I have been meaning to write this letter since December, when I read an article in the Washington Post that detailed some interesting figures about Pentagon spending. Now, I read that the White House is proposing major cuts to important domestic programs in order to fund a $54 billion increase to the already bloated Defense Department budget.

I protest.

According to that Washington Post article, the Pentagon has some 1,040,000 civilians, contractors and uniformed personnel supporting 1,300,000 troops. Core business operations, costing $134 billion, comprise 23 percent of the $580 billion overall budget. According to an internal Pentagon report made (and buried) last year, $25 billion per year in administrative waste could be eliminated without hurting our national security. Examples: There are 199,661 Army contractors (individual persons) — each paid an average of $189,188 per year; there are 197,093 such persons in the Navy paid an average of $170,865 each; and there are 122,470 Air Force contractors paid an average of $186,142.

How about stopping that stupid, overpriced privatization; bring it back “in-house” and pay substantially less for the same services? And why not close some of the 600+ military bases overseas while we are at it?

Dwight Eisenhower warned about the dangers of the military-industrial complex, but the public hasn’t heeded those warnings. One could argue that the more that is spent (beyond a reasonable level), the less safe we are. A budget of $634 billion a year is not a reasonable amount. The U.S. spends nine times what Russia spends a year and three times what China spends a year.

Enough already.

Richard Whiting, Auburn

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