Heavy Price of Defense Spending Cuts by Victor Davis Hanson

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Renowned historian and classicist scholar Victor Davis Hanson’s January 11, 2012 commentary entitled “Heavy Price of Defense Spending Cuts: Nations That Choose Butter over Guns Atrophy and Die” warrants a thoughtful analysis of its merits and shortcomings by U.S. military officers entrusted with leading this nation’s youth while implementing our national strategy. Hanson’s 2012 premise, albeit over two years old today, is immediately discernible: America faces devastating self-inflicted wounds by implementing the current Administration’s defense spending budget. The dawn of 2014 finds this debate ongoing and the implementation of this budget well in progress, with even more drastic cuts taking effect than the ones analyzed by Hanson previously. While few historians of repute would argue against the reality that the siren song of defense reductions has lured the nation onto the shoals of unpreparedness for future conflict many times in the past, two shortcomings in Hanson’s piece beckon us to pause and reexamine. First, Hanson appeals to the dignity of the American character by the psychologically compelling assertion “many Americans would probably prefer a new frigate manned by highly trained youth to discourage our enemies, rather than another Solyndra-like investment or a nearly $1 trillion stimulus.” Even if this is so, a critical evaluation of his self-described “probability” raises the question of relevance to his premise. What is deemed best for national

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