In an ironic counterpoint to the extra-Constitutional power grab he used to get an unlimited new bureaucracy up and running, President Obama popped into the Pentagon on Thursday to announce massive military cuts – grabbing some new cash for social spending by cutting back on one of the few duties Washington is actually supposed to perform. This will effectively spell the end of the traditional U.S. military doctrine that our armed forces must be able to fight two enemies at once, which is okay, because that has never ever happened before, and anyway the world is nice and peaceful now.
At least we can be confident that America’s potential enemies don’t factor the size of our military into their strategic calculations when they contemplate aggression. Besides, if we need more troops, we can just hire them real quick, toss them some rifles, and load them into planes. War is easy nowadays.
Another benefit of these troop reductions is that Obama will have fewer military paychecks to worry about, the next time he wants to use them as poker chips during a government shutdown battle. That really did some damage to the Democrats last time. Also, during the presidential campaign, Obama declared that America must have “a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, and just as well-funded” as the military. This will obviously be much easier, now that the military is smaller and less well-funded.
The BBC relays President Obama’s assurances that these cuts won’t hurt military readiness a bit:
In a rare appearance at the Pentagon, he unveiled a far-reaching defence review under which thousands of troops are expected to be axed.
He said the tide of war was receding, and the US needed to renew its economic strength.
The Pentagon faces more than $450bn (£288bn) in cuts over the next decade.
“So yes, our military will be leaner,” Mr Obama told reporters on Thursday, “but the world must know – the United States is going to maintain our military superiority with armed forces that are agile, flexible and ready for the full range of contingencies and threats.”
(Emphasis mine.) It’s funny how liberals think the military is the one and only sector of the U.S. government that should get “leaner” and more “flexible” or “agile.” Is there a single other endeavor of the government that Obama thinks could be improved by having fewer federal employees? Doesn’t the urgency of eliminating men and women in uniform to hit that $450 billion target say something about the high cost of labor that liberals are usually uncomfortable discussing?
Reuters thinks the cuts could run into tens of thousands of troops:
The strategy document released on Thursday addressed U.S. interests in broad brush-strokes but did not get into specifics about how many troops would be reduced or deal with specific budgetary issues.
But administration officials speaking before the roll-out of the strategy on Thursday said Army and Marine Corps personnel numbers would be cut by 10 percent to 15 percent in the next decade, a figure that translates into tens of thousands of troops.
Every war is fought with yesterday’s army. Forces do not appear out of thin air in response to a threat – not even if we were to re-institute the draft. Training members of the most highly skilled professional military the world has ever seen, for combat duty under the most restrictive rules of engagement ever imposed, is not a rush job. It’s funny how nanny-state bureaucrats who babble endlessly about government using taxpayer money for “investments” never seem to understand the investment of money and time required for defense… particularly a defense strategy oriented toward preventing wars, through the projection of strength.
This is not to say the military can never be cut, or carefully combed for wasteful spending. What’s happening here is reckless and short-sighted. At a minimum, we should expect to see some of the bloated bureaucracy, which Obama has spent years building with insane deficit spending, exhibit some lean, mean, flexible agility before we require the Pentagon to lose a few pounds in the name of fiscal restraint. It would be nice to have a President who can talk about fiscal restraint at all, without provoking gales of hysterical laughter.