Ivan Eland: The public could be forgiven for missing the real message of Obama’s Afghanistan speech: “We’ve lost the war, but we are declaring victory anyway and getting out.”
Ivan Eland: American history vindicates the old saying that “truth is the first casualty of war,” but the passage of time should allow a republic to undertake a more honest and dispassionate examination of historical events. It rarely does, with truth being swept under the rug in favor of assuming uncaused indignities.
Ivan Eland: Weapons purchases are often welfare projects doled out to congressional districts and states with political clout. In fact, unlike in the commercial market, defense contractors don’t give subcontracts to the best subcontractors but spread them around the country to build political support, so that it is very difficult to kill weapons programs.
Ivan Eland: To keep with the bipartisan spirit after the Gabrielle Giffords’ assassination attempt and also to avoid partisan fighting over spending priorities, which will bog down and probably eventually kill any significant budget cuts, all government programs should be cut by 15 percent from last year’s budget level, including heretofore sacred defense and entitlement programs.
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.
Ivan Eland: Extending the U.S. nuclear shield to the much more unstable and violent region of the Middle East seems supremely foolhardy. The U.S. could more easily get dragged into an unplanned and unneeded future nuclear exchange there than in any other area of the world.