Mystified Republicans and a handful of Democrats are rejecting military cuts announced Monday by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. In their opinion, it will hurt future presidents’ ability to protect the country.
Former Vice-President Dick Chaney summed up his feelings on Monday’s Fox News Channel’s “Hannity.” “They (The White House) think it’s like spending in that you can turn it on and off.”
Suggested cuts would reduce the military to pre-World War II levels – a huge impact on the ability of presidents to deal with future crises, Cheney added.
Cheney was President George H.W. Bush’s secretary of defense during Operation Desert Storm in 1991 when the first Iraq war broke out.
The White House contends the cuts are driven by “changes in world circumstances.” Cheney refutes that reason saying, “He’d much rather spend the money on food stamps than he would on a strong military or support for our troops.”
Former Col. Oliver North chimed in that “Instead of deciding who our enemies are and who our adversaries are and building a force capable of dealing with both, what they’ve done is they’ve picked a number and then they backed into a budget,” he told North told Fox News Channel’s “On the Record With Greta Van Susteren.”
Secretary Hagel’s proposed cuts (expected to be voted down in the Senate) would cut back military spending to pre-9/11 levels.
Retired Maj. Gen. Gus Hargett, president of the National Guard Association of the United States blasted the proposed cuts. “We are disappointed, but hardly surprised, that today’s Pentagon budget preview ignores the advice of Congress and the nation’s governors that the National Guard should be more of a solution to the fiscal challenges facing our nation’s military,” Hargett said in a statement, Defense News reported.
“And we are angered by continuing comments, such as those in Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s prepared text, that National Guard units ‘complement’ active forces,” he said.
Hagel said the proposed budget includes $115 billion more in spending than is currently authorized in mandated levels under sequestration.
One unnamed senior military official warned if the cuts pass Congress, it will put the military’s readiness at risk.
The White House may have proposed the cuts at the very worst time possible -the pending 2014 midterm elections.