Intense efforts are underway to avoid defaulting on the nation’s debt. The talks are now focused on the largest single element of discretionary spending, one which has nearly doubled in the last decade: the defense budget. According to the Washington Post, an increasing number of conservatives agree with the president that reforms to defense spending must be part of the overall solution to reducing the national debt. This shift comes as the public questions how America’s military commitments abroad are paying off—something President Obama acknowledged in his speech last week when he announced the withdrawal of the surge troops in Afghanistan. “America, it is time to focus on nation building here at home,” he said.
Leon Panetta will soon take over as secretary of defense amid a review of roles and missions, requiring that as we rethink budgets and spending, we also rethink the strategy that determines how and where America uses its military. Panetta will also be forced to deal with a Congress that says it wants to reduce spending, but still funds unwanted programs that several defense secretaries before him have tried to weed out.
In their desperate attempt to cling to the myth that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the Congressional Leadership forced the public release of materials that could be used to make an atomic weapon.