MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Opinion

January 13, 2014

Fund the force the nation needs

Providing for our nation’s defense is a fundamental obligation of the federal government.

Sen. Jim Inhofe takes that obligation seriously.

“Nobody wants to believe the truth. The truth is this president has disarmed America,” Inhofe said.

The statement is partisan, but the concern is genuine.

The nation has tough decisions to make as we reduce deficits. Defense is a key concern.

The senator equates ongoing high levels of funding with defending the nation.

Funding levels for defense always have changed as world and national situations changed.

We need the right  level of spending to achieve an effective military. That does not mean we must maintain the same spending, or increase it, in order to be effective.

Because we have an arms industry and maintain a standing military, there will always be pressure to increase military spending.

President Dwight Eisenhower warned the nation in 1961 against the military-industrial complex. That warning applies here. Military spending should always be eyed with the awareness that some communities, businesses and lawmakers have vested interests.

When asked if he would support any cuts to defense spending, Inhofe said he is “against any cuts ... at this point.”

We share his concern about readiness. But funding and readiness are not the same.

We need a military ready to face today’s threats and prepared to respond to those that arise tomorrow.

This is not the Cold War. Our strategy should not be to build the biggest stockpile of the latest weapons. We must prepare for diffuse threats and the probability that rogue groups and nations will strike in unconventional ways.

People are the key to such a military, and we should fund  training, equipping and maintaining that force.

Preamble to Constitution

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

 

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