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. Mike

    It's high time the U.S. embrace the geopolitical realities and technological advances of the 21st century and free itself of the WWll mentality of having military bases, troops and material postioned all over the world, a policy that for decades has allowed America's "allies" to get away with making minimal investments in defense spending while sitting back and letting the U.S. do all the "heavy lifting".

    When military installations in the Phillipines and Panama were closed, many in and out of government screamed that the world as we knew was about to end. We're all still here some 25 years later.

    January 5, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
  2. saywhat

    Military interventions have not & will not solve problems or ensure national security. Quite to the contrary they have proved to be a bane. look where we stand to day. A mess of our own making.
    We have to learn to learn from our mistakes – that is if the political leadership choses to do so. I think President Obama is rationalizing, which is something those in the Congress mainly Repubs know zilch about.
    Iraq & Afghanistan debacles are written in death, destruction, corruption & torture – Do we want more of the same?

    January 5, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
  3. saywhat

    @ Mike
    Yes. We have around 700 bases around the world. The Roman & British Empires at their height had no more than a hundred.
    And stop turning entire populations & regions hostile to us with our failed foreign policy & military interventuions. Statesmanship, diplomacy and sanity makes a nation great not just the size of its military.

    January 5, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jazzy

    oh boi! Statesmanship? Really you can say that after knowing how many countries we have occupied while stealing their resources. C'mon... Saywhat, what have you to say now? Please do say.

    January 5, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
  5. saywhat

    @ Jazzy
    I know I expect the imrobable from our Congress & the establishment. But I so wish that some in our political leadership learn about statesmanship. But again perhaps that is a Utopian thought.
    And yes I hang my head in dismay when you point out the bitter but truthful part of what our agenda has been.
    Thank you for waking me up to reality.

    January 5, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jazzy

    I wish that weren't the case saywhat. I to would like our leaders to be in it for all the right reasons but this world ruled under man's law will never have righteousness as one of their qualities.
    🙂 hey whatcha doing this weekend?

    January 5, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "The Lunatic Fringe'"

    banasy action figures, I just can't wait....lil khaki commenters...cute.

    January 5, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mercyme

    Am against this plan. How much money was spent on bail outs? Pork programs? The military is not the problem. Congress spending unresponsibly. How much is spent (nationally) on social programs, etc. for illegal aliens??? Less or more than military budget? Hmmmmm...

    January 5, 2012 at 9:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. MP75

    Obama cutting on military spending won't get him impeached, but cutting the Congressional salaries will. I support both cuts, but it is good that he got at least one going.

    January 5, 2012 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
  10. saywhat

    Not much @ Jazzy
    following the two dingbats, the Repub front runners drop 'pears of wisdom' from their mouths. God what are we unfortunate Americans stuck with.
    Santorum today said that this country should have " Judeo-Christian Sharia" – How's that for starters?
    Founding Fathers must be turning in their graves.

    January 5, 2012 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
  11. banasy©

    @saywhat:

    Santorum said that?
    *Facepalm*

    God help us.

    January 5, 2012 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
  12. saywhat

    yes@ banasy. God help us.
    The disappointing part is that a gullible public buys all this non-sense.
    Can you imagine if this Evangelical extremist mind set takes over this country, where we are going to end up?
    To the irritation of some of my esteemd fellow bloggers I have often voiced my concern over the way we are being misled by this mind set in consort with foreign lobbies.
    There is still time to sit up & take notice of the forces which are dragging us away from the American way & spirit and pushing us in a direction which is against this nation's interest.

    January 6, 2012 at 12:41 am | Report abuse |
  13. saywhat

    Good night all. Take care @ banasy.

    January 6, 2012 at 12:42 am | Report abuse |
  14. gung hoe

    You people are dillusional.Without a great defence we are just inviting to be attacked.Now comeon people if we didnt take the fight to alqueda and the taliban you can honestly say we wouldnt be attacked here at home.How many times did we allow bin laden to attack us before we finally took the fight to him,and since then can anybody please tell me how many times since 2001 weve been attacked on our home soil.This is why its SO IMPORTANT foq the US to be the worlds police.That is unless you prefer to have them attack us here at home!Now as for Iraq we were told that there was wmds there and your complaining about Gw Being a liar well that must mean that mrs clinton is also,I can remember her so vividly standing in front of congress speaking to approve us to declare war on Iraq she had the same intel as bush was given.And last but not least WMD S wouldnt nerve gas classify as a WMD we know for a fact that he was performing genocide on the kurds.Boy I have yet to here any of you say we made a misake

    January 6, 2012 at 3:44 am | Report abuse |
  15. gung hoe

    Going to germany for hitler d oing the same to the jews

    January 6, 2012 at 3:48 am | Report abuse |
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