SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

March 11, 2014

A look at what others are saying

(Continued)

The four members are in a strong position to influence future military spending. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte sit on the Senate Armed Services Committee. First District Rep. Carol Shea-Porter sits on the House Armed Services Committee, and 2nd District Rep. Annie Kuster serves on the House Committee on Veterans Affairs. Like every member of Congress with a military base, defense industry jobs or a National Guard force in their state, they are concerned about the loss of jobs and federal money that might come with the cuts. The tendency, call it a strategy if you want, is to claim that reduced spending will threaten national security, yet the opposite might be true.

In the aftermath of World War II, President Dwight Eisenhower, the former Allied commander in Europe, led the battle to cut defense spending because he recognized that it hurt the nation’s ability to spend on things that make a nation strong in war and peace: highways and other infrastructure, education and innovation and peacetime jobs. He famously warned of the danger that comes when spending decisions are driven by the demands of a military-industrial complex.

— The Concord, N.H., Monitor

By now, the American people surely appreciate the fact that the costly days of President George W. Bush and his principal advisers, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, are behind them, that no longer is it America’s impulse to send in the troops whenever a crisis erupts overseas.

But echoes of that unfortunate period in modern American history are still being heard as doctrinaire conservatives train their sights on President Obama’s reluctance to go head-to-head, militarily, with Vladimir Putin over Russia’s behavior in Ukraine.

“We have a weak and indecisive president that invites aggression,” U.S. Sen. Lindsay Graham, of South Carolina, declared. “President Obama needs to do something.”

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