September 23, 2011, Orlando, FL -- Speaking to the Conservative Political Action Committee in Florida (CPAC FL) Friday, presidential candidate Gary Johnson challenged the gathering of conservatives to accept that balancing the federal budget will require getting the U.S. military out of nation-building and focusing resources on the basic responsibility of defending America.  Johnson’s remarks came the day after his participation in the Fox News / Google debate in Orlando Thursday night.

Talking to CPAC FL activists, Johnson said, “It is lunacy to try to convince ourselves that we can achieve a balanced budget without taking a hard look at a defense budget that represents almost one-half of the entire world’s military spending.

“The operative word in defense spending is ‘defense’.  We can, and must, have the strongest and most advanced military capability in the world, while reducing the cost of that capability by the same 43% we must cut from the entire budget to eliminate the deficit. Likewise, we absolutely must remain vigilant and aggressive in defending ourselves against terrorism.  But we have to be not only smart, but efficient in how we do that.

“We start by bringing our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan tomorrow.  We stop asking our military to build nations and carry out interventions that have little or nothing to do with the safety and security of Americans.  And we start asking  common sense questions such as ‘why do we need to have hundreds of thousands of our troops stationed in places like Europe and Japan?  Why do we need to maintain a nuclear arsenal that, if cut in half, will still leave the ability to deter any imaginable threat from abroad.?’”

Johnson also asserted that a key to reduced military spending is greater use of “strategic alliances”, including the U.S. relationship with Israel.  He said, “With the Palestinians demanding recognition as a state in the UN this week, we are reminded of the tremendous value of our strategic ally Israel in a very uncertain part of the world.  We know who our friends are, and it is essential that we not waiver in our support of Israel.  To do so would make America less safe, and ultimately cost us dearly.”
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About Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson: Gary Johnson, a Republican and two-term Governor of New Mexico from 1994-2002, has been a consistent and outspoken advocate for limited, efficient government and personal liberty.