The Debt, The Supercommittee, and the Defense Budget

I don’t have a whole lot to say. Mostly because Lex addressed this topic in his usual magnificent manner.

Militarily, win-hold-win was recipe for disaster, decisive victories being far easier to achieve in principle than in practice, as recent history has all too vividly demonstrated. “You go to war with the army you have,” and so on. And “holding” the line against human wave assaults with the bare modicum of force definitionally involves a non-trivial risk of miscalculation: One division, one brigade, one bullet too few, and now its your people shuffling around in the prisoner of war camp. The survivors, anyway.

Strategically, the concept was off-putting to regional allies to whom we had made security guarantees. Our partners had to realize that, should they be so unlucky as to be second in line when something went “pop”, we’d have to put them on hold when the phone rang: All operators are busy serving other customers, please remain on the line. Nations make rational calculations about their security requirements, and if their essential partner has the potential to be preoccupied elsewhere when the home balloon goes up, they tend to make accommodations inhospitable to that partner’s preferences. And these preferences, it must be remembered, have as much to do with mutually favorable trade and diplomatic relationships as they have to do with military security, each being contingent upon the other in a fallen world.

I might quibble a bit with his Navy-centric views, but the fact is that I’m as parochial as the next guy. The point is, we’re again facing the tender mercies of politicians that realize that there are more voters receiving federal monies than servicemembers, and so they spend accordingly.