Joint Chiefs chair says debt is the greatest threat to national security

When Barbara Boxer claimed that CO2 emissions were the greatest threat to America’s national security, I scoffed at Boxer’s case of the vapors. What about North Korea, Iran’s nuclear-weapons pursuit, al-Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban? We could ask the same of Admiral Mike Mullen, chair of the Joint Chiefs, who also shrugged off those pressing threats and claimed another as greater, except in this case, Mullen has it right:

Pentagon leaders, the military services and defense contractors must work together to cut bureaucratic bloat and unnecessary programs, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Thursday.

Adm. Mike Mullen also renewed his warning that the nation’s debt is the biggest threat to U.S. national security.

“I was shown the figures the other day by the comptroller of the Pentagon that said that the interest on our debt is $571 billion in 2012,” Mullen said at a breakfast hosted by The Hill. “That is, noticeably, about the size of the defense budget. It is not sustainable.”

We are rapidly approaching the point at which we can no longer fund a robust defense system for the US and the Western world.  Our ability to maintain forward strategies to engage and destroy terrorist networks will disappear, but not before we have to scale back our military presence around the world.  We have overspent for decades across the board, and the interest payments on the national debt alone will cost us more than our defense systems — on top of which the heavy burden of unfunded entitlement liabilities will start cresting as the Baby Boomers enter retirement.  Steve Eggleston updates us on the quickening slide of Social Security into the red, just to remind us of that fact.

American security depends on economic strength, a lesson that seems to have been forgotten.  We cannot afford to create a European-style nanny state while maintianing traditional American security.  In a pinch, everyone knows what will get sacrificed first, and it won’t be the cushy entitlement programs that liberals have ballooned into debt sinkholes. We need a healthy, robust economy and a government that fits within its means, and the only way to get both at the same time is to reform these entitlement programs and drastically cut spending and the reach of the federal government.

One of those sinkholes will be cap-and-trade, which will shackle American growth while vastly expanding the jurisdiction of the American government.  That makes Barbara Boxer as Senator detrimental to the long-term security of the United States.  Hopefully, the voters of California will reach that same conclusion in November.