What the Defense Spending Cuts Really Mean

At its best, satire can reveal truths that have remained obscured, often deliberately so. Such is the case with Andy Borowitz’ column about the real damage that the miniscule cuts in defense spending as part of the sequester deal will do to American policy:

The spending cuts mandated by the sequester may hamper the United States’s ability to invade countries for absolutely no reason, a Pentagon spokesman warned today.

The Pentagon made this gloomy assessment amid widespread fears that the nation’s ability to wage totally optional wars based on bogus pretexts may be in peril…

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R—S.C.) agreed about the catastrophic effects of the Pentagon cuts, telling reporters, “The ability of the United States to project its military power in an arbitrary and totally capricious way must never be compromised.”

Unfortunately, we all know that in’t really true. Even if we cut the defense budget in half, that would not stop the government from trumping up fake reasons to go to war. Hell, they’d probably do it specifically to get more money from Congress. And they can get away with this because the American people always fall for the pre-war marketing campaign and always cheer on those wars, at least for a while (and that’s all that matters). If they can sell people on the idea of invading Vietman or Iraq, countries that posed no possible threat to us whatsoever, they can sell anything.

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  • unbound

    We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

    President Eisenhower

    If only we had knowledgeable citizenry…

  • Ike will go down in history as the last republican president with any integrity whatsoever.

  • shallit

    “minuscule”, not “miniscule”.

  • Cutting the F-35 program would be the same amount as the sequester. And it’s an airplane that does not even work yet so any damage to national defense would be purely hypothetical future damage. The littoral warship program could be cancelled – ditto.

    The f-35 program cost could run as high as $1.2 trillion!

    And think how much could be saved by closing the imperial outpost in Afghanistan.

    Read these and weep:




  • Ike will go down in history as the last republican president with any integrity whatsoever.

    He shouldn’t. The military industrial complex exploded on his watch. Nice of him to warn us about the ogre he helped build, as he was leaving public service – after he was safely out to pasture.

  • Synfandel

    “minuscule”, not “miniscule”.

    I learned something today. You pedantry is appreciated.

  • slc1

    Sometimes I long for the good old days of Eisenhower. Looking at the record of his successors, his successor left office feet first, his successor left office one step ahead of a lynch mob, his successor left office one step ahead of the sheriff, his successor was voted out of office, his successor was voted out of office, his successor barely made it to the finish line, his successor was voted out of office, and his successor was impeached but not convicted.

  • janiceintoronto

    The F-35 was going to be purchased here in Canada. Fortunately, the price quadrupled and now we’re not going to get any of those shiny new toys.

    Thank goodness…

  • Nathair

    Unfortunately the cuts to WIC, Head Start, Meals on Wheels, housing voucher programs and so many similar social programs won’t be victimless.

  • slc1

    Re janiceintoronto @ #8

    Apparently, Israel want’s to buy some, subsidized by US taxpayers of course.

  • dingojack

    Uh shallit (#3), Dictionary.com notes:

    Minuscule, from Latin minus meaning “less,” has frequently come to be spelled miniscule, perhaps under the influence of the prefix mini- in the sense “of a small size.” Although this newer spelling is criticized by many, it occurs with such frequency in edited writing that some consider it a variant spelling rather than a misspelling.

    [/super-pedantry mode]


  • Michael Heath

    d.c. wilson writes:

    Ike will go down in history as the last republican president with any integrity whatsoever.

    Hyperbole much? To use a standard which consistently makes a case against all presidents after President Eisenhower having, “any integrity whatsoever“, I’m confident that standard would put all subsequent Democratic presidents in that same group. So why distinguish only Republicans?

  • IndianapolisJones

    Unfortunately, we all know that in’t really true. Even if we cut the defense budget in half, that would not stop the government from trumping up fake reasons to go to war.

    And that is why this sequester is dumb and terrible for our country. These automatic cuts to the defense budget will hit many local economies very hard, as many towns and regions are dependent on employment from nearby bases and defense installations.

    This half-measure consequence is indeed half-measure by design, as the President has the legal authority to exempt military families (and civilian families abroad) from salary furloughs, etc. So the sequester cuts will instead be taken out of civilian federal employees who make up the domestic defense infrastructure; accountants, IT workers, blue-collars (and contractors), etc.; i.e. Americans who live in American cities, pay American taxes and buy American goods and services.

    Whatever your thoughts on the role of our military in the rest of the world, a sequester that does little or nothing to change that role is only going to make things worse here at home – a lot worse for certain communities. I won’t pretend to know the severity of sequester impact on the macro economy (an anti-Keynesian test I suppose), but the common narratives seem to miss the local impact in favor of a grand moralizing debate about the scope of military intervention and readiness overseas. Which as this article and Ed points out is minimal and probably ultimately inconsequential.