- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Eagle of Bryan-College Station. March 9, 2014.

We must be careful in cutting our defense budget

“The problem in defense is how far you can go without destroying from within what you are trying to defend from without.” - Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower

Dwight D. Eisenhower may have been the last president who truly understood the role of the military in America. He warned against a military-industrial complex, yet also knew that the only way to be safe in the world is to be strong, stronger than everyone else.

He grasped the proper role of the military because he served this nation in the Army for more than 30 years, earning the rare five stars and serving as Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in the final years of World War II. In 1952, when Sen. Robert A. Taft was seeking the Republican presidential nomination on a platform of non-intervention, Eisenhower entered the race to work for the elimination of Communism and the reunification of the Koreas.

During Ike’s eight years as president, the Cold War grew into a stalemate of mutually assured destruction. It was an uncomfortable time, but Eisenhower and other patriotic Americans understood that the only way to prevent a Soviet takeover of the world was to remain powerful and resolute.

By the time Communism had fallen in the Soviet Union, Eisenhower was long gone, but the message he espoused remains as powerful today. The world cheered the break apart of the Soviet Union, believing hopefully that the world was on the way to peace. Sadly that hasn’t been the case.

We have seen time and again, in the Middle East, in Africa, in South America, in Asia, that incredibly strong and corrupt politicians have worked - many times violently - to keep their children in check. And just recently, we have seen Vladimir Putin reinstate Soviet-style aggression against Ukraine.

It should be obvious to everyone that the world remains a dangerous place and the United States cannot afford to let down its guard.

And yet, the administration of President Barack Obama is planning on massive cuts to our defense budget, going so far as to reducing the size of the Army to the levels it was before World War II.

This must not be allowed to happen.

It is a dangerous road the president is headed down. One that doesn’t allow for easy retreat.

We understand the incredible pressure the president, and Congress, are under to reduce the size of America’s government and we applaud reasonable efforts to do just that. Cutting the military significantly is not the way to balance the budget.

To be sure, with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan winding down, the military can go on a modest, sustainable diet. But the president isn’t proposing to trim the military; he wants to eviscerate it.

The president’s proposed budget for the 2015 fiscal year would cut some $113 billion from the Defense Department.

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