, we destroyed them in short order, less than 30 days of fighting combined, due to our vastly superior training and weaponry. Take away that training, take away that superior weaponry, and what you are left with is two roughly equal forces fighting it out. That is what Iran and Iraq did between 1980 and 1988. They fought to a stalemate for eight years and sustained a combined total of nearly 2.5 million casualties. That is what happens when equals fight. In contrast, in both of our wars with Iraq and inclusive of the post-war occupation, we suffered a sum total of less than 5,000 soldiers killed. It is the difference between minimal costs in blood and gold and disastrous costs.
Further, to maintain military superiority means that advanced weapons systems must be developed and fielded. That takes years, not months. If Frank thinks that Russia and China are not deeply engaged in trying to develop and field equipment superior to our own, he is supremely misguided. Fighting an enemy with a technological advantage is a sure ticket to defeat. Ask the Poles or the French from WWII.
Frank points to the relative expenditure between the U.S., China, Russia, and Iran as proof that we have no enemies capable of threatening U.S. military superiority. That is incredibly disingenuous. As to Russia and China, pay and benefits for the soldiers is not even a pittance of what we pay for our all volunteer military. As to budget devoted to equipment and R&D, just from the things I have read over the past several years, both China and Russia have been fielding very sophisticated military equipment. The Air Defense system Russia is preparing to send to Iran is sufficiently good as to worry both Israel and the U.S. China has begun to field a blue water navy - with much of their technology stolen from us.
In sum, what Barney Frank proposes is an end to the U.S. as a superpower and an end to the U.S. as a guarantor of peace in regions strategic to the United States and our allies. It is a disaster waiting to happen. Where we to adopt Frank's recommendations, it would take to the U.S. back to pre-WWII days to an isolationist America. And that worked out well, didn't it. We only lost a little over 400,000 men in WWII.
Where we to adopt Frank's recommendations, I could envision the fall of Taiwan and Israel within two decades, as well as the rapid expansion of China, Russia, Iran and whatever the successor to al Qaeda maybe. I could further envision problems in South America. How will our world - and our economy - be in two decades after Frank and Obama are done with our military? I would have to say that we would be in deep trouble indeed.