Congressman push for $550B in defense cuts – say they are ‘harmless’
The DefenseNews.com website has recently published an article by John T. Bennett that extensively quotes a letter sent by 11 RINO and 11 Democrat members of Congress – including such conservative stalwarts as Barney Frank, Lynn Woolsey, Keith Ellison, Jim Moran (D-VA), and Chris Gibson (RINO-NY) – that calls for deep, $550 bn defense cuts and falsely claims that such cuts would be “harmless” because they would be “strategic”, i.e. done in a manner targeted at specific programs rather than being done across the board like sequestration. The Congressmen falsely claim that because such cuts would be done in a targeted manner, they would be harmless.
What utter garbage!
Firstly, the Republicans who joined the Dems in signing these letters are RINOs, not conservatives: RINOs such as Tom McClintock and Chris Gibson (both of whom have very liberal voting records). Jim Moran of Virginia is a Democrat, not a Republican – and a very liberal Democrat at that, representing a very liberal district where the only competition is between left and lefter.
(And BTW, Congressman McClintock’s name is Tom, short for Thomas, not Tim, and he’s from California, not North Carolina. DefenseNews can’t get even that right.)
And if you support deep, crippling cuts to America’s defense, and even worse, if you join the House’s most strident liberal Democrats to do that, you are no conservative and have no right to call yourself one.
Secondly, despite the Congressmen’s pious assurances that “substantial defense savings can be achieved over the long-term, without compromising national security, through strategic reductions in the Pentagon’s budget”; that “The recommendations of those studies would responsibly achieve defense savings over the next decade”, that the DOD could “save up to $550 billion without harming U.S. national security. In fact, achieving defense savings as part of the larger effort to reduce the national debt will go a 1ong way toward bolstering U.S. national security”, these assurances are hollow. They are blatant lies. These cuts (proposed by the think-tanks cited by the Congressmen) would, in fact, gut the US military. And I don’t use that word lightly.
How do I know? Because I’ve actually read and reviewed the defense cuts proposals of these “think-tanks” (they were: CATO, POGO, TCS, NTU-PIRG, the Stimson Center, the “Project on Defense Alternatives”, and the Soros-funded “Center for American Progress” ) and have refuted all of them. Their proposals of defense cuts would entail, inter alia:
1) Deep cuts to the Navy’s ship fleet, down to just 230 or fewer ships, including deep cuts in the carrier, attack submarine, cruiser, destroyer, ballistic missile submarine, amphibious assault ship, and auxiliary ship fleets, leaving the Navy too weak and too small to handle any major adversary or to secure the world’s shipping lanes on which 95% of America’s trade depends. Deep cuts in the Navy would dramatically reduce America’s power projection capabilities; deep cuts in attack sub fleets would also gut America’s already-underinvested anti-submarine warfare, naval intelligence, and long range strike capabilities, while cuts in cruiser and destroyer fleets would leave the remaining ship fleet poorly defended against air and missile attacks and also reduce long range strike capability, as well as BMD capabilities. Thus, enemy navies would be able to easily sink the USN with submarines, aircraft, and anti-ship missiles, while the USN’s power projection capability would be reduced by almost 60 ships, i.e. by almost 20%.
2) Deep unilateral cuts to the nation’s nuclear deterrent, to mere hundreds of warheads, a few hundred ICBMs (instead of the current 450), and no more than 8 SSBNs, with zero strategic bombers. This would open the nation to, and invite, a nuclear first strike by Russia or China. Keep in mind that Russia has 1,492 deployed and 2,800 total strategic warheads and the means to deliver all of them if need be. It has 434 (mostly multi-warhead) ICBMs, including 58 SS-18 Satan ICBMs capable of carrying 10 warheads each and 136 SS-19 Stilletto ICBMs capable of carrying 6 warheads each. It also has 14 ballistic missile submarines (capable of delivering over 2,000 warheads) and over 200 Tu-95, Tu-160, and Tu-22M nuclear strategic bombers. It is now developing new ICBMs, strategic bombers, and SSBNs. It also has a huge arsenal of tactical nuclear weapons and their delivery systems which, according to the Obama Administration, outnumbers America’s tactical nuclear arsenal 10-1. China has at least 1,800, and possibly up to 3,000, nukes, and the means to deliver over 1,100 of them immediately to various targets (including hundreds to America; China has 36 DF-5, over 30 DF-31, and a number of DF-41 MIRVable ICBMs as well as 6 SSBNs). Cuts in America’s nuclear deterrent would also force America’s allies to develop their own nuclear arsenals, thus making the nuclear proliferation problem much worse.
4) Deep cuts in the force structure and modernization programs of the Air Force, including the F-35 fighter program, and killing the USAF’s Next Generation Bomber/LRSB program, thus depriving the Air Force of a bomber capable of penetrating defended enemy airspace (B-52s and B-1s have huge RCSes and are easy for even legacy 1960s’ Soviet air defense systems to shoot down), leaving the USAF with only 20 penetration-capable B-2 bombers.
5) Deep cuts in all modernization and research programs across the board. The result would be a military saddled with old, obsolete, unsurvivable weapons that are increasingly expensive to maintain.
6) Deep cuts in the ground force, rendering it unable to wage even one major war.
7) Deep cuts in the troops’ numbers and healthcare, thus breaking faith with them. This would cause many troops to leave service, harming recruiting and retention.
You can see the details in my rebuttals of the destructive proposals of these “think-tanks”: http://zbigniewmazurak.wordpress.com/2012/11/30/congress-must-reject-the-pdas-destructive-defense-cuts-proposals/; http://zbigniewmazurak.wordpress.com/2012/09/14/exposing-the-anti-defense-hacks-on-the-sdtf/; http://zbigniewmazurak.wordpress.com/2012/07/28/pogos-spend-less-spend-smarter-policies-would-gut-defense-and-jeopardize-nat-sec/; http://zbigniewmazurak.wordpress.com/2012/10/05/whats-wrong-with-simpson-bowles/; http://zbigniewmazurak.wordpress.com/2012/12/14/rebuttal-of-catospdas-defense-sense-defense-cuts-proposals/; http://zbigniewmazurak.wordpress.com/2012/12/08/lets-stop-pretending-that-deep-defense-cuts-can-be-done-safely/.
The fact is that, contrary to the pious denials of those RINO and Democrat Congressmen, the massive defense cuts proposals of these think-tanks would severely weaken the US military and imperil national security for the reasons stated above. So despite their pious denials, national security would be severely compromised and harmed.
The fact is that so-called “strategic defense cuts” would be just as harmful to the nation’s defense and thus to its security as the across-the-board cuts, if not more. That’s because these “strategic” defense cuts would deeply cut the meat and bone of the military – at the very capabilities, units, and weapons which are crucial for defending the country.
Cutting America’s nuclear deterrent, missile defense systems, long range strike capabilities, Navy, Air Force, Army, and Marine Corps in a “strategic” manner would be just as destructive to national security as sequestration, if not more so.
Nor should we be surprised. Gutting defense is one of the goals of the liberal think-tanks who put forward these proposals and of the Democrats who signed this letter. The public debt is merely their latest pretext.
Just because someone proposes “strategic”, “targeted” defense cuts instead of across-the-board ones doesn’t mean that these defense cuts would be harmless. In fact, the cuts proposed by these leftist think-tanks would SEVERELY harm national security.
In fact, sequestration would be better than these damaging, destructive cuts. “Targeted” defense cuts that are “targeted” at the things that are crucial for protecting the country would only harm US national security, not enhance it.
Thirdly, deeply cutting defense spending would do NOTHING to halt the growth of, let alone reduce, the debt. Those think-tanks propose defense cuts of $550 bn per decade, i.e. $55 bn per year. While this would be a big blow to the Defense Department (cutting its base budget by more than 10%), it would do very little to reduce the annual budget deficit (which is $1.3 trillion per year) and would do NOTHING to stop the growth of, let alone reduce, the national debt. In fact, even abolishing the Defense Department entirely would do nothing to stop the national debt’s growth. The country needs to start cutting ENTITLEMENT PROGRAMS, which comprise a full 62% of the federal budget and which these Democrats and RINOs who signed the letter feverishly defend against any reforms.
Fourthly, contrary to these Congressmen’s claims, the think tanks which proposed these deep defense cuts are not “respected policy organizations” from “across the political spectrum”. They are almost exclusively from the left and, in the NTU’s case, from the center. The Soros-funded POGO, TCS, PIRG, the Soros-funded Center for American Progress and Soros-funded CATO Institute, and the Massachusetts-based “Project on Defense Alternatives” are all leftist think-tanks. The NTU has to be classified on the center because it is conservative only on fiscal issues, takes no position on social issues, and is very leftist on defense issues.
I repeat, these think-tanks, with the NTU’s sole exception, hail exclusively from the hard left.
Fifth, DefenseNews’ claim that even under sequestration defense spending will reach $600 bn by the end of this decade is a blatant lie. It’s not even close to being true. In fact, as this CBO report demonstrates:
annual defense spending will be stuck at $493 bn – below $500 bn, let alone $600 bn – in FY2022. Not even close to $600 bn.
Sixth, DefenseNews’ claim that the FY2013 defense authorization bill recently passed by the Senate would authorize $650 bn in military spending is false; the total amount to be authorized would be only $631 bn, and even that ONLY if sequestration doesn’t kick in, as it is likely to be.
Seventh, Tom Coburn’s defense cuts proposals would, like the proposals of the forementioned think-tanks, gut the US military, for the reasons stated here: http://zbigniewmazurak.wordpress.com/2011/11/18/the-tea-party-debt-commission-and-sen-coburns-defense-cuts-proposals/
As with the defense cuts proposals’ of those think tanks, I’ve reviewed Coburn’s proposals, and the fact is that his proposals would be deeply destructive for the reasons stated in my rebuttal.
The Congressmen’s claim that “The Pentagon’s budget has increased dramatically over the last decade, due in large part to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq” is also a blatant lie. The DOD’s base budget increased by only 35% from FY2001 to FY2012, from $390 bn to $531 bn; the total military budget, including spending on Afghanistan and Iraq, increased somewhat more, by 65%, from FY2001 to FY2012, but that growth took place over eleven years, not one year.
Their claim that “future defense budgets should (…) acknowledge that our modern military is able to approach conflicts utilizing fewer but more advanced resources” is a blatant lie. Firstly, massive defense cuts, including the proposals of all “think-tanks” listed above, would cut or outright cancel the vast majority of the programs developing or procuring new, more modern equipment – including the crucial Next Generation Bomber. Secondly, technology is no substitute for numbers. A ship or a plane can be in only one place at any given time. It cannot be in two places simoultaneously. And a small fleet of ships or planes would be woefully inadequate to defeat even a trivial adversary, because of the sheer number of sorties that would have to be flown. The claim that the US military can win future wars with far fewer resources is a blatant lie. It’s just another convenient, but false, pretext for more, deeper defense cuts.
Moreover, because the world hasn’t gotten and is not going to get any safer, and because the threats to America’s security (including China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran) are growing, not shrinking, the US military will need to retain its current size and will need more resources, not fewer. Fewer resources will mean “not enough resources to deal with security threats.”
The letter also says “Congress must consider these changes, not past spending or percentages of GDP, and move toward defense budgeting that focuses on meeting specific military requirements.” But the defense cuts these Congressmen (and the think tanks they cite) propose would result in defense budgets that would be woefully inadequate to the military’s specific requirements – both in size and in terms of force structure and crucial equipment programs (or rather, the lack thereof). The result would be an underfunded, poorly equipped, obsolete, poorly trained, hollow military which would also be too small in size to handle any serious adversary.
In short, the Congressmen’s letter is a litany of blatant lies, and so is this DefenseNews “article”.
Shame on these Congressmen for lying so blatantly and for proposing treasonous, destructive defense cuts.
And shame on DefenseNews for uncritically repeating their blatant lies and throwing in a few lies of its own – while failing to get such basics as Congressman McClintock’s name right.
Dear Readers, please call your Congressman and your Senators and tell them that you will never vote for them again if they vote for any massive defense cuts, including the cuts proposed by the forementioned leftist “think tanks”.