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Defense and the truth

June 08, 2008

Re "Indefensible," Opinion, June 1

How refreshing to read the article by Robert Scheer in the Opinion section of The Times. His message stands as a powerful reminder of President Eisenhower's warning half a century ago of the danger of letting the military-industrial complex take over U.S. defense policies.

The clarity of Scheer's column stands in contrast to the blathering from the White House, with its pathetic efforts to lead the nation into a grandiose war meant to make every country in the world accept a democracy just like ours. Maybe other people don't want a democracy like ours, in which a president is not subject to the law but rules as he sees fit.

Saul Halpert

Studio City

It is good to have Scheer's robust voice on The Times' pages once more. He was right on the Iraq war in 2003 (I remember), and he is right on the travesty of the bloated defense budget today.

From Barack Obama through Hillary Rodham Clinton to John McCain, the lack of debate on this subject mutely sounds like more of the same old same old.

Defense bubble, anyone?

David Weaver

San Juan Capistrano

Scheer makes his points with misstatements and omissions.

He refers to the current military budget as the biggest "peacetime" budget since World War II. How does he ignore Iraq and Afghanistan? He dismisses threats from nuclear power China and from Islamo-fascists. He fails to acknowledge that Russia has been on an increasingly anti-West path under Vladimir Putin, and that we have a nuclear power in Pakistan. And what about Iran? Even if it suspended work on a nuclear weapon, it continues to enrich uranium at a rapid clip.

That said, Scheer makes two good points and indirectly raises a third. First, we should never be afraid to discuss the defense budget and what weapons at what cost will best protect Americans. Second, when Congress uses earmarks, it can lead to unnecessary expenditures.

Third, Scheer suggests that terrorists use primitive weapons. This suggests we need more intelligence and that we should beef up the FBI, the CIA, the Department of Homeland Security and our other intelligence and counter-terrorism agencies.

Michael Pinchak


Scheer writes that our massive defense budget and sophisticated weapons systems make no sense when our enemy is armed with weapons that could be purchased for a few dollars at a Home Depot, and that the supposed threat from China will not be credible until the end of the decade or longer.

But folks, none of this is the point. We need to keep current, and to keep people working!

Fred Dickinson


Reading this article was both a delight and depressing. Scheer's analysis of issues is needed now more than ever. Our political candidates need to be pressed by the media and the electorate to discuss the military buildup, along with their plans for dealing with it.

The depression came from realizing that this kind of honesty and clarity are often missing from what we read today. The delight came with seeing Scheer highlighted and hoping that this might be an indication that we will be reading him again in our daily paper.

Harriet Glickman

Sherman Oaks

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