Lawrence Wittner: By scrapping plans for nuclear weapons “modernization” and for national missile defense—programs that are both useless and provocative—the United States would save $271 billion (well over a quarter of a trillion dollars) in the next ten years.
Ivan Eland: Missile defense is an expensive relic of the Cold War, which the U.S. can no longer afford given its huge budget deficits and high debt levels. Keeping the program alive are Republicans who want to preserve this white elephant to realize the grandiose “Star Wars” dream of their hero, Ronald Reagan.
President Obama’s second recovery plan must invest in future industries with large pay-offs in terms of career-path learning and earning opportunities in the Green economy. Put laid-off Boeing missile defense workers back on the job building electric buses for the future. Put college professors back to work in Green Energy Departments at universities across the country. Put steelworkers back to work strengthening our bridges in earthquake-prone California. Put everyone with a hard hat back to work building solar panel parts now outsourced to China.
Because he wanted to get out of Iraq and because Republicans always score points by calling the Democrats soft on national security, Obama evidently felt he had to be in favor of some war and thus reluctantly succumbed to pressure to augment U.S. forces in Afghanistan. If he had been smart, on his second day in office, he would have instead announced the rapid withdrawal of U.S. forces.