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Romney Goes Neocon

Last week Mitt Romney gave a hawkish speech at The Citadel, South Carolina’s revered military academy, during which he rained shot on President Barack Obama's national security policy like Old Ironsides dismasting the Guerriere.

That Obama subscribes to the apologize-for-America wing of liberalism is no surprise to anyone, nor is the fact that Obama has failed to maintain and promote U.S. supremacy.

The problem with Romney’s speech was not what he said, but what he left out.

Romney’s solution to Obama’s failures was to announce a national security team made-up of Bush-era Neocons and to propose that we spend not just more, but a whole lot more on the military. This undoubtedly made the defense industry insiders and contractors who are supporting Romney happy, but will it make America safer?

Let’s start with the premise that protecting our national sovereignty is the first duty of government; is spending more actually going to make us better able to meet our national security challenges?

At $693 billion for 2010, American military spending dwarfs the spending of our nearest competitors, such as number two-spender China’s $76 billion. And as a percentage of GDP, our military spending has actually increased from 2005 to the present as our economy has slowed, but military spending has not. On the other hand, China’s spending has grown in gross dollars, but diminished slightly as a percentage of GDP, because China’s economy has grown faster than its military spending.

What’s more, China holds around $900 billion of U.S. debt and the chief of the General Staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, Chen Bingde, has confidently noted that the United States spends too much on national defense.

And therein lies the first weakness of Romney’s speech at The Citadel – borrowing and spending more do not necessarily lead to a safer America – indeed our continued borrowing from China has given the Red Chinese the ultimate soft-power weapon to use against us; our own massive debt.

But perhaps the most glaring weakness in Romney’s speech was the complete omission of any acknowledgment that along with our massive defense spending has almost certainly come a massive amount of waste, fraud and abuse which must be rooted-out just like the rest of the federal government’s wasteful spending.

A 2010 Government Accountability Office report found that fully half of the Defense Logistics’ Agency $13 billion inventory was unneeded or excess. Earlier this year, a new report showed that in just two years (2007 to 2009), at least $682 million was paid in error to 30 companies that had been convicted of criminal fraud. And, just this past month, another $20 million scheme to defraud the Pentagon was uncovered.

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, an establishment Republican if there ever was one, once said, “Anybody who says you can’t save money at the Pentagon has never been to the Pentagon. We can save money on defense and if we Republicans don’t propose saving money on defense, we’ll have no credibility on anything else.”

And that was the problem with Romney’s speech at The Citadel; by adopting the Neocon’s “spend first, account later” policies, Romney lost much of the credibility he might have gained on national security issues. If Mitt Romney is not prepared to address the economic leverage our massive debt gives to competitors, such as China, and the institutional rot at the Pentagon that has led to the same culture of spending without accountability that has infected the rest of the federal government -- he’s not a candidate conservatives will support to be our next Commander-in-Chief.

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Romney and most of the other candidates are status quo politicians of the neocon Republican Party.  I have no intention of continuing their ignominious rule by voting for them.  Ron Paul is the only true Conservative Constitutionalist as evidenced by his actions over the past decades.