Sitting before Congress — and a dozen stalwarts of opposing political ideologies — is the opportunity to question the economic and moral wisdom of what author Andrew Bacevich calls the Washington rules — a “sacred trinity: an abiding conviction that the minimum essentials of international peace and order require the United States to maintain a global military presence, to configure its forces for global power projection, and to counter existing or anticipated threats by relying on a policy of global interventionism.”
These Washington rules — America shall protect and, more importantly, project American values because they are derived from American exceptionalism — require great military expense born by you and me, the taxpayers. That expense now faces a congressionally mandated deficit reduction process.
Come the day before Thanksgiving, Nov. 23, six Democrats and six Republicans must identify at least $1.5 trillion in cuts in federal spending over the next decade. If they do, then Congress must vote yea or nay by Dec. 23. If they do not, the Budget Control Act triggers automatic cuts totaling $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction, slashing, among others, military spending. (Note that some folks are trying to detrigger the trigger.)
The so-called super committee, formally known as the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, exists because Congress demonstrated neither the political will nor moral courage to tackle deficit reduction in a rational, non-confrontational, non-ideological way. None of its members has the stomach to cut military spending; the political cost would be, they think, unbearably high.