In line with Obama chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel’s admonition that no crisis should go to waste, the Obama Administration is preparing to use the matter of massive debt and deficits to push for drastic cuts in our national U.S. military budget. The proposed cuts, which total $960 billion, could leave the U.S. as a second-rate military power.
Playing a critical role in the effort is Rep. Ron Paul, who is generally considered by his followers to be an opponent of Obama’s liberal agenda. His son Rand Paul is running for the Senate in Kentucky as a libertarian Republican who believes in a strong national defense.
Rep. Paul has called for a U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan and has joined with the far-left in Congress to urge reductions in funding for the war effort there. He calls the U.S. military effort to defeat Al Qaeda and the Taliban an “occupation” of the country and “an ill-advised quagmire with no end in sight.” He says the effort is too expensive and won’t be successful. “It is time to leave Afghanistan to the Afghans to sort out,” he says.
President Obama has already appointed a National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform to look at long-term budgetary trends and vote on a final report no later than December 1. The proposals are likely to include massive tax increases, some minor spending cuts in domestic spending programs, and major reductions to the U.S. national defense budget.
The plan is being presented by the media as a bipartisan effort to make “substantial cuts” to the national defense budget.
Under the “Sustainable Defense Task Force” plan advanced by the so-called “odd couple” of Reps. Ron Paul (R-Tx.) and Barney Frank (D-Ma.), the U.S. Navy would be cut to 230 combat ships (from a planned number of 313). Under President Reagan, the U.S. had come close to achieving a 600-ship Navy.
Other proposals include:
- Reduce the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
- Slash spending on missile defense and space.
- Retire two Navy aircraft carriers and two naval air wings.
- Reduce F-35 fighter procurement by 220 aircraft.
- Cancel or delay the Joint Strike Fighter.
- End procurement of the MV-22 Osprey.
Rep. Frank, one of the most left-wing members of Congress, created the “Sustainable Defense Task Force” that came up with the cuts and worked in cooperation with Reps. Paul, Walter Jones (R-N.C.), and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). Their plan is designed to serve as a model for Obama’s proposed cuts.
The “left-right coalition” making up the membership of the group included people from the Center for American Progress and the Cato Institute, both of them funded by George Soros. Another member came from the pro-Marxist Institute for Policy Studies.
Its members included:
- Carl Conetta, Co-Director, Project on Defense Alternatives (Commonwealth Institute)
- Benjamin Friedman, Cato Institute
- William Hartung, New America Foundation
- Chris Hellman, National Priorities Project
- Heather Hurlburt, National Security Network
- John Isaacs, Executive Director, Council for a Livable World
- Charles Knight, Co-Director, Project on Defense Alternatives (Commonwealth Institute)
- Larry Korb, Center for American Progress
- Paul Martin, PeaceAction
- Laicie Olsen, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation
- Prasannan Parthasarathi, Boston College
- Miriam Pemberton, Foreign Policy in Focus, Institute for Policy Studies
- Laura Peterson, Taxpayers for Common Sense
- Christopher Preble, Director of Foreign Policy Studies, Cato Institute
- Winslow Wheeler, Center for Defense Information.
The involvement of two officials of the libertarian Cato Institute confirms our fears about the influence of what we called the “Progressive Libertarians.” These libertarians, sometimes mistakenly referred to as conservatives, have often collaborated with left-wing organizations and individuals, especially on cuts to national defense and on the liberal social agenda.
We noted, “The seeds of this strange collaboration of interests were planted decades ago, when the pro-Marxist Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) held a seminar under the title of ‘Left and Right,’ featuring Marcus Raskin of IPS and Karl Hess, then an IPS fellow. The speakers at this 1969 event included economist Murray Rothbard and Jeff Liebling, the latter identified as ‘former Youth for Goldwater’ and ‘SDS member.’ Hess, a former Barry Goldwater speechwriter who died in 1994, traveled easily between left and right.”
A September 1970 IPS seminar on “U.S. Strategy in Asia” was organized by Earl C. Ravenal, then an IPS Associate Fellow, who would later join the Cato Institute as a distinguished senior fellow in foreign policy studies. A book featuring the proceedings of the event reveals the participation of Morton Halperin, then with the liberal Brookings Institution and now a top employee of George Soros.
We noted that Justin Logan of the Cato Institute had appeared on the Glenn Beck show along with another Cato scholar, Chris Edwards, who said that we should “pull back the foreign troops” and drastically reduce the U.S. defense budget. This will produce “higher security” for the U.S., he claimed.
Sounding like an anti-war progressive, Edwards charged that sinister arms manufacturers were pushing funding for unneeded weapons.
Obama had already cancelled the F-22 Raptor, the most advanced air superiority fighter in the U.S. inventory, at a time when the Russians are developing their own version of a fifth generation fighter.
The Cato Institute favored the Obama policy of killing the F-22.
On top of this cut, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates pledged on June 28 to cut $100 billion from the military budget over the next five years.
The left-wing IPS, a key component of the “progressive” coalition backing Obama, has been waging a campaign to have Obama veto more “unneeded weapons systems” and is urging the President to make the defense cuts “much deeper” than those already proposed.