WSJ on our “Kinder, Gentler” Dept. of Defense
The Wall Street Journal ran an excellent opinion piece this weekend on the Obama Administration weakening the Department of Defense; “America’s Kinder, Gentler Department of Defense- Cutting the military to fuel the welfare state doesn’t instill fear in a nation’s enemies” By Mackubin Thomas Owens/WSJ. Mr. Owens raises three points;
The first shoe was the announcement in December that Marine Gen. James Mattis would leave his post as commander of Central Command in March, well short of what would be expected of a combatant commander who has acquitted himself well since he was appointed in August 2010… There seemed to be no logical reason for his being replaced early. Most unforgivably, he learned of the move when an aide read a Pentagon press release announcing the change.
Gen. Mattis had committed the unforgivable sin of suggesting non-Obamian approaches to foreign policy “issues” like Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the (so-called) Arab Spring. The common theme interweaving these “issues”? Islamic extremism.
A president has every right to choose the generals he wants, but it is also the case that he usually gets the generals he deserves. By pushing Gen. Mattis overboard, the administration sent a message that it doesn’t want smart, independent-minded generals who speak candidly to their civilian leaders. What other generals and admirals are likely to take from this is that they should go along to get along, a very bad message for the health of U.S. civil-military relations.
The second shoe to drop was the nomination of Chuck Hagel to be the next secretary of defense. Much of the opposition to Mr. Hagel has focused on his alleged hostility to Israel and his seeming indifference to a nuclear-armed Iran. As serious as these issues may be, the real problem is his likely approach to the defense budget.
The common theme interweaving hostility to Israel, indifference to a nuclear-armed Iran and an Obamian approach to defense budget cuts? Turning a blind eye to Islamic extremism.
The third shoe dropped on Jan. 24, when Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced the opening of most ground-combat billets to females. There are three reasons this is a terrible policy change.
The most significant of Owens’ “three reasons” is that the encroaching virus of lowering standards for liberal political correctness will further weaken our military.
Indeed, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, gave the game away when he said as the policy change was announced that, “if we do decide that a particular standard is so high that a woman couldn’t make it, the burden is now on the service to come back and explain to the secretary, why is it that high?” Gen. Dempsey thereby guaranteed that politically appointed civilian officials will lower standards.
In light of Obama’s Alfred E. Neuman “What, me worry about Islamic extremism?” head-in-the-sand approach to U.S. Foreign policy, can “We the People…” survive the remainder of Obama’s presidency?