Libertarian Party: Obama kowtows to military-industrial complex

WASHINGTON – The Libertarian Party criticizes the Obama administration’s recent statement demanding more military spending from House Republicans.

The administration claims that the Republican spending bill currently under debate does not provide enough military funding. According to the administration, "The bill…would reduce funding for the Department of Defense to a level that would leave the Department without the resources and flexibility needed to meet vital military requirements."

As a percentage of GDP, military spending under Obama has been higher than it was during any year of the hawkish George W. Bush administration.

Libertarian Party Chair Mark Hinkle said, "Apparently the Republican spending bill isn’t military-friendly enough for President Obama.

Hinkle continued, "Liberals are supposed to want schools, not bombs, but Obama wants all the bombs he can get.

"The Republican bill actually increases Defense Department spending 1-2% over 2010 levels, but the administration calls that a reduction.

"Liberals and Democrats, as well as independents and Libertarians, should call out the president and demand that he cut military spending, not increase it.

"Nobody expected Republicans to offer significant cuts to military spending, but I thought liberal Democrats like Obama were supposed to be different. Apparently the president is more interested in handing out gigantic contracts to his friends in the defense industry.

"Libertarians believe that America should set an example of freedom and respect for other nations by withdrawing our military from Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as many other countries where we have forces stationed today. The Libertarian vision of a humble foreign policy would allow us to cut military spending dramatically."

For more information, or to arrange an interview, call LP Executive Director Wes Benedict at 202-333-0008 ext. 222.

The LP is America’s third-largest political party, founded in 1971. The Libertarian Party stands for free markets, civil liberties, and peace. You can find more information on the Libertarian Party at our website.

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27 thoughts on “Libertarian Party: Obama kowtows to military-industrial complex

  1. Porn Again Christian

    You gotta hand it to the Diebold folks. Back in 2000 and 2004, they actually had to steal the presidential elections to get Bush elected. But by 2008, their computer engineering department became so advanced, they were actually able to transplant Dubya’s brain (with a Dick Cheney implant) into the Obama Robot, which actually did win the election, although it lied all the way through the campaign.

  2. tom bailey

    I thought Obama was very clear about being a bigger warmonger than McCain. They both agreed the war in Iraq was won but that some troops would need to stay for a while longer but that many could now be shifted to the afghan front which should now take top priority and needed to be expanded.
    Where they parted ways was on the question of whether they would commit to being willing to cross the border into nuclear armed Pakistan in order to “get” bin Laden if they had certain knowlege of his whereabouts. Obama said he would and McCain refused to tip his hand. Keep in mind all the voters who got their votes counted voted for more war. Just more of them voted for the most war than any other.
    I think the national libertarian party is confused

  3. paulie Post author

    I thought Obama was very clear about being a bigger warmonger than McCain. They both agreed the war in Iraq was won but that some troops would need to stay for a while longer but that many could now be shifted to the afghan front which should now take top priority and needed to be expanded.

    Where they parted ways was on the question of whether they would commit to being willing to cross the border into nuclear armed Pakistan in order to “get” bin Laden if they had certain knowlege of his whereabouts. Obama said he would and McCain refused to tip his hand.

    All true, but people listened to one thing and heard another.

    Most people thought, and continue to think, that Obama is antiwar, regardless of what he says or does.

  4. Michael H. Wilson

    Maybe I was unclear. Okay I was unclear.

    My point should be that the LP needs to point out the large commitment the US has around the globe. Get louder about it. Put it up on the front page.

    Over the years the press has in my not so humble opinion done a poor job of explaining the costs of keeping the troops deployed abroad, etc. Most recent numbers I have come up with suggest it is one-third of the DoD budget, or about $800 for every man, woman and child annually. That is a house payment on a nice house for some of us, which ain’t me.

  5. Robert Capozzi

    mhw, yes, the cost of interventionism is high. But I wonder whether $800/year makes it graphic enough.

    People are afraid, and fearful people are easily manipulated. I could imaging that $800 a year to stem fear explains in large measure why so many tolerate bloated military budgets. Add to that the fact that your average is inaccurately low, since taxpayers pay by family, and the tax burden hits higher income families MUCH harder, and lower income people MUCH lower.

    Fearful people might say tax the rich and KEEP a US foreign presence to keep us all safe, first from the Red Menace, now from the Islamicist Menace.

    The rhetoric probably needs to change. Not sure how, but I’d first address the root cause of fear. The economics of intervention might be measured as a percentage of total military spending and a percentage of the deficit. Then we might note the unfairness of US taxpayers paying for wealthy nations defense. Then the $ amount taxpayers pay. Then how much a family of four pays earning $50K and $100K, on average as a percentage of income taxes.

    One stat I really think resonates is that the US spends about half of all military spending, yet we represent X percent of world pop and X percent of world GDP. Things are WAY out of proportion.

    There’s GOT to be another way.

  6. langa

    Fearful people might say tax the rich and KEEP a US foreign presence to keep us all safe, first from the Red Menace, now from the Islamicist Menace.

    I think the key to winning over the public is getting them to see that our aggressive foreign policy doesn’t “keep us safe”, but actually makes us less safe, because of blowback.

    It’s true that many people are willing to pay a lot of money for more safety, but I don’t know of anyone who is eager to pay a lot of money for more danger.

  7. Robert Capozzi

    L12, yes, blowback is a strong argument.

    However, with the fall of the Soviet Union still relatively fresh, I would not rely on that argument exclusively. The myth goes that Reagan’s arms escalation led to the SU’s collapse. Tactically, forward deployment was part of the Reagan myth, which I’d say was not without some truth.

    Blowback doesn’t make the case against bases in Germany and SK, at least yet. That case needs to be addressed at the deepest levels (fear abatement) and the economic level (it’s too expensive). IMO.

    Fear, unfortunately, drives this world. Manipulating fear is the game statists play. I think the L case is stronger when we employ first arguments based on virtue and fairness, then on economics. Means and ends should be aligned, not in contradiction. We contradict ourselves when we play the fear card, IMO.

  8. langa

    The myth goes that Reagan’s arms escalation led to the SU’s collapse.

    Yes, this is another myth that needs to be dispelled. Reagan did not kill the Soviet Union. No one did. Rather, they committed suicide. Any decent coroner should be able to diagnose the cause of death as massive blood loss, resulting from repeated self-inflicted gunshot wounds to the foot.

  9. Robert Capozzi

    l14, cause and effect for such a thing is impossible to prove. We don’t have a lab that where we can test an alternative reality where Reagan didn’t torque up the arms race to see whether the SU would have “committed suicide” on the same timetable as it did. My guess is that the 80s arms race sped up the SU’s collapse, but I certainly can’t prove it.

    If you know a coroner that can prove any of this, I would like to see his/her methodology.

  10. paulie Post author

    One stat I really think resonates is that the US spends about half of all military spending, yet we represent X percent of world pop and X percent of world GDP. Things are WAY out of proportion.

    There’s GOT to be another way.

    Completely agreed. The US has about 4-5% of the world’s population, yet over 50% of the military spending.

  11. paulie Post author

    I think the key to winning over the public is getting them to see that our aggressive foreign policy doesn’t “keep us safe”, but actually makes us less safe, because of blowback.

    It’s true that many people are willing to pay a lot of money for more safety, but I don’t know of anyone who is eager to pay a lot of money for more danger.

    That too.

  12. paulie Post author

    I would not rely on that argument exclusively.

    I think we should use a variety of arguments, as in any public policy debate.

  13. paulie Post author

    My guess is that the 80s arms race sped up the SU’s collapse, but I certainly can’t prove it.

    It may well have slowed it down. Russia had been invaded many times – Mongols, Napoleon, Hitler, post-Bolshevik Revolution civil war, etc. It has been threatened many other times. The loss of life and other destruction in those wars is hard to fathom – Hitler’s invasion alone, which was still in many people’s living memory at the time, killed tens of millions of people in the Soviet Republics.

    If Americans can be said to have a justifiable fear of terrorism – which has only killed a few thousand Americans – or from communism, when the US has never suffered massive loss of life and property from foreign invasion and occupation as Russia has, and that fear was always only theoretical…imagine the fear that Russian and other Soviet people felt about the prospect of being invaded and conquered by foreigners, or perhaps blown to bits by nuclear weapons.

    I’d say there is a very good chance that this fear propped up the decrepit Soviet state for longer than it could have lasted otherwise with its unsustainable economic model. Reagan’s arms race and aggressive rhetoric (for instance, he once joked that “we’ll begin (nuclear) bombing Russia in five minutes”) – increased the level of fear that such an invasion or attack was once again imminent, and propped up the Soviet regime precisely as it was already well into its collapse from natural causes.

  14. langa

    If you know a coroner that can prove any of this, I would like to see his/her methodology.

    Well, the patient was warned repeatedly by Dr. Mises, Dr. Hayek and others, that if he didn’t change his lifestyle, it would only be a matter of time until he would die in almost exactly the manner that he actually did. Given that, I don’t see much need for a formal autopsy.

    Heck, I’m surprised they lasted as long as they did. Paulie may be on to something in #19. And I would add that the advantage of a “capitalist” economy like ours is not as great when it comes to military production, which necessarily involves a certain amount of inefficient central planning. So, in a way, by ratcheting up the arms race, we diminished our own comparative economic edge over the Soviets. We let them suck us into playing “their” game.

  15. Michael H. Wilson

    re # 11 Robert the $800 is a rough estimate of what it costs to keep troops stationed abroad. It is not the cost of intervention. No one knows what the actual costs are since there are so many variables that go into this. The defense budget is estimated to be in excess of $1 trillion by some. I suggest dividing that by the 308 million people in the nation and you’ll get some what of an estimate of the costs per person, but again what factors go into that are important. But the fact is the LP can and should be hammering on this everyday, if not more often.

    There knowns and unknown knowns and unknown unknows, or whatever Rumsfeld said.

    I have read for years that we had 30,000 troops stationed in Japan. Last night I found a government press release that said the number was 50,000.

  16. Michael H. Wilson

    In the late sixties the CIA came out with a study showing that the lifespan of the average male in the Soviet Union was declining.

    Some years later a Soviet official admitted that the only thing that kept that nation going was the income from the oil embargo of the 1970s.

  17. paulie Post author

    Heck, I’m surprised they lasted as long as they did.

    Other factors that propped up the Potemkin village of Soviet “scientific socialism”:

    1. Foreign aid from the west. Yes, it’s true. At the very same time that the Western government were spending obscene amounts of other people’s money to allegedly protect themselves from the Soviets, they were sending those very same soviets aid.
    2. Black markets in goods from abroad (contraband) and stolen soviet goods (also contraband) as well as services.
    3. Information management. This obviously did not succeed in the long run.
    4. Price signals from foreign markets to help Soviet economic planners make plans, as well as the development and spread of new technologies elsewhere.

    But, I think fear of invasion from the west may have also been a factor, I also have a hypothesis that the US embrago may actually be the only, or main, thing still keeping Castro afloat.

  18. FYI! [More Don Lake]

    # 19 paulie // Feb 17, 2011:

    “Russia had been invaded many times – Mongols, Napoleon, Hitler, post-Bolshevik Revolution [Churchill inspired] civil war, ” [not to mention Sweden’s Warrior King Charles XII, in Peter the Great’s day, prior to ‘Blown Apart’ ……..]

  19. Robert Capozzi

    p19: [The 80s arms race] may well have slowed it [the SU’s collapse] down.

    me: Best case, that might have been by 10 years. This is a profoundly unique perspective, though. What basis do you have that the SU was about to crumble in, say, 1982?

    l20: Well, the patient was warned repeatedly by Dr. Mises, Dr. Hayek and others, that if he didn’t change his lifestyle, it would only be a matter of time until he would die in almost exactly the manner that he actually did. Given that, I don’t see much need for a formal autopsy.

    me: Yes, I’d agree that repressive, totalitarian regimes will eventually implode, but historically some lasted hundreds of years. The SU might have, too. China, after all, is still around, and some monarchies lasted as I say hundreds of years. I am NOT saying the Reagan arms build up was a good idea, just that in that case it seemed to’ve triggered a faster collapse of the SU. That’s all.

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