Deep defense cuts still on, DNC platform says

The threat to national defense funding that has dominated discussions in Washington and across the country for months does not even get a mention by name in the 2012 Democratic platform, much less a promise of party action.

As noted in the 2012 Republican Party platform, opposition to the enactment of sequestration, which will automatically dice about $500 billion from defense funding starting in 2013, has been bipartisan in Congress, with top Defense leaders calling the prospect of the cuts “devastating.” In the Democratic platform, released today, the subject merits half-a-paragraph and the cuts are treated as marching orders, with no urgency or mention of stopping them.

“In our current fiscal environment, we must also make tough budgetary decisions across the board — and that includes within the defense budget,” the platform reads. ” … The administration has worked with Congress to make these decisions, which has been a strategy-driven process.”

About three of the 14 pages devoted to defense and foreign policy in the platform recount president Barack Obama’s perceived successes and promises kept, from the drawdown and completion of the war in Iraq to the assassination of Osama bin Laden.

Noticeably absent are mentions of promises that were not kept. Following Obama’s failed efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay prison according to a campaign promise, the facility receives a bare mention in the 2012 platform without a set closure date. Not mentioned at all are Obama promises–never delivered on–to form an international working group to help displaced Iraq refugees or to bring foreign aid to $50 billion annually by 2012.

The platform also avoids advancing any new promises. On Iran, it backs up Obama’s diplomatic approach to countering a nuclear threat without pledging to back up diplomacy with the threat of force; in Russia, Democrats say they plan to continue to work as collaborators on trade and world interests, while venturing that they will “strongly criticize” Russian actions they disagree with.

As a jab in the eye to Republicans, climate change remains on the Democratic platform as a threat to national security this year, just below biological weapons and just above transnational crime syndicates.