Money & The Economy

Sequestration, nuclear disarmament prove that Washington has learned nothing

As the sequestration of the defense budget – coming on top of all defense cuts previously administered or ordered – approaches, and as Obama prepares to unilaterally cut the US nuclear deterrent again, this time down to just 1,000 deployed warheads – leftists (including leftist libertarians) are again telling us that we have nothing to fear, that America will still be strong and secure, that all of America’s potential adversaries are still no match for the US military, and that such cuts will actually make America and the world safer.

But all of their claims are blatant lies, and I will show you why.

History is the teacher of life – historia magistra vitae. And all human history teaches that it is military strength, not weakness and appeasement, that provides peace and security, while military weakness only invites aggression and leads to war, death, destruction, and human suffering. History teaches that disarmament has never made anyone more secure or the world more peaceful – that it has only done the opposite. History teaches that countries which disarmed themselves while their enemies were arming always invited aggression and paid a heavy price.

We saw it happen throughout human history. In the early 1800s, America’s tragic military weakness – the lack of a serious army or a navy that could protect America – invited the British to dream about reconquering America one day, to harrass American ships, to impress (kidnap and induct into Royal Navy service) American seamen, and to support Indian attacks on the US. It also ensured that America would be totally unprepared for the War of 1812, which she declared over these British provocations.

In the 1930s, France’s, Britain’s, and America’s unilateral disarmament and unilateral adherence to failed arms control treaties – which Japan and Nazi Germany were violating and eventually withdrew from – ensured that the West was totally unprepared for renewed German and Japanese aggression, causing the bloodiest, costliest, and most brutal war this planet has ever seen: World War 2.

In the late 1940s, disastrous cuts in the US military orchestrated by President Truman and SECDEF Louis Johnson led to gutting of the US military and its total unpreparedness for the Korean War outbreak. The military was so unprepared that it had to hastily assemble formations such as Task Force Smith.

In the late 1950s, President Eisenhower’s foolish defense cuts ensured that the US would fall significantly behind the Soviet Union in missile development and in the space race. Furthermore, USAF Chief of Staff Gen. Thomas White had to move Heaven and Earth to obtain funding for ICBMs.

In the late 1970s, disastrous defense cuts orchestrated by the Nixon, Ford, and Carter Administrations completely gutted the US military, as anyone who served in the military at the time will attest. Reenlistment rates plummeted, drug usage was widespread, little new equipment was procured, few warships were built, the Navy’s size declined dramatically, and there wasn’t even enough funding to maintain the equipment the military still had. As a result, it had planes that couldn’t fly and ships that couldn’t sail for a lack of spare parts or fuel. Also, the US fielded only one ICBM type in the 1970s – the Minuteman-III, still in service today – while the Soviet Union fielded five. No new bombers were built – the USAF would not get its first post-1962 bomber until 1986.

The result? The Kremlin got the message: it was allowed to attack countries – directly or with proxies – with abandon. And so, the Kremlin took control of the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, supported the Arab aggression against Israel in 1973, supported the Communist aggression against South Vietnam in 1975, and its own army invaded Afghanistan in 1979, cutting the Soviets’ flying time to the Persian Gulf by half.

But American policymakers in both parties, as well as the entire Left (including pro-arms-control and other anti-defense organizations) clearly have learned nothing.

They support sequestration and further unilateral cuts in the US nuclear deterrent. They blatantly lie to us that it won’t harm US security; they even claim it will make America more secure!

But they’re blatantly lying.

Sequestration, if it kicks in, will cause:

–          The Navy to cancel the maintenance on 23 ships (including 2 carriers) and 250 aircraft in FY2013 alone, and eventually deeply cut its (already greatly overstretched) ship fleet, which can currently meet only 59% of Combatant Commanders’ requests for ships and only 61% of their requests for submarines; eliminate up to four carriers; delay the RCOH on at least three carriers (CVN-71 through CVN-73); and to ground the Blue Angels, whose flying shows are watched by 11 mn people every year.

–          The Marines to cancel training for their Hornet pilots and to ground these aircraft, since un- or undertrained pilots cannot be allowed to fly them, and to make deep cuts in equipment procurement.

–          The Army to cancel training for 78% of all their brigades (all except those deploying to Afghanistan and South Korea), and to cancel crucial modernization programs.

–          The Air Force to dramatically cut back the procurement of new equipment (in the service that needs it most, as the vast majority of its aircraft fleet is obsolete and the average age of AF aircraft is 25), including such crucial weapons for the future as the KC-46 tanker, to cut the budget of its Global Strike Command (responsible for nuclear deterrence on the Air Force side) by 20%, and to cut flight training hours by 18%.

–          All services to cancel or dramatically scale back the purchases of new equipment (requiring contract renegotiation, loss of economies of scale, greater costs, and delays) and delay thousands of base repair and renovation projects around the country, from Alaska, to California, to Texas, to Virginia, costing tens of thousands of people in the construction industry (which is on life support) their jobs (11,000 people in California alone).

Overall, the result would be a dramatically reduced, poorly trained, poorly equipped US military possessing rapidly dwindling quantities of old equipment and very little new equipment.

In other words, a completely gutted US military.

All members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have consistently and credibly testified before Congress that sequestration will result in a gutted, hollow military; for JCS Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, it would produce the very definition of a “hollow force.” The Joint Chiefs know very well what they’re talking about – they all began their military careers in the 1970s in a hollow military and they saw the consequences of that era’s disastrous defense cuts first-hand. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno has even said to the Congress: “I began my career in a hollow Army and I’m determined not to end my career in one.” All of them have also testified that, as Sec. Panetta has said, if sequestration proceeds, the new Defense Strategic Guidance of January 2012 would’ve to be thrown out the window, i.e. the nation’s current defense strategy could not be executed and America’s role in the world would have to be dramatically scaled down.

WRT sequestration, there are only three possibilities:

1)      The Joint Chiefs are blatantly lying to scaremonger the public and the Congress;

2)      The Joint Chiefs are ignorant hacks who don’t know what they’re talking about; or

3)      The Joint Chiefs are right to sound the alarm about sequestration.


Which is it, folks?

And we didn’t have to wait much for the consequences of sequestration to emerge. China is becoming ever more aggressive, both in terms of the words of its civilian and military leaders and its actions, such as intruding into Japanese territorial waters and airspace with aircraft and warships. Chinese generals and admirals have publicly claimed that “the US is not strong enough” to help Japan. Russia has violated Japanese airspace with Su-27s and, on February 12th, its Tu-95 nuclear-armed bombers flew from Khabarovsk to Guam, a US territory, and circumnavigated it in a show of strength. Russia and China, as well as other potential adversaries, are increasing their military budgets while the US and most of its allies are cutting theirs. North Korea has tested an ICBM and a nuclear weapon, and, according to Reuters, plans more nuclear and ICBM tests in the near future.

Meanwhile, Obama plans to cut America’s nuclear deterrent further, down to just 1,000 deployed warheads, down from the meagre 1,550 allowed by New START.

If the US cuts its nuclear arsenal further, it will NOT induce Russia and China to cancel the expansion of their already large nuclear arsenals, nor will it discourage rogue states from acquiring nuclear weapons. It will only encourage them to produce more nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them. As former SECDEF Harold Brown has rightly said, “When we build, they build. When we cut, they build.”

As always, defense cuts (which lead to military weakness) are leading to aggression against those who weaken their militaries, and thus to war, death, destruction, and human suffering. You will see this happen when (not if) China attacks Japan or another US ally, or perhaps the US itself – whether over the Senkakus, the Spratlys, Taiwan, or some other pretext. Many people will die, and millions of others will suffer, because of the massive defense cuts that American (and other Western) disarmament advocates have fooled Western nations into and which Western politicians are enacting.

So when China again commits aggression against someone, believing that the US won’t come to the victim’s aid, remember you first read it here.

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