... the gutting of the military (designated "the peace dividend" by Slick Willie) since the Reagan years ...
I hear you Russ, but you can’t really appreciate the magnitude of the gutting until you look at some numbers. Here are the official government numbers for the Department of Defense military spending.
1988 (Regan’s last year in office and his highest military spending) -- $282 billion (inflation adjusted = $527 billion).
2011 -- $721 billion.
Right, Dean. But the US Navy now has less ships than it had before WW I. It's hard to make comparisons for the USAF because of immense changes in technology, but from the standpoint of personnel and aircraft the AF is at its lowest point in decades. The Army is in even worse shape, considering the fact that they're the guys who when they come home get rotated right back into combat before having time to say an extended hello to their families. In 1988 we had enough troops that unaccompanied tours could be one year in length, with considerable resting time between rotations. Now we're breaking our army with this kind of crap.
I've been retired from USAF active duty since 1977, but I remember what happened in the sixties in SAC with rotation schedules like these. The divorce rate went out of sight, and morale, which is as important a military weapon as are guns and bombs, was in the pits. The highly advertised suicide rate among army troops doesn't surprise me a bit.
And now, under this administration, we're facing another huge reduction. If you don't think that's scary you haven't been paying attention. And you might want to ask yourself how much of that "military spending" actually is military.
It must be a bitch, Russ, when reality intrudes upon your world. It seems, however, that the effect, if any, was fleeting.
Russ, your reply to my post is just as silly as your initial claim that a 37% budget increase amounts to a gutting of the military. For example, take just the first few sentences of your reply:
“But the US Navy now has less ships than it had before WW I. It's hard to make comparisons for the USAF because of immense changes in technology … “
You imply that immense changes in technology apply to the USAF but not the Navy. You want to compare numbers of ships without regard to their size or capabilities, thereby equating a pre-WW I era ship to a modern aircraft carrier or nuclear submarine. Both such notions are obviously silly.
Then you go on to state that “from the standpoint of personnel … the AF is at its lowest point in decades.” According to the USAF, the total number of active duty personnel was 327,379 in 2009 and 332,724 in 2011.
All this nonsense is in just the first few lines of your reply. I could go on, but I don’t see any point in doing so.
I assume that you’re a nice guy, Russ, but it appears that your ill-informed preconceived notions and biases make you immune to facts or reasonable discussion. You’d hope that my noting the absurdity of your “gutting the military” claim might give some small impetuous for pause or reflection, but alas not. So, wail away with your inane comments … I’m over and out. It’s neither interesting nor productive to try to have a rational discussion with someone who refuses or is unable to reciprocate.