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The military should be included in budget cuts

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Posted: Thursday, November 10, 2011 12:00 am

We will soon be hearing about the budget cuts proposed by the congressional supercommittee (super in name only). Hopefully, the massive sacred-cow military budget will finally be cut.

According to the Pentagon, there are approximately 865 foreign U.S. military bases, not counting “secret” new bases in Iraq and Afghanistan. This doesn’t even count installations of less than 10 acres or valued at less than $10 million. Sixty years after ending WWII, over 200 U.S. military bases remain in Germany. They are about as useful as a garrison of horse-powered charioteers — but we probably have a few warehouses stuffed with them as well.

Compare these numbers to other leading nations. China has zero foreign military installations. Russia at this time has no more than 25 bases outside of its borders, while France and Great Britain each have no more than a handful in former colonies.

While robbing our treasury and creating foreign resentment, these bases are claimed to be for our security? We spend almost twice what the rest of the world spends on defense. Our worst threat is rag-tag, loosely organized small groups of terrorists.

There was a time — when the Cold War ended — when there was talk of a “great peace dividend.” There was inspiring talk about putting dollars spent on defense into education, medicine and future technologies. Apparently, it all went right back into the DOD’s pocket.

We’ll have our priorities straight when the schools, hospitals and infrastructure have all the money they need and the Air Force has bake sales for that new bomber.

Charles Fries

Lodi

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