Monday October 15, 2012

Our U.S. military, second to none technologically or in firepower, has a budget of $472 billion, which is more than the next 17 nations combined. No sane country would attack the U.S. knowing the response would be swift and severe. So why is Defense Secretary Leon Panetta saying that if we cut the defense budget by $55 billion we will turn our military into a "paper tiger," inviting aggression? From whom?

The U.S. Army requested that Congress stop sending it tanks. The Army has 2,300 M1s already deployed worldwide and another 3,000 sitting idle on a base in Cali fornia. Legislators still ap proved appropriations of $255 million for 42 new M1 Abrams tanks. The Defense Depart ment still wants to go ahead with the new F-35 strike fighter at more than $200 million per plane de spite what the Govern ment Accountability Office has described as a "mixed" performance. This has more to do with defense contractors than national defense.

Mitt Romney wants to increase the defense budget by $150 billion. This is unwarranted and absurd. Put this $150 billion in tax dollars to work. Farmers are facing the worst drought in de cades, yet Congress failed to act on the farm subsidy bill to help them. Money is needed for shelters for the homeless, government funded day care so people may work and become more self-sufficient. Provide more help to veterans, our elderly and food banks so they can feed the tens of thousands going hungry every day.

Why is government more intent on feeding the war machine than taking care of its own people? Why spend $255 million on unneeded tanks when the money could be better allocated to the above programs? Why spend $200 million each on fighter jets when the money could be used to build up the pathetic infrastructure of our bridges, roads and railroad systems, which would create jobs?

We should be telling our rep resentatives -- enough with feeding the war ma chine, it is time to cut the excessive spending by the Defense Department and allocate our tax dollars to helping this country. If our economy collapses, the $500 billion in the defense budget will not matter.

SCOTT THERRIEN

Adams