Oftentimes, when some lawmakers want to maintain, insert, or reinstate funding for a crucial defense program (usually a crucial weapon program) which Leftists oppose, they and the media use the false “the DOD doesn’t want it” argument. We hear it often.
We heard it during the early 1990s, when a small number of conservatives tried to defend programs that the first Bush Admin and its idiot Defense Secretary, Dick Cheney, closed over 100 crucial weapon programs and tried to kill the V-22 program. The liberals and the media claimed shouted “Why the hell are you trying to enforce these programs on the DOD? The DOD doesn’t want them!”
We heard it during the later part of the 1990s, when the Clinton Administration implemented even deeper defense cuts (including weapon program cuts), thus rendering the US military impotent. Conservatives defended the B-2 program and other crucial weapon programs, yet liberals and the media opposed them, saying “the DOD doesn’t want them”.
And we heard it in 2009 and 2010, when the Obama Administration and it’s lousy Defense Secretary, Bob Gates, closed over 30 crucial weapon programs. We conservatives defended these programs and urged the Congress to fund them. But liberals, libertarians, and the media condemned us, maligned these programs, and called on the Congress to close them, claying that “the DOD doesn’t want them”.
Each case, it didn’t matter to the Presidents, the Administrations, the SECDEFs, the media, liberals, or libertarians, that these defense programs were crucial. They wanted them to be closed and the resulting savings reinvested in domestic boondoggles like welfare programs – and each time, this is what happened. They merely used the false “the DOD doesn’t want it” argument.
They used it like a shield that was supposed to block any funding for any programs the particular leadership of the DOD at a particular time doesn’t like. It’s an argument that is supposed to stop all discussion and justify any defense cuts, including any program closures.
But it’s a false argument, for the following reasons:
1) The DOD is not infallible, and neither is any other federal agency. They are sometimes wrong.
2) Just the fact that the DOD doesn’t want something doesn’t mean that this something is not needed, or that the DOD is right. Every issue should be objectively analyzed on a case-by-case basis. If something is needed, it should be funded, even if the DOD doesn’t want it.
3) It’s actually irrelevant what the DOD doesn’t want when it’s controlled by anti-defense liberals (such as Bob Gates) and when it is a part of a liberal, anti-defense Administration, such as the Obama Administration.
4) Members of Congress should think critically for themselves, and should do their own research.
5) It is a Constitutional DUTY of both the Executive and the Legislative Branch to provide for the common defense and protect each state against invasion (vide Art. IV of the Constitution). It is therefore a Constitutional duty of the Congress to scrutinize the budget and program decisions of the DOD and to correct any mistakes that the DOD makes.
6) Historically, when the Congress wanted to impose programs or weapons on the DOD which the Pentagon didn’t want, the Congress was almost always proven right. For example, the DOD wanted to end the production of F-117s prematurely, but Sen. Sam Nunn (D-GA) insisted on purchasing additional F-117s. He was right, because F-117s were, during the Gulf War, the only aircraft other than B-1s which were able to defeat Baghdad’s dense SAM/AAA network. After 9/11, the Congress urged the DOD to arm Predators. It was right, because nowadays, it’s hard to fight the Afghan war without Predators. And so forth.
7) History has shown that deferring to an Administration – ANY Administration – on defense issues is a bad mistake.
The Congress should NEVER defer to ANY Administration on defense issues. It should think critically for itself, do its own research, and make the right decisions for the country and the military, even if the DOD doesn’t want this or that weapon program. It should fully fund every defense program which is truly needed, even if some defense program are not wanted by the DOD. It is the Congress to whom decisions what to fund, and how generously, are entrusted by the Constitution. Congress should not delegate its responsibilities to the Executive Branch.