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Thanks. More excuse ladden double speak from someone who supports the current foreign policy and military complex. Fine.
This " you're not in the military, you could'nt possibly understand" nonsense. You're right - people not in the military can't understand why we need thousands of troops in Italy and Germany, two strong economies that have a positive trade balance with the US. I guess the generals are preparing for the Russian hoards to come flowing across Eastern Europe. People not in the military can't understand why we need troops in South Korea, one of the most powerful countries in the world again with a positive trade balance with the US and a country where a large segment of the population does not want us there. Same with Japan.
Now, the military will have all kinds of "strategic reasons" why that investment is necessary. If it is so necessary why don't the Germans, Italians, South Koreans and Japanese pay for it? Why is the US essentially providing free military and intelligence services for wealthy countries? We have an alliance, NATO which half of the members don't support militarily nor financially. The US should be a bit character in NATO, not the driver of it. It is, afterall an alliance designed to ensure European security.
As far as the 700+ military bases. You say we need them. The military says we need them. Fine. Let them go through a facility by facility justification that is transparent (oh, I forgot it can't be transparent because its the military) and see if the American people think we need those facilities.
Your credibility is shot when you attempt to justify the need for that many facilities, particularily with the investments in telecommunications connecting dispersed folks in real time. My friend just got off a tour where he was flying drones in Afganistan from Tennessee.
Go ahead and ask 20 people if they think that American's should be on the ground in Afganistan, training people how to be police and 18 of them will say no. The American people don't want this boots on the ground, nation building bs.
It is a wasteful exercise. It is a profitable exercise for the defense contractors and that is why we do it. The defense of our country should be about defense, not a jobs program. If you don't think the US military has become a jobs program, read some congressional transcripts when they discuss base closures. They are all about jobs and have little to do with security.
We do have civilian control of the military (at least we used to and are supposed to). The military industrial complex has so many politicians in their pockets that actually the military guides our policy and justifies it under the cloak of "need to know".
The percentage of the budget that is spent on the military is a false number. There are billions of dollars throughout the budget that are spent as a direct result of our military policy. The departments of energy, transportation, state, agriculture are among those who spend money in support of our military policy. That number has become a left pocket/right pocket shell game. Its not what we spend on our military. Its what we spend to support our military policy and that number is huge. Its also purposefully hidden