REFLECTIONS

Posted on June 26, 2010

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CHOOSING BUTTER OVER GUNS

There will be a continued conflict between the current Democratic administration and the Pentagon. President Barrack Obama is winding down the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He has set July 2011 as the date to start pulling out of Afghanistan.

The last time Americans found themselves in a budget debate pitting domestic priorities against war expenditures was when Richard M. Nixon was in the White House. It was guns for Vietnam and the Cold War versus the butter of the Great Society and the War on Poverty. President Nixon and the guns won that day.

President Nixon issued a call to counterrevolution against anti war demonstrations at home noting that while the Republican administration was increasing the Pentagon budget, he was proposing the “abolition or deep cuts to more than 100 federal grant programs that benefited the unemployed, students, farmers, veterans, small businessmen, the mentally ill and tenants in federal aided housing.” As usual, domestic programs are first to take cuts. Do we want this?

The resulting body bags and domestic spending cuts were devastating. The public outcry caused President Nixon to withdraw from Vietnam in what he called “Peace with Honor.”

Today the Republican Party bewails the enormous deficit, and Democrats want to get it under control. In a Republican letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates the GOP championed the deficit exploding war funding bill. Gates was calling for cuts in war spending, and he withheld military funds until the Republican Senators stopped blocking an economic relief bill including extending jobless benefits.

The Pentagon’s latest blank check is an example of spending out of  control. The people want our boys to come home from our longest war which has gone on for almost nine years.

The fact is we did not win the wars in Vietnam and in Korea. We will not see victory in Afghanistan or in Iraq.

Maybe soon we will be able to cut spending for guns and get our deficit under control?

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