President Obama formally announced the beginnings of what's been in the works for some time - the hollowing out of the US military so that he can have more money to spend on his domestic agenda and rewarding his political allies.
It will also play well with his base, whom, like this president, mostly have little understanding or use for our military and what it does.After accumulating trillions in debt, he will thus - wait for it - campaign as a fiscal hawk who reduced spending and brought our troops home!
With the able assistance of SecDef Leon Panetta, a political hack who knows absolutely nothing about national security, the president's plan is basically this:
Instead, we're going to rely on drones. A brief look at how long it took NATO forces to overcome Khaddaffi's forces using air power and a glance at how successful relying primarily on drone warfare would have been in say, the Gulf War or against any power with a significant air force ought to tell you what a smart move this is. Boots on the ground equals control.
Since the president also remains adamant about domestic oil drilling and coal use in America, you may draw your own conclusions about how wise this is. Especially in light of recent Iranian actions concerning the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf.
By the way,contrary to popular rumor, the US is not going to 'deploy' troops in Israel. They're going to be stationed there briefly for a coordinated missile defense exercise and then leave. The Israelis are going to be left bracketed by Hezbollah, Syria and Hamas, with the 'Palestinian' Authority and Muslim Brotherhood-ruled Egypt right next door and a nuclear Iran just over the horizon.
The sole firewall we're keeping up is in the Western Pacific, where we continue to maintain military bases and have stationed ground troops in Darwin, Australia.
While this isn't a bad idea by itself, it relies on our blue water naval superiority in the region. Thanks to the cuts president Obama and Secdef Panetta have in mind, we won't be able to maintain that superiority, as our navy is going to be at its lowest level in ships since 1915.
The total cuts involved amount to almost a trillion dollars - $480 billion over the next decade and a whopping $500 billion now thanks to the inane bargain Congress made with the president in case the super committee failed. This does not take in account other cuts hidden elsewhere in the budget via unfunded joint weapons projects and to our CIA and other parts of our national security apparatus,some of which is in Homeland Security's budget. That amounts to close to another $300 million, according to several sources.
I can't do better than to quote my own Congressman Buck McKeon,head of the House Armed Services committee: "“This is a lead-from-behind strategy for a left-behind America.”
It is indeed,and we will pay for it later in blood and treasure.