Media and Republicans perpetuate bogus “Obama cuts military spending” meme; Sen. John McCain applauds Secretary Gates’ Defense budget

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

If there is one enduring truth it is that Republicans lie – often and repeatedly – as a regular element of their coordinated media strategy. They get away with it only because a complicit news media never holds them accountable for their lies.

Case in point: Defense Secretary Robert Gates (first appointed by President Bush) released the Department of Defense budget this week calling for a fundamental reorganization of Pentagon priorities and an overall 4% increase in defense spending (Afghanistan and Iraq are now included in the budget and the costs are no longer hidden in emergency supplemental budgets, as George W. Bush did for the past eight years). Media Reports Major Defense Budget Cuts As Obama Proposes Increase In Defense Budget:

The big news from yesterday (still settling in across Washington) is that President Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates teamed up to propose a sweeping overhaul of the defense budget–calling for the elimination of unnecessary systems and spending the savings on special forces, intelligence equipment, and other tools of counterinsurgent warfare.

In other words, by retooling the Pentagon, Obama and Gates plan to move a lot of money around, but they also plan to increase the overall defense budget. In the final year of the Bush administration (and excluding the costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan) the defense budget was $513 billion. In FY 2010, if Gates and Obama get their way, it will be $534 billion–$534 billion that will be spent much differently than last year's outlays were.

But you'd never know that from the news coverage.

Here's just one example. David Kurtz reported at Talking Points Memo in "Contessa?!?"

Contessa Brewer had on former Secretary of Defense William Cohen, one of that vanishing breed of moderate New England Republicans, and asked him "about this cut in defense spending." To his credit, Cohen corrected her: "By the way, it's not a cut. It's a four percent increase."

But note the MSNBC chyron:


As reported by Brian Beutler at Talking Point Memo The 'Defense Spending Cuts' Meme Grows:

But while there is some evidence that there is early opposition within the Pentagon to some specific cuts, Gates has, once again, proposed a budget whose bottom line is higher than last year's.

That's not stopping Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee from piling on, though.

The committee's ranking member, John McHugh, said, "[i]f implemented, this proposal will be tantamount to an $8 billion cut in defense spending," though he seems to be using a peculiar definition of "tantamount".

He is joined by Rep. J. Randy Forbes (R-VA), who tied the supposed cuts to the financial sector bailout and the stimulus. "Today's announcement of defense cuts is a reaction to the fiscal strain caused by trillions in bailout and stimulus spending, rather than a result of regular strategic review and overall threat analysis," Forbes said.

Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) joined in the fun, arguing that "[w]hile President Obama is pushing for mind-boggling increases in domestic spending, the one place he wants to cut spending is defense"

"This makes no sense," Akin went on, "not only because the world is not becoming safer, but because these cuts will eliminate thousands of well-paying jobs across America."

And Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) released a peculiar statement diffusing responsibility for the budget's authorship–"Secretary Gates, acting on behalf of the Obama administration, has recommended some serious changes to the FY2010 defense budget"–and then lambasting it: "I strongly urge the administration to reconsider these drastic defense spending cuts that will weaken our national security," Lamborn said.

These Republicans are joined by, so far, a lone Democrat–Dan Boren of Oklahoma, and also a member of the Armed Services Committee. Boren joined much of the Oklahoma delegation in criticizing the Gates proposal in a series of statements reprinted on the website of Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK).

In a separate report, Talking Points Memo reported that: [I] don't think anyone has gone quite as far as Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK):

While President Obama's short changing of America's Armed Forces is deeply disappointing, it is – unfortunately – not a surprise. Throughout his campaign and during his short tenure as President, he has made it clear that he believes his charm and eloquence are adequate substitutes for a strong military. That will not work. Whether President Obama knows it or not, President Bush's foreign enemies were also America's enemies. He cannot charm them out of their opposition to our country. The cuts announced today, however, take that naivete to a dangerous new level. I intend to do everything I can to make sure they do not actually occur.

But I'll give the prize for going too far to Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), who violated one of the long-held rules of American foreign policy – he dared to criticize the President while on foreign soil (something Republicans always harp about). Ed Schultz, the liberal radio talker who started his new program on MSNBC this week, "The Ed Show," featured Sen. Inhofe in this feature segment, "Psycho Talk":

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So what is really going on here? "Oklahoma stands to lose quite a bit if Gates gets his way–he has proposed the elimination of the so-called Future Combat Systems, a program which is produced in part in The Sooner State." Ah yes, the military-industrial-congressional complex that President Eisenhower warned us against.

Where does our own mavericky Senator John McCain, the guy who professes to be an expert on defense, come down on Secretary Gate's Defense budget? It looks like old "Maverick" is a big supporter. Here's Sen. McCain's press release:



 Washington, D.C. ­– U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) today released the following statement in response to Secretary Gates’ announcement on a fundamental shift in Defense spending and priorities:

“I strongly support Secretary Gates’ decision to restructure a number of major defense programs. It has long been necessary to shift spending away from weapon systems plagued by scheduling and cost overruns to ones that strike the correct balance between the needs of our deployed forces and the requirements for meeting the emerging threats of tomorrow,” said Senator John McCain. “Today’s announcement is a major step in the right direction. I believe Secretary Gates’ decision is key to ensuring that the defense establishment closes the gap between the way it supports current operations and the way it prepares for future conventional threats.

 “I also greatly appreciate that Secretary Gates continues to place the highest priority on supporting the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces.”

Looks like old Maverick didn't get the GOP talking points memo. And for a guy who is constantly on television because the McMedia loves to interview him, McCain has been noticeably absent from television this week to defend Secretary Gate's Defense budget in the face of the lies being told by his fellow Republicans. Could it be that he does not want to be seen as defending Obama's military restructuring plan? Is Maverick about to be on the outs again with the Republican party? Stay tuned …

0 responses to “Media and Republicans perpetuate bogus “Obama cuts military spending” meme; Sen. John McCain applauds Secretary Gates’ Defense budget

  1. AzBlueMeanie

    David Kurtz at Talking Points Memo correctly observes: “If government never created a job… then why are anti-stimulus Republicans suddenly clamoring about the stimulative effect of military spending?

  2. AzBlueMeanie

    Sheapenny does not give a rats ass about strategic value, i.e., what is the best use of military funds for the best equipment to best support our military forces. It’s all about “pork barrel” spending for defense projects that personally benefit his family regardless of strategic value or cost, as it is for the Oklahoma congressional delegation.

    The F-22 Raptor is the world’s first stealth air-to-air fighter. It is designed to achieve air superiority. In fact, as a generational fighter, it is designed to fight an enemy that currently does not even exist. And it is extremely expensive, it is not “cost efficient to operate” as Sheapenny misinforms. Unless Sheapenny is worried about being able to shoot down an alien UFO coming to abduct him, it is not the most efficient use of the military’s dollars.

    That would be the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter which is designed to support ground combat, and is far more affordable. The aim of the F-35 program is to develop an affordable next generation stealth strike aircraft for the US Air Force, US Navy, US Marine Corps and the United Kingdom as well as other US allies. The F-35A will replace the F-16 and the A-10 aircraft currently operated by the USAF. The main customers for the F-35B will be the USMC to replace the F/A-18 Hornet ands the AV-8B Harrier IIs and the United Kingdom to replace the Royal Air Force/Royal Navy combined Harrier force of Sea Harriers and GR.7s. The F-35C will complement the US Navy fleet of F/A-18E/F fighters by replacing the F/A-18 A+ and C Hornet currently in service.

    And the F-35 can carry many of the missile systems built by Raytheon and Honeywell.

    This would be “strategery” as George W. Bush would say.

    “Democrats HATE The Military and have for decades of CUTS!” The abject stupidity of that statement is self-evident. Does Sheapenny believe that only Republicans serve in the U.S. Armed Forces? If he does, he is a fool.

    As for cuts to military spending, there was a period after the collapse of the Soviet Union in which military spending briefly declined under Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, who was supposed to develop a “peace dividend” as we spent less on the military; remember that? Instead we found a new “global threat” enemy, terrorism, for which military appropriations have steadily increased from year-to-year.

    9/11 was Bush’s failure to take seriously intelligence warnings about an impending attack. Bush frozen with fear and crapping his pants while reading “My Pet Goat” to a grade school class while the country was under attack says it all. And why wasn’t our air defense scrambled to intercept until after it was too late? Maybe you should ask acting president Dick Cheney some day.

    It was Clinton’s military that made it possible for George W. Bush to achieve decisive early miitary success in Afghanistan and Iraq. It was Bush and Cheney’s incompetence and hubris that led to the protracted quagmire in these wars.

  3. I love how sheapenny’s whole shtick for a month is that government spending doesn’t create jobs, it just steals them (and gives our money to Mexicans), then writes a whole post about how the feds buying worthless garbage like a missile defense shield is going to save our country.
    If the government spends $534 billion, that is $534 billion going to the economy, whether it is building F-22’s or not. I’d like to see some of it go to other people besides Bush’s buddies at Raytheon who stole from us and gamed the system the last 8 years.

  4. I have family members who are active in Air Force Lodge number 105 at Davis Monthan AFB; and also on active duty in Iraq and in the Pentagon.

    My problem is with why is it ok to pass trillion dollar spending bills for bridges to nowhere that will not be built for ten years ;in the private sector and CUT jobs right now in the military and at Raytheon in Tucson and Honeywell in Oro Valley that supply systems to the F-22 that is replacing the F-16’s who are being retired?

    Also The pentagon at Obamas orders are cutting production of the C-17 at 210 when all branches of the service need more LIFT CAPABILITIES when transporting to Afghanistan everything from food to water and troops!

    We had over 1800 F-15’s and F-16’s that supply all armed forces and are worn out and have a main spar cracking problem that has grounded the fleets and are being replaced by a single engine one pilot F-22 Raptor that has advanced Stealth technology and very cost efficent to operate!

    Simple Democrats HATE The Military and have for decades of CUTS! Cite me one positive statement Pelosi;Reid or Obama have said about the mission or the pentagon since they took over the Congress in 2006 or the White House?

    Clinton CUT the B-1 from 200 to 100 and the B-2 from 100 to 20!

    Clinton cut the military personel from 2 million to 500 thousand making 911 impossible to respond to in a timely manner with NO EQUIPMENT and its the militarys fault; yea sure Mr. Meanie!

    You must understand one key factor about government military jobs; when the contract is stopped all the jigs and docuements on that project are DESTROYED forever and NOTHING can be built including PARTS!

    So if we are in The Great Depression as Obama says, and only military production got us OUT OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION when Obama said; My Grandmother was Rosy the riveter building B-24 Bombers in Kansas; WHY ARE WE CUTTING HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF CIVILIAN JOBS MAKING MILITARY AIRCRAFT WHEN WE ARE FIGHTING TWO MAYBE THREE WARSA AT THE SAME TIME!??