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Monday, February 11, 2013

Go ahead, park a carrier

Outgoing Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has complained that sequestration of federal funds will prevent the United States Navy from stationing two aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf. I say, good.

Although I have blogged previously that threats of Iran to block the Strait of Hormuz are worrisome, I fail to see how permanently stationing a second aircraft carrier in the area would dissuade Iran. Our primary approach to Iran and all other foreign policy problems in North Africa, the Middle East, and Southwest Asia -- in other words, the Muslim countries -- must be diplomacy. We don't need a second aircraft carrier there, and if he were alive today I suspect that Teddy Roosevelt would agree even though he was not afraid to wave the proverbial big stick.

We citizens spend far too much money on a standing military and specifically on a useless if not utterly hopeless war in Afghanistan. It is time to reduce military spending even though it serves to prop up the economy. It is time to cease using the People's Republic of China as an excuse to maintain the exalted levels of military spending that DoD, the military services, and the largest defense contractors enjoy.

I am not a pacifist, but I am tight with money and I do not agree with pundits like Paul Krugman who seem to think that any form and any degree of government spending is a good thing. We could downsize the U.S. military by 33% and still sleep well at night. Let's do it.