Elise Cooper

American Thinker

Muslim  nations are imploding against the looming backdrop of sequestration, the  trillion-dollar budget cuts mandated by the Budget Control Act, passed by  Congress last year.  As of January 1, 2013, half of those cuts must come  from defense, which amounts to about $600 billion over a period of ten  years.  American Thinker interviewed experts to get their opinions  on how the Obama administration is gutting America’s national  security.

President  Obama unveiled his sequestration plan, which calls for cutting discretionary  defense appropriations by 9.4%, a $55-billion hit.  Among the projected  cuts: spending for weapons procurement and shipbuilding, money spent on the war in Afghanistan, a reduction of  readiness for many non-deployed units, delays in investments for new equipment and facilities, and cutbacks  in military research and equipment repairs.

On  the one hand is President Obama embracing these defense cuts, and on the other  hand is Mitt Romney, who stated, “We can always find places to end waste.   But we cannot cancel program after program, we cannot jeopardize critical  missions, and we cannot cut corners in the quality of the equipment and training we  provide.”

What  these recent riots have shown is that this administration was unprepared, that  the American overseas diplomatic institutions need to be made into fortresses,  and that foreign governments cannot be depended on for security.  President  Obama deals with this obvious and costly problem through reducing the funding  for embassy security, construction, and maintenance by 8.2% as part of his  sequestration plan.

Former  Republican Congressman Pete Hoekstra, who is currently  running for a Senate seat in Michigan, told American Thinker that  he needs conservatives to donate so he can be a part of the fight to reinstate  the defense budget.  “In hindsight, I would hope that I would have voted no  on sequestration.  I would hope that I would have seen it for what it is: a  new gimmick.  Now they are stuck with an agreement that no one likes —  except the liberals who don’t mind huge defense cuts.  They love it.   How can such a huge amount be cut out of defense when we live in this  dangerous world?  These riots occurring on 9/11 was not a  coincidence.  The president over the past three years has been about  cutting defense.”

Maybe  a way to cut spending is to cut the aid to foreign nations such as Egypt, which  receives approximately $2 billion a year.  Congressman Brian Bilbray (R-CA)  does not see how providing aid can be justified, since he truly believes that  these Islamic extremists want “to destroy our values by waging a cultural war  wrapped in a religious black flag.  It’s an attack against the  20th-century standards.”

Considering  that the brother of a top al-Qaeda leader was one of the instigators of the  riot, and he had not seen the video, should aid be cut drastically?   Hoekstra thinks that the aid to Egypt should be downgraded because the  government was capable of stopping the attackers, who were chanting, “We are all  Osama.”  He insists that “they could have stopped the attacks on the  embassy if they wanted to since they have such a strong military and police  force.  They did not want to.  On the other hand, I would not cut aid  to Libya, since I don’t think they have the capability or capacity to maintain  order and security.”

What  are the consequences of these cuts to America’s economy, which, some have  argued, also make a national security issue?  Governor Bob McDonnell (R-VA)  approximates that the jobs lost in his state due to sequestration would be  anywhere from 130,000 to 200,000 while Congressman Bilbray said the San Diego  Military Advisory Council estimates that 300,000 jobs will be lost.   Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FLA) notes that Florida will be hit  harshly, since the state has 175 military sites, including the U.S. Southern  Command location; is the eighth-largest state to house active military  personnel; and will have businesses impacted that provide services to the  military infrastructure.

This  can be seen with China, whose military is ascending, while under President Obama  there is the appearance of America descending.  China has a  100-million-person army, yet, under sequestration, America’s active and reserve  strength will be significantly reduced.  China is improving its industrial  base, while America is allowing its military dominance to erode.   Sequestration would reduce America’s military strength per the budget realities.   As the chief of staff of the Air Force noted, “[i]t will be able to  accomplish fewer tasks in fewer places in any given period of time.”   Sequestration is happening at a time when tensions are escalating between China  and one of America’s strongest allies, Japan, over control of the Senkaku  Islands, and China’s recent test of its first intercontinental ballistic  missile.

Governor  McDonnell told American Thinker, “Sequestration was never meant to be a  policy; it was meant to be a hammer.  But it has failed.  The  president has failed to lead, and Congress has failed to act.  Because of  this, we are heading toward having a major crisis for our  military.”

Under  the WARN Act, companies with more than 100 employees must give 60 days’ notice  if there is to be a mass layoff.  Yet President Obama’s Labor Department  issued a “guidance” that the WARN Act does not apply to the defense layoffs that  could occur in January.  In other words, the defense contractors should not  send pink slips, which would occur days before the presidential election.   Governor McDonnell and Congressman Bilbray were asked if they think the  president is playing politics with the defense employees’ paychecks.  Both  sent letters requesting that the problem be addressed sooner rather than  later.

Governor  McDonnell emphasized that the defense contractors he spoke with do not agree  with the labor department’s interpretation and went as far as to ask the  president to change his policy.  McDonnell also said that defense employees  can sue defense contractors if a timely notice is not sent out.   Congressman Bilbray pointed out that in California there is a law requiring a  90-day notice, so even if the White House waives the pink slip, employees will  still be notified.

Congressman  Bilbray told American Thinker that the House has tried to confront this  issue but has been “stonewalled by Harry Reid.  I don’t know if anyone is  awake in the House of Lords.  They are doing this to gain a political  advantage, blaming those who are doing the heavy lifting in the House.   These cuts will cost us in dollars and cents and readiness, and they put a  huge strain on defense employees.  Look: every department, including  defense, can be more productive, more efficient, and more  effective.”

Congresswoman  Ros-Lehtinen wants Americans to understand that the House passed this only at  the eleventh hour to prevent the government from defaulting on its loan — that sequestration came about only because of  President Obama’s and the Democrats’ overspending.  She agrees with  Congressman Bilbray: Americans should blame President Obama and his comrade in  arms, Harry Reid, who is allowing the pro-growth bills passed by the House to  gather dust on his desk.

Ros-Lehtinen  is hoping to counter both Obama and Reid, as well as the “compliant liberal  press that blames the House.  All elected officials have to do a better job  of communicating that these devastating military cuts will undermine our ability  to meet national security objectives.  We have to take to the House floor,  do op-eds, communicate on radio shows, and hope that the ground forces show up  as they did in 2010.”

President  Obama would rather play the blame game than assert leadership.  At this  point in America’s history, the president should have found a way not to make  extensive defense cuts that even his secretary of defense, Leon Panetta, has  called “nutty, goofy, and insane.”

This article can be read here: http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/09/obamas_sequestration_imperiling_us_at_home_and_weakening_us_abroad.html#ixzz27gQCJ4op