Zbigniew Mazurak's Blog

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Archive for March, 2012

Rebuttal of fiscal-only-conservatives’ attack on the Ryan Plan

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on March 31, 2012


After Congressman Paul Ryan released his budget plan, the Path to Prosperity, the left predictably attacked it for cutting entitlements and sparing defense spending from the sequester. What was less predictable and less forgivable was the attacks on Ryan and his plan from the right, specifically, from fiscal-only-conservatives who don’t think it’s cutting spending deeply enough and fast enough and who don’t like the fact that it spares defense from sequestration and funds defense fully (fully funding the government’s #1 Constitutional DUTY! Gosh! What a heresy!)

Those fiscal-only conservatives who oppose the Ryan Plan are dead wrong, and they owe Paul Ryan an apology.

AmSpec’s James Antle reports that:

“The Club for Growth opposed the proposal on the ground that it (…) waives most of the mandated spending cuts required by the failure of the supercommittee.

“The Club for Growth urges Republicans to support a budget that balances in the near future and complies with the Budget Control Act,” Club president Chris Chocola, a former GOP congressman, said in a statement.”
A FreedomWorks blogger gave the plan a more mixed assessment. “Unfortunately, the plan doesn’t really try to balance the budget or specify a single cabinet agency for elimination,” complained Dean Clancy, who went on to say, “Like last year’s Ryan budget, the new version takes Social Security and defense off the spending-cut table.””

In other words, the C4G and FW want to keep the sequester and don’t care what exactly does it cut or how deeply – or, even worse (and more likely), they want it EXPLICITLY to cut defense spending deeply, even though it has already been cut deeply: over 50 crucial weapon programs closed in 2009 and 2010, further ones in January 2011, $178 bn cut out of defense in FY2012 under the last round of Gates’ “reforms”, the first round of BCA-ordered cuts ($487 bn), and of course, the New START disarmament treaty, which requires deep cuts in America’s nuclear weapons and their delivery systems (which cuts have imposed ADDITIONAL significant costs on the cash-strapped DOD, because dismantling nukes and their carriers costs a lot more than maintaining them, even for many decades).

By his own admission (see his GWU speech of 4/13/2011), Obama had cut $400 bn out of defense programs by April 2011, and the first tier of the BCA requires further defense cuts by $487 bn, which means that even without sequestration, defense spending will not return to its FY2011 levels until FY2019 at the earliest. See the graph below.

All of these cuts were mandated before the sequester even kicked in.

The sequester, if allowed to stand, would cut defense spending by a FURTHER $600 bn over a decade, ON TOP OF, not instead of, ALL THE CUTS already made and scheduled.

And yet, the C4G and FW support it and demand that the cuts fall on defense instead of other government programs?

Why does it matter to them where the axe falls? By Clancy’s own admission, the Ryan plan would cut entitlements “in order to make room for more military spending”, so if it cuts spending elsewhere, why don’t they like it? Why does it matter to them that defense spending specifically be singled out for deep cuts? Why do they want to gut defense?

There is ample evidence, along with repeated statements by all Joint Chiefs and Obama’s own SECDEF, not to mention many retired officers and independent defense analysts, that sequestration would gut the military.

Combined with the first round of BCA-ordered defense cuts and with the shrinkage and eventual zeroing out of GWOT spending resulting from withdrawal from Afghanistan, it would result in a total military budget cut of 34% – more deeper than those implemented after the Cold War and far deeper than those that followed the Vietnam War.

Those defense cuts gutted the military, forcing the US to rebuild it later down the road at a great fiscal cost. What makes anyone think that this round of defense cuts will be any different?

Defense spending amounts to just 15% of the total federal budget, yet it is slated to shoulder 50% of the budget cuts mandated both by the 1st tier of the BCA and by the sequester. (GWOT spending accounts for another 4% of the TFB but is not subject to sequestration.) Why has it been singled out so unfairly for such deep, disproportionate cuts?

Moreover, equating defense spending with other kinds of federal spending is ridiculous, un-conservative, and against the Constitution. Providing for a strong defense is the #1 Constitutional DUTY of the federal government (something that self-styled “armchair constitutionalist” Dean Clancy still doesn’t understand, and neither does the C4G), one that it may not shirk away from even if financial circumstances are tough. It was also considered one of the highest duties of the federal government and of any statesman by the Founders. OTOH, the vast majority of other federal spending is unconstitutional as it is not authorized by the Constitution. Equating defense with these unconstitutional, wasteful programs is plainly ridiculous.

A prudent budgeter, or a genuine constitutional conservative, would not advocate cutting everything equally across the board without looking at what you’re cutting. No, you look at every government program and function, line by line; you fully fund Constitutional federal functions first; and then you strike out funding for anything wasteful and/or not authorized by the Constitution. This means that the Edu Dept., the DOE, the DOL, the DOC, the DOT, the DHUD, the USDA, the DHHS, and the DHS must go, along with all federal subsidies for anything, and there must be a slow but steady transition away from entitlement programs.

Don’t get me wrong. I share the dismay about the Ryan plan not cutting total federal spending deeply enough and fast enough, and not proposing to close a single federal department. Those concerns are valid. But there is NOTHING in the Ryan Budget that says that further spending cuts cannot be implemented on top of those included in the package. There is nothing that would lock the Ryan Budget’s spending levels in perpetuity. After passing the Ryan Budget Plan, Congress would be free, and strongly encouraged, to make further spending cuts.

But if the Congress can’t even cut spending as modestly as Ryan’s plan would, how can it be expected to cut spending deeper? It can’t. Fiscal conservatives are contradicting themselves on this one.

If the Ryan Budget Plan does not get passed, more ambitious spending cuts plans have zero chance of passing, and if it cannot pass, it’s irrelevant.

Furthermore, it’s clear that the Club For Growth and FreedomWorks both want defense spending to be cut deeply, with the sequester, ON TOP OF all the defense cuts already implemented and scheduled, and they don’t care that defense is the #1 Constitutional duty of the federal government. Apparently, they don’t consider it a legitimate government function at all. They are not satisfied that the Ryan Plan (and the RSC’s Budget Plan) would cut domestic spending by the same amount by which the sequester would cut defense (in other words, spending will still get cut by the same amount, just not defense). They clearly want to gut defense and don’t care about the consequences.

This is highly irresponsible, and deeply un-conservative, as well as antithetical to the Constitution and the Founders’ wishes. They have no right to call themselves conservatives.

And by opposing the Ryan Plan and urging Congressmen and Senators to vote against it, they are allying themselves with the far left.

For all those who are not hell-bent on cutting defense but want to see spending cut deeper than Ryan wants to: calm down. There is nothing in his plan that says spending cannot be cut even deeper. Once his plan is passed, we can build on that progress and reduce federal spending more deeply.

Those fiscal-only conservatives who oppose the Ryan Plan are dead wrong, and they owe Paul Ryan an apology.

The Ryan Plan is a win-win for everyone… well, everyone except the Democrats, special interest groups, and all those who want to specifically gut defense.

Posted in Economic affairs, Military issues, Politicians, World affairs | Leave a Comment »

Rebuttal of David Callahan’s anti-defense screed

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on March 30, 2012


The leftist Reuters agency has recently published a ridiculous, leftist, anti-defense screed by ignorant leftist hack David Callahan. Here’s my rebuttal of it.

Paul Ryan’s case for a strong defense is very strong. The general case for a strong defense is NEVER weak.

Callahan’s claims are all completely false.

He claims that “One aspect of Paul Ryan’s new budget that hasn’t drawn much attention is that it is a big love letter to the Pentagon. Ryan rejects the idea that budgetary pressures should have any effect on defense spending.” No, Ryan doesn’t, and this is not said anywhere in his budget blueprints. What Ryan IS saying, and I agree, is that defense spending has been cut more than enough, and that now it’s time for departments other than the DOD to contribute to deficit reduction, as they have been so far exempt from this effort.

“Among other things, the Ryan budget would reverse $55 billion in defense cuts mandated for 2013 by the “trigger” agreed to in last year’s budget ceiling deal – and cut this same amount from domestic programs instead.”

But it would STILL leave the FIRST tier of defense budget cuts mandated by the BCA – $487 bn over a decade, i.e. an average of $48.7 bn per year – intact, still forcing the DOD to make such savings. Only the sequester – which, by OMB Chief Jacob Lew’s admission, “was never meant to be policy” – would be detriggered. The sequester ($55 bn per year), I remind you, would be coming ON TOP OF this first tier of BCA-mandated defense cuts and all defense cuts previously administered by Obama.

So, effectively, what Callahan is saying is that the DOD, which is the ONLY federal agency to contribute ANYTHING meaningful to deficit reduction so far, and which has ALREADY been mandated to cut a further $487 bn from its budget, should be slapped with yet FURTHER budget cuts to the tune of $55 bn per year (sequestration) – cuts that, according to the UNANIMOUS opinion of the Joint Chiefs and civilian DOD leaders incl. Sec. Panetta, would be disastrous, and by Jacob Lew’s own admission were NEVER MEANT TO BE POLICY.

“That’s strange to hear, since soaring security costs since 9/11 have been a key driver of deficits – accounting for about $1.4 trillion in new debt since 2001 by one widely cited non-partisan estimate.”

That’s a blatant lie, like the rest of this garbage “article.” The estimated cited here is hardly non-partisan – it’s a falsehood produced by the highly partisan, pro-Democratic, extremely liberal Atlantic magazine. It claims that the money for the Iraqi and Afghan Wars was “borrowed”, while the entitlement programs that are the real drivers of the debt were supposedly paid for with tax revenue. The converse is the truth – the wars were paid for with tax revenue, while entitlement programs were paid for with borrowed money. (Even if there was no other federal spending other than entitlements, there still wouldn’t have been enough revenue to finance these gargantuan socialist programs.)

“And, looking ahead, it’s hard to see a path to fiscal discipline that doesn’t include sharp cuts to the defense budget, which constitutes over half of all discretionary federal spending”

No, it’s not hard to see such path, Callahan simply doesn’t want to see it, because he’s irredeemably biased against defense spending and against the military. Discretionary spending is a tiny minority of the total federal budget; besides it, there’s also the mandatory part of the budget. Military spending (including war spending) amounts to just 19% of the total federal budget. Entitlements, by themselves, amount to 63%.

And despite Callahan’s claim that you supposedly can’t balance the budget without defense cuts, the Republican Study Committee, the Heritage Foundation, and Paul Ryan have all proposed budget plans which would all balance the budget without ANY defense spending cuts – and the plans of both the RSC and the Heritage Foundation would achieve that within 10 years, again with no defense cuts. (Of the 6 budget plans reviewed by the Peterson Foundation, the HF’s plan would cut federal spending, taxes, and debt most deeply.)

“Ryan is wrong – and misleading – when he argues that defense spending is shrinking.”

No, he is not. He is absolutely correct, as we shall see below.

“He says that defense as a percentage of GDP has declined from its “Cold War average of 7.5 percent to 4.6 percent today.” What he doesn’t say is that this share is up from the 1990s.”

But the 1990s were a nadir for defense spending, the lowest ebb of defense budgets since FY1940 (i.e. since before Pearl Harbor). In the late 1990s, defense spending averaged from 3.4% in FY1996 to 3% in FYs1999-2001. It was a record, and perilous, low. And yet, compared to these perilously low levels, which resulted in dramatic American military weakness, core defense spending is barely at 3.5% of GDP today, and even total military spending (war costs included) today stands at barely 4.5% of GDP, just barely 0.6-1 pp above the 1990s’ level and full 3 pp below the Cold War average (during the CW, it ranged from 15% of GDP at the peak of the Korean War to 4.7% of GDP in the Carter years and 3.5% in FY1948).

THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE COLD WAR EXCEPT FY1948, MILITARY SPENDING WAS HIGHER THAN IT IS NOW.

Similarly, as a share of the total federal budget, military spending is again at a historic low, lower than it was throughout the entire Cold War except FY1948. Only during the late 1990s was it even lower – and the defense cuts of the 1990s are not an example to emulate. Again, this is the lowest ebb of defense spending since FY1948, excepting only the late 1990s.

“Is there really a case for spending a third more on defense in the next decade than we did in the 1990s, as the House Budget Committee proposes?”

Actually, the budget proposes to spend less than a third more than during the 1990s, and again, the fact is that the 1990s were a record low ebb of defense spending, and a time of extraordinary and perilous American weakness. During the 1990s, the military was gutted. There was not enough equipment being bought, not enough steaming and flight hours, not enough vehicle training hours, and so little funding for facilities that military bases were turning into slums. At the end of the 1990s, in 2000, the Joint Chiefs were UNANIMOUSLY saying that the defense cuts of the 1990s had “mortgaged” the military and weakened it, and that their respective Services were underfunded by tens of billions of dollars… in CY2000 money. The deep defense cuts of the 1990s were huge mistakes that must NEVER be repeated and must NEVER be emulated.

“Sorry, but that’s not a good enough argument for gutting domestic programs while spending $6.2 trillion on defense over the next 10 years – annual spending levels that would be higher, in real terms, than what the U.S. was spending during the Cold War, according to the Project on Defense Alternatives.”

That is patently false. Paul Ryan does NOT propose to gut domestic programs. Under his plan, entitlement programs would not even be cut at all, they would still be growing, albeit at a much reduced pace, and domestic discretionary programs would be significantly reduced but retained, and not a single federal department would be abolished. The military spending levels Ryan proposes would be only slightly higher than those of the Reagan era ($607 bn in FY1988 in today’s money), whereas the current ones are barely above it and scheduled to shrink deeply below Reagan era levels in FY2014. The CORE defense budget already is, and since the 1990s, has ALWAYS been, under the record levels of the Reagan years. The current core defense budget is $531 bn and the proposed budget for FY2013 is $525 bn.

Moreover, Callahan is being fundamentally dishonest and disingeous by equating defense with other federal programs. Defense, as stated in the Ryan budget plan, is the #1 Constitutional DUTY of the federal government, and the FG is required to devote whatever funding is necessary to maintain a strong defense, whereas most domestic federal programs are not just utterly wasteful but also completely UNCONSTITUTIONAL, including all three entitlements and most federal departments. Besides defense and foreign affairs, VERY FEW AFFAIRS are the purview of the federal government. Moreover, the vast majority of federal programs keep half of the American people permanently enslaved by dependence on the federal government.

“While the world remains a dangerous place, the U.S. should logically be able to reduce defense spending as a decade of war comes to a close and the power of our terrorist foes wanes.”

No, it isn’t, because a war’s end has nothing to do with how much the US should spend on its defense. As for terrorist foes, they are hardly getting weaker, and besides them, there are other, more powerful enemies, such as China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, and Venezuela.

“As for maintaining a position of leadership, the U.S. now accounts for 43 percent of all military spending in the world. We now spend six times more than China on defense, and 11 times more than Russia. Even with a smaller defense budget, the U.S. would still outspend all real and imagined foes by a wide margin.”

Such false figures can be arrived at only by accepting the false, woefully understated official figures declared by China and Russia. China’s real military budget is, according to the DOD and independent analysts, at least $150 bn, and China intends to double it in this decade. Thus, the US spends barely 4 times more than China on its military, and that’s even without taking PPP differences into account (in China, things cost 3-4 times less than in the US). When they are accounted for, the difference between China and the US effectively vanishes, meaning that China effectively spends as much on defense as the US. Russia’s military budget is also being woefully understated by Callahan; it is actually 3-4 times larger than what Russia admits to. For example, many Russian ministries buy a lot of military goods and then give them as “free goods” to the Russian MOD. And in Russia, as in China, one dollar can buy 3-4 times more than in the US.

Furthermore, how much other countries spend on their militaries is totally irrelevant to how much the US should spend on defense. America’s expenditures should be determined solely by its defense needs, i.e. how much it costs to salary, feed, house, train, equip, and properly size a military big enough, and technologically capable enough, to defeat all plausible adversaries. And here’s an unpleasant truth: such a military costs a lot of money. There’s no way to get around this fact. Defense on the cheap is not possible. European countries have tried it and have failed and now rely on the US for protection.

“What’s more, Ryan is wrong that defense spending should be dictated only by “strategic,” not “budgetary,” calculations.”

No, Ryan is not wrong. Ryan is absolutely right. Defense spending should be determined SOLELY by strategic choices, i.e. how many weapons, troops, units, and bases, and of what kind, purpose, and sophistication, in what combination, does the US need. Once that determination is made, they must be fully funded, no matter how they cost (although this must be done as efficiently as possible).

Callahan also falsely claims that:

“China and other emerging powers certainly believe that investing in education, infrastructure, and other domestic foundations of national wealth is “strategic” in a world as likely to be ruled by geoeconomic clout as by geopolitical muscle.”

But the US is already spending far more on education (in absolute numbers and per student) than any other country in the world, bar none; and also outspends the rest of the world in transportation and R&D. There is very little to show for all of this spending. Despite the US spending more on education than the rest of the world, American students are among the dead last in OECD countries and PISA tests in maths, reading, and mid-rank in science, and the HS dropout rate is 30%. America’s education system is actually overfunded, while students are not required to study hard.

Transportation spending is so wasteful that most of it goes to pork projects and highways that states don’t even want. Highly surprising, given that the US already has a complete, dense highway network, including a complete Interstate Highway System unparalleled in the world. China and other emerging countries have to spend heavily on transportation and other things because they are still vastly inferior to the West in this respect and have a lot of catching up to do.

Callahan was also wrong to claim that government spending is “the source of national wealth”. Private enterprise, not government programs, is the source of national wealth.

“The real risk of U.S. decline is that we remain trapped in a dated paradigm that fetishizes military power even as the sources of national strength change.”

Again, this is a blatant lie. No one is fetishizing “military power”, merely underlining its importance. But military might is, has always been, and will always be, one of the sources, indeed the BIGGEST source, of national strength (and is also necessary to defend economic might, the second biggest source). That is an undisputable fact, no matter how much Callahan might wish it away. No one cares about the opinions of military weaklings; they don’t count in this world.

But even more importantly, military might is absolutely necessary to keep a country safe, even if it doesn’t want to be a superpower. A country is not secure if it doesn’t have a strong defense, and a strong defense costs a lot. That’s an unavoidable fact. And if a country is not secure, it is not free and won’t be prosperous for long.

The idea that military might no longer matters and is no longer an important source of national strength, and that relying on it is a “dated paradigm” is such a ridiculous leftist fantasy that only an ignorant, foolish leftist hack like Callahan could believe in it. And China (which he invokes) and Russia clearly don’t agree with it. Both of them plan to dramatically increase their defense spending (as they have been doing for over a decade, and in China’s case, for two decades). China plans to double its military budget by 2015 and is on track to achieve that. Russia plans to spend $770 bn over the next decade on military modernization alone – just on weapons.

“Getting military spending down to 3 percent of GDP, where it was in the late 1990s, before 9/11, is a reasonable goal”

No, it is not a reasonable goal, it is a recipe for disaster. The deep defense cuts of the 1990s, as I stated above, are NOT an example to be emulated; they were a huge mistake that must never be repeated. They turned military bases into slums, cut acquisition programs dramatically (thus setting the stage for the dramatic shrinkage of the Navy), and left the military underfunded by tens of billions of dollars in FY2000 money, according to Clinton’s own Joint Chiefs testifying unanimously. They gutted the military so badly that tank units had to use golf carts to practice tank tactics. In total, defense spending declined in the 1990s to the lowest level (by all measures) since before Pearl Harbor.

This mistake must never be repeated. Callahan’s calls for defense cuts must be completely rejected. Reuters should be deeply ashamed of itself for publishing his ridiculous screed.

http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2012/03/22/paul-ryan%E2%80%99s-weak-case-for-a-strong-defense/

Posted in Military issues, World affairs | Leave a Comment »

Obama to Russia: I’ll be able to gut America’s defense after the election

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on March 29, 2012


During the recently-concluded Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul (where he outlined plans to further cut America’s nuclear arsenal by 30% from an already-inadequate level), Barack Obama privately told Russian President Dmitri Medvedev that he will have enough “space” to gut America’s defense after the upcoming Presidential election. AP reports that:

“SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — President Barack Obama told Russia’s leader Monday that he would have more flexibility after the November election to deal with the contentious issue of missile defense, a candid assessment of political reality that was picked up by a microphone without either leader apparently knowing.

“This is my last election,” Obama is heard telling outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. “After my election I have more flexibility.”

Medvedev replied, according to a tape by ABC News: “I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir,” an apparent reference to incoming President Vladmir Putin.

Obama and Medvedev did not intend for their comments, made during a meeting in Seoul, South Korea, to be made public. Once they were, the White House said Obama’s words reflected the reality that domestic political concerns in the both the U.S. and Russia this year would make it difficult to fully address their long-standing differences over the contentious issue of missile defense.

Obama, should he win re-election, would not have to face voters again.”

Of course, the pro-Obama media and the Obama regime were quick to spin this into something it was not. They claim Obama was merely referring to a compromise, a technical solution, “resolving differences”.

Don’t let them fool you. Obama was talking about gutting America’s defense – including, but not exclusively, missile defense – after the election, should he win it.

How do I know by what he meant? From what he said and the comments of his advisors quoted above, as well as from his record.

His deputy NS advisor, Ben Rhodes, said that a deal cannot be reached this year because of the upcoming US presidential election and because there are serious “domestic political concerns” in the US about what Obama would do.

So because of “domestic political concerns” in the US, Obama wants to wait until after the election – when, by AP’s own admission, “should he win re-election, would not have to face voters again” (and thus suffer any consequences of wrongdoing) – to… do what?

There can be only one answer: to gut the US military.

Think about it. If he intended to do something good for America, e.g. to strengthen America’s defense or its negotiating position, would he really need to wait until AFTER the election to do so? Of course not. On the contrary, he would do so before the election to boost his resume and therefore his chances of victory. He has no foreign policy accomplishments to date (killing OBL was Panetta’s achievement, not Obama’s), and his actual FP record (despite what his campaign and the pro-Obama media will tell you) is one of disaster.

You don’t wait with doing something good until after the election. You do so if you know it will be BAD for the country and you want to avoid the consequences.

Secondly, we have Obama’s foreign policy and defense record to date to tell us what he meant. To this day, he has closed over 50 crucial military modernization programs, cut the US nuclear arsenal under the New START treaty while permitting Russia to grow its, accepted sweeping restrictions on missile defense as a part of that treaty, cut the military’s force structure, given Russia classified information on US missile defense systems (thus helping it and its client regimes defeat these systems), dictated massive $487 bn budget cuts to defense (thus forcing it to retire scores of ships and aircraft and cut ship and aircraft orders and R&D programs dramatically), and signed a debt ceiling deal that includes  a sequestration mechanism that will cut another $600 bn from the core defense budget unless it’s detriggered (and he promises to veto any attempts to do so).

He has allowed Iran to retain a captured RQ-170 drone. He has closed crucial missile defense systems such as the MKV and the KEI. He has publicly questioned the feasibility of missile defense. In September 2009, at Moscow’s insistence, he cancelled plans for a viable, proven missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic and replaced it with a watered-down “plan” that he doesn’t intend to implement, which relies on an interceptor that doesn’t even exist yet and which may never be enacted, and even that hasn’t proven to be enough to appease Moscow.

And yet, he plans to weaken defense even further, with a further, up to 80% cut in America’s nuclear arsenal and a FY2013 defense budget proposal that would retire scores of ships and aicraft and dramatically cut procurement and R&D programs.

Given that this is his record, what do you think did he mean he needed to put off until after the election? Of course he meant gutting America’s defense.

And yet, Republicans are still responding to his defense cuts and his sell-outs to Russia weakly. Most of them, including House Strategic Forces Subcommittee Chairman Mike Turner, are still incapable of doing more than sending him useless letters BEGGING him to clarify his remarks and not to compromise America’s national security, letters that he never reads and throws into the dustbin immediately upon receipt.

But some other Republicans are willing to be more assertive. Mitt Romney has criticized and mocked Obama’s remarks in a recent campaign speech, while the Republican National Committee has even produced a 60-second ad (titled “After the Election”) using Obama’s remark to Medvedev and showing that America cannot afford to reelect him. This is a great vid.

Republicans should produce a few more ads like these, with a few more facts and short Republican comments (explaining why Obama’s policies are disastrous and why the GOP’s policies would be better), and air these ads everyday in every swing state until Election Day.

Obama falsely claims that

“What I said yesterday … is something that I think everyone in this room understands. Arms control is extraordinarily complex, very technical, and the only way it gets done is if you can consult and build a strong understanding, both between countries and within countries. I think everybody understands — if they don’t, they haven’t been listening to my speeches — that I want to reduce nuclear stockpiles.”

But that is exactly the problem: he wants to deeply reduce America’s nuclear stockpile and eventually disarm the US completely, and he’s willing to make any concession, even a huge, unilateral one, to obtain a useless disarmament treaty from Russia, even if no one else is subject to such a treaty. But nuclear arms reduction and disarmament will make America and the world dramatically LESS SAFE, not more, for the reasons outlined here.

And his claim that he has to wait until the election because “arms control is complex” is a blatant lie. This has nothing to do with the complex and technical nature of arms control nor with “building understanding” between the US and Russia (which the Bush and Obama Administrations have been trying to do for over a decade). This is solely about Obama planning to make significant, unilateral concessions to Russia which he knows he can’t make now because he knows they would imperil US national security and cost him reelection. So in order to deceive and fool the American people, he’s lying to them that he simply meant “technical, complex arms control agreements” and “building trust”, while hiding the plans for, and putting off, his planned unilateral concessions to Moscow until after the election, when he won’t have to face voters again and will be able to do any damage he wants to, if he’s reelected.

As Baker Spring rightly writes:

“What is now evident is the scope of the manipulation he is pursuing to fool the American people about something essential to their security. It is now undeniable that President Obama is breaking the most basic trust the American people put in any President.”

He knows that his defense cuts, transfers of classified information, and other unilateral concessions to Moscow would be badly received by the public and could cost him reelection. So he will deceive the American people until November, and is putting off making the biggest concessions until after the election.

The American people must not give him the opportunity to make such sellouts. He must be voted out of office.

Posted in Military issues, Politicians, World affairs | 2 Comments »

Why, and how, Republicans can win on foreign policy

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on March 28, 2012


The left-wing Politico magazine has recently published a laughable screed whose point is to make Obama look good. It asserts that Obama has stern national-security credentials (at least in the eyes of the public), that he has not been a Jimmy Carter, and that therefore, it will be hard for Republicans to criticize him on that score and that he may even win on this issue.

Ridiculous.

It recognizes that this campaign won’t be won on economic issues alone and even social issues won’t be enough:

“Amid a wave of instability across the globe from Syria to North Korea, prominent Republicans are starting to prepare for an unexpected possibility: a 2012 presidential race fought over more than the economy.”

But it claims Obama has had a good record on foreign policy, while narrowing it down to Afghanistan and counterterrorism:

“The problem is that in 2012, President Barack Obama — helped by an unalloyed victory in the killing of Osama bin Laden — has a chance of winning the issue while typically hawkish Republicans feel the ground shifting under them.

Polls suggest Americans may be increasingly skeptical of a muscular foreign policy — if they’re even interested in listening in the first place. But finding a foreign policy message that goes beyond Bush-era rhetorical touchstones may be increasingly critical to winning back the White House. (…)

Typically the party with the upper hand on defense issues, Republicans face a twin set of challenges as they attempt to lay out a national security message for 2012.

On one hand, they’re facing an incumbent who hasn’t exactly been a Jimmy Carter on national security, at least in the eyes of voters. Polls show the president is on roughly even footing when it comes to foreign policy in general — and in positive territory on both Afghanistan and Iran, according to the Pew Research Center.

At the same time, the public is also resistant to U.S. military interventionism. By a 35-point margin, voters oppose using American air power in Syria, according to Pew. The same survey found 57 percent of respondents want a quick withdrawal from Afghanistan, versus only 35 percent who want to keep forces there until the country is stable. A recent Washington Post/ABC News poll found 60 percent of Americans believe the Afghan war wasn’t worth fighting.”

This is utter garbage. President Obama did not kill OBL or even give Navy SEALs the order to do so; then-CIA Director Leon Panetta did. Obama wasn’t even present when the decision was made. He has surrendered US plans for missile defense for Europe in order to appease Russia, replacing them with a “lite” version that doesn’t exist except on paper and that he doesn’t implement to install at all. He has given Russia highly classified information regarding US missile defense systems, which Russia will surely pass on to China, Iran, and North Korea. He has publicly accepted missile defense in general while privately sabotaging the program in a true McNamarist manner with programmatic closures and budget cuts. He has dramatically weakened the military with programmatic closures, force structure cuts, and program delays as well as his PC policies of allowing women on submarines and on combat jobs.

He has been appeasing Iran and North Korea for over 3 years with no results to show. When he recently struck a deal with North Korea to provide food for it, Pyongyang quickly reneged on its part of the bargain and announced it will launch a ballistic missile carrying a satellite. Iran continues full speed ahead with its nuclear weapons programme. Iran is on track to field an ICBM capable of hitting the US by 2015 (North Korea already has it.) When a top-secret RQ-170 Sentinel drone went astray in Iran, Obama refused to bomb it and allowed the Iranians to get their hands on it.

China continues its huge military buildup, deploying ASBMs and testing 5th generation fighters, while Obama has closed the F-22 program, and is now closing laser weapon and other directed-energy weapon programs aimed at the ASBM threat. Russia is also testing 5th generation fighters and plans to field them in 2015, is waging an arms race against the US, is supporting anti-American regimes around the world, threatens to withdraw from the New START treaty and deploy nuclear weapons on its Western borders, has rejected an invitation to the 2012 Chicago NATO Summit (so much for “thawed relations between the US and Russia”!), and has dramatically worsened its anti-American rhetoric. An Islamic terrorist successfully attacked Fort Hood in 2009, and the Obama Admin responded incompetently to that attack, refusing to discuss the perpetrator’s motivations or even mention his name in the report.

America is less secure than ever since the 1970s, and Obama is responsible for that. He has scored no foreign policy accomplishments. (OBL’s death is not Obama’s accomplishment.)

That gives Republicans a great opening to attack Obama on foreign affairs. But they have no unified, detailed foreign policy message to the public, no national security spokesman, and don’t even know how to criticize Obama on that front. As Politico reports:

““The problem is post-9/11 gave a sort of free pass for a lot of Republicans to not be substantive on foreign policy,” [an anonymous Republican strategist] said. “I think a lot of Republicans right now just aren’t comfortable speaking foreign policy.”

The burden of articulating a contrast with Obama will fall heavily on the Republican presidential nominee, party strategists said — partly because it’s hard to deliver a foreign policy message from Congress and partly because Republicans haven’t done much to try.

“Republicans on Capitol Hill have not mounted an effective political challenge to President Obama’s foreign policy of apologizing for America and embracing adversaries. For example, the number of GOP senators who voted for the giveaway to Russia known as the new START treaty was disappointing,” said Christian Whiton, a former Bush administration official and Gingrich campaign adviser.””

So the problems are that 1) the public is very war-weary (as it would be after 2 wars lasting for over a decade); 2) Republican politicians aren’t knowledgeable about foreign policy and not comfortable talking about it; 3) Republicans have not developed and agreed upon a common foreign policy message for the public or plans for a future Administration and Congress; 4) many prominent Republicans who speak on the party’s behalf on foreign affairs are people discredited because of either supporting new wars or voting for New START.

How to solve these problems?

Firstly, the Party must have competent, conservative FP spokesmen not tainted by voting for New START or supporting new wars. Indeed, people like John McCain, Lindsey Graham, the Kagan brothers, Richard Lugar, Thad Cochran, and Lamar Alexander must be stripped of any influence over foreign policy, including seats on the committees that shape it.

Secondly, the Party must agree on a unified foreign policy course for the Country, which it shall propose to the public. It needs to be conservative and muscular, but peaceful and sellable to voters. It must tell voters honestly that America is in peril, cannot afford to weaken its defense, and mustn’t appease its enemies, but also reassure voters that the GOP will not plunge the country into new wars or start a nuclear confrontation with Russia.

Americans want a strong military. But they also want peace.

Luckily, there is a policy that can secure both, and is also sellable to the public. That’s the policy from Reagan’s playbook – Peace Through Strength.

Reagan did not run for President promising to start a war with the USSR or to assassinate Brezhnev. He promised to rebuild the military, stop Soviet expansionism abroad, and pressure the USSR – militarily, economically, diplomatically, and morally – to yield and liberalize their society.

It worked. It was also supported by the public.

Although the Dems tried to portray Reagan as a warmonger who would start a nuclear war with the USSR, Reagan rebuked their charges and explained that a strong defense PREVENTS wars, while a weak defense provokes them by encouraging aggressors to attack.

Similarly, Republicans should offer voters today a conservative, muscular, but cautious foreign policy calling for:

1) Stopping and reversing Obama’s defense cuts, modernizing the military, and paying for that with cuts to domestic spending and foreign aid;

2) Stopping and reversing his nuclear arsenal cuts and withdrawing from New START (thus saving money);

3) Not starting any new wars or military interventions unless the conditions set by Sec. Weinberger in 1984 are met;

4) Ending the Afghan War ASAP;

5) Reassuring US allies while pursuing a tough diplomatic course towards enemies and rivals, such as Iran, North Korea, Russia, China, and Venezuela;

6) Not involving the US in any irrelevant, internecine conflicts in irrelevant countries.

On that basis, a specific FP plan can be crafted. Doing so will, however, require Republicans to educate themselves on the issue (they can start by reading my blog), deprive neoconservatives and New START supporters of any influence over foreign policy, find a good Party FP spokesman, and agree on a foreign policy platform.

Republicans need to do that now.

Posted in Military issues, World affairs | Leave a Comment »

The Boston Globe’s lies about defense spending and warships

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on March 27, 2012


The Boston Globe, an extremely leftist, anti-defense newspaper based in Massachusetts, has recently published a pathetic propaganda screed railing against Mitt Romney’s pledge to increase defense spending to 4% of GDP (from 3.5% today) and to build additional 44 Navy warships. Their article also criticizes him (directly and through the mouths of leftist “independent analysts”) for decrying the Navy’s decline to its smallest size since 1916 and the Air Force’s decline to its smallest size ever.

Displeased that these metrics (which are credible, BTW), show the US military having significantly declined since the Cold War, the BG tries to change the goalposts and discredit these metrics, using dollar figures instead and claiming that because today’s ships and planes are more capable than those of the 1910s or the 1940s, numbers supposedly no longer matter. This is a claim that defense’s opponents frequently make when trying to justify defense cuts (even deep ones), and a view that many people profess. However, it is wrong.

Firstly, the number of ships and planes that a military has at its disposal is relevant and does, in a way, show its prowess (or the lack thereof), and in comparison to previous inventories and force levels, does show whether, and how badly, a military has declined. Secondly, there’s an unavoidable fact that will never cease being true – that one ship or one plane, no matter how technologically advanced it is, can be in only one place at any given time. As AEI’s defense issues expert Mackenzie Eaglen, who is quoted in the article a few times, says:

“One ship, one aircraft, or one brigade can only be in one place at one time around the world. So even with sophisticated technologies and people in the military, numbers still matter. A lot of deterring is achieved through physical presence of these assets. Quantity has a quality all its own.’’

And she’s 100% right.

Thus, it does matter a great deal how many ships and planes the US military has. The fewer ships and planes it possesses, the fewer places they can go to, the fewer things they can do at any given time, and the fewer enemies they can engage. In short, technology is no substitute for numbers.

So, although aircraft carriers cannot be compared to steamships or battleships of the WW1 years, each aircraft carrier/ship/cruiser/frigate/LPD/supply ship can be in only one place at a time.

Moreover, unlike in 1916 or 1917, America now has interests around the globe and allies on all continents, and is facing serious military/security threats on all continents as well: Venezuela and FARC in Latin America, Russia in Eurasia, China and North Korea in Eastern Asia, Iran and Islamic terrorist organizations in the Middle East, pirates in the Red Sea. These national interests, allies, defense commitments, and threats are far numerous, far serious, and far more widely dispersed around the world than they were in 1917, when the US faced fewer threats, had fewer interests around the world, and had no formal allies. So the USN needs far more ships now than it possessed in 1917.

The BG claims Romney would increase defense spending by 61% if he grows it to 4% from its projected level of 3.2%. That’s a lie. In percentage terms, this would represent 25% growth (by 0.8 pp from 3.2% of GDP). In absolute numbers, assuming that America’s GDP is $14.66 trillion (as the CIA World Factbook says), that means growing defense spending from $526 bn today to $586.4 bn (4% of $14.66 trillion), a growth of $60.4 bn, i.e. by only 11.5% – far less than the 61% that the BG claims.

Moreover, the BG is propagating the Obama campaign’s lie that defense spending will shrink only as a percentage of GDP and only in FY2013, after which, the BG claims, it will resume growth:

“Romney is correct in noting that core defense spending is slated to fall as a percentage of GDP if war costs are not included, analysts said. Obama has proposed a 2013 Pentagon budget of $525 billion, a $6 billion cut from a year earlier, according to the Office of Management and Budget. Romney has vowed to restore the cuts and increase spending.

But Obama campaign officials said that calculating the spending as a percentage of the nation’s economy does not tell the whole story, noting that, after next year, the defense budget is slated to increase in dollar terms.”

This is completely false. US defense spending – with or without war costs counted in – has shrunk this FY and is slated to shrink further in the next FY and in the years afterward (so the claim that it will climb back in FY2014 is false), both in dollar terms and as a percentage of GDP. The core defense budget has shrunk in real terms from $552 bn in FY2011 to $531 bn this year, and is slated to decline to $525 bn in FY2013 and further in the following years. But war spending has also declined (from $160 bn in FY2011 to $115 bn this FY) and is slated to shrink further, to $88.5 bn in FY2013 and eventually zero out in FY2016 after the last US troops leave Afghanistan. Thus, both core defense and war spending is set to shrink dramatically in the years ahead, having already been cut, and the total military budget will thus shrink significantly as a result, both in dollar terms and as a percentage of GDP, even without sequestration. Moreover, the BG is understating its impact – it will cut another $600 bn (not $500 bn) out of the defense budget over a decade, ON TOP OF the $487 bn cuts already mandated by the debt ceiling deal and translated into details by Secretary Panetta.

As data from the CBO, presented in Graph 1, shows, defense spending will not return to its FY2011 levels until FY2019 at the earliest, even without sequestration, and that assumes that Congress makes no additional defense cuts.

As Graph 2 shows, defense spending will be cut to slightly above $500 bn and stay there indefinitely, barring a policy change.

Likewise, this graph from the anti-defense, Soros-funded CATO Institute is completely false. It falsely projects that under Obama’s plan, defense spending would remain constant throughout this decade and then grow again in the early 2020s, while Romney’s 4%-of-GDP proposal would shoot it up over $600 bn in FY2014, over $700 bn in mid-decade and over $800 bn by the end of this decade. America’s GDP would have to grow at a neckbreaking pace for 4% of it to constitute such a huge sum. (Remember: currently, 4% of GDP is just $586.4 bn.)

And despite Team Obama’s protestations, percentage of GDP is a more credible measure of spending than raw dollar figures, because it accounts for how much of a burden on the economy and on taxpayers a budget is. That measure, not raw dollar figures, tells us how much something costs and, quite literally, how seriously a nation treats its defense. And by that measure, defense has been neglected since the 1990s.

But mere dollar and inventory data don’t even begin to show the decline of the US military, which is now a shadow of its former self. Far more troubling is the dire material state of the current military, and that is the argument that Romney should’ve used. As Mackenzie Eaglen says:

“An Air Force F-15C literally broke in half during flight some years ago. Today, every single Navy cruiser hull has cracks; A-10C Warthogs have fuselage fractures, and the UH-1N Twin Huey helicopter fleet is regularly grounded. Over half the Navy’s deployed aircraft are not ready for combat.

Last April, the engine of a F/A-18C Hornet caught fire aboard the USS Carl Vinson. Last March, the engine of a Marine Hornet about to take off from the USS John C. Stennis exploded.

As these aging aircraft were bursting into flames, senior officials were warning Washington politicians that keeping the older fighter planes in safe flying condition was “one of their most serious challenges.”

Built in the 1980s and 1990s, the jets were designed to fly for 6,000 hours. Delayed delivery of the replacement F-35, however, has forced the services to squeeze an additional 4,000 flight hours out of the Hornets.”

There’s more proof of the military’s poor material condition, but this nicely illustrates the problem. The equipment aspect is no better. The vast majority of the military’s equipment is outdated, dilapidated, and not survivable in today’s threat environment marked by advanced, 21st century weapons, including A2/AD weaponry. It was produced mostly in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, which means the US is still living off the defense investments of those times. This cannot continue much longer.

Per former AF Secretary Michael Wynne, “The Air Force is going out of business”, as its old planes (whose average age is 24) fall out of the sky. So yes, it does matter that the Air Force is “older than ever since its establishment”.

The claims of Team Obama that

“Thanks to the president and his foreign policy accomplishments, our nation is stronger and more secure than it was when he took office. The bottom line remains the same – we have the strongest military in the world and that won’t change.’’

are so ridiculous they are downright laughable. Obama has zero foreign policy accomplishments to his name, and because of him and his failed appeasement and unilateral disarmament policies, America is dramatically weaker and dramatically less secure than it was when he took office (as proven by me in my other blogposts). And unfortunately, despite Team Obama’s and Christopher Preble’s claims, the US no longer has the strongest military in the world, and is slated to become even far weaker unless it completely reverses course. Team Obama is simply trying to lull the American people into a false sense of security, but fewer and fewer Americans are buying this garbage. In his first year, Obama closed over 30 crucial modernization programs (including the F-22, CSAR-X, MKV, KEI, and AC-X), thus depriving the military of badly needed equipment which was needed to replace old gear. These cuts were continued in 2010 (the C-17, F-35 Alternative Engine, the CGX cruiser, etc.) and 2011. He has also badly cut the US nuclear arsenal and nuclear modernization programs (allowing the nuclear stockpile to atrophy) and has signed the New START treaty, and recently, he has decided to give Russia missile defense secrets so that Russia can pass them on to China, Iran, and North Korea. Obama has made America radically less secure.

Meanwhile, Obama is cutting defense spending deeply; most of the defense budget goes to personnel and other running “fact of life” costs; little new military equipment is bought; and the military is forced to continue using old, obsolete, worn out equipment, while China is buying large quantities of new weapons and thus rapidly modernizing its military.

Moreover, Romney has failed to mention objective, independent studies which show that America’s defense investments, force structure, and modernization programs are dramatically inadequate. For example, last year, an independent study by the partisan Hadley-Perry Panel, co-chaired by former Clinton Defense Secretary William Perry and former Bush NS Advisor Stephen Hadley, found that:

“The aging of the inventories and equipment used by the services, the decline in the size of the Navy, escalating personnel entitlements, overhead and procurement costs, and the growing stress on the force means that a train wreck is coming in the areas of personnel, acquisition, and force structure.”

Fully modernizing the military will, according to the Panel, “require a substantial and immediate additional investment that is sustained through the long term.” Those are findings of a bipartisan, non-politically-motivated, neutral panel composed of men who are not running for any office and are not pandering to anyone.

The Panel also found that the Navy’s 283-ship-fleet is woefully inadequate and that the Navy actually needs 346 vessels. In late 2011, the left-leaning CNAS did its own study which arrived at the same conclusion. Both based their studies on the Navy’s needs of today and projected future needs, NOT historic Navy force levels. So even if you discard historic force size as the BG and leftist pseudoanalysts want to, that still doesn’t help them, because these two entities deem the Navy’s ship fleet woefully inadequate based on the requirements of today and the future, not past ship numbers.

So by any objective measure, the US is NOT spending enough on defense, and the US military is in a dire material condition, both in terms of maintenance of readiness as well as modernization and force structure.

The one thing that Romney is wrong about – and conservative analysts like Mackenzie Eaglen and James Carafano have stated this – is that the “4% of GDP” goal is achievable in this decade. Sadly, it isn’t. The President cannot appropriate money by himself; Congress is a full partner, and even without Obama, the Congress is extremely unlikely to agree to defense spending increases, especially when the country is already dealing with trillion-dollar deficits every year. Romney surely knows this.

To sum up, while numbers matter a great deal, and while Americans should be worried that the Navy and the Air Force have dramatically declined in size over the past decades, there is even more convincing evidence of America’s growing weakness and inadequacy of its defense investments: the dire material state and unreadiness of the military’s current equipment and units; the obsolescence, old age, wearing out, and lack of survivability of most of that equipment; the growing foreign threats which require survivable, stealthy weapons; the fact that a ship or a plane, no matter how technologically advanced, can be in only one place at a time; and the inadequate force structure (woefully inadequate in the Navy’s case) measured against the requirements of today and tomorrow, as reported by two independent entities (the Hadley-Perry panel and the CNAS). Mitt Romney should have used these arguments instead of arbitrary money figures and past force structures. Even if leftists like BG journalists claim that today’s supposedly advanced ships cannot be compared to those of 1916, that still doesn’t help them – the Navy’s size is still woefully inadequate compared to the requirements of today and the future.

http://www.boston.com/news/politics/articles/2012/03/19/mitt_romneys_defense_budget_target_is_lofty/?page=3

Graph 1. The scheduled decline of defense spending. Source: the CBO.

Graph 2. Obama’s plans to cut defense spending and to grow all other kinds of federal spending way above it. Source: the Heritage Foundation.

Posted in Economic affairs, Military issues, World affairs | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Sam Rohrer for Senate?

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on March 26, 2012


A Republican Senate candidate running in PA, Sam Rohrer, says this on his campaign website about defense:

“This Video in the “Truth Matters Series” is about the all important issue of providing for America’s National Defense.  One of the very few responsibilities granted to the Federal Government is to provide for the common defense and the power to declare war.

Maintaining a strong national defense has long been a core value of the Republican Party.  In order to fulfill the Constitutional mandate to protect American property and interests, America must have its interests here and around the world well defined.  Foremost in America’s foreign-policy is the necessity to assess our ability to defend our Nation in the context of our fiscal capacity. In other words, do we have the money to pay what needs to be done?

Foreign-policy is an extremely important responsibility of the United States Senate.  I will expand further in this Series on specific issues of foreign-policy. However, this “Truth Matters” concerns the obligation to defend American interests in an increasing hostile global environment.

While there is a necessity to maintain the strongest military in the world – 2nd to none, there is waste and widespread duplication and an opportunity to safely reduce cost.  Advisors reporting to leading conservative Senators such as Senator Coburn in the Senate have identified the fact that there is much ignorance in the Executive Branch regarding our military budget.

Certain administrations have used the military as a political football. The Obama-Casey administration is heading down a road that can be described as giving abusive treatment on military personnel and leadership.  Every time President Obama apologizes for America he weakens our strength in the world, but more importantly his administration weakens our military structure.  Refusing to acknowledge the ongoing threat from Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations, by failing to identify an enemy by name – “radical Islamic militants”, puts American lives and interests at risk.  This weakening of our military must stop.

I urge you and all of us to think hard about our future about the current direction and future of our Nations Defense Policy for our children and grandchildren.  Freedom is not to be trifled with.  As Ronald Reagan once said, “Those who have known freedom and then lost it have never known it again.”

Will you stand with me in this vital cause of a strong National defense?  Please watch the next video in the Truth Matters Video Series and please, share it with your friends. They need to know this message. And that’s the truth.”

He has also recorded a video in which he elaborates on this issue and condemns Obama’s cuts of the US nuclear arsenal (to levels not seen since 1950) and America’s military personnel numbers: http://www.rohrerforsenate.org/blog/

What am I to make of Rohrer? And what are Pennsylvania voters to make of him?

It’s great that he opposes, in general, in principle, the goal of a strong national defense and that he opposes Obama’s cuts of the US nuclear arsenal. Few Republicans have actually spoken out against them. I’m also glad he opposes using the military as a political football. It is necessary for Pennsylvania to have another Senator, besides, Pat Toomey, who would oppose deep cuts to the military’s muscle and bone, deep cuts in the US nuclear arsenal, and the policy of using the military as a political football.

So far, so good. But Rohrer also seems to be open to deep cuts in the US defense budget, specifically, those along the lines proposed by Tom Coburn. And that’s not good.

He claims that “conservative analysts” working for “leading conservative Senators such as Senator Coburn” have identified gross “waste and duplication” in the defense budget and have found that there is “much ignorance in the Executive Branch about our military budget”.

But the amount of waste in the defense budget is often exaggerated, and the “savings” that Coburn has identified would be, in large majority, cuts to the actual military capabilities of the military – i.e. cuts to its meat and bone – rather than eliminations of wasteful and duplicative programs. Coburn’s cuts would mostly fall on the force structure (e.g. the carrier, SSBN, and ICBM fleets) and on crucial equipment programs (such as the V-22 and the F-35 B and C variants) instead of wasteful spending. And his cuts proposals are based on rosy, overoptimistic, unrealistic assumptions that basically assume that there will be no significant threats to the US. His proposals to cut the ICBM, SSBN, and bomber fleets, to delay the next-gen bomber into the 2020s, and to cut the US nuclear arsenal would even invite a nuclear first strike by Russia.

Rohrer is very mistaken to endorse such proposals and reports.

Moreover, Coburn is not a “leading conservative Senator”; he’s not conservative at all. He’s an anti-defense libertarian who is willing to deeply cut ONLY defense spending. He is not willing to cut anything else deeply. If his “Back to Black” plan were ever implemented (God forbid), all departments other than the DOD would see only relatively small, trivial budget cuts.

I hope Sam Rohrer will understand this. But I also know that he would, most of the time, defend the military, while it’s certain that neither his primary competitors nor his Democratic opponent, Bob Casey, would do so. He’s hardly a perfect candidate, but his opponents are even worse.

Posted in Military issues, Politicians, World affairs | Leave a Comment »

10 reasons to vote for Romney

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on March 25, 2012


It now looks almost certain that Mitt Romney will win the GOP presidential nomination for the 2012 election. That being the case, I’d like to present any Republican, indie, or moderate Democrat who is still unsure whether to vote for Romney, or who is currently refusing to vote for him, with the following 10 reasons to vote for Mitt:

10) He can beat Barack Obama. Polls consistently show him defeating Barack Obama by ever-larger margins. Latest national head-to-head polls show him leading Obama by 4-6 pp. State polls show him competitive in enough states with enough EC votes to win the election. By contrast, Santorum and Paul have led Obama only sporadically, and only by tiny margins with the polls’ own MOE, and Gingrich constantly trails Obama by double-digit (or similar) margins. If a canddiate is not electable, it doesn’t matter how conservative he is, and these three guys are not any more conservative than Romney.

9) He will repeal Obama’s socialized medicine scheme. He has already said he will issue a waiver from it for all 50 states on his first day as President and then proceed to work with the Congress to repeal it fully. He even says that it’s the easiest government program to close (since all Republicans agree on abolishing it). Say what you want to say about state insurance mandates, but there’s one heck of a difference between them and a federal insurance mandate.

8) He will work with the Congress to reform entitlements, which, as he acknowledges, are the real drivers of America’s debt problem. He supports the Ryan Plan and other reforms proposed by Rep. Ryan. It is necessary to have a President who will sign such reforms into law.

7) He will stand by Israel at all times.

6) He will not be bowing to the Saudi King nor to Chinese Communists, unlike Barack Obama.

5) He will advance socially conservative policies. As President, he will have a few ways to do so, such as signing the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act and restoring the Mexico City Policy and the Conscience Protection Policy.

4) He will cut taxes, cut spending, and thus free the economy from the drags it is now suffering.

3) He will put troops, and build a fence, on the southern border, deport illegal immigrants (including those who have stayed in the US for decades), end funding for sanctuary cities, and work with the Congress to mandate E-Verify and make English the official language of the US.

2) He will nominate only strict constructionist judges to federal courts. Remember that during the next Presidential term – whosever term it will be – up to four SCOTUS judges (Ginsburg, Breyer, Kennedy, and Scalia) will retire, thus giving the next President the opportunity to appoint up to 4 SCOTUS judges. Replacing them with conservatives would finally accomplish the conservative counterrevolution on the Supreme Court which Republicans have been tirelessly working to achieve for decades. But if Obama gets another term, he will appoint judges who will completely pervert the Constitution’s meaning, legislate from the bench, and issue opinions rubber-stamping Obama’s socialist policies.

1) He will rebuild America’s defense after years of disastrous cuts, stop sequestration of the defense budget, stop cuts to America’s nuclear deterrent, and possibly also withdraw the US from the disastrous New START treaty.

These would be ten of the many benefits of electing Mitt Romney President. If any other Republican candidate is nominated, Obama will be reelected, and America will become dramatically weaker, less prosperous, and less free as a result.

I hope Republicans choose wisely, nominate Romney, and vote for him during the general election.

Posted in Constitutions, Economic affairs, Military issues, Politicians, World affairs | Leave a Comment »

The long-term danger to conservatism, the country, the GOP, and the military

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on March 24, 2012


Aside from all the defense cuts that the Obama Admin and the Congress plan to make, and aside from entitlement programs, which are crowding out defense spending, there is an ever graver, but long-term, threat to conservatism, the country, the GOP, and the military.

What is that threat?

Ron Paul supporters.

Ron Paul is dead last in polls and in terms of the number of delegates. He has not won, and will not win, a single state primary or caucus. He was the biggest loser on Super Tuesday, which was won by Romney. He does not, and never stood, even the SLIGHTEST chance of winning the GOP nomination, let alone the general election. He is, and has always been, utterly unelectable.

Ron Paul himself is not the threat here. It is his supporters.

Why?

They are predominantly young and will therefore live for the next several decades. Moreover, they are brainwashing their fellow youngsters, especially (but not exclusively) on campus, with Ron Paul’s extremely leftist views and converting them to the anarcho-libertarian cause. Polls show that in most primaries and caucuses, while Ron Paul usually got crushed, he was by far the first choice of young voters, winning almost 50% of their votes in Iowa, New Hampshire, Maine, and other states.

Unless conservatives (please distinguish conservatives from liberals; there is a heck of a difference) reach out to young voters, educate them, counter Paul’s leftist propaganda, and warn youngsters not to let Paul fool them, the GOP will, a few decades from now, be dominated and ruled by the Pauliban – hardcore Ron Paul supporters who agree with 100% of his extremely leftist views, including those on defense and foreign issues.

Indeed, there has been, a few months ago, a poll surveying their own views, and most of them profess extremely leftist beliefs, even more leftist than those of Barack Obama. They want to cut defense spending by half (which would mean gutting the military), withdraw all US troops from all foreign countries, withdraw the US from all alliances and international organizations, legalize all drugs (including hard ones), and not helping any allies, not even America’s closest allies such as Britain or France, if they are attacked. And they don’t care about the consequences of these policies.

In other words, they support a complete gutting of the US military, total isolationism, and total moral hedonism, all of which are un-conservative, and deeply damaging, policies.

And yet, unless conservatives educate these young voters, they will constitute a significant minority, if not the half or the majority, of the future Republican electorate and cadre of politicians.

Mere hopes that they’ll grow up and wisen up will not, by themselves, solve this problem. Sure, some of them will certainly grow up and wisen up, and after Ron Paul retires from the political scene next year, his influence on the GOP will be smaller. But his son entered the Senate just last year and aspires to be President one day. And his political views are almost as unconservative as those of his father although, to his credit, he does not badmouth America.

Conservatives need to patiently educate young voters. This is an effort that needs to continue endlessly, as new youngsters turn 18 and begin voting.

If we don’t do this, the GOP will be taken over by the Pauliban.

And what will be the consequences? We only need to look at what happened to the Libertarian Party and the Republican Liberty Caucus when the Pauliban took them over. (Indeed, they are already trying to take over the GOP, because they realize that the LP is a non-starter.)

The Libertarian Party started as a party with high, noble ideals. Unfortunately, the Pauliban and other anarcho-libertarian scum soon took it over, after they were cast out of the two big parties.

The Republican Liberty Caucus was started by non-paulbot Republicans with a libertarian streak who were trying to influence the GOP to reduce the size of the government and to respect privacy rights. It quickly became a success. But after membership grew significantly, the Pauliban arrived and began to infliltrate it in large numbers. They eventually dominated it numerically and took it over. And they brought with them their “no one may disagree with the Prophet Paul” attitude. For them, disagreeing with the Prophet Paul is a blasphemy. Nowadays, if you disagree with anything Paul says, they call their membership list and, within a few minutes, dozens of paulistinians will be bashing you on the RLC’s forum.

There is a danger of the same happening to the entire Republican Party, unless conservatives and Republican Party members:

  • Establish formal chapters of conservative organizations (such as YAF) at hundreds of universities and colleges, including the biggest ones, and make sure that these chapters actually operate and recruit a lot of students.
  • Formulate a coherent conservative philosophy and cnservative policies on the full spectrum of issues (starting with defense and foreign policy) based on that philosophy.
  • Propose and explain these policies to youngsters, and explain to them why they are far better, and far more in line with the Founders’ wishes, than what Ron Paul and his minions advocate.
  • Explain the flaws and contradictions of Ron Paul’s policies and his extremely leftist philosophy, as well as their origins.
  • Register young voters as Republicans.
  • Encourage young voters to join the ROTC.
  • Educate youngsters about American history and about Presidents.

Of course, doing so will mean making a huge, organized, coordinated, nationwide effort. But then again, everything important to the country requires that. No pain, no gain.

Remember: the Pauliban are just as intolerant as, and much more dangerous than, the Taliban.

Posted in Ideologies, Military issues, Politicians, World affairs | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

They’ve forgotten nothing and learned nothing

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on March 22, 2012


Radical social conservatives (such as Rick Santorum and Jay Sekulow) and pro-war-neocons (such as John McCain and Lindsey Graham) have mistaken the Republican takeover of the House to be a license for them to resume their business as usual.

For radical Christians, it means they think that Republicans’ 2010 electoral victory means they can resume demanding radical social policies (even when they’re hugely unpopular), voting for candidates exclusively on the basis of their social issues stance, and ignoring their stances on other issues, thus giving the GOP socially conservative RINOs as nominees for various offices. Currently, they’re trying to do exactly that by supporting a RINO (Rick Santorum) who is socially conservative to boot but liberal on fiscal, economic, and limited government issues.

But, as much as it pains me to say this as a believing, practicing Evangelical, the American electorate is liberal on social issues and, in the coming years and decades, will become even more so as older, traditionalist voters die and are replaced by young, fiscally-conservative-but-socially-liberal voters (the Millenials and younger people). If Republicans continue to nominate radical Christians like Santorum for public office, and to offer radical social policies, the Millenials will continue to vote against George W. Bush well into the 2060s. For more on that subject, please read Margaret Hoover’s excellent book, American Individualism: How a New Generation of Republicans can Save the Republican Party.

Those too young to remember would not recognize the American electorate of 10-12 years ago. Back then, only a minority supported gay marriage and repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. The Defense of Marriage Act had been passed 4 years earlier, in 1996, by overwhelming majorities in both houses of Congress and was signed by a Democratic President. And in 2004, Pres. Bush rallied Evangelicals and Catholics around him by endorsing the Federal Marriage Amendment.

But by 2010, 75% of Americans supported the repeal of DADT, and today, a large majority of Americans supports gay marriage and Roe v. Wade. Yet, social conservatives still push for radical policies.

But if social conservatives are harmful, neocons are downright destructive. In 2003, they took the nation to Iraq, to strip that country of weapons it did not possess. The result? A secular, anti-Iranian dictator was replaced by a pro-Iranian, Islamist, Shia government that is no better in terms of human rights that Saddam was (in terms of women’s rights, Iraq is now one of the most repressive countries on Earth, with spousal rape and honor killings being tolerated, if not sanctioned by law). The country is engulfed in a civil war. Over 4,400 American troops were wounded and $800 bn was spent on this war. The GOP’s political reward for marching into Baghdad was the loss of both houses of Congress in 2006 and of the White House in 2008, when Obama crushed McCain, as an anti-Iraqi-war fervor swept the nation.

And yet, the same McCain who got crushed in 2008, along with his fellow neocon hawk buddies like Lindsey Graham and Rich Lowry, is now pushing for two more wars: with Syria and with Iran.

In Syria’s case, he’s pushing for the US to help Al-Qaeda, Hamas, and the Muslim Brotherhood depose a secular socialist dictator, Bashar al-Assad, with whom the US has lived for almost 12 years, and with his father for 27 years (in fact, the elder President Bush even enlisted his father, Hafez al-Assad, as an ally in Desert Storm), so that the US can help rebels whose behavior has been no better than Assad’s and whose early slogan was “Christians to Beirut, Alawites to the wall.” Those are the Sunni Islamist terrorists that McCain and his fellow neocons want America to aid.

Yet, when CENTCOM commander Gen. James Mattis, a seasoned Marine with 40 years of experience under his belt, cautioned McCain during a recent SASC hearing against aiding the rebels because “we don’t know who they are”, McCain showed his nasty temper, got very angry, and loudly lectured the General about Libya (another neocon failure), Syria, and how supposedly the rebels in Libya and Syria are not Al-Qaeda or Muslim Brotherhood terrorists, but rather decent, freedom-yearning people.

In Iran’s case, they’re trying to start a war that would engulf the entire region in war, again to strip a country of weapons it does not have, even though it is STILL the consensus of both the US intel community and the US military that Iran has not yet decided to build a nuclear warhead. Attacking it would likely be the step that would prod Iran to do so.

In any case, any strike on Iran would merely delay its nuclear  program by a few years at most, while causing Iran to pursue it in a more decentralized and clandestine fashion, as Saddam Hussein did with his nuclear weapon program after the 1981 Israeli strike on Osirak. That event reinforced the Iraqi regime’s belief that Iraq needed a nuclear deterrent, and caused it to decentralize it and hide it underground. In 1991, when UN inspectors visited Iraq, they were shocked at how advanced the Iraqi nuclear program was at the time. If Saddam had not attacked Kuwait, he would’ve obtained a nuclear weapon by the end of the 1990s.

There is no reason to believe that Iran is irrational, despite Lowry’s arrogant claims to the contrary, nor to believe that deterrence doesn’t work or that Iran could not be deterred if it obtained a nuclear weapon. But the neocons are deluded by their ideology. They wrongly believe deterrence doesn’t work and that the only way to handle rogue states like Iran is to bomb them regardless of the consequences. (In the process, they are doing a huge damage to America’s defense, by attempting to discredit the US nuclear deterrent and the principle of nuclear deterrence that underpins it – at a time when Barack Obama is deeply slashing the US nuclear arsenal.)

And they, together with three GOP presidential candidates (Romney, Santorum, and Gingrich), are pushing for war with Iran, even though it is highly unpopular with the American people.

Radical social conservatives and neocons are two of a kind. Like the Bourbons of the Restoration Era, they have forgotten nothing and learned nothing.

Posted in Military issues, World affairs | 2 Comments »

10 reasons NOT to cut defense spending

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on March 21, 2012


The opponents of a strong defense are bombarding the American people and the Congress with lies designed to mislead them, lull them into a false sense of security, and get them to agree to cut defense spending deeply. In this post, I shall present 10 compelling reasons why defense spending should NOT be cut – not at all.

1) Defense is the most important function, indeed the most important Constitutional duty, of the federal government.

While the federal government has few Constitutional functions (most prerogatives are reserved by the 10th Amendment to the states and the people), and most of these are permissive and not compulsory, defense is obligatory and is the highest Constitutional obligation of the federal government. It’s not something that the federal government “may do” if it wants to. It’s something that the federal government is OBLIGATED to do by the Constitution. Yet, Obama’s federal budgets (as well as those of many previous presidents) have made defense their lowest priority.

According to the Preamble to the Supreme Law of the land, the need to provide for the common defense is actually one of the reasons why the federal government was established in the first place.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Art. I, Sec. 8 of the Constitution lists 17 prerogatives of the Congress, nine (i.e., over50%) of which are related to military affairs, including “to raise Armies,” “to provide and maintain a Navy,” to regulate captures on land and water, to declare war, and to make regulations for the military.  As Ernest Istook of the Heritage Foundation has observed, “National defense receives unique and elevated emphasis under the Constitution. It is not ‘just’ another duty of the federal government.”

Art. IV, Sec. 4 of the Constitution obligates the federal government to provide for the common defense:

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion[.]

2) Defense has already been cut disproportionately deeply, contrary to claims that it has so far been “off the table”.

After all defense cuts of FY2010, FY2011, and FY2012, and after the disastrous New START treaty, defense is slated for further cuts – at least $487 bn, and perhaps as much as $1.087 trillion (if sequestration proceeds), over a decade. No other government department or agency has, or is obliged to, make even half as deep budget cuts.

Defense spending has NEVER enjoyed “protected status”. It has been dramatically reduced in real terms, and as a percentage of GDP, numerous times during the last 65 years alone: year-on-year during the late 1940s, during the 1950s (after the Korean War), during the entire 1970s, and during the entire 1980s (actually, from FY1987 until FY2002, when defense spending grew slightly for the first time since FY1986). And even during periods when the Congress did not reduce total defense spending, it did close or cut many crucial weapon programs – even during the Bush era when the Comanche, XM2001, E-10MCA, and J-UCAS programs were closed and many other weapon programs (e.g. the F-22, F-35, Zumwalt class and San Antonio class programs) were significantly reduced. During FY2010 and FY2011, the Congress closed or cut over 50 DOD weapon programs. In January 2011, Robert Gates achieved another 178 bn in savings. Then, in August 2011, President Obama signed into law a debt ceiling deal which orders the DOD to cut its core budget by another $450 bn (Obama has increased that goal to $487 bn) and in November 2011, the Super Committee triggered a sequester which will cut the DOD’s core budget by another $600 bn over a decade. (Under the sequester, the DOD, which has already contributed far more to deficit reduction than any other government agency, will have to bear 50% of the cuts even though it accounts for merely 19% of the federal budget.)

And that will not be achieved by mere “efficiencies”, it will mean drastic cuts in personnel numbers, modernization programs, the force structure, and benefits programs for the troops, which means breaking faith with them. As the Wall Street Journal has recently rightly noted:

“The Administration’s record to date is undeniable. Defense was targeted from day one in office, and Mr. Obama disguised his latest, steepest retrenchment as part of a new “strategic review” earlier this month.”

By contrast, other federal departments and agencies have not had to make any serious cuts, and in most cases, any cuts whatsoever! For example, the State Department’s budget has more than doubled since President Obama took office, entitlement programs have been growing rapidly nonstop, and the Department of Homeland Security, which does nothing to protect Americans but much to harrass innocent passengers, has seen rapid growth of its budget and has requested $59 bn for FY2013.

3) The DOD’s budget amounts to less than 20% of total federal spending. There won’t be any big savings in it, nowhere near enough to even halve the deficit.

The FY2012 budget under the NDAA is $644.5 bn: a core defense budget of $526 bn and a supplemental of $118.5 bn. That’s less than 20% of total federal spending. No big savings can be made at the DOD if cutting the deficit is the goal. Indeed, as Rep. Allen West has rightly said, one could eliminate the entire DOD budget ($644.5 bn) entirely and still have a trillion-dollar annual budget deficit. By contrast, entitlements already consume a 63% annual share, are growing every year on autopilot, and have been growing that way ever since they were created. That is where the biggest savings can and must be found.

4) Deep defense cuts would deeply hurt the US economy.

As studies by the Center for Security Policy and the Providing For the Common Defense Coalition, and estimates by Sec. Panetta have confirmed, sequestration would mean the closures of hundreds of defense companies and defense industry facilities, and the resulting layoffs would increase the unemployment rate by a full percentage point. Deep defense cuts would mean huge layoffs of both troops and civilian employees, and cancellations of orders for thousands of weapons, resulting in the closures of hundreds of defense companies and their facilities, and further layoffs.

5) Defense cuts weaken the military and thus make America less safe.

No matter what defense spending critics will tell you, the fact is that defense cuts always weaken the US military, and that always makes America less safe, because America is safe only when the US military is strong enough to defend it. Defense cuts always weaken the military, because the defense budget is not a mere tranche of funding. Behind each number in the defense budget hide specific numbers of troops, units, bases, weapon programs, DOD agencies/commands, research projects, and troop compensation programs. Defense cuts mean fewer training hours, fewer weapons, fewer weapon programs, fewer troops, and fewer bases. In other words, they’re also bad because behind each defense budget number hides a weapon or a number of troops, and behind each defense spending cut hides a weapon arsenal or a weapon program cut.

6) Defense cuts produce zero savings in the long term.

As history has demonstrated, time after time, whenever the US cuts its own military, it eventually has to rebuild it (and fight wars caused by its military weakness) later down the road, at a much greater cost in money and American blood. It happened after WW1, when the US dramatically cut its own military and was totally unprepared for WW2 when it was drawn into it by Japan in 1941. It unilaterally disarmed itself after WW2, while Moscow did not, and had to quickly rebuild its military when the Korean War erupted and to fight this war at a high fiscal and human cost. It showed itself true again after the precipitous, reckless cuts that Pres. Eisenhower and Secretary Wilson made after the Korean War against the advice of the Air Force and Army Chiefs of Staff. It was proven again after post-Vietnam-War defense cuts totally gutted the military, thus emboldening the Soviet Union and making the world a much more dangerous place. These cuts forced President Reagan to rebuild the military at a much greater cost than it would’ve originally cost to just keep the military as strong as it was in 1969. And the same phenomenon played out after the Cold War, when the US first gutted it defense in the 1990s, then had to spend significant sums of money after 9/11 to rebuild its military.

7) The world is more dangerous than it has been since WW2.

The world is currently more dangerous, and engulfed in more wars, than at any time since 1945. Moreover, there are serious threats to America. China is almost as strong as the US. It has dozens of ICBMs, DF-21 IRBMs that can eliminate not only ground targets, but also satellites (as confirmed by America’s own generals) and USN ships (including carriers, vide the DF-21D variant). It has cyberweapons and an army of hackers that attack and disrupt US computer networks, and steal American secrets, on a daily basis. It has a larger Navy than the US does (in terms of the number of ships) and has an aircraft carrier. It’s now developing its own stealthy fifth generation fighterplane, the J-20 (some analysts say it will be a medium fighter-bomber), while the US is not producing any F-22s (their production line has been shut down) and orders for F-35s have been dramatically cut. China’s official defense budget for the next fiscal year is scheduled to be $106 bn, but Western analysts estimate it may be $260 bn.

Russia has reemerged as America’s military peer. It now plans to spend $770 bn over the next decade to modernize its arsenals of weapons, both strategic and conventional, and is aggressively modernizing its nuclear triad (and ordering 400 ICBMs), while the US nuclear triad and nuclear stockpile are atrophying through neglect and nonmodernization (not to mention American nuclear facilities, which date back to the days of the Manhattan Project). It also has by far the largest tank fleet in the world – over 20,000 tanks. And that is to say nothing of North Korea, Iran, and Venezuela!

8) The federal budget can be balanced without any defense spending cuts.

Despite claims that defense spending “has to be on the table” and has to be cut to balance the federal budget, the truth is that it can be balanced without any defense cuts whatsoever. The respective budget plans of the Republican Study Committee and the Heritage Foundation would balance the federal budget without any defense budget cuts within 10 fiscal years, while deeply cutting domestic spending and reforming entitlements. Of the 6 plans reviewed by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, the HF’s plan would cut  federal spending, taxes, and debt most deeply, again, while not cutting defense spending at all.

9) The DOD has already contributed more than its fair share. It’s time for other departments to step up.

Defense was targeted by Obama for cuts on his first day as President. In 2009, he closed over 30 crucial weapon programs and laid off thousands of contractors. In 2010, he closed further weapon programs (including America’s only strategic airlifter production line) and signed the New START disarmament treaty. In 2011, his SECDEF, Robert Gates, had to find additional $178 bn in savings. And in August 2011, he signed the Budget Control Act, which calls on security-related agencies (read: the DOD) to cut their budgets by a further $487 bn over a decade. All other federal agencies have skated away with minor cuts or no cuts at all. Since Obama took office, the State Department’s budget has more than doubled.

10) Defense cuts embolden America’s enemies.

Whenever one side cuts its defenses, the opposite site becomes emboldened, as its prospects for successful blackmail and aggression become ever brighter. Vide free European countries and the United States which refused to arm themselves in the run-up to WW2, thus provoking aggression through their weakness. Vide also America’s lack of a Navy prior to 1798, which allowed Barbary Pirates to attack defenseless American merchant ships. Deep defense cuts would greatly increase the risk of, if not outright guarantee, aggression, as they always do.

Posted in Constitutions, Economic affairs, Military issues, World affairs | Leave a Comment »

 
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