I recently had the privilege of participating in a conference call with former NM Governor and presidential candidate, Gary Johnson. The topic for the call was trimming our military budget; an undeniably heavy topic and one that not many politicians are willing to take on or discuss in any great length or depth.
The two simple words ‘military budget’ covers such a large range of expenses from actual military bases and operations to secondary military projects like DARPA and nation building, it seems an almost insurmountable pile to sort through. I think it speaks volumes of Governor Johnson’s character for his willingness to take on a question and answer session on such a difficult subject. Our questions were not pre-screened but he was able to give a clear, concise and logical answer to every one of our questions and never once hesitated or had to grope for a ‘suitable’ or rehearsed response to anything asked of him.
Seeing as how our military spending is not exactly my area of expertise, I was not at all sure what question, if any, to ask. But as I was thinking over everything I’ve read about the military funding and trying to rack my brain for some spectacularly technical or super-intelligent question to ask, it occurred to me that any time the words “military” and “cuts” were used in the same breath, there were always people who seemed to instantly react from a position of fearfulness bordering on panic. I’ve seen the same lines numerous times across forums and social networks anytime the topic gets close to anything such as decreased military spending, base realignment, National Guard operations or medical care; any mention of lowered spending sets off a whole new round of repeating the same passionate phrases on forums everywhere.
“If you cut funding you’ll take the armor off the backs of our soldiers! You’ll kill our sons and daughters who defend our freedom!”
“Our troops are already ill-equipped! You’ll place them in danger if you cut any more spending!”
“Veterans deserve healthcare! Cuts will mean more hospital closures!”
Maybe these folks are vets; maybe they are currently serving or have family who serve. Maybe they’re just overzealous and somewhat misguided ‘Patriots’ who really are afraid that the ability to blow up Earth 30 times over just isn’t enough protection. Whoever they are, I thought it would be interesting to see how a candidate would directly address them in order to quell their fears and silence to possibly them once and for all.
So, I asked Governor Johnson how he would address this segment of our population that believes any reduction to the military budget would equate to placing our soldiers in harm’s way; what would he say to convince folks that less military spending will not equal more soldiers going without gear or more soldiers dying from lack of proper weaponry and safety gear?
His response was, “Well, that getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan tomorrow would definitely take troops out of harm’s way, and that a President Johnson, as the gold star for serving as President of the United States, that there would not be any men and servicewomen losing their lives, that men and servicewomen would not be coming back from Afghanistan with loss of limbs. So, that criticism, I think it’s safe to say that the reality would be just the opposite.”
Short, concise and is the absolute truth. There is no reason under the sun that reducing our military spending by almost half would amount to placing our troops in harm’s way. How much safer would they be if we brought them all home? How many young lives would not have to be ruined in the name of ‘National Defense’ if we were to bring them home, keep them on home soil and keep them out of the path of RPGs, truck bombs and the overall trauma inflicted by war? Let’s consider which is safer for our soldiers – to be armed with lousy equipment in a war zone because their country is too bankrupt to keep them properly equipped…or to be training on home soil with nothing but the best defensive gear and state of the art tools?
There is no amount of protection available to prevent death in war, it is not realistic to think that if we could just spend a little bit more, soldiers will not die. If we were to triple our military budget, our soldiers would still die in combat. THAT is the bottom line; THAT is reality.
It is baffling the think that people can support the idea of sending young men and women into meaningless combat zones on false pretenses, lies and unconstitutional presidential actions – but that folks fail to see that reducing our wars will not only reduce our military budget…but would simultaneously increase the odds of our sons and daughters surviving their terms unscathed with full bodies and intact minds.
I must admit that while the whole scope of what our ‘military budget’ might encompass is beyond my understanding, I fully grasp the logic of everything Gary Johnson said throughout the phone call. His points are all well thought out and I strongly urge anyone who believes that cuts to our military budget will adversely affect our soldiers or vets to reconsider. Listen to what Gary Johnson has to say, you just might find comfort in knowing that not all politicians are willing to sacrifice our sons and daughters on their unholy altars of profit.
Highlights of Gary Johnson’s points on military spending -
- If we don’t balance the federal budget, we’re going to have a monetary collapse.
- Bankruptcy is a threat to our national security.
- Priority should be placed on defense as opposed to offense—as opposed to nation building.
- We must place the interest(s) of our country above that of other countries and stop subsidizing foreign militaries and infrastructure projects.
- We need to not only get out of Iraq and Afghanistan immediately but cease the unconstitutional invasion of other countries such a Libya.
- A 43% decrease in spending will leave us outspending nations like China by 2 -1 and will not place the USA in danger.
Read the full transcript of the call, here.
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