Dismantle the Empire
What Must We Defend?
by Patrick J. Buchanan
“We need to be honest with the president, with the Congress, with the American people” about the consequences of cutting the defense budget, said Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in his valedictory policy address to the American Enterprise Institute.
“(A) smaller military, no matter how superb, will be able to go fewer places and do fewer things.”
Gates seeks to ignite a debate the country seems reluctant to have. With a federal budget running out of balance by 10 percent of gross domestic product, what are we Americans willing to sacrifice? What are we willing to forego? What are we willing to cut?
The biggest budget items are Social Security, Medicare and defense. To Democrats, the first two are untouchables. To most Republicans, defense is off the table. Indeed, the likelihood is that any budget deal to which both parties agree will contain escape clauses to enable Congress to avoid the painful decisions and kick the can up the road.
Consider the situation the U.S. military faces.