Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Other People's Mail

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Other People's Mail

Article excerpt

TRUMP'S BLOATED PENTAGON BUDGET PROPOSAL

To The Washington Post, Nov. 24, 2016

The Nov. 23 news article "Republicans unclear on how to pay for Trump's agenda" rightly pointed out the contradiction between President-elect Donald Trump's budget-busting tax and spending plans and the reluctance of many fiscal conservatives to raise questions about them.

In addition to trillions of dollars in tax cuts and a $1 trillion infrastructure program, Mr. Trump has proposed a massive military spending binge while the Pentagon's budget is already at historically high levels-higher than during the peak year of the Reagan administration's buildup in the 1980s, after adjusting for inflation. Mr. Trump's Pentagon spending proposals would add scores of combat ships and tens of thousands of troops, even as it doubles down on the Pentagon's ill-advised plan to spend up to $1 trillion on a new generation of nuclear- armed missiles, bombers and submarines over the next three decades.

Rather than cutting Medicare and Social Security, which Mr. Trump unequivocally promised not to do on the campaign trail, his administration should pursue a policy of military restraint that focuses on core security interests. According to a recent analysis by experts at the Cato Institute, doing so could save $1 trillion in Pentagon outlays over the next decade, a figure that would take considerable pressure offthe deficit while freeing up funds to pay for other urgent national needs.

William D. Hartung, New York, NY

The writer is director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy.

PRIORITIZE INFRASTRUCTURE OVER MILITARY SPENDING

To The Frederick News-Post, Nov. 27, 2016

Trump has repeatedly said that the Iraq war should have never happened, that the global war on terror has cost us "$6 trillion," that it has been counter-productive. Neophyte that he is, Trump has articulated the simple fact that regime change in Syria would only strengthen ISIS. It also would cause a confrontation with Russia. I greatly appreciate that Trump demonstrates some reluctance to instigate such a confrontation.

The problem is that Republicans identify themselves as macho tough (literally no matter what). From The Washington Post: "Perhaps the most influential Republican on national security matters, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), weighed in on Trump's efforts to work with Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying any efforts to 'reset' relations with Russia are unacceptable ..."

McCain is rabid. He's also influential.

Trump was the peace candidate compared to Clinton. But in keeping with Republican dogma, Trump's "being great again" contemplates building up what is by any account an unimaginably bloated military. Bloated means huge excess that has been degrading effectiveness for a long time, and this regards effectiveness in fighting what Trump understands to be counter-productive (self-defeating) wars.

So to all you fiscal-minded Republicans who have just gained the White House, why not support financing Trump's jobproducing (long overdue) rebuilding of our infrastructure by reining in the doom-defying military for a desperately necessary change?

Barry Kissin, Frederick, MD

HOW A SYRIAN REFUGEE CHANGED ONE FAMILY'S LIFE

To The Oregonian, Dec. 2, 2016

The American people have nothing to fear from Syrian refugees. On the contrary, they can enrich our families and our communities. I should know-my family in Oregon has "adopted" five wonderful Syrians.

Three years ago, a 32-year-old math teacher and his extended family fled Syria. They traveled to Turkey, Germany, Denmark- any place where they could find to make a life. They had been living in Aleppo and its outskirts.

Let's call the math teacher from Aleppo "Ali." Ali arrived in Turkey, where he began the long process of applying to resettle in the United States as a refugee. There were many interviews, medical checks and background checks with United Nations offices and the U. …

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