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Sequester Gives Obama Excuse To Cut DOD More

From the New York Times:

Cuts Give Obama Path to Create Leaner Military

By DAVID E. SANGER and THOM SHANKER | March 10, 2013

WASHINGTON — At a time when $46 billion in mandatory budget cuts are causing anxiety at the Pentagon, administration officials see one potential benefit: there may be an opening to argue for deep reductions in programs long in President Obama’s sights, and long resisted by Congress.

Gee, Obama had never thought of that before.

(By the way, we are constantly told that the sequester cuts defense and domestic programs equally. But we are never told that defense being less than 19% of the budget is therefore being cuts far more than the domestic side. In fact, it is being cut twice as much as the domestic side.)

On the list are not only base closings but also an additional reduction in deployed nuclear weapons and stockpiles and a restructuring of the military medical insurance program that costs more than America spends on all of its diplomacy and foreign aid around the world. Also being considered is yet another scaling back in next-generation warplanes, starting with the F-35, the most expensive weapons program in United States history.

All of which have been on Obama’s ‘kill list’ before he was even elected.

None of those programs would go away. But inside the Pentagon, even some senior officers are saying that the reductions, if done smartly, could easily exceed those mandated by sequestration, as the cuts are called, and leave room for the areas where the administration believes more money will be required.

In other words, Obama can decide what and where to make cuts in military spending. So why can’t he do that on the domestic side, as well?

These include building drones, developing offensive and defensive cyberweapons and focusing on Special Operations forces…

None of which requires much "more money" at all. So where are the savings from cutting these other programs being applied?

When Mr. Obama took office four years ago, with the Iraq and Afghanistan wars raging, deep cuts in the defense budget seemed unthinkable. He forced the Pentagon to cut nearly $50 billion a year, which was regarded by many as huge…

If $44 billion dollars in ‘cuts’ to the total budget represents the end of the world, how can a cut of $50 billion to less than one fifth of the budget not be seen as huge?

But today, deficit hawks outnumber defense hawks on Capitol Hill, and the possibility of $100 billion or more in additional annual cuts does not seem outrageous — if only agreement were possible on which programs should shrink fastest…

Once again, when it comes to cutting military spending, the New York Times just can’t cut enough.

You see, military spending doesn’t affect jobs or the economy.

Last week, a group of five former deputy defense secretaries — essentially the Pentagon’s chief operating officers — called for a “bottom up” review that reassesses the need for each major program and weapons system, saying this was an opportunity to accomplish cuts that have long been delayed, after a decade in which the American national security budget has nearly doubled…

Why can’t we have a "bottom up" review of domestic spending?

In their more candid moments — almost always when speaking with a guarantee of anonymity — the Pentagon’s top civilian and military leaders acknowledge that the painful sequestration process may ultimately prove beneficial if it forces the Defense Department and Congress to reconsider the cost of cold-war-era systems that are still in inventory despite the many changes made to the military in the last 10 years…

That’s right. Secretly the top leaders at the Pentagon can’t wait to slash their budget to the bone. They are secretly grateful to Obama’s leadership here.

Mr. Obama took a step in that direction in 2011, when he rejected a Pentagon request for a permanent standing force of 100,000 or so troops for future “contingency operations” like those in Iraq and Afghanistan. “That’s not the way we are going to go,” he told his staff after the request was received.

The message quickly got back to the Pentagon that Mr. Obama had no interest in repeating the kind of lengthy interventions that have consumed more than $3 trillion since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001…

Mr. Obama has declared that we will never have to fight another war. Peace at last.

But the Pentagon’s subsequent agreement to cut $500 billion in planned spending over a decade turns out to have been just a start, and military officials are now abandoning the phrase that they will have to “do more with less” and starting to assess what it would mean to just do less…

Yippee! When has disarmament ever hurt our nation before? Except every time it has ever been tried. (Cf. the 1920s and 1930s.)

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, March 12th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

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