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On discute surtout des réductions de budget pour le personnel de l’armée US. Il s’agirait d’un total de 450 milliards de dollars à économiser… sur les dix prochaines années. Au plus, le Parlement pourrait parvenir à imposer que ces économies soient multipliées par deux. En l’occurrence, que l’économie soit celle proposée par l’administration Obama, ou que les maximalistes des chambres l’emportent, il s’agira dans tous les cas de maintenir des niveaux de dépenses comparables ou supérieurs à ceux de la Guerre froide !

Le New York Times ne s’honore pas en publiant un pseudo sondage auprès de ses lecteurs sur le site du, concluant que ceux-ci approuveraient moins d’un tiers des économies proposées par le gouvernement. Le questionnaire est présenté de telle façon que les lecteurs n’ont d’autre choix que de cocher chacune des lignes budgétaires proposées dans le projet de réduction, une par une, en commençant par une série d’économies discutables, sinon choquantes, tendant à réduire ou supprimer le bénéfice de la sécurité sociale aux anciens soldats qui se retrouveraient à devoirs payer les médicaments dont ils ont besoin suite aux dégâts que la guerre a pu occasionner…

Mais on trouve aussi d’autres questions intéressantes comme : Etes-vous pour ou contre une réduction de 3% du budget du renseignement ? ; ou bien : Etes-vous pour ou contre une réduction des deux tiers du budget des groupes musicaux qu’on envoie pour distraire les boys qui s’ennuient au front ? Et ainsi pour une bonne centaine de cases à cocher…

Mécaniquement un tel sondage impose que la réponse soit inférieure au budget proposé. Au mieux, si 100% des personnes qui répondent cochaient toutes les cases, alors ce qui est présenté comme le budget proposé par « les lecteurs »… équivaudrait au budget Obama. Mais bien sûr, le résultat ne pouvait qu’être largement inférieur, ne serait-ce que pour la paresse de cocher, mais aussi lorsqu’on n’est pas du tout d’accord pour réduire seulement de 3% le budget de la CIA, NSA, and co...

Notons combien il peut être indigne de la part d’un journal supposé exprimer la gauche critique new-yorkaise de se livrer à un exercice de propagande aussi plat que la mise en scène d’un tel pseudo sondage qui ose afficher le chiffre de 137 milliards comme la réduction que souhaiteraient ses lecteurs…

Mais les graphiques reproduits ci-dessous sont aussi un brin manipulatoires, présentant d’un côté le « budget annuel de base », et, séparément, les budgets supplémentaires pour les opérations « outremer ». On peut voir d’un coup d’œil que si les deux informations étaient représentées sur le même graphique, donnant le budget global, la courbe d’inflation des dépenses ces dernières années serait particulièrement impressionnante.

Faut-il souligner ici que c’est précisément dans ce mouvement d’inflation de la dépense militaire que le budget de l’Etat s’est grevé d’un déficit abyssal ?

Est-il vraiment si compliqué de comprendre qu’il faut en finir avec les budgets militaires ?

Paris s’éveille

Defense Budget Cuts Would Limit Raises and Close Bases

26 janvier 2012

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon took the first major step toward shrinking its budget after a decade of war as it announced Thursday that it wanted to limit pay raises for troops, increase health insurance fees for military retirees and close bases in the United States.

Although the pay-raise limits were described as modest, and would not start until 2015, they are certain to ignite a political fight in Congress, which since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has almost always raised military salaries beyond what the Pentagon has recommended.

Increasing health insurance fees for retirees and closing bases are also fraught with political risk, particularly when Republican presidential candidates are charging that President Obama is debilitating the military.

Next year’s Pentagon budget is to be $525 billion, down from $531 billion this fiscal year. Even though the Defense Department has been called on to find $259 billion in cuts in the next five years — and $487 billion over the decade — its base budget (not counting the costs of Afghanistan or other wars) will rise to $567 billion by 2017. But when adjusted for inflation, the increases are small enough that they will amount to a slight cut of 1.6 percent of the Pentagon’s base budget over the next five years.

Nonetheless, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said he was working with about $500 billion less than he had anticipated having on hand through 2017, meaning that the Pentagon had to trim personnel and favorite high-profile weapons programs. “This has been tough work,” Mr. Panetta said at an hourlong news conference.

He said that the Army would be reduced over five years to 490,000 troops, down from a peak of 570,000, and that the Marines would be cut to 182,000, down from 202,000. (Ground forces would still be slightly larger than they were before 9/11.) The Pentagon initially will buy fewer F-35 Joint Strike Fighter stealth jets, which are not expected to be in service until at least 2017 and have the distinction of being one of the costliest weapons programs in history. In the Navy, 14 warships will be either retired early or built more slowly.

Both Mr. Panetta and Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who also addressed the news conference, repeatedly said that the United States would still maintain the strongest military in the world, an assessment that seemed aimed at Republicans as well as America’s adversaries. “Capability is more important than size,” General Dempsey said. He added that “this budget does not lead to a military in decline” and that “it is a military that can win any conflict, anywhere.”

Although all American combat troops have been out of Iraq since mid-December and the Obama administration is beginning to withdraw what had been more than 100,000 United States forces in Afghanistan, the Pentagon budget includes a request for $88.4 billion next year, above the $525 billion base budget, to pay for combat operations overseas. Mr. Panetta said that Afghanistan, where there are still 90,000 American troops, accounts for the bulk of that money. This year’s budget for combat operations overseas is $115 billion.

Pentagon officials did not specify what the limits would be on military pay increases in 2015 and beyond, when American troops are due to be home from Afghanistan, although they characterized the change as incremental — an acknowledgment of the political risk of having active and retired members of the armed forces bear the brunt of the budget cuts. “Let me be clear, nobody’s pay will be cut,” Mr. Panetta said.

Still, the defense secretary has also called military personnel costs “unsustainable.” The Pentagon currently spends $181 billion a year, nearly a third of its base budget, on military personnel : $107 billion for salaries and allowances, $50 billion for health care and $24 billion for retirement pay.

Military salaries have risen steadily since the Sept. 11 attacks, and officers have in many cases fared better than enlisted personnel.

A private first class with a family and three years’ experience deployed to a war zone took home $26,700 tax-free in 2001, compared with $36,000 today — an 11 percent raise over inflation. A lieutenant colonel with a family and 20 years’ experience deployed to the same war zone took home $84,000 tax-free in 2001, compared with $120,000 today — a 16 percent increase.

Posing another political challenge was Mr. Panetta’s announcement that the president would request another round of base closings and realignments — never popular with members of Congress who try to preserve military spending, and jobs, in their districts. Pentagon officials said savings from any base closings were not reflected in the five-year budget Mr. Panetta was sending to the White House.

There were already objections on Thursday morning, hours before Mr. Panetta made his public presentation. Senator Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat who is chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told reporters that until the United States shut down some of its bases in Europe, “I’m not going to be able to support” closing bases in America.

Mr. Panetta has said that two armored Army brigades — as many as 10,000 troops — would come home from Europe over the next decade, leaving two brigades and some support troops behind.

Although Mr. Obama has given an aspirational pledge to reduce the nation’s nuclear arsenal to zero, there was nothing in Thursday’s announcement about reaching that goal. All three legs of the nuclear triad — bombers, submarine-launched missiles and land-based missiles — will be preserved. The program to replace the Ohio class nuclear-missile submarine will be delayed by two years.

Mr. Panetta has repeatedly said that he would preserve financing for Special Operations forces, cyberwarfare and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems, and the budget makes good on that promise.

The Pentagon did not say how much health insurance fees would increase — the details are to come in early February. Families now pay $520 a year, far below the cost of a private carrier.

Criticism of the proposed budget came swiftly from senior Republicans on Capitol Hill.

“These cuts reflect President Obama’s vision of an America that is weakened, not strengthened, by our men and women in uniform,” said Howard P. McKeon of California, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. “To be clear, the impacts of these cuts are far deeper than Congress envisioned.”

[Source : New York Times]