Response to the garbage ReasonTV defense cuts video (which is a litany of blatant lies)


There is a video by the liberal ReasonTV channel circulating around the web, which is a litany of blatant lies about defense spending and challenges Republicans and conservatives to “prove they are serious about their own limited government philosophy” by pushing for deep defense cuts:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=byVNw3rfiy8

Utter garbage. Any significant defense cuts WILL weaken the military and make America less safe. That’s because all defense cuts of any serious magnitude mean cuts in the numbers of troops, weapon inventories, modernization programs, O&M programs, spare part purchases, fuel, troop health & benefits programs, and/or military infrastructure. That is a reality of life.

There is some waste in the budget of the DOD (as there is in the budget of every government agency), but there isn’t enough waste in it to pay for $100 bn or $500 bn cuts. Not even close.

The Navy jet fuel deal is cost prohibitive, but:
1) It was not voluntarily accepted or sought by the Navy. It was imposed on it from on high by Obama and his politically-appointed SECNAV Ray Mabus.
2) Its cost, while significant, will still be measured in millions, not billions, of dollars, and would therefore be insufficient to pay for any significant defense spending cuts.

The entire video is a litany of blatant lies. The liberal speaker in the video falsely claims that most conservatives/Republicans claim that defense spending should not be cut and should in fact be increased. Who, besides me, is saying so?

Certainly none of the presidential candidates other than Romney. Santorum and Perry merely want to protect defense spending from cuts. Gingrich, Huntsman, and Paul all support deep defense spending cuts.

The first “reason” given by the liberal speaker in the video – that “the war is over” – is no reason to cut defense spending. The Iraqi war may be over, and the Afghan war will end in 2014, but that is NO EXCUSE to cut defense spending. It has nothing to do with how high America’s defense spending should be. The mission of the US military is to prevent war and to keep the country safe AT ALL TIMES. Investments in preventing war (i.e. in a strong defense) prevent war, and therefore prevent much higher expenditures to fight it.

It would be far better to invest adequately in defense now to prevent the eruption of a preventable war (and its associated costs, both fiscal ahd human) than to fight, later on, a costly war that could be avoided.

The OCO budget is shrinking annually, and it will zero out in FY2015 when the last American troops come back home. But cuts to the defense budget are unacceptable.

The liberal speaker claims that “at the end of WW2, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, defense spending got cut, as it should.” No, it should NOT have been cut. The dramatic, draconian defense cuts implemented after the war gutted the military (by the admission of top US military leaders and government officials), thus ENCOURARING aggressors to perpetrate actions they would otherwise refrain from, causing war, and causing high costs in both money and blood – costs that would’ve been avoided had the US kept a strong defense and refrained from defense cuts.

The liberal speaker also falsely claims that America’s military spending has grown by 91% over the last decade, thus “almost doubling”. Again, that is a blatant lie. Total US military spending grew from $390 bn in inflation-adjusted dollars in FY2001 to $688 bn in FY2011, which represents growth of only 76% over a decade (for those who think it’s still a staggering percentage, I’ll repeat: OVER A DECADE). The military budget for the current FY (FY2012) is $662 bn, which is only 69% higher than it was in FY2001, and again that is growth over an entire decade, not over one FY. Moreover, what the speaker conveniently admitted is that America’s defense budget in FY2001 was pathetically small and woefully inadequate, and was recognized as such by both the right (e.g. HASC Chairman Floyd Spence) and the left (e.g. the CSIS), as well as by such prominent DOD critics as John Kasich. In FY2001, defense spending was so low that tank units had to practice tank tactics using golf carts instead of tanks.

And yet, America’s military spending is still modest. It amounts to just 4.51% of GDP (lower than it was throughout the entire Cold War except FY1948), and the core defense budget amounts to only 3.59% of GDP (again, lower than it was throughout the entire CW except FY1948). Those are microscopic percentages. Military spending amounts to just 19% of the total federal budget, whereas its share was much higher than that throughout the entire Cold War (again, excepting FY1948).

The speaker spoke of terrorist organizations, but conveniently omitted all other threats, such as China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, and Venezuela, all of which are much more deadly and technologically sophisticated than terrorist organizations.

He also lied that the US is responsible for 45% of the world’s military spending and spends more on its military than the next 14 countries combined. Again, blatant lies. In fact, according to the SIPRI, the US accounts for only 42.8% of the world total and the next 12 countries combined spend more than the US. Moreover, how much other countries spend on their militaries is IRRELEVANT to how much the US should spent on its defense. It should be determined SOLELY by America’s own defense needs – the threats facing the country and how much it will cost to fend off these threats.

The video denounces the waste in the budgets of the DOD and the DHS. Waste in any government department is inexcusable, but so are defense cuts. As for the DHS, it is separate from, and has nothing to do with, the DOD. It is not a part of America’s defense nor of the US military (except the Coast Guard).

As for the third false reason given in the video – “it’s a Republican virtue and good politics” – that’s also a lie. Cutting defense spending and weakening defense is not a virtue, it’s a vice, and it has been long considered such by mainstream Republicans.

Dwight Eisenhower, who has been misused by the speaker, did NOT clamor for any defense cuts in his Farewell Address. He merely warned against giving the “military-industrial complex” influence on the American political system and process. In fact, in the same Farewell Address, he called the military establishment “a vital element in keeping the peace” and claimed that “our arms must be mighty, ready for constant action, so that no aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction.” (Here’s a full transcript of his Farewell Address.) Under Eisenhower, defense spending amounted to a full 10% of GDP and the majority of the total federal budget. By the speaker’s standards, Eisenhower would’ve been classified as a supporter of a “bloated” DOD budget today, and the speaker would’ve been calling on Eisenhower to cut defense spending.

The speaker also called the US military and the DOD “a cancer on the society”, which they aren’t and have never been, and which Eisenhower would’ve never called them.

The speaker also invoked the American people, but the fact is that the vast majority of Americans (57% according to the most recent polling on the subject) opposes any defense cuts, and 82% opposed any defense cuts by the Super Committee. Politicians are  “out of touch” with average Americans indeed – and so is the speaker (and ReasonTV) ! They continue to clamor for ever-deeper defense cuts while a majority of the electorate opposes them.

The speaker claims that Republicans must push for deep defense cuts if they want to cut entitlement programs. It is unconservative, ridiculous, against the Constitution, and plain wrong to equate these two kinds of spending. Defense is not only a legitimate government function, it is the #1 DUTY of the federal government. Entitlements are utterly unconstitutional, utterly wasteful, breed a dependency class, take money from hard-working folks to people who didn’t earn it, and are much bigger than the military budget.

The speaker also claims that Republicans must cut defense spending deeply if they are serious about their limited government philosophy. But limited government philosophy means “a government limited to what the Constitution authorizes”, and as I stated above, defense is not only a legitimate government function, it is the #1 DUTY of the federal government. Limited government philosophy does NOT require defense cuts.

The Preamble to the Constitution states that one of the reasons the Constitution was written and ordained, and the federal government established, in the first place is to “provide for the common defense”, which means that the mission of the federal government is to provide for America’s defense, NOT to provide entitlement programs or other domestic social programs. Art. IV, Sec. 4 of the Constitution OBLIGATES the federal government to provide for the common defense and to guarantee a republican form of government to every state of the Union. Defense is therefore not only a legitimate government function, it’s a Constitutional DUTY of the federal government. Any policy that weakens the US military, including any significant defense cut, is a dereliction of that duty.

Last, but not least, let’s not forget that there have already been serious defense cuts. In fact, they have been occuring throughout the Obama Admin. In March 2009, just 2 months after he took office, Obama ordered then-SECDEF Robert Gates to cancel plans for the next generation bomber program, close the F-22 program, close other crucial weapon programs, and cut the defense budget request down to $534 bn. In April 2009, Gates announced a defense budget request that closed over 30 crucial weapon programs, thus cutting $330 bn out of the defense budget and from future defense spending plans; in FY2011, he closed further weapon programs, such as the next-gen cruiser and the EPX plane program. In January 2011, he devised further $178 bn defense budget cuts; and just a week ago, Obama announced his own plan to cut a FURTHER $500 bn out of the defense budget (in REAL-TERM BUDGET CUTS) over the next decade. How much more cuts does the video speaker want? I guess no amount of defense cuts would satisfy him and ReasonTV. In any case, the DOD can’t accept any further core defense budget cuts. That is a fact.

Sadly, a pseudoconservative website called “Conservative New Jersey” (www.conservativenewjersey.com) decided to post and endorse this video and to agree with its proposals of deep defense cuts. The ONLY thing that was saving that website’s reputation, and that of its admins, in the eyes of me and other conservatives was its stance on defense. Now that we know that CNJ is a pro-defense cuts site, and its admins are anti-defense, they’re utterly discredited. They have no right to call themselves conservatives, and it will be deeply insulting to every real conservative, including me, if they continue to do so. That website should no longer be called  “conservativenewjersey”, but rather “liberalnewjersey”. Boo to these guys.

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