Harry Reid links Marine deaths to sequestration

Think the desperate Democrats trying to punish America for daring to inflict a two-percent reduction upon their spending plans couldn’t sink any lower?  Think again.

On Monday, a 60mm mortar exploded during live-fire training at Hawthorne Army Depot in Nevada, killing seven Marines and wounding several others.  Fox News reports the Corps is investigating the cause of the explosion:

The Marines immediately issued an indefinite moratorium on firing of all such mortars worldwide until an investigation clears as safe the type of weapon and ammunition in the tragedy. The moratorium could last for weeks or months.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity said it was not immediately clear whether the mortar exploded prematurely inside its firing tube or whether more than a single round exploded. The official was not authorized to speak about the accident.

The cause of the incident remains under investigation. The investigation will focus on whether the Marines followed procedures to properly fire the weapon, whether there was a malfunction in the firing device or in the explosive mortar itself, the official said.

Ah, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid already knows the true culprit: sequestration.  Courtesy of RealClearPolitics, here’s what he said on the Senate floor Tuesday morning:

HARRY REID: As I indicated, it was quite a big explosion. We’ll follow this news very closely. I will do whatever I can going forward to support the United States military and the families of the fallen Marines.

Mr. President, it’s very important we continue training our military, so important. But one of the things in sequester is we cut back in training and maintenance. That’s the way sequester was written. Now, the bill that’s on the floor, we hope to pass today helps that a little bit. At least in the next six months, it allows the military some degree of ability to move things around a little bit. Flexibility, we call it, and that’s good. But we have to be very vigilant. This sequester should go away. We have cut already huge amounts of money in deficit reduction. It’s just not appropriate, Mr. President, that our military can’t train and do the maintenance necessary.

These men and women, our Marines were training there in Hawthorne. And with this sequester, it’s going to cut back this stuff. I just hope everyone understands the sacrifices made by our military. They are significant, being away from home, away from families, away from their country.

The most charitable way to read this is that Reid’s using the Marine corpses as political props to bleat for higher taxes and more spending, by claiming that sequestration will lead to substandard training and more such incidents.  The uncharitable reading has him insinuating that sequestration directly caused this tragic accident, which would make him a gibbering lunatic, instead of just a greedy bottom-feeding political hack.

The Marine Corps is not happy, according to NBC News reporter Jim Miklaszewski (once again by way of RealClearPolitics):

Now I can tell you, Marine Corps officials this afternoon are taking a strong exception to what Harry Reid implied. Saying that this this exercise, for example, was planned well in advance, had nothing to do with the budget cuts. There were no corners cut, and if they couldn’t afford to have all the safety precautions into place, they wouldn’t do the exercise.

And in fact, one Marine Corps official told us a short time ago that he considers this nothing but pure political posturing on the backs of these dead Marines.

Are Nevada voters content to allow their honor to be soiled through continued representation by Harry Reid?  They were apparently cool with him inventing imaginary friends to slander Mitt Romney as a tax cheat, but has he finally crossed a line?

Incidentally, you may be comforted to know that even as creatures like Reid threaten Marine training, and tuition assistance for members of the military, Uncle Sam is still sending $37 million in foreign aid to our frenemies in Pakistan, including $12.7 million for education welfare.  At least their guys will have good training.  Oh, and a good $2 billion of unspent Obama “stimulus” money remains comfortably parked in slush fund accounts, where it has been for almost four years, blissfully untouched by sequestration.  Clearly it’s more important to keep 20 billion dimes stuffed in the piggy banks of our titanic federal agencies than to provide training and benefits to our troops.