Of course they do. In this case, it’s a no-brainer, two-fer: the Times can kick America in the teeth and blame it on the Republicans:
The Army’s plan to cut 40,000 troops, as well as 17,000 civilian employees, over the next two years is unsettling many American communities. Congressmen and senators in the affected districts are railing against the reductions and insisting they will fight to reverse them. But the cutbacks are a sensible and necessary move, and they should not come as a surprise since it was Congress that approved big cuts in federal defense spending.
Plans to shrink the active duty force to 450,000 troops from 490,000 have been known since February 2014 when Chuck Hagel, then the secretary of defense, made the proposal as part of his 2015 military budget. By 2017, the Army, which had 490,000 troops before the Sept 11 attacks and reached 570,000 troops during the Afghan and Iraq wars, will decline to its lowest level since World War II.
Good thing there’s nothing going on the world that might require, you know, an army or anything. And, naturally, the cutbacks will be tough for all those poor morons who were not smart enough to become psychiatrists or Wall Street traders or writers for The Simpsons.
The reductions in troops and civilian staffing will be difficult for those who lose their jobs and for the communities that depend on military bases. The Army has programs that can help ease the transition, including special incentives for troops to retire early. Christopher Preble, a vice president of the Cato Institute, a think tank, says his research shows that many communities where bases are closed and troop levels are reduced “do adapt and recover,” and many eventually emerge with “a robust and more diversified economic base.”
President Obama and Congress need to make sure the Army is well positioned to do its job, but that does not mean maintaining bases and a level of troops that go beyond what the country needs and can afford.
Because, in the “Progressive” world view, that money we waste on national defense could be spent so much more effectively elsewhere.