The lies of US News

In a hilarious post, ridiculously titled “Mitt Romney’s Lies”, the liberal US News magazine accuses Romney of lying about several issues, including President Obama’s disastrous defense cuts and his apologies for America to the rest of the world:

Defense cuts. In an October speech on national security, Romney promised to “reverse President Obama’s massive defense cuts.” One problem: Pentagon spending has gone up under Obama, from $594 billion in 2008 to $666 billion. The 2011 request was for $739 billion. As Rick Perry would say, “Oops.”

[Read the U.S. News debate: Are Cuts to the Defense Budget Necessary?]

No apologies. Romney has said that Obama “went around the world and apologized for America.” This is part of the conservative, dog-whistle meme that Obama is un-American (and possibly even a foreigner!). While the notion of an international apology tour is a staple of the conservative case against Obama, it is also fictitious. The Washington Post’s fact-checker concluded that “the claim that Obama repeatedly has apologized for the United States is not borne out by the facts, especially if his full quotes are viewed in context.” Don’t hold your breath waiting for an apology from Romney on this one.

Let’s start with US News’ first lie: that President Obama hasn’t cut defense and that DOD spending has increased under President Obama by as much as they claim.

While the core defense budget and the total DOD budget did peak in Obama’s first year, at $563 bn and $700.19 bn, respectively (in inflation-adjusted dollars), they have been constantly shrinking since then. The DOD’s budget for FY2011 was $671 bn (of which the core defense budget was just $528.9 bn). The core defense budget has now shrunk to $526 bn, the GWOT (OCO) budget to $118 bn, and the total defense budget to $644 bn, a cut of $27 bn. The GWOT (OCO) budget is scheduled to shrink annually and eventually zero out by FY2015 (when the last American troops return home from Afghanistan), and as for the core defense budget, Obama plans to cut it by almost $500 bn ($487 bn, to be exact) over the next 10 years, i.e. $48.7 on average.

In FY2008, the core defense budget was $481.4 bn and there was also a GWOT budget of $145.2 bn, for a total DOD budget of $626.6 bn in NOMINAL DOLLARS (not adjusted for inflation). In inflation-adjusted dollars, the FY2008 core defense budget was $525.25 bn, i.e. roughly as much as today ($526 bn), and the GWOT supplemental budget was $158.43 bn in FY2012 dollars, for a total DOD budget of $683.68 bn in today’s money. So the total DOD budget has SHRUNK SIGNIFICANTLY since FY2008 and the core defense budget is now of the same size as it was in FY2008.

The $594 bn figure for FY2008 is false. In nominal dollars, the total DOD budget was $626 bn in FY2008; in inflation-adjusted dollars, it was $683.68 bn.

Furthermore, their claim that the DOD’s budget request for FY2011 was $739 bn is a blatant lie. The DOD has never requested that amount of money for any fiscal year, including FY2011. For that FY, it requested $708 bn, and got only $671 bn. That’s much less than the $739 bn that US News claimed.

Of course, Obama’s defense spending cuts is probably not the only issue Romney meant. Romney also talked about other Obama defense cuts during that speech: the closure of over 50 crucial weapon programs in FY2010 and FY2011 (which meant cutting $330 bn out of the DOD’s accounts and spending plans), the unilateral US nuclear arsenal cuts conducted under the New START treaty, and Obama’s cuts and cancellations of numerous missile defense programs. So YES, Obama HAS cut defense – both defense spending AND defense programs (including modernization programs and missile defense projects). Romney didn’t lie; US News lied.

Oops, indeed, US News – but you are the one who is lying!

The second lie that I will refute in this post is their denial that Obama has engaged in apologies for America abroad. Obama HAS apologized for America, and repeatedly so. For example, in April 2009, in France, during a press conference with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, he apologized for America, claiming that instead of celebrating the EU, the US has been “arrogant” and “dismissive”. And last year, as the anniversary of the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki approached, Obama offered the Japanese government a public apology in these cities by himself, a story reported by the Investors’ Business Daily among others.

So no, Mitt Romney wasn’t lying. US News and WaPo’s so-called “fact-checker” were lying.

Hey, US News fools, you are owned!