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Does the USA need a bigger or smaller military?

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NNN0LHI Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-26-06 05:46 PM
Original message
Poll question: Does the USA need a bigger or smaller military?
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chi-06122600...

Do we need a bigger Army?

<snip>So it comes as no surprise to hear President Bush say the time has come to expand the armed forces. In an interview last week with The Washington Post, he said that in the long global war on terror, "we're going to need a military that's capable of being able to sustain our efforts and help us achieve peace."

That expansion, however, would not help in Iraq anytime soon. Boosting the Army from the current force of 507,000 to 540,000, as some at the Pentagon propose, would take about five years.

Nor would it be easy. Already, the Army has had to struggle to recruit and retain sufficient numbers of soldiers. It's currently paying out nine times more in retention bonuses than it did in 2003, and this year, it had to increase its recruiting budget by $300 million. Even so, the Army has had to lower standards to meet its enlistment goals. And no one shows the appetite for resumption of the draft.

While it would be nice to have a bigger force right now, it's not clear that will be needed a few years down the road. Future contingencies are hard to predict--which is one reason we now lack the right force for the current war. Once we are done in Iraq, Americans may be leery of large-scale unconventional wars like this one, which are unusually manpower-intensive. In that case, a bigger Army may be a needless extravagance.

Sorry, polls are turned off at Level 3.

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maxsolomon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-26-06 05:51 PM
Response to Original message
1. half to 1/3 current size
the only reason to have a military this size is OFFENSE. all talk of 'defending our freedom' is utter BS. the US military exists to project corporate power globally.

it is insulated from critique with relentless propaganda that honors 'sacrifice' & 'serving country'.
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Commie Pinko Dirtbag Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-26-06 05:55 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. You have the talent of telling hard truths with few words.
:thumbsup:
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WHEN CRABS ROAR Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-26-06 05:59 PM
Response to Original message
3. It needs a smaller army.
It also needs a dept. of peace, staffed with people smart enough to interact with all governments of the world.
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Ron Green Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-26-06 05:59 PM
Response to Original message
4. A different one: more conscripts, fewer mercenaries.
The military needs to look like America, not like some gung-ho warrior class.
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WHEN CRABS ROAR Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-26-06 06:13 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. Amen to that.
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TahitiNut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-26-06 06:00 PM
Response to Original message
5. I think what's called-for is smaller (and more moral) military ASSpirations.
Edited on Tue Dec-26-06 06:02 PM by TahitiNut
Put a loaded automatic pistol on the desk in the Offal Orifice and, pretty soon, someone will use it offensively before it's used defensively.

It's the difference between 'opportunity' and 'necessity,' imho.

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MGD Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-26-06 06:11 PM
Response to Original message
6. We can not sustain the current operations tempo with the current military
That being said, we need fewer obligations or more military. Unfortunately, we need less debt too so, in my opinion, we need fewer military obligations as this is where the money is going. There are certain military programs that I would hate to see scrapped.
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The Traveler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-26-06 06:15 PM
Response to Original message
8. I really don't know
And I wonder if that is really the most pressing question. What is our military for? What mix of missions do we the people sanction? Questions of size and structure follow from the answer to that first question. Me, I DON'T want the military mission mix to include projecting corporate power through force of arms. I DON'T want America to establish through economic and military might some kind of "benign hegemony". That just won't work out well for us as a people.

I like deterrence, but our stance need not be aggressive to achieve deterrence.

My sense is if we squeezed the fraud, waste and abuse out of the defense budget we could shrink expenditures by 10-25% and maintain a military at about current levels, strong enough to protect America and meet treaty obligations, but that's just a guess. Of course, if we insist on running around the world dispensing "democracy" from the barrels of our rifles, that won't be enough.

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B Calm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-26-06 06:18 PM
Response to Original message
9. Don't kid yourself! The republican plan is to privatize the military!
Edited on Tue Dec-26-06 06:21 PM by B Calm
They know that the military is the largest socialist program (funded by tax payers) that the government runs.
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Deja Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-26-06 06:30 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. So that explains why we gave the Chinese a guided tour!
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Jcrowley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-26-06 07:08 PM
Response to Original message
11. Much much bigger
There are still 58 countries where we do not have a base. Darn it when you play RISK you play to win.

Okay so how could anyone say larger? Spending more than the rest of the world combined and some folks said bigger?

The world's largest polluter don't forget. And some call for more? Those are probably the folks that have health care.
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razors edge Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-26-06 07:14 PM
Response to Original message
12. Simpler times?
Edited on Tue Dec-26-06 07:24 PM by DiktatrW
"The project of disciplining all the militia of the United States is as futile as it would be injurious, if it were capable of being carried into execution. A tolerable expertness in military movements is a business that requires time and practice. It is not a day, or even a week, that will suffice for the attainment of it. To oblige the great body of the yeomanry, and of the other classes of the citizens, to be under arms for the purpose of going through military exercises and evolutions, as often as might be necessary to acquire the degree of perfection which would entitle them to the character of a well-regulated militia, would be a real grievance to the people, and a serious public inconvenience and loss. It would form an annual deduction from the productive labor of the country, to an amount which, calculating upon the present numbers of the people, would not fall far short of the whole expense of the civil establishments of all the States. To attempt a thing which would abridge the mass of labor and industry to so considerable an extent, would be unwise: and the experiment, if made, could not succeed, because it would not long be endured. Little more can reasonably be aimed at, with respect to the people at large, than to have them properly armed and equipped; and in order to see that this be not neglected, it will be necessary to assemble them once or twice in the course of a year."

"But though the scheme of disciplining the whole nation must be abandoned as mischievous or impracticable; yet it is a matter of the utmost importance that a well-digested plan should, as soon as possible, be adopted for the proper establishment of the militia. The attention of the government ought particularly to be directed to the formation of a select corps of moderate extent, upon such principles as will really fit them for service in case of need. By thus circumscribing the plan, it will be possible to have an excellent body of well-trained militia, ready to take the field whenever the defense of the State shall require it. This will not only lessen the call for military establishments, but if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people while there is a large body of citizens, little, if at all, inferior to them in discipline and the use of arms, who stand ready to defend their own rights and those of their fellow-citizens. This appears to me the only substitute that can be devised for a standing army, and the best possible security against it, if it should exist."

FEDERALIST No. 29

Concerning the Militia
From the Daily Advertiser.
Thursday, January 10, 1788
Alexander Hamilton

http://www.foundingfathers.info/federalistpapers/fed29....

I'd rather fight them here, it just has a moral tone that we in America seriously lack.
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madokie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-26-06 07:17 PM
Response to Original message
13. Let me see if I can get this right. I'm not sure that we, America, maybe should not be allowed
to have a military bigger than personal protection ever again, as there is always the chance of another madman becoming the commander in chief yet once more. I have to step back and see that we the American people have not done enough to stop this madman. just saying
ASO
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-26-06 08:34 PM
Response to Original message
14. Cut the military budget down by about 90%, to a true defensive posture.
No more wars of choice!

What is this bloated military budget FOR? It is not needed to defend us. It is for making trouble, and is a standing invitation to fascist presidents.

When was the last time the U.S. military actually DEFENDED us? They couldn't even defend the nation's capitol on 9/11--not even the Pentagon!

War profiteers are now determining US policy, and are MANUFACTURING unnecessary war to fill their own already stuffed pockets. They are the drivers of this war. We need to, at long last, create a peacetime economy. Our politicians--Dem and Repub--are stuck in an endless, and ever enlarging, loop of war profiteering. Ike was right. Beware of the "military-industrial complex." We're in it now, folks. Ike's nightmare!
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Tierra_y_Libertad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-26-06 08:43 PM
Response to Original message
15. We already have the 2nd largest, and most expensive, military, in the world.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_size_...

We're also the number 1 supplier of military arms in the world.

Of course, we can all be proud of how peaceful our "most powerful military" has made the world.

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mtnsnake Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-26-06 08:47 PM
Response to Original message
16. Bush has already made it smaller
by tens of thousands of troops....almost 3000 killed and the rest maimed or seriously injured.
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porphyrian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-26-06 08:53 PM
Response to Original message
17. Smaller and better managed.
It's unacceptable to have more troops than equipment, and unnecessary to have a conquering army (since that always necessitates fighting a war rather than the other way around). It is also unacceptable to have more troops than can be completely cared for as wounded veterans, and reprehensible not to fully care for those that already exist.
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