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Why do right wingers support military buildup?(27 posts)

Why do right wingers support military buildup?ColnagoFE
May 1, 2002 8:29 AM
I mean if the right wing is for less govt. why does it always seem that the right wants more military. Isn't that increasing central govts power? And many programs are just wasteful. I mean why spend so much money on something like Star Wars? Or continuing to purchase nukes that we can never use or we'd all be dead 1000 times over.
so you will have the freedom to say things like that nmDougSloan
May 1, 2002 8:34 AM
by the wayDougSloan
May 1, 2002 8:37 AM
I want to mention that none of this is the slightest bit personal. Just decent disagreement and debate. I'd ride with any of you and talk bikes any day... :-)
I agree wholeheartedly. nmBikeViking
May 1, 2002 9:22 AM
yeah same here...nothing personal. just debating (nm)ColnagoFE
May 1, 2002 10:19 AM
Does it really protect me thoughColnagoFE
May 1, 2002 10:18 AM
I mean how many nuclear missles do you need?
Does it really protect me thoughweiwentg
May 1, 2002 10:51 AM
tend to agree with ColnagoFE. some of that weaponry is necessary (sadly), a lot of it is not. Reagan's Star Wars program may have put the Soviet Union out of action (or merely accelerated its demise), but it also enriched the defense industry ... forgive the generalization, but it seems to me that the Republican party is strongly influenced by the defense industry, and lately, the oil industry.
Does it really protect me thoughnetso
May 1, 2002 10:54 AM
The same could be said as to how many bikes we have? I have read that some people on this post have four or more bikes. Do they really need them? They can only ride one at a time. What about poor people that can only afford 1 bike?
Free speech? Military? I'm guessing you aren't a veteran (nm)cory
May 1, 2002 4:02 PM
You don't have to be a right winger to support the military...dsc
May 1, 2002 8:54 AM
Centrists (who sometimes even stray slightly left - oooohh, scary!) also support the military, so that, as Doug stated, you may ask questions such as the one above.

When I was a younger person, I volunteered four years of my life to serve my country in the Marine Corps. If I had it to do all over again, I would not change a thing.

You most definitely do not have to be a right winger to love your country.

-Debi
re: Why do right wingers support military buildup?netso
May 1, 2002 9:06 AM
1. How old are you?
2. Are you a right winger, left winger?
3. What is your income level?
4. How are you employed?
5. What is your education?
All this would sure help!
it's all about controlmr_spin
May 1, 2002 9:11 AM
In general, right wingers want to drag the rest of the world, kicking and screaming, into their way of thinking, and you need a big stick to do that. Or if your country resists, they want a big nasty military to keep you on your best behavior. Finally, they want to make sure that no one even thinks about threatening this great country.

I'm no right winger, but I don't totally disagree.
Not so sure the military protects free speech, the courts do128
May 1, 2002 9:26 AM
as an arm of the judicial branch, the executive heads the military. Well, I hear you though (Doug), I do get your point.

I suspect the Right would respond that the military is one of two duties specifically given to the Fed: Protect the borders and collect taxes, after that, they will say, all Fed. expenditures, and ANYthing the Fed does is beyond, or increasing, it's scope of duties (i.e administrative bodies and regulations). So the right strongly supports the military because it's not an increase of Fed. power, and, well, it's the right thing to do!

But it's all a part of the magic show isn't it? The right supports the use of tax/public dollars/subsidies to entice corporations to set up shop in certain towns (tax breaks, town pays for utilities, road building, all kinds of ok, I'll say it: "corporate welfare") Maybe that's a more glaring point of contradiction where free market theory (keep gov. out) is actually receiving public subsidy (let gov. in!)
Something like that....just some cursory thoughts....
re: Why do right wingers support military buildup?BikeViking
May 1, 2002 9:28 AM
National defense is the most important task the Federal government has. I will agree there are a lot of programs that are wasteful, but sometimes we in the military get stuck with things because it's a pet project in someones district. Not sure about this Star Wars thing, but I would like to see us equipped with simple things, good boots (ask the Army about that...don't mention the beret debacle!!), a rifle that doesn't require a thrice daily cleaning and it's not even being fired (ask the Camp Rhino Marines about that). Procurement is a problem.

We are working with the Russians to cut those nukes pretty drastically...BUT I would like to remind you of one thing...China is still out there and we ain't best buddies.
I have no problem with NORMAL military spendingColnagoFE
May 1, 2002 10:22 AM
But some of the things I hear them spending tax dollars on seem a bit wasteful and like the govt is pandering to the corporations that make them. i don't think it is unamerican to question the military's spending habits. to blindly let them waste our money is more unamerican in my opinion.
I don't think this is the right question.Len J
May 1, 2002 9:46 AM
Right's (generally) believe that the primary role of the federal government is defense. Other than that the only good gov't is small gov't.

I think the more fundamental question is why do we need to spend 8 times the amount of any other country on defense? Why doo we need to spend the sum of the next 10 countries combined? Even if you accept that this is a primary role, it sure seems like an excessive amount.

This ties into the tax question below also.

Len
that's not the right question eithermr_spin
May 1, 2002 10:58 AM
Eight times the amount of any other country? Come now. That's a totally meaningless statistic. It ignores the fundamental scalability problem and other realities.

First, the US develops the most advanced equipment in the world, which of course costs more. Stealth Fighters, super quiet submarines, AEGIS ship defense? There are only a handful of countries equipped to make things like planes and ships. So all a country like Germany or Saudi Arabia needs to do is wait until the US, Russia, Britain, or France develops a system at great cost, then buy it at relatively bargain prices. In almost all cases, the US doesn't have that option.

Also, as a percentage of GNP, US defense spending is down under 5%. Compare that to North Korea, which spends 20-25% of their GNP on defense. That's an amazing amount of money given how poor that nation is. Which is the bigger crime against the population?

Finally, the US, right or wrong, has commitments and obligations as the only remaining superpower. It is in our own best interest to ensure relative peace and stability throughout the world. Few other nations are interested in doing it and that costs money.

I am not going to defend wasteful defense spending. I think Star Wars is sheer lunacy. But let's at least be honest in our debate. If the US spends 8 times the amount of any other country, isn't it possible that given its global role, the US has close to 8 times the needs of any other country?
Disagree, respectfully.Len J
May 1, 2002 11:22 AM
You say:
"First, the US develops the most advanced equipment in the world, which of course costs more. Stealth Fighters, super quiet submarines, AEGIS ship defense? There are only a handful of countries equipped to make things like planes and ships. So all a country like Germany or Saudi Arabia needs to do is wait until the US, Russia, Britain, or France develops a system at great cost, then buy it at relatively bargain prices. In almost all cases, the US doesn't have that option. "

Against what threat? If we are the only one's developing them, why? We already have a multiple of both the firepower & the technology of the next closest power, what do we gain by continuing to believe that we need to be light years ahead of everyone else? It's like you have & knife & I have a tank, why do I need to invest in a bigger,faster tank, I already have you outgunned. Why don't we have the option of "slowing down our development?"

"Also, as a percentage of GNP, US defense spending is down under 5%. Compare that to North Korea, which spends 20-25% of their GNP on defense. That's an amazing amount of money given how poor that nation is. Which is the bigger crime against the population? "

Fair argument, but when 5% of our GNP is 22 times the spending of North Korea, how much more of a threat would they be if I only spent 15 times as much?

"Finally, the US, right or wrong, has commitments and obligations as the only remaining superpower. It is in our own best interest to ensure relative peace and stability throughout the world. Few other nations are interested in doing it and that costs money. "

We can argua all day about our "Obligation", but generally I agree with you, my only argument is that I think we could do just as effective a job at this with significantly less spending. Hell if we only spent 5 times the next largest countries spending we would save $130 billion. And no one else could touch us.

I'm not argueing that we shouldn't have defense or that we shouldn't have the biggset by a large margin, I'm just saying that where we are is ridiculous.

Len
knife vs. tank?mr_spin
May 1, 2002 12:46 PM
"It's like you have & knife & I have a tank, why do I need to invest in a bigger,faster tank, I already have you outgunned."

It would be nice if all weapons development stopped, but it won't, even when it seems that you have the biggest, baddest thing on the block. Wouldn't it be foolish if we stopped all development of new systems because we have covered all threats, and in theory, no one can hurt us now?

A few years ago, back when the Cold War was still going strong, the US developed the M1 tank, which was the finest tank in the world. Then the US discovered the Russians had a much lower tech tank that had a much bigger gun. This was quite a shock, and is almost analagous to your knife vs. tank idea. Everyone in the armoured wing of the Army got very scared because the M1 wasn't invincible anymore, and the M1 played a key role in the defense of Europe. They shipped all the M1's home and had to develop a whole new ceramic armor technology which cost who knows how much. The result is the M1A1, which today has no real threats, unless you count sand in the engine. But who knows what will come along tomorrow and from where? Not too long ago, South Africa had the finest and most desirable artillery guns in the world. South Africa? It's rumoured South Africa has nuclear technology, too, thanks to the Israelis.

As someone in NASCAR once said, you just don't never know. It's best to stay ahead of the game lest you find yourself suddenly holding that proverbial knife against someone else's tank.
alsoDougSloan
May 1, 2002 12:52 PM
Also, I get the impression that much of our technological military development is aimed at replacing putting human lives in jeopardy with fancy techno things -- drone planes, satellite recon instead of piloted planes, etc.

The cost of the technology to do so is great, but isn't that better than putting humans at risk?
along this line . . .Steve98501
May 1, 2002 3:54 PM
Yeah, we can do that. But since we have so many poor people who aren't paying all that much in taxes, and they'll never by ultra-rich, and worse, probably vote Democratic, wouldn't it just be cheaper to hire them into a military career and send them out on recon as expendable cannon fodder? (t.i.c., honest).
Absolutlly.Len J
May 1, 2002 3:59 PM
Again, I'm just talking about slowing down the rate of development.

Len
I'm not suggesting we don't stay ahead.Len J
May 1, 2002 3:57 PM
I just question how far ahead we need to stay & wheather or not we need to keep pulling away.

It's not an all or nothing proposition I am just suggesting that we are way overspending for the competitive threats.

Len
Let me disagree with you, respectfully as welltz
May 2, 2002 7:23 AM
We need this ridiculously large advantage in military technology in order not to put the lives of our soldiers at risk. Consider the military conflicts that the world had been through lately, and compare losses of lives for various countries. Take one of our potential [still!] adversaries - Russia as an example. The US had its personnel in many hot spots all over the globe, yet number of people killed is quite small, considering the difficulty of fighting overseas. Russia [which, along with China, is probably the biggest threat to us], on the other hand, had lost tens of thousands of men ON ITS OWN TERRITORY, in Chechnya. Old technology is one of the important reasons for such high casualty rates: Russia's air force/air cavalry is ancient, night vision equipment is scarse, intelligence and communication equipment is also out of date. Once I saw news footage showing officers looking at a plan of the city of Grozny, which was hand-sketched on some wrinkled, torn piece of paper! Those guys stormed the city without knowing street layouts! Just imagine how well the US special forces would have performed in Afghanistan without aid of imaging satellites and spy planes...
I agree with you that we should manage our military spending more carefully, meaning that we should assess the threats very scrupulously, and invset the money into countering those threats. As of the technology gap, I think that we should be as far ahead of our nearest "competitor" as we can. History has shown that technology doesn't win wars, but it has also proven that a better equipped army loses fewer men.
re: Cuz the right wingers constituency.....jrm
May 1, 2002 11:26 AM
ie: supports, fund contributors..get the federal contracts for such things as star wars. yup its the old men getting richer..richer..richer..

Without knowing better, the public's sold on the idea as a way to preserve the romantic notion of freedom. Wake the F up kid's..
Not sure military spending isscottfree
May 1, 2002 11:52 AM
a pure right wing/left wing issue. Used to be in the 1960s, but that was more a Vietnam War thing than a military thing per se. Seems lately we're seeing more and more conservatives irritaed by military spending, and more lefties supportive. I think it has to do with how the military's used. Bill Clinton, bless him, used it as as a worldwide human rights police force, and liberals liked that. (I didn't, really, but then I'm ex-miltary and don't like those kinds of impossible missions).

Pendulum might be swinging back with Bush in chrage. We'll just have to see where the left ends up in this 'war on terrorism' thing.
Did you see the story about conservatives and nightmares?retro
May 1, 2002 3:59 PM
No kidding, a year or two ago there was a wire service story about a study that compared the dreams of right-wingers to those of moderates and liberals. Right-wing wackos...sorry, I mean "people of the conservative persuasion"...reported more dreams and more frightening dreams than any other group. There were some specifics about the things they feared, too, but I've forgotten them. Home invasion was one, I think. That certainly could account for their law-and-order penchant (continuing even though crime rates are dropping) and maybe in part for their support of excessive military programs.