Gordon Adams and the “Center for American Progress” should shut up

The utterly discredited former Clinton Administration official responsible for the disastrous Clinton era defense cuts, Gordon Adams, has opened his mouth again, speaking about a HASC report warning about the impact of the sequester mechanism:

“This is not a responsible analytical product. It appears the [GOP] staff started by asking, ‘What can I do by picking my targets to make this look like the end of Western civilization?’ It’s designed to scare people.”

This is utter garbage, uttered by a discredited traitor responsible for the disastrous Clinton era defense cuts. Obviously, he wants to repeat them. Adams was talking about a HASC report which warns that if the debt ceiling deal’s sequester mechanism – which would cut $600 bn from the defense budget over the next 10 years on top of the $350 bn reduction already ordered – the military will become totally impotent and unable to defend America, and a draft might be necessary. That’s because this would mean a total defense budget cut of $950 bn over a decade, i.e. a whopping $95 per year. This would mean that the DOD could no longer offer salaries attracting the best people America can offer and would have to rely on a draft. It would also mean dramatic cuts to the force structure and to modernization programs. How badly the force structure, modernization programs, end-strength, and programs to maintain an all-volunteer military would be cut would depend on what options would the Congress choose, i.e. what would be cut most severely.

In any case, the HASC is NOT making it look like the end of Western civilization or trying to scare people. It’s trying to warn people about the consequences that the sequester mechanism’s cuts would bring about. The HASC is not lying or exaggerating.

The fact that the sequester mechanism would be disastrous has been acknowledged not only by the HASC, but also by many credible defense officials and analysts, including current Defense Secretary (and Adams’s former Clinton Admin co-worker) Leon Panetta (a former House Budget Committee Chairman and OMB Director), Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen, his slated replacement Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chiefs and  vice chiefs of the services, former Secretaries of Defense Robert Gates and Donald Rumsfeld, and defense analysts of the Heritage Foundation, including retired Lt. Col. James Carafano. So who knows this issue better – these top-ranking current and former officials and analysts or a discredited anti-defense bureaucrat from a former Administration (Adams)? Of course the former.

Adams also made another false claim:

“Adams noted the $350 billion in cuts over a decade set in motion by the August debt deal would be an 8 percent reduction from planned spending. “That’s peanuts,” Adams said.”

That’s a blatant lie. Firstly, 8% is not peanuts. Secondly, the HASC was talking about the $600 bn cuts that would be imposed ON TOP of all the cuts already administered and ordered, including on top of the $350 bn cut, so the total reduction of the core defense budget would be $950 bn over a decade, i.e. $95 bn per year (on average), which would constitute a whopping 18% reduction of the core defense budget.

A Center for a New American Security spokesman, Travis Sharp, has accepted the premise that the sequester will kick in and force massive reductions of the force structure, but he wrongly tried to justify them, claiming that:

“The defense cuts under consideration won’t necessarily hollow out the U.S. military if policymakers are willing to size our forces according to the resources available. A smaller, highly trained and well-equipped force is preferable to a bigger force that lacks the necessary training and equipment.”

Preferrable only if you are FORCED to choose between these two terrible options (both of which would imperil the US). It would be like choosing between AIDS and Alzheimer’s disease – both of them are untreatable and lead to death. “Hollowing out” the military would mean rendering it “hollow”, like a hollow shell, i.e. maintaining (on paper) a large military, but one that would be poorly equipped, poorly maintained, poorly trained, struggling to recruit personnel (and probably relying on a draft), not researching new weapon types, and not capable of many operations. If you dramatically reduce the SIZE of the military and reinvest the savings into O&M, weapon purchases, and weapon research, then you’ll avoid a “hollow military”, but the price will be a much smaller force. That, however, is only a slightly better option, because, as now-former-SECDEF Robert Gates said while he was SECDEF, a smaller military will be able to do fewer things simoultaneously and go to fewer places. It will not be able to defeat the militaries of America’s peer competitors or respond to all threats. In other words, it will not be able to protect America. It is NOT an acceptable outcome.

Both options are unacceptable, and both must be rejected. The Congress should not cut defense spending at all. Instead, it should cut domestic spending – discretionary and nondiscretionary alike – to balance the budget.

Meanwhile, two propagandists of the George-Soros-funded “Center for American Progress” have also opened their uniformed mouths. Politico reports that:

“A report by the Center for American Progress in July recommended as part of a “transition to a responsible and sustainable level of defense spending” some of the specific cuts identified as dire in the GOP analysis, including cutting the two carrier groups, reducing the U.S. nuclear arsenal and cancellation of the Navy and Marine Corps F-35 variants.

A separate report from the group released Monday details how similar cuts could offset the estimated $447 billion cost of President Barack Obama’s jobs bill.

“Wasteful defense spending does not make our nation safer. Each dollar spent on defense diverts resources away from other critical investments in America’s future, especially in these times of fiscal austerity,” wrote authors Larry Korb and Alex Rothman, who specialize in defense matters.”

This is wrong for several reasons. Firstly, no defense cuts of any kind are “overdue”. If anything, America’s core defense budget is insufficient and should be increased, not decreased. Secondly, the cuts that they have proposed would be downright disastrous (and are designed to be), by dramatically weakening the US military and imperiling America (as is their purpose). To take but one example, America’s nuclear arsenal and its arsenal of delivery systems is already insufficient, thanks to decades of cuts and the New START treaty. Yet, the CAP wants it to be cut even further – and dramatically so – thus encouraging China to reach nuclear parity with, or even nuclear superiority over, the US.

Secondly, the CAP’s claim that current levels of defense spending are “irresponsible and unsustainable” is a blatant lie. Not an opinion that I disagree with, but a blatant lie. America’s core defense budget for FY2011 ($528.9 bn) constitutes a microscopic 3.61% of GDP, the smallest proportion of GDP devoted to defense since FY1948 (except the late 1990s). Throughout the entire Cold War except FY1948, it was much larger. It also constitutes less than 15% of the federal government’s annual $3.7 trillion budget. Even total military spending for FY2011 ($688 bn) constitutes only 4.7% of GDP and less than 19% of the total federal budget. Throughout the entire Cold War, a larger part of the federal budget was spent on the military. The claim that such microscopic level of defense spending is “irresponsible and unsustainable” is a blatant lie. To quote former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (no friend of wasteful spending):

“I have long believed—and I still do—that the defense budget, however large it may be, is not the cause of this country’s fiscal woes…. [T]he continued strength and global reach of the American military will remain the greatest deterrent against aggression, and the most effective means of preserving peace in the 21st century, as it was in the 20th.” — May 24, 2011

“I got it that we’ve got a $1.6 trillion deficit. But defense is not a significant part of that problem. If you took a 10 percent cut in defense, which would be catastrophic in terms of capabilities, that would be $50 billion on a $1.6 trillion deficit.” — February 23, 2011

Wasteful defense spending does not make America safer, that’s true. But the vast majority of the defense budget is NOT wasteful. And the only way to reform the DOD is to actually reform it, not to cut its budget arbitrarily.

Moreover, the claim that “Each dollar spent on defense diverts resources away from other critical investments in America’s future, especially in these times of fiscal austerity” is both ridiculous and contrary to the Constitution and the wishes of the Founding Fathers. The CAP’s propagandists got it backwards. They got it wrong. Each dollar spent on domestic programs (e.g. social programs) – discretionary or not – is a dollar that cannot be spent on defense, which is the #1 function, and a Constitutional duty, of the federal government. Nothing is, or could ever be, more critical (i.e. more important) than America’s defense. The Founding Fathers stated clearly that it is the #1 function of the federal government. John Jay stated as much in a letter to George Washington. Washington himself told the First Congress, in 1790, that:

“Among the many interesting objects which will engage your attention, that of providing for the common defence will merit particular regard. To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace. A free people ought not only to be armed but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well digested plan is requisite: And their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories, as tend to render them independent on others, for essential, particularly for military supplies.”

James Madison, himself for some time an opponent of standing armies, admonished the opponents of defense spending and standing armies thus: “How could a readiness for war in times of peace be safely prohibited, unless we could prohibit, in like manner, the preparations and establishments of every hostile nation?”

The Constitution emphasises defense uniquely, like no other function of the federal government, and elevates it above all other functions. Furthermore, it states that the need for a common defense was one of the reasons why the Constitution was ordained, and that defense is a Constitutional DUTY of the federal government (Art. IV, Sec. 4).

So no, there is nothing that is, or could ever be, more critical (i.e. more important) than defense. The CAP treats defense as the least-important function of the federal government and the defense budget as a mere piggybank to be used to finance domestic programs (discretionary and nondiscretionary alike). Congressman Ron Paul agrees with them. That’s against the Constitution, however.

The vast majority of the programs and agencies that the CAP wants to be funded are wasteful and unconstitutional.

As for President Obama’s jobs bill, it’s yet another ridiculous Keynesian proposal which will not work if implemented, will not create a single job, and will only drive America deeper into debt. The government doesn’t create jobs; the private sector creates jobs. Most of the “Obama jobs bill” consists of wasteful projects, including tons of pork projects. Regardless, NOTHING is as critical (i.e. as important) as defense. It should be fully funded first, before anything else is funded.

My advice to Gordon Adams and CAP propagandists (including Larry Korb and Alex Rothman): shut up.








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