Hawks Upset With Debt Deal
(AntiWar.com) -- by Jim Lobe --
As both houses of Congress began debating the 11th-hour debt-limit deal hashed out Sunday night by senior lawmakers and the White House, neoconservatives and other national security hawks complained bitterly Monday that the final package may force major cuts in defense spending in the coming years.
“If this deal governs policy for the next decade, it will be hard for the U.S. to remain a sole superpower,” warned Weekly Standard editor and leading neoconservative ideologue William Kristol.
“This is the best day the Chinese have ever had,” he went on.
“This deal embodies a vision of America in decline,” he added.
Former Acting U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton — whose analysis bounced all around the right-wing blogosphere Monday — was no less hyperbolic, calling the possible military implications of the deal no less than “catastrophic.”
“Make no mistake, this deal, by risking massive defense cutbacks, potentially points a dagger at the heart of our national security,” Bolton, who now sits at the American Enterprise Institute, warned...
The Pentagon’s current base annual budget, however, stands at about $550 billion, or more than the military budgets of the 20 next-biggest militaries combined. When the costs of the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are added, the total budget will exceed $700 billion in 2011, or almost twice what the Pentagon was spending before the 9/11 attacks...
In the last year, two bipartisan commissions, one headed by former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson and Bill Clinton’s chief of staff, Erskine Bowles, and the other, by Clinton’s budget director, Alice Rivlin, and former Senate Budget Committee Chairman Pete Dominici, called for $1 trillion in cuts in defense spending over 10 years.
But the Pentagon and independent hawks have argued that such cuts would require major changes in U.S. defense strategy that these commissions have not taken into consideration. And the White House has declined to endorse the commissions’ recommendations.
“To avoid reductions that are arbitrary and capricious requires clarity of strategic purpose,” noted Andrew Bacevich, a retired Army colonel at Boston University who has published a number of books critical of U.S. Cold-War and post-Cold War strategy.
“The big question is not how many billions should come out of the Pentagon’s bloated budget,” he said. “No, the big question is: given our straitened economic circumstances and in light of the monumental catastrophes of the past decade, what is America’s proper role in the world? Simply reciting clichés about ‘global leadership’ won’t cut it. The time to make hard choices is at hand.”...MORE...LINK
Perpetually-smirking, wine and cheese svengali William Kristol, a perennial pro-war propagandist who was a key player in lying U.S. into Iraq war, now gnashes his crooked neocon teeth over consequential American decline