“This (Defense Plan) is a lead-from-behind strategy for a left-behind America. The President has packaged our retreat from the world in the guise of a new strategy to mask his divestment of our military and national defense. This strategy insures American decline in exchange for more failed domestic programs.”
Republican Representative Buck McKeon (CA.)
Chairman, House Armed Services Committee
Such was the Republican response to the President’s plan for a smaller, cheaper and more efficient military.
The President, unlike his detractors, understood that the country, plagued by a lagging economy, increasing debt and a war weary electorate, no longer had the money or the stomach for the unbridled expansion of our military capabilities. The President also understood that Iraq and Afghanistan signaled the end to massive land assaults carried out by hundreds of thousands a boots on the ground. Future wars may need to be waged but they will be carried out by drones in the air and Special Forces and Black Ops on the ground.
In formulating this strategy the President listened to the oft repeated advice of his Republican foes: “listen to the generals.”
“It is a sound strategy. It assures that we remain the pre-eminent military power in the world. It preserves the talent of the all-volunteer force. It takes into account the last 10 years of war. Our strategy has always been about our ability to respond to global contingencies whenever they happen. This does not change…wherever we are confronted and in whatever sequence, we will win. ”
General Martin Dempsey
Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
The United States maintains the largest most expansive military force in the world. Our military capabilities exceed those of our nearest competitor by tenfold. Our military superiority will continue under the President’s plan. What will change, as recommended by the generals, is the manner in which we defend ourselves.
Republicans talk about fiscal responsibility. They demand that we reduce the size of government and cut government spending. But if you talk about cutting the military they sing a whole different tune. It’s ok to cut entitlements, welfare benefits, unemployment benefits, aid to the needy and other social programs on which hundreds of millions of poor and middle class people depend. If you cut those programs you are fiscally responsible. But if you try to cut the military you are unpatriotic and hate America
One could say that Representative McKeon and his Republican colleagues are out of touch with reality. One might describe them as residing in a windowless room from which they view the world through a crack induced haze. But that would excuse their reckless and irresponsible behavior.