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Barney Frank, Ron Paul: Cut Military Spending

Tea Party favorite Ron Paul and liberal Democrat Barney Frank both want to slash the U.S. military’s big budget. They join us, together.

Congressmen Barney Frank (D-MA) and Ron Paul (R-TX) (AP)

Congressmen Barney Frank (D-MA) and Ron Paul (R-TX) (AP)

Ron Paul, ’08 GOP presidential contender, is a conservative libertarian leading light and Tea Party hero. Barney Frank is a no-apologies liberal Democrat.

They agree on one big thing. America’s giant military budget must be cut, in a giant way: a trillion-dollar cut over the next decade.

We can’t afford our own security policy, say Frank and Paul.  And it’s not making us secure.  It’s time for a new strategy, they say.  Time to put the vast Pentagon budget on the table, and start slashing

We hear the views of conservative Ron Paul and liberal Barney Frank on American defense spending.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests:

Barney Frank, Democratic Congressman representing the 4th district of Massachusetts since 1980. He is Chairman of the Financial Services Committee.  Frank, along with Ron Paul (R-TX), Walter Jones (R-NC), and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) are calling for more than $1 trillion in cuts in the military budget over the next ten years.

Ron Paul, Republican Congressman representing the 14th district of Texas since 1997, which includes Galveston. He has run for president twice, once in 1988 as the nominee for the Libertarian Party and again in 2008 as a candidate for the Republican Party.

Daniel Goure, vice president of the Lexington Institute, a public policy think tank. He was a member of the 2001 Department of Defense Transition Team. He is former director of the Office of Strategic Competitiveness in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

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  • roger

    please

    do

    it

    now

    and get our troops out of all the foreign countries they occupy

    this is the only way we will avert the ultimate disaster of ww3

  • Russ

    Time to end American imperialism. Unnecessary indulgence we can no longer afford.

  • cory

    Bravo to these two very different politicians coming together to champion a righteous cause. I hope and pray they are successful.

  • JP

    So we may have to pay the free-market rate for foreign resources if we abandon our militaristic imperialism… we’ll more than make up the difference by saving a trillion a year or more on the military and all the related peripheral expenses, and we’ll finally start making a real effort to curb our wasteful ways.

    … sounds like a win-win to me.

    Let’s get out of all other countries and start focusing more closely on our own.

  • elis

    YES! This is what we need to do. It is the one area that we don’t discuss cutting. Take the money and put it into our own infra-structure, our schools, and the environment. Keep the best of the military, and spread the wealth of the rest.

    True leadership shows us how to cut military spending, turn some of the money back to the people, some to the govt and some for the forward motion of the country.

  • CHRIS M

    Plus, we could use our military to help patrol our borders and keep americans safe in america and the national guard can go back to helping out during times of crisis instead of being used in foreign fighting.

  • Bernard B

    One deeply disturbing aspect is the militarization of American society during the cold war — which seems to have gotten worse since the Al Qaeda attacks. “The House of War” documents this depressing development. In Boston we see the MIA flags flying on public buildings — apparently a permanent and highly inappropriate adjunct to the American flag.
    The founding fathers had deep concerns about a national military — Our Elbridge Gerry (from Morrison’s book) pointed to standing armies as like a standing member, and assurance of domestic tranquility and a temptation to foreign adventure.” The war in Iraq is major example. Cost approching a trillion dollars (probably not including possible catalytic role in petroleum price rises), 4000 plus dead, 40,000 plus physical casualties, perhaps 100,000 cases of PTSD, and all the children, spouses, parents, sibling, friends more or less deeply affected.

  • M. Standage

    It is a lie to claim that our budget woes stem primarily from spending on defense. The FY11 budget (summary tables available on line) shows that:

    - Social Security exceeds all defense spending; DoD line item is $530.8B while Social Security is $730B. Even if the war ($177.4B) is added to DoD, it still comes to less ($708B) than Soc. Sec.

    - All security including the war (DoD+war+Nuke Sec Admin+DHS+Vet Affairs+State/Other Intl Progs) only comes to $896.6B, while mandatory entitlements (Soc Sec+Medicare/Medicaid+other mandatory progs) come to $3,728B.

    - That’s 4.2 times as much on entitlements than for all national security put together, even though providing for the common defense, not social welfare, is part of the Constitution.

    - Eliminating ALL security spending would still leave the budget $356B in the hole. Nibbling at defense spending will not help. Entitlements must be brought under control. Don’t believe any politician that claims he can balance the budget by cutting military but not entitlements.

  • Mark

    We liked him. We just wouldn’t listen to him:

    “We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

    This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

    In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military/industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

    We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

    -Pres. Eisenhower, 1961.

  • http://www.venturacommenter.org F. William Bracy

    It’s not only what most of us want, it’s what the world wants. I guess we’re less worried about being attacked by rogue nations than by being overrun by one or more of them, is that right? … like China, or something? China isn’t going to attack us — we’re China’s meal ticket. And not just China’s. We’re the world’s meal ticket … for now, that is.

    The time to worry is when the U.S. no longer wields the big stick called the U.S. Dollar. That will be the time to worry, and that day is coming.

  • jeffe

    This is interesting this information contradicts M. Standage’s information. I have always thought that the military was costing about half of the budget.

    Total Outlays (Federal Funds): $2,650 billion
    MILITARY: 54% and $1,449 billion
    NON-MILITARY: 46% and $1,210 billion

    http://www.warresisters.org/pages/piechart.htm

  • Mark

    More wisdom from Ike:

    “As we peer into society’s future, we — you and I, and our government — must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.”

    And his successors’ shameful response:

    Scientists and economists have been offered $10,000 each by a lobby group funded by one of the world’s largest oil companies to undermine a major climate change report due to be published today.

    Letters sent by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), an ExxonMobil-funded thinktank with close links to the Bush administration, offered the payments for articles that emphasise the shortcomings of a report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

    Travel expenses and additional payments were also offered.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2007/feb/02/frontpagenews.climatechange

  • Cynthia Tschampl

    The budget is a moral document that shows where our priorities are. War is what our current discretionary budget says is all we care about. Time for education, jobs, health and our public structures to get a bigger share!!!

  • Ben

    One of the major failures of the Iraq invasion was that we didn’t send in enough troops to secure the borders and stop the insurgency, as was recommended by Gen. Shinseki. I remember hearing that the Rumsfeld Defense Dept’s agenda was to shrink the military in terms of personnel and rely more on technology and firepower to make up for it. Clearly this didn’t work.
    Instead of thinking about simply downsizing the DoD budget, we should be realigning priorities.

  • JP

    Miltary hawks like to get really creative about what exactly constitutes “military” spending… it lets them low-ball the figure significantly.

    From “supplementals” to military pensions to vet benefits to Congessional expenditures to deal with military issues to dealing with homeland security issues exacebated by our country’s militarism/imperialism, etc. etc…, the military costs our country a couple of trillion a year at least.

  • Ellen Dibble

    How much retirement investment does Barney Frank think is tied up in defense industry profits.
    Does he have a foreign policy inclination that leans on the United Nations, NATO, etc.?

  • JP

    More clearly:

    From “supplementals,” to military pensions, to vet benefits, to Congessional expenditures to deal with military issues, to dealing with homeland security issues exacebated by our country’s militarism/imperialism, etc. etc…, the military costs our country a couple of trillion a year at least.

  • William

    It would be nice to see us pull out of Europe, Japan and South Korea. We have been there too long and it is time to leave. I don’t think the savings should be spent, but rather use the savings to decrease the national debt.

  • Ed

    I used to agree with…”if we don’t fight them there, we’ll have to fight them here…”

    After 9 years, I’m ready to “…fight them here…”

    Cut the overseas military and give me a gun!!!”

    Ed in Iowa City

  • http://ddunn45@beld.net dan

    GLORY, GLORY, GLORY. It is so refreshing to see to congressmen of note working in a bipartisan way for the good of the country. It is wonderful. Thanks for this presentation!!

  • Ellen Dibble

    Barney Frank is citing the money spent abroad.
    We pay to create a capitalist democratic country here or there — OUR country here or there.
    In the Cold War we had client states that were tyrannies, opposite of democracies, easier to control. They say we’re still fostering non-democracies if that country sides with us on this or that.
    It’s no longer a dog-eat-dog world. It’s not ours and theirs. I mean, we can make it into an us-versus-them if we try. Our foreign policy is still us versus them. If we simply used foreign aid (rather than weapons, and weapons sales), we’d still see it as us versus them to some extent. We have to get beyond that.

  • Rick

    I think we need to fight a war to establish a democracy in the United States; overthrow corporatocracy!

  • Steve Chase

    I’m on board with Ron Paul’s and Barney Frank’s reasoning. Yet let’s have a reality check. Follow the money. U.S. contractors have a huge stake in keeping money coming their way, with lobbyists that are likely to sway elected representatives away from the wishes of their constituency whenever possible. Bind and gag those lobbyists, and their allied persuasive factions, and then there would be some hope of constraining our military budgets to what is actually necessary to meet national objectives.

  • sara

    I’m so glad to hear some agreement from the two sides on this subject. I definitely agree that we should be spending less on military!!! There are more important things in this country that should be focused on. I am worried though that pulling out completely of Iraq and Afghanistan would leave the country with damage to things such as schools, roads, etc that we are responsible for but not willing to clean up. Let’s pull out, but let’s also financially support organizations that can do a better job of cleaning up because they know the area. I think even doing this would save us money.

  • Ellen Dibble

    How I agree with Barney Frank. But not only would it help financially and for fairness for all nations to be part of the solution.
    It would achieve common purpose. IT would not be the United States wants to do this or that. It would be a “band of brothers” (to quote Shakespeare’s Henry V) going at a problem together.

  • Patricia Dawson

    Please talk about that military/ industrial complex. Does it not have a life of its own that through its lobbyists in Congress will prevent any reduction in our defense budget?

  • Bill Luzader

    I encourage a review of the cost, philosophy and use of remotely-controlled or “drone” weapons around the world. I propose that some of the money saved in reducing the worldwide footprint of our military be used to introduce more alternate energy and high efficiency energy systems in the military.

  • Diane Wanek

    Congressman Frank didn’t go far enough; it was likely our very establishment of bases in the Middle East during the first Gulf War that precipitated Al Qaeda’s attacks on U.S. properties including the U.S.S. Cole, our embassy in Somalia, and the World Trade Center. The United States has more than 1,000 military bases or installations throughout the world. Some are in places like Chagos Islands and Okinawa, where we are definitely not wanted. None of these outposts or bases are necessary. The financing of many are not even part of the Pentagon’s budget – they are off-the-books and secret. We could save far more than a trillion dollars if we behaved like the freedom-loving, peace-loving nation we purport to be. We would build much more goodwill and be able to take care of our own nation. When an increasing number of Iowans (!) are becoming homeless, it’s utter folly to spend our blood and treasure, bankrupting our country, to pursue a doctrine of policing the world.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I still want to know whose ox will be gored by cutting Defense. I think Frank would be one who would really know. They say the wealthy right now are profiting by the wars. Retirement funds etc.
    Is it?

  • Gary

    Cut the military spending!!!!! Eisenhower, in his January 17, 1961 farewell address was right! Like the bumper sticker says: “These colors [red, white, blue] don’t run … the world!” The U.S. is not some super-hero acting as the world’s police force – that only happens in the comic books. And how’s that “New World Order” authored through fear by Bush and his cronies working for you? We need the money here … or hasn’t anyone noticed this?!

  • Roy DiTosti

    What happens to all the jobs in the private sector that revolve around projects for the defence dept. Like upgrades for equipiment that’s 35 yrs old. The developement of those drone planes that seek out and kill terrorists in there hiding places.

  • Josette King

    I am hopeful that Barney Frank and Ron Paul agree on this – perhaps good sense has a chance to prevail after all!

    I am outraged to see how much of our deficit and tax dollars trace back to Iraq (where we had NO business going in the first place). If we want to keep America strong, provide health care, education and decent housing for all our children first!

    Thank you Congressmen for your courage – keep up the good world!

  • Ellen Dibble

    I’m hearing about Obama on foreign policy. I’m thinking who did Obama hire? Hillary Clinton.

  • hilde Deprez

    Hi
    My name is j=hilde
    I believe that one of the reasons Mr. Obama dot the presidency is, was because he promised the end of and cutting back on war expenses.
    It is a done deal for a lot of people that there is too much of meddling in foreign politics.
    When my house is burning, I will save mine first, before putting my nose in somebody elses fire.
    Because when I loose mine, I will not be abl to help any body else. Is’nt that the rule of the jungle?
    Does it take politicians 2 years to finally come to that conclusion, something that the man in the street can tell you????
    Sincerely
    hilde

  • Beth

    Oh for crying out loud, that facebook comment is bogus. Thank you, Mr. Frank, for your rebuttal. Besides, even if it was true, we can make something else!

  • Ellen Dibble

    If we have to “make jobs” for Americans, let’s not make military ones. One million dollars a year for a combat soldier? How many social workers is that. How many infrastructure engineers for the New Economy?

  • Ellen Dibble

    It has also been said the disadvantaged can get first-rate training by joining the military. They can become specialists useful to the private economy.
    Why not pay the same money to train them to do something less destructive?

  • Milree Keeling

    Great show, critical to cut the defense budget. But it is important to recognize that Defense is our largest domestic Jobs program, and major cuts will mean unemployed Americans, from soldiers to contractors to landlords and many local economies built around defense spending.

  • mike g

    Would bringing back the draft (compulsery service) be an option to decrease the military cost?

  • Ellen Dibble

    I’m thinking as “less destructive” a national year of service of some sort, where people become part of a patriotic team, gain training, not costing us 43 Billion a year or whatever.

  • Eda

    Seems to me that the military is little more than the federal jobs program. What do we do with the troops now being paid for uselessly standing around in all the military bases scattered around the world? Most of them have nop usable civilian skills.

  • Steve

    Military spending affects every American taxpayer. I was reminded of this when paying my taxes in April. The online program I used to file broke down my tax payment into a pie chart based on where in the government it was going, and by far the highest percentage goes toward defense.

    As a pacifist, this troubles me greatly. I either have to violate my conscience by paying into a militaristic system or by refusing to pay taxes. Decrease military spending now!

  • Rodney Pratt

    Congressman Frank is barking up the right tree and is taking up Chalmers Johnson’s points in his well known trilogy. For instance why does the US need 11 carrier groups? Three of the next generaration of 9 are currently slated to cost $43bn, this will go up of course, that is for the carriers alone not the rest of the ships required to supply and protect them.
    I do take exception that the US is subsidizing the British military, not so, they are the only significant military help that the US gets from its allies. I believe they are punching above their weight right now and certainly have taken more than a proportionate number of casualties.

  • Peter

    Our global military presence is sustained by: corporate requirements for access to and control of natural resources worldwide; corporate profits of the military industrial complex; a calculated decentralization of military manufacturing such that every politician has constituents whose jobs are on the line if military spending is curtailed; a corporate financed media which consistantly exaggerates the security threat posed by terrorists as compared to the damage caused by corporate malfeasance (think Wall Street meltdown or British Petroleum). Need I go on?

    Americans have been hoodwinked for decades by corporate elites. We cut taxes for the rich, subsidize vastly profitable corporations to the point that they pay no taxes at all (or like Mobil Oil get refunds), turn a blind eye to untaxed billions hidden in offshore accounts and we wonder “Why are they firing teachers and closing libraries?”
    Duuuh!

  • Beth

    This sounds a lot like the Cold-War domino theory to me.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Losing oil in Middle East? I somehow think they want out business.
    Losing access to trading partners (Uzbekistan) if China goes adversarial?
    Let our allies do it by negotiation. If China owns the world, we can’t help it. China owns the world MORE not less the more we go into debt.

  • G.T

    YES ! We are enriching corporate suppliers to our military. Time to STOP being a police force for the rest of the world. Some monies can go toward air support toward fighting forest fires.

  • Nick

    The US could start by reducing the size of it’s Navy: it is larger than the next 13 largest developed countries, combined!

    But let’s face it: WAR is good business for the rightwing military-industrial complex.

  • Ellen Dibble

    More ammo for Frank’s position.
    Readiness. How long did it take us to gear up for the World War II dog fights? A year.
    If we go whole hog on readiness for 2011, then in 2014 when we need to fight, the whole picture will be different. We’ll be prepared for the previous war.

  • Marc Hapke

    This “war” against terror is nothing more than another concept war like the “war” on crime, cancer, poverty, etc that is unwinnable. In fact it should not be considered a war at all. Terrorism is a criminal act and Congressman Frank’s proposal to put some of the money we’re spending in these wars into realistic homeland security would far better serve our purposes than this reckless spending on military installations and equipment. We need to turn our attention inward for a change – not isolationism like in the ’20s – but infrastructure repairs, etc in the US.

  • Steve T

    Cut it to ribbons. The lyrics of the song WAR are ringing in my ears.
    Just leave something for the vet’s who need our support now that they have put their lives on the line, been blown apart and throne out on the streets.

  • tonto

    We can no longer afford this military spending. If we were to balance the budget we would need an across the board tax increase of 80 percent. That would be for everyone.
    If we cannot cut military they its going to be social services.
    Doing nothing is generational theft as the bills are being left for future generations.
    Dr. Ron Paul makes the most sense of all the politicians in Washington.
    Bring the troops home. Put them on our boarder. And have a defense. American boots on American soil sounds safer for our kids.

  • jeffe

    The other question is what are we defending.
    Our infrastructure is crumbling, our schools are falling apart. The middle class is disappearing down the sink whole of poverty (the military is mostly dependent on the middle class for recruits) our nation seems to have been taken over by wall street and special interest.

    So the question is, what are we defending and why?

    If our country is falling apart at the expense of military spending something is wrong with this picture.

  • Andy Foreman

    I am just so sick and tired of hearing Iraq and Afghanistan referred to as “wars”. These are NOT wars!!! These are overdone police actions in which we are killing off decent young Americans for the most senseless reasons.

    Imagine if you will, that we had entered World War II with an “end date”. Hitler would have been laughing his evil head off. The concept in and of itself is ridiculous – but this is EXACTLY what we did with Iraq and Afghanistan. It doesnt take a Harvard degree to figure out that if you state an “end date” to your involvement, you are hardly fighting any “war”.

    Without intending to be a wise-guy, but war is like intercourse – there is NO “half way”. Youre either in, or your out and we have been trying to walk some nebulous line where we are neither – it doesnt work, it cant work (by design) and it isnt working.

    Iraq got 6000 Americans killed, and thousands more innocent Iraqi civilians – for what? To “get” Saddam – a two bit dictator? Not even close to worth the price.

    G. Bush “promised” we would “get” Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan. In fact, we had him cornered, and then Bush and his lackeys shifted attention to Iraq. Bin Laden must be laughing his head off with a move like that. And worst of the worst, ONE DAY after 9/11/2001, Bush and his cronies were ensuring that 91 members of Bin Laden’s family got “safe passage” out of the US. Bush cared more for the family of the most evil terrorist to strike the US, than he did of his own people.

    Afghanistan is a country that has been the same for over 2,000 years. And we are going to suddenly bring them democracy? WE DONT EVEN LIVE IN A REAL DEMOCRACY!!! How are we going to run around the world spreading Democracy like some magic ointment, when WE cant even get it right!!!

    There is one purpose, and one purpose ONLY for “wars” like this. Its exactly what Dwight Eisenhower warned us about – the Military Industrial complex. We fight wars because Raytheon, United Defense, Halliburton and all the others need the money to stay in business and keep Americans employed.

    So who do those “heroes” really die so uselessly for? You got it – a bunch of rich guys. It is HARDLY heroic to be killed by a bomb buried in a coffee can on the side of the road – but we call these poor soldiers “heroes” so WE wont feel bad. They are in fact, merely cannon fodder and nothing more.

    We are a very sick country, building the perfect insanity around the world so we can keep the dollars flowing to people who dont give a rats backside about our soldiers. They just want revenue, nothing more.

  • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

    In pluralistic “democracy” like the US, it’s politically untenable to be honest when political parties raid the Treasury to lavish money on special interests. Such raids must be disguised or redefined as spending for some great principle or national purpose. Often such myths become so successful they become institutionalized as party positions and if they are really lucky, they become another proverbial “third rail” of politics which no one dares challenge. And so it is with “defense” spending. The GOP wants to keep it’s perceived political advantage in the the area of defense and flag waving, and that can only mean advocating for more spending.

    There’s another insidious dynamic at work. Defense spending is like with medical care. There’s a built in logic that if one only spends more and more, additional lives will be saved or suffering averted… and who can argue with that! Similarly, a contrived and contorted case can ALWAYS be made that a new defense system will make us a bit safer than if we don’t have it.

    Given this dysfunctional if not dangerous dynamic, I applaud Ron Paul and Barney Frank for helping expose this dark underside of American politics… one that is dragging this nation into bankruptcy.

  • http://analogousdesign.blogspot.com Dave Eger

    Just think of what wonderful things could come from putting some of our war resources towards building a peaceful world instead. How much brain power and how many people’s youth is wasted on developing more violence? Imagine what great things could emerge if we put our effort into developing a self-sustaining civilization rather than one based on exploiting colonies.

  • James

    To M. Standage:
    Look at defense spending as a percentage of income tax, not as a percentage of overall spending. The entitlement spending (which I agree also needs to be examined closely for cuts) is funded through a separate tax. Hence, they don’t directly compete against each other for funding like military versus education or other discretionary spending.

    As for the program, I think this is a great discussion, and one that we need to have. We are headed for a crisis of debt, and there can be nothing sacred when we look at ways to reduce spending. As for the idea of closing overseas bases, that sounds reasonable since obviously we don’t need to be defending Germany or Japan, but how would closing those bases affect our strategic ability to respond to situations that arise outside of those countries? Maybe we don’t need them as stating areas, I don’t know. Certainly if our foreign policy objectives change then maybe we won’t be responding to every situation that crops up, but I do like to think that we won’t ignore what I see as a moral obligation to prevent large scale human rights violations and genicides such as happened in Croatia. I’m for cutting defense spending, I just want to know the strategic implications.
    Thanks

  • Renee J

    Barney Frank is logical, intelligent, and compassionate. I think most Americans will agree with him on reduction, but he’ll need heaps of support to even get a small reduction. The military leadership and its congressional support and lobbyists are entrenched and very powerful.

  • geech

    After reading Blowback I have a better grip of how we have been pushing our empire all around the world since WW II. The wake up call was when Rangel filed that bill to bring the draft back for BOTH sexes as it should be. Emanual is also in favor of a draft. If people are not signing up, and we need more troops all over the planet, a draft has to be brought back.
    I read Don’t Start revolution without me. Right in there are the rules of engagement in Nam. Similar rules are in place in Afghanistan. If it were not for drones our injuries would be lots higher. Do we really want that??? I pray not.
    Another hidden cost will be the cost of care for the kids that are being injured. VA is sacred to me and should get lots of funding. But I would rather have no kids injured instead of paying decades for their care.

  • Gerry

    All of the above rhetoric regarding significantly reducing military spending doesn’t make one iota of difference in Washington, DC. One thing you can all be sure of – it will not happen.

  • john earl

    We have troops and military support for places like Korea for over 50 years while South Korea has prospered under our umbrella. We have protected Europe and Japan while Europe sat by while Bosnia suffered another Nazi holocaust and Japan blossomed into a major industrial power along with Germany.

    These countries should be spending their own money for defense. The USA has to remove the policy that prevents Germany and Japan from re-arming. And the rest of Europe also needs to defend themselves.

    The money we spend and waste could be employed to rebuild our infrastructure, establish a Manhatten – like project to get our country more energy efficient, taking our killer science into the realm of planet preservation while ensuring our own safety, and ensuring our allies that we will be at their side to help defend those who are willing to sacrifice and defend themselves .

    I also agree with a draft of all able young people to provide them sense of duty, responsibility for doing good humanitarian deeds, and the need to defend our country.

  • ThresherK

    Plus, we could use our military to help patrol our borders and keep Americans safe in America.

    Unless we are in a declared war with whatever country is on the other side of that border, that sounds a bit police-statey to me. I’ll pass.

  • Ellen Dibble

    James, it comes to my attention that “large scale human rights violations” affect perhaps a majority of the 6 trillion humans. Things that offend me to the core: example, widespread child prostitution.
    And it comes to my attention that in the darkish ages before the internet, and before easy jet travel, there were massive, massive human rights abuses that we maybe heard about by chance, but which were more likely hushed up. If we wanted to be outraged, some journalist would come along with a documentary and we would all be outraged and demand action.
    And a fraction of a fraction of abuses would maybe be diminished.
    Frankly, I think a better approach (than military intervention, reactively) is to find out the ways to encourage cultures where human rights are not abused. I think that might really be possible, given the globalization we now enjoy. It may be a very useful component of what is otherwise ruining our economy (not of the investor class but of the workers — would-be workers). There is a race between our ability to become civilized and our ability to reduce ourselves to idiocy and irrationality.

  • miro

    This was one of the best On Point segments by far,
    topical, articulate, highly relevant, sane –
    like night and day compared to that god-forsaken
    muddle yesterday on the implications of the science
    of aging.

    Like late Rome, our legions are overextended.
    Pax Americana is facilitating the export of our
    core industrial capacities and the degeneration of our
    economy into financial speculation. Our infrastructure is deteriorating. This is not in the interests of most of us who aren’t ultra rich.

    Much of the $700 billion we annually spend on the military saps our domestic economy and creates fewer jobs than money spent in other sectors. If we used a fraction of that money to insulate our houses we would maka a substantial dent in our dependence on oil. If we used some of it to develop light, mass produced 100-mpg carbon-fiber cars, we would solve our own energy problems and develop products we could export to the rest of the world. If we used some of it to make our energy-efficient railroad system work for most of us, then we will be much better prepared for the coming oil shocks that will hit when economic activity finally rebounds from the current malaise. (If CSX can move a ton 400 miles on a gallon of gas, why isn’t it much — 10x — cheaper to ship a car to a destination than to drive it there?)

  • John Earl

    And—Amen to Andy Forman’s commentary!

  • Jim in Omaha

    First, for M. Standage: Social Security is FULLY FUNDED by the contributions of those who were promised and expect payment from it, and will be for several decades. Of course that money has been stolen (as in ‘borrowed’ with no plan to repay it) by our elected representatives to pay for such things as tax cuts for the wealthy and enriching private defense contractors.

    The elephant in the room is that our military strategies and leadership are grossly incompetent, most clearly evidenced by the fact that they (we) haven’t won a war using that strategy, as implemented and carried out by our military leaders, for 65 years! Can anyone name one enemy that has surrendered to us since 1945? And you will be able to add 2 more failed military ventures to the list with Iraq and Afghanistan. The truth is that we are spending huge sums of money, endangering and killing some of our citizens and lots more innocent foreigners, and in the process actually harming our country’s interests. In my view, that’s worse than “dying in vain”. And a callous betrayal of those who volunteer to serve in our miltary. Of course, any criticism of these obvious failures gets one branded as anti-American.

  • CHRIS M

    Plus, we could use our military to help patrol our borders and keep Americans safe in America.

    Unless we are in a declared war with whatever country is on the other side of that border, that sounds a bit police-statey to me. I’ll pass.

    Posted by ThresherK

    Not at all. I am not talking about a military state – We keep hearing we do not have enough Border Patrol personel, so use the Military to beef up the border coverage. If we are so concerned over the amount of illegals, and who knows who else, are crossing our borders, it wouldn’t hurt to increase our coverage to prevent those who would do us harm from entering. We have a lot of borders to cover. We utilize our trainined forces to protect our own country instead of other countries.

  • Leroy

    It seems that this rag tag militant islamic is kicking our tails all over the world. If we in the USA disarm, it will benefit Al-Queda. The USA underestimated the Prussians in WWI. Polish banker Ivan Bloch warned in his writing in 1897. There are persons that are telling Americans to disarm that we don’t need troops in Japan, Germany, South Korea, Italy Etc. We have forgotton history and when we disarm the enemy will destroy our US Constitution and basic democracy. Tom Ashbrook and On Point is performing a dis-service to America by portraying one side of the argument.

    At first there will be increased slaughter—increased slaughter on so terrible
    a scale as to render it impossible to get troops to push the battle to a decisive issue. Everybody will be entrenched in the next war. The spade will be as indispensable for a soldier as his rifle. All war will of necessity partake the character of siege operations. Then we shall have a long period of continually increasing strain upon the resources of the combatants. Soldiers may fight as they please; the ultimate decision is in the hands of famine. (Bloch)

  • ThresherK

    Not at all. I am not talking about a military state –We keep hearing we do not have enough Border Patrol personel, so use the Military to beef up the border coverage.

    Then decomission military servicemen and -women, and hire more Border Patrollers. If need be, the exact same people can do this.

    But a soldier in uniform is not the same thing as an ICE agent, and does not answer to the same authorities. As with so many things involving the military, the soldiers at the front aren’t cause of the problem, and the Army is not a democracy.

    PS I thought Gov. Brewer was caught flat making up crap about this border stuff for political gain. Maybe, just maybe, the hysterics of some Arizonans and their angry, low-information TeaBaggers shouldn’t have such an influence on deployment of the US Armed Forces.

  • AC

    Daniel Goure,

    You mention “rising powers”. For GENERATIONS there have been “rising powers” of chaos, violence, illegal weapons, and gang violence in America’s POOREST INNER CITIES. We MUST SPEND MONEY ON OUR OWN INNER CITIES!!!

    There are CHILDREN who are KILLED BY DRIVE-BY SHOOTINGS, by MISTAKEN IDENTITY, etc., and the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA IS NOT PROTECTING THEM!!!

    We need to BRING OUR TROOPS HOME and PUT THEM TO WORK HERE!! The troops have learned HOW TO TRAIN, HOW TO BUILD, HOW TO RE-BUILD, HOW TO TRIAGE AND TREAT MAJOR MEDICAL PROBLEMS. We need to bring them HOME to be educated to do the things above, and more, IN SERVICE TO the COMMUNITY NEEDS of those people living in our OWN INNER CITIES.

    Civic, religious, peace & non-violence advocates, art/music/theater educators help a community learn how to facilitate their neighborhood’s re-vitalization; 2) the community works out a dynamic design that operates on many levels & that plans for unexpected growth; 3) the military is brought in to SHARE the skills they have AND to facilitate and appreciate the skills that community members might have that have languished without money & appreciation; 4) an example of what might be planned & created: an elderly man who takes care of his teenagers wants a barber shop. The process above has helped him realize that he wants a whole wall to be available for the artwork of local students and that he wants to have space left for local musicians (adults & kids) to play acoustically, in lieu of his having a radio or CD. He, his teenagers, and their friends help to build the whole thing with the skills taught by and the site supervision done by the military personnel. The man owns his own building, no more punitive rent charges; people congregate at his shop instead of dealing drugs on the corner; 5) the whole process should be attended to WITH art/music/theater and be documented by art/music/theater!!!! I.E., whistle while you work. i.e., while people are scraping & sanding, they will be serenaded by other community members who play music they have created FOR the occasion! After the completion of any part of this process, there is a CEREMONY or play or concert or art show or all of the above that is ABOUT this aspect of the community process!!! The art/music, etc. will be documented so that the community has a permanent sense of pride in their work!

    This vision has all the potential to GIVE AMERICAN BACK TO ITS CITIZENS, because I believe that AMERICA’S MONETARY WEALTH is being FUNNELED OFF to the PRIVATE COMPANIES of the military-industrial complex, like Halyburton, and AWAY FROM SERVICE TO ITS CITIZENS! WHY ARE THEIR PRE-TEENS BEING KILLED IN OUR CITIES WITH NO FEDERAL WAR AGAINST THE CAUSES???!!! I do NOT mean we should bring in the troops & shoot the shooters. Absolutely NOT! The drive-by shooters are themselves abusively neglected citizens of this country!! I mean, the kids in those cities are as POOR as they are because our tax dollars are actually going to the CEO’s and SHARE HOLDERS of the military suppliers. And, lots of weapons developed for the military often end up in our poorest areas. Instead, our military could be getting rid of the LEAD PAINT that destroys young lives! I’m NOT talking about urban renewal & the tearing down of what a place looks like; but our military could re-direct their funding & then replace old wood (not just paint over old paint), making it look like the original design! Nail guns NOT deadly guns!!!

    Pay enough attention to how various cultures have celebrated themselves, and you’ll see that it is a major element we are denying to our poorest communities. The celebratory impulse is coming out in the form of gang pride, which means pride in violence. Is THAT any different than our military’s pride in its successful violence??? Halyburton is walking off with your tax dollars, another inner city kid just walking down the street is killed, and you believe you have to buy an expensive alarm system for your house because the robberies which predominately are WITHIN the inner cities are moving out into the suburbs. Only NOW is attention paid?? IT IS TIME TO TOTALLY RETHINK WHAT WE DO, altho……I’ve been saying this SAME THING FOR DECADES AND DECADES!!!! Thanks!

  • Yuri

    One cannot expect Congressman Frank to give a frank assessment of our “commitments” to Israel. He won’t say it, but he surely knows that Israel receives more U.S. aid, including military aid, than any other country in the world–about $3 to $4 billion every year.

    In regard to Israel’s role in influencing the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Congressman Paul is far more honest. It has been pretty well established (see, for example, Dan Baron, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, 03-29-2004) that Israel passed on to the U.S. exaggerated reports of WMD’s in Iraq and that the Israel lobby was a prime advocate for the war in Iraq.

  • informed American

    Cut military spending? Don’t you know how much damage that will to Rush Limbaugh’s and Dick Cheney’s investment portfolios?

  • twenty-niner

    The great leader wants to bravely take the fight to the formidable enemy in Afghanistan and Iraq. I can’t believe all of the disloyal comments against our great leader.

    “Gen. Casey: America may be in Iraq and Afghanistan for another decade”

    http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2010/07/10/gen-casey-america-may-be-in-iraq-and-afghanistan-for-another-decade/?fbid=Og0yHYsE_Cn

    Great leader planning a 3rd war perhaps:

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/report-u-s-israeli-warships-cross-suez-canal-toward-red-sea-1.297068

  • Ellen Dibble

    Frank did lose some credibility with me when he said, “Israel defends itself,” and I’m curious because Netenyahu has been semi-redefining things. What I hear is that Israel needs its nuclear umbrella for self defense. Yet this same Netenyahu has said that nuclear deterrence in Israel’s case is a total nonstarter since a first strike would eliminate Israel. So then I think how Hillary Clinton came up with the idea that the USA needs to deploy more of a missile umbrella in the Middle East, maybe by submarines? And I’m wondering if this would preempt the first strike that would wipe out Israel.
    In short, I’m confused on that. I think Russia should put the umbrella over the Middle East. Period. They are closer. They are more closely affected. Why would their interests differ so much from ours? Terrorists seem to splay out in their direction too.

  • Ed

    It’s sort of mind boggling that Barney’s position on this is so full of common sense when most of his other positions lack so much common sense. I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth though, Go Barney!

  • BEAT

    Barney is doing a great Job as long the Tea Party don’t yell call him “F” and “H” words or spit on him.

  • wavre

    How much of their talks are just political postering for the coming elections??

    WE ALL KNOW THAT MOST POLITICIANS LIKE TO SOUND “COMMOM SENSE”, populist AND PROGRESSIVE before any election, but as soon as you reelect them, they put back their corporate’s hat. Maybe not Ron Paul, but i have my doubts for Barney Franks.

    And talking about Barney, he is one example of how an otherwise bright intellectual can suddenly loose all sense of fairness when Israel’s policies are challenged even so lightly.

  • http://www.stopjetnoise.com Harvey Paige

    It is not enough that we spend money maintaining military bases and personnel around the world, but we also spend money bringing military from around the world here. For the past two years, the Royal Netherlands Air Force has been flying over our village (Yellow Springs, Ohio) annoying the local population. It is uncertain how much the Dutch are paying, if anything, but it is not the cost of the operation. (FOIA requests have not been successful in obtaining details.) In addition, the local authorities tried to induce other nation’s pilots to train here. Included in those nations was Singapore, one of the richest nations on earth, and it was reported that the U. S. pays all expenses for their air force. For documents, check out http://www.stopjetnoise.com.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Something tells me Frank is one legislator who has a pretty secure seat, partly due to his power. If his district elected a freshman they would lose a lot.
    I disagree with Frank (what I perceive is his position) when it comes to real estate and housing in this country. Let me at him when it comes to funding arrangements with regard to that golden goose. It has been laying an egg lately. And I believe more eggs are to come. (Where did that saying come from anyway?)

  • A concerned Guardian

    DOD spending hits all time highs while Coast Guard ships, aircraft, and shore facilities age and deteriorate. What about some help for this, the smallest yet vitally important Armed Service…and not in the DOD?

  • http://www.fenrisunchained.com/ Philip Kaveny

    This program is to quote W.H. Auden’s poem Sept 1st 1939, “an ironic point of light.” against the darkness of the night sky. This is like a breath of fresh air. I think it was John Quincy Adams who said it is not the business of The United States to fight the monsters of the world. I never would have expected a voice of sanity for Ron Paul, that’s my liberal ignorance.

  • Mark Fearnow

    How refreshing to see two legislators working across the aisle for such a common sense cause! PLEASE, American voters, get with them and let this movement succeed!

  • Alex

    Looks like this is one issue conservative, liberal and independent bloggers here an agreement on. I wonder, why.

  • Jonathan

    I do not disagree with reconsidering the US military budget to try to reduce expenditures and to a reevaluation of our international commitments. That being said I find this discussion to be an alarming case of de’javu.

    After every major and most minor conflicts throughout American history there is always a movement to drastically cut the defense budget. These movements have historically been rather successful at decimating the military’s capacity to actually respond to real world conflicts when they arise. A perfect example of this is the Korean conflict, for which the US was unable to mount a rapid and effective military response largely as a result to the drastic cuts in military spending after the second world war.

    On the issue of forces which are deployed abroad in countries like Japan the rational behind the deployment is misunderstood. If we were to remove troops which are stationed strategically around the world to allow for their rapid deployment and response to global crisis it WILL limit our ability to respond to crisis in those regions by increasing the amount of time that will be required to amass sufficient land forces to mount an operation. The average person has absolutely no concept on just how much is involved in even a token deployment of forces in foreign countries, which often lack the sorts of facilities required to allow for the easy deployment of said forces, and the assertion that we would be able to rapidly respond to situations halfway across the globe with forces located in the continental US goes entirely against our experiences in almost every conflict of the last century. The purpose of maintaining garrisons around the world is more for maintaining strategic stockpiles of supplies, facilities, and equipment near to potential crisis regions to increase our rate of response and decrease the initial logistical burden inherit in any major military action. By having these facilities, which are designed to accommodate more personnel then are currently stationed at them, we allow ourselves the ability to rapidly amass and deploy forces into those regions which we would otherwise lack.

    Traditionally major cuts in US military spending end up costing the US more in the long term. An example of this that I will give is the current fiscal epidemic the military faces with civilian contractors. In the 1980s and 1990s it was decided that the only way to reduce the size of the military as was then mandated by congress to the level demanded whilst still retaining the ability to meet our expected global commitments the US military hacked away at its logistical arms. Jobs and functions, such as truck driving and construction, which had previously been performed by soldiers now have to be done by government contractors for drastically increased costs, over time eliminating the “savings” from eliminating the soldiers who had previously done the job.

    Again I am not opposed to the rational reconsideration of our overseas deployments and in reductions in our military spending in general. I am horrified by the assertion that reducing American presence in the world will do anything but limit our ability to prevent the establishment of a hostile regional hegemony which will harm US interests in the near future. As a Historian, US Army officer, and Logistician I hope and pray that those in decision making positions on this issue look to history before making cuts for that sake of cuts.

  • pw

    Wow. I’m listening to this in repeat on sat radio and so missed the discussion above, but just want to add that I’m joining the Frank-Paul party.

  • MLS

    someone mentioned the song “War”. Excellent song. Written during the Vietnam War and every word still rings true today. “War is nothing but a heart breaker, friend only to the undertaker.”

  • PLUG (UNPLUG)

    For anyone who wants to discover how exactly this Cold War defense spending continued to be sustained under scare tactics and ideological justifications about non-state actors. This is a must read

    http://www.amazon.com/Irrational-Security-Politics-Defense-Reagan/dp/0801894395

    This is written by an expert on the matter; Hey Tom Ashbrook how about being more inclusive with voices of experts, not merely just products of our political systems.

    Where is the objectivity from experts?

  • Bush’s fault

    OK guys..sounds good. Now take your show on the road. stick out your political necks, and put your political futures on the line. If you’re right you win…if you lose you go home. And if you win, promise me that we evaporate the next attacker rather than try to win them over.

  • Janet Ellingson

    Any cut in defense spending is going to be an extraordinarily diffult thing to sell in this economic climate, no matter how morally right it is. In my state, Utah, the defense industry is a major employer. President Obama’s proposed changes to NASA will affect the missile industry here and a cut in the Minuteman III program will be resisted by even the most ardent deficit hawk Republicans. An argument for cutting defense spending needs to include a program for returning at least a percentage of funds to the states affected to offset the unemployment as a result of ending defense programs. Consideration also needs to be given to the young men and women who see the military as the only economic option. We need a program of national service that pays young people a salary equivalent to what they would earn in the military. Their service could be limited to 2 or 3 years, with education benefits at the end.

    I am all for cutting the defense budget in half, but we need to think through the economic consequences of such a cut in federal spending.

  • Bush’s fault

    BEAT….borrowing from the gay rights preference…is it OK to call Mr Frank “q”?

  • http://Netzero Joy Hamlat

    Your program brought tears to my eyes. Bravo to
    Congressman Barney Frank for waging peace. Let’s
    use our tax dollars to heal not kill.
    What wonderful things we could do for education,
    healthcare, helping the poor..here and in other
    countries…if we were not pouring our resources down the drain in evil, foolish wars.
    Thank you for this wonderful program.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Janet, people (including myself) have been mentioning national service (with training associated) when related subjects come up, and that’s been going on for years, and it never seems to get farther than that. Perhaps it never will until our military posture adjusts itself to a more globally shared sense of governance (versus us lording it over whomever).
    I tried to get it on the table to have Barney Frank address the financial repercussions. I was thinking more of investors and retirees, but you’re right, certain states would be hit hard.
    And I am thinking it grates me that automobile companies and road/bridge maintenance seem to take precedence over the kind of federal-level expenditures that would lead us AWAY from dependence on oil, especially foreign oil.
    It is obvious to me that there are lobbies for the old industries (including military) which want to succeed and contribute to our tax base and our employment picture. So with almost every industry, but especially with military, the question is how to morph from one thing into another. And I do think of how quickly this country did shift in 1942, and yes, there was debt associated with the shifts, but that wasn’t even a shift that was geared toward moving into a new and better economy; it was simply for self-defense. But apparently it can be done if everyone’s on board with the plan.
    How Utah could shift from military industries? How those deployed could be absorbed into employment here? Obviously as Frank said, it’s not a good idea to totally gut our defenses, so it’s all about priorities. But my impression is that Congress is all about stonewalling, not about working their way together through tough decisions. This has to change. People have to speak up.

  • twenty-niner

    “As a Historian, US Army officer, and Logistician I hope and pray that those in decision making positions on this issue look to history before making cuts for that sake of cuts.”

    We borrow billions from China to safeguard oil production in Iraq. The Chinese then go in and buy up the oil rights, so now we get to pay them for the same oil that we borrowed money to protect. Genius. What brilliant neo-con checkers master conceived this plan: drive around, get blown up, and spend billions doing it.

    We need to make cuts because we are broke. And in the process, maybe some of our astute Pentagon planners can get their jobs back as Applebees greeters.

    - A former Naval officer.

  • http://environmentalgeography.blogspot.com/2010/07/shifting-military-spending-toward-vets.html James Hayes-Bohanan

    Hurray!

  • Dean

    We should cut the military by 1/4 right away and remove bases from around the world.

  • Robert Myers

    You gave Daniel Goure a chance to bleat like a lamb being lead to the slaughter about the prospect of having HIS slice of the pie cut. Why not someone from, say, the Children’s Defense Fund to provide balance?

  • Levin’s Farm

    The British had about 30 bases around the world at its peak. The US has over 700 bases worldwide. Dismantle the empire wisely and safely!

  • Wali S.

    This was an excellent program. Just Monday I was having a similar discussion with the gentlemen sitting across from me on a flight from Houston to Ft. Lauderdale. I am glad my comments were echoed by both Congressmen Frank and Paul. I just pray the American public can give their points an “honest day in the sun”. Thanks for airing this program.

  • Richard in Newton

    Though I’ve advocated a drastic cut in defense spending since the Clinton Administration through far better regulation, oversight and by weaning ourselves from useless and expensive pet-project pursuits, this debate propagated by Paul and Frank is mostly a regurgitation of populace talking points. Though I still share the underlying sentiments of these gentlemen, I object to disingenuous approach and the disinformation. If we are to accept that this ought to be a serious debate, we cannot engage in a serious debate by perpetrating disinformation.

    Firstly, I object to the myth that “we” the US are somehow “subsidizing” the rest of the world’s security. While this would be more true with less developed nation in which the US currently has bases, it would hardly be true with NATO member nations where civilian and security “cost-sharing” obligations have been and continue to be a leading clause in it charters. Also, for countries like Japan and ROK (let’s remember that South Korea just lost 50+ sailors when a North Korean torpedo sank one of its ships), they contribute 70+ percent each to house US forces on their soil. It’s a bit offensive to the residents of these countries when their political leaders choose to pay a significant percentage to house US troops but are often disparaged as some defense welfare state by the American populace.

    Also, no where in this debate is the issue of revenue generated directly and indirectly by the defense sector. Obviously, Saudi Arabia buys US fighter jets for a reason as does ROK, Japan, Italy, Turkey and on and on. How many secure, well-paying Americans jobs would be lost if the Turks, Dutch and the Canadians were to pull out of their F-33 fighter jet pledges? This is the direct cost. An indirect cost would be the lack of financial aid for a bright kid accepted at MIT who want to study linguistics but cannot afford to do so on his own because Pentagon contracts with MIT have dried up and the university can no longer give out as many scholarships. An indirect cost would also be future technological impacts like the internet itself had on mass culture which owes itself to obscure military R&D. And your average non-military, citizen Joe’s who rely on the “military industrial complex” to put food on their table and put their kids through school are present in every congressional district and in every state. My buddy is putting his four daughters through school now because he, as an mechanical engineer, knows something about radio waves that’s useful to the radar industry.

    And there’s just so much more…

    In other words, if we’re going to seriously and finally tackle this beast, then let’s do if for the right, correct reasons and in the places that need to be cut.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Richard, that is exactly what I was hoping Frank would discuss. I think he being on the Financial Services Committee might know something about it. Revenues from defense industries, proportion of American investment tied up in defense industries, distribution of defense industry jobs. Then there needs to be someone — maybe the new CBO head named today once he gets settled in — to set forth other ramifications. We all know, thanks to Al Gore, that the internet began as a defense department project and asset. Frank was speaking about there being practically no reins on defense department spending, so if you want to fund some research, some educational institution, just tie it into our defense endeavor.
    But the downside of that is that a huge amount of our economy is dependent on matters military. It reminds me of Britain, which ruled the waves. Britain without domination of the seas and thus its empire was not much of a power, not much of an empire.
    So the question does indeed become what you suggested. And I suppose it will will be a very long reshuffling of priorities and resources, and beyond the focus of this particular hour.
    But if you want to say that we have to build fighter jets for Saudi Arabia, and obviously we have to have at least as many for ourselves — it begins to get interesting. I think I heard that the USA makes no aircraft carriers (a fact relevant to the situation in the Gulf, where they were saying the Jones Act forbits foreign-built ships carrying this or that at such and such a distance from shore). It seems to me one thing to build them and sell them, and another thing entirely to say, “We don’t want them in mothballs; that’s like having a house that nobody lives in; let’s look around for some action. Maybe there are some abusive regimes we can intervene in. Isn’t that not only our right as monopolar power but our obligation.”
    It’s an economic question undergirding a foreign affairs question undergirding a military question.

  • Swaroop B

    It’s indeed heartening to listen to these gentleman discuss these issues with such honesty. It is already evident that the US looks as itself as the world’s policeman, and that it should rush to the aid of any soft target countries under attack. Especially if these targets are our allies. Aren’t we seeing a pattern developing here? Ultimately it is the US who is the real soft target. How? Enemies and terrorists need only attack other soft targets, and wait for the US to rush to their aid. It could all very well be a well planned game of whack-a-mole where the US is the most enthusiastic player with a knee-jerk reaction to every problem. Indirectly the US has been made to spend its way to poverty. The country in the last few years has allowed terrorists to terrorize it without having to drop any physical bombs in its homeland.

  • Robert Netscher

    Dear Americans. I’m Dutch and live in the US. Whenever I comment on America’s foreign defense policy I’m told to shut up:”We saved your country in WWII” and ” Because of us you don’t live under communism”. All True. But dear Americans, this is 2010! Everybody is laughing at you on how you keep overspending like a little child. It’s not so much that the Europeans ask for it, In 1980, R. Reagan wanted to station nuclear cruisemisslses in Holland. Hey, we didn’t even ask for them! We didn’t want them and we said no! Americans are told by their own leadership that they need to be scared and that they need to spend on wars to be protected. The US propaganda machine is spinning out of control. I think America is a great country but it can be a lot better if only the people would stand up and think for themselves. Think of what Eisenhower said about the Industrial Militairy Complex and don’t believe everything you see on TV.

  • david

    I would love to see other nations take care of their own turf for a change. Many are moochers.
    One concern, when the big dog leaves the backyard, the bad guys will always take advantage.
    Look at our country, the big dog is over there, while our country is being invaded.
    Here is an expense to cut: (CNSNews.com) – The U.S. government has spent $410,625 to study the effects of teaching Chinese meditation to cocaine addicts.
    Also, if we are going to cut the military why not do something about the blank check Freddie and Fannie has??
    Fannie and Freddie could cost Tax Payers One Trillion dollars to shore up.

  • Sean

    What happened to Rumsfeld’s missing trillions (with a T) from September 10, 2001?

    Why did that fade from most people’s memory?

  • http://www.ronpaul.com Ron Paul is Right

    Ron Paul is right.

    We can’t afford this. We have military bases in Lybia, North Korea, Burma, Japan, Taiwan, China, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and about ten other places.

    The trillions that are being wasted on these massive foreign expenditures are completely crazy.

    Cut one trillion dollars off this unbelievable budget. Bring everybody back home from those countries. Put Lockheed Martin and Boeing under lock & key so our Representatives have to slash the defense spending.

    iBailout the game: (we keep on eating ourselves!)
    http://kotaku.com/5587133/i-just-dont-like-living-in-a-culture-focused-on-meaningless?skyline=true&s=i

  • ronald

    american are silly enough to believe someone in the world will invade USA…. so some one takes advantages of that kind of believe and making millions out of it…guess who he is??

    of cause, chiks in Philippine loves american dollars…

  • wavre

    Dear Americans. I’m Dutch and live in the US. Whenever I comment on America’s foreign defense policy I’m told to shut up:”We saved your country in WWII” and ” Because of us you don’t live under communism”. All True. But dear Americans, this is 2010! Everybody is laughing at you on how you keep overspending like a little child. It’s not so much that the Europeans ask for it, In 1980, R. Reagan wanted to station nuclear cruisemisslses in Holland. Hey, we didn’t even ask for them! We didn’t want them and we said no! Americans are told by their own leadership that they need to be scared and that they need to spend on wars to be protected. The US propaganda machine is spinning out of control. I think America is a great country but it can be a lot better if only the people would stand up and think for themselves. Think of what Eisenhower said about the Industrial Militairy Complex and don’t believe everything you see on TV.

    SO TRUE MY FRIEND!!!!!

  • zack

    Our foreign policy is not only unwise – it is also immoral. How can we justify sending one more dollar or sacrificing one more American life abroad when our needs are so dire here at home? Ron Paul is right; if some neocon or bleeding heart wants to change the world – let them volunteer to do so or donate their own resources. Do not use the apparatus of the state to impose their will on the rest of the world.

    The Washington establishment is finally starting to appreciate Ron Paul’s message, which he’s been consistent in delivering for the past 30+ years. They would do well to listen to Ron Paul on economic issues as well. The Federal government cannot manage an empire abroad or at home. Excessive unconstitutional domestic spending primarily benefits the banking, medical and agro industrial complexes. The well-connected loot the public’s wealth and while politicians claim that it’s for our own good and throw us a few crumbs.

    We help Americans move to Asia for jobs and prosperity. Learn more at http://www.pathtoasia.com/services/.

  • http://faculty.uml.edu/abrown Alex Brown

    Great show – thanks!

    Mr. Goure’s account of the current defense strategy of the US, which he correctly describes as continuous since WWII (but not the past century) is placement of US troops in regions of interest to the US as a sign of military potential, and an implicit threat. They do not actually have any military jobs to do other than show US dollars being spent on supposed military capability. Many writers on this strategy, from Ellsberg on, point out that the role of these troops actually is to serve as bait, to permit prompt escalation to high levels of technical military superiority. If these troops stationed abroad should actually be attacked, the US as a nation would supposedly rise up and destroy the attackers with all its engineering might — with the threat of escalation all the way to nuclear weapons. This is no longer convincing due to many examples (Lebanon, USS Cole, Somalia, …) of inability to find an appropriate level of response to attacks limited by the scale of the attacks. The US troop presence is typically an irritant which creates the anger leading to the attack. The Marine/Army counterinsurgency “strategy” for “failed states”, which has these troops actually seeking out angry people and killing them — or worse yet, calling on the CIA to steer drones toward their villages at party time — is utterly insane; it’s guaranteed to create state-like entities which learn to become very successful at attacking US troops and even US cities — without strategic weapons.

    It’s long since time to bring the US global troop presence home and spend our money overseas building a peaceful, sustainable economy for the world we live in — to signal our recognition of past errors, and to regain some respect. We’ve had enough of gut politics and policies — let’s try the brain for a while.

    Alex Brown

  • http://www.mikeszine.com Mikey

    I think it is often overlooked how many of these aircraft carrier battle groups have stopped terrorists from boarding commercial planes. Do you think that one of these Al Qaeda guys is going to try to get a bomb through security when the USS Nimitz is checking his boarding pass? I say that we should start using our advanced arsenal of nuclear tipped ICBMs to sniff out subway bombs and dangerous ideologies in internet chat rooms and then kill them before they can kill us.

  • travis

    I support Dr. Paul.

    He does not waver in his ideology. And you can always count on him to stand up for a restricted government.

    The footage I see of fighting in Afghanistan is generally what looks like 4 or 5 guys piled in the back of a beat up Ford Ranger with a Rusted out 1970′s 50 caliber machine gun welded to the back.

    With what we have it is the equivalent of a battleship fighting a row boat . . . and guess who anyone you would ask is saying is winning . . . they are.

    Dr. Paul advocates a government tied to real fiscal restrictions tied to commodities such as gold. The distaste for the result rings as true on both sides of the aisle because neither one of their political agendas can be catered to by chipping out another section of the dollar.

    The tenants of socialism ring just as loudly on the far right as they do on the far left.

    True liberty and self reliance come when people believe they can take care of themselves . . . how good of a job is the government doing at anything. We are losing to guys in robes in the back of beat up trucks.

    The founding fathers were not into nation building. They crafted the republic to have limited government and a strong and armed populace.

  • Gerald Gray

    I absolutely agree that defense spending should be scrutinized and look for ways to reduce wasteful spending; the DoD is not a sacred cow.

    That being said, to throw out the geo-political approach to strategy is ludicrous and asinine. Listening to these two trying to establish the string of logic why the geo-political approach should be abandoned was painful to listen to. Additionally, one needs to understand that Paul is an isolationist so while I commend him for reaching across the aisle his fundamental approach to America’s place in the world is untenable.

    What should be done is that the geo-political aims for wherever America has interests should be clearly spelled out and the pros/cons of all the resources required meeting those aims then the costs evaluated on those aims. Mr. Frank needs to know why Marines are in Okinawa, by God, give him a solid reason so that he can shut the hell up.

    We can reduce military spending but 1) it sounds like our fine congressmen and women require a geo-political education before they short-circuit American strategy in the world, 2) the effort needs better champions than Mr. Frank and Mr. Paul.

    Can we please get someone with the intellectual capability of understanding the geo-political approach in the first place?

  • Mike

    The ‘Global American Interests’ that we are spending this money to protect are only American in name. Historically the US Government doesn’t nationalize any of these interests for the benefit of the US voter or consumer. Our military is securing resources and stabilizing cheap labor sources for American (and foreign) Corporations who then exploit these resources for their profit. A global market economy driven primarily by private entities renders the trumpeting of ‘global american interests’ quaint and out of touch at best, and willfully and cynically dishonest at worst.

  • Michael Brown

    GO! GO!! GO!!! Thank God someone is at last speaking out against these obscene expenditures. To call it “Defence Spending” is laughable. This is the one area where substantial savings can and should be made.

  • Joan

    The criminal misuse of US Tax Payers dollars on the war making machine–The shameful US Defense Budget…

    While I welcome the finally coming together of Barney Frank and Ron Paul to discuss and propose cuts in the Defense Budget both men must be keenly aware Americans are one step away from protesting on their streets on the immoral and crimimal misuse of US tax dollars on the war making machine and US bases around the world while local schools and essential local services are reduced and scaled back.

    Martin Luther King. jr. called it right when he said:

    “A nation that continues – year after year – to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”

    Today, it will take all hands on deck to dismantle
    this elephant in the room Republicans and democrats have upheld all these years.

    As Eishenhower said every cent spent on military equip-menty is that much less spent on necessary social and community programs …

    And how shameful it has taken until now for Americans
    to rise up and stop this criminal wrong doing with
    their financial resources. Especially, when JFK sounded the alarm in 1961 in his speech at Washington University …

    “..we must face the fact that the United States is neither omnipotent nor omniscient, that we are only
    six percent of the world’s population, that we cannot impose our will upon the other ninety-four percent of mankind, that we cannot right every wrong or reverse each adversity, and that therefore there cannot be an American solution to every world problem. [

    Joan

  • Neil

    I think that some of your brains are not fully functioning. Take a look at the world and see what you would rather have beefed up. Social programs or protection from the coming firestorm?

  • diannev

    It was heartening to hear two Congressman begin to state the obvious. Their voices must be amplified by all the rest of us who believe that the United States has greater contributions to bring to the world rather than creating death and destruction in unending cycles of misguided militaristic intervention in faraway countries.

    These concerns need to be brought front and center for all to consider. Thanks to both Congressman for their courage.

  • David Lucey

    3 words: Cost-Plus Contracts. Employees at defense contractors all the way up to the highest levels wonder why they are not given ANY motivation to save the government money in these costly scenarios. There is a moral issue but that has 0 teeth. Perhaps a case of a contractor losing future work due to poor past performance in a cost-plus scenario would be a deterrent but broad empirical evidence suggests NO such correlation. Mr. Frank- next time you talk to a defense contractor ask for any single incentive for saving in a cost-plus contract.

  • Zeno

    The cost of the current wars: http://www.costofwar.com/

    I wish they had a counter for all of the international bases and their “adjunct facilities” (golf courses, estates, luxury yachts, etc…) as well.

  • Bill

    The “defense” budget is sinking the country. We are still paying for WWI through debt service. The phone tax to pay for the Spanish-American war (1898) was ended only a few years ago. We will be paying for Iraq-Afghanistan-Pakistan-Iran wars for centuries.

    Social Security payments are not comparable. Someone is paying in as someone is taking out. For the military, you only take out. The new drain on the economy is the so-called preparedness agencies of which there are hundreds employing 750,000 persons and growing. To house some of these “civil servants”. DC is constructing a building larger than the Pentagon. As a group they produce nothing, have 50% duplication, and provide nothing more than fear-driven policies. They and the Bush-Obama politics are making America less safe. Sad but true.

  • Torxbit

    Our defense budget was raised to defeat the USSR. It has done its job. Today it is the highest of any nation, not even the second highest comes close. If we add up numbers 2 to 15 it still does not equal our budget. It is more then 10x the budget of China. It is obscenly high.

    Our Constitution calls to provide for the common defense. Not the defense of the world. It is just shy of 1 trillion dollars and that is only what is budgeted directly to the Department of Defense.

    Why argue over 10 billion when we can save 500 billion. Why argue over whos benefits we should cut. We are missing a BLATANT opportunity. Cut Defense spending!

  • Power to the people!

    How many military contractors/jobs are there in your region? We have 99 just in a small region of Western Massachusetts. This does not include the Homeland Security apparatus and budget, all based on fear-what of ? People like us, but maybe with different looks, religion and language? Maybe it is time we made friends with our nearest relatives in the animal kingdom, instead of relying on the unconditional love of pets…

    Like it or not, Capitalism based on competition, which engenders separation, rather than connection. It is a scientific fact that we are all connected to everything alive, even to the living, breathing organism, Mother Earth, so that what we do to one aspect of this life energy, affects every other aspect…

    I think there is broad agreement about the wisdom of vast reductions to the military budget, but we earthlings also need to figure out what we DO WANT in its place and develop strategies to transition from it to an “Earth Community” (David Korten, “The Great Turning:..”)

    Here are a few ideas: I hope others will write more. Maybe we can create an “alternatives to militarization/violence” blog?

    Anyway…This will require an overhaul of the Corporate Charter established by our founding fathers. (And nearly 250 years old!) It also means that we re-train troops to do environmental clean-up from all the lethal chemicals spread all over the countries that US and Allied military forces have attacked from the air and ground, causing cancer and birth defects; the oceans filled with hundreds of sunken ships spilling oil into the ocean, and the 3,000 US military bases contaminating the air, water and soil can be cleaned up and wind turbines and solar panels installed in their place. And it is time to dismantle all nuclear weapons(genocidal/omnicidal weapons)and decommission all nuclear power facilities and Trident submarines,and instead, devote funds to weatherization and retrofitting. Gains in fuel and power reductions of 30% and more from conservation and efficiency investment will provide more jobs and build local economies, while producing the most cost savings and Greenhouse Gas emissions reductions at the same time. Growing local food year round must be given higher priority emplying permaculture techniques that take into consideration water contamination and shortages.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_U2TWM74HZ46GWRIGDDAZE2H3N4 George Washington

    Mr.
    Ron Paul for 2012 Republican Nom and President.

    -Strengthen
    our USD

    -No
    Inflation

    -Balance
    the Budget

    -No
    Mandated Healthcare

    -Creates
    MANY JOBS

    -New
    Crop Industries

    -Free
    Market

    -Very
    Pro Life

    -No
    Bailout

    -No
    Patriot Act

    -Stays
    out of foreign DOMESTIC AFFAIRS, but contract/trade with all

    -No
    Unjustified War with no objectives (Currently they are the longest lasting,
    most expensive, most unproductive wars in American History)

    -Brings
    our Troops Home after over 10 YEARS OF FIGHTING!!!!

    The
    USA could have fought WWII twice  in 10
    years!

    Please,
    let’s bring America’s Troops home. They deserve it. 

    Leave
    the Middle East, and all other Nations that are agreed to be sovereign, ALONE
    with regard to DOMESTIC AFFAIRS.

     

    American
    Lives are NOT toys.

     

    Bring
    our Troops Home  

    I
    am a Ron Paul Republican

    Mr. Ron Paul 2012 for Republican Nom and
    President

ONPOINT
TODAY
Apr 16, 2014
A woman walks past a CVS store window in Foxborough, Mass., Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012. The nation’s major drugstore chains are opening more in-store clinics in response to the massive U.S. health care overhaul, which is expected to add about 25 million newly insured people who will need medical care and prescriptions, as well as offering more services as a way to boost revenue in the face of competition from stores like Safeway and Wal-Mart. (AP)

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