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Letter: Pentagon can afford a 10% cut

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta speaks during the

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta speaks during the opening of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) 11th Asia Security Summit in Singapore. (June 2, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

Sequestration is currently the voodoo curse feared by Washington. The upcoming 10 percent cut in defense and other spending is a result of the failure of Congress to reach agreement on federal budget cuts.

Republicans last year who voted for sequestration if no budget deal was reached are attempting to blame President Barack Obama for the spending cuts. Memories are short-lived among politicians in an election year.

The Pentagon budget is enormous. Hundreds of billions of dollars are spent yearly, with many programs exceeding their budgets; billions are unaccounted for, while weapons seemingly of little value have a life of their own driven by pork-barrel politics.

Sequestration and the deficit-reduction problem could have been resolved if House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) had won approval of the bargain he and the president originally reached. The speaker failed to convince his caucus. With the Republicans subject to the power of the tea party and married to their oaths never to raise taxes, their rhetoric is self-serving.

It is doubtful that many mainstream Americans believe a 10 percent reduction phased in over time to a budget in the billions will weaken national defense.

Edward Horn, Baldwin