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Obama Calls for Draconian Defense Cuts   January 30th, 2009
President Obama is reportedly calling for largest defense cut since the end of WWII       

 
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I have to admit that I didn't see this coming. I have to wonder if it's a joke or erroneous.

It's being reported that President Obama is calling for the largest defense cuts since shortly after the end of World War II (1947-1948). According to reports, Obama is calling for defense cuts of 10%--about $55 billion.


In comparison, President Clinton's total cut resulting from the "peace dividend" at the end of the Cold War and during a post-Persian Gulf War draw-down was a total reduction of $16 billion (6%) from FY1994 to FY1996.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/01/30/defense-official-obama-calling-defense-budget-cuts

The Obama administration has asked the military's Joint Chiefs of Staff to cut the Pentagon's budget request for the fiscal year 2010 by more than 10 percent -- about $55 billion -- a senior U.S. defense official tells FOX News.


So President Obama, during wartime, is calling for defense cuts nearly twice as large as President Clinton achieved during a time of peace. We're involved in two wars--one of which Obama has indicated he wants to expand--and he's proposing the largest cut in defense spending in over 60 years?

I fail to understand how that works... Is he planning on reducing the number of our active forces--during wartime--and sending those troops into the workforce, further saturating an economy already suffering unemployment? Or is he planning on cutting high-paying defense jobs so he can use the savings for a stimulus package that will generate a lot of lower-paying construction jobs? Or is he planning on short-changing the safety of our troops with inadequate equipment? I'm not trying to be inflammatory here, but those are the three options I see. And none of them make sense.

I have to wonder if this is a Friday evening trial balloon to see how it plays and then, Monday, the real proposal is released with far smaller cuts... the idea being that those cuts will be accepted because they're smaller than the Draconian cuts originally proposed. Or perhaps this is just a tactic: "Give me a bipartisan vote on the stimulus or I decimate military spending." Could he be using the military as nothing more than a poker chip in a political game to get bipartisan support for the stimulus package? Or is this a complete red herring to get conservatives worked up and over-reacting to something that's not real? Or is a "defense official" dropping this story as a red herring to force Obama to promise not to cut?

Perhaps the red herring story or erroneous reporting is the explanation because, at this time, it's been three hours since FoxNews reported the story (FoxNews posted it at 8:49pm Mountain Time) and so far I haven't seen it reported anywhere else. And, if true, this is a major story. So its absence from other news sources is curious. And even on FoxNews this story is buried way down, far from the headline news it should be.

I'm just trying to look for some explanation other than the possibility this is real, because President Obama has told us we shouldn't worry about the deficit. So what possible motive is there to cut back defense spending now? It's not like the $55 billion savings will come even remotely close to balancing a budget that's going to be more than a trillion dollars in deficit.

And if the report is true then I guess we can also throw out the pre-election reassurances about defense spending under an Obama administration:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122299129356900513.html

A top national-security adviser to Barack Obama said he expects military spending during a Democratic administration wouldn't drop, a key concern for a defense industry that is accustomed to growing Pentagon budgets and anxious about potential cutbacks.

Richard Danzig, a U.S. Navy secretary during the Clinton administration and a leading contender to be the secretary of Defense in an Obama administration, said he doesn't "see defense spending declining in the first years of an Obama administration. There are a set of demands there that are very severe, very important to our national well-being." U.S. defense spending has risen at a steady clip throughout the Bush administration.


I'm really completely blown away by this. I'm hoping it's an error in reporting. Otherwise, game over. There can be no bipartisan support for a commander-in-chief that is naively gutting the military during a time of war and putting more people out of work (soldiers or defense contractors) during a recession.

UPDATE 1/31/2009: The next day I stumbled upon an article indicating that Obama is not planning on following through with his campaign position that Afghanistan needs to be the focus of our military efforts. Instead, it appears he is considering largely abandoning Afghanistan, too.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/01/31/obama-unlikely-widen-afghan-war

President Barack Obama campaigned on a promise to redirect U.S. troops and resources to Afghanistan from Iraq, but he has done little so far to suggest he will significantly widen the grinding war with insurgents in Afghanistan...

"There's not simply a military solution to that problem," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said last week, and Obama believes "that only through long-term and sustainable development can we ever hope to turn around what's going on there."


So it appears that rather than focusing on success in Afghanistan, the belief now is that we can't win so we shouldn't even try--much like some people said that success in Iraq wasn't possible and that we should forfeit and withdrawal. Now those people are in power.

So it appears we will simultaneously be giving up in Afghanistan while adding a bunch of unemployed soldiers to the economy during a recession. Good plan.

Update 2/3/2009: It's been 4 days and there hasn't been any more mention of this at FoxNews or anywhere else. Strange. I don't know what to make of this.

Update 2/19/2009: I found an article that seems to explain the reality. It seems like a reasonable explanation... and if it's true then I was indeed deceived by the reporting. Granted, the "report" I read was only about one paragraph at the time so there wasn't much context or much to go on... but it would seem that this report was inaccurate at best and deceptive at worst. Sorry.

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