Hagel proposes return of 'peace dividend' savings

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Remember the "peace dividend"?

Military cuts at the end of the Cold War helped President Clinton preside over an expanding economy and become the last president, so far, to submit a balanced budget to Congress.

Then came the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, the non-existent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and America's descent, following Britain and the Soviet Union, into the quagmire that is Afghanistan.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is proposing a revival of the peace dividend, cutting the Army from 522,000 soldiers to between 440,000 and 450,000 soldiers, the smallest number since 1940, when the Army had just 267,000 active-duty members.

Cutbacks are nothing new, drive a few miles northwest of McCook and visit the old Army Air Base, which closed at the end of World War II. (If only McCook would have taken over the base when it had the chance to create an expansive airport and industrial park, but that's water under the bridge ... )

Nebraska's former senator plans to cut the Air Force's A-10 tank-killer aircraft and U-2 spy plane, Army National Guard units, military bases, military pay and commissary subsidies.

Anyone with military experience, or who follows the military knows there's plenty of room for savings. Examples include continued manufacturing of tanks the Army doesn't want, as well as an extra engine for the F-35 the Pentagon says it doesn't need.

It tried to kill the Global Hawk super drone as too expensive, but now supports the aircraft, which is built in the district of the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

America does have a responsibility to active-duty military personnel and their families, as well as retirees and especially veterans with service-related disabilities.

But America's actual military requirements must take precedence over political pressures that result from cutting superfluous spending on equipment, bases and personnel.

A lean and mean military will create a true "peace dividend" that will free up money to be used in the wisest, and fairest ways.

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  • Why cut the military and vets and provide millions more for welfare? One of the main functions of the federal government is to provide safety to the nation.

    -- Posted by dennis on Tue, Feb 25, 2014, at 4:00 PM
  • This is an interesting topic. We've all heard forever how the military protects us from all kinds of damage from other countries. We have huge amounts of arms and people - more than any other country by a long shot. But if you look at someplace like Afghanistan , you don't see much of an organized military at all. How is it they do so well against other countries? Let me offer a suggestion - The fight is in the people. Not in an army - in the people. My guess here is that there is just as much fight in Americans as there is in the people of Afghanistan. Sometimes I think these politicians are being a little insulting. They say - "Sure other countries do well without a big army. But look at you people in America. You couldn't do anything like that." I think they're wrong on this.

    -- Posted by bob s on Tue, Feb 25, 2014, at 7:28 PM
  • Dennis

    You seem to have a real hangup with anything to do with welfare. Can you provide some data to back up your statement?

    On the other hand it is very well documented that the BRAC Program (Base Realignment and Closure Program) was used by President George W. Bush not for Base Closures - but rather as a means of bypassing Congress and funnelling funds into the Iraq War effort.

    -- Posted by Geezer on Sun, Sep 27, 2015, at 9:28 PM
  • G. I support welfare for those who really need it. Tracing the history of welfare back to the WPA those folks actually did work for their payments. Today I see people who can work, not working and cashing in checks. They have smokes, dish TV, big TV's, cell phones. As a country we have more people on food stamps that ever before. Longer unemployment periods than ever before. Dust bowl days when no work was to be had in the area people moved to an area where there was work. Choices are made to not finish high school, to seek schooling or training after high school instead seek hand outs. Helping those in real need is fine but teaching generations to live off others is not. We in the US have the richest poor in the world. The military budget has been reduced and the "entitlements" share has greatly increased. Other world governments face bankruptcy due to their social programs. As a country we are on the same path. I absolutely favor programs to help those in real need find jobs or if required, be on long term public assistance. Even in McCook, look at the help wanted ads in the paper and on store fronts. Unless health or age reasons are there, folks could find work if they need it. Granted the work might be start up pay but advancement and increased pay is possible. Data on increase in welfare is available on line.

    -- Posted by dennis on Mon, Sep 28, 2015, at 8:31 AM
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