Auctioning Off the Presidency From the Pentagon Battlements
Let me whisk you to 1980 on one of Obama's miracle drones.
In the right-center we had incumbent President Jimmy Carter, derided as a man of peace, el wimpo.
True, his top foreign policy man was an unreconstructed Polish Cold War warrior burning to bring the Soviet Union to its knees. True, the two had launched the largest covert operation in the CIA's history — $3.5 billion - against the Soviets in Afghanistan.
True, he was financing Argentinian torturers to impart their skills to the Nicaraguan contras.
True, his out-year military budgets actually outstripped those of his opponent.
On the far right was Ronald Reagan. His candidacy crowning almost a decade's worth of propaganda for the New Cold War from outfits such as Paul Nitze's Committee on the Present Danger. Nitze used to go on speaking tours with a rack of missiles. On one side were America's trim little intercontinental ballistic missiles. On the other, was their mighty, albeit technically somewhat backward, Soviet counterparts.
The Reaganites derided all treaties as traps, depicting Uncle Sam as, in military terms, down to his underwear, with a peashooter in his holster. Every Pentagon wish received a cordial welcome.
Here we are today. On our center-right, Obama, derided as a man of peace, el wimpo, though his relations with the Pentagon have been intimate and he himself ductile to their demands.
True, he's been waging war on ... how many fronts? Five, six, with probably more on a covert, semi-privatized basis. True, he has given the finger to all positive developments in Latin America and presided over a bloody coup in Central America.
True, he has been Israel's serf and hast humped the drum against China and Russia.
True, his secretary of state has been a fountain of bellicose bully-swaggering.
And on the far right here's Romney. The Pentagon auctioneers await the next bid. Up goes Romney's paddle.
Make your pitch, shout down the Joint Chiefs. Romney reads them extracts from his latest speech, delivered in response to Obama's in Chicago at the NATO summit.
"Last year, President Obama signed into law a budget scheme that threatens to saddle the U.S.
military with nearly $1 trillion in cuts over the next 10 years. President Obama's own defense secretary, Leon Panetta, has called cuts of this magnitude 'devastating' to our national security. Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has plainly said that such a reduction means 'we would not any longer be a global power.'
"We have a military inventory composed of weapons designed 40 to 50 years ago. The average age of our tanker aircraft is 47 years, of strategic bombers 34 years. Our Air Force, which had 82 fighter squadrons at the end of the Cold War, has been reduced to 39 today. The U.S. Navy, at 285 ships, is at levels not seen since 1916. Should our air, naval and ground forces continue to age and shrink, it will place the interests of the U.S. and our friends and allies at risk.
"An alliance not undergirded by military strength and U.S. leadership may soon become an alliance in name only.
"In 2009, the Obama administration stunned two NATO allies — Poland and the Czech Republic — with a surprise withdrawal from an agreement to station missile defense sites on their territories, an agreement they signed in the face of Russian threats. Two of our most valuable partners were treated shabbily, the cause of missile defense was set back, and the Russians achieved a prime security objective without having to make meaningful concessions in return. And President Obama recently promised Russian leaders even more 'flexibility' on missile defense if they give him 'space' before his 'last election.'
"At this moment of both opportunities and perils — an Iranian regime with nuclear ambitions, an unpredictable North Korea, a revanchist Russia, a China spending furiously on its own military, to name but a few of the major challenges looming before us — the NATO alliance must retain the capacity to act."
So the bidding war will go, and who would wager that the Pentagon chiefs won't deem Romney the safer bet?