Defense Spending

While the Bush Administration's plan regarding a temporary freeze on defense spending is laudatory, the decision to follow this by a "modest growth" is, in my view an example of what Barbara Tuchman had in mind when she wrote "March of Folly." The book was undertaken by her to describe the unexplainable actions that civilizations have taken, counter to their own best interests. To me, rather than making the freeze a temporary stop on an ever upward spiral of defense spending, I submit that in view of our internal needs and the relaxation of tensions abroad, a substantial cut is in order.

We lag further and further in social services and national health while spending more and more on national defense. It's as if the money spent on armaments is sucking the vitality out of our infrastructure. All the problems that should be attended to--infant mortality, problems of the aged, literacy, acid rain, poverty, homelessness, on and on. Yet we move forward with ironclad determination to arm ourselves to the hilt in a quixotic manner to fight other nations that are similarly involved with the basic struggles to maintain or better their lives within their own milieu. There is no excuse for this country to rank 17th in infant mortality and 9th in longevity relative to the rest of the world. Again, priorities must be questioned or, alas, we will turn into an empty shell surrounded by state-of-the-art weapons.

RUSSELL BLINICK

Woodland Hills

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