Zbigniew Mazurak's Blog

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Archive for February, 2012

The “America’s foreign and defense policy costs taxpayers $1.2 trillion per year” lie

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on February 29, 2012

Some opponents of a strong defense, including libertarian liars such as Bruce Fein and Jack Hunter (both of whom work for libertarian loon Ron Paul), claim that US foreign policy costs US taxpayers $1.2 trillion per year, or that the US spends $1.2 trillion per year on defense. The so-called “Committee for the Republic” claims the US spends $1 trillion per year on defense. These are blatant lies. But how were these figures arrived at? How were they cooked up?

The answer was revealed in Bruce Fein’s anti-defense articles last year. These figures are complete fabrications invented by Fein. Firstly, he counts not just the DOD’s budget and the DOE’s total budget (not merely spending on defense-related programs), he also counts the budget of the DHS, the Dept. of Veterans’ Affairs, and the DOS as “defense spending” or “national security spending” (whichever term suits him more at a particular moment), and he also attributes the entire annual debt interest payments of the US government to the DOD, claiming that this debt – and the interest payments on it – are exclusively the results of the wars the US has waged. He ignores the fact that it is entitlement spending and runaway domestic discretionary spending, that has caused this debt, not military spending. Secondly, he invents nonexistant budget items such as “minor defense spending” in order to falsify the stats. And thirdly, for those agencies and items that do exist, he takes budget numbers from Presidential Budget Requests, even though these requests almost never become law, because the Congress always passes a budget that is different – and sometimes very different – from what the President originally requests. As an example, the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2012 authorizes $26.6 bn less than what the President requested for defense and war spending, $644.4 bn instead of $671 bn.

Of course, that is not news and is not surprising to anyone who knows at least a little about the Constitution or about how the federal government works. The Congress often passes budgets (including defense budgets) that are different, and sometimes very different from what the President requested. In the 1980s and the early 1990s, the Congress repeatedly authorized much less defense spending than what Presidents Reagan and Bush requested. In the 1970s and the 1990s, Congress passed DOD budgets larger than what Presidents Carter and Clinton had requested, thus ensuring that these extremely leftist presidents would not get to cut defense as deeply as they had hoped to.

So any claim that the US is spending $1 trillion, $1.2 trillion, or any similar sum on defense, foreign policy, or “national-security-related agencies” is a blatant lie based on a fabrication cooked up by Bruce Fein, an utterly discredited libertarian liar.

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Rebuttal of the lie that “defense spending has been off the table so far”

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on February 28, 2012

The opponents of a strong defense haven’t given up in their campaign to gut defense under the pretext of balancing the federal budget. Even though defense has been cut several times since President Obama’s inauguration, and more times earlier, they still claim that that defense spending has been “off the table so far” and that it has been shielded so far not only from cuts, but even from scrutiny and examination. Everytime defense spending is cut, defense’s opponents still come back for more cuts and still claim that defense spending has been immune from cuts, or “off the table”. But they’re lying. Defense spending has NEVER been off the table. An example is the January 2011 letter that the leaders of a number of pseudoconservative libertarian organizations sent to House and Senate leaders at that time:

The 112th Congress, tasked with a clear mandate to cut spending, must look to not only cut spending now, but permanently arrest the bias towards the careless wastefulness, bred of cronyism, that has plagued Washington for too long. To that end, lawmakers must dismiss the erroneous assumptions that have led to sacrosanct budgeting; no longer can select departments and programs enjoy protected status in the appropriations process. Conservatives should enthusiastically reject the notion that any area of the federal budget should be protected from examination. Attempts to isolate departments or programs from scrutiny undermine any serious efforts for positive spending reform — for this and many generations to come. Any policymaker determined to cut government spending must commit to keeping spending cuts in all departments on the table — whether efficiencies can be realized in the Department of Defense or the Department of Education, they must all be considered fair game in the battle to instill fiscal prudence in federal spending.

Al Regnery, The American Spectator
Bill Pascoe, Citizens for the Republic
Bob Barr, Liberty Guard
Brian Burch, CatholicVote.org
Chip Faulkner, Citizens for Limited Taxation
Christopher Preble, Cato Institute
Chuck Muth, Citizen Outreach
David A. Keene, American Conservative Union
Duane Parde, National Taxpayers Union
Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform
Jim Martin, 60 Plus Association
Joe Seehusen, Liberty Guard
John Tate, Campaign for Liberty
Karen Kerrigan, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council
L. Brent Bozell, Media Research Center
Lewis K. Uhler, National Tax Limitation Committee
Lisa Miller, Tea Party WDC
Matt Kibbe, Freedomworks
Mattie Corrao, Center for Fiscal Accountability
Richard Viguerie, ConservativeHQ.com
Rick Watson, Florida Center-Right Coalition
Seton Motley, Less Government
Susan Carleson, American Civil Rights Union
Tim Phillips, Americans for Prosperity
Tom Giovanetti, Institute for Policy Innovation
Tom Schatz, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste
William Greene, RightMarch.com
Thomas Whitmore, Washington DC Tea Party
Institutional affiliations are listed for identification purposes only.”

This is completely false.

Firstly, the DOD has NEVER enjoyed “protected status in the appropriations process”, let alone shielding from “examination” and “scrutiny”.

Defense spending has NEVER enjoyed “protected status” and does not enjoy such status now. It has been dramatically reduced in real terms, and as a percentage of GDP, numerous times during the last 65 years alone: year-on-year during the late 1940s, during the 1950s (after the Korean War), during the entire 1970s, and during the entire 1980s (actually, from FY1987 until FY2002, when defense spending grew slightly for the first time since FY1986). And even during periods when the Congress did not reduce total defense spending, it did close or cut many crucial weapon programs – even during the Bush era when the Comanche, XM2001, E-10MCA, and J-UCAS programs were closed and many other weapon programs (e.g. the F-22, F-35, Zumwalt class and San Antonio class programs) were significantly reduced. During FY2010 and FY2011, the Congress closed or cut over 50 DOD weapon programs. In January 2011, Robert Gates achieved another 178 bn in savings. Then, in August 2011, President Obama signed into law a debt ceiling deal which orders the DOD to cut its core budget by another 450 bn (Obama has increased that goal to 487 bn) and in November 2011, the Super Committee triggered a sequester which will cut the DOD’s core budget by another 600 bn over a decade. (Under the sequester, the DOD, which has already contributed far more to deficit reduction than any other government agency, will have to bear 50% of the cuts even though it accounts for merely 19% of the federal budget.)

And that will not be achieved by mere “efficiencies”, it will mean drastic cuts in personnel numbers, modernization programs, the force structure, and benefits programs for the troops, which means breaking faith with them. As the Wall Street Journal has recently rightly noted:

“The Administration’s record to date is undeniable. Defense was targeted from day one in office, and Mr. Obama disguised his latest, steepest retrenchment as part of a new “strategic review” earlier this month.”

The bottom line is that defense spending has NEVER enjoyed “protected status”. Not this fiscal year. Not during the previous fiscal year. Not during the Bush era. Not ever. The claim that “defense spending continues to enjoy protected status” is a blatant lie.

Moreover, the idea that the DOD does not deserve protection from budget cuts or that defense spending is just another line item in the federal budget like education spending, is wrong, despicable, and un-conservative. Defense is the #1 Constitutional DUTY of the federal government, and one that is currently underfunded (the core defense budget, 526 bn, amounts to just 3.59% of GDP). Federal education spending, on the other hand, is unconstitutional.

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Don’t buy the hype about the Times foreign policy poll

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on February 27, 2012

The Times magazine has recently done a poll of a small sample group of 500 “likely Republican voters” (defined as registered Republicans, registered independents who vote in GOP primaries, and a small group of Democrats) which purports to “show” that 47% of “Republicans” now support an isolationist (or almost isolationist) foreign policy of the kind that Ron Paul supports. The media (including, sadly, even conservative media outlets such as the Washington Times) is now trumpeting the results as supposed proof that Ron Paul has swayed a lot of Republicans to agree with his insane neo-isolationist foreign policy and that this supposed “shift” in “Republicans’ ” foreign policy attitude is largely due to Paul. Says Stephen Dinan of the Washington Times:

“Nearly half of all Republican primary voters say it’s time the U.S. stops intervening in world affairs and focuses on domestic priorities instead, signaling a persistent rift that is playing out in the party’s presidential nomination battle.

In the latest poll from The Washington Times and JZ Analytics, 48 percent said the U.S. should maintain a policy of intervening where its interests are challenged. But 46 percent disagree, saying the country is “in a new global era” where it can no longer take such an active role.

“That makes me say that the party is fundamentally fractured, and not only along the obvious lines of the social conservatives, the libertarian conservatives and the moderate conservatives,” said John Zogby, who conducted the poll.

The Paul factor

The split is most obvious in the candidacy of Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, who in Monday night’s Republican presidential debate drew some cheers but also loud boos when he called for an international “Golden Rule” that would dramatically curtail U.S. power projection throughout the world.”

But that is absolutely not true, for three reasons: firstly, the poll is woefully inaccurate (for several reasons); secondly, the shift, to the extent it has occurred, is largely unrelated to Ron Paul (fortunately); and thirdly, 47% is still a minority, and a plurality, 48%, still voted for a vigorous role for the US on the global stage.

Let’s explore the first two reasons in detail.

The poll is woefully inaccurate for several reasons. Firstly, the poll included a substantial number of non-Republicans – independents and even a “small” group of Democrats – i.e. people who are not even registered Republicans (not even on paper), and of course don’t believe in Republican principles.

Secondly, the poll asked the wrong question and gave only two extreme options, instead of giving Republicans a real and fair choice. Specifically, the poll asked which statement the queried people agreed with and they had only two statements to choose from:

1) “America is the most powerful nation in the world not only because of its strong military but because of the values of personal freedom it represents. America must intervene in the affairs of the world whenever its interests are challenged.”

2) “America is in a new global era and cannot afford to spread its resources too thin. It must rely on strong alliances with other nations and take care of its domestic priorities first”

The first option, of course, asked only about intervening to defend American interests. However, during the last 2 decades, successive Administrations have defined “American national interests” so broadly that they even included remaking the whole world into a community of Jeffersonian democracies, ending internecine conflicts around the world, and defending small, irrelevant countries. That being the case, I am not surprised that only 48% of “Republican voters” agreed with that option. After so many interventions in the last decade, Americans – including many real Republicans – are wary of further wars.

And this is the biggest problem with the poll. The options are wrongly formulated and are deliberately worded to suggest an answer, and voters’ only choice is only from among these two extreme options. I believe that the result of the poll would’ve been far different if the following third option had been included:

“The US should have the world’s strongest military but intervene military only when and where crucial American interests are threatened.”

This is the foreign policy which I advocate and which I have outlined in more detail in my articles for Conservatives4Palin.com and the American Thinker.

This is a policy based on that of Ronald Reagan. It follows his wise advice. It is geared towards protecting America and the American people physically, as well as protecting crucial American interests (including important allies as well as the world’s sealanes, airspace, and large reservoirs of natural resources like oil and natural gas) while assuming that the US will avoid, at all costs, murky and internecine conflicts.

This is, I believe, a policy option that would attractive to the largest possible group of people. It could, if proposed and explained to the American public, become an American foreign policy consensus – that the US must maintain, and generously fund, a strong defense, and protect its crucial interests, while avoiding irrelevant conflicts and not using force as a first resort (a military that will be second to none has a good chance of never having to be used).

And that is, I believe, why this option continues to be omitted and not mentioned by the media and by pollsters – and therefore why most Americans haven’t been informed of it. Offering that choice to the American people would result in the majority of them adopting it and thus break up the oligopoly status that neoconservative uber-interventionists and Paulite isolationists now have on foreign policy. They would rather continue to perpetuate the myth that the only foreign policy choices America has is either isolationism or hyperinterventionism and remaking all countries of the world into Jeffersonian democracies. But why the Washington Times newspaper perpetuates that myth is a mystery.

Furthermore, the people who voted for the second option are wrong. The US cannot afford to intervene in every internecine conflict around the world, but it can afford to, and must, invest adequately in defense, play an active role in the world, and honor its defense commitments to its allies. The current defense budget amounts to less than 15% of the total federal budget and a paltry 3.59% of GDP. Total military spending amounts to just 19% of the total federal budget and just 4.51% of GDP. The US can afford to maintain a strong military and to spend as much on defense as it does now, and to intervene military abroad when and where needed. The US does not have, and should not, retrench behind its borders, hide in a Fortress America, and foreswear military interventions abroad.

“Strong alliances” are not a substitute for a strong, superior military, because nothing can be a substitute for a strong military of one’s own country (and the influence it gives you) and in any case the vast majority of America’s allies are militarily weak. As for “taking care of its domestic priorities first”, no, they must come second to defense. What higher priority can there be than defending the country, its citizens, and its interests abroad? Defense is the #1 Constitutional duty of the federal government. Most domestic issues are actually, by the Constitution, off-limits to it. Defense is the #1 Constitutional priority and needs to be treated as such.

In any case, I believe that the foreign policy option I support, which I call the third option (and have mightily contributed to its development), is the best foreign policy course for America.


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Inalienable, God-given rights: why Ann Coulter and other “state-righters” are wrong

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on February 26, 2012

In her latest column defending Romney, Ann Coulter defends Romney’s indefensible, unjustifiable socialized medicine scheme (including its individual mandate) on the grounds that it’s a state program, not a federal one, and that somehow justifies it, as if state transgressions of individual libertiers were somehow acceptable. She furthermore defended it by saying that over the years, states have, for example, required people to wait in long lines, for many hours, at the DMV. Here are the relevant quotes:

“As Rick Santorum has pointed out, states can enact all sorts of laws — including laws banning contraception — without violating the Constitution.

That document places strict limits on what Congress can do, not what the states can do. Romney, incidentally, has always said his plan would be a bad idea nationally.

The only reason the “individual mandate” has become a malediction is because the legal argument against Obamacare is that Congress has no constitutional authority to force citizens to buy a particular product.

The legal briefs opposing Obamacare argue that someone sitting at home, minding his own business, is not engaged in “commerce … among the several states,” and, therefore, Congress has no authority under the Commerce Clause to force people to buy insurance.

No one is claiming that the Constitution gives each person an unalienable right not to buy insurance.

States have been forcing people to do things from the beginning of the republic: drilling for the militia, taking blood tests before marriage, paying for public schools, registering property titles and waiting in line for six hours at the Department of Motor Vehicles in order to drive.

There’s no obvious constitutional difference between a state forcing militia-age males to equip themselves with guns and a state forcing adults in today’s world to equip themselves with health insurance.”

Ann Coulter is hardly the only person to make such claims recently. For the last several months other Republicans, including Pam Bondi, Andrew McCarthy, and Monte Kuligowski, have been making such an argument. They claim that state and local governments may impose any diktats and any schemes on their citizens and that this is okay – so long as it’s done by state and local governments. They believe that Big Government is perfectly fine – as long as it’s as the state level and not the federal level.

They are all wrong.

Firstly, Ann Coulter was patently wrong to claim that the Constitution places no limits on what the states can do. It does – in Art. I, Sec. 10, and in many amendments, including the 14th Amendment, which incorporated the Bill of Rights against the states, thus prohibiting them to violate any of the liberties protected by the Bill of Rights.

Secondly, in the first edition of his book, the 2010 edition, Romney recommended his socialized medicine as a “solution” for the whole country, as pointed out in one campaign ad by Governor Rick Perry.

Thirdly, Wwhile it is true that the Constitution contains few limits on states (albeit it does contain some, so Coulter’s and Kuligowski’s claims to the contrary are false), and does not explicitly prohibit states from e.g. mandating that their citizens buy insurance policies, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should, and imposing any government mandates on citizens, other than those that are absolutely necessary for public health or public safety, is unconservative and immoral and is a Big Government policy. It is also a violation of every person’s inalienable, God-given rights.

Big Government schemes at any level – federal, state, or local – are patently incompatible with our inalienable, God-given rights. In the Declaration of Independence, the Founding Fathers said that it is a self-evident truth that all men are created equal and all of them are “endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these rights are the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to protect these rights, Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just power from the consent of the governed…”

Let’s consider this idea, which is an idea upon which America was founded.

Let’s first consider what “inalienable” means. My Oxford Guide to the English Language says “inalienable” means “unable to be taken away or given away”. In other words, if something is inalienable, it can never be taken away or voluntarily given away.

Therefore, if a right is inalienable, it may not be taken away or violated by anyone. Not the federal government, not state governments, not local governments.

So federal, state, and local governments – including state governors and legislatures – have no right whatsoever to confiscate these rights or violate them in any way whatsoever.

These inalienable rights were not given to people by their governments; they were given by the Creator, i.e. by God.

If these are God-given rights, and they are, no one other than God – no human form of government – whether federal, state, or local – may take these rights away. What God has given, only God may take away.

Words have meanings. “Inalienable” has an absolute meaning without any exceptions. “God-given” likewise has a strict, narrow meaning.

This is not a mere dispute about whether Romney’s socialized medicine scheme was right or wrong, or constitutional or not, or whether I am right or Ann Coulter is.

This is a battle for the heart of the conservative movement and of the Republican Party – and for the founding ideals of the United States.

If individual humans’ rights are really inalienable and God-given, that means no form of human government – whether federal, state, or local – may confiscate them or infringe on them. This means governments are not the owners of your rights, but merely their temporary, contingent stewards, subject to election by the governed from time to time.

If, however, state and local governments may trample upon your rights, it means they are not inalienable and are contingent on your state or local government tolerating them. This would mean that your state and local government may confiscate your rights anytime.

And that would mean that the whole American revolution was pointless.

Ann Coulter, Pam Bondi, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Monte Kuligowski, and other state-righters are wrong. The US was founded on the basis of individual rights, not states rights. The rights of the American people are inalienable and come from God. They predate and preexist the Constitution. No form of human government – federal, state, or local – may violate these rights.

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Lies stated during Sec. Panetta’s hearing before the HASC

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on February 25, 2012

On Feb. 15th, during Sec. Panetta’s hearing before the HASC on the defense budget request for the next fiscal year, a number of blatant lies were stated.

Firstly, Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA) made three false claims:

  • that the first tier (pre-sequestration) cuts that the debt ceiling deal has ordered are merely cuts to the rate of growth of defense spending and that the defense budget will still be growing, albeit slowly, after FY2013;
  • that the core defense budget, not even counting GWOT spending, has doubled since 9/11;
  • that most of the threats the US will be facing during the next several decades will be asymmetric, irregular ones: terrorist organizations, insurgencies, etc.

All of his claims are blatant lies.

The defense budget WILL be cut in real terms, with or without sequestration, below FY2011 levels. That is a fact. CBO data proves that even if sequestration does not occur, defense spending WILL be cut below its FY2011 level and will not return to it before FY2019. (See the image at the end of this post.)

The claim that defense spending has doubled since 9/11 (i.e. since FY2001) is also false. In FY2001, when there was no GWOT spending, the total DOD budget was $297 bn in CY2000’s money, i.e. $390 bn in today’s money. In order to double, it would have to grow 2 times, i.e. to $780 bn (2 x $390 bn). By FY2011, however, i.e. a decade after 9/11, the core defense budget was only $529 bn, and even the total military budget was $688 bn, still almost a hundred billion dollars short of doubling its FY2001 size. And it never achieved that treshold. FY2011 was the peak of defense spending; since then, it has been shrinking constantly. The core defense budget for FY2012 is $526 bn; the total military budget for this FY is $645 bn.

Even if we don’t adjust the FY2001 DOD budget for inflation (which would give us a false picture, because inflation erodes the value of the dollar over time and since 9/11 inflation has made one dollar worth much less than it was on that day), the defense budget STILL hasn’t doubled. 2 x $297 bn is $594 bn, yet defense spending never reached that treshold during the last decade. In short, the Pentagon budget has not doubled since 9/11. Not even close.

Rep. Smith’s third claim, about the threats facing America, was also false. The most numerous and most lethal threats facing the US are states, not irregular enemies, including Communist China and Putinist Russia, who are the two most dangerous enemies of the US by far. Most terrorist organizations can’t even operate without a state sponsor, and Iran is the sponsor of most Islamic terrorist groups in the world today.

Sec. Panetta also made a number of false claims during his opening statement:

  • That the US military will be technologically advanced, technologically superior, well-equipped, and ready, even if smaller.
  • That the Navy will retire only obsolete ships, including seven old cruisers that would cost a lot of money to repair and fit for BMD duty, while retaining “the most flexible ships”.
  • That the Air Force will still have a large airlifter fleet while retiring only old airlift planes.
  • That the Air Force will still be able to dominate the skies with just 54 tactical fighter squadrons and the current bomber fleet.
  • That even with all of these cuts, the US military will be the strongest in the world.

These claims were also false. Firstly, the US military will be smaller AND not ready AND saddled with obsolete, worn-out weapons and with few new weapons being purchased. Just to give a few examples, the SSBNX program will be delayed by 2 years, one previously-planned Virginia class submarine will not be bought during the next 5 years, the purchase of F-35s will be cut by 179 planes over the next five years, and cut the procurement budgets of all services. The Navy’s annual shipbuilding budget will be cut by $2 bn, and as a consequence, the Navy will be able to afford to buy only 10 ships per year which, contrary to Sec. Panetta’s rosy projections, may not be enough to support even the 285-ship Navy fleet, let alone to grow the Navy beyond 285 ships, which guarantees that the US Navy will stay smaller than the Chinese Navy and may even shrink from its current 285-ship-size (because the US Navy will be retiring ships faster than it will be replacing them).

Secondly, if keeping “the most flexible ships” in the Navy’s fleet is the goal, retiring 7 non-old Ticonderoga class cruisers and 2 amphibious ships is the worst possible way to achieve that goal. These cruisers and amphibious ships are among THE most flexible ships in the Navy’s fleet. Tico class cruisers are capable of a very wide range of missions, including BMD, air defense, anti-ship warfare, anti-submarine warfare, ground attack, etc. Amphibious ships, as the Commandant of the Marine Corps has said, are among the most flexible ships owned by the Navy and can be used for many purposes, not just amphibious warfare, but also troop and equipment transportation, resupplying the troops on the ground, humanitarian aid, command (the USS Coronado, a now-retired command ship, was an LSD before it became a command ship), etc. And contrary to Panetta’s lie that refitting these cruisers and fitting them for BMD duty would be too costly, it would not be too costly for just 7 ships (and the Navy, with an annual budget of ca. $160 bn per year, should be able to find the money for them, by making effiencies), and one of them is already BMD-capable. This will UNDERMINE America’s BMD capabilities at a time when BMD-capable ships are in short supply.

Similarly, Panetta’s assurance that the USAF will retain an adequate airlifter fleet is hollow and insincere. The USAF’s airlifter fleet is ALREADY inadequate, having had its airlifter cut from 316 to 301 aircraft this FY as ordered by the FY2012 NDAA. Even before that, however, it was inadequate, as proven during the Mad March of 2011, when the USAF had to mobilize every available airlift asset, including all of its C-5s, C-17s, and C-130s, to airlift troops and supplies to Afghanistan during the surge of US troops to that country. Moreover, the USAF, which is suffering from an airlift aircraft shortage, was, before FY2012, forced to rent 4 An-124 aircraft from the Russians at a cost of $840 mn per year (in CY2011 dollars). Buying 4 new C-17s per year would cost only $800 mn per year. And no, maintaining and modernizing these old C-5s and C-130s would not be too expensive. The Air Force could find savings to maintain and modernize them elsewhere (in bureaucracies and fuel).

Likewise, Panetta’s claim that the Air Force will still be able to dominate the skies with just 54 tactical fighter squadrons is false, not just because of the inadequate number of squadrons and aircraft, but also because most of the aircraft that will remain will be obsolete, unsurvivable legacy aircraft of the 4th generation: F-15s and F-16s. That’s because the F-35 program has been delayed so much, and orders for F-35 have been reduced so badly, that there will be too few F-35s (even after all F-35As are delivered) and they will be coming into inventory too slowly.

Which brings me to Panetta’s final false claim: that the US military, although smaller, will be technologically superior and armed with the most modern weapons available. That claim is also false. The Obama Administration’s budget plan, if enacted, would dramatically cut investments in missile defense, shipbuilding, other Navy procurement programs, non-Navy procurement, R&D, and other modernization programs. (Missile defense spending, for example, would be slashed by $0.9 bn per year.) As for shipbuilding, just a year ago, President Obama requested funding for the construction of 13 ships for FY2012 and for a total of 57 ships for the FY2012-FY2016 period. Now, just one year later, he requests funding for building only 10 ships in FY2013 and for a total of 41 ships for the FY2013-2017 timeframe, a reduction by 16 ships. Additionally, AEI analyst Mackenzie Eaglen notes that:

“Nowhere is the pivot more hollow than when it comes to the Navy. While the administration preserved funding for many big-ticket programs that dominate the headlines, others that are more discreet fell victim to budget cuts. Programs for anti-submarine warfare, electronic attacks against incoming missiles, advanced radars, sensing, cruise and ballistic missile defense, and undersea weapons all see reductions in the defense budget. These are examples of advanced technologies that a military focused on high-end warfare in the Western Pacific should be investing in, but the Administration has cut them.”

The military will be neither very large nor technologically-advanced. It will be cut significantly in size, hollow, and saddled with obsolete, worn-out equipment.
During his response to a question (posed to General Dempsey) by Strategic Forces Committee Chairman Mike Turner (R-OH), Sec. Panetta falsely claimed (at 1:49:00) that the contemplation of steep reductions of the US nuclear arsenal (up to 80%) sprung from the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review, which was required by law, even though that is not true, because the 2010 NPR did not say that the nuclear arsenal will be reduced at all; it didn’t presuppose any reductions.

Responding to a question by Congressman Rob Wittman about the draconian cuts the Administration plans to make to the Navy’s ship fleet and to shipbuilding programs (including the Virginia class submarine), General Dempsey responded by saying that Wittman is too service-oriented and too focused on just one service (the Navy), while defending the cuts on the grounds that the DOD leadership was building a “Joint Force” and that it was planning on how the military should meet combatant commanders’ needs as a “Joint Force” – as if a “Joint Force” eliminated the need for numbers or as if jointness meant that deep cuts in fleet numbers could be made. General Dempsey even claimed that the Navy is a beneficiary of this budget and the shift to the Pacific, although he acknowledged that this hasn’t come about with any costs for the Navy at all.

In short, Panetta and Dempsey both repeatedly lied for the sake of their boss and his defense cuts.

Posted in Military issues, World affairs | Leave a Comment »

What is conservatism about? What does it require?

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on February 24, 2012

Oftentimes, we talk (or hear other people) talking about “conservatism”,  “conservatives”, “conservative principles”, and “the conservative movement”. The most recent polls on the subject show (and similar polls have been showing for years) that in the United States, self-proclaimed “conservatives” constitute a 40%-41% plurality and outnumber liberals by a factor of 2:1. Yet, sadly, most of these people, indeed most of Americans, do not appear to understand what these terms mean. This post is intended to explain that.

Conservatism is not something that you can twist into any shape you want to, like plasteline. It’s a specific, defined ideology; a fixed, specific set of right-wing principles that are intended to guide us conservatives – both grasroots conservatives like me and CPAC attendees and conservative politicians – and inform us what decisions to make and when; what is the right thing to do, and what is wrong; what is valuable, what isn’t, and what is downright poisonous. These principles are intended to tell us what decisions to make on political issues (if we are officeholders) or what opinions to form and voice (if we do not hold any office).

And what exact principles does conservative ideology consist of?

The first and most important principle is that everyone – the government and citizens alike – must, at all times, obey the Constitution, even if it is convenient to violate it. That is because the Constitution is the greatest document ever written, and has created a governmental system better than any other ever devised on Earth, a limited government system operating with the consent of the governed. Under this Constitutional framework, the US became the most successful country in human history. We must also be mindful of the fact that the Constitution was written by the Founding Fathers, most of whom were far wiser than we are, and represents the form of governmented they wished to see. This means that any policy, program, agency, or “law” not authorized by the Constitution, let alone one violating it, must be abolished. Period.

Moreover, we must interpret the Constitution according to the original intent of its authors, not according to what we wish it said. We can learn that intent by checking what words meant around the time when the Constitution was ratified, and by reading the Federalist Papers. We must reject any attempts by anyone – liberals, libertarians, or anyone else – to reinvent the Constitution, subordinate it to foreign law, use foreign law in US courts, or make law from the bench. We must not allow them to invent any “rights”, nor put faith in these fallen people.

Related to these first two principles of conservatism is the next one: that related to government spending. Conservatism teaches us that the private sector should be left to do everything that it can do best, and that governments should do only what the private sector and private citizens can’t do well. And among governments’ tasks, everything that states and local governments can do better than the central government, including everything reserved to them by the 10th Amendment, should be done by them, and not by the federal government. The Constitution reserves everything except defense, wars, foreign affairs, foreign trade, mail delivery, and the establishment of a uniform commercial system (a single system of weights and measures, bankruptcy laws, a single currency, etc.) to the states.

If the US had obeyed those principles, there would’ve never been a federal budget deficit in the first place – let alone one measured in trillion dollars per year. That is because the Constitution authorizes the federal government to deal only with the issues listed above. Had the federal and state governments and the American people just followed the Constitution, there would’ve never been a federal budget deficit in the first place. However, two malicious influences have intervened. Firstly, federal politicians, hungry for ever more power, have been expanding the size and scope of the federal government since the Progressive Era. Secondly, states, localities, and individual citizens willingly accepted this as the price for federal subsidies, which they gladly took every year, thus freeing themselves from responsible fiscal policies (state and local governments) or from responsible lifestyles (individual citizens). Thus, the federal government turned states into its slaves, dependent on federal subsidies, and created an entire dependency class. Thus, the rate of people’s dependency on the federal government is at its highest level in American history, with 46 mn people on foodstamps and a full 20% of Americans depending on the Feds for their living according to the Heritage Foundation.

Also related to the first two principles is the requirement for a strong defense and for whatever measure is necessary to build it, including generous funding. Despite libertarians’ pathetic attempts to portray defense spending as a Big Government Program, providing generous funding (and whatever else is necessary) for national defense is actually an integral part of conservative philosophy, in part because it’s the #1 Constitutional duty of the federal government. Defense spending is not a Big Government program. Likewise, it is permissible, and sometimes necessary, for the US to intervene militarily abroad and to join alliances with likeminded nations. There is nothing in the Constitution that prohibits it. In this case, libertarians are guilty of the same sin as liberals – reinventing the Constitution, inventing hocus-pocus things that are not in it, and misportraying it as something it is not.

It is ironic, but not surprising, that just as the federal government has been steadily expanding into provinces reserved to the states, micromanaging everything from education to agriculture, it has irresponsibly neglected, and been steadily cutting spending on, its most important legitimate function: defense. Spending on it accounted for the absolute majority of the federal budget in the Eisenhower era; now it’s 19%. Entitlement spending exceeded defense spending in FY1975 and now consumes 63% of the total federal budget. Conservatism calls for both of these trends to be reversed. It requires that federal spending be prioritized in favor of defense, and that all programs and agencies not authorized by the Constitution be abolished completely.

Conservatism also requires respect and trust for free enterprise and for protecting it from governmental strangulation. It rejects statism, nationalization, government mandates and steering of business decisions, bailouts, and class warfare. Taxes should be low and simple.

Conservatism requires that the government not adopt any environmentalist regulations prohibiting the safe, responsible development of the country’s natural resources.

Conservatism requires that people’s civil liberties be protected and respected. As the Fourth Amendment says, no person should be arrested or searched, and no one’s car or house should be searched, except with a warrant for a probable cause, and as per the Sixth Amendment, no US citizen should be denied a right to a speedy, public trial or the right to an attorney. But conservatism also teaches us that foreigners are not entitled to any of the rights of US citizens.

Finally, regarding social issues, most conservativies, including myself, profess traditional Christian beliefs. We believe in the right to life, traditional marriage, and in human dignity. We reject abortion, gay marriage, and human cloning. But there are also many conservatives who profess socially liberal beliefs on these issues. What does conservative ideology say?

That decisions on these policies should be made by the people, not by judges legislating from the bench. We must respect the right of the people of all states to make their own policies on the subject. Therefore, for example, whatever you think of gay marriage, you cannot agree with the 9th Circuit Court’s decision overruling the verdict of Californian voters on marriage protection. We as conservatives may have our legitimate differences on these subjects, but we cannot tolerate judges legislating from the bench.

So that is what conservatism requires. Obeying the Constitution at all times, maintaining a limited Constitutional government and the minimum required taxation, providing for a strong national defense, keeping private enterprise free from any government diktats, developing national resources as needed and as prudence dictates, and making sure that judges interpret the law as it stands, not legislate from the bench.

Anything contrary to that is not conservatism.

Posted in Constitutions, Economic affairs, Ideologies, Military issues, World affairs | Leave a Comment »

Pro-Ron-Paul loons falsely claim Napolitano was punished for supporting Paul

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on February 23, 2012

Pro-Ron-Paul loons are angry that Andrew Napolitano’s show, Freedom Watch, is no longer being aired on FN. They claim he has been punished this way for supporting Paul. The truth is that the show was ended because of is extremely poor ratings.

And while we’re discussing this subject, I’d like to state that the vast majority of the claims that Napolitano made during his infamous last show were blatant, insulting lies. They were not just false, they were insulting.

Napolitano started by saying that the two-party system was created to limit voters’ choices. That is a blatant lie. The two-party system was actually created at the beginning of America’s history by the Founding Fathers. The first parties of this system were the Federalists (led by John Adams and Alexander Hamilton) and the Anti-Federalists (later called the Republicans, then the Democratic Republicans, led by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison). Napolitano claims that the system is designed to limit voters’ choice and their freedoms. He thus levies this false charge against the Founding Fathers, although he’s too much of a coward to admit it.

Napolitano also claimed that the Democratic Party and the GOP are not really different from each other on policy matters, that both support the same policies of Big Government and “military interventionism”, and that no matter who controls the Federal Government and who lives in the WH, government remains big and things remain the same. This is not only patently false, it is downright insulting for all of those past heroes (such as Ronald Reagan) who achieved REAL reductions of the size and scope of government, and all of those current conservative Republicans who are now fighting against Big Government, Allen West, Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, Sarah Palin, and Mike Lee just to name a few. Moreover, the GOP’s philosophies and the policies the GOP favors are completely different from those of the Democratic Party. For Napolitano to claim that the two parties are not really different policy-wise is false, ridiculous, and insulting.

The fiercely pro-Ron-Paul showman also claimed that George W. Bush implemented a foreign policy of muscular military intervention. That is not exactly true. Bush did intervene militarily in Iraq, to be sure, and that was a debatable war. However, regarding Afghanistan, that was not a war he wanted, provoked, or had a choice about. Taliban-ruled Afghanistan hosted Osama Bin Laden and other AQ terrorists (who were trained in AQ camps in that country) who attacked the US on 9/11, killing almost 3,000 people. After such a war, and after the Taleban had refused to comply with repeated US requests to extradite OBL, President Bush had only two options: either to punish the parties responsible, or to do nothing and thereby show the entire world that aggression against the US could go unpunished. That was not a real choice.

Even less credible is Napolitano’s claim that government grew in the late 1990s. That is patently false. The size and scope of government SHRANK during that time. Spending, predominantly defense spending (which Napolitano derisively calls spending on “warfare”), was cut in real terms. Welfare reform was passed and millions of people were moved off welfare rolls, thus reducing government dependency, the single largest driver of government size, scope, and spending. The federal government was even shut down for a while. Taxes were cut, thousands of regulations were thrown into the dustbin, and the federal workforce was reduced.

Napolitano attacked Rick Santorum as a Big Government Republican, even though his beloved Ron Paul has a far worse record on that score. Santorum actually DID oppose the Republican agenda (and that of President Bush) on at least two occasions. Firstly, in 2002, he was one of the few Republicans to vote against the McCain-Feingold Act, which President Bush gleefully signed. Secondly, in 2008, he opposed the TARP program, which Bush was pushing for.

Napolitano claims that his beloved Ron Paul is a defender of liberty who wants to “defend our liberties from the government”, but that is completely false. Ron Paul is not a defender of liberty by any measure. Firstly, he wants to gut (not just cut, but gut) America’s defense, and has repeatedly cosponsored and voted for legislation which would do exactly that, such as Barney Frank’s George-Soros-sponsored defense cuts plan of 2010. Without a strong defense, you won’t have any liberties, as they will be at the mercy of America’s enemies and there won’t even be a safe country to live in. Secondly, Ron Paul is not a supporter of limited government, merely a states’ rights supporter. He believes that states have the right to do anything they want to do to you, and to trash any of your liberties, and that you cannot invoke the Constitution to defend your rights. In other words, Big Government is perfectly fine for him – just so long as it’s at the state level. In this respect, he’s no different from the vast majority of Republican politicians and columnists, including Mitt Romney, Pam Bondi, Ann Coulter, Andrew McCarthy, and Herman Cain. Thirdly, his record is stained by the tons of pork (worth hundreds of millions of dollars) he has brought to his home district every year he has been in office. For Napolitano to claim he’s a limited government supporter and then call on people to support a Big Government states’ rights supporter like Ron Paul.

Napolitano demands a “non-interventionist” foreign policy, but “noninterventionism” is a mere euphemism for isolationism, and is in any case a suicidal, irrational, ideological policy which would be just as bad for America as a radical tilt in the opposite extreme direction: McCainiac hyperinterventionism. The truth is that (Napolitano and other Paulbots, pay attention) America DOES sometimes need to intervene military abroad, specifically, when its crucial interests are at stake.

But the most ridiculous, and most insulting, claim made by Napolitano during his rant during the final episode of his show was that Ronald Reagan never reduced the size and scope of government and that “there was no Reagan Revolution”. Only a totally deranged libertarian or liberal could say something like that.

The truth is that there was a Reagan Revolution and that it succeeded beyond expectations. Tax rates were slashed from the 70s down to the 20s, while revenue dramatically increased in a supply-side boom. The inflation rate was dramatically cut from the teens to the low single digits, as the Reagan Administration and the Volcker-led Federal Reserve instituted a “King Dollar” policy that fellow supply-sider Larry Kudlow fondly remembers and which all four current GOP presidential contenders also support (in some variation). Government spending and scope of intervention were significantly reduced. The budget for the EPA, for example, was cut by 22%. Federal spending as a percentage of GDP shrank from 23% to 21%, despite Reagan’s massive defense buildup, which helped win the Cold War. Entire industries, including the oil and railroad industries, were deregulated, thus spurring their growth and significant price cuts for consumers. The economy embarked on a 25-year expansion which more than doubled America’s GDP. That is a great success by any honest standards. Only a deranged loon like Napolitano could call it a failure or deny that there was any Reagan revolution at all.

Of course, there is a limit to what a President can achieve by himself. For his entire time as President, Reagan had to deal with a House dominated by liberal Democrats such as Tip O’Neill (who wanted Reagan’s entire agenda to be DOA) and a Senate dominated first by RINOs and then, from 1987 onwards, by liberal Democrats like Ted Kennedy, Joe Biden, and Robert Byrd. That Reagan nonetheless managed to get so much of his agenda passed is proof that the Reagan Revolution was a huge success.

By contrast, what has Ron Paul achieved during his entire time as Congressman (a total of 23 years)? Absolutely nothing. No important legislation that got passed, no real cuts in nondefense spending, no real reforms, no reduction of the size and scope of government that could be attributed to his name, nothing. In fact, he has made the Big Government problem WORSE with his pork projects costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars per year.

So, if one actually studies the facts, and doesn’t blindly buy Napolitano’s claims, one sees that his claims are all lies. Good riddance, Mr Napolitano!


Posted in Military issues, Politicians, World affairs | 5 Comments »

Say no to Obama’s nuclear weapon cuts

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on February 22, 2012

As the press reported on February 15th, Obama is considering deep unilateral cuts in the US nuclear arsenal despite the opinion of the Nation’s military leaders that the 1,550 deployed warheads authorized by New START are the absolute minimum necessary to deter other countries, including Russia and China. He has already decided, a priori, that drastic cuts will happen and the only question for him is how deeply to cut the stockpile. He has ordered the DOD to present him with three options of cuts: a) down to 1,000 warheads (i.e. by more than 33%); b) to 700-800 warheads (by more than 50%); and c) to just 300 warheads (i.e. by 80%). And Obama will be the one deciding how deeply to reduce it, and doing so based on nothing but his pacifist ideology.

After he makes the cuts, the DOD will have to work out a new “deterrence strategy” in the ruins of these cuts. (Former national security officials say this is the first time in US history that a President is cuttng the US arsenal and only then leaves the DOD to formulate a strategy, instead of first developing a strategy and then suiting the nuclear arsenal to it.)

What is wrong with these cuts? To start with, everything.

Firstly, defense cuts, including reductions of weapon arsenals – especially steep ones – make the military weaker and the country less safe. They also embolden America’s enemies, who see an America disarming itself as an encouragement for aggression.

Secondly, these cuts would be unilateral; no other country is going to, nor will be obliged to, make any arsenal reductions whatsoever. Disarmament of any kind is foolish, but unilateral disarmament is even moreso, and is suicidal. It deprives you of your weapons while the potential enemy retains his arsenal. Any steep unilateral cuts would invite a nuclear first strike by Russia and perhaps even China (depending on how deep the cuts would be). (Don’t think that Russia and China would spare the US from such a strike if they could conduct it and get away with it.) That is always the consequence of unilateral disarmament.

Even the “modest” reduction which Obama is mulling will enable and invite a Russian nuclear first strike on the US. That’s because even the “modest” option would entail a reduction of the deployed US nuclear arsenal by 33%, from 1550 to 1000 warheads, while Russia would retain all 1550 warheads allowed by the New START. This would mean that the deployed Russian arsenal (1550 warheads) would be 55% larger than the deployed US arsenal (1000 warheads). This would mean that Russia would need to destroy fewer targets, making a first strike far easier, far more attractive, and possible, for the Russians. The US nuclear arsenal would be 33% smaller than the Russian one (which would be bad by itself), but the Russian arsenal would be 55% larger than the American arsenal, just as 9 is 50% larger than 6 and 15 is 50% larger than 10. If Russia will have a nuclear arsenal that will be even 41%-50% larger than the US arsenal, it will conduct a nuclear first strike because it will be possible and very easy for Russia to conduct it. Moreover, a Russian deputy defense minister has recently said he can’t rule out Russia growing its nuclear arsenal above New START limits “under certain circumstances”.

It is unclear how many warheads China has, but it’s estimated to possess at least 350-400 and perhaps twice as many. When US inspectors visited the Soviet Union in 1991, they found that US intel agencies underestimated its nuclear arsenal’s size by 2 times. It consisted of 40,000 warheads, not 20,000 as US intel estimated.

Thirdly, any further reductions (let alone steep and unilateral ones) will undermine allied countries’ confidence in the US nuclear umbrella and may cause these allies to develop their own nuclear weapons, thus making the proliferation problem much worse. This is not a mere hypothetical concern: Arab countries in the Gulf are already considering this. If the US guts its own deterrent, the Gulf states will have no choice but to “go nuclear”. Remember that while Russia is a threat to many and a protector to none, the US provides a nuclear umbrella to 32 allied countries.

Fourthly, deep cuts in the US arsenal, unilateral or otherwise, will dramatically reduce its deterrent value while significantly boosting that of the nuclear weapons of other countries – not just Russia’s (1,550 strategic warheads) and China’s (which has at least 350, and perhaps twice as many), but also France’s, North Korea’s, India’s, Pakistan’s, and in the future, those of Iran and anyone else who might acquire nuclear weapons – because, as Sen. Jon Kyl rightly points out, any idiot will need to build only 300 warheads to reach nuclear parity with the US. This will make the proliferation problem even much worse by encouraging countries to develop nuclear weapons.

Fifth, unilateral disarmament would be a huge unilateral concession which would only embolden foreign countries to pocket it and demand more concessions by the US. That’s what always happens when you give things up unilaterally, as proven by Obama’s unilateral concessions to Moscow on missile defense and other issues.

These would be the grave consequences of making such deep cuts to the US, especially if done unilaterally, or indeed any further cuts to an arsenal which former Defense/Energy Secretary James Schlesinger deems is “barely adequate” under New START limits. But here’s what these unilateral cuts would not do.

They would not save a lot of money. The DOE’s defense-related budget is just $17 bn per year, and only a fraction of that is spent on nuclear weapons. (Congressman Markey’s proposal to “save” $100 bn by cutting spending on maintaining nuclear weapons is a fantasy.) Nothing to gain for fiscal conservatives or deficit hawks.

They would not ameliorate, let alone solve, the proliferation problem; the US is not the one proliferating nuclear weapons, materiel, technology, or know-how. China and North Korea are the champions in that sport, and have been doing so despite multiple rounds of US arsenal cuts. In fact, cuts of the US arsenal would only make the proliferation problem much worse for the reasons stated above.

They would not prevent nuclear weapons from falling into terrorists’ hands (which, by the way, is a remote threat). American nuclear weapons are protected by multiple sets of locks and codes, stored in secure facilities, and handled carefully. There is zero risk of US nuclear weapons being stolen by, let alone deliberately given to, terrorists – and they would then have to obtain a matching delivery system, too, which they won’t. A B61 nuclear bomb can only be delivered by a plane, not a missile, and vice versa.

They wouldn’t “set an example” and convince other countries to reduce their nuclear arsenals. Leadership by example never works in the disarmament realm. If anything, unilateral cuts would only encourage other countries to develop their own atomic weapons, and prompt existing nuclear powers to grow their arsenals to gain parity with, or (depending on how deeply the US cuts its stockpile) even an advantage over, America. This would be a nightmare scenario.

In sum, there is no reason to make these cuts, or indeed, any cuts in the US nuclear arsenal, which US military leaders say is already at its minimum required size. There is every reason NOT to cut the arsenal any further, especially not unilaterally.

Congress needs to pass a statute prohibiting the President from making any further reductions, and force Obama to honor his part of the bargain he made in 2010, when the Senate was considering New START, to allow, plan, program, and fully fund the modernization of the nuclear arsenal and of the triad of delivery systems. Nothing short of that will do.

Posted in Military issues, World affairs | Leave a Comment »

Refutal of Pat Buchanan’s lies

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on February 21, 2012

On , the pseudoconservative HumanEvents magazine posted yet another anti-defense, isolationist screed by Pat Buchanan (who is not conservative except on social issues and, as some people at the FreeRepublic tell me, is motivated by his Irish heritage in his hatred of Winston Churchill and Britain). He made the following false claims:

“After his fourth-place showing in Florida, Ron Paul, by then in Nevada, told supporters he had been advised by friends that he would do better if only he dumped his foreign policy views, which have been derided as isolationism. Not going to do it, said Dr. Paul to cheers. And why should he? Observing developments in U.S. foreign and defense policy, Paul’s views seem as far out in front of where America is heading as John McCain’s seem to belong to yesterday’s Bush-era bellicosity.
Consider. In December, the last U.S. troops left Iraq. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta now says that all U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan will end in 18 months. The strategic outposts of empire are being abandoned.

The defense budget for 2013 is $525 billion, down $6 billion from 2012. The Army is to be cut by 75,000 troops; the Marine Corps by 20,000. Where Ronald Reagan sought a 600-ship Navy, the Navy will fall from 285 ships today to 250. U.S. combat aircraft are to be reduced by six fighter squadrons and 130 transport aircraft.

Republicans say this will reduce our ability to fight and win two land wars at once — say, in Iran and Korea. Undeniably true.

Why, then, is Ron Paul winning the argument?

The hawkishness of the GOP candidates aside, the United States, facing its fourth consecutive trillion-dollar deficit, can no longer afford to sustain all its alliance commitments, some of which we made 50 years ago during a Cold War that ended two decades ago, in a world that no longer exists.

As our situation is new, said Abraham Lincoln, we must think and act anew.

As Paul argues, why close bases in the U.S. when we have 700 to 1,000 bases abroad? Why not bring the troops home and let them spend their paychecks here?

Begin with South Korea. At last report, the United States had 28,000 troops on the peninsula. But why, when South Korea has twice the population of the North, an economy 40 times as large, and access to U.S. weapons, the most effective in the world, should any U.S. troops be on the DMZ? Or in South Korea?

U.S. forces there are too few to mount an invasion of the North, as Gen. MacArthur did in the 1950s. And any such invasion might be the one thing to convince Pyongyang to fire its nuclear weapons to save the hermit kingdom.

But if not needed to defend the South, and a U.S. invasion could risk nuclear reprisal, what are U.S. troops still doing there?

Answer: They are on the DMZ as a tripwire to bring us, from the first day of fighting, into a new land war in Asia that many American strategists believe we should never again fight.

Consider Central Asia. By pushing to bring Ukraine and Georgia into NATO, and building air bases in nations that were republics of the Soviet Union two decades ago, the United States generated strategic blowback.

China and Russia, though natural rivals and antagonists, joined with four Central Asian nations in a Shanghai Cooperation Organization to expel U.S. military power from a region that is their backyard, but is half a world away from the United States.

Solution: The United States should inform the SCO that when the Afghan war is over we will close all U.S. military bases in Central Asia. No U.S. interest there justifies a conflict with Russia or China.”

What utter garbage, posted of course by the isolationist Pat Buchanan (why does HE give him a column, again?).

Ron Paul is NOT winning the debate and will never win it.

Although the Obama Administration is implementing (at least parts of) his insane isolationist foreign policy and the defense cuts he has demanded, their IMPLEMENTATION doesn’t make them right. They are still wrong. They would’ve always been wrong. Obama has been cutting defense ever since he has come into office.

Cutting defense only weakens it, and that makes war only more likely, not less. Aggressors do not attack those who are stronger than they are. Aggressors only attack weaklings.

Furthermore, South Korea is NOT capable of defending itself. Most of its weapons are obsolete (e.g. most of its fighter fleet is comprised of obsolete F-4 Phantom and F-5 Freedom Fighter aircraft produced in the 1960s) and it has no nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons, while North Korea has tons of them, including 6-12 nuclear warheads and the means to deliver them. North Korea also has ICBMs capable of hitting Alaska and Hawaii.

Furthermore, if SK is invaded, the US MUST intervene. Leaving SK to North Korea would be a dramatic blow to the US in propaganda, strategic, military, and economic terms. SK is one of the world’s largest economies, one of the most important economic partners of the United States, and a platform from which the NoKos could (and certainly would) launch further aggression (against the US and Japan) if allowed to conquer it.

Moreover, the claim that the US has “700-1,000 bases abroad” is a blatant lie. The real number is around 700-800, and most of these “bases” are tiny military installations, with only a tiny minority of them being large bases like Ramstein and Spangdahlem.

Moreover, Buchanan fails to recognize that bases abroad make the projection of military might much less costly and much easier and faster, and are cheaper than bases in the US (they already exist and are paid for and routinely renovated by America’s allies, who also pay for the deployment of US troops on their soil).

Closing these bases and withdrawing troops to the US would be MORE expensive, both in the short term and in the long term, than just keeping them where they are. But that’s a dirty secret that the “close all bases abroad” crowd won’t tell you.


Posted in Military issues, World affairs | Leave a Comment »

Obama plans to dramatically cut (and thus gut) the US nuclear arsenal; where are Republicans?

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on February 20, 2012

It has been revealed that Barack Obama plans a steep cut of the already-inadequate US nuclear arsenal solely to fit his pacifist, anti-defense agenda, even though world realities and defense needs call against it. Last month, Obama, still wedded to his naive, pacifist ideology of a world without nuclear weapons, and determined to disarm the US unilaterally, ordered the Pentagon to cut the US nuclear arsenal deeply and to provide him with three options for cutting the deployed nuclear arsenal: a “modest” one, a medium one, and a deep one. He presupposed that unilateral arsenal cuts will happen and told the DOD that the only question now is how deep the cuts will be.

Being under orders, the DOD had no choice but to comply, and it has devised three options: a) to cut the deployed arsenal from the treaty-allowed level of 1,550 warheads to 1,000; b) to cut it deeper to just 700 or 800; and c) to cut it to a tiny size of 300 warheads. Obama will get to choose which of these cuts to make, and after he makes his choice, the DOD will have to devise a new nuclear deterrence strategy in the ruins of those cuts.

As the Washington Free Beacon reports, national security experts say that no previous Administration had ever started a review by presupposing that arsenal cuts will happen and that the cuts will be made in a specific numerical range. Every previous Administration first conducted a review of the world threat environment and of America’s defense needs and only then made decisions about WHETHER, and if so, by how much to cut the US nuclear arsenal. But first they considered if it was prudent to reduce it at all.

Additionally, as Sen. Kyl has reported in detail, President Obama has also reneged on his promise to fully fund the modernization of the remaining arsenal and of the nuclear triad.

Sadly, the Washington Times, which used to be a conservative newspaper and a reliable source on defense issues, does not do its own work these days, and instead it reprints garbage articles from the leftist Associated Press, which slants its articles to make Obama and his policies look good. The WaTimes has recently posted such a garbage article by AP on this subject. The AP’s Robert Burns claims that:

“Even the most modest option now under consideration would be a historic and politically bold disarmament step in a presidential election year…”

AP calls it “historic” and “politically bold… in a presidential election year” to make Obama look good, but it is neither historic nor politically bold. Most Republicans don’t care about defense issues and are unlikely to hammer Obama on this (even though they should); and it is not historic, it is shameful, despicable and treasonous. And even “the most modest option” would cut the US nuclear arsenal by 550 warheads, i.e. by more than a third. This is not modest or small.

“although the plan is in line with President Obama’s 2009 pledge to pursue the elimination of nuclear weapons.”

But that pledge was one driven solely by his childish, pacifist, anti-defense ideology. Yet, US defense policy should never be based on any ideologies or childish dreams; it should be based solely on world realities and America’s defense needs. Under the Obama Administration, that has not been the case.

“The U.S. could make further weapons reductions on its own but is seen as more likely to propose a new round of arms negotiations with Russia, in which cuts in deployed weapons would be one element in a possible new treaty between the former Cold War adversaries.”

Making any arms reductions unilaterally is suicidal and makes one less safe, not more safe. Unilateral nuclear arsenal cuts would almost certainly lead to a nuclear first strike by an adversary. Russia is not a “former” adversary of the US; under Putin, it has become an adversary again, pursuing an arms race against the US, supporting anti-American regimes everywhere, and creating the Iranian nuclear threat, while threatening Europe with missiles and nuclear weapons. Moreover, any treaty involving just the US and Russia would be meaningless, because one has to also include other nuclear-armed states, including China.

Burns claims that:

“Even small proposed cuts are likely to draw heavy criticism from Republicans, who have argued that a smaller nuclear force would weaken the U.S. at a time when Russia, China and others are strengthening their nuclear capabilities. They also argue that shrinking the American arsenal would undermine the credibility of the nuclear “umbrella” that the United States provides for allies such as Japan, South Korea and Turkey, who might otherwise build their own nuclear forces.”

Yet, Republicans would be absolutely right to argue that, because that is the truth. Any nuclear arsenal cuts would weaken the US military and leave America less safe, but it’s especially foolish to do so now, at a time, when Russia, China, Pakistan, and NK are strengthening their nuclear capabilities and are not required to make ANY arsenal cuts of their own (even Russia, which was below New START limits when the treaty was signed). Any steep unilateral cuts would invite a nuclear first strike by Russia and perhaps even China (depending on how deep the cuts would be). (Don’t think that Russia and China would spare the US from such a strike if they could conduct it and get away with it.) That is always the consequence of unilateral disarmament.

The reduction of the deployed strategic US nuclear arsenal that Obama plans to make, even if he chooses the “modest/smallest” option, will be dramatic, treasonous, bad, and suicidal, and it WILL enable and invite a Russian nuclear first strike on the US. That’s because even the “modest” option would entail a reduction of the deployed US nuclear arsenal by 550 warheads, i.e. by 33%, from 1550 to 1000 warheads, while Russia would retain all 1550 warheads allowed by the New START. This would mean that the deployed Russian arsenal (1550 warheads) would be 55% larger than the deployed US arsenal (1000 warheads). This would mean that Russia would need to destroy fewer targets, making a first strike far easier, and possible, for the Russians. The US nuclear arsenal would be 33% smaller than the Russian one (which would be bad by itself), but the Russian arsenal would be 55% larger than the American arsenal, just as 9 is 50% larger than 6 and 15 is 50% larger than 10. If Russia will have a nuclear arsenal that will be even 41%-50% larger than the US arsenal, it will conduct a nuclear first strike because it will be possible and very easy for Russia to conduct it. Moreover, a Russian deputy defense minister has recently said he can’t rule out Russia growing its nuclear arsenal above New START limits “under certain circumstances”.

The AP article says further:

“The administration last year began considering a range of possible future reductions below the levels agreed in the New START pact with Russia that took effect a year ago. Options are expected to be presented to Mr. Obama soon. The force levels he settles on will form the basis of a new strategic nuclear war plan to be produced by the Pentagon.”

So Obama plans to make an arbitrary, unilateral decision, cherry-picking a number of his choice, and thus drastically cutting the nuclear arsenal by at least 33% and perhaps as much as 80%, without any regard for America’s defense needs, unilaterally, without any treaty with the Russians or anyone else. This is a policy of unilateral disarmament, which is a suicidal policy. It invites aggression.

AP’s Robert Burns then cited the lies of pacifists and other disarmament advocates to make Obama’s policy look good:

“Those who favor additional cuts argue that nuclear weapons have no role in major security threats of the 21st century, such as terrorism. A 2010 nuclear policy review by the Pentagon said the U.S. nuclear arsenal also is “poorly suited” to deal with challenges posed by “unfriendly regimes seeking nuclear weapons” — an apparent reference to Iran.”

But this is utter gibberish. Nuclear weapons will play THE lead role in defeating the biggest security threats of the 21st century.

The claims by the supporters of these deep unilateral cuts that nuclear weapons are “poorly suited to the major threats of the 21st century” are patently false and deliberately designed to rationalize these drastic, suicidal cuts. Terrorism is a threat, but not the biggest or even one of the biggest threats; and Al-Qaeda is on its last legs. The biggest threats to America in this new century are Communist China, Putinist Russia, North Korea, and Iran, China being the single most lethal of them. All of them already have or are working on nuclear weapons (in Iran’s case). Russia has over 1,550 strategic nuclear warheads and thousands of tactical ones, and the means to deliver them. China has at least 350, and probably twice as many, nuclear weapons (we don’t know exactly how many because China is extremely intransparent regarding its military). And the carriers of these nuclear weapons are very accurate, with a very small CEP, in many cases smaller than that of Pershing-II IRBMs. Terrorism is a mere nuisance compared to these four threats. I’m not discounting it, but it’s a much smaller threat than these four hostile countries.

The best, if not the only, protection against these threats is the US nuclear arsenal, which must therefore be protected from cuts and modernized fully. There is no alternative – not missile defense, not conventional weapons, not anything else – and the Obama Administration has, in any case, gutted both America’s BMD and its conventional weapon capabilities with misguided defense cuts. So don’t count on BMD or conventional capabilities to deter these enemies. The US nuclear arsenal is the only deterrent available, and the guaranteer of strategic stability between the US and Russia. Similarly, should Iran obtain a nuclear weapon, a scenario that now seems to be a certainty given Obama’s feckless policies, the US nuclear stockpile will be the best, if not the only, deterrent available. The claim that nuclear weapons are “unsuited to the threats of the 21st century, including Iran” and that they are “relics of the Cold War” is completely false, although it is popular with the Washington cocktail party club.

In Iran’s case, the toughest possible sanctions have not stopped its nuclear program nor deterred it from pursuing nuclear weapons. Nor can the US isolate Iran; China, Russia, Venezuela, and other thugocracies would never allow that to happen. Iran is their ally against the US, and dealing business with it (e.g. in oil and natural gas) is very profitable. Cutting the US nuclear stockpile while Iran is building its own nuclear bombs would not only weaken the US and the nuclear umbrella it provides to its allies, it would embolden Iran by showing Tehran that the US is unilaterally disarming itself while Iran is arming, and thus encourage Iran further to pursue nuclear weapons. Disarming yourself in the face of your enemy ALWAYS emboldens him and makes you less safe. And vis-a-vis a small US nuclear stockpile, even a small Iranian arsenal would have a large military value. Iran is deterrable, as confirmed by former CENTCOM commander General John Abizaid. There is zero evidence that Iran is undeterrable. There is only one way to stop the Iranian nuclear program – bombing Iran – and if that does not happen, the ONLY deterrent available to the US and its allies in the Middle East is the US nuclear deterrent and that of Israel.

And even if Iran was undeterrable, a large nuclear arsenal would still be needed to deter Russia, China, and North Korea. Vis-a-vis Russia and China, it is America’s only deterrent.

The 2010 Nuclear Posture Review that Burns cites was not worth the paper it was printed on. It was dangerously wrong. Not only about the usefulness of nuclear weapons, but also about the threat environment, arms control, Iran, stopping nuclear proliferation and terrorist organizations, and other issues. It also fundamentally rejected the strategy of nuclear deterrence as the basis of US defense policy, even though it had been the basis for the previous 65 years, and promised rogue states that the US wouldn’t use nuclear weapons even if attacked with chemical or biological weapons.

The AP article notes that:

“It’s unclear what calculus went into each of the three options now under consideration at the White House. The notion of a 300-weapon arsenal is featured prominently in a paper written for the Pentagon by a RAND National Defense Project Institute analyst last October, in the early stages of the administration’s review of nuclear requirements. The author, Paul K. Davis, wrote that he was not advocating any particular course of action but sought to provide an analytic guide for how policymakers could think about the implications of various levels of nuclear reductions.

Mr. Davis wrote that an arsenal of 300 weapons might be considered adequate for deterrence purposes if that force level was part of a treaty with sound anti-cheating provisions; if the U.S. deployed additional non-nuclear weapons with global reach, and if the U.S. had “hypothetically excellent,” if limited, defenses against long- and medium-range nuclear missiles.

But as one WT website commenter has rightly noted:

“This risk analysis by Davis is full of unvalidated assumptions and is adolescent in context. How can Obama even consider it????? We cannot base our national security on “might”, “if” and “hypothetically”. This is the most outrageously dangerous risk assessment for national security that has ever been presented.”

I agree, and I would add that Davis warned that the reduction could be done only if the forementioned 3 preconditions were met. None of them have been met, and none will likely ever be. In any case, reducing the US nuclear arsenal so deeply, to just 300 warheads, would be bad, foolish, and suicidal, as it would dramatically reduce the deterrence value of this arsenal (while making other countries’ arsenals suddely much more valuable vis-a-vis the US nuclear stockpile; as Sen. Jon Kyl points out, anyone could build a few hundred warheads and thus reach parity with the US) and reduce the US to the status of just another nuclear power, on par with China, France, and others, and not the strongest country in the world. Making such reductions unilaterally would be even worse, as it would invite a nuclear first strike by a hostile country such as Russia or even China. As for what calculus went into these options, the answer is “none”. All three of them stem from the Obama Administration’s pacifist ideology and wishful thinking. US military officials are actually telling Obama that 1,550 nuclear warheads, as allowed by the New START, is the MINIMUM needed to deter America’s enemies and reassure America’s friends.

Yet, AP cannot hide its glee at these deep arsenal cuts. It claims that

“New U.S. cuts could open the prospect for a historic reshaping of the American nuclear arsenal, which for decades has stood on three legs: submarine-launched ballistic missiles, ground-based ballistic missiles and weapons launched from big bombers such as the B-52 and the stealthy B-2. The traditional rationale for this “triad” of weaponry is that it is essential to surviving any nuclear exchange.”

These cuts, and the elimination of any of the triad’s legs, would not be a “historic reshaping”, it would be a draconian cut, a dramatic weakening, a reckless endangerment of the country, and a unilateral concession to other countries that they couldn’t win at the bargaining table. It would be a suicidal policy. And yes, the triad is needed to deter enemies and survive any nuclear exchange. Dyads and monads can be easily defeated.

AP says that “In his written testimony at a Nov. 2 hearing chaired by Mr. Turner, Mr. Miller made it clear that the administration was making a fundamental reassessment of nuclear-weapons requirements. In unusually stark terms he said the critical question at hand was “what to do” if a nuclear-armed state or non-state entity could not be deterred from launching an attack.”

Yet, there is NO evidence that a state couldn’t be deterred from launching an attack. America’s nuclear deterrence policy has worked flawlessly ever since its inception in 1945, for over 66 years. The US has, since then, always managed to deter a nuclear-armed USSR/Russia, China, and North Korea. It could certainly deter Iran if Tehran ever acquires nuclear weapons. And even if a state or terrorists launch a limited nuclear attack, missile defense can stop them.

AP lies that:

“Nuclear stockpile numbers are closely guarded secrets in most states that possess them, but private nuclear-policy experts say no countries other than the U.S. and Russia are thought to have more than 300. The Federation of American Scientists estimates that France has about 300; China, about 240; Britain, about 225; and Israel, India and Pakistan, roughly 100 each.”

Actually, according to GlobalSecurity.org and other sources, China has at least 350-400 warheads (and possibly twice as much), Israel has at least 200 (and possibly even 300), and Britain has slightly less than 200. So the “private nuclear policy experts” that AP cites, including the FAS, are not experts at all, mere amateurs.

And in order to make Obama look good, AP stated that:

“Since taking office, Mr. Obama has put heavy emphasis on reducing the role and number of nuclear weapons as part of a broader strategy for limiting the global spread of nuclear arms technology and containing the threat of nuclear terrorism. That strategy is being put to the test most urgently by Iran’s suspected pursuit of a nuclear bomb.”

But the cuts of America’s arsenal is not driven by any broader strategy, or any strategy whatsoever. It is driven solely by his pacifist, anti-defense ideology which he has professed since his teenagehood. Cutting the US nuclear arsenal will not solve or even lessen the problem of nuclear proliferation or the remote risk of nuclear terrorism. It will actually make these problems worse, because it will inevitably force America’s allies, worried by the shrinking American umbrella, to develop their own nuclear weapons; thus, proliferation will get worse. As for terrorists, they are not trying to obtain American nuclear weapons and will never get them anyway, so the risk of US nuclear weapons falling into their hands is zero, and cutting these weapons will do nothing about the terrorist threat.

And if the Iranian nuclear crisis is a test of Obama’s “nuclear strategy”, he and that strategy are failing this test abysmally.


And yet, as Obama is gutting the US nuclear arsenal, where are Republican politicians (except those few who specialize in defense issues) and columnists? Where are Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, John Gizzi, Jason Mattera, Quin Hillyer, Aaron Goldstein, Michael Barone, Michael Gerson, Oliver North, and Charles Krauthammer? Nowhere.

Republican politicians, columnists, and activists should be screaming to top of their lungs against these cuts, which will likely invite a nuclear first strike. Why aren’t they? Because they don’t care. These days, the vast majority of Republicans doesn’t care about defense issues at all. Indeed, right now, some Republicans say that we must give the extremely anti-defense Congressman Ron Paul and his leftist, pacifist, anti-defense minions “a voice in the Party”. The pacifist virus is infecting the GOP. The GOP is now America’s second weak-defense party after the Democratic Party.

So Republicans will be Obama’s willing accomplices in these disastrous defense cuts.

UPDATE: Guess what HASC Republicans have done about these cuts? They’ve written Obama a letter urging him not to make these cuts. Republicans should actually be educating the public about this, passing legislation prohibiting any nuclear arsenal cuts, and using whatever trump cards they have to stop Obama from making them.



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