Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

William S Lind, "On War #286: America's Defense Meltdown," Defense and the National Interest, December 15, 2008.

  ...we must stop asking our armed services to do things that are impossible for them, like turning fly-blown, flea-bitten Third World hellholes into Switzerland.

America’s Defense Meltdown is the title of a new book on military reform, edited by Winslow Wheeler and published by the Center for Defense Information. In it, some of the leading figures from the military reform movement of the 1970’s and ‘80’s update their work and relate it to today’s challenges, including that posed by Fourth Generation war.

The book is timely. For years, Chuck Spinney and I have said that there will be no reform until the money simply isn’t there anymore. If that day has not yet arrived, it is on the calendar. The combination of a severe recession or depression and vast New Deal-type public works programs means something has to give. As the largest element in the discretionary federal budget, defense spending is an obvious target. More, it is a worthy target, in that much of what we spend buys little or no capability. The problem is not only mismanagement, but outdated and fundamentally wrongheaded approaches to war.

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