FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Lafayette, Here We Come?!
I will post two recent items from the White House. I let you decide if they reek of total incoherence. The first was written in response to a call for a more rapid removal of US forces from Europe.
After extensive review and broad consultations with allies, President Barack Obama decided to reverse the Bush administration’s decision to withdraw two of the four US combat brigades in Europe and instead decided to retain three, as of 2015. Those brigades will be complemented by new forward deployments of Aegis ships and special operations aircraft, a permanent aviation detachment in Poland, and land-based missile defence systems in Poland and Romania. In the end, with the winding-down of the mission in Afghanistan, there will likely be more US forces in Europe in 2015 than there have been for the past decade.
The second comes from President Obama’s recent campaign polemic on deficit reduction.
Just as we must find more savings in domestic programs, we must do the same in defense. Over the last two years, Secretary Gates has courageously taken on wasteful spending, saving $400 billion in current and future spending. I believe we can do that again.
– Barack Obama (HT: HotAir)
The Pentagon answered the second statement by explaining that they were almost certain that another $400Bn would not be easily forthcoming. This pushback against the President comes after Sec Def Gates was neither informed nor queried regarding the additional $400Bn prior to the Presidential Address. Pentagon Spokesman Geoff Morrell explains where President Obama can find $400Bn in deficit reduction below.
“The secretary has been clear that further significant defense cuts cannot be accomplished without reducing force structure and military capability,” Morrell said.
Of course reducing force structure and capability doesn’t mix terribly well with the militarization of Poland and Romania. When similar arguments were being floated prior to the FY2006 Quadrennial Defense Review, leftist opinion was in 180-degree opposition to what President Barack Obama proposes to do now concerning the future direction of the US military.
In response to an early draft of the 2006 QDR document that called for a bevy of mechanized equipment similar to what President Obama intends to deploy in Poland and Romania, Lorelei Kelly wrote the following in a post entitled “The QDR: Dreaming of the USSR”:
Big sigh…it looks like any forward thinking hopes for the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) are unwarranted. This is the every-four-years defense document that supposedly re-orients the US military to think creatively in the face of new threats. From early press reports, it appears the inspiration for this document is circa 1985–when we just counted the Soviet’s toys and then made more for ourselves. The USSR remains– like a phantom limb that we chase until we collapse– in the QDR. All the Cold War platforms were spared–and will supposedly be paid for by cutting personnel. This, despite the manpower crunch in the military and the need for human intelligence, civil affairs, policy, public health, foreign force training and languages.
Give Ms. Kelly credit. She nails exactly how President Obama can pay for this surge into Romania and Poland. The US Department of Defense saves money in precisely the same way major US industries do. They eliminate personnel.
Meanwhile, nearly two decades after Mr. Gorbachev’s Wall got the sledgehammer, we sound the depressingly familiar refrain of “Lafayette, Here We Come!” We are actually increasing our military investment in Europe two decades after the Warsaw Pact no longer even exists.
I wrote a blog the other day that basically reiterated what Sec Gates told President Obama. You can cut, but you pay your nickel in reduced capabilities. In response, I was accused of being ignorant of the US Constitution for even suggesting such heresy. I was also asked if I was really all that serious about the whole budget problem in an admittedly amusing fashion.
Of course nobody really asks if Barack Obama is serious about the deficit. If they’ve read the most recent PresBud submission, the question isn’t even necessary. Nor do they wonder about his defense policy. If he blithely announces $400Bn in cuts; before even checking with the Sec Def, they don’t have to.
President Obama further seeks to send new flotillas of Aegis Class ships and additional aviation assets to a theatre where no viable enemy currently threatens to make war. He probably hasn’t spent a whole lot of time making the acquaintance of a strategic map. President Obama repeatedly accuses George W. Bush for taking his eye off the ball by invading Iraq, but then starts an utterly meaningless conflict with Libya himself. The man’s policy seems aimed at maximizing the level of blatant hypocrisy that his administration can get away with between now and the next election cycle.
Barack Obama has no policy beyond the generation of the next politically favorable headline. He has no time horizon beyond tomorrow’s publication deadline for the New York Times. Thus, despite our total lack of any compelling reason to militarily reinforce NATO, it’s “Lafayette, here We Come!”. So our President proposes this – at a time when our projected financial trajectory has us owing nearly 2/5 the entire world’s aggregate GDP in national debt ten years hence. No, we don’t have to bother asking whether this man is serious about much beyond his next (redacted) tee-time.