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Reason 16 to Vote Obama: More Effective Military

What I see as one of America’s biggest problems today is the mismatch between the United State’s military capability and the tasks we set for it. As a result too many servicemembers are seeing third and fourth back to back tours of Iraq, Afghanistan and other global hotspots. This takes an unacceptable toll on our men and women in uniform. Equipment and training also suffer. This needs to change.

If it were me, I would solve this dilemma by scaling back our commitments back down to the level of our military resources. Neither Obama or McCain is proposing this and the very idea is anathema in US politics. We’re “too tough” to take that route. Make no mistake, Obama will continue to use the military as President. He will cooperate with Iraq’s government to end the occupation, but he will redeploy troops to Afghanistan and provide military logistics to Darfur.

What Obama proposes to do, as does McCain, is to expand the US military to try and increase its capabilities to meet the increased demand for their services. This is a self-consistent approach that I can respect. I believe that Obama has the smarter plan to make this happen. Some of his actions items include:

  • Rebuild the Military for 21st Century Tasks: As we rebuild our armed forces, we must not simply recreate the military of the Cold War era. Obama believes that we must build up our special operations forces, civil affairs, information operations, and other units and capabilities that remain in chronic short supply; invest in foreign language training, cultural awareness, and human intelligence and other needed counterinsurgency and stabilization skill sets; and create a more robust capacity to train, equip, and advise foreign security forces, so that local allies are better prepared to confront mutual threats.
  • Expand to Meet Military Needs on the Ground: Barack Obama supports plans to increase the size of the Army by 65,000 soldiers and the Marines by 27,000 troops. Increasing our end strength will help units retrain and re-equip properly between deployments and decrease the strain on military families.
  • Fully Equip Our Troops for the Missions They Face: Barack Obama believes we must get vitally needed equipment to our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines before lives are lost. We cannot repeat such failures as the delays in deployment of armored vehicles, body armor and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles that save lives on the frontlines.
  • Ensure Freedom of Space: An Obama administration will restore American leadership on space issues, seeking a worldwide ban on weapons that interfere with military and commercial satellites. He will thoroughly assess possible threats to U.S. space assets and the best options, military and diplomatic, for countering them, establishing contingency plans to ensure that U.S. forces can maintain or duplicate access to information from space assets and accelerating programs to harden U.S. satellites against attack.
  • Barack Obama will provide the National Guard with the equipment it needs for foreign and domestic emergencies and time to restore and refit before deploying. He will make the head of the National Guard a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to ensure concerns of our citizen soldiers reach the level they mandate. He will ensure that reservists and Guard members are treated fairly when it comes to employment, health, and education benefits.

Two other advantages of Obama’s approach to growing the military are:

  • Obama is willing pay for his military expansion here and now by allowing some Bush tax cuts to expire. McCain pushes the cost of his expansion onto our children by insisting that we cut taxes while raising defense spending. McCain talks about saving money by eliminating earmarks, but even Citizens Against Government Waste could only identify $17.2B in pork spending in 2008. Cutting this amount would not fund two months of the Iraq Occupation, something which McCain wishes to continue against the desires of the Iraqi people.
  • Obama doesn’t place National Missile Defense (NMD) as a cornerstone of his defense policy. He wants to see it proven before deployment and doesn’t want it to divert resources from more critical defense areas. His position likely comes from an understanding that we are more likely to face a nuke in a cargo ship than an missile attack. Missiles can be traced back to their point of origin, leaving little doubt as to responsibility. McCain continues spending in this area, taking away funds that could be used for more servicemembers.

McCain is a veteran. Obama is not. But in terms of rebuilding the nation’s military, Obama has the more specific and better plan of reshaping our armed forces to meet what America has determined to be the threats of this century. That is part of the reason he deserves your vote on November 4th.

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