By Michael Lotfi
During the recent Fox Business News-Wall Street Journal Republican primary debate, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) had what was probably one of the most meaningful exchanges so far in the race to decide the party’s nominee for president.
Paul and Rubio traded jabs over military spending, an issue that has divided many in the Republican Party, and there’s little consensus on who won the exchange. That being said, neoconservatives like Rubio are wrong when it comes to military spending; it’s time the Republican Party, as a whole, realize it.
Let’s be clear about something, when Paul says you’re not a serious conservative if you’re willing to spend another $1 trillion, on loan from China, on the Department of Defense (DOD), he says so because the DOD is rife with fraud and waste. For example, the DOD spent two million dollars for every one Syrian rebel they trained. Guess what? The majority of them never showed up to fight on our behalf after being trained. That’s right, two million to train one person that never showed up. The DOD also spent $43 million to build a single gas station in Afghanistan, which will never be used. If that wasn’t enough, Congress recently pushed $436 million on weapons that military experts explicitly said are not needed. While it is true that defense is a constitutionally defined role of the federal government, should they really keep getting blank checks?
The DOD clearly has money to flush down the toilet, and the American taxpayers are ultimately responsible for that money.
How is it that conservatives trust no wing of government to operate efficiently, but believe the DOD is infallible? If one is serious about cutting the deficit and tackling our national debt, then understand this simple fact—government, by design, creates waste. The DOD isn’t exempt from this fact.
Neocons need to stop pretending defense spending is untouchable in order to pacify the multi-billion dollar defense contractors that lobby them for tax dollars that are not needed to secure our well-being. Even the Army agrees.
One is either serious and principled about cutting waste, or they are not. And when one isn’t, liberal Democrats then get to say, “Well, you spent money we didn’t have on this, so we want more welfare.” The same goes for the Constitution. When Republicans ignore the Fourth Amendment and push the NSA, Democrats get to ignore the 10th Amendment and push the EPA. In Washington, they call this “bipartisanship.”