The Cruelest Cuts

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On January 3rd, President Obama released his vision for military expenditures going forward. It is a plan that calls for reducing troop strength by tens of thousands because, Mr. Obama contends, “we’ve succeeded in defending our nation, taking the fight to our enemies, reducing the number of Americans in harm’s way, and we’ve restored America’s global leadership.” An integral part of the new strategy? Abandoning the capability to fight two major ground wars simultaneously. “Yes, our military will be leaner, said the president, “but the world must know the United States is going to maintain our military superiority with armed forces that are agile, flexible and ready for the full range of contingencies and threats.”

Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, cut right through the rhetoric. “This is a lead-from-behind strategy for a left-behind America,” he contended. “The president has packaged our retreat from the world in the guise of a new strategy to mask his divestment of our military and national defense.”

The scope of the divestment is daunting. The additional $500 billion in new spending cuts come on top of the $480 billion this president cut out of the military budget his first three years in office. Neither of these cuts reflect the possibility that an additional $500 billion in possible cuts will kick in next January, under “sequestration.” And since the 2012 budget request already calls for the reduction of 27,000 soldiers and 20,000 Marines over the next four years, it is likely those numbers will increase as well.

Critical technology has also gotten, or may get axed as well. The Airborne Laser, a project aimed at destroying enemy missiles soon after they blast off was killed 2010, along with the Future Combat Systems, a program deigned to coordinate mobile forces and unmanned vehicles. The latter was killed with the promise that modernization resources would go directly to the Army and Marines. So far it hasn’t happened, and now it may not. The Navy’s hypersonic electromagnetic rail gun, a project designed to intercept anti-ship missiles–like those that could be aimed at our carriers in a fight with Iran or China–lost funding in 2011. Cutbacks could also include the F-35 fighter plane, despite its radar-evading stealth technology that would allow us to maintain our dominance in the air.

Why? Incredibly, the president claimed “the tide of war is receding.” No doubt that would be news to Iraqis who are enduring large-scale attacks and the possibility of a civil war, due primarily to our premature withdrawal. So too for the Afghans, who must now contemplate the return of the Taliban, with whom the Obama administration has seen fit to negotiate, using Islamic cleric Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi as a “key mediator,” despite his rabid anti-Semitism and his issuance of a fatwa urging the killing of American troops. No doubt Iran, fresh from conducting military exercises in the in the Strait of Hormuz last week, and further maneuvers near the Afghan coast on Saturday, would be equally surprised. And then there’s the multiple threats the Islamist uprisings, nostalgically referred to as the “Arab Spring,” have the potential to engender as well.

Yet the president remains undeterred, with his administration projecting military budget outlays of 2.7 percent of GDP by 2021. That number is comparable to our military outlays in the year 1940–one year before America’s fatal flirtation with both isolationism and peace literally blew up in our collective faces at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

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  • Flipside

    Waaaaa! Zvi Haimovitz is crying his eyes out. No High energy laser system for a Hanukkah gift from Washington this year. Stupid balanced budget!

    • Ken

      Balance budget?!?! Yeah, right!! You're delusional!! Obama will just ratchet up entitlements or provide near bankrupt crony companies with money to cover the "savings" from military cuts.

    • Rifleman

      What balanced budget? The yearly deficit has been between a trillion and a trillion and a half bucks since 2008. We could completely eliminate defense spending, and tax the top 10% at 100%, and it still won’t cover the deficit spending hussein and the dp have added since ’08. You’re hilarious.

    • Ghostwriter

      Has anyone ever told you you're an anti-semite,Flipside?

      • Flipside

        Only unpersons. No one with any balls.

  • dogvault

    I read a report a few years ago that the military Darpa etc were all looking at making drones and auto machines to take over the jobs of men on the ground. To stop the loss of life. Unfortunately this still costs a lot of money, but I am sure that many mother's and soldiers themselves would like to have soldiers safer, and if possible not going to war at all. This I am sure is the goal of both parties.

  • claspur

    Reason 3 and 5 regard this-below….

  • crackerjack

    Feed your poor, get your sick to the doctor, fix your streets and bridges, clean up your ghettoes, take care of your veterans, educate your kids and then, if there's cash to spare, try inventing laser cannon for outer space.

  • Ron Carnine

    Cuts in the military in this day and age are ridiculous. The world is at war. Islam threatens the West again and this time they will have nuclear weapons. There is no peace in Iraq and trying to negotiate with the Taliban is worse than stupid. The enemy is comfortably entrenched in our country. The estimates of mosques in favor of Jihad rests at between 80-91%. Women are enslaved or worse they are targets for rape by a religion that has no respect for them at all. Christians are being slaughtered all around the Muslim world and we do nothing. Jihadists are taking country after country. The West doesn't realize that the battle for Europe is back on. Muslim's only stopped because the West was too strong but they never made lasting peace. It was only "a pause to reload". Many American's have lost their backbone led by a spineless President that bows to a foreign king. And the Muslim world laughs at our stupidity.Maybe we deserve it.

    • Big Irish

      you are absolutely dead on Ron – why dont people understand this?…guess there too busy looking up their a……..

    • crackerjack

      And of what use are nuclear weapons, warships, stealth jets and star wars contraptions against Muslim minorities in London, Oslo or Amsterdam? What a lot of nonsense.

  • mrbean

    Yassah weez needs dah monies fah the school lunches for dah littal chilluns, cause Daddy beez a "Playaa" and Mommy has many Playaas as fathers of her chilluns. Yassah. Breakfast, Lunch, and Supper now in some schools. Yassah!

    • Ghostwriter

      Please stop with the sterotypes,mrbean. They're unnecessary and stupid. You're only promoting your own ignorance.

  • Jim_C

    I know: it hurts to see your precious foreign policy ideas coming to a sensible end. Why, Mr. Ahlert (actually one of the smarter writers here on domestic stuff)–your concern for the Iraqis is just oh-so touching!

    You know, as much as I've enjoyed watching our troops constantly, amazingly adapt to babysit these countries while our overall, open-ended, quixotic policy in Iraq–one you advocated–brought about the various power vaccuums (predicted by many think tanks, just not the ones FPM endorsed)–I think it's time we brought our sons, daughters, and neighbors home from your little shindig before another IED robs them of their future. Every time I pick up the paper and read of a kid from my town meeting up with one of them, I think of how brave he was, and how craven guys like you, who love to sit around and agitate for more war, more war, frightening weak-minded and faithless people into buying your cynical take on what constitutes a threat to the United States.

    Don't worry–I'll make sure Sharia law doesn't get amended into the Constitution, or whatever little fantasy you've got dreamed up. Deal?

    Meanwhile, stick to standing up for the Lehman Brothers and Goldman Sachs. You do that well.

  • tanstaafl

    Islam has been at war with the infidel world for the last 1400 years. During that period, 270 million infidels have been killed by the "religion of peace".

    If you desire peace, prepare for war.