THE MODERN UTOPIAN
 

Here is a portion of an article from Time magaine by Mark Thompson 4/14/11: How to Save a Trillion Dollars

"...Weapons purchases must be trimmed, and personnel costs must be reduced. And both of those require a new kind of political will to stop treating military spending as pork, a regional and local entitlement that can go on forever. Finally, revising America's defense budget will happen only if the U.S. takes a hard-eyed look at the dozens of military missions that are no longer vital or affordable....

"$1 trillion in cuts wouldn't really be as drastic as it sounds — or as the military's no-surrender defenders insist.  Such a trim would still leave the Pentagon fatter than it was before 9/11. Besides, there are vast depots of weapons that are ready for the surplus pile. The number of aircraft carriers could be cut from 11 to eight, and perhaps all could be scuttled in favor of Barnett's drone carriers. The annual purchase of two $3 billion attack submarines to maintain a 48-sub fleet as far as the periscope can see also could be scaled back. The $383 billion F-35 program really isn't required when U.S. war planes remain the world's best and can be retooled with new engines and electronics to keep them that way. Reagan-era missile defenses and the nuclear arsenal are largely Cold War relics with little relevance today. Altogether, Congress could save close to $500 billion by smartly scaling back procurement over the next decade. ...
"For too long, an uninterested and distracted citizenry has been content to leave the messy business of national defense to those with bottom-line reasons for force-feeding it like a Foie Gras goose.  It's long past time, Ike might have added today, for U.S. taxpayers to demand that its government spend what is needed to defend the country
— not a penny more...."

RATIONAL DEFENSE

FIRST STEP: 
Bring the troops home from Afghan beginning in December 2012, reducing the number by many  thousands each month.  To safeguard them and the world, continue to train and deploy Special Forces (American and indigenius) to deal with terrorist attacks. 
Recognize we are no longer fighting Nations but instead isolated groups and individuals and we  need to confront them using spy technology and Special Forces. 
Authorize the use of Drone strikes only if there is certainty that innocent civiians wil not be killed.
Everyone believes the USA has the biggest and  best military in the world. With the new technology, we no longer need conventional weaponry.
The Pentagon and the Dept. of Defense must eliminate its conventional warfare with troops on the ground and its conventional weapon priorities.
========== 
FEAR is what motivates the Tea Partiers and, particularly since 9/11, Americans out of fear have supported the doubling of our military budget without question. Then, they are fearful of the deficit without understanding what is causing most of it: war!  Fear of "socialism" (which they do not understand) while protecting the "free market" which sounds good to them (which they don't understand).
 

"Over the past few decades, trillions of our tax dollars have flowed into the seemingly bottomless pit of militarism.  Budgets for wars and gold-plated weapon systems have climbed – Congress just passed the largest military budget since World War II --  while funds to support our citizens and the communities they live in have moved just as steadily in the opposite direction." - Peace Action

        The war mongers are destroying our economy.  Take a look at all "empire builders".  They destroy themselves over time because their cost of war exceeds their ability to pay for it....    We don't have to go back to the Roman empire. Why do you think the USSR was desolved?   We have played into the hands of Osama Ben Laden, and don't even know it!        

                        

 

            
FIGHTING TERRORISTS

Terrorists are best fought, not by troops in the field  in full view and available to the terrorists.  Terrorists are best fought by specially trained undercover forces (Special Forces). 

The Special Forces can infiltrate and eliminate terrorists with the aid of our intelligence community (CIA, etc.).  

We must withdraw our troops and heavy armaments (like tanks and Hummers!) from Iraq and Afghanistan and every other American military site in the world.  Replace them with Special Forces.  (The exact ratio of troop withdrawn to Special Forces replacement can be determined by military and civilian experts in the field.   Perhaps 100 or even 1000 to 1 or more.) 

Recruitment of Special Forces could come from existing troops, particularly Marines, and foreign nationals  (who know the language and culture and can best infiltrate).  Existing training programs need only to be expanded. 

TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE.  Immediate implementation is essential to defeat the terrorists and diminish the killing and maiming of our troops and innocent bystanders. (Not to mention eliminating huge amounts of unnecessary defense spending.) 

Fight terrorists as they fight us - secretly and not in the open.  We are already doing this.   Simply expand this approach and eliminate the old-fashion - Middle Ages - approach to warfare. 

We are not fighting a country....we are fighting "cells" -  groups of fanatics.  We can fight them more effectively while eliminating the hostility of people who could be our supporters.
 

LEADERSHIP OF THE FREE WORLD                                                    Closely related to the "War on Terror" is the exercise of leadership   to enlist the support of nations to fight against terrorism.  

As you know, terrorist cells exist in many (if not most) countries.    It is in each sovereign nation's self-interest to participate in the war  on terrorism.  This is a Global Fight (as we are in a Global World).  Al Qaeda is a global terrorist network, not a country. 

We should no longer (and should never need to) invade a country where they operate.  These countries can be our allies and we can use their resources, their military and intelligence assets.  We need not go it alone, only to destroy our own assets and credibility. 

(If a country is not interested in cooperating with us and can not be proven to be directly assisting the terrorists, leave them to their own devices.   If they are cooperating with terrorists, they are not outside our perimeter of negotiations - and our Special Forces.)

Most nations will cooperate in this fight if we will act in a cooperative (not unilateral) way with them.  We must lead, and others will follow,  if we give them the respect and understanding they deserve. 

If troops on the ground are needed, they should be from the the United Nations.  The UN can monitor and keep the peace in problematic areas.   Where they have been inadequate, there is a way to make this body and the troops more adequate and less politically biased.  

 

HOMELAND SECURITY        

We need to decentralize much of the office of Homeland Security, providing federal funds and support for local and state governments to implement security. 

The federal government can provide a "detailed plan for communication, command and control in the event of a terrorist attack" - something they failed to do for New Orleans (in the event of a hurricane attack). 

Minimizing bureaucratic entanglements in a fight against a mobile enemy is an essential first step. 

Domestic Special Forces are strictly cautioned not to infringe on any person's civil liberties.  Our National Guard, for example, are guards for our nation, not for service in a foreign country like Iraq.  (Our government has no right to send these men and women abroad  to serve outside our nation.   This must be immediately prohibited.) 

Anyone who travels by air these days already knows the folly of extreme bureaucratic measures while other areas, such as our ports and our utility facilities need much more security.   (So much of government actions are "show" for votes, not real concerns for our security and human needs.)   

 

We already have a detailed plan for Homeland Security.   The 9/11 Commission report.  We simply need to immediately implement that plan.
 

VETERANS BENEFITS

In additional to medical benefits now afforded veterans, we must give every soldier who serves his/her country in a "battle zone" - defined as a situation where his life can be directly endangered - a lifetime benefit equivalent to no less than a percentage of his base pay.  (The actual retirement benefit can be tied to length of service and the amount of time spent in a hazardous zone.)  

If that soldier loses his life, his spouse, if any, will receive these benefits.  If s/he sustains an injury, such as an amputation, which would handicap his gainful employment; his lifetime benefit will be no less than his base pay.  (These benefit recommendation are an example only.)  

If we can ask a soldier to serve his country by putting his life in danger, can we give any less than this?

NOTE:  In the future we will not send regular soldiers into danger zones. Those who go there will instead be specially trained operatives. 

(See comments above.)                 

PS:  The word "soldier" is used for any military personel in any branch - army, navy, air force.