This article on Slate.com shows the all import contrast between Neocons such as Dick Cheney and Lindsay Graham and the small but growing groups of Senators/House members who support dramatic cuts to the vast military-industrial complex. The fact is it’s gotten out of hand. Many will argue we need a huge budget to maintain our vast containment strategy over countries such as North Korea, China, Syria, and Iran… but do we really? Things seemed to workout alright in the 90′s when when it was 1/4 of the today’s budget.
Shortly after noon last Tuesday, Dick Cheney slipped out of an elevator and into the Lyndon Baines Johnson room where Republican senators hold a weekly lunch. His mission: convince them that $700 billion of automatic defense spending cuts, put in place by 2011’s debt limit deal, had to be overturned. His audience, judging by the bursts of applause, was awfully receptive. As they left, they paused to tell reporters just how convincing Cheney had been.
“One thing that the vice president pointed out,” said Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., “was when you make these cuts across the board in the way that sequestration does, it’s not only the impact on today, it will make a long-term impact on the Defense Department.” Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., translated Cheney’s argument that defense spending is “not a spigot you can turn on and turn off, that you need to keep money flowing in a predictable way so you can plan for the next war.”
There was only a small path between the senators, their scrums, and the exits. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., found that path and called an elevator. Only one reporter noticed him and started asking for details from inside the Cheney seminar.
“It was a private meeting,” said Paul. “I’m not going to talk about it.” The reporter tried again. “Right, again, it was a private meeting.” In the few seconds before the elevator arrived, you could read between the lines. Paul, unlike most of his peers, was not going along with Cheney.
I imagine it’s a tough fight on Capitol Hill to argue with cutting defense spending. Both the Neocons and the Neoliberals support perpetual warfare.
Paul didn’t take a position on the Ryan “sequester replacement.” That plan won’t make it through the Senate, anyway. But he disagreed with it in spirit. “Conservatives defend military spending,” he said. “Liberals defend domestic spending. The idea [is] that both sides get together and compromises and we reduce all spending … and right now, and really for the last 50 years, we’ve done the opposite. Our compromise has always been: We raise military spending and we raise domestic welfare spending. So when people say we’re not compromising, they’re missing it completely. We’re compromising all the time to spend more money.”