Opinion L.A.

Observations and provocations
from The Times' Opinion staff

« Previous Post | Opinion L.A. Home | Next Post »

Fewer guns don't mean more butter, Mr. Mayor

Troops To borrow some phraseology from the Vietnam War, the U.S. Conference of Mayors is asking Washington for more butter, fewer guns.  That's the import of a resolution approved by the conference on Monday  calling for President Obama and Congress to "speed up the ending" of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

One reaction to the resolution is: "Who asked them?" Mayors have no role in foreign or defense policy, and while they are free as citizens to take positions on war spending or anything else, a collective resolution encourages the fallacy that they possess some special authority. It isn't as blatant a violation of federalism as the attempt by some cities in the 1980s to declare themselves "nuclear-free zones," but it still  smacks of interloping.

A more trenchant objection to the resolution is that the mayors seem to assume that the funds spent in Afghanistan and Iraq would be available for other purposes if the wars disappeared.  Granted, the resolution was amended to mention reducing the federal debt. But the emphasis is on spending the liberated funds on "vital human needs." Even without a deficit crisis, such a reallocation would take place over the prostrate bodies of more  than a few members of Congress.

Given the fact that cities depend on federal spending, it's perfectly defensible for mayors to lobby the White House for "jobs, jobs, jobs," as a group of them -- including Los Angeles' Antonio Villaraigosa -- did on Monday. But the mayors lose some  credibility when they stray into world affairs. All politics are not local.

ALSO:

Say what you will, it's a war in Libya

A sensible way forward for the U.S. in Afghanistan

Troop withdrawal from Afghanistan must be significant

Obama faces critical decision on Afghan troop withdrawal

Jonah Goldberg: Libya and America's commitment problem

-- Michael McGough

Photo: U.S. troops examine confiscated weapons and ammunition during a raid in Sabari, in eastern Afghanistan. Credit: Ted Aljibe, AFP/Getty Images / June 19, 2011

 

Comments () | Archives (1)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Joe Gallagher

Bravo to the mayors for speaking the truth. I wish the mainstream media and Obama had enough guts to do so.


Connect

Advertisement

In Case You Missed It...

Video


Categories


Recent Posts
Reading Supreme Court tea leaves on 'Obamacare' |  March 27, 2012, 5:47 pm »
Candidates go PG-13 on the press |  March 27, 2012, 5:45 am »
Santorum's faulty premise on healthcare reform |  March 26, 2012, 5:20 pm »

Archives
 


About the Bloggers
The Opinion L.A. blog is the work of Los Angeles Times Editorial Board membersNicholas Goldberg, Robert Greene, Carla Hall, Jon Healey, Sandra Hernandez, Karin Klein, Michael McGough, Jim Newton and Dan Turner. Columnists Patt Morrison and Doyle McManus also write for the blog, as do Letters editor Paul Thornton, copy chief Paul Whitefield and senior web producer Alexandra Le Tellier.



In Case You Missed It...