Tag Archives: national defense

Why deep defense cuts MUST be avoided at all costs

I could just as well title this article “why defense must always be fully funded” or “why America must always maintain a strong, second-to-none defense”, but all three titles effectively mean the same thing, so I have chosen the above one.

We are being told from all directions by various kinds of people – from liberals like Clinton Admin official Gordon Adams to libertarians like Justin Amash and Mick Mulvaney to supposed conservatives like Rush Limbaugh that America can afford deep cuts in the defense budget and still have a strong military; or, in the case of other libertarians, like the Students For Liberty/Ron Paul crowd, that America doesn’t need a strong military, that it would only be a tool of oppression, and that America can safely retrench and hide behind oceans and nothing will threaten it.

But all of those claims are garbage, and in this article, I’ll show you why. They might’ve made some sense during the 18th century, when any attack on America would’ve had to be a seaborne invasion or one from Mexico or Canada.

But in the 21st century, when America has vital interests around the world, when its economy is deeply interconnected to those of its allies and friends (such as Japan and South Korea), and in the era of nuclear weapons, ICBMs, ballistic missile submarines, intercontinental bombers, EMP weapons, and cyber attacks, such beliefs are utterly ridiculous. Those who indulge them live in a kum-ba-yah world.

Let us start with this timeless principle taught by Sun Tzu in his Art of War (ch. 8, v. 11):

“The art of war teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy’s not coming, but on our own readiness to receive him; not on the chance of his not attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable.”

We should not delude ourselves that we will never be attacked, or not for a long time, or that America is somehow invincible or unassailable, or that its military is overwhelmingly superior when this is clearly not the case.

Providing for the common defense is not only necessary, it is the Federal Government’s #1 Constitutional DUTY. Art. IV, Sec. 4 of the Constitution clearly imposes this obligation on the government; the majority of enumerated powers granted to the Congress deal with military matters; and the Preamble to the Constitution – makes it clear that one of the reasons why the federal government was create in the first place is to “provide for the common defense”. Furthermore, the military is the ONLY significant expenditure authorized by the Constitution. Federal entitlement and welfare programs are utterly unconstitutional and thus illegal.

Furthermore, the claim – often made by proponents of deep defense cuts in order to lull Americans into a false sense of security – that the US military is still overwhelmingly superior to those of other countries – is completely false (although I wish it was true). The militaries of China and Russia, as documented in detailed analysis here, have already closed the vast majority of the gaps between their and the US military’s capabilities, and are now working hard on closing the remaining few gaps. Where those gaps still exist, as in aircraft carriers, for example, China and Russia have created asymmetric advantages of their own with anti-access/area-denial weapons such as aircraft carrier killing missiles.

For a detailed analysis of China’s and Russia’s military capabilities, see here.

Another oft-made false claim which is supposed to justify deep defense cuts is that they could supposedly be done safely if the military were just granted the flexibility to decide where to make the cuts and that if such reductions are made “strategically”, in a “targeted” manner, they can supposedly be done safely.

The “studies” produced by CATO, the “Project on Defense Alternatives”, the Center for American Progress, POGO-TCS,  the NTU, and Sen. Tom Coburn (RINO-OK) are often invoked as examples and as supposed “proof” that deep defense cuts can be done safely.

But I have read and analyzed virtually all of these “studies”, and ALL of them would, if implemented (God forbid), result in the utter gutting of the US military. Why? Because the vast majority of the cuts they call for would be directed at the muscle and bone of the US military – the force structure (i.e. the size of the military), its personnel, weapons, munitions, and forward deployments.

These “studies” call for deep personnel, weapon inventory, weapon program, and force size cuts across the board to all four Services (Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force) and to the already barely-adequate nuclear deterrent. They call for killing dozens of crucial modernization programs, including the Long Range Strike Bomber, the ICBM replacement program, the V-22 Osprey, the F-35, the Virginia class, and many others.

If one were to plan on how to completely gut the US military, one could not come up with a better plan than those produced by the above-mentioned leftist think-tanks (most of which, including CATO, POGO, and the CAP, are co-funded by George Soros) and by Sen. Coburn. These plans seem to be deliberately designed to gut the US military.

And NONE of these proposals or “studies” are really “strategic”, because none of them are underpinned by any strategy, only by a desire to gut the US military. Strategy is about setting priorities, funding them fully, and cutting back only on non-priority programs/objectives/activities; failure to set priorities and to fund them adequately is essentially the same thing as sequestration.

But in those “studies”, there are no priorities – like sequestration, they all call for deep, across-the-board cuts to everything the US military has and does – mostly to the muscle and bone of the military.

The first and only “priority” of these studies’ authors is to gut the US military, plain and simple.

I have refuted these ridiculous “studies” here, here, here, and here among other articles.

For his part, HumanEvents columnist Robert Maginnis wrongly claims that the US can make these cuts safely if it simply scraps a number of current missions.

But that is wrong. To make cuts on the scale of sequestration, the US military would have to jettison dozens of missions – including many crucial, necessary missions connected to America’s own national security (not just that of its allies). For example, air, naval, and ground superiority, nuclear deterrence, and missile defense.

Those who call for jettisoning many military missions and cuts on the scale of sequestration need to be made to say what exact missions they think the military should scrap and be forced to admit that doing so would mean not meeting America’s security needs and thus imperiling national security.

As then-SECDEF Robert Gates said in 2011:

“These are the kinds of scenarios we need to consider, the kinds of discussions we need to have.  If we are going to reduce the resources and the size of the U.S. military, people need to make conscious choices about what the implications are for the security of the country, as well as for the variety of military operations we have around the world if lower priority missions are scaled back or eliminated.  (…)  To shirk this discussion of risks and consequences – and the hard decisions that must follow – I would regard as managerial cowardice.

In closing, while I have spent a good  deal of time on programmatic particulars, the tough choices ahead are really about the kind of role the American people – accustomed to unquestioned military dominance for the past two decades – want their country to play in the world.”

Then there are those like Rush Limbaugh and Rand Paul who falsely claim that sequestration would be a mere cut to the growth rate of defense spending. But that is a blatant lie.

As the CBO has proven, and as I have documented here, sequestration would cut the base defense budget from $525 bn today to $469 bn in March and keep it well below today’s level (and even below $500 bn) for the next decade at least. By FY2022, the last year of the “sequestration decade”, the base defense budget would be at $493 bn – still below $500 bn and well below today’s level of $525 bn.

defensebudgetaccordingtothecbo2

Meanwhile, OCO (war) spending is shrinking annually from its FY2011 peak and is set to disappear in FY2016, once all US troops leave Afghanistan.

The DOE’s defense-related (nuclear) programs and the DOD’s unspent balances from previous years are also subject to sequestration, as are all other national-security-related agencies.

In other words, sequestration would be an IMMEDIATE, REAL, DEEP, and PERMANENT cut in defense spending. It would not be a mere cut in the rate of growth. In other words, Rush, Rand, and other sequestration pooh-poohers are blatantly lying. (And the people spreading that lie are children of the Father of Lies himself.)

President Ronald Reagan articulated the need for a strong military – and the case against defense cuts – well here and here.

Let Robert Gates – a man of whom I’ve been very critical – nonetheless have the last word here:

“Since I entered government 45 years ago, I’ve shifted my views and changed my mind on a good many things as circumstances, new information, or logic dictated.  But I have yet to see evidence that would dissuade me from this fundamental belief: that America does have a special position and set of responsibilities on this planet.  I share Winston Churchill’s belief that “the price of greatness is responsibility…[and] the people of the United States cannot escape world responsibility.”  This status provides enormous benefits – for allies, partners, and others abroad to be sure, but in the final analysis the greatest beneficiaries are the American people, in terms of our security, our prosperity, and our freedom.

I know that after a decade of conflict, the American people are tired of war.  But there is no doubt in my mind that the continued strength and global reach of the American military will remain the greatest deterrent against aggression, and the most effective means of preserving peace in the 21st century, as it was in the 20th.”

Obama Administration Renews Push to Ratify Law of Sea Treaty

The Obama administration has initiated a renewed push to convince the U.S. Senate to approve the 1982 United Nations Law of the Sea treaty. Administration officials claim approval of the pact is necessary to protect the U.S. Navy’s right to carry out exercises off the coast of China. In the past Chinese ships have harassed U.S. vessels.

The administration’s push to approve the treaty comes at a time of increased focus by the Pentagon on China’s military buildup and the expansion of its influence in the Asia-Pacific region. The Pentagon is also watching escalation of a dispute between Beijing and the Philippines over a South China Sea island.

Ratification of the treaty has long been blocked due to congressional concerns that the treaty gives the UN far too much control over American oil and mineral rights while threatening U.S. sovereignty. Treaty opponents contend that China will not to change its maritime claims even if the treaty is ratified.

On the high seas, the U.S. Navy “locks in” its rights and freedoms by its capacity to sink any ship that would try to deny those rights.

The United States doesn’t need the Law of the Sea Treaty (or LOST). The Continental Congress established the U.S. Navy in 1775, and over the next 236 years it has become the greatest, most powerful maritime force in world history. LOST was first adopted by the United Nations back in 1982. Since then, the United States Navy has managed to protect the U.S. and her maritime interests without benefit of LOST.

In the interest of national security and sovereignty, the United States should withdraw from the UN, stop paying all dues to what’s become an Islamofascist/Communist criminal organization, and expel them from American shores permanently.

http://mjfellright.wordpress.com/2012/05/11/obama-administration-renews-push-to-ratify-law-of-sea-treaty/

Obama’s foreign policy shares fate of North Korea’s rocket launch

capt_photo_1246899797111-1-0-300x200

On Thursday, North Korea’s launch of its Unha-3 rocket – purported to have an orbital satellite as a payload – broke apart shortly after launch and fell into the ocean – along with the current administration’s foreign policy approach.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had said on Thursday that a launch by North Korea would violate the agreement made between the United States and North Korea. The earlier agreement had promised food and medical supplies for the starving masses as long as several conditions were met – one of which was a missile testing moratorium.

In another sternly-worded statement, Clinton said:

If Pyongyang goes forward, we will all be back in the Security Council to take further action.  And it is regrettable because, as you know, we had worked through an agreement that would have benefited the North Korean people with the provision of food aid. But in the current atmosphere, we would not be able to go forward with that, and other actions that other countries had been considering would also be on hold.

The United Nations is the sole remedy from the Obama administration. As proved by North Korea’s actions, Iran’s continued defiance of U.N. mandates and the ongoing violence in Syria, it is a failed approach that relies on a defunct, but expensive, organization.

Obama has also recently expressed his willingness to sell-out American defense interests as he told Russian president Dmitry Medvedev that Obama would have much more flexibility on missile defense once he gets re-elected. There had also been confusion over just what the Obama administration had negotiated away last January in the START treaty with Russia. While Russia said that the treaty prevented America from deploying missile defenses, American counter-parts disagreed.

President Obama’s speak softly and carry nothing policy will likely lead to both Iran and North Korea having an inter-continental ballistic missile capability and the United States having no missile defenses to protect herself. This is not simply a failure in foreign policy, but now in national defense.

2 Wrongs Don’t Make a Right

The rush to quell fears that the president’s latest executive order is a vast overreach of authority seems to have grabbed hold of both left and right pundits by the teeth. Clamoring in desperation to sound “reasonable” and “fair” their justification for the president’s move sounds a lot like, “well it’s always been done this way so it must be okay.”

To fully understand the National Defense Resources Preparedness Executive Order signed by President Obama late Friday afternoon, we must first examine its origin.

The first Defense Production Act was signed in 1950 by President Harry S. Truman, a Democrat with ties to the communist Soviet Union and oft accused of corruption and harboring Soviet spies within his administration. The purpose of the act created at the start of the Korean War was to:

“ensure the availability of the nation’s industrial resources to meet the national security needs of the United States by granting the President powers to ensure the supply and timely delivery of products, materials, and services to military and civilian agencies.
The DPA codifies a robust legal authority given the President to force industry to give priority to national security production and is the statutory underpinning of governmental review of foreign investment in U.S. companies”

Truman, believing in a Wilsonian progressivism, would later attempt to nationalize several industries. Accusations aside, Truman had a history of promoting a socialist-leaning ideology which was evident in many decisions he made from the Oval Office.

Truman:

Called himself a “Wilsonian Internationalist” and supported the United Nations

Advocated the Marshall Plan – whereby the United States establishes and pays for the reconstruction of Europe after World War II; gave the United States partial control over the economies of foreign nations

Created & implemented the Truman Doctrine, policy of “containment” – to provide monetary and/or military assistance to any democratic nation threatened by totalitarianism; essentially created interventionist foreign policy for the United States

Made a strong push for Nationalized Health Insurance

Lead the repeal of the Taft-Hartley Act which ultimately expanded the National Labor Relations Board

Led UN forces against North Korea just after naming then retired General George Marshall (of the Marshall Plan) as his Secretary of Defense

In 1952, just 2 years after signing the Defense Production Act, Truman attempted to nationalize several US Steel Mills. As part of his argument in favor of the controversial move, Truman cited the DPA of 1950. The Supreme Court ruled the president’s attempts unconstitutional.

Knowing the political philosophy and background of Harry Truman, arguably one of the most corrupt and potentially socialist presidents in US history, puts a slightly different spin on the “reasonable” and “fair” arguments in defense of President Obama’s updated version of the act.

Enter the new Executive Order.

The most notable change is the inclusion of the term “in peacetime” whereas the original and its subsequent reauthorizations were for emergency preparedness only.

Just as the original act gave sweeping authority to the president to control civilian business, energy production and distribution, food and other resources, the Executive Order signed by President Obama expands on that authority to unprecedented levels. The order grants the individual cabinet secretaries massive amounts of executive power and the authority to delegate its responsibilities to other agencies.

So while political pundits attempt to appear “reasonable” and “fair” to the president for his latest powergrab because “lots of presidents have done this kind of thing before,” I will ask, “if your friends jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?” Just because one president institutes bad policy doesn’t make it relevant or helpful today.

In other words, 2 wrongs don’t make a right.

Entitlements, not military spending is the reason behind our enormous debt!

Contrary to popular opinion, the enormous national debt crisis we find ourselves in is not due to an escalation in military spending, but is a direct result in the steady increase in entitlement spending. The disagreement over the cause of the debt exists not only between the Democrats and Republicans, but it also creates a painful and unnecessary rift between conservatives and our libertarian friends.

The Heritage Foundation has research that shows that this problem isn’t even just a factor of the last administration, but in fact entitlement spending has been increasing steadily as a percentage of GDP while at the same time defense spending has gone down since 1965 despite the fact that the United States has been involved in three wars. (This author includes the support of the conflict in Libya.)  In fact, defense spending spiked shortly after the start of the Viet Nam war and has been steadily going down, while entitlements have ballooned out of control.

The President’s budget for 2012 and beyond further cuts the military budget to a dangerously low 3.4% of GDP, making many nervous about the ability of the US military to defend the nation against threats around the world.

The author of this report notes that the high point coming after 1965 is not even the high overall. The highest ratio of military spending to GDP came after World War II at the beginning of the Cold War when spending on defense was 25 percent!

It should be noted that when Ronald Reagan came into office in the 1980s, he licked the Soviets without firing a shot, increasing defense spending to 6.2 percent, which is above the 45-year average of 5.2 percent. Reagan showed proof positive that the enemies of America will back down if you show them a shiny sword, rattling it in front of their faces. He did this without any major deployments and without any major loss of life, effectively winning the Cold War and breaking the back of the Soviet Union.

Following Reagan, defense spending went drastically down, allowing extremists around the world to believe, in my opinion, that the United States is an inviting target. Notice that defense spending it at its lowest just before the attacks on 9/11.

Heritage Foundation author Baker Spring has the nut graph of the story brilliantly illustrating the point I’m trying to make in his report dated from April of 2011, quoting Defense Secretary Bob Gates:

“Defense is not like other discretionary spending. This is something we’ve got to do and that we have a responsibility to do. And so the two shouldn’t be equated. They have not been equated in the past. I mean, that’s why they call it non-defense discretionary spending and so on.

…I got it that we’ve got a $1.6 trillion deficit. But defense is not a significant part of that problem. If you took a 10 percent cut in defense, which would be catastrophic in terms of capabilities, that would be $50 billion on a $1.6 trillion deficit.”

See the report in its entirety at http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2011/04/the-fy-2012-defense-budget-proposal-looking-for-cuts-in-all-the-wrong-places?utm_source=Chartbook&utm_medium=researchpaper&utm_campaign=budgetchartbook

Pay special attention, if you will, to Mr. Spring’s conclusion. He is much more eloquent than I.

In the final analysis, decreases in military funding would do very little to decreasing the overall debt we’ve accumulated. The answer is that the president and congress has to sharply decrease spending to keep pace with the revenue it takes in. To do that, they have to take aim at the biggest target, discretionary and entitlement spending.

Conservatives and Libertarians are often butting heads over different points of view on this issue, which is why I bring it up. Here is a short clip from the debates that illustrates differences between libertarian and conservative points of view.

 Notice the discussion that takes place between minute 1:27and 6:15.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfcvzhGu0WA

 

Rep. Ron Paul: Sanctions on Iran are "an act of war"

Rep. Ron Paul doesn’t get much time at the game show-style Republican debates to explain his policy views. Most of the questions he’s gotten center on his domestic policy which line up with a large portion of the Conservative base.

On Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace took a few minutes to have Rep. Paul tell voters how he would shape American foreign policy – specifically on Iran.

Keep listening past the Iran segment and you’ll also get to hear his thoughts on a third party candidacy.

Julian Assange is Even More Dangerous Than You Have Heard

Wikileaks founder Julian AssangeWikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange is an obvious security threat to the United States and its allies.  The media is reporting on all the leaked documents on the Iraq/Afgahnistan wars and more recently, the State Department’s diplomatic cables.  What we’re not hearing is the more grave threat Assange represents if he falls into enemy hands.

So far, the leaked documents are only a small portion of what Assange holds.  The leaks have also been redacted to remove identifying information.  Assange holds access to the remainder of those stolen State secrets and his versions do not hide the identifying information.  What happens if Iran, China, North Korea or other enemies of the United States manage to actually get their hands on Julian Assange?  There won’t be any trial, they won’t ask politely, they won’t worry about international implications for torturing him – they will get access to all of the information he holds.

Those documents are now in the control of one person with no checks on that person whatsoever.  If he succeeds in defending himself against the sex crimes charges with which he is faced, he goes free.  Free for less-benevolent nations to pursue.

The only solution is for Assange to prove the destruction of all of the documents he holds to the satisfaction of the owner, the United States of America.  By his own admission, he is in possession of stolen U.S. government property.  That, in itself, is a crime.  Then giving that property to the New York Times so that they may profit from it is another, for which the Times should be tried.  They sold more newspapers because of the leaks and therefor profited from the sale of stolen property.  Why has the U.S. Department of Justice not put the Times on notice?

Now a band of hackers under WikiLeaks umbrella have attacked Mastercard in retaliation for the cut-off of funding to Assange.  This is directly related to Julian’s blackmail threat that anyone that got in his way would pay a price.  Certainly, there are a few crimes in those words and actions as well.

WikiLeaks must be stopped.  This is a matter of National security.  The Obama administration must make it too risky for major media outlets to release WikiLeaks documents.  Make a case against the Guardian, New York Times and others that chose to profit from the sale of stolen U.S. property and hunt down the Mastercard hackers.