WHEN the gullible read the headline paragraph, that US Defence Secretary, Chuck Hagel, has unveiled plans to ‘shrink’ the US Army to its smallest size since before the US entered World War Two, a frightening image could well be conjured up.
This might be of a USA stricken by an economic catastrophe that has led to its defences being denuded leaving 350 million Americans defenceless and vulnerable along with the majority of the world’s population.
Outlining his budget plan, the Pentagon chief proposed trimming the active-duty Army to 440,000-450,000 personnel, down from 520,000 currently.
Cold War-era, out of date, Air Force fleets including the U-2 spy plane, as used by Garry Power over the USSR in the 1960’s, and the A-10 tank buster attack jet, used in Iraq in 1990, are also to be binned.
In fact, these weapons are definitively out of date and the Defence Secretary must have been seeking for a reason to scrap them.
Calling his action a risk taking measure, Chuck Hagel said that reducing the number of active-duty soldiers to its lowest level in 74 years wasn’t without risk and would likely compromise the ability to fight multiple conflicts simultaneously, but he was confident the US would still be able to to defeat any aggressor.
In fact, as everybody knows, the US public is intensely war weary after the Iraqi, Libyan and now the Syrian slaughters, and has had enough of the US policing the planet.
Obama has actually come up with plans to make his dependencies, such as the UK, Israel and Japan, fight his wars, while the USA plays the role of the director of operations and paymaster.
The 11 September 2001 terrorist attack was used to double military spending in the US, and has only very slowly started to decline in response to the extreme war wearyness of US citizens.
Hagel has admitted that the country no longer felt inclined to engage in the kind of long and costly operations it had mounted in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
The financial crisis is the secondary cause of a reduction in US defence spending, the primary cause is the massive opposition of the US workers to new military adventures.
On Monday, even Hagel noted the US military had come under pressure to downsize after two costly foreign wars.
He added: ‘Since we are no longer sizing the force for prolonged stability operations, an Army of this size is larger than required to meet the demands of our defence strategy.’
The Pentagon chief went on to unveil plans for cuts to military pay and benefits, including curbing housing allowances and limiting pay raises. The massive armaments remain!
Winslow Wheeler, a defence budget analyst has labelled the Hagel proposals and propaganda as just a heap of hype.
He said that even after the cuts in troop levels and the elimination of the A-10 and U-2 aeroplanes, overall military spending, including for the war in Afghanistan and on the US nuclear weapons programme, will remain near 2005 levels.
He revealed that level of spending is ‘scores of billions above what we spent during the Cold War when the threats were real and huge.’
Wheeler added: ‘We will be spending multiples of what China and Russia spend combined.’
In fact US defence spending at $600.4bn is greater than the next high spending 12 countries combined. China spends $112.2bn, Russia $68.2bn, Saudi Arabia $59.6bn, UK $57bn, France $52,4bn, Japan $51bn, Germany $44.2bn, India $36.3bn, Brazil $34.7bn, South Korea $31.8bn, Australia $26bn, and Italy $25.2bn.
US imperialism outguns all of them taken together!
No wonder US workers are demanding huge cuts in military spending, and for the money to be used to provide jobs at decent wages and homes and health care for all, at a time when dozens of great cities like Detroit are bankrupt and in ruins.
In fact the interests of US workers and youth demand that US imperialism is not just disarmed but overthrown to bring in a new society whose economy will be based not on fighting imperialist wars but in providing for people’s needs.