We must change course on defense cuts

On January 5, President Obama showed great political chutzpah by boasting in Orwellian style that his defense cuts are “a new way forward.” Only in Washington is weakened national security “a new way forward.”

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The House Armed Services Committee estimates emphasize the impact of Obama’s defense cuts. At a minimum, America loses 143,000 Army soldiers, 57,000 Marines, 50 Navy ships (including a carrier battle group), 500 jet fighters, and 25 percent of all DoD civilian support personnel.  

Obama’s Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, dispels all doubts about the crippling impact of Obama’s policies. In a November 14, 2011 letter to Senator John McCain, Panetta described Obama’s defense cuts thusly:

“The impacts of these cuts would be devastating for the Department [of Defense].

“These changes would break faith with those who maintain our military and seriously damage readiness.

“[A]fter ten years of these cuts, we would have the smallest ground force since 1940, the smallest number of ships since 1915, and the smallest Air Force in its history.”

“Unfortunately, while large cuts are being imposed, the threats to national security would not be reduced. As a result, we would have to formulate a new security strategy that accepted substantial risk of not meeting our defense needs.”

Rather than heeding Leon Panetta’s wisdom, President Obama recklessly insists that he “will veto any effort to get rid of those automatic spending cuts.”

With this stunning statement, President Obama boldly confesses his willingness to put election year politics above his duty as Commander-in-Chief to assure America’s national security. President Obama’s statement reveals either a stunning ignorance of, or a reckless disregard for, history.

North Korea, China, Iran, terrorists, and numerous other nations and entities’ adventurist tendencies are held in check, in part, by America’s military prowess.  President Obama weakens America’s military, compels America into a global retreat, emboldens our foes, and thereby increases the risk of wars that can kill millions and destroy nations.

President Obama’s massive spending cuts are dangerous. They reflect the president’s short-sightedness and inability to adequately serve America as a strong Commander-in-Chief.  

It is one thing for President Obama to experiment with socialist policies that suppress America’s economy, undermine job creation, and create deficits that risk an American insolvency and bankruptcy. It is another thing for President Obama to demand disproportionate defense cuts that increase the risk of war and the loss of millions of American lives.

President Obama aspires to be remembered as a man who changed America. If his policies stand, he may very well be remembered as the president who crippled America economically and militarily and, worse yet, as the Neville Chamberlain of the 21st century.

Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe, of the Senate Standing Committee on Armed Services, calls Obama’s defense strategy a “recipe for disaster.” House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon describes it as "a lead from behind strategy for a left-behind America [that is] our retreat from the world [and] ensures America[’s] decline.”
 
America and Congress must change course before it is too late.

Rep. Brooks (R-Ala.) is a member of the House Armed Services committee.