By CRAIG RICHOLDS, Staff Writer
The military’s job is to kill people and break things.
Sure, we might dress it up a little with phrases like “securing our nation’s interests”, or “ensuring global freedom.” But at the end of the day we ply our trade with bombs, bullets, and blood. I take great pride in saying that no other nation can send its enemies face-to-face with whatever God they believe in faster and more surely than the United States of America.
But just like any other master of their trade this skill in the art of death comes only with time and cost (and time is money, so it’s doubly expensive). To be honest, we had better be as good as we are considering how much we spend annually on our defense budget. When times are good and money is abundant, and there is a perceived threat, this doesn’t raise anyone’s hackles. However, when debts are looming, people are protesting, and pink slips are flying, it’s time to rethink the bottomless check that Congress cuts the dogs of war.
Being a simple tool of our nation’s wrath I tend to watch the political landscape with some degree of trepidation. Cuts in defense spending ripple out into my office and leave seats (possibly mine) empty. We already know what the incumbent has planned for the military. To be fair, it’s not a bad plan. The U.S. military system is rife with waste and abuse. A reduction in spending could force us to lean up and use our money wiser.
The real question is how would a Republican president alter this preordained path towards fiscal austerity? The way I see it, there are only three real candidates at this stage: Romney, Gingrich, and Santorum. I believe their differences can be summed up with the following clip:
If you were to ask the candidates where they stood on the military, they will all tell you the same three things:
- We support our men and women in uniform.
- We got out of Iraq too early.
- We will stay in Afghanistan until the job is done.
Notice they didn’t mention defense spending? That’s because they will all do the same thing the current president is doing. They may not want to admit it, but each of them will continue to shrink (or “maintain”, which really means shrink when you take inflation into account) the military and more of my friends will be putting on civilian dress.
So, is my job going to be changing?
Yes. We are already talking about layoffs, reductions in force, and early retirements. In a stroke of unusual brilliance, our Generals are already planning for budget cuts not yet announced in order to meet and respond to them more quickly.
So, will my job change based on who gets elected?
Nope! In this case, both parties are in agreement that we gotta cut the military budget. They will never confess to agreeing, because that’s bad for votes, but agree they do. The end result is less money following into defense programs. Hopefully the tasks handed to our death dealers will decrease too since bombs, bullets, and blood all cost bucks.
Happily married with a newborn daughter, Craig has two degrees in aerospace engineering, done research with national space administrations across the globe, designed lunar orbiters and landers, worked with NASA on the space shuttle, and now supports the American war fighter by maintaining Air Force fighter jets.
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