Gates: Obama "double-crossed" me on defense budget

When Barack Obama ran for office, Bret Baier noted in his “Rising Threats – Shrinking Military” special report yesterday, he promised to be a new kind of Commander in Chief. At least on that score, Obama kept his word, but that hasn’t worked out well for either America’s military or our foreign policy. However, one of the men who ran the Department of Defense told Baier that Obama “double-crossed” him on budgets, and now worries that the US may have been left more vulnerable than ever in an era of non-state terrorism:


One of the signs of the president’s new approach is his deep budget cuts. Numerous defense programs have been scrapped, and the troops are being cut back—the Army’s active force threatens to drop below pre-World War II levels. As former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates tells Fox News, after he worked hard to cut hundreds of billions from the Obama military budget, he was then told to cut hundreds of billions more.  Gates fears less money today will mean more American blood later.

President Obama isn’t just making the military smaller, however–he’s changing its very essence. He’s introduced numerous policies designed to further social justice within the ranks, such as regulations to allow women to serve in combat.  But military experts are concerned that all these new rules end up doing is lowering standards and destroying morale. They worry that fighting efficiency is being sacrificed on the altar of political correctness. …

But how has this lighter footprint worked out? “Fox News Reporting Rising Threats – Shrinking Military examines how Obama’s policies have played out on the world stage:

  • Russia, where the administration made conciliatory gestures, after which Putin’s forces became more aggressive and took over Crimea.
  • Iraq, where Obama decided upon a precipitous withdrawal of U.S. military presence, after which the formerly pacified nation descended into chaos.
  • Syria, where Obama threatened but then failed to take action, after which the region continued to grow into one of the most dangerous spots in the world.
  • Libya, the one place where America did take action in a UN-approved military intervention, after which the nation split apart and become a breeding ground for terrorism.

The Hill picked up on an exchange between Baier and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who claimed to have been crossed up by Obama:

In a Fox News report Friday that explored the president’s approach to the military, Gates said Obama had promised him that there wouldn’t be any “significant changes” in the defense budget for a while.

When asked by Fox whether Obama kept to his word, Gates replied, “Well I think that began to fray. ‘Fray’ may be too gentle a word.”

According to the report, Gates was told to cut hundreds of billions of dollars from the defense budget after already having slashed it.

“I guess I’d have to say I felt double-crossed,” Gates said. “After all those years in Washington, I was naïve.”

Baier also talked with Gen. Michael Flynn, former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, who has been much more public about his unhappiness with the man who appointed him to that position:

“Frankly, the United States of America is in a less strong position today because of the readiness and the size of our armed forces,” Flynn said.

“I think he sees the military actually as something that is more dangerous to the world,” Flynn added. “I think that he looks at the United States military and sees it as a threatening application around the world, than actually as a useful tool.”

I’m not sure why either man would be surprised by this. Obama ran his 2008 campaign on the idea that the US military presence was largely unneeded and a net negative in most instances. Does no one remember “air-raiding villages and killing civilians” as Obama’s take on the war in Afghanistan in 2007? Or Obama poo-poohing the notion that Iran was dangerous because they weren’t as large as the Soviet Union? His policies on both follow exactly from his 2007-8 campaign mindset, and so does the disastrous foreign policy that has transformed the Syrian-Iraqi desert into the first terrorist quasi-state, and Libya into the next one.


With this mindset, it should surprise no one that Obama saw the DoD budget as ripe for slashing, and retreat as the best policy for the world. To have thought otherwise requires a higher level of naïveté than even Gates allows himself here.


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