The Stealth Peace Dividend

Remember the peace dividend that was supposed to result from the end of the cold war? Forget it. Saddam Hussein's grab of Kuwait not only created a new and unpredictable defense-spending burden of its own but also handed the Pentagon a gulf-crisis bonus. The budget that was approved last week cut only $18 billion in defense appropriations, vs. the $24 billion favored by the House as recently as September. Still, the $288 billion funding represents an 8.5% drop from the last fiscal year's spending and may shave 25% from projected defense outlays over the next five years.

Lawmakers used the gulf...

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