Speaking recently to National Public Radio and USA Today “journalists”, former Clinton Administration defense budget chief Gordon Adams (in other words, the principal architect of Clinton’s disastrous defense cuts) yet again called for massive defense budget cuts while making blatant lies about the security environment designed to lull the public into a false sense of security.
Adams falsely claimed that the world’s regions, and as a result, the world at large, are the safest they have ever been in the last 65 years and the safest in his lifetime; that the US is super secure; that there is no existential threat to America; and that the US can afford to and should reduce its defense budget and the size of its military “quite sharply” and there’s “plenty of room” to cut defense spending.
All of his claims are blatant lies, as usual.
The world is actually the most dangerous it has ever been since the end of WW2; Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey calls it the most dangerous world he has seen in his entire military career (spanning over 38 years from 1974 to today). China is bullying its neighbors – from Japan to the Philippines to Vietnam – making huge territorial claims and conducting a military buildup that long ago exceeded its legitimate self-defense requirements. Russia is rapidly rearming, threatens the US and its European allies with the preemptive use of nuclear weapons, and still retains a huge nuclear arsenal. North Korea now possesses an ICBM capable of reaching the US and is able to mate a nuclear warhead to it. Iran, according to most recent estimates by experts, will have enough weapons-grade uranium for a nuclear weapon by 2014, and the US intel community projects it to have an ICBM in the 2015-2016 timeframe. It also continues to sponsor Islamic terrorism throughout the world. Venezuela and the Castro brothers continue to do mischief in the Western Hemisphere, while in the Arab world – from Algeria to Egypt to Iraq – Islamic terrorists continue to make gains. In the Arab world, as a result of the Arab Spring, nations previously ruled by authoritarian dictators friendly to the US are now ruled by Islamists hostile to America and Israel. The Jewish state is now facing a real threat of extinction for the first time since 1973.
Only a traitor, a drug or alcohol addict, or an idiot could claim that the world is safer than ever since WW2. The reality is the opposite: the world is more dangerous than ever in the post-WW2 era, and more dangerous than during the entire Cold War, excepting possibly only the brief period of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
It is also not true that the US faces no existential threats. It actually faces three:
- Islamic jihadists aim to conquer the entire world (as Islam has aimed for centuries) and to forcibly convert to Islam – or kill – all non-Muslims;
- Russia remains an existential threat, thanks to its rabidly anti-American leadership, its huge nuclear arsenal, its huge conventional force, and its rearmament program;
- China is rapidly building up and modernizing its military and has global (if as of yet unstated) ambitions of pushing the US aside and becoming the world’s leading power – and the hegemon in East Asia and beyond.
To dramatically cut the US defense budget and the size of the US military in the face of these existential threats – and other threats to US security – would be an utter folly.
Furthermore, the capabilities of America’s enemies – including Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran – are far better than most people know and what Gordon Adams would have you believe. I have written on their capabilities in great detail numerous times, most recently here on December 29th, 2012. (A full list of my studies of these subjects can be found here.) The strength of their militaries is, in short, such that the US cannot afford to further cut the size and capabilities of its military or the defense budget (which would lead to the former).
To give just one example, Russia and China have fielded such advanced air defense systems (S-300, S-400, HQ-9) that their airspace is firmly closed to all nonstealthy aircraft, i.e. to all Western aircraft except the F-22, the F-35, the B-2, and the planned Next Generation Bomber. To give another example, Russia’s ICBM fleet alone, numbering 434 missiles, could deliver 1,684 warheads to the CONUS, while the Russian Air Force has over 240 strategic long-range bombers.
Deep cuts in the defense budget would inevitably have to mean deep cuts in the military’s size, maintenance and training programs (i.e. a dramatic reduction of the military’s readiness), and modernization (the modernization of existing weapons as well as the development and procurement of new ones – even ones that are badly needed, such as the Next Generation Bomber).
While there is some waste in the defense budget (e.g. studies of beef jerky and whether Jesus died for Klingons, too), there isn’t much of it left, contrary to what the proponents of disastrous defense cuts would have you believe. Sen. Tom Coburn has identified only $6.79 bn per year in genuine DOD waste. The vast majority of what defense cuts proponents call “waste” are actually needed, crucial defense programs, such as the Next Generation Bomber.
Also contrary to Adams’ lie, the defense budget has not “doubled” since 2001. Not even close. In FY2001, the defense budget was $291.1 bn in then-year dollars, i.e. $390 bn in today’s money. Today’s total military budget (including spending on Afghanistan and the DOE’s nat-sec programs) is $633 bn (per the FY2013 NDAA), representing growth of only 65% – not even close to doubling and very modest considering that in FY2001, defense spending was pathetically low and woefully inadequate (thanks to the disastrous cuts that Adams and his boss Bill Clinton orchestrated).
Gordon Adams is blatantly lying, as usual. No, there isn’t “plenty of room to cut the defense budget”. No, the world is not safer than ever in the post-WW2 era; quite the contrary, it’s the most dangerous it has ever been since 1945. No, America cannot afford to significantly cut its defense budget or the size of its military further.
Shame on Adams for lying so blatantly, and shame on NPR and USA Today for uncritically reprinting his blatant lies.