Regarding the commentary, “See that 500-pound gorilla?” (Nov. 18): The ending by James M. Duenow was the most appropriate statement in it. “We probably don’t know what we’re talking about.” It is disappointing that New Times would allow such naivety on such an important subject as this commentary displays.
Yes, the Defense Department has a huge budget. To get the sophistication needed to defend the free world from all of the possible threats out there requires the most expensive and talented people and long-term commitment to build the equipment that we have today. The Muslim threat to the world is now in the limelight, and the defense department is prepared to deal with it as well as it has the Russians’ communist threat during the Cold War.
All of this does not happen overnight. It took 40 years to undo the Russians, and they can come back in a heartbeat as the biggest threat again. The Muslims must be defeated with focus and determination by freedom-loving people in the world. The Muslims have been the menace in the world for 1,400 years. Without our military in place today, we would not be able to continue defending freedom while taking on the Muslims. The peace comes from a strong defense and commitment to do the job.
However, the real gorilla in the budget world is not the defense budget per se, but the cost of the salaries and benefits of the federal workers, civil service workers, and the unions that drive them. They presently exceed the private sector benefits. It is the private sector’s taxes that pay for the civil servants. This is a common problem across all of the federal services, but it definitely drives up the defense budget. This gorilla must be dealt with if we are to make any real progress in reducing the overall budget.
We should have special emphasis on the Muslim threat in developing the special techniques to deal with them, but we must keep our eyes on the big world picture at the same time.
As a retired aerospace manager, I have worked in and for the Defense Department for 40 years and know full well the cost of changes and the difficulty in making them.