Saturday, April 17, 2004

Stretched thin

James Fallows details the "hollow army" in this month's Atlantic Monthly:

The United States spends more on armed forces than do all other countries combined; the resulting arsenal is more than a match for any opposing power and for nearly any conceivable coalition of foes. No one disputes that American military supremacy is an international reality. But our military has become vulnerable in a way that is obvious to everyone associated with it yet rarely acknowledged by politicians and probably not appreciated by much of the public. The military's people, its equipment, its supplies and spare parts, its logistics systems, and all its other assets are under pressure they cannot sustain. Everything has been operating on an emergency basis for more than two years, with no end to the emergency in sight. The situation was serious before the invasion of Iraq; now it is acute.
This overstretch really kicked into gear under Clinton's watch, but the Bush adventures following 9/11 have exacerbated the problem to the point of crisis. The ominous part of this is that nobody in the American political establishment has anything remotely productive to say about it since they've internalized the necessity of a hegemonic role for the US.

Who needs neocons to ridicule when mainstream Democrats -- including their presumptive Presidential candidate -- have already decided that reducing the Pentagon's budget and pulling back from abroad aren't even issues worth considering?