cross-posted from: https://exploding-heads.com/post/74722
> Mark Levin has been on a tear against populist nationalists ever since the Brave 20 stood up against the establishment coronation of Kevin McCarthy as Speaker.
> He told the Brave 20 to yield to the establishment in the name of unity. Since McCarthy has been elected Speaker, Mark Levin has not given the Brave 20 credit for what they achieved, claiming it all would have happened anyway.
> I have been listening to Mark Levin for many years and he is a man with enormous intellect. But he has two equally enormous blind spots:
> - Seemingly unwavering support for Big Pharma (if the Covid debacle has not cured him of that, nothing will), and
> - Ever increasing military spending.
> It is military spending that I want to discuss here.
> On Wednesday January 11th, Mark launched [a full scale assault ](https://www.podbean.com/media/share/dir-fve3x-16339a39?utm_campaign=w_share_ep&utm_medium=dlink&utm_source=w_share)on those within the Republican Party who are not willing to blindly sign off on ever increasing Military Spending. His attack included many straw man arguments that divide rather then unify.
> I would like to deconstruct some of those straw man arguments to identify those areas on which we agree and can easily unify versus those areas where we do not agree.
> Mark Levine says Communist China is a nation preparing for war:
> - has 5 times as many people as us
> - has nuclear weapons - the technology they stole from us
> - has a serious air force
> - has a navy larger then ours
> - is pouring an enormous money into this effort that is not just disclosed as military spending, but involves a lot of their civilian functions.
> To which I say we agree. Communist China is a serious threat
> Mark Levine says it would be insane to ignore:
> - Iran has naval ships around the panama canal
> - China has bases in our hemisphere in violation of the [Monroe Doctrine](https://history.state.gov/milestones/1801-1829/monroe)
> - China has a major military base on the west coast of Africa to strike the United States
> - China just made a military deal with the Solomon Islands with a very deep port
> - China has built nuclear missiles that can hit the United States
> - China has killer satellites
> - China seeks to conquer the moon
> - China seeks to control both sides of the panama canal through contracts
> - You would not have believed 10 years ago that China would have consumed Hong Kong the way it plans to consume Taiwan
> - Putin wrote 18 months ago, Ukraine is not his primary target, the rest of European Europe is. If Putin was to cut through Ukraine and hit Poland, Romania, Hungry, the Balkan States we are required to go to war under NATO
> To which I say we agree. I would argue if the Ukraine situation was better handled early on, the position we find ourselves in today would be vastly different – but we are where we are.
> To his credit Mark Levin does not rule out all cuts to Military Spending. He says:
> - we are not talking about waste, fraud, and abuse – we all agree with that
> - we are not talking about oversight by inspector general on Ukraine – we agree with that
> - maybe there can be cutting here and there, we agree with that – that is just fiscally responsible
> - ensuring people are not getting rich off your hard earned taxpayer dollars whether it is spent on Welfare or Ukraine or Israel or Kansas
> To which I say we agree. But we are not just interested in focus group tested phrases like “waste, fraud, & abuse” or offloading responsibility to inspector generals. We want a real review of military spending to ensure it is being spent wisely and in the most effective way to ensure our nation’s defense.
> Mark Levin says sudo-conservatives are talking about slashing defense spending:
> - because we all know it is defense contractors making all the money.
> - we are supposed to hate defense contractors that engineer, design, build, & develop the arsenal that protects America and protects our troops
> - we are supposed to turn on the businesses that provide us with the jets, missiles, bullets, tanks, armaments, technology that make us the #1 military power on the face of the earth now
> To which I say – no that is not what we are saying. But defense contractors are rightly focused on increasing shareholder value and their interests may not always be 100% aligned with the best interests of the American people. We should recognize that and take it into account in our decision making process. Surely that is not unreasonable.
> Mark Levin says conservatives who talk about cutting military spending are like leftists talking about defunding and disarming the police, except we are dealing with:
> - The Communist Chinese
> - Neo-facists in Iran, and
> - Dictators like Putin in Russia
> He goes on to say conservatives that talk about cutting military by ending (or simply not getting involved in) forever wars (like Afghanistan and Iraq) are preventing us from defending ourselves. Conservatives that would prefer to spend that money here at home (where our borders are being over run) are preventing us from defending ourselves. That conservatives who talk about ending forever wars do not want to give money to Israel.
> To which I say – your logic escapes me. If Afghanistan and Iraq are your models for success, then yes we disagree. But this disagreement in no way means we should not defend ourselves.
> In another part of the program, Mark Levin talks about the failures at the FAA and says:
> Don’t tell me they don’t have enough money, I am sick of hearing this:
> - They have enough money
> - They are swimming in money
> - They eat money for salad, they put dressing on it
> - The bureaucracy has more money then you can spit at
> - We have never ever created this much money in our human existence
> - I don’t want to hear there is not enough money
> To which I say that sums up perfectly how many of us feel when we are told we should blindly increase military spending despite the recent waste and failures of the military and without making significant changes to improve the outcomes.
> I would remind Mark Levin that Ronald Regan destroyed the Soviet Union by forcing them to spend money on their military that their economy simply could not afford and ended up bringing down the evil empire. With $31 trillion in acknowledged debt and probably at least another $100 trillion kept off the books in the form of contingent liabilities, etc. America is at risk of suffering the same fate as the Soviet Union if we keep blindly increasing military spending regardless of how well it is being spent.
> Remember the US Department of Defense has, for the fifth straight year, failed to pass a financial audit, with only seven out of the Pentagon’s 27 military agencies receiving a passing grade:
> - the [Pentagon only managed to account for 39 percent of its $3.5 trillion in assets](https://thecradle.co/Article/news/18716) (they have misplaced $2.1 trillion in assets – where did they all go?)
> - in 2019 alone, the [Pentagon made $35 trillion in accounting adjustments](https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-01-22/pentagon-racks-up-35-trillion-in-accounting-changes-in-one-year#xj4y7vzkg) – a figure larger than the entire US economy (ask any auditor – this volume of accounting adjustments is a huge red flag for fraud and malfeasance).
> Lets put those numbers in context.
> Remember the outrage over the amount of military equipment left behind in Afghanistan.[ Estimates ranged from $3 billion to $85 billion](https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2021/sep/01/viral-image/claim-overstates-military-weapons-equipment-us-lef/). Lets take the high figure and say it was $85 billion. The $2.1 trillion in assets the military cannot account for is at least 24 times the value of the equipment left behind in Afghanistan. Imagine that, enough equipment to fight 24 wars the size of the Afghanistan conflict is missing and for us to dare to demand a closer look at where all the money has gone is unpatriotic – I don’t think so – let the light shine in.
> I believe the 2023 military budget is somewhere between $700 billion and $800 billion. If you find those $2.1 trillion is missing assets – you could fund our military for 3 years. Let’s do that instead of throwing more money at the problem.
> Mark, I do not know if I am a:
> - populist
> - nationalist
> - conservative
> - isolationist
> - constitutionalist
> - knucklehead, or
> - all of the above
> But I do know I am not a:
> - Socialist
> - Communist
> - Marxist, or
> - Fascist
> I want a strong military and believe in peace through strength. Surely we have a common cause, yet you seek to divide us simply because we do not want to blindly continue to increase military spending without first making sure the military is accountable for the money we invest in it and it is being spent both effectively and wisely.
> Are you really seeking unity?