Right Side-Dollars for Defense

The United States Should Do All It Can To Stay Technologically Far Ahead Of Everyone Else

DOD cuts may have disastrous consquences

It has been said that budgets are moral documents because they represent the priorities of a country. Actually, there’s a big difference between morals and needs, but you get the idea. So, when there is commentary that it is immoral for a country to spend more on bullets than bread, most people who care for their fellow humans nod along and say we should do something about that. But when they say, “we,” they really don’t mean me and you, and certainly not them. They mean the government. They don’t mean churches, civic groups, or any number of non¬governmental organizations who would likely do a far better job than the government, but don’t feel they need to because we have Uncle Sam.
If you feel so inclined to help others, please do. We need a lot of help out there. But to put forth the canard that “we” should do more of one and less of the other, illustrates a lack of understanding of the budgetary process, a lack of initiative for us as individuals, and complete naivety when it comes to both world history and the current role of the U.S. abroad.
Yet let’s get to the grip of the axe. The thought after 13 years of war is that it’s time to trim the military—weapons, programs, bases, people. Which begs the question, which weapons, programs, bases, people? There is already a plan to reduce the force, especially the Army, over the next few years. The Base Realignment and Closing musical chairs song will soon play again, and the U.S. status in Afghanistan will change dramatically by the end of this year. These are usual ebb and flow changes following periods of war, especially as concern grows over our nation’s fiscal circular firing squad. Yet the drum beats to cut services and benefits to our military personnel, cut expensive weapons programs, and withdraw within our borders.
First, the personnel bennies issue. If you would like to make the case that it’s ok to cut the BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing) rate, increase Tricare premiums, close commissaries, rethink military retirement plans, then I would like you to get ready for the reinstatement of the draft. Plainly put, these are idiotic ideas. To continue to have a successful all volunteer force, we must offer attractive inducements beyond patriotism. Further, for those who make the case that we give those in the military too much (oh, you’d be surprised what I hear), please imagine driving to work each day with the thought that the potholes on I-64 are IEDs, or that you’ll be separated from family and friends for the next several months. On a ship. On a base. Some place bearing no resemblance to a Sandals resort. The benefits we offer our men and women in uniform should be commensurate with the jobs we ask of them.
Secondly, weapons programs. No general would ever ask for a level playing field, and you should never bring a knife to a gun fight. The United States should do all it can to stay technologically far ahead of, well, everyone. Our ability to outgun all opponents will only serve to protect the lives of those we ask to go to war, and those at home who they are charged with protecting. And don’t give me this drivel on how our military is bigger that the next umpteen countries all together. Is there another equation you think would be better?
Thirdly, while the tempo of operations is slowing, it won’t stay that way forever. China, Russia, Iran, and the survival of Islamic militarism demand vigilance, preparedness and determination.
Yet, to give confidence to the American taxpayer, a complete audit of the DOD finally needs to happen. Immediately. The amount of financial waste is bewildering. Regardless, financial irresponsibility should have no bearing on mission responsibility, nor on our future commitments to those in uniform.

Dave Parker hosts The Dave Parker Show on AM 790 WNIS weekdays from 10 a.m.–noon. He can also be heard each afternoon on US1061 and reached at dparker@wnis.com. He lives in Virginia Beach with his wife and two daughters.

Editor’s Note: Left Side/Right Side is an ongoing CoVa column debating both local and national issues important to Coastal Virginia residents. The opinions expressed by our writers do not necessarily reflect the viewpoints of the Coastal Virginia Magazine staff. To suggest a topic or share your comments, e-mail Melissa Stewart at Melissa@CoastalVirginiaMag.com.

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