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Obama’s defense policy riles the establishment

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Military spending by the United States accounts for over half of global military spending and will remain so after the very modest cuts Obama proposes. But that still isn't enough for the Washington establishment. The WaPost response:

To be sure, if hard budget choices must be made, it is probably wiser to reduce troop levels than to curtail investments in new planes and ships or in new weapons technology. But this raises the question of whether the scale of the defense cuts the president is considering is appropriate. According to Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, under Mr. Obama’s plan “ you have over the next four years a reduction in total defense spending as rapid as any we experienced after Vietnam or after the Cold War.” Both those drawdowns are now almost universally regarded as having been unsustainable and shortsighted.
The Post claim is simply not true.  The US defeated the Taliban in Afghanistan in a few months. the only reason that Al Qaeda was not eliminated back in 2002 is that The Bush Administration simply did not want to. Their priority was to use the threat of Al Qaeda as a pretext to start a war with Iraq. The whole point of the Iraq war was to demonstrate US hegemony, that the US was a hyperpower capable of destroying any foe at will.

The claim that the post Vietnam drawdown was a mistake is even more bizarre. The Warsaw Pact collapsed in 1989 and the Soviet Union collapsed a few years later without the US firing a shot. If the US wanted to claim credit for bringing down the Soviet Union they would have to show that Carter had somehow tricked the Soviets into invading Afghanistan in 1979.

One of the chief cheerleaders of the deficit scolds, the WaPost is worried that the administration might not give in to the result of the deficit ceiling blackmail they enabled:
Moreover, another $500 billion in across-the-board “sequestration” cuts will take effect in 2013 unless Congress repeals them. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and the Joint Chiefs have said that such a fiscal hit would be a catastrophe for U.S. defense. But Mr. Obama did not speak against it Thursday. In fact, he has vowed to veto any bill that is limited to repealing the Pentagon sequestration. He seems to be trying to bluff Republicans into accepting other spending reductions or tax increases. But for the commander in chief to toy with measures that would materially damage U.S. national security hardly seems responsible.
Got that? All the blame for the consequences of any cuts would lie with Obama for refusing to gut your pension to pay for more wars. No blame would be on the GOP which engineered the debt ceiling crisis demanding $1.2T cuts in spending. Quite likely the WaPost suspects as I do that the administration would be much less upset at being forced to make the additional cuts than they claim and that they maneuvered a rather dim GOP caucus into this position. But even so, the GOP can end the threat to the military budget by simply agreeing to raise taxes to pay for the spending they demand.

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