It’s difficult to make the case that the 9/11 plot succeeded because the gap in financial expenditures between the U.S. government and Osama bin Laden was not big enough. Would an extra aircraft carrier have helped? A more advanced fighter plane? A larger Marine Corps? Additional nuclear weapons? One of the most realistic ways an organization like al-Qaeda can damage the United States is to provoke us into wasting resources on a far larger scale than they could ever destroy. The mentality Heritage is expressing here is right in line with that path.
One of the reasons I think we should at least halve the defense budget--aside from the fact that actually defending America is something that the DoD hasn't really done for decades--is that I'm of the belief that having a big military is going to mean that it's going to be used. There is an historical basis for this. Aside from the 1980s, every arms race in history has led to war. This is why liberals were really concerned about Reagan starting WWIII, and luckily that situation didn't end tragically. But going to war is often easier in the short run than tough diplomacy and long-term strategy, despite the much greater costs in the long run. Having a big military around merely makes the proposition more tempting. I'm no pacifist and I don't mind spending a little money on a strong military, but when we're spending five times more than the runner-up it's time to question what we're doing that requires so much "defense".