Washington Post columnist Robert Samuelson says today that "We shouldn't gut defense. A central question of our budget debates is how much we allow growing social spending to crowd out the military and, in effect, force the United States into a dangerous, slow-motion disarmament."

Indeed, defending America is the government's primary responsibility:

Defense spending is unlike other spending, because protecting the nation is government's first job. It's in the Constitution, as highways, school lunches and Social Security are not. We should spend as much as needed, but that amount is never clear. Even in the Cold War, when the Soviet Union's capabilities were intensively analyzed, there was no scientific and exact number....

By itself, defense spending doesn't ensure that our national power will be wisely or effectively deployed. This depends on our civilian and military leaders. But squeezing defense will limit their choices and expose U.S. troops to greater risk. Those who advocate deep cuts need to specify which goals -- combating cyber warfare, countering China, fighting terrorism -- should be curtailed.

Whole thing here.

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