The New York Times reports that the Obama administration plans to reduce the active-duty Army force from 490,000 soldiers to 450,000 within two years.
“In the midst of a war against the Islamic State that the Obama administration says will last many years,” says the Times, “the Army is moving ahead with big troop cuts. And they could grow even larger unless Congress and the White House find a way to stop further across-the-board spending reductions this fall.” [NewYorkTimes.com 7/8/15]
This represents a trend, especially in the Obama years. In 2014, former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel first announced a plan to cut the Army to pre-9/11 levels and pre WWII levels in a 2015 budget proposal. The trend continues.
Reportedly, the troop reductions are the result of years long budget disputes between members of Congress and the White House. Republicans have demanded that the debt and deficits be cut. Yet neither Republicans nor Democrats are willing to tamper with the never-ending increases in social spending. As a result, defense takes the hit, again and again.
Apparently, constant increases in social spending and the national debt are not enough for Obama and his allies. If Congress and Republicans will not give them the increases they wish, they will punish them by cutting back on the military even further.
Ultimately, I blame this on the inattention and misplaced priorities of most Americans. If it’s true that in a democracy people get exactly the government they deserve, then this is a great example of it. Notice that it’s not only Obama getting away with these cutbacks and reductions; Republicans let him get away with it. This includes, at least so far, the Republicans running for the presidential nomination, who have not yet made this a central issue of their campaigns. (Instead, they focus mostly on immigration and gay marriage.)
Obama insists that America is winning the war against ISIS, while never providing any evidence. ISIS continues to increase its grip on the Middle East, and if you’re foolish enough to think that Islamic-inspired terrorism is on the decline, then you’re probably foolish enough to think that Obama has been an adequate Commander-in-Chief.
The primary Constitutional duty of a president is to protect the nation from attack. While people can differ on which battles we should be fighting, or whether to engage in a war at all, there cannot be — and should not be — any question about the fact that we need the strongest military possible.
“Peace through strength” is not just a slogan; it’s a reality. If the United States completely disarmed itself tomorrow, how long do you think before we’d experience attacks from a whole range of enemies — ISIS, Russia, perhaps China, and many others?
Obama is progressively and systematically disarming the nation. The excuse? We must have more free health care, retirement insurance, welfare benefits, corporate subsidies and bailouts, agricultural subsidies, free college, more funds for mediocre and unaccountable public schools, on and on and on.
Obama is consistent, in both theory and practice. Morally and psychologically, he disarms us by telling us that the governments of nations like Iran, who openly threaten to nuke Israel and who deny the Nazi Holocaust, are really friends, not enemies (even when Iran insists otherwise). Obama also insists that ISIS is not inspired by Islam, even though everything they do is in the name of Allah and Islam, proudly and fervently so.
Physically and militarily, Obama backs up his words in practice, by reducing the ability of our military to function and ultimately even survive.
Does this bother Republicans, including the candidates running for President? If so, there are precious few words or actions to indicate it. Republicans used to take fairly strong stances on defense and economics. Today, they “go along to get along” and fixate on social issues.
Ultimately, the problem lies with the people. By voting for Obama twice, and by punishing Republicans who even talk of cutting any non-military programs (or even cutting the amount of debt required to “sustain” them), they’re sending a message to their leaders: Freebies matter most.
Of course, what good are freebies without a country that can protect itself from foreign invaders or terrorists? Immigration is an important issue (particularly its impact on national security), and topics like gay marriage are certainly open for debate and discussion. However, what’s more basic and obvious than the need for increased military strength, if anything — instead of these continuing cuts? Why is this not an issue? It’s as if the country is under some kind of intellectual sedation, where most people seem indifferent to its actual survival.
Obama insists we’re at war, yet continues to disarm the country and appease our potentially greatest nuclear threats, such as Iran. What’s wrong with this picture? And what’s wrong with the picture of a society where most of its members yawn at this contradiction, turn the channel and merely say, “Don’t you dare touch my Medicare”?
We’re in a war with enemies whose nature we deny, and without the willingness to increase (or even maintain) the funds required to support them. Increasingly, we’re moving towards a war without weapons.
Some will argue that we shouldn’t be involved in foreign wars, and they certainly have a point about altruistic nation building. But we’re at war with Islamic totalitarianism whether we like it or not, because ISIS and its allies, in Iran or elsewhere, are not going away. Our entire civilization would perish without the oil we count on from the Middle East, which is the battleground scenario for all of this conflict, in the first place.
In fact, as we visibly become weaker, we become even fatter targets. Full of bluster and riding on the strength of our prior military and economic greatness, Obama’s America is full of faux self-esteem and an overestimation of its real capabilities, as most of us perceive them.
There’s a word for this attitude. It’s called “hubris.” Hubris is defined as “exaggerated pride or self-confidence.” It means having more pride or self-confidence than objective facts warrant. Remember the Titanic? Based on historical reports, that ship sank due to errors and evasions brought about by hubris. So too will America, unless we drastically make a U-turn on our military spending and general attitude, not only about defense but about economics — and soon.
Obama’s condescending sneer of narcissistic contempt towards any who disagree with him is actually the image our country now projects to the world — a world filled with hostility and envy, the very reasons we need a super strong defense capability if we’re to survive. America’s unnecessary and irrational decline is truly pitiful, the national equivalent of a slow suicide.
What a difficult and painful waking up our country will inevitably experience, when we wake up one day to find out how wrong most of us were.
Be sure to “friend” Dr. Hurd on Facebook. Search under “Michael Hurd” (Rehoboth Beach DE). Get up-to-the-minute postings, recommended articles and links, and engage in back-and-forth discussion with Dr. Hurd on topics of interest. Also follow Dr. Hurd on Twitter at @MichaelJHurd1