The draconian budget cuts in store if Congress fails to agree on a budget deal would shrink our military to pre-World War II levels, according to Defense Secretary Panetta ("Deep defense cuts means fewer troops," Nov. 15). That's a scary prospect given the threats we face.
Even as we prepare to withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan, America faces significant challenges in the Middle East that could require military intervention -- for example, Iran could soon have the ability to launch nuclear-tipped missiles at Israel, Europe or even the United States. Elsewhere, North Korea covets nuclear weapons and its capricious dictator, Kim Jong-Il, already has the ability to fire missiles at Alaska. Experts think California will be in his reach within five years.
Without a deal, Congress would decimate much-needed funding for Navy modernization, fighter jets, drone aircraft and investments in surveillance, intelligence and missile defense technologies. Missile defense, which has been so successful in recent simulations and tests that such Democrats as Hillary Clinton now support further funding, is particularly important given the chance of a missile attack from North Korea or Iran.
We've already cut the fat; Congress must be careful not to cut into muscle or America could be permanently weakened.
Joseph F. Morgan
President/CEO, Veterans of Modern Warfare