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Steve Forbes on Defense


Act unilaterally, without UN command or involvement

Source: Vote-Smart.org 2000 NPAT Jan 13, 2000

Haiti & Somalia interventions were mistakes

Q: What troops would you bring home from what countries? A: They didn’t have to send in troops to Haiti. We tried that from 1915-34. It didn’t work then. It didn’t work today. In Somalia it was one thing to get the food on the ground, quite another to play social workers and try to re-make that benighted country. That was a mistake. We do have very real interests in the world. But throwing our forces around [without] an exit strategy and not building up the military is a policy of disaster.
Source: Phoenix Arizona GOP Debate Dec 7, 1999

Maintain production of F-22 fighters

Congress has canceled production of the proposed new F-22 fighter aircraft. The aircraft is light-years ahead of the current F-15 and F-16 in stealth capabilities, avionics and weapons systems. Critics carp that the plane is unneeded in a post-Cold War world and that we should, instead, only upgrade the F-15 and F-16. But foreign fighter planes are coming along that will match our current crop of fighters. Moreover, foreign countries are developing more sophisticated antiaircraft missiles.
Source: Fact and Comment, Forbes Magazine Nov 15, 1999

Problem is procurement process, not defense spending

As for the cost of the F-22, the same criticisms were made years ago when the F-15 and the F-18 were being developed. The problem of cost overruns lies not so much in the F-22 itself as in the entire government procurement and development process, an area that badly needs reform. But it would be shortsighted to shoot down the F-22 because of governmental operational deficiencies. Change the process, but don’t sacrifice this new fighter.
Source: Fact and Comment, Forbes Magazine Nov 15, 1999

Percentage of GDP on defense is too little

Today, the US spends less on defense as a percentage of our economy than we did at any time since he Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. For the world’s only superpower, that is an invitation to very serious trouble. Can we turn things around? Of course. But it is going to take real leadership that will seriously assess our situation and persuade the American people that business as usual will not be enough to protect us from threats that lie just over the horizon.
Source: “A New Birth of Freedom,” p. 159-60 Nov 9, 1999

Deploy an Aegis-style missile defense worldwide now

We could construct viable missile defenses for ourselves and our allies in Europe, Israel, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea-to name a few-by integrating new missile defense innovations with existing technologies on the Navy’s Aegis cruisers. American taxpayers have already invested some $50 billion in missile defense research. Experts believe it would take less than $10 billion to finish the job. But the president & vice president continue to drag their feet. What in God’s name are they waiting for?
Source: “A New Birth of Freedom,” p. 161-2 Nov 9, 1999

ABM Treaty was a bad idea then and worse today

The current administration clings to the ABM Treaty, which prevents the US from fully developing effective missile defenses. The treaty was a bad idea during the Cold War, given its reliance on “assured vulnerability.” But it certainly makes no sense today. The nation we signed the treaty with-the USSR-no longer exists. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to carry them makes the ABM Treaty an even worse idea-and missile defenses an even better idea-today.
Source: “A New Birth of Freedom,” p. 162 Nov 9, 1999

More $ for veterans’ health & housing; fund WWII memorial

Source: Press Release on Veterans Health Sep 6, 1999

Military has been hollowed with little to show

“Under the Clinton-Gore administration, our military has been hollowed out and sent on numerous foreign adventures,” Forbes said, though he didn’t mention Kosovo or any places. “I ask you, is the world more organized than when they took over? Are our armed forces stronger or weaker? Is our classified intelligence more secure or at jeopardy? Is our mission clearer or more confused?” Forbes rhetorically said to his supporters.
Source: CNN.com/AllPolitics ‘Forbes raises $1 million’ Jun 17, 1999

SDI defends against rogue states’ nuclear blackmail

We must go all out to develop a ballistic missile defense system. Efforts by hostile nations to acquire ballistic missiles with biological or nuclear payloads pose a growing threat. Soon these countries will have enormous blackmail capability. Iraq could say: Do you really want to risk American civilian lives just to stop us from grabbing Kuwait? Congress should pass the necessary legislation [to develop SDI despite the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty with the USSR].
Source: Fact and Comment FORBES Magazine Aug 24, 1998

Stop “demobilizing” US military, or pay long-term price

The Clinton Administration is engaged in a dangerous demobilization of US defense capabilities. It is systematically stripping away America’s military might. It is weakening our ability to defend ourselves, to project our power, or to protect our allies and interests. We have been fortunate so far. But remember the 1920s & 1930s, and the fearful price we paid for Allied drift, dithering and indecision. American defense spending [will be] down to just 2.6% of GDP by 2002, the lowest since the 1930s.
Source: “American Leadership” speech at Casey Inst., NYC May 4, 1998

Lack of military readiness hurts global economy

Forbes accused the Clinton-Gore Administration of severely reducing American military readiness. He argued that if uncorrected, US military and diplomatic weakness could seriously undermine US and global economic prosperity. “We live in a time of relative peace and rising prosperity,” said Mr. Forbes. “But this did not happen by magic. The international economic order rests upon a foundation built by free markets, free elections, and the strong and vigilant moral and military leadership of the US
Source: “American Leadership” speech at Casey Inst., NYC May 4, 1998

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