Friday, January 21, 2011

So what is national security?

I got depressed this morning when I read of the House Republican group, with 165 members, that released a budget plan that completely de-funds the Agency for International Development [AID], our primary instrument for nonmilitary foreign aid.  The problem is not just that this is a penny-wise and pound foolish way to reduce government spending. The broader problem is that the House GOP leadership has defined the untouchable areas of the budget as only Defense, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security.  We all know that some money can be trimmed from defense; even Secretary Gates has admitted that. And I assume the same is true of VA. But to say that TSA -- those shoe-fetish screeners at our airports -- should be exempt from any cuts is ludicrous. And the failure to recognize that foreign policy programs that don't shoot and kill should be eliminated is foolish beyond belief. I wish these lawmakers would look behind the labels like "Homeland Security" and scrutinize what actually is being done with the money. Andrew Exum makes this point very well.

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