The press is slamming President Obama's aggressive push to get the Pentagon off a war-footing for the first time in 60 years. Their claim: "He'll downsize the Army to the smallest since 1940!" -- dredging up images of an unprepared military and another Pearl Harbor.
The truth is, if Obama's plan is carried out, the U.S. Army will still be THREE TIMES the size it was in 1940.
Obama wants to cancel a fleet of unneeded A-10 attack planes (designed to destroy Soviet tanks in the Cold War and useless for close combat), but the military-industrial complex is already howling about that. Obama wants to transfer the Blackhawk helicopters (which are used for transport) to the National Guard, and take the National Guard's Apache helicopters (which are bristling with weapons) to the Army. The NG is red-faced screaming mad about that, too, and is already lobbying Congress to not take away its toys.
Obama's budget imposes a salary freeze on admirals and generals, while giving grunt soldiers a 1 percent pay hike for the first time in years. The Army-Navy Association is spitting nails about that. Obama wants 11 WWII-style cruisers put on reduced status so that the new Littoral Combat Ship can take over these duties -- but already the Navy is pissing its pants about that, too.
I can't help but notice that the "smallest Army since 1940" was pretty much reched under George H.W. Bush in the early 1990s, but no one howled then. It trended down sharply under Clinton, and rose again under George W. Bush and under Obama. Only in 2011 did Obama undertake slight cuts. The first major cut came last year -- not this year -- but no one howled then.
The media has a lot to answer for on this, swallowing the military-industrial complex's propaganda line like this.