Saturday, September 19, 2009

Obama's Secret Plan to Save Money on Missile Defense

From the Washington

I'm glad to see the Obama administration abandoning the really dumb and provocative long-range missile defense system based in Poland and the Czech Republic and replacing it with a short-range missile defense system that's sea-based with sites in (probably) Romania, Israel and Turkey. I might like to see them abandon the idea altogether, but them's the breaks. This way, you do less to anger Russia and you save a bit of money. You just can't say you're saving any money.

Look at the Pentagon's fact sheet, courtesy of Spencer Ackerman. "Cost-effective" is the preferred euphemism for "will save a boatload of money." In his remarks today, Obama stuck to the message: He used the term "cost-effective" three times.

Usually, of course, you don't need to dance around the fact that your policy change will save taxpayers giant sacks of cash. But you do on national security. Saving money there, after all, is pretty much like sending Osama bin Laden a great big check. This view is particularly strongly held by conservatives who are normally quite quick to point out the bloat and waste and inefficiency inherent in government spending projects, but stand proudly behind a hyper-funded and largely unaccountable military-spending sector. It reminds me of Chris Hayes's comment that the most fiscally pernicious words in the English language are "non-defense discretionary spending."

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