Trump-Era Defense Secretary: ‘Cut Military Spending’ by Half, Stop Hyping China Threat

This March 27, 2008, file photo, shows the Pentagon in Washington. The Pentagon said Tuesday, July 6, 2021, that it is canceling a cloud-computing contract with Microsoft that could eventually have been worth $10 billion and will instead pursue a deal with both Microsoft and Amazon. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)InternationalIndiaAfricaAs the Biden administration prepares to request congressional approval of the largest military budget in US history, Trump’s final pick for Pentagon chief has urged a “40-50%” reduction in spending on the armed forces, saying the Defense Department is “too big and bloated and wasteful.”Former acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller has raised eyebrows by calling out the “military-industrial complex” by name, as well as urging policymakers to “dramatically” cut the Pentagon’s budget and to stop demonizing China.“We have created an entire enterprise that focuses economically on creating crisis to justify outrageously high defense spending,” Miller lamented in an interview with CBS.With the military-industrial complex having become a “hydra-headed monster” and with “virtually no brakes on the American war machine,” Miller told CBS that “you have to starve the beast to make people come out of their cubby holes and start thinking creatively.”The former acting defense secretary has also condemned the frequent saber rattling that’s come to dominate popular American political discourse regarding the alleged military threat which US leaders claim emanates from China.Miller argued that “by constantly harping on the fact that the Chinese are the greatest threat to America and what not,” Washington’s political class is giving China’s leadership the “opportunity” to “have an enemy that they can focus their people’s anger and attention on.”In his new memoir, “Soldier Secretary,” Miller calls to cut Defense Department spending by 40% to 50% so that it would be closer to pre-9/11 spending levels, given that the US is “no longer waging wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.”Much of his frustration with the course of the US military appeared to stem from the double standards he says have been exposed in the wake of disastrous and bloody US invasions in the Middle East.“The more I thought, the more I was horrified,” Miller writes. “We invaded a sovereign nation, killed and maimed a lot of Iraqis, and lost some of the greatest American patriots to ever live — all for a goddamned lie.”What “really bothers me,” Miller said in an interview with The Hill this week, is how “our young soldiers see the hypocrisy” in the system.Trump-Era Defense Secretary: ‘Cut Military Spending’ by Half, Stop Hyping China ThreatMilitaryBiden Preparing to Ask US Congress for Biggest Defense Budget in History: Report10 February, 17:53 GMT“If they end up being late for work, they get in a lot of trouble,” he noted, adding that if a soldier were to “mess up a piece of paperwork for a supply request, there’s a possibility they can be kicked out of the service.”And on the other side of the equation, “there’s the people who lose wars and end up advancing on to other positions of power and wealth,” Miller stated. “And that’s what really bugs me.”It’s a theme the former acting secretary of defense returns to frequently in his new book.“The recognition that so many sacrifices were ultimately made in the service of a lie, as in Iraq, or to further a delusion, as in the neoconservatives’ utopian fantasy of a democratic Middle East… It still makes my blood boil, and it probably will until the day I die,” he writes.But despite the raw emotions on display in the memoir, Miller doesn’t express much optimism that lawmakers in Washington will heed his call for a more reasonable Pentagon budget.“There’s no incentive to reduce military spending,” he told the Hill. “I think there’s whispers, but [we need] someone with the courage and experience to get in there and force it.”

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