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The war over defense spending
Is Obama’s Pentagon budget a needed revamp or a gutting of national defense?
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efense Secretary Robert Gates’ attempt to “gut the military” with his new budget should not go unchallenged, said Thomas Donnelly and Gary Schmitt in The Wall Street Journal. Gates’ proposal to cut the F-22 jet, the Future Combat Systems ground vehicle, and the Airborne Laser anti-missile program would help enable President Obama’s domestic spending binge, but the price would be “a future U.S. military that is smaller and packs less wallop.”

Gutting the military? Hardly, said The New York Times in an editorial. Gates wants to raise basic Pentagon spending by $20 billion. If anything, his budget doesn’t “go far enough” toward a much-needed restructuring of our defense spending. For example, Gates actually wants to buy four more F-22s—a plane designed to fight the USSR, and one we’ve never used in a real war.

The budget won’t thrill either liberals or conservatives, said the Los Angeles Times in an editorial, but as a “balancing act between defense and other priorities, it’s just about right.” It’s a useless piece of paper, though, unless Obama’s team can push it past “congressional hawks”—who are typically more worried about defense contracting jobs in their districts than national security concerns.

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