By Justin Sink - 02/25/14 10:29 AM EST
Former Vice President Cheney blasted President Obama's proposed Pentagon budget on Monday, accusing Obama of doing "long-term damage to our military" to boost welfare programs.
The former vice president said the president “would rather spend the money on food stamps than he would on a strong military or support for our troops.”
On Monday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel unveiled a military budget that would shrink the number of active-duty Army service members from a wartime peak of 570,000. The Pentagon had already proposed reducing troop levels to 490,000, and Hagel proposed cutting that number to as little as 440,000.
The Pentagon also proposed retiring the U2 program, eliminating the Air Force's A-10 "Warthog" jets, and cutting healthcare deductibles and housing benefits.
Cheney said the cuts could hurt military readiness at a time of global unrest.
“That would lead me to think I need the strength of military capabilities, not cut it,” he said.
He also accused Obama of looking to intentionally disable the Pentagon's abilities.
“He said when he went to Cairo in that famous apology tour back in ’09 he ... apologized for our overreaction to the events of 9/11,” he said, “and today he is fixing it in a way, in a fact where it will be almost impossible for future presidents to deal with that kind of situation.”
White House press secretary Jay Carney said on Tuesday that the Pentagon proposal was "responsible, it’s realistic, and it supports the president’s defense strategy."
"We appreciate the thoughtful approach they’ve taken that will reposition the military after the longest conflict in our nation’s history, focusing on the strategic challenges and opportunities ahead," Carney said.