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Ear to the Ground

Defense Secretary Trims Fat Around the Edges

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Posted on Apr 6, 2009
U.S. Air Force / Master Sgt. Kevin Gruenwald

Three U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors fly over the Pacific Ocean. The planes were designed to fight a Cold War threat that no longer exists, making their exit from the Pentagon’s stable a welcome if obvious change.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates outlined his spending cuts on Monday, scrapping, among other boondoggles, the F-22, a fighter plane that apparently specialized in Super Bowl flyovers. Despite the cuts, America still spends more on defense than the rest of the world combined. And then there’s the cost of two wars to think about.

Read Gates’ full remarks here.

Los Angeles Times:

Gates said 50% of the money in the budget should go to programs meant to counter conventional threats, about 10% to programs useful only in irregular war and 40% to programs that are useful to both.

“I am just trying to get the irregular warfare guys a seat at the table,” Gates said.

The overall size of the budget, $534 billion, was announced earlier, but Gates had not outlined what weapons programs he intended to cut. The budget marks the end of a long run-up in defense spending that began in 2001.

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By Mande, April 27, 2011 at 1:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

IMHO you’ve got the right ansewr!

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By mmadden, April 8, 2009 at 7:44 am Link to this comment

cyrena wrote “Seems like ya’ll would be kind of embarrassed at this point, about posting all of this propaganda for all of this time (Folkliar are you listening?) because everyday Obama does something else to prove what liars you are.

But, some people don’t even have that much sense. “

The right wing nuts were in a lather when he was in Europe. Saying stuff like why make amends to the Muslims and other such nonsense. They will always find something to whine about.

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By cyrena, April 7, 2009 at 6:26 pm Link to this comment

From the LA Times
•  “….At the same time, Gates said he wanted to put more money into intelligence gathering and surveillance, as well as into personnel growth in the military services, which he said were at risk of “hollowing” because of tight staffing. He also would pump new spending into medical and psychological treatment….”
continues:
•  “Gates said at a news briefing that he knew his recommendations would be controversial but that he did not take politics into account. He said the cuts in some areas were necessary to overcome dangerous shortages in others.

Winslow Wheeler, a defense budget expert at the Center for Defense Information, said that would be the strongest argument Gates had as he pushed his proposal with Congress.

“There is going to be a very ugly food fight,” he said, adding that Gates and President Obama could probably win a congressional showdown “if they make it clear that in terminating the programs we can make ourselves stronger…

Does ANY of this stuff sound familiar to you all? (you know who you are).
More to the point, doesn’t this pretty much EXPOSE you propagandists for what you are? Like say those who like to search for loosely statistical lies, or just the standard form of passing simplistic ignorance around…”Obama is INCREASING THE DEFENSE BUDGET!”

Gee, this doesn’t ‘read’ that way, and we’re getting it from the horse’s mouth. The New York Times has pretty much the same analysis. In fact, it reads and sounds like President Obama, in consultation with Gates and whomever else he consults with (including the First Lady Michelle) is not only DECREASING THE DEFENSE BUDGET, but he’s redistributing the funds where they are needed most. Kinda like what I “guessed at” a few dozen posts or so. 

Seems like ya’ll would be kind of embarrassed at this point, about posting all of this propaganda for all of this time (Folkliar are you listening?) because everyday Obama does something else to prove what liars you are.

But, some people don’t even have that much sense.

Oh well…

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By tshirt-doctor, April 7, 2009 at 11:50 am Link to this comment

He is not concerned how the superpower spends its billions on defence; he only worries about his son.

you could say that true even in america, where our sons and daughters are in the military.

are nation has got people worried all over the world

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By Folktruther, April 7, 2009 at 9:53 am Link to this comment

I think that the attempt to change the priorities of the military is real, whether or not it is successful. The good news is the downplaying of conventional war which is extremely dangerous in a an increasing nucluer age.  The bad news is the continuing War on Terrorism against populations, despite the change of rhetoric. 

The populations to be attacked nclude the American population.  The military is now being trained for use against Americans and the first combat brigade has already been stationed in the US.  And more troops are being recruited and the military budget expanded.

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By prgill, April 7, 2009 at 7:08 am Link to this comment

t-shirt doctor, that would be one way to solve the overcrowding problem in the nation’s cities. It would not solve the problem of urban sprawl and urban ugliness which is where the money and the political capital needs to be spent.

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By tshirt-doctor, April 7, 2009 at 6:37 am Link to this comment

By prgill,
The problem with pitchforks-in-the-streets is that when push comes to shove, the pitchfork folk will be standing up to the best trained and equipped military in the world.

that’s why we’ve got the 2nd amendment.  we’ve got them outnumbered.  it may take many deaths, but it will happen

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By surfer12, April 7, 2009 at 1:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

America spends on its defence more than the rest of the world combined. One of its expenses was a drone attack in Fata, Pakistan, on a village that now stands levelled to the ground. Its entire population has moved to refugee camps in Pakistan. Story of a man called Zeb is touching. He had a ten years old son born after fifteen years of marriage. Unfortunately, he was a kidney patient on dialysis. US drone and Pakistan army razed the village to ground, killing animals and destroying crops. Zeb sold his taxi, his only source of income and moved to the refugee camp. How should he get his son treated is his present worry. He is not concerned how the superpower spends its billions on defence; he only worries about his son.

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By prgill, April 6, 2009 at 11:36 pm Link to this comment

The problem with pitchforks-in-the-streets is that when push comes to shove, the pitchfork folk will be standing up to the best trained and equipped military in the world.

I say Gates is buying political capital with the military brass by shifting money into programs that “provide care” for service personnel.

The million-man-standing army has got to go.

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JimBob's avatar

By JimBob, April 6, 2009 at 10:21 pm Link to this comment

The MIC isn’t going to give up their billions.  It will take a pitchforks-in-the-streets revolution to loosen their grip on one dollar of the Pentagon’s bloated budget.

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By Joe Gall, April 6, 2009 at 7:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Don’t worry, war pigs.  The changes will not change anything about the loot going to the military-industrial complex.  It’s all just more media noise to keep the slaves quiet.

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photoshock's avatar

By photoshock, April 6, 2009 at 5:51 pm Link to this comment

The problem as I see it is not with the SecDef or the President! The problem is as msgmi, put it the lobbyists and hawks in the Congress, who when crunch time comes, after talking about spending cuts increase the size of the ‘defense’ budget. What they are truly talking about is the ‘congressional, military, industrial complex.’ This complex which bloats the national budget and takes spending away from where it truly needs to be——on people!
If spending priorities were correct and the people came first, then there would be no need for such a bloated and unproductive war making budget.
Let’s face it folks, we are the world’s greatest war-making and imperialist country. Our ‘Defense Department,’ should be named as it was during the Civil War, the War Department. We, the people have
been hiding our heads in the sand, when it comes to government spending on our ability to wage war on any
country in the world. 
Our ‘defense’ budget alone is more than the rest of the world combined and this monster of monetary madness continues to grow unabated. Two things would salvage this economy and make this country stand on a sound financial footing, shrink the war budget and stop the madness of bailing out the ‘Wall Street Thugs!’
Should this occur, then the people would be the first
priority, and the economy would return to the best in the world.

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By msgmi, April 6, 2009 at 5:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

SecDef Gates knows that national security demands a shift in weaponry and ordinance from the traditional to the assymtrical battlefield. Unfortunately, Capitol Hill and their lobbyists will fight tooth and nail to preserve the expebditure hubris they are so accustomed to budget.

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