Two wars too many?
January 5th, 2012
04:00 AM ET

Two wars too many?

By Charley Keyes

In Pentagon speak the policy is "2MTW": two major-theater wars. Depending where they line up, observers of the U.S. policy of being ready to fight two major conflicts simultaneously see it as either a myth or a solid-gold guarantee of world peace and U.S. military dominance.

(Read also Battleland blog's take: Mythical Canard?)

When Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta unveils his vision for U.S. military posture on Thursday, the expected decision to end the two-war posture, part of the effort to deal with the billions of dollars in defense cuts, could be one of the most controversial aspects.

Two big reasons: Iran and China.

Supporters of the present policy say any retreat from the two-war policy spells danger.

"It's a ticket to World War III," warns James Carafano of the Heritage Foundation. "It is the worst idea ever."

On the flip side, experts say times and enemies have changed and scoff at the gloom-and-doom warnings.

"No way," says Larry Korb of the Center for American Progress. "We already spend more than the next 17 other countries combined. We've got to put this in perspective: Who are we going to fight? What are their forces?"

For some, when it comes to the U.S. military, the policy has been right up there with Mom, the flag and apple pie.

At Heritage, Carafano points to what he calls the unprecedented economic growth of the post-World War II era and the decline in worldwide political violence, saying they were directly linked to the U.S. security posture. Take it away, he says, and "you've essentially taken off the table the U.S. guarantor of global stability."

But people on both sides of the argument admit that the-two war strategy already is a bit of a myth, pointing to the strain on the U.S. military of the 10 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Carafano says the change is an effort by the Obama administration to camouflage reductions. "It is an excuse to cut defense," he says. "If the president of the United States wants to run defense off a cliff, there is no one who stop him."

The argument over two wars is part of the larger national debate over how the United States will act internationally.

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates liked to joke about how cloudy the crystal ball actually is.

"I must tell you, when it comes to predicting the nature and location of our next military engagements, since Vietnam, our record has been perfect," he said on numerous occasions. "We have never once gotten it right."

And Gates also said that the days of full-scale mobilization of land forces are gone. "Any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should 'have his head examined,' as General MacArthur so delicately put it," Gates said.

His successor as defense secretary already has warned of dire consequences if Congress doesn't manage to avoid automatic budget cuts. Panetta dramatically said the result of such cuts would be a hollow force.

"It's a ship without sailors. It's a brigade without bullets. It's an air wing without enough trained pilots. It's a paper tiger," Panetta said in November. "It's a force that suffers low morale, poor readiness and is unable to keep up with potential adversaries. In effect, it invites aggression."

But Winslow Wheeler, an outspoken critic of present levels of defense spending and of Panetta, says it is an exaggeration to say that the United States has a two-war capability, pointing to the strain on the U.S. military in fighting Saddam Hussein's forces in 2003 and a poorly equipped Taliban in Afghanistan, which of course had no armor, air force, air defenses or navy.

Wheeler, director of the Straus Military Reform Project at the Center for Defense Information, blasts both Panetta's critics and Panetta himself.

"Unless he deconstructs the two-war baloney, he will simply be engaging in more sausage-stuffing for prevailing conventional wisdom in Washington and its hapless efforts to avoid the inevitable," Wheeler says. He portrays a Pentagon that is hooked on mega projects and lacks the proper managerial oversight and the agility to meet future threats.

"We decayed our forces with more money; now we're going to do more of the same thing with less," he says.

Korb at the Center for American Progress says the new defense calculus needs to look at how U.S. forces are meshed with allied forces. For instance, it isn't just U.S. forces based in South Korea that will deter, everyone hopes, any North Korean attack. There are South Korean forces. And over the horizon, the U.S. aircraft carrier George Washington, the U.S. Marines in Okinawa, long-range U.S. bombers in Guam and more and more layers of defense.

But conservatives on Capitol Hill and in the think tanks around Washington hammer the point that strength, and the commitment to fighting two wars, is the only proper path.

"Anybody can be a strategist if you don't want to solve the problems you confront," Carafano says. A change from two war policy, he says, "is strategy by wishful thinking."

He likens it to people choosing health insurance. On one hand is the consumer selecting the best health plan available, whatever the cost. On the other side is the person trying to see into an uncertain future while saving a buck.

"It is like people buying insurance for the diseases they think they are going to get," he says.

Yet one lesson of recent years is that large ground armies may be a part of the United States' history, but not its future. An American president will turn to air and naval power when confronting another major power - for instance China or Iran or Russia - and will rely on small Special Operations Forces or counter-insurgency forces for combating non-state actors or rogue regimes.

"I can't imagine another ground engagement with 160,000 American troops," says Caroline Wadhams, an analyst at the Center for American Progress who studies Afghanistan and Pakistan. "That is not the way we will fight from now on."

"We still have the ability to target and punish an enemy in ways that don't require major ground forces," Wadhams says. "This new thinking has caught up to the realities of our enemies and how we would fight them."

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Filed under: Budget • China • Defense Spending • Iran • Middle East • Military • North Korea • Security Brief
soundoff (372 Responses)
  1. All In One Computers Reviews

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    April 11, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Reply
  2. Dagorath

    "...Winslow Wheeler, an outspoken critic of present levels of defense spending and of Panetta, says it is an exaggeration to say that the United States has a two-war capability, pointing to the strain on the U.S. military in fighting Saddam Hussein's forces in 2003 and a poorly equipped Taliban in Afghanistan, which of course had no armor, air force, air defenses or navy"

    You can hardly call fighting a guerilla based conflict against "civilians" with weapons, a war. The U.S. is caught up in political correctness. If it were China invading Iraq and Afghanistan, they would have killed anyone who looked at them funny, and their losses would have been considerably less. Our losses are from the humanitarianism of our relatively uncensored media system.

    January 9, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Reply
  3. rightospeak

    Well over 50 years ago I got my draft card as 1A and we have been in endless wars since. Now we are bankrupt . The end of Cold War was an opportunity to spend the savings from huge military on useful projects at home. Unfortunately, we continued wars and spending till we have to borrow money from China, a Communist Country. Our corrupt politicians instead of being tried for treason are being promoted by our unDemocratic media-a disaster for our country. Social unrest is about to unfold-OWS is only the beginning.

    January 8, 2012 at 10:25 am | Reply
  4. ron

    WE cannot be the worlds police force. And if we are expected to be, then they should pay us accordingly. We can NOT afford it. Our economy is in ruins, at least in part, because of it. And as for Panetta, or any other military leader. WHAT DO YOU EXPECT THEM TO SAY??? It is their bread & butter. You expect them to WANT close bases, stop buying multimillion dollar planes/tanks/ships/bombs etc..., & drop troop levels, WILLINGLY? Ha!

    January 6, 2012 at 8:22 am | Reply
    • Peacemaker

      Nobody wants you to police them. You waged those wars because you wanted to show off your military power and also gain control of oil and other natural resources. Stop being greedy and show off, stay in USA, stop waging and imposing wars on other nations, stop killing their people and your own too and mind your own problems. Your economy will be good in few decades.

      January 6, 2012 at 8:47 am | Reply
      • clintann

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        September 25, 2013 at 7:49 am |
    • Frangible

      The rebels in Libya did request NATO's help. Should we have ignored them?

      January 6, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Reply
      • jackinbox

        The media painted good guys and bad guys as if the world is a bed time story book. They know there is no fool like a free and (self-)righteous fool. That is how the country is led into ruin by the elite who places their core interest above that of their country.

        January 8, 2012 at 11:24 am |
  5. m.s.mohamed ansari


    M.S.Mohamed Ansari 13 April 2009

    All press and Media Arabs leader and G20 leader at. Headquarters of All association
    By. A TO Z + 8. QUEEN + 8
    Royal wedding. And royal security force 10 generation total cost $ 57 trillion
    Each every politician rolling 8 years only just like chess board Game
    But queen family enjoying 10 generation y

    GLOBAL ECONOMIC COLLAPSE REASON WAR. Improve Economy only 6 points. Peace, prayer
    Liberty, Unity, friendly And simplicity.

    I am also Happy to kill osma bin laden
    Turing point of global Economy. Islam not allowed to be Terrorist and Terrorist people are not a Muslim
    1. Please avoid war. Day by Day war cost increase $ 3.5 trillion
    2. Global economy and food price every Day increase
    3. International job less Y. All businessmen effected business.
    4. Global financial crisis every CNC manufacture. New technology energy product Effected FDI investors.
    5. Every Day OPEC Oil Price Increase
    6. World poverty problem. Bankrupt 170 Bank overalls 87000 Branch
    7. Each every single man Effected
    8. Ignore future Death million of already Death
    9. Million of People Wounded
    10. Global environment climate will be change this will lead Global Agriculture problem

    A. International criminal court. B. white house. global human right association .C.IMF
    D. euro union. E. united nation F.ALL international famous press and media


    From. Mr.M.S.Mohamed Ansari,
    154, Angappa Naicken Street,
    Chennai – 600 001.
    Tamil Nadu,
    To , The Hon’ble Chief Justice,
    The Supreme Court,
    United States of America,
    Washington, D.C.
    Fax no: 213.547.8080
    Dear Sir,
    Sub: Prosecution of previous President Mr. George W.Bush, for violation of International Code of Conduct.
    Mr. George W.Bush, the previous President of United States of America, initiated a war against IRAQ, without obtaining the previous sanction of United Nations Organization (UNO) on the pretext of having nuclear weapons, even though the then IRAQ government openly exhibited to the whole world that it has no nuclear weapons.
    According to the CNN WORLD report, in the war 6, 75,000 civilians killed, 7500 troops of USA and its allied forces killed 3 25 000 people wounded and $ 3.5 Trillion Dollar spent for the war. This spending of $ 3.5 Trillion Dollar is the main cause of action for the present economic crises prevailing all over the world.
    After winning the war against IRAQ, the United States of America’s President Mr. George W.Bush, also admitted the same fact, and he openly stated that the Intelligence agency misguided him.
    Later on, even the United Nations Organization (UNO) also certified that the IRAQ has no nuclear weapons.
    Then it is the bounded duty of the United States of America and its allied forces to withdraw from IRAQ.
    But instead of withdrawing from IRAQ, the United States of America and its allied forces formed a government in IRAQ, under their control and administered the entire IRAQ, and its peoples.
    This indicates a clear violation of duty by the President of United States of America Mr. George W.Bush and also a clear case of violation of the International Code of Conduct for UNO members.
    Thus Mr. George W.Bush attracts prosecution for the above said offence.
    Thus I hereby pray this Hon’ble Court initiate criminal proceedings against Mr. George W. Bush, and give him maximum punishment for
    a) initiating the war against the IRAQ
    b) killing its innocent IRAQI peoples civilian 6, 75 000
    c) Killing troops of USA and allied forces and 7 500
    d) The present economic crises.
    e) 3 25 000 civilian and coalition 39 000 wounded
    Dated on this day of 13th day of April, 2009.
    Yours truly, (M.S.MOHAMED ANSARI)
    The Chief Justice, the International Court of Justice, The Hague, Netherlands.
    The Secretary General United Nations Organization
    The Chief Justice, the Supreme Court, IRAQ.
    His Excellency Mr.Barack Obama, the President of United States of America, White House, Washington D.C.

    January 6, 2012 at 6:28 am | Reply
    • Peacemaker

      I hope someday someone could file a case against Bush for his actions in Afghanistan. I hope someday both these suits are won, Bush and his team is convicted for their crimes and locked in jails for ever.

      January 6, 2012 at 8:51 am | Reply
      • James Webster

        China building carriers, carrier killer missiles sounds like a real threat and they also have WMD`s. We are too broke, manufacturing gone to rebuild. The middle east despise us, Europe doesn't trust us for the disgusting things we did from the gulags to torture and setup jails in Cuba. America stood for something and Bush Cheney destroyed it while they made their buddies rich. China can storm the beaches in California, afghanastan and Iraq combined couldn't muster a canoe.Yes I am angry because I thought another Vietnam could would never happen again. Tax payers were lied to and lives wasted on both sides to make a few rich. That is not Democracy.

        January 8, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
  6. JedioftheSun

    Remember people, this is all about control. There is wool being pulled over our eyes. Divide and conquer is what's going on. The only side we should take is the people's side. Defend our Constitution, not politicians.

    January 6, 2012 at 5:43 am | Reply
  7. USminority

    AmericansRpussies anyway. Lost to nations you attacked don't even have running water in a third of the house holds. You have a HUGE technological advantage, but your generals use archaic run and gun methods. Don't even mention War with China, you've got nothing against them and you owe them money. You want to man up, why don't you 'help' the nations within your own sphere of influence e.g. Cuba, Haiti, or the against the dozens of drug cartels? Oh right, cause then War will be real and not something you just watch on tv.

    January 6, 2012 at 4:44 am | Reply
    • Frangible

      The US contributed more to Haitian aid than any other nation in the world. And the largest relief organization there was the US Navy. The US does the very things you suggest already, and has always done them. Who are you that you have forgotten your own history?

      January 6, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Reply
  8. Bentley76

    The way we lost the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan shows that the US has lost its hegemony over the world- a status we had enjoyed immediately following WWII. What made the US so great at the time was its proximity- the US was far removed from the major, more traditional conflicts in both Europe and Asia. No nation or group before had the logistics or manpower to pull off a major attack against the US- that was, until 9/11. The attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center demonstrated that the US is no longer immune to its arrogant foreign policy (having lived abroad for over 10 years, I say the way the US government portrayed itself and how it exercised its power abroad). The advantage in proximity and then, projection, was sorely weaken, not by the lack of military technology, but by the constraints of fighting wars that the US put on other nations, who ultimately demanded the US do itself. As signatory to the Hague and Geneva conventions, we are bound to abide by the laws of war that indigenous insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan didn't have to abide by and exploited. We demanded our conventional force to fight and expected them to win asymmetrical wars that they were not trained for at the beginning of the current conflicts.
    The "two war" strategy was born from the victories in both Asia and Europe in WWII. Back then we had the resources, manpower and national motivation and morale to fight a two-front conflict against enemies that supposedly threatened our way of life. We are faced with the same threat, but the motivation and morale to fight these wars are simply not there. During WWII, every member of American society was expected to do their part, even if it meant sacrificing certain luxuries so our troops had enough to keep them going on the front lines. Now, our government expects only the poorest segments of the population to shoulder the burden these costly wars by raising taxes on them while the rich and privileged continue to become rich by profiting off the miseries of the people we are inflicting these wars on, both at home as well as abroad. The distribution of sacrifice and responsibility for defending our freedoms is imbalanced and unfair. At the same time, our economy continues to deteriorate, further hampering our ability to not only project our influence over the world, but weaken our political system at home. The Soviet Union had the same crisis of faith in its political system in the aftermath of its failed excursion into Afghanistan more than 20 years ago- a crisis that caused its mighty government to collapse and is now replaced by an autocratic government that uses thuggery to keep its people in line. It is highly unlikely the US will follow the same path toward destruction, but we simply can't continue to be the "policeman of the world", especially since we are not even able to produce the equipment our military uses to fight- Kevlar helmets and uniforms that are 'made in China'.
    As we slowly and gradually slink back toward our borders, we need to reflect on the enormous mistakes we made militarily, not only in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Korea- all conflicts that were also fought asymmetrically, but whose fighters were supported by other, more covert players like the former Soviet Union and China. Except now, the nations propping up the groups fighting and killing our service members are nations that we call our so-called allies, like Saudi Arabia, where many fighters and much of the funding for the insurgency there originated from, and Pakistan, who not only provides logistics and training to the mujaheddin, but also sanctuary and protection from US ground forces. But all this would not be possible if not for the overwhelming, yet covert support from China and Russia, both of whom provide weapons to the nations who support these groups- similar to the way we did when the mujaheddin were fighting the Soviets.
    We, as a nation, has lost all credibility and our standing, both economically and militarily, has been damaged probably to the point of no return. We are not the same nation we were when we entered this millennium. We are much more weaker in international politics.
    However, this is now a good time to start taking care of our internal problems, unemployment, improving infrastructure and rebuilding our manufacturing capacity. We need to start looking inward and providing more for the people who live in this country, instead of squandering billions propping people who hate us and fighting wars that don't have a direct bearing on our lives. Instead of sending troops abroad, we should spend the money improving internal security so large-scale terror attacks don't happen again. Also, create a fiscal system where all are responsible for the upkeep of our country and finance programs that build confidence in the government through fiscal redistribution through a fairly equated tax system.
    We, as a nation, are at a crossroads and it is time for our political leaders to decide if they want to contribute to the strengthening of our country by re-instituting American Realism; the policy of non-interference in foreign affairs and equal treatment among member states of the international community. When WWI broke out, the US had friendly relations with both Britain, France as well as Germany and Austria. We had the same policy of equal foreign diplomatic recognition at the start of WWII until the attack on Pearl Harbor- which forced the US to take sides.
    We are better off taking care of ourselves instead or worrying about what happens with the rest of the world. Instead of causing wars and fighting them, we need to use our clout (or whats left of it) to end them, we need to project an image of mediation, not project an image of aggression.

    January 6, 2012 at 1:40 am | Reply
    • Sveta Westerwelle

      I want to explain some aspects of U.S. foreign policy. Looking at Hillary Clinton, do you believe that she can plan the strategic plans in Iran. It seems to me that because of its arrogance, its entry into the Islamic world is closed. Further, no longer a secret that our civilization came into contact with vneze GOVERNMENTAL worlds. So I think that not only would be no war, and America will disappear from the face of the earth. That's how guys are such things! Disperse to our homes and read books on physics. You get no choice. Or are we really in a canoe or fly obey the rules of another community. So what if America does not want to live it her problem. Everyone else wants very much so. Ische questions EUROPRO. Yes, let them build what they want. All the same, but this sense that, you understand that the missile can intercept balesticheskuyu it explodes in the lesion. All this is useless. That soars brains NATO and Mr. Rasmussen about the impending threat as if it is only now begun. So you can build a 10-year EURO PRO only Mr. Rasmussen who is already interested. Age. But his sins still did not repent. Tell us about the fate of his first wife. And I'll tell you. You killed her. And got the money and title. The current wife of course knows about it. It is not good. I think it's time you retire. And I am announcing a divorce from you. You may not believe me, but I do not want to deal with the murderers of their zheny.Piton.

      January 8, 2012 at 11:45 am | Reply
    • Bob Ramos

      I am so jealous because you put the case into context much better than I could. My question to the hawks is this. We are now spending about 9 times what our closest possible enemy – China – is spending. Are we really that inefficient?
      Also, we have over 800 military installations overseas with 2 major USAF bases in England and at least two major army bases in Germany. Why? Cannot these countries defend themselves?

      January 6, 2012 at 4:48 am | Reply
      • Swami

        Yes, we are that inefficient. We choose a gold-plated military for three reasons: first, it is very sparing with lives, on both sides. Second, it allows us to pursue social as well as military objectives. Third, it allows us to hire and retain a high quality all-volunteer force, even in times of relative prosperity. (and compared to our likely foes, that's "always")
        Take a look at the forces other nations are getting for the money they spend. Imagine, for a moment, if we built our military with Russian priorities instead of American. After all, they spend 11% of what we spend. And no one threatens them! (externally, at least).
        Yet, they field a strategic nuclear forces as lethal as ours and maybe moreso, and an army that is larger than ours. China spends about a seventh of what we do, and also has a bigger army.
        And how would a "Russian Style" US Military have dealt with Iraq, then? Well, for starters, higher casualties on both sides. Based on Russian casualty rates elsewhere, 10-20,000 dead would not be unexpected. And places like Falujah would no longer exist, because Russian doctrine for enemy "strong points" is to reduce them with concentrated artillery bombardments.
        There are reasons we spend the way we do. There are certain capabilities we chose. Bear in mind, the more desperate a soldier is, the less likely he is to be concerned with such things as "mercy" and "justice". We don't want our soldiers desperate.

        January 8, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • choco monsters

      Too long, did not read. If you doubt the US's capabilities, then let's see what your first handme down aircraft carrier can do.

      January 6, 2012 at 4:51 am | Reply
      • Seriously

        Seriously you really missed the point didn't you?

        January 6, 2012 at 5:26 am |
    • Peacemaker

      Bnetley 76 wrote a long post but still did not get it right. You are suffering from self righteousness. Let me tell you the reality. USA waged illegitimate wars against nations, killed their civilian population, violated Hague and Geneva conventions, committed serious and numerous war crimes, bombed these nations to pre historic times with their own WMDs. created hate and polarization in the world, created terrorists and extremists in all parts and religions of the world. USA created Al-Qaeda, USA created Taliban. First you need to accept your mistakes. You were a self proclaimed military power and you thought you could conquer any nation you want. You lost the Vietnam war but you did not learn your lesson. Now you lost the Iraq war and Afghan war, but still you do not accept your mistakes. You are arrogant. This is the point you missed.

      January 6, 2012 at 9:20 am | Reply
      • Frangible

        I surprisingly agree. And we could have won any of those conflicts easily and cheaply with nuclear weapons.

        Now, you'll probably say "that's a terrible idea, using nuclear weapons in those situations is in no way justified!" That's exactly right. It is a terrible idea, and they are not justified.

        Why? Because we are not really threatened or in danger. We are not fighting for our basic survival. So when the going gets tough, then suddenly it starts to become a threat, a danger, something that can hurt us. For it to be worth it, fighting the war has to contribute more to survival than not fighting the war. And so, we decide the best thing to do is not be involved in that war.

        Conventional war– even more crazy than nuclear war. Because it is so easily used. And when war is easily used to achieve a political goal, it is misused. And it fails.

        January 6, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • Frangible

      Actually BDUs and ACHs/k-helms are made in the US.

      The ACH is made by Mine Safety Appliances Co in Vermont and Pennsylvania, using kevlar made by DuPont in South Carolina.

      Vermont, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina are not, in fact, in China. Shocking, I know.

      Pretty much all military procurement is done from domestic sources, which is usually written into bills. They also will do NATO sourcing on some things. China? No. They did let Russia bid on a cargo transport aircraft contract a while back, though.

      We may have a lot of problems, but Russia and China are most certainly *not* fighting proxy wars against us. The fact people still scapegoat things on Russia in 2012 is both humorous and a little sad. China and the US can't confront each other, militarily or otherwise, without mutually assured economic destruction. Our economies are too interconnected.

      Yeah, Iraq and Afghanistan were giant mistakes, but, the reason we're in the suck now is the subprime housing bubble and stupid, greedy bankers. That's the banker's fault, not Osama Bin Laden's.

      January 6, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Reply
  9. qularknoo

    Rumsfeld argued we would never have large scale wars again too! and he did so before the first Gulf war and the Iraq war. So much for the belief that nations like Iran, North Korea, China will never pursue action that would necessitate us once again entering a large scale war. Furthermore, shrewd leaders in China, Iran, etc would have no problem waiting for the US to become entangled in another place in the world in order to launch their own ambitiious plots. Carter gutted the military ... Clinton weakened the military too ... and now Obama and Pelosi and Reid ....

    January 6, 2012 at 12:30 am | Reply
    • ddblah

      GOP will hammer Obama for this.

      The matter of truth is, Clinton's draw down never affected our ability to conduct two wars. We did invade and won decisively. The only problem was that Rumsfeld didn't believe that maintaining peace takes a lot more men than invading a country. Now we know. If we decide to invade another country, we can hire people like you to do the job. I am sure you will be happy to.

      January 6, 2012 at 12:49 am | Reply
    • brown

      Rumsfeld is an idiot!

      January 6, 2012 at 1:37 am | Reply
  10. Henkv

    The only war that currently is worth fighting (to stop it) is the class warfare that Obama has started.

    January 6, 2012 at 12:18 am | Reply
    • LionofNarnia

      There is only 1 war to prepare against, and that's a war with China. Anything else either isn't a big deal or isn't likely to happen. And that's that!

      January 6, 2012 at 12:38 am | Reply
      • Mike Wiggins

        I don't know if the source of this is correct, but the mathematics is correct no matter how much you try to spin it.

        It was once said that a Russian was once asked why the Soviet Union was so afraid of the Chinese. The response was that if the two countries ever were to fight a war, the population of China was such that we could kill a million Chinese a day for over three years, and STILL not put a dent in the population.

        Please.....please...let's THINK before entertaining any form of conflict with China. We may have bombs, aircraft, drones, etc. But we do NOT have the ground forces needed to maintain a ground offensive against BILLIONS of people. We can probably take them on in a naval conflict, but certainly not a ground war.

        And before we think that we can invade Iran, look at the size of the country (MUCH larger than Iraq) and the fact that we will probably have no allies within its borders. That would make a land war there equivalent to Napoleon trying to invade Russia......with equivalent results.

        January 6, 2012 at 3:20 am |
      • Peacemaker

        Wars are not video games or Hollywood films. Wars are ugly things and they kill people on both sides. They never solve the problems. If you want to beat China, all you have to do is grow your economy. Create jobs for the middle class people. When they have buying power, they will buy homes and cars and other things. Business will proliferate. If you want to defeat China, stop using your tax money on wars. The only people who benefit from wars are huge oil corporations. There is no development in education and welfare sectors. Stop pushing wars on other nations. You will be good in few decades. OK?

        January 6, 2012 at 9:28 am |
  11. augustghost

    Are two wars too much? Why not ask the two idiots that started them under false pretenses and flat out lies to the American public...Bush and Cheney........the brainless chimp and satan

    January 6, 2012 at 12:03 am | Reply
  12. Bman

    F the military, F the cops, the military is a giant distortion to our politics and our economy. The only thing they do is make people hate us. If we had an economy, we wouldn't need to send our youths overseas.

    January 5, 2012 at 11:40 pm | Reply
  13. Zoglet

    The US could fight two wars simultaneously, but why would it want too?
    1 in 4 Americans on food stamps and the USG are playing cowboys around the world? Shameful priorities. Shameful.

    January 5, 2012 at 11:35 pm | Reply
  14. Alfred H

    Besides if the Iranian government dares to launch an attack on a U.S. aircraft carrier, the U.S. is just gonna hand a job over the Chinese let them do it since the U.S. is still in recovery towards getting the country's economy running and they can't risk another war. Chinese would love to do the job they have all of they'll high tech military equipment already and everything might as well put them to the test against Iran since the Chinese couldn't find a place in their country to test out they're high tech weapons. President Hu Jintao pissed off at president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad already he's gonna wanna wipe Mahmoud out.

    January 5, 2012 at 11:27 pm | Reply
  15. Brian

    Let's inject a few facts into the discussion. Everyone loves to talk about total US military expenditures, while forgetting that we also have the largest GDP in the world. In other words, we MAKE a lot more money than every other country, so it makes sense for us to SPEND a lot more.
    Below are the 5 countries with the highest military spending as a percentage of GDP:

    1. Saudi Arabia – 10.4%
    2. Israel – 6.5%
    3. Iraq – 6.0%
    4. UAE – 5.4%
    5. Jordan – 5.2%
    Source: SIPRI

    To understand this list, you also have to consider that countries like North Korea and China do not disclose their actual spending. Both would likely be at the top.

    The US falls at #6, with 4.8% of GDP spent on Defense. Russia is #10 with 4%.

    Now, here's another interesting statistic, since we're talking about % of GDP.


    That's the percentage of GDP the US spends on publicly funded entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare.

    January 5, 2012 at 10:55 pm | Reply
    • Peacemaker

      Would you please shed some light on the number of people who lost jobs, businesses, homes and entire life's savings in recent years? You think the Occupy wall Street movement is a joke. We only have a huge economy to benefit our 1 5, our politicians and huge corporation and lots of money to squander on warmongering but little for the 99% of US population.

      January 5, 2012 at 11:23 pm | Reply
      • Brian

        Would you please shed some light on the number of people who lost jobs, businesses, homes and entire life's savings in recent years? You think the Occupy wall Street movement is a joke. We only have a huge economy to benefit our 1 5, our politicians and huge corporation and lots of money to squander on warmongering but little for the 99% of US population.

        I don't recall saying anything about Occupy Wall Street. I guess, since the only thing I wrote that is marginally related was the 21% entitlement fact, you equate the goals of Occupy Wall Street with increasing spending on entitlement? I don't really think most people involved in the movement would agree with that notion.
        In any event, you want to talk about 1%? Here's a fact about 1%. The top 1% of the world makes less than $40K per person per year. Guess what, that means a majority of America is actually "the 1%" of the world.
        And what crazy world do you come from where you don't think the US economy benefits the "99%" of Americans?
        I understand and appreciate the plight of the middle class and the goals of the Occupy movement, but try to understand the facts and the real situation before you start posting.

        January 5, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
      • Frangible

        You are right, the economy sucks. And too many have no jobs. Greed from the banking section caused significant harm to not only America but the rest of the world. And yet there have been no arrests.

        But military cuts cannot change that. The effect military cuts will have is you will see soldiers, airmen, marines, lose their jobs. And in turn cause losses in defense contractor plant workers, managers, engineers, scientists, service companies, steel manufacturers, etc.

        So now all those people are also without jobs. And they cannot pay taxes, because they have no income. So as a result, the loss in tax revenue actually exceeds the cost of what the government was spending to keep them all employed in the first place.

        Meanwhile, your friends in the banking industry foreclose on their homes, their businesses, their vehicles. You will see divorces, suicides. The bankers profit from the misfortune of others, which ironically they caused in the first place.

        Yeah, maybe there's a lot of stuff the government and military do wrong. But there's a lot of things they do right, and giving a lot of people jobs in a time where there aren't many others to get and funding research and technology to make sure we can have jobs in the future is not something we should give up so easily.

        January 6, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • ddblah

      You should add Palestine to make it sound even better.

      Which one of the five is a major economy? Shall I say "none"?

      January 5, 2012 at 11:41 pm | Reply
      • Brian

        Top 3 countries by GDP:
        1. USA
        2. China
        3. Japan

        China doesn't report its military spending. Japan is largely forbidden to equip a real military beyond a small "self-defense" force.

        January 5, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • Peacemaker

      What I am trying to say is that wise nations (and biggest growing economies ) like China and India do not waste money on senseless and endless wars that can't be won. Their economies are growing because they spend their money on education. All the investors are outsourcing to these two countries. Our people are losing jobs, and small businesses and this goes all the way up. Compare USA with these countries instead of UAE.

      January 6, 2012 at 9:39 am | Reply
  16. dfugff

    I just don't get why the actions of our government has to risk the lives of our citizens if something does ever happen; we didn't ask for the wars, so why let it effect us? Our government alone is what's going to bring the whole country downhill

    January 5, 2012 at 10:35 pm | Reply
    • Brian

      That's a good policy. I'm pretty sure that's what the French said to each other right before Hitler came knocking.

      January 5, 2012 at 10:57 pm | Reply
      • ddblah

        Brain, I think a sensible policy is to maintain a decent size military, that is agile and flexible. The old cold war has gone for a while and, IMHO, it does not look like that we are heading towards one any time soon (thank goodness).
        Are there any risks? Absolutely! But, don't we have risk by just living, I mean, hit by cars, etc.
        The question are always, 1) can we manage the risk and 2) can we build up quickly?
        To the first, major military powers in the world are not looking for a fight. Rather, their focus has been their economy. However, I totally agree that we still need a superior military power for deterrence. With our allies that are also strong military powers, whereas our (potential) adversaries (Russia and China) are trying to catch up, the balance is rather clear.
        To the second, it is vital to invest in research and development of advanced weapon systems. That is the key to the whole draw down. In other words, while we should draw done the size of military, we should make our military more lethal. If we have the advanced weapon system (drones, stealth planes, anti-missile system, etc.), we can build up rather quickly.

        January 6, 2012 at 12:03 am |
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