Monday, August 8, 2011

A Foreign Policy that Protects America's Vital National Interests


Why is the Pakistan-Afghanistan border more important than the US-Mexican border?

Beamish chided me recently for using the term Neocon. It's not the first time a fellow conservative has challenged me on it, so I decided to post my thoughts on the issue.

I use it because it is a generally understood term, but alas it is also fraught. For many it is codeword for International Jewish Conspiracy. Anyone who knows me or who has spent any amount of time here knows that I do not traffic in such bigotries and conspiracies. When I use the term, I mean it to designate those armchair generals who loudly beat war drums, although they themselves have never been to war and usually have no children or family who would march off on any of their foreign adventures.

Convert them to our side with a freedom agenda...

I understand what George Bush was trying to do, but he did it poorly, mostly because no one else in the world, including our own foreign policy establishment, would cooperate with him. Rolling into other countries and blowing their stuff up is not the best way to convert people to our freedom agenda, even if we kill the odious dictator who had his jackboot on their necks. He may be a bastard, but he's still their bastard, and we are still the foreign occupiers who humiliate them twice. First by doing what they themselves should have done, and secondly by occupying their country, with the cascading misunderstandings that cause thousands of civilian deaths.

I pray Iraq may yet end up successful. There is a chance, since no country, especially a proud Arab one, will go willingly into the arms of a neighbor, let alone a Persian one. They may decide we are the best partner they have. Afghanistan, on the other hand, is a sinkhole of ignorance and corruption, and no amount of further intervention will change that. Once the Northern Alliance took Kabul we should have handed them the keys and wished them luck.

We have new wars to fight in the 21st century, but they are all shadow wars

China has completely penetrated our civilian and government networks. The legions of shipping containers arriving at our shores and airports every day are ripe opportunities for the next strike, and we have no control over who enters our country, with people coming, going and setting up camp here with impunity. We will also continue to conduct quiet military assistance to those willing to do the dirty work themselves.

CFR President Richard Haass (a liberal Brookings Institute type who I nonetheless find myself in often agreement with) surveys the threats to the US:
The world's most powerful countries may not always agree with the U.S., but rarely do they see it as implacably hostile or an impediment to their core objectives. U.S. relations with the principal powers of this era are for the most part good or at least good enough.

As a result, the biggest external threats confronting the U.S. are the spread of nuclear materials and weapons, the possibility of pandemic disease, climate change, a breakdown in the functioning of the world's financial and trade systems—in short, the dark side of globalization.

Also of concern are medium-size hostile states (Iran and North Korea) that have access to weapons of mass destruction, and weak states (e.g., Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen) that are unable or unwilling to police their territory to ensure it is not used by terrorists, drug cartels or pirates. (Richard Haas - Bring our Foreign Policy Home)
Haas’s foreign policy Recommendation?
“… a U.S. foreign policy based on restoring this country's strength and replenishing its resources—economic, human and physical.”

Restoration is not isolationism. Isolationism is the willful turning away from the world even when a rigorous assessment of U.S. interests argues for acting. Isolationism makes no sense in a world in which the U.S. cannot wall itself off from terrorism, proliferation, protectionism, pandemic disease, climate change or a loss of access to financial, energy and mineral resources. An embrace of isolationism would accelerate the emergence of a more disorderly and dangerous and less prosperous and free world.

Restoration is very different. The U.S. would continue to carry out an active foreign policy—to create international arrangements to manage the challenges inherent in globalization, to invigorate alliances and partnerships, to deal with the threats posed by an aggressive North Korea, a nuclear-armed Iran and a failing Pakistan. (Richard Haas - Bring our Foreign Policy Home)
No more wars of choice, but a strong military that puts the world on notice that we will crush you if you mess with us. Time to let some distant fires burn and start cleaning up our own backyard.

72 comments:

Ducky's here said...

No more wars of choice, but a strong military that puts the world on notice that we will crush you if you mess with us.

----------------

And they will continue to crush us economically while the fools continue to piss money down the military rat hole.

A trillion in freaking Afghanistan, a nation that doesn't contain a single factory. What's a real enemy going to cost you?

Jack Camwell said...

Why Afghanistan? 3 Words: Rare earth minerals. They're sitting on the worlds largest deposits of it outside of China.

If you all want to flip China the bird, then you all have to want Afghanistan to industrialize more.

Thersites said...

I think you misunderstand the origins of the term "Neocon". Leo Strauss was no armchair general who loudly beat the war drums. He was the cure for a nation of "peacenik" absolutists who were calling for a "nuclear free" world and unilateral disarmament.

Yes, many of his students were influential hawks who banded together under the PNAC umbrella, but any allusion to them as "warmongers" is the product of hippie-led anti-Vietnam War propaganda.

Thersites said...

Wars of choice prevent wars of necessity. Containment against the USSR WORKED!

Silverfiddle said...

Containment against the USSR WORKED!

Indeed. We didn't invade them.

Thersites said...

...but we DID fight Korea and Vietnam. THAT action made them think 2x AGAINST invading Europe and having a battle of Fulda Gap.

Anonymous said...

QUESTION for FINNTANN:

this is a hangover from yesterday's discussion, but certainly relevant here also.

You gave us figures last night, Finntann, that stated our military expenditures comprise only 20% of our national budget. [It would be nice if we actually had a budget, but apparently we don't thanks to the irresponsibility and lack of common sense exhibited by Democrats in congress and the White House.]

Ducky has claimed frequently that what we have spent running the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq has been kept "off the books" -- in other words it is not included in the budget.

I think there is probably some truth to that claim, so I'd like to hear from you, Finntann, since you are so handy with facts and figures is this:

Does that 20% include the actual cost of the two wars started during W. Bush's presidency?

Not questioning your integrity at all. I'm merely curious, since liberals keep harping endlessly on the need to cut defense spending.

Thanks,

~ FreeThinke

Silverfiddle said...

THAT action made them think 2x AGAINST invading Europe and having a battle of Fulda Gap.

Do you have some historical information/documents that support this view?

I'm not really arguing against your principle. I just see no need to stay in Afghanistan.

Thersites said...

Have you ever read the author of the "Containment" policy's letter to Isaiah Berlin (George Kennan?) Their in Isaiah Berlin's "Four Essays on Liberty".

You don't "contain" someone by NOT opposing him. And that means CHOOSING where and when to oppose him.

Anonymous said...

Jack,

I've never heard about the mineral deposits in Afghanistan before. Interesting!

But tell me how do you think we're going to get any use out of those raw materials and help industrialize a determinedly backward nation still run more by tribal warlords than a stable central government by shooting up the place in the ineffectual manner we've employed thus far?

We do not wage war to conquer territory.

We do not wage war to subjugate native populations.

We do not wage war to annihilate our enemies.

We do not wage wars to "steal" raw materials from other countries.

Instead we wage wars to "spread democracy" or "keep the world safe for democracy."

We are constantly accused of "imperialism," but when was the last time we acquired new territory by taking someone else's country away from him When was the last time we enslaved a foreign population?

Frankly, I can't see what possible purpose there could be in our waging wars at all. From Korea t the present day every military "adventure" we engaged in has been an exercise in futility. Trillions of dollars and considerably more than a hundred-thousand young American lives have been wasted -- and for what?

I hope someone will provide a clear cut answer, because I don't know. It was no a rhetorical question.

~ FreeThinke

Thersites said...

In a nutshell:

His new policy of containment was that Soviet pressure had to “be contained by the adroit and vigilant application of counter-force at a series of constantly shifting geographical and political points.”

Korea... Vietnam were but two of the "stronger" applications of counterforce at those "shifting geographical" points.

Thersites said...

...and I NOTE the term "constantly shifting"... not a set-battle land-war in Asia.

Always On Watch said...

In my view, America has reached the financial point that we need to cut back on "expensive" foreign involvement, particularly when that involvement has to clear and immediate connection with American interests.

Also in my view, America's campaign to change hearts and minds in the Muslim world is a failure overall. Such a cultural change cannot be imposed without first decimating the enemy -- a step that America isn't willing to take in the Islamic world.

Any real partnership with Iraq is dicey, I think. And subject to change at any time if the Muslims there get all riled up about "What is the will of Allah?" Clearly, the will of Allah cannot entail a longterm alliance with "the other."

Thersites said...

If I wanted to end the "problem" of Islam, I would use the current Sunni-Shi'a split to keep them in a constant state of check-mate. That means my Iraqi Shi'a would now be invading Iran and restoring Najaf to it's historical place in the Shi'a religious hierarchy OVER Qom and denouncing the Khomeini Veleyat al fiqh heresy. I would then use the Shi'a to threaten Sunni domination in the region and force the kingdom to keep it's Wahabi nutjobs in check.

Anonymous said...

FJ,

Wouldn't it have made more sense to follow MacArthur's advice, and nip Communist China in the bud -- and probably deal a crippling-if-not-fatal blow to the emerging threat of the U.S.S.R -- while we were still the only power in the world who had The Bomb?

The wars of attrition we fought in Korea and Vietnam would have been unnecessary, if we'd made a pre-emptive strike against what every sensible person in this country realized was a growing threat.

Again, I'm asking, because I don't know. I'm not making speeches here.

Thanks,

~ FreeThinke

Thersites said...

...as we USED to do before that idiot Jimmy Carter let the Shah fall.

Anonymous said...

Four Stars go to you once again AOW for making an unequivocal statement of good common sense.

My sentiments are congruent with your own.

~ FreeThinke

Thersites said...

Wouldn't it have made more sense to follow MacArthur's advice, and nip Communist China in the bud.

Perhaps, but I'd say that America was sick of fighting after WWII and not all that anxious to fight a "war of choice" after just having fought a "war of necessity".

Wars of choice are not fought w/o considerable political peril. Vietnam almost lost us the USA... and spawned the "New Left".

Thersites said...

We adapt to new geo-political realities... and so do our enemies.

Anonymous said...

While it could hardly be called “A Jewish Conspiracy, PNAC (Project for a New American Century) -- the signature policy and centerpiece of the Neocon Movement -- certainly had very heavy Jewish involvement (see list below), and may have originated in a predominantly Jewish think tank. Whether this has any significance or not, I cannot tell, but the PNAC had a tremendous influence on W’s administration, and whatever its intentions might have been, it certainly led the USA down the garden path.

I hasten to add that I was an ardent supporter of the idea of maintaining, enhancing and expanding American hegemony. Still am, but PNAC was not the way to do it. PNAC wound up actually working against our best interests both at home and abroad. ~ FreeThinke

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_for_the_New_American_Century

The Project for the New American Century (PNAC) was an American think tank based in Washington, D.C.. It was co-founded as a non-profit educational organization by neoconservatives William Kristol and Robert Kagan. The PNAC's stated goal was "to promote American global leadership." Fundamental to the PNAC were the view that "American leadership is both good for America and good for the world" and support for "a Reaganite policy of military strength and moral clarity." The PNAC exerted influence on high-level U.S. government officials in the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush and affected the Bush Administration's development of military and foreign policies, especially involving national security and the Iraq War.

Signatories to Statement of Principles

▪ Elliott Abrams
▪ Gary Bauer
▪ William J. Bennett
▪ John Ellis "Jeb" Bush
▪ Richard B. Cheney
▪ Eliot A. Cohen
▪ Midge Decter
▪ Paula Dobriansky
▪ Steve Forbes
▪ Aaron Friedberg
▪ Francis Fukuyama
▪ Frank Gaffney
▪ Fred C. Ikle
▪ Donald Kagan
▪ Zalmay Khalilzad
▪ I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby
▪ Norman Podhoretz
▪ J. Danforth Quayle
▪ Peter W. Rodman
▪ Stephen P. Rosen
▪ Henry S. Rowen
▪ Donald Rumsfeld
▪ Vin Weber
▪ George Weigel
▪ Paul Wolfowitz

Signatories or contributors to other significant letters or reports

▪ Elliott Abrams
▪ Kenneth Adelman
▪ Richard V. Allen
▪ Richard L. Armitage
▪ Gary Bauer
▪ Jeffrey Bell
▪ William J. Bennett
▪ Jeffrey Bergner
▪ John Bolton
▪ Ellen Bork
▪ Rudy Boschwitz
▪ Linda Chavez
▪ Eliot Cohen
▪ Seth Cropsey
▪ Midge Decter
▪ Paula Dobriansky
▪ Thomas Donnelly
▪ Nicholas Eberstadt,
▪ Hillel Fradkin
▪ Aaron Friedberg
▪ Francis Fukuyama
▪ Frank Gaffney
▪ Jeffrey Gedmin[18]
▪ Reuel Marc Gerecht
▪ Charles Hill
▪ Bruce P. Jackson
▪ Eli S. Jacobs
▪ Michael Joyce
▪ Donald Kagan
▪ Robert Kagan[8]
▪ Stephen Kantany
▪ Zalmay Khalilzad
▪ Jeane Kirkpatrick
▪ Charles Krauthammer
▪ William Kristol[8]
▪ John Lehman
▪ I. Lewis Libby
▪ Tod Lindberg
▪ Rich Lowry
▪ Clifford May
▪ John McCain
▪ Joshua Muravchik
▪ Michael O'Hanlon
▪ Martin Peretz
▪ Richard Perle
▪ Daniel Pipes
▪ Norman Podhoretz
▪ Peter W. Rodman
▪ Stephen P. Rosen
▪ Donald Rumsfeld
▪ Randy Scheunemann
▪ Gary Schmitt
▪ William Schneider, Jr.
▪ Richard H. Shultz
▪ Henry Sokolski
▪ Stephen J. Solarz
▪ Vin Weber[8][10]
▪ Leon Wieseltier
▪ Marshall Wittmann
▪ Paul Wolfowitz[8]
▪ R. James Woolsey
▪ Dov Zakheim
▪ Robert B. Zoellick

Submitted by FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

Bonnie Fwank on Military Spending:

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_US_DEBT_RATING_FRANK?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2011-08-08-07-24-28

When Frank farts the fools in Assachusetts say, "Ahhhhhh! What delightful fragrance could it be that so enriches the atmosphere in our fair land?"

~ FreeThinke

Always On Watch said...

Interesting take on the "unfunded wars." Worth reading.

Always On Watch said...

FreeThinke,
It took me a while to come to those conclusions. It is more comfortable to believe otherwise. Believing otherwise, however, is not realistic if one looks at facts.

Anonymous said...

Well, FJ, I still think MacArthur was right and Truman wrong.

As unappealing as any further prosecution of war might have been to a war weary world, one or two more atomic bombs dropped strategically in emerging communist dictatorships could well have saved us from the agony and expense of the Cold War -- and most-if-not-all of the crap we're suffering with today.

Instead, we went all wobbly after securing victory, allowed the division of Germany, embraced the UN Charter, and signed on to Rules of Engagement that forever crippled our chances of success in beating back barbarians in the future.

We effectively castrated ourselves in the name of Enlightenment.

Tragic!

~ FreeThinke

Thersites said...

That which does not kill me, makes me stronger.

We're never going to arrive at a utopian "end", FreeThinke. You'd have the "Greatest Generation" become the "Greaterest Generation". If that had happened, what would they need us for? ;)

Thersites said...

...becuase they were able to spoon feed and shelter us, we'll NEVER have the cajones THEY had.

It's the struggle that makes (or breaks) the man.

Silverfiddle said...

@Thersites: If I wanted to end the "problem" of Islam, I would use the current Sunni-Shi'a split to keep them in a constant state of check-mate.

Amen. The rest of the world plays 3-D chess, and we are playing checkers with sledgehammers.

And I also agree with you that there is no Utopian "end." This is where I agree with the realists.

It's a balancing act, and no camp has the perfect answer

Anonymous said...

Who wrote PNAC?

PNAC was first written in Israel. It was Paul Wolowittz, Richard Perle, Lewis Libby, Douglas Feith, Bill Kristal (CFR) and Elliot Abrams (CFR) Aaron Friedberg also (CFR) Donald Kagan (CFR) Robert Kagan(CFR) Stephen Rosen (the AIPAC employee caught spying on the US!!) Eliot A. Cohen (The guy saying the Walt/Mearsheimer papers on APIC are Anti-Semitic), Paula Dobriansky, Fred C. Ikle, and Norman Podhoretz, All Zionists and all Jewish. That's not anti-Semetic it's just the truth and what that means is they have dual citizenship and put the another nation's interests ahead of the US.

PNAC's papers are written by the same people who wrote Israel's policy papers which echo the same things.

http://www.rys2sense.com/anti-neocons/viewtopic.php?t=2914

Beamish would doubtless go ballistic, if he sees this item. [He's always looking for an excuse to vent his spleen, blow his top, secrete venom from fangs, spurt fire from his nostrils, and lava from his oral and anal orifices anyway. Beamish is all about unmitigated, uncontrolled rage. Some day he'll experience spontaneous combustion and we can all mourn his loss. Meanwhile, unpalatable truths should not be hidden or denied in the interests of Political Correctness. They must be dealt with, and either accepted or dismissed with reason and dignity.]

~ FreeThinke

-FJ said...

no camp has the perfect answer

Which is why I agree we need to stop fighting "the last war" in Afghanistan... and start planning the "next" one. ;)

-FJ said...

PNAC is also, NOT Leo Strauss. Many of the founding members had been on Scoop Jackson's (D) staff during the Vietnam War. They were anti-communist liberals, NOT conservatives.

Z said...

This morning, there was a former SEAL interviewed who said he felt we can't leave Afghanistan because there are good Afghans who are glad we're there, who are helping us, and they want some form of democracy and safety and they'll be devastated if we let them down.....

Yes, we have to put the world on notice, but they're seeing we can't afford much anymore that will back that up, our administration is a bunch of socialist wimps changing the American landscape forever, and our people are suddenly poorly educated enough that our future's not secure.

"cleaning up our own backyard" is the key now; Now if we can just ignore terrorism like our left does and just hope they 'go away' in the meantime.

Ducky's here said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ducky's here said...

Many of them were also nearly in jail after the Saint Ronnie Raygun administration,Farmer.

Eliot Abrams is my favorite. Freaking psycho

Ducky's here said...

Hey, Freethinker, thanks for the list.

Man, what a freak show. What ever happened to Richard Perle?

For me, I'll always remember the Crusader howitzer. No one really felt it was necessary but it was authorized and the stock off the contractor shot up.
Carlyle Group sold a bundle and made close to 80 million. Classic pump and dump.

Who is Carlyle Group -- Daddy Bush, Abrams, John Major, the usual crew. There goes your defense dollar.

Ducky's here said...

Our people are poorly educated? What's your education, z?

I always get a kick out the right strutting their intelligence.

The very fact that you see this in terms of R vs. D rather than grasping the gestalt might mean your degree is from Breitbart U.

Z said...

Ducky, my education has nothing to do with this; I'm talking about our future generations; I have nephews who scored 2220 and 2250 on the SAT's....Sadly, that's NOT the norm. If you haven't heard our kids are being robbed of educations, look at Silverfiddle's Judge Judy video down below and do some homework on the status of our public school scores. Make sure you Google Atlanta school scandal and see how the teachers were being told to cheat for their kids so the scores reflected better on the unions. thanks.

Joe Conservative said...

Our people are poorly educated? What's your education, z?

I always get a kick out the right strutting their intelligence.


That you have to ask, mr. ducky, directly contradicts your assertion that the right is "strutting their intelligence".

Many of them were also nearly in jail after the Saint Ronnie Raygun administration, Farmer.

...when they should have been handing them medals, instead. But then, THAT's Democrats for you. They live next to the third star on the right, in Never-Never Land.

Finntann said...

FT: The 2010 Base budget submitted by the President was for the DoD was 533.7 B.

Also included in his budget on top of that base figure was:

75.5B for supplemental operations in 2009 and 130B for 2010. This funding was specifically for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO).

Of course they also play games with the numbers. The administrations request for 2010 is 663.8B, a figure that ignores the 75.5B leftover from 2009.

The final amount approved by congress was 680 B.

What Ducky refers to as 'off the books' are supplemental bills approved by congress providing additional funding outside of the normal defense appropriations cycle, i.e. 'not in the budget'.

These figures are usually added back in after the fact when people look back at the budget, but not always, depending upon their agenda. For example, in the chart on page 54 of the Obama 2010 budget, the supplemental figures for OCO are added back in for 2006-2009.

http://www.gpoaccess.gov/usbudget/fy10/pdf/fy10-newera.pdf

The 20% figure is based on 689B DoD expenditures, which includes 2010 OCO funding as of Jan 2011. The figure comes from a pie chart derived from the CBO historical budget data.

http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/120xx/doc12039/HistoricalTables%5B1%5D.pdf

Hope this helps.

Z said...

Oh, Gee, Ducky, so sorry I don't 'grasp the gestalt', by the way.
While you continue to be so hackneyed as to kill Breitbart the messenger without giving a second's consideration to what he's exposed (Breitbart, the guy you said at my place should be in a 'body bag'...)..YOU talk about 'strutting intelligence'..?
You do NOTHING but slam the Right when I allow you at my place and you criticize me for what you think is "seeing in terms of R v D?" :-) sweet

thanks, Joe..good point.

Anonymous said...

I dunno, FJ. A great many of the more prominent, highly vocal neocons were Red Diaper babies from Chosen families who had been working with malice aforethought to destroy Capitalism and Christianity from within the confines of academia, the entertainment industry, publishing and news and information organizations.

Their complete about face indicated (at least to me) a realization that Conservatism was winning, so it well behooved them to be on the side most apt to provide butter and jam for their bread.

Yup! I'm a cynic. The leopard does not change his spots nor the tiger his stripes.

~ FreeThinke

-FJ said...

David Horowitz, much as Barack Obama, was a red-diaper baby, too, FreeThinke. People can change. Not all do.

It may be in the scorpion's nature not to change... but I think you can generally tell if/when a man's nature does/has.

Finntann said...

The CBO baseline projections for 2011 are as follows:

Social Security: 727B
Medicare: 572B
Medicaid: 273B
Defense: 689B

For 2015 they are:

Social Security: 889B
Medicare: 679B
Medicaid: 371B
Defense: 752B

For 2021 they are:

Social Security: 1267B
Medicare: 1021B
Medicaid: 587B
Defense: 869B

So, the percent increase in the figures is:

Social Security: 74.28%
Medicare: 78.50%
Medicaid: 115.02%
Defense: 26.12%

My point isn't to attack social security or medicare/medicaid, my point is to illustrate to our esteemed liberal companions that defense is not the elephant in the room.

http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/120xx/doc12039/01-26_FY2011Outlook.pdf

Meanwhile revenue continues to lag expenditures, in billions:

2011 Revenue: 2228
2011 Outlays: 3708

2015 Revenue: 3651
2015 Outlays: 4202

2021 Revenue: 4963
2021 Outlays: 5726

http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/120xx/doc12039/01-26_FY2011Outlook.pdf

Can't keep spending like this fellas.

-FJ said...

The "tell" lies in their deeds, not their words. For these deeds become habits. And then they slowly become customs and traditions.

acta non verba

-FJ said...

Of course, there are ways of changing a man's nature. You just need to get him to join a Dionysian Chorus (Plato, "Laws"). ;)

-FJ said...

I've an openning for a soprano, if you're interested. ;)

-FJ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
-FJ said...

...and it's a LOT more effective/long lasting than the Ludovico technique. ;)

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Finntann, for taking the time to answer. You're very thorough. It helps -- somewhat -- but the process you describe seems highly convoluted. My brain is not very nimble when it comes to numbers.

I still think it's fundamentally dishonest not to put all government expenditures under the same umbrella and make it unmistakably clear where our tax money goes.

If 689 billion -- or whatever it was -- is "all" we spend on Defense, and that comprises a mere 20% of total expenditures, no wonder we're in trouble.

We've dug ourselves into a very deep sandpit. I'm losing confidence. I wonder now, if there really is a way we could avoid being buried alive?

I have had an instinctive aversion to Glenn Beck, because the manner in which he delivers his message sounds like bad self-parody. He discredits his own material by continually acting like an ass, and when he's "serious," he sounds like an hysterical old woman, BUT it appears his dire predictions are all coming true.

Give me the willies.

Thanks again for supplying all that information.

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

"Can't keep spending like this fellas."

That should be obvious even to the mentally retarded, so WHY DO THEY KEEP ON DOING IT?

Is it possible "they" really are employing the Cloward-Piven Strategy?

If not, they're giving a superb imitation.

~ FT

Ducky's here said...

You duck the question, z.

You feel qualified to suggest that anyone who dismisses Breitbart as a cheap agitprop moron has not carefully considered the manner.

Why do you assume you are in possession of revealed truth?

Ducky's here said...

Finntann, how wer these geniuses able to forecast the defense budget?

Any indication there predictions have ever been reliable?

Yes this is relevant to health care.

We've been more than happy to funnel useless money into insurance and the military.

Finntann said...

Ducky, in 1971 Defense spending was 7.3% of GDP, in 2010 it was 4.7%. Today, defense spending is on par with that indominatable warhawk, Jimmy Carter.

CBO forecasts are based on previous behavior, forecast behavior, as well as Obama's pledge to end involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. Keep going and it will be higher, WWIII starts, it will be much higher.

The point is, defense spending as a percentage of GDP has gone down over roughly the last 40 years, even given our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Meanwhile in 1971 entitlement spending was 6.7% of GDP, today it is 13.2%, almost double what it was 40 years ago.

Expenses are easily forecast, given an assumed geopolitik, that is no major wars. What is not so easily forecast, and what will determine whether they are geniuses or imbeciles, is not their forecast spending but whether or not their forecast growth of GDP and revenues are correct, otherwise we are hopelessly screwed.

Defense is an easy scapegoat, a large highly visible and consolidated expense, it provides deterrence, a fairly intangible and immeasurable benefit. Spend too much and the money is wasted, spend too little and all is lost.

Jersey McJones said...

OMG, Finntann, why do you always result to sleazy, specious, spurrious statistical shenanigans to prove your point. If you don;t have a good argument, then don't make it! It's not that hard to be honest!

GDP was FAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAR smaller per capita in 1971! We were in the middle of the largest military build-up since WWII! Military spending is quarter of all federal spending!!! Spending on the wars was not included in budget figures until only just this year, and the numbers aren't in until next year!

God, I wish you could be more honest!

JMJ

Anonymous said...

With all due respect and gratitude for the comic relief he so amply provides we dedicate the following link to Jersey McJones:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOKK8mAkiUI


Appreciatively,

~ FreeThinke

Jersey McJones said...

So, no substantive argument, as usual, huh?

ONLY a moron, a thief, ort aa lunatic would even try to argue that our military sector should not be severely cut and reined in.

JMJ

Z said...

Ducky, what question got evaded? Not at all.
Now you say "You feel qualified to suggest that anyone who dismisses Breitbart as a cheap agitprop moron has not carefully considered the manner."

Ducky, when you can see a video (people talking, saying things, you know what video is, right?) and still deny it happened, that's a lot less Andrew's problem than yours, trust me.

Then you ask me "Why do you assume you are in possession of revealed truth?"

You can't be the only one, Ducky. At least you admit now that it is 'revealed truth'..thanks.

Ducky's here said...

z, I am a professional film editor. I can make you believe men walked on the moon.

Breitbart insults me by making his cuts so obvious. He's no Kurosawa.

Thersites said...

You feel qualified to suggest that anyone who dismisses Breitbart as a cheap agitprop moron has not carefully considered the manner. (sic - matter)

---

Yz, I am a professional film editor. I can make you believe men walked on the moon.

Breitbart insults me by making his cuts so obvious. He's no Kurosawa.


In other words, "I am a professional agitprop moron". ;)

MK said...

Wars of choice can only be waged by those with the money to do it. And the current joke of a president has neither the money, the brains or the will to wage any sort of war.

By the way has he asked for authorization from congress on the Libyan intervention yet? Whatever happened to those leftist dogs and their cries of illegal wars, are they reading from different imaginary law books now.

Silverfiddle said...

Finn: Stop confusing Jersey with facts and statistics!

Jersey's fact-free bluster and baloney are so much more effective

Z said...

Ducky, at least most of those people were FIRED...there was nothing shown that did not happen/wasn't said. ..the jig was up, editing or no editing, Mr. Kurosawa. WHat a snob you are.

SF: "Finn: Stop confusing Jersey with facts and statistics!" Good catch. I was thinking the same thing! Seemed obvious to ME that facts and stats should work! :-)

Trestin said...

Your opening question is one that no major national leader has the courage to ask. Anyone with half a brain has asked it multiple times.

Jersey McJones said...

Silver, what exactly was "fact free" in what I said???

Is lying now the standard foundation of all conservative thought???

If someone says something you don't like, do you just assume it isn't true, whether or not it really is?

JMJ

Z said...

"Is lying now the standard foundation of all conservative thought???"

It's about time we broke the left's monopoly on it, don't you think?

Finntann said...

Jersey... Defense is 25% of our spending? Yes, well almost, last figure I saw from the CBO, including OCO was 20% for 2010, and Entitlement Spending was 55%.

So, you want to cut and severely rein in our military sector. You are aware that the military sector is the military-INDUSTRIAL complex? Right?

So where do you want to start? 25%, 50%, 75%???

Do you have even the simplest grasp of what that would mean to the economy at large.

Why don't we start with Obama's home state and close JB Pearl-Hickam and the myriad of other facilities there?

Report: Defense department powers 18% of Hawaii econony.

http://www.hawaiistar.com/2011/06/hawaii-economy-military-spending/

Or how about Ducky's home state:

Defense jobs an integral part of Massachusetts economy, study finds... 26 Billion, 100,000 jobs, and 85% of federal contracts in the state.

http://www.job.com/career-advice/employment-news/defense-jobs-an-integral-part-of-massachusetts-economy-study-finds.html

How about we start with NJ?

In summary, military spending in New Jersey contributes over 98,000 jobs and $4 billion in income to state residents. It also annually contributes $4.7 billion in total wealth (also known as GDP) and more than 8.5 billion in business revenues. Military spending in New Jersey also contributes at least $193 million in local government tax revenues and $192 million in state government tax revenues to the state.

Why do you think Frank Pallone and Rush Holt (Two NJ democratic congressmen) fought so hard against closing Ft Monmouth? Holt...there is an interesting bird, a Quaker opposed to closing a military base. What principles!

http://policy.rutgers.edu/cupr/project/economic_impact_of_military_bases_in_nj.htm

What do you think the nationwide impact will be?

Sure cut the defense budget 10, 20, 30 percent.

Where will unemployment go?

Think all those aeronautical enginners at Lockheed, Boeing, and McDonnel Douglas are going to start building passenger jets? Big demand for those aren't there. Perhaps they'll all get jobs in social services caring for all your entitlement beneficiaries.

Hell, I'm all for programmatic reductions in defense spending... but by all means hack and slash away. God forbid I clutter up the conversation with such trivialities as facts and numbers.

"Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."

Martin Luther King, Jr,

Finntann said...

Oh and the Rutgers link appears to have been truncated:

http://policy.rutgers.edu/cupr/project/economic_impact_of_military_bases_in_nj.htm

Finntann said...

Dang...it did it again

http://policy.rutgers.edu/cupr/
project/economic_impact_of_military_bases_in_nj.htm

Anonymous said...

Sail On, O Ship of State

What the truth might be no one can find.
Hopeless is the quest on either side
Invested as they are in staying blind
To anything that points to Power denied.
Entrenched in battle lines made to endure,
Weapons drawn and ready to attack.
A motivating force that’s quite impure
Twists logic into seeing white as black.
Examining our leaders’ feet of clay
Removes us from confronting our own flaws,
While they decisive action can delay
On how to rid the Nation’s Face of yaws.
Electing pugilists who throw the fight
Scorches angels’ wings, yet sheds no light.


~ FreeThinke - The Sandpiper, Summer 1997

This was written about Whitewater, but it holds true for politics at any time, any place and about any issue.

"The partisan, when he is engaged in a dispute, cares nothing about the rights of the question, but is anxious only to convince his hearers of his own assertions."

Socrates (470-399 B. C. )

Ain't it the truth?

~ FreeThinke

Finntann said...

Oh and Jersey, spending as percentage of GDP, per capita is irrelevant.

Yes, we spend more dollars today, they are however worth much less than 1971 dollars.

According to this website:

http://www.dollartimes.com/calculators/inflation.htm

1 dollar in 1971 would be worth 5.55 today.

So according to that formula, the 79B defense spending in 1971 would be the equal to 435B in 2011 dollars.

And that doesn't take into account variations in products and materials that increased in price outside of the 4.36% inflation over the period.

If you had purchased gold with that 79 Billion in 1971 (40.62 oz) it would be worth 3.3 Trillion today (1700 oz.).

Which proves nothing other than you are blowing more smoke out your ass than the per capita average.

Anonymous said...

"Yes, we spend more dollars today, they are however worth much less than 1971 dollars."

Yes, and 1971 dollars were worth much less than 1951 dollars, and 1951 dollars were worth much less than 1931 dollars, and 1931 dollars were worth much less than 1911 dollars.

I remember my father complaining about inflation back in the mid-nineteen-forties.

Did we have inflation before the creation of the Federal Reserve? I'm not sure.

The point is that the value of a given currency is relative to the world conditions -- and who holds office -- at any given time.

Money really has no value, except that which governments -- and circumstances -- assign to it.

All of which supports my belief that it's morally wrong to tax long-term capital gains.

The very least government should do is INDEX CAPITAL GAINS TO INFLATION.

Why the public isn't out in the streets guns in hand jumping up and down and shouting about this issue I've never understood. I guess the poor brainwashed fools think capital gains taxes are the concern only of "the idle rich?"

Ignorance, envy and misapplied malice are dreadful things. They keep us all in chains.

~ FreeThinke

jez said...

yes FreeThinke, inflation existed before the fed reserve. Long term inflation was much lower (less than 1%) but short-term volatility was awful.

Trust me, you want volatility even less than you want consistent inflation.

http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/GoldStandard.html

Silverfiddle said...

Jersey: Compare the content of your posts with that of Finntann's.

He brings statistics and links so the dubious can verify the information or can go to learn more.

You emit clouds of bilious msnbc propaganda