War hawk John Bolton is adamantly opposed to any cuts to the Defense Department’s budget, or military spending in general. In fact, he thinks the U.S. should spend more. Bolton recently argued that in order to put more in the Pentagon’s coffers, Congress should take funds from Social Security and Medicare.
On Fox News last night, Bolton cheered Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s — so far evidence-free — claim that further cuts in military spending would be “devastating.” “We have been under spending on defense. We should be spending more,” Bolton said, adding that the U.S. should be directing those additional funds toward weapons and “force levels around the world.” Yet Bolton does see an area where the military can trim the fat: veterans’ health care and retirement benefits:
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN: Nobody is talking about monitoring these contractors to see where our money is going. That’s the thing that is stunning. We’re talking about how much we need. But we are not doing anything it seems to make sure we really need it.
BOLTON: We should be. Look, there’s fraud and waste in the defense budget, of course there is.
VAN SUSTEREN: Why doesn’t anybody talk about that?
BOLTON: That’s part of the government. I think we can do more in military health care for example, to cut costs there, in the retirement system…
Watch the clip:
John Bolton isn’t wrong in saying that savings can be found in the military’s health care and retirement programs. Indeed, CAP’s Larry Korb, Laura Conley, and Alex Rothman recently noted that the U.S. can save $15 billion per year on military health care while continuing to meet its obligations to the nation’s veterans. However, that’s in addition to hundreds of billions of dollars in sensible cost reductions in military spending. But if Bolton had his way, he’d continue to line defense contractors’ pockets without scrutiny at the expense of the men and women fighting the wars he’s worked so hard to promote.