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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

April 9, 2009 at 5:00 PM

Changes in defense spending

All money used is necessary

There was a post about how the Obama administration was going to shake up the military and kill useless programs [“Pentagon budget overhaul: money no longer going into black holes,”, Northwest Voices, April 8]. Well, I’ve had enough of it.

Many people say that the military is wasting useful dollars. They have no idea what they are talking about.

Obviously, they have no information on what has been happening in the world at large, because pretty much every single dollar is used for a necessary purpose. FDR said during World War II, “Suppose my neighbor’s home catches fire, and I have a length of garden hose … I don’t say to him … ‘Neighbor, my garden hose cost me $15’ …” Every cent of that money is needed.

The F-22 Raptor? It has been attacked for being ready to fly only 62 percent of the time, but that is better than most planes and is all they are needed for.

As for the $100 billion the Navy plans to spend on carriers? They’re hardier than you think, and they are much more essential to the military putting out fires than many people know.

The Future Combat Systems? Those have been targeted for how undeveloped they are, but it takes four years to develop a car. How can you expect a synchronized system of attack vehicles to take less?

The real reason that we don’t have enough money is because some idiot came up with the idea of throwing money at companies that don’t know how to deal with it and lose money whether or not Congress gives them trillions of dollars. If you want people to spend more on education and infrastructure, throw out the bailout.

You could pay people to throw rocks at trees all day, but that doesn’t help the economy. Why is paying people who don’t produce anything different?

— Scott Corbitt, Bellevue

A better balance of priorities

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ shift in military spending and his leadership in calling for greater investments in nonmilitary approaches to foreign policy deserve wide citizen support.

Gates is simply demanding more accountability and efficiency for military spending that counters the years of phenomenal and unchallenged growth of the military-industrial complex.

But perhaps more important, President Obama and Gates recognize that the military alone cannot provide for our national security. Much more U.S. attention needs to be given to diplomacy, development and international cooperation if we are to make any progress in establishing a humane and lasting peace on our planet.

In the FYOB (Final Year of Bush) national budget of $517 billion dedicated to U.S. engagement in the world, a disproportionate $486 billion (94 percent) went to the military while only $29 billion (6 percent) supported diplomacy and development, such as the State Department and the U.N. (source: White House Office of Management and Budget).

Last week, when the House and budget committees tried to cut the administration’s request for increased funding for diplomacy and development, Gates himself lobbied to restore the money. He is correct in bringing better balance to our national security funding priorities.

— Tom Ewell, Clinton

No enemy to drive need

My career as an engineer at Boeing and Honeywell has greatly benefited from defense spending. However, I believe our precious resources would be better spent on improving our infrastructure and social services.

We do not need another fighter aircraft; there is no enemy driving that need. We spend more on defense than the rest of the world combined.

— Daniel Molnar, Redmond

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