ThinkProgress has been documenting that cutting the Defense Department’s bloated budget has been gaining momentum over the past year as part of the solution to reduce the deficit and debt. Tea Party-backed Republicans, other conservatives, and progressives are coming together in calling for defense cuts. Ultra-conservative Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) even said recently that “taking defense spending off the table is indefensible.” Today on CNN’s State of the Union, ret. General and former Secretary of State Colin Powell joined the growing chorus in calling for a reduction in defense spending:
CANDY CROWLEY: Where would you with specificity say, “Look we don’t need a bigger military?” Can we cut there?
POWELL: Yeah. I think we have to look at everything, domestic and our international accounts. As we draw down from Iraq and as over the next several years we draw down from Afghanistan, I see no reason why the military shouldn’t be looked at.
When the Cold War ended twenty years ago when I was chairman and Mr. Cheney was Secretary of Defense, we cut the defense budget by 25 percent and we reduced the force by 500,000 active duty soldiers. So it can be done. Now how fast you can do it and what you have to cut out remains to be seen. But I don’t think the defense budget can be made sacrosanct and it can’t be touched.
Also on NBC’s Meet the Press today, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) said “no one can defend the expenditure of every dollar and cent at the Pentagon and we’ve got to be very serious that they’re doing more with less as well.”