The Army announced last week that budget cuts would necessitate the reduction of the regular army from 490,000 to 450,000 soldiers by the end of fiscal year 2018. An additional 17,000 civilian positions will be cut during the same time period. Citing “strategic factors, to include readiness impacts, mission command and cost,” the Army already has a vocal legion of lawmakers lined up ready to call foul. But this position shouldn’t fool anyone. Through their continued investments in unmanned aerial vehicles, automated weapons, and a host of other technological advancements, the Army is doing exactly what it has strategically planned to do all along—take the human component out of warfare.

And while that’s not the worst thing that could happen, blaming the budget is good PR for a military industrial complex already shelling out billions on the recruits that don’t even make the cut. Luckily for everyone making decisions in Washington, Maryland and Virginia Army bases have been spared. No soldier left behind, indeed.

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