Overheard on CNN.com: Tradeoffs, politics of paring down military
Obama's military spending plan: Are cuts necessary in this economy, or will they leave the country vulnerable?
January 5th, 2012
01:59 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Tradeoffs, politics of paring down military

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

President Barack Obama unveiled a plan Thursday for a leaner, cheaper military. The new strategy eliminates the military's ability to actively fight two major wars at once, but the president insists that the country will still be agile enough to deal with existing concerns and new threats.

Obama unveils plans for pared-down military

Many readers seemed appreciative of this change, but some of them were quite afraid of consequences.

Flambizzle: "This is a hard call. We're all afraid of China and Iran or if they buddy-up. But [Obama] promised this and here it is, and we do need it. I don't like to think of losing jobs or even soldiers' jobs. But this country can't continue to militarize while people starve. Those days are gone and we're broke. And the reliance for a lot of the economy on super-powerful military-industial contractors is a throw-off from the Cold War that is bad for our economy and country. And, quite simply, it's also an obvious attempt to curb America's military bullying. Now someone like Bush won't be able to con us into throwing away money and lives anymore. It will be unrealistic as much as it was unaffordable."

Some commenters said the government should focus on trimming its bureaucracies first.

skiingislife: "Way to sell out our defense while still providing billions of dollars to bloated bureaucracies and aid to people who shouldn't even be in this country to begin with. No better time to trim the military than when Iran is rattling its sabre, North Korea is doing God-knows-what, North Africa has been completely destablized, Russia is upping the ante over missile defense...what a rube.

Others suggested that perhaps even more should be cut.

Talgrath: "As I read it, our military budget will still continue to grow more than we need it, we will still spend more on defense than the next 10 big spenders combined and somehow Republicans are complaining that this is drastic? No, drastic, realistic action would be to cut military spending and reduce our military bases and the size of our military; we need to make those cuts, but they won't happen because we have to continue to be the world's defacto world government."

But on the other hand, there will be some job loss and industry reductions as a result of these cutbacks.

belmarek: "Sooooooo.... We will put out of work thousands of military personnel, and increase the unemployment and further burden on the economy.. Then we will leave ourselves less able to respond to threats because our military will be too busy policing our citizens. Yeah.. Great idea."

A commenter claiming to be an Army veteran said he was in support.

Mijan: "People keep whining that they want budget cuts, but they won't deal with the 800-pound gorilla in the room: military spending. This needs to happen. I'm a 7-year Army veteran. I was an officer, injured in the line of duty. And I have a duty to the truth, which (in this case) is that we are grossly overspending on the Department of Defense. Cutting back on military spending doesn't mean we're cutting all military. Do you people have any idea how much we've OVER-grown our military in the past couple of decades? We keep adding and adding. Of course we're going to spend ourselves into the poor-house! Don't blame Medicare or Social Security. We need to be realistic. We have tons of money in our budget ... but we're spending it wrong. Cutting out some of the military spending is necessary and rational."

allmosttoast: "I thought Medicare and Social Security were far bigger money pits than the military. Can you explain?"

Concerns about remaining nimble in the face of international threats inspired this conversation.

izaaks101: "Obama, get a newspaper and read it. You might want to tell your cabinet to do the same. Russia, N Korea, Afghanistan, and IRAN. Oh and by the way the new leader ship in Lybia, and Egypt guess what they think of the US. Open your eyes and stop trying to win your next 4 years."

Sinator: "We have a huge budget deficit and debt. He's doing what he's supposed to do and reducing it. Do you really think having a defense budget that exceeds the next 10 countries combined is not big enough? Warmonger much?"

BrianNM: "Don't need ground forces in all those countries at once. If you want to be fiscally conservative, you don't start ground wars."

Mike570: "The conventional war phase of both Iraq and Afghanistan were won by our forces quickly. Policing the indigenous peoples and weeding out insurgents? That's a very deep hole to throw lives and money into. You'd think we would have learned in Vietnam. Even the Romans couldn't win that battle."

One reader said political posturing would cloud evaluation of the decision.

Nodack: "It doesn't matter what Obama does. He could single handedly cure Cancer, end world hunger, balance the budget, erase the deficit, lower the jobless rate to 0, create the ultimate health care system and Republicans would still hate him and call him the worst president in history out of spite."

What do you think about Obama's decision? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Military • Overheard on CNN.com • Politics
soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. Andreas Moser

    Al-Qaeda is no longer a real threat: http://andreasmoser.wordpress.com/2010/10/30/diy-terror/

    January 5, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • nsaidi

      Thanks for posting a comment. I enjoy your blog entries.

      January 5, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. BobNAlabama

    One of the remarks made by GOP candidate Ron Paul makes great sense to me: America can no longer afford to act as the world's police.

    January 5, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  3. IndiGirl

    Ron Paul was repeating what most Americans have been saying all along.

    We CANNOT act in the way we have been, and expect our country to thrive from within.

    Along with defense cuts, cuts *must* be made from all the pork and pet projects from *both* sides of the aisle.

    Mike570 and Nodack are both correct, IMO.

    January 5, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. bobcat (in a hat)©

    With the advancement of technology in military weaponry, there is no longer a need to put as many americans in harms way. Instead of half stepping in battle, the way we have done for our last many involvements, we need to make use of these technologies and give an example of what we really can do to our enemy du jour.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Keith

    The two-war paradigm has been around for decades because it is always how it has been. Whether we choose to go to war or it chooses us, it always comes up as a necessity for a reason. The problem is the defense contractors are playing the same game as the bankers, greed. US armed forces should be more consolidated as far as procurement to save money and get these defense projects done properly in a timely and most efficient manner.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Brooklynite

    Should the GOP ever regain the majority in the House, Senate & White House, rest assured, another war will be on the horizon. As a matter of fact, if former President G. W. Bush was in office, I can almost guarantee war would have already been declared against Iran for their threats, potential WMD's, and the one think we're all supposedly addicted too – Big OIL !! That is why I can only hope / pray President Obama wins re-election. I voted for President Obama in 2008 and I will vote for him again in 2012.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Cutwasteplease

    Some paranoid conservatives have no right to call Obama a wimp. This is the man who helped the world get rid of Ghadafi, obliterated Bin Laden, and who had the guts to get us out of a senseless (and expensive) war. He did more to secure world peace in 3 years than Bush ever could during his 8 years of reign. The US will always be a super military power, even if reducing the military a bit to save money that can be used to boost our economy. Our real weakness will not come from cutting back on military waste, but from losing our economic power in the world. That is where the real danger to us comes from.

    January 5, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Synapse

    The President moves in a rational direction and is vilified- for doing one of the things that the only Republican that has a fired up following- Ron Paul, is also suggesting [in a much more radical way].
    Obama and Democratic super-majorities, starting in 2012.

    January 5, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mmmmm

    leaner? cheaper? sounds like advertisement for soybean hotdogs with the leeching red dye...really capitol hill how much of the people's money have you stolen?

    January 5, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "The Lunatic Fringe'"

    What? I've got to strengthen home security, in the event two world wars break out, because defense budgets from the ruling class for a second one has been financially stripped?
    OK fine. Honey, go get my socket set, so I can take down that worthless, unsightly DirecTV dish, and mount a 50mm chain gun on turret.

    January 5, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mmmmm

      lol...just remember don't shoot the pizza man cuz he delivers!

      January 5, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "The Lunatic Fringe'"

      @ Mmmmm – That's exactly what your old lady said too.

      January 5, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
  11. banasy©

    @Jeff Frank:

    Don't forget to load up on the banasy© action figures...you'll be fine. 😉

    January 5, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Idealist

    Why is so much focus around the Nuclear Program of Iran and nobody mention the Nuclear Bombs that Israel already have since many years??? If we in the western world wants to have peace in the MIddle East, we need to have a consistent view and not make any state better (more ethical) than an other. What is the difference of having crazy Ortodox arabs and crazy Orthodox jewish?? None. We need also to demand Israel to transparent with their Nuclear weapons and also demand to dismantle them.

    January 5, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • saywhat

      Only if that can come about @ Idealist. But we have proved time & again that we wouldn't let that happen.
      A just & equitable resolution of Israel/Palestinian conflict & declaring Middle East a nuclear weapons free zone should be the course of action. But would that ever happen @ Idealist?

      January 5, 2012 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Huh???!

    The difference is that Israel isn't constantly suicide bombing innocents and flying into buildings! Yeesh!

    January 5, 2012 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • saywhat

      Sure. Israel doesn't need suicide bombers. They have their Gunships, missiles, tanks, combat aircraft & bull dozers to kill innocents.
      Constantly?? Since the year 2009 only two Israeli civilians were killed by attacks from the occupied territories. And Palestinian deaths? Well ask the brave & honest Jews of Jewish Voice for Peace or JStreet, they'll tell you.

      January 5, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
  14. banasy©

    @Jeff Frank:

    Ba dum bum.

    January 5, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jazzy

    War has never been about doing what is right, It's always about power and control.
    If our leader and Government's agenda was about that, we would have been out of the middle east a long time ago.
    For what it's worth the evidence does point to the OIL, control and power. Look the Government doesn't respect us with our domestic issues; why would they respect us for what we want on international affairs.
    The OWS ppl in upstate are still camped out, what do they really expect to change? We have NO control! It's a lost cause people. It truly won't change till the nations have declared peace and God says "You pushed the wrong button with me!" Then Jesus" take over. 🙂

    January 5, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
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