Empty Argument

In a proposal to almost completely abolish the US military in order to balance the budget, Aziz Poonawalla makes this argument:

I think that the proposal above is a way to dial back on the military-industrial complex which President Eisenhower admitted was partly necessary, but which he rightly warned would have an undue effect on our national priorities. As he pointed out, we had no such industrial complex to rely on for either World War I or II, and yet we prevailed – the Greatest Generation were not professional warriors but men of our homeland who rose to service when the threat required.

Murdoc’s heard this one a lot over the years, often from those who try to portray the way that the US rose up and won the world wars as the way things should be done and a blueprint to follow.

16 million people died in World War 1. 62 to 78 million people died in World War 2.

World War 3 could have made those look like playground disputes, and even without anyone using strategic nuclear weapons would have been insanely devastating. And don’t think no one would have used strategic nuclear weapons.

Murdoc honestly thinks there’s a lot of room to maneuver when it comes to the military budget. And he is very willing to discuss changing the way we use our military. It seems that with a little waste cutting, a little bureaucracy trimming, and a little restraint when it comes to the nation building game, we could save a huge amount of money without lessening our capability at all. In fact, we would probably be far stronger in the long run.

But don’t pretend that the way we won the first two world wars is the way it should be done. Those were both disasters of previously-unimaginable scale.

The way we won the Third World War (1946-1991 by Murdoc’s reckoning) is the way it should be done. And it involves spending lots of money for lots of weapons that don’t get used.


  1. Actually his idea is not that far off base. He doesn’t really mean abolish the military. In his plan we’d still have a Navy and a Coast Guard and the present National Guard. He would abolish our standing Army which he thinks is unconstitutional. And given the direction the Army has been taking with weak willed leaders like General Casey, maybe it is high time to scrap it.

    Personally I’d start cutting by eliminating our overseas nation-building operations that are costing an arm and a leg. I’d eliminate the vast majority of bases around the world too. In short I’d be more like Ron Paul and less like John McCain. In the end we are going to move closer to Paul’s position anyway because we can no longer afford McCain’s.

    1. Some of his ideas do have some merit. Certainly. And I wouldn’t mind seeing the military misued in nation building games less often, though I don’t think shrinking it for the purposes of meeting that goal would really work.

      My main issue is that the argument of “look how well lack of a strong military before WW1 and WW2 worked” supports the lack of a strong military. I think that that approach didn’t work at all and we got WW1 and WW2 out of it.

  2. We can’t afford our military because we are wasting money on other things at an unsustainable rate. There is plenty of fat to trim. The 700,000+ full-time civilian employees in the DOD would be a great place to start.

    If you want to rely on the National Guard for anything other than bench-stregnth, we better start investing there. Until they are slotted for deployment, Guard units typically get old hand-me-down worn out equipment from the regular army to train with. Buying new equipment for the National Guard costss just as much as new equipment for the regular army (although it may last longer if properly stored and maintained).

    In other words, the National Guard would look a lot more like the Marine Reserves. Much more expensive but much more ready. (I’ve been in both and the difference is huge)

    1. I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing the Guard and Reserves pumped up a bit.

      I’ve said before that I would like to see the National Guard trained/equipped for only Major War combat. Make them the heavies, give them the gear, and prepare them for the Big One.

      That way they only have to train for that doctrine, which will make the “1 weekend a month” approach more able to keep them closer to ready. Also, they won’t be able to be actived and sent over to a brush war and nation building. That’s not what they should be for.

      The active Army could be re-set for whatever is needed as needed. They’re on duty 24/7/365 and can shift as needed.

  3. I agree with Murdoc’s take on this one.

    And for the record, in case anyone was wondering, I am the jaymaster that posts and comments at Dean’s World. I’ve given up discussing just about anything with Aziz. It’s about as productive as arguing with a tree stump. But I think he means well, and we co-exist.

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