There is a growing movement among certain liberal politicians and others advocating for the defunding of the Department of Defense. They argue that instead of focusing on national security, the money could be better spent on social welfare programs. It’s a dangerous suggestion that would leave the United States vulnerable to attack.
There have been many calls this year to defund police departments throughout the country over unsubstantiated allegations that officers are broadly racist and purposefully target African Americans, but now some are taking it a step further and have now set their sights on the Department of Defense.
Earlier this summer, Politico released two articles that advocated against increased spending on the Department of Defense. One from a conservative group, and another from liberal politician Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont.
In The Boston Globe, authors and professors Neta C. Crawford and Catherine Lutz also advocated for a change, writing, “For the majority of the past two decades, the US government has equated Americans’ national security with military supremacy, spending and obligating $6.4 trillion on America’s post-9/11 wars and allocating over two-thirds of the federal discretionary budget — the part that pays for public health, environmental protection, and virtually everything the government does other than programs like Medicare and Social Security — to the Pentagon each year. At the same time, the government has cut funding for public health programs, scrimped on investing in infectious disease research, and stockpiled weapons instead of medical equipment.”
These articles essentially argue that some of the money going to the Pentagon would be better spent on social welfare projects like “building affordable housing, schools, childcare facilities, community health centers, public hospitals, libraries and clean drinking water facilities.”
The conservative thinktank The Heritage Foundation disagrees, stating that “national defense now consumes the smallest portion of the U.S. federal budget in a hundred years—15%–and continues to shrink. What’s causing this? The unchecked spending on federal programs of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, which are pressuring all elements of the federal budget. Also conveniently absent from the discussion is the fact that, except for a brief moment in 1999, spending today on national defense now consumes the smallest percentage of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product in modern history.
“Bottom line: America definitely has a budget problem, but the Pentagon isn’t causing it.”
Suggesting that the federal budget deficit could be fixed by defunding the Pentagon and reallocating funds to certain social welfare programs is irresponsible and misses something incredibly crucial: social welfare projects will mean little to nothing if the United States ceases to exist due to an outside invasion.
Since the end of World War II, the world has remained in relative peace, with a few minor conflicts popping up here and there. As a result, though the United States frequently intervenes militarily, Americans have lived in safety and security for more than 75 years and have developed this overinflated sense of safety.
But that won’t last.
At some point, another global conflict will consume the world; it’s just human nature. Whether it’s China or Russia or Iran, a nation will attack the U.S. and her allies with the intention of conquering and controlling territory. The only way to ensure the protection of American citizens is to make sure that we have a strong and robust Department of Defense.
While there is an ongoing debate on how much money the U.S. government should provide to those in dire economic circumstances and how much the country should engage in conflicts abroad, none of it should come at the expense of our national security.
Whether certain politicians like it or not, they can only remain in power if the threat of the United States military supremacy remains in place, because, rest assured, there are countries that pose an existential threat to the safety of America and its citizens.
Photo from Mia2you / Shutterstock.com
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