The National Review, the GOP establishment’s propaganda magazine, has utterly and irreversibly discredited itself. How? By publishing a ridiculous article by libertarian liar Michael Tanner of the CATO Institute.
In that article, Tanner, who, like other CATO Institute propagandists, is virulently opposed to a strong defense, has played into the Democrats’ hands by accepting the unconstitutional Obama-GOP budget deal as an accomplished fact and by calling on the GOP to choose between defense cuts and tax hikes, and has clearly stated which option he prefers: defense cuts.
And while arguing for defense cuts, he has resorted to a litany of lies. (This is not surprising, though. If you want to argue for defense cuts, you have to use a litany of lies. There are no factually-correct arguments for defense cuts. If you want to argue for defense cuts, you have to resort to lies.)
Tanner claims that if the sequester is introduced, nat-sec departments will be cut by $564 bn. This is false; they will be cut by a full $600 bn and if history is any indication, the DOD will shoulder the bulk, if not the entirety, of these budget cuts. So far, neither the DHS nor the DOS have ever seen their budget cut during the last 3 years. Indeed, Obama has DOUBLED the budget of the DOS, and the DHS’ budget has also been increased by Obama, aided by Congressional Republicans. Moreover, these budget cuts will be made IN ADDITION TO all the defense cuts already administered by Obama and the $350-bn-over-a-decade cuts ordered by the debt ceiling legislation (which amount to $35 bn per year, on average).
Tanner claims that the sequester won’t kick in until 2013, “leaving Republicans with plenty of time to change the mix of domestic and defense cuts after the 2012 elections.” This is a blatant lie. If the deficit reduction committee’s recommendations are rejected by the Congress, or the cmte. fails to present them to the Congress by Nov. 23rd, the sequesters will kick in in November 2011, in FY2012. The DOD will see massive budget cuts ($60 bn per year on average, in addition to the $35 bn per year on average cuts already ordered by the debt ceiling legislation, which the DOD will have to make regardless of whether the sequester is triggered or not).
But even if his claim was true, which it is not, would it be really fair and prudent to give Republicans just a few months to prevent automatic defense cuts that the sequester would make? Of course not. But Tanner disagrees.
Tanner has also lied that these defense cuts would amount to just 8% of “expected defense spending over the next decade”. Specifically, he has written:
“But even if the cuts were to occur, they amount to just a bit more than 8 percent of expected defense spending over the next decade.”
That is a blatant lie. The FY2011 core defense budget is $528.9 bn. Future defense budgets are projected to be even smaller. $60 bn of that would be 11.344% (i.e. 11%) of the core defense budget (the budget to which the cuts would be made – the sequester would not cut the GWOT budget that pays for the Iraqi and Afghan wars). But, as I wrote above, these cuts would be made on top of the $350-bn-over-a-decade cuts already ordered by the debt ceiling legislation (which amount to $35 bn per year, on average). Add these budget cuts up, and you get defense budget cuts to the tune of $85 bn per year, on average, i.e. 16% of the defense budget!
Tanner has also lied that “With the U.S. spending more on its military than the rest of the world combined, does anyone really believe that if we stop protecting Germany from a Russian invasion, cancel weapon systems that don’t work, or reduce the number of generals and admirals populating the Pentagon, that al-Qaeda will come swarming across our border?”
The US does NOT spend more on its military than the rest of the world combined. As the latest SIPRI figures prove, the 20 next countries combined collectively spend more on their militaries than the US. The entire rest of the world combined spends far more on their militaries than the US. Withdrawing troops from Germany will not save the US a cent; it will actually ADD costs because the DOD would have to build new bases in the US for the troops that would be coming home. Reducing the number of generals and admirals (which the DOD already plans to reduce by 100) will not produce any significant savings (there are currently 876 of them), as the DOD’s own numbers prove. As for “weapon systems that don’t work”, what is Tanner talking about? The DOD no longer has any such systems. There were a number of such systems, but they have all been closed by Robert Gates (who has now retired as SECDEF), As Robert Gates said in May:
The DOD does not maintain “weapon systems that does not work.” It’s a blatant lie. Closing the weapon systems which it does maintain will leave the military even more under-equipped than it is now. The US military is already ill-equipped. The vast majority of its weapons are obsolete, worn-out, nonstealthy weapons produced during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. The US has been having a “weapon procurement holiday” since 1989. This must end now.
Tanner also lied that “If we are ever to seriously cut the deficit and reduce our crushing national debt, 20 percent of the federal budget cannot be permanently kept off the table.” This is the anti-defense-spending crowd’s favorite argument, but it’s a blatant lie. Military spending has NEVER been off the table. NEVER. Not during the 1940s, not during the 1950s, not during the 1960s, not during the 1970s, not during the 1980s, not during the 1990s, not under President Bush, and not under President Obama. I shall not even list the defense spending cuts administered before the 2000s, and I’ll just mention those administered by Bush and Obama.
Under President Bush, Congress frequently cut (or denied funding for) many weapon programs, and in 2005, Bush’s own OMB ordered defense spending to be cut by billions of dollars, forcing all services to make hard choices (for example, the Navy had to retire the USS John F. Kennedy). And in 2005, Bush threatened to veto the defense budget if the Congress would pass a larger defense budget than what Bush requested.
President Obama has cut or closed over 50 weapon programs and, by his own admission, his first SECDEF, Robert Gates, has cut $400 bn from defense accounts and defense spending plans. Obama himself has boasted about cutting $400 bn from defense accounts. The FY2011 CR, passed in April, cut defense spending (not just defense spending projections) in real terms, to $528.9 bn, and the debt ceiling legislation has ordered the DOD to cut the core defense budget even further, by $350 bn over a decade, i.e. $35 bn per year on average. This means that under President Obama alone, defense spending has already been cut by $400 bn and is slated to be cut further by $350 or potentially even $850 bn if the sequester is threatened. So Tanner’s claim that military spending has been kept permanently off the table is a blatant lie, just like everything else that he has written.
Moreover, military spending does not constitute 20% of the federal budget. It constitutes less than 19%, and the core defense budget constitutes less than 15%.
I do not support any tax hikes. But I don’t support any defense cuts, either. Forcing the Congress to choose between tax hikes and defense cuts is un-conservative. And that was exactly the Democrats’ goal. The Dems know that Republicans oppose both. That’s why they forced Republicans to choose between one of these options. By calling on Republicans to accept this deal as an accomplished fact and choose between tax hikes and defense cuts, he’s doing the Dems’ bidding.
But if Tanner was really a conservative, he would’ve instead called on the Congress to scrap this Committee, scrap this deal with Obama, and instead force all Congressional Committees to find some savings in the budgets they oversee. The debt ceiling deal is a plot made in hell, and it should’ve never been passed by the Congress. It’s also unconstitutional. Nothing good can result from this deal. No thing that is basically flawed can produce good results. The Congress should throw this deal out and start over. When you mess up a pizza cake, you don’t try to fix it. You discard it and start over.
But Tanner is not a conservative, so he doesn’t care. He’s just an anti-defense libertarian liar.
Tanner’s entire article is an anti-conservative, anti-military, anti-defense propaganda leaflet. It’s a litany of lies. Shame on Tanner for writing it, and shame on the NR for publishing it.