McCain: Pentagon cuts a big mistake

posted at 12:01 pm on February 25, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Yes they are, especially in a world where threats are multiplying, but we seem to be in retreat anyway in most of these areas. We’re leaving Afghanistan, we’ve left Iraq, and we’re not going into Syria. We didn’t even bother to put forces on alert on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11 near Libya, where our aerial intervention created a failed-state paradise for al-Qaeda and other Islamic extremist terrorist networks. Look how well that strategy turned out, but it doesn’t appear that the Obama administration learned any lessons from it, either.

If we’re not going to employ a forward strategy on threats, does it make sense to pay for an army designed for it?

“I believe that when we are sending the signal that we are cutting defense, I think in this very dangerous world that we live in, is a serious mistake,” McCain said in an interview on CNN’s “New Day.”

“There are savings that could be made in defense, but when we’re making cuts this size, it concerns me a great deal especially since we’re increasing domestic spending,” McCain said.

On Monday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel unveiled a 2015 budget that would over five years shrink the Army from 520,000 troops to 440,000 to 450,000 troops. That would reduce the Army to its smallest size since before World War II.

The Pentagon also plans to reduce the size of the Army National Guard, the Army Reserve and the Marine Corps over the next five years.

That’s what led to the food fight between the White House and Republican governors after Barack Obama’s meeting with the National Governors Association. The states need the National Guard for more than just overseas deployments, and the cuts will hurt their ability to respond to natural disasters and other crises:

The GOP leaders were quick to say that the overall discussion was conducted with civility and respect. But they said they were offended by the way Obama handled questions about possible cuts in the National Guard — an issue that is of concern to both Republican and Democratic governors.

“The tone completely changed when we started talking about the National Guard,” Haley said.

The GOP leaders said Obama told them that many of them had asked for spending reductions and were not in a position now to complain when the budget ax hit some programs they especially favored. “It chilled the room quite a bit,” Haley said.

At some point, we need to get serious about defining the mission for the American military. Are we going to continue a forward strategy against terrorism and act as the world’s policeman? If so, then we’d better be prepared to approach those missions realistically and provide the funding to right-size the military to succeed. If we want to scale back military spending, then we need to scale back our mission, too, and perhaps focus primarily on naval strength to project American power — and start demanding more from our NATO allies on ground strength and especially logistical capabilities. Acting only in a cost-driven manner without addressing all of the issues surrounding the mission is the mistake … a huge mistake.


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Senator, when you give Obama a blank check to spend whatever he wants on wealth redistribution what spending will eventually get squeezed out?

Wigglesworth on February 25, 2014 at 12:03 PM

Please shut this assclown up. Go the hell away, Captain Obvious.

Lanceman on February 25, 2014 at 12:04 PM

I thought we had nothing to fear with Barack Obama in the White House, Juan.

ElectricPhase on February 25, 2014 at 12:05 PM

“There are savings that could be made in defense, but when we’re making cuts this size, it concerns me a great deal especially since we’re increasing domestic spending,” McCain said.

…and the Senile Senator…had nothing to do…with that!…NOTHING!

KOOLAID2 on February 25, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Obama has found out that it is much easier to surrender. Besides, how would his Muslim brother be able to set up a new Caliph if America has a prepared military.

Deano1952 on February 25, 2014 at 12:10 PM

Congress might not allow any cuts…big pockets from defense contractors.

obama and his rats are for food-stamps and buying more votes.

The Rs are for this and that…big pockets too.

The land will be scroomed, in many ways, but the thugs don’t care, from both sides.

Schadenfreude on February 25, 2014 at 12:13 PM

“The tone completely changed when we started talking about the National Guard,” Haley said.

The GOP leaders said Obama told them that many of them had asked for spending reductions and were not in a position now to complain when the budget ax hit some programs they especially favored. “It chilled the room quite a bit,” Haley said.

President Stompyfoot throwing a tantrum.

Bitter Clinger on February 25, 2014 at 12:16 PM

Wait until Dianne Feinstein and her Billionaire Defense Contractor husband find out about these proposed cuts.

oldroy on February 25, 2014 at 12:17 PM

I hate John McCain. He is correct on this, but he has thrown away any bargaining power he may have had.

McCain is a defense hawk, but on nearly every other issue he sides with the Democrats and the media. If incumbent Republicans want to fight these reductions, they will need a much better spokesman than McCain.

pilsener on February 25, 2014 at 12:20 PM

<blockquotePresident Stompyfoot throwing a tantrum.

Bitter Clinger on February 25, 2014 at 12:16 PMCan’t blame President Stompyfoot on this one. Republicans do call for unspecified spending cuts, and then vote for more spending. A pox on both their houses.

Fenris on February 25, 2014 at 12:21 PM

Lets cut the military, who needs them anyway. But, let’s increase welfare and entitlements for all those slackers out there who are looking for themselves. I knew Hagel was a nitwit but now I see he is a spineless, butt kissing, nitwit too.

major dad on February 25, 2014 at 12:23 PM

If we want to scale back military spending, then we need to scale back our mission, too, and perhaps focus primarily on naval strength to project American power — and start demanding more from our NATO allies on ground strength and especially logistical capabilities.

We’ve already been told / seen the answer to this. Our President and his foreign policy and national security teams have clearly stated that they believe the troubles and challenges in the world are not the result of nations and non-state entities acting in their own interests, but because of the US and it’s global position and outreach.

Islamic terrorism is no longer a threat – they just are ‘cycles of violence’ that would stop if we stop contributing to those ‘cycles of violence’. In fact, we can’t even call terrorist acts acts of terrorism – it’s now ‘man caused disasters’.

Every dollar spent towards national defense is a dollar that could be used to expand the welfare entitlement state, to buy votes under the premise of enacting social justice, promoting fairness, and ensuring income equality.

Athos on February 25, 2014 at 12:24 PM

Dick Cheney accused President Obama of preferring funding to help poor Americans eat over starting wars. Can you put him on TV every night?— LOLGOP (@LOLGOP) February 25, 2014

Dick Cheney. He kept us safe the way the captain of the Titanic avoided collisions — except for that one time.— LOLGOP (@LOLGOP) February 25, 2014

Might_Is_Right on February 25, 2014 at 12:28 PM

McCain just wants to invade every country on Earth.

I am NOT against downsizing the military to be honest. We also need to downsize DHS and the rest of the Federal forces.

However, Obama is ALSO demanding the downsizing of State National Guards… THAT part is NOT good, and NOT within federal authority as a matter of fact. The National Guard=State Militias. They are STATE military units.

ConstantineXI on February 25, 2014 at 12:30 PM

Any well-run organization develops organizational goals and strategy, then develops the budget to effectively support them, not the other way around. Strategy must preceed budget. So, this suggests that either our federal government is not a well-run organization or they are doing exactly what they have planned to do.

Techster64 on February 25, 2014 at 12:32 PM

I could not disagree with you more Ed.

Our military is absolutely and massively over sized. Our police forces are highly militarized and they are massive as well. We have a war footing with overwhelming military capability both domestic and foreign,yet our foreign policies are broken and our sovereign rights as citizens are being violated daily. We need to see our military, police and government spending cut by more than 75%.

KMC1 on February 25, 2014 at 12:33 PM

Any well-run organization develops organizational goals and strategy, then develops the budget to effectively support them, not the other way around. Strategy must preceed budget. So, this suggests that either our federal government is not a well-run organization or they are doing exactly what they have planned to do.

Techster64 on February 25, 2014 at 12:32 PM

You answered your own question.

The federal government is NOT a well run organization. In fact it’s the most poorly run organization in the whole country.

ConstantineXI on February 25, 2014 at 12:33 PM

Teddy Roosevelt: Speak softly and carry a big stick.

Obama: Speak loudly, and bring a knife to a gunfight, and make ‘em swoon with my words.

Pssst! Mr. President, our enemies haven’t fainted yet!

Steve Z on February 25, 2014 at 12:37 PM

How many tax credits for illegal aliens have been cut? How much has been saved by reducing food stamp fraud among the parasites? Do we really need the Department of Education.

I have no problem with reducing the size of government but all the filthy lazy rat-eared coward has done is propose to gut the military. That isn’t a responsible way of trimming the size of government.

Happy Nomad on February 25, 2014 at 12:37 PM

Our military is absolutely and massively over sized. Our police forces are highly militarized and they are massive as well. We have a war footing with overwhelming military capability both domestic and foreign,yet our foreign policies are broken and our sovereign rights as citizens are being violated daily. We need to see our military, police and government spending cut by more than 75%.

KMC1 on February 25, 2014 at 12:33 PM

I agree.

Time to downsize the Federal police force, the Federal military force and return these things to the States.

IE: most of the military should be State MILITIA (ie: National Guard) not “I, Me, My” soldiers commanded by Obama.

At the local level, the militarization of police needs to STOP. And it can be stopped by throwing out every Mayor and Sheriff who won’t eliminate the SWAT team, sell off the tanks and body armor, and who employ tactics like “no knock” “blow down the door” no-announce raids.

ConstantineXI on February 25, 2014 at 12:38 PM

We need to see our military, police and government spending cut by more than 75%.

KMC1 on February 25, 2014 at 12:33 PM

And, of course, you came up with that number based on some sort of reasonable standard, right?

I get the whiff a hippie. The type of stupid liberal that used to have the bumper sticker talking about fully funded schools while the Air Force has to hold bake sales.

Happy Nomad on February 25, 2014 at 12:39 PM

I knew Hagel was a nitwit but now I see he is a spineless, butt kissing, nitwit too.

major dad on February 25, 2014 at 12:23 PM

He was hired as SecDef to destroy the military and he is right on track.

Happy Nomad on February 25, 2014 at 12:41 PM

“There are savings that could be made in defense, but when we’re making cuts this size, it concerns me a great deal especially since we’re increasing domestic spending,”

And what have you done to that end, John? That’s right. Not a fricking thing. Get lost, you worthless old man.

Hill60 on February 25, 2014 at 12:44 PM

How many tax credits for illegal aliens have been cut? How much has been saved by reducing food stamp fraud among the parasites? Do we really need the Department of Education.

I have no problem with reducing the size of government but all the filthy lazy rat-eared coward has done is propose to gut the military. That isn’t a responsible way of trimming the size of government.

Happy Nomad on February 25, 2014 at 12:37 PM

Not one dime should go to illegals from American Citizens.

And as I said, I think the military is no exception to the fact that THE ENTIRE SIZE and scope of government needs downsizing.

Not the only thing, of course, but it also needs to be reduced. I suspect another reason Obama wants the military downsized is that it’s a THREAT TO HIM. Let’s face it, what’s going on in Ukraine and Venezuela is coming here. It’s inevitable. It’s even nearly IMMINENT. We have a President who is bold enough to proclaim himself KING in all but NAME in his State of the Union speech. He issues a new ruling Decree almost daily now.

This situation, plus our dead in the water economy, plus our massive debt and imminent currency collapse is unsustainable AND unstable.

ConstantineXI on February 25, 2014 at 12:45 PM

Happy Nomad on February 25, 2014 at 12:39 PM

I am glad that a Republican Sec Def is proposing all these cuts. Good for historical record and reference.

Might_Is_Right on February 25, 2014 at 12:46 PM

Ho. Hum.

McCain is blustering for all of his equally decrepit and entrenched pals in the Pentagon, not to mention the military-industrial complex crowd.

Enough of being the World’s Policeman(TM). Waste in the military is fantastically high. In exchange for LOSING WARS, courtesy of rudderless civilian management (Thanks, Barry).
High cost, no results, and negative impact upon both the nonmilitary economy and our standing in the world: What’s not to like?
I mean, besides: everything?

orangemtl on February 25, 2014 at 12:50 PM

we are witnessing the fall of the USA, from within. Exactly as Bill Ayers wanted it.

kirkill on February 25, 2014 at 12:52 PM

I’ve said this before and I will say it again…

… I’ve seen this movie.

It does not end well for us…

Seven Percent Solution on February 25, 2014 at 12:53 PM

I’ve said it before and I shall say it again: McCain should have stayed in Vietnam.

We do need to cut the bloat and crap in the .gov .mil arenas though. One thing that fascinates me is how Conservatives will say the government is not efficient at X, Y, and Z, but GREAT at military adventures. I maintain this is totally not true. While military is one of the areas given to the government, I bet it would be much better run by Google or whatever.

antisense on February 25, 2014 at 12:57 PM

We are spending too much on the domestic army Obama is building at DHS so we have to cut back elsewhere.

bopbottle on February 25, 2014 at 12:58 PM

I am glad that a Republican Sec Def is proposing all these cuts. Good for historical record and reference.

Might_Is_Right on February 25, 2014 at 12:46 PM

Actually it isn’t a Republican SecDef that is proposing this. It his filthy lazy shiftless Democrat boss’s proposal and priorities. It comes to Congress as part of the President’s budget submission.

But don’t let facts get in the way of your hyperbole.

Happy Nomad on February 25, 2014 at 1:00 PM

I am glad that a Republican Sec Def is proposing all these cuts. Good for historical record and reference.

Might_Is_Right on February 25, 2014 at 12:46 PM

Chuck-U Hagel is no more a Republican than Juan McCain. Both are RINOS.

ConstantineXI on February 25, 2014 at 1:01 PM

Nobody should be surprised that this is happening. This is who the rat eared bastard is. Complete destruction of “the bad USA” because we are the world’s problem. I want to barf everytime I see that insipid smile of his or hear his voice.

retiredeagle on February 25, 2014 at 1:02 PM

I hate John McCain. He is correct on this, but he has thrown away any bargaining power he may have had.

Roger that. Given that McCain is completely bought and paid for by the military industry he’s the worse possible spokesman on this issue. He has no credibility and thus undermines his position on those rare occasions when he’s on the right side of the issue.

tommyboy on February 25, 2014 at 1:05 PM

Remember back when the old Soviet Union collapsed? The liberals declared “a peace dividend”. The Pentagon was tasked with listing no longer needed and/or excess personnel and military installations. The Pentagon complied. Then Congress saw the list and those affected started screaming that the cuts in THEIR district were wrong. Those were vitally NEEDED for the national defense. So cuts were made based on Congressional seniority.

Exit question: Will King Barack the Magnificent take CREDIT for all the lost jobs? And those jobs aren’t just military. What about all the people who have a job based on customers from the local military base? Guess Food Stamps usage will be going up. Again.

Finally, and what really hurts is cuts to military benefits. Decreases in the housing allowance for those with families. Cutting commissary privileges. Increased health care costs for dependents. So is King Barack willing to reintroduce the draft when enlistments and force retention numbers drop like a rock?

GarandFan on February 25, 2014 at 1:06 PM

Obama can downsize “His” military at his peril. I hope he’s stupid enough to think that glorified bully-cops like the DHS will be enough to protect his increasingly Imperial State.

Because when the time comes that the Army of the Republic is needed to fight it, our veteran soldiers will be there, not “his”.

ConstantineXI on February 25, 2014 at 1:08 PM

OT – splainin’

Schadenfreude on February 25, 2014 at 1:09 PM

Roger that. Given that McCain is completely bought and paid for by the military industry he’s the worse possible spokesman on this issue. He has no credibility and thus undermines his position on those rare occasions when he’s on the right side of the issue.

tommyboy on February 25, 2014 at 1:05 PM

I might take McCain’s “faux” concern for the welfare of the military seriously if he wasn’t gung ho on invading another country practically every week.

http://www.darkmoondaily.com/assets/map_1-475×230.jpg

ConstantineXI on February 25, 2014 at 1:10 PM

Finally, and what really hurts is cuts to military benefits. Decreases in the housing allowance for those with families. Cutting commissary privileges. Increased health care costs for dependents. So is King Barack willing to reintroduce the draft when enlistments and force retention numbers drop like a rock?

GarandFan on February 25, 2014 at 1:06 PM

The filthy rat-eared coward is definitely trying to take a “peace dividend” based solely on the fact that he’s surrendering in Afghanistan. The draft is inevitable. Military members are not in it for the money but when they can’t provide for their family and are treated the way Hagel and Obama wants to treat them……. well they might as well just sign up for the food stamps without the enlistment.

Happy Nomad on February 25, 2014 at 1:23 PM

The troops in the various provinces continued to serve under whatever commander had control of their region. However, it became harder to support the troops economically the way they had been before. Previously, you had a massive imperial bureaucracy and economics of scale that enabled you to raise huge taxes in, say, northern Africa and ship the money and supplies to troops in Gaul or Britain or wherever, so that you could support a full-time standing army. Now, that wasn’t possible. Scholars debate how long the old system lasted and how exactly it morphed into what came next; some, like Bernard Bachrach, would argue that the imperial system continued to be used for a long time after the empire’s breakup, though on a more local scale; others think it collapsed rapidly. Walter Goffart proposed a famous (and controversial) thesis that the terms on which barbarian federates were settled gradually translated tax revenues into landholding by authorizing each warrior to collect the tax on individual property holders (which makes it look more and more like rent, and the warrior like a landlord).

Never happen, eh?

BobMbx on February 25, 2014 at 1:35 PM

Finally, and what really hurts is cuts to military benefits. Decreases in the housing allowance for those with families. Cutting commissary privileges. Increased health care costs for dependents. So is King Barack willing to reintroduce the draft when enlistments and force retention numbers drop like a rock?

GarandFan on February 25, 2014 at 1:06 PM

Yeah, who would have ever thought of actually paying your own rent, your own food, and for your own products?

Seriously, is that really necessary?

antisense on February 25, 2014 at 1:58 PM

The empire can’t possibly be maintained if the US military budget is less than 40% of global military expenditures.

DarkCurrent on February 25, 2014 at 2:18 PM

Happy Nomad on February 25, 2014 at 12:39 PM

I was going to write a lengthy retort to point out how ignorant your opinion of military spending is, then I read your follow up posts to others. You’ve made a caricature of yourself. Bravo.

KMC1 on February 25, 2014 at 2:30 PM

The empire can’t possibly be maintained if the US military budget is less than 40% of global military expenditures.

DarkCurrent on February 25, 2014 at 2:18 PM

Comparisons like that are meaningless when US military contracts go to greedy-union operations as required by law. Other countries get far more for their money than we do.

slickwillie2001 on February 25, 2014 at 2:36 PM

Other countries get far more for their money than we do.

slickwillie2001 on February 25, 2014 at 2:36 PM

No reason to doubt that.

DarkCurrent on February 25, 2014 at 2:42 PM

After World War II, there was a “peace dividend,” which was quickly followed by the war in Korea. After Korea, we still paid for our Cold War military defenses, but there was relative peace, until we fought in Vietnam. After Vietnam, there still was the Cold War, but no major war was fought, until the First Gulf War. And after that was won (thanks largely to the enormous forces we had maintained because of the Cold War), Bill Clinton took advantage of another “peace dividend,” reduced our forces, and then we had 9/11. Which was followed by the invasion of Afghanistan and then Iraq. Doesn’t this historical trend bother anyone?

Whenever you dramatically reduce your forces because you think you can take advantage of a “peace dividend,” bank on the fact that you will be fighting another major war in about fve years. And when the next war comes, we’ll be too broke to fight it, just like our NATO “allies” barely had enough resources to fight a third-rate dictator in Libya. Shameful.

Libertyship46 on February 25, 2014 at 3:08 PM

Libertyship46 on February 25, 2014 at 3:08 PM

You mention 5 wars after WWII, only one of which was actually fought to defend the US and at least two of which were completely useless blunders.

DarkCurrent on February 25, 2014 at 3:18 PM

Instead of cutting 80,000 soldiers, why not cut 80,000 DOD civilian bureaucrats?

When the Romans had a hard time fielding an adequate fighting force to defend their empire, they contracted with the Goths to fight for them. (Did not turn out well.) Who do you suppose we can get to fight for us?

J Baustian on February 26, 2014 at 11:57 PM