Although budget sequestration may seem vague, blindly cutting another $500 billion from our national defense could weaken programs that defend U.S. cities from nuclear ballistic missile attack -- a very real threat.
North Korea has successfully tested large nuclear weapons and a ballistic missile capable of hitting major West Coast cities. It even released a video that depicts a nuclear attack against New York City. Reports show that Iran is accelerating its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. The Ground-based Midcourse Defense system (GMD) provides our only defense against these attacks. Yet the looming automatic budget cuts could slow the construction of additional interceptors in California and Alaska that we need to strengthen the system or dry up funding to build an East Coast GMD site, which experts at the National Academies of Science say would provide the most effective defense against an Iranian ballistic missile.
The GMD budget is so small -- a tiny fraction of one percent of the Pentagon budget -- that cutting it won't reduce the deficit. And leaders in both parties agree we need effective missile defense, with Democrats like President Obama convinced by rigorous testing. Members of both parties should work together to protect this essential national security capability instead of arguing over who's to blame if we lose it.
Colonel, USAF (ret.)
North Reading, Mass.
Game animals need more food plots
I would like to see more people farming for wildlife. It is a hobby of mine. Even though the deer and turkey population continues to decline, I still enjoy feeding wild game animals. Farming for wildlife helps the economy because hunters buy limestone and fertilize for their food plots. They also buy a lot of deer corn and salt blocks. Game animals have to eat too. Not everyone is a livestock farmer. It is not feasible for many people to raise livestock. Some tracks of land don't have enough water or grass for livestock, but are fine for game animals. Game animals can jump fences to get water, but livestock can't. We need to encourage more people into farming for wildlife or otherwise more properties will grow up in brush. The timber industry can't pay all the state's bills. It is a big plus to the local economy, but the hunting industry is, too. We need to boost the hunting industry, because it is part of the tourism industry. Get more people back into our local area again. The only way to do this is to offer game animals more food plots and reduce the amount of predators.