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The Hagel Plan To Cut Military Spending

By James Donahue

The conservative pundits are wasting no time in attacking Defense Secretary Church Hagel’s proposed plan to shrink the U.S. military budget.
 
Anybody that takes the time to step back and look at the entire U.S. financial picture has to agree that the Hagel plan is the first step in a long-needed move toward shrinking the nation’s massive debt.

The defense budget currently eats 22 percent of the nation's $1.7 trillion in yearly debt. The only thing larger is health care which is estimated at 26 percent.
  
Among the proposed cuts, Hagel proposes the elimination of the entire fleet of Air Force A-10 attack aircraft which were specifically designed for defense of a Soviet invasion of Western Europe, and replacing the U-2 spy plane with the remote flown Global Hawk. Eleven Navy cruisers would be placed in reduced operating status.

Overall, however, the Pentagon, whose senior officers allegedly support the Hagel plan, would still be capable of fighting two wars and staffing military bases around the world. In the event of two large-scale military actions, however, there is a threat of greater risk on the armed forces because of the reduced size of the Army.

The cuts proposed by Hagel fit the Bipartisan Budget Act approved by Congress in December. The act calls for a military spending limit of $496 billion for the year 2015.

With all of the talk among right-wing conservative Republicans about slashing government spending and balancing the national budget, Hagel's plan is a step in the right direction. The nation has built the military industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned about. It has, indeed, gone to the extreme. The United States currently spends more on defense than China, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, Japan, India, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Brazil, Italy, South Korea, Australia and Canada, combined.

Since we have not had a major war since 1945, and since the Cold War with Russia has ended, how can America justify such a massive defense budget? We now have over 730 military bases with more than 2.5 million personnel stationed on them on every continent. It appears as if the United States is building a world empire under the guise of operating as a world peace keeper.
 
Jules Defour, in an in-depth report for the website Global Research, states that the U.S. Military has basis in 63 countries and that new bases have been built since 2001 in seven countries.

“These facilities include a total of 845,441 different buildings and equipments. The underlying land service is of the order of 30 million acres,” Defour wrote. He said this makes the Pentagon one of the largest landowners in the world.

He reports that the military bases and installations are “distributed according to a Command structure divided up into five spatial units and four unified Combatant Commands. Each unit is under the command of a general. “The Earth surface is being conceived as a wide battlefield which can be patrolled or steadfastly supervised from the bases.”

Defour identifies the nine commands as: the Northern Command, the Pacific Command, the Southern Command, the Central Command, the European Command, Joint Forces Command, Special Operations Command, the Transportation Command and the Strategic Command.

In addition to all of the above, the United States is actively involved in the Atlantic Alliance, or (NATO) which maintains a network of 30 military bases, mostly located in Western Europe.

In addition to the estimated 94,000 troops currently stationed in Afghanistan and 48,000 still in Iraq, the United States has over 40,000 military personnel serving in South Korea, more than 40,000 in Japan, over 75,000 troops in Germany, and nearly 17,000 naval officers at sea, according to the Defour report.
 
Another 800 are stationed in Africa, 491 at Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, 100 in the Philippines, 196 in Singapore, 113 in Thailand, 200 in Australia, about 1,000 at Ganci Air Base in Kyrgyzstan, 3,432 in Qatar, 700 in Guantanamo, 413 in Honduras, 1,496 in Bahrain, and 147 in Canada.

In addition to all of this military presence, the United States had been engaging private defense contractors like Blackwater and Halliburton to act as mercenary fighters and service military personnel in the field.
 
Defour strongly suggests that the so-called “War on Terrorism” has been created as a replacement for the Cold War as a reason for continued maintenance of such a strong military industrial complex, which includes the operation of major defense plants and bases operating in nearly every state of the union. He describes this as “the greatest fraud in US history.”

Don't let the consertive pundits frighten us into thinking that cutting our military will reduce our safety from foreign invasion. Even with Hagel's proposed cuts, we will still be maintaining the most powerful military in the world. There is plenty of room for even more spending cuts in this area.