Sunday, August 07, 2011
Budget Cuts Force Obama Administration to Recycle Tired Old Li(n)es
A few years ago the headline "Rumsfield Hypes Al Qaeda to Ward Off More Defense Cuts" would have surprised no one. And yet there it is today: "Leon Panetta Hypes Al Qaeda to Ward Off More Defense Cuts." Note the difference: Leon Panetta, Obama's new Democratic Secretary of Defense. Yes, Panetta is complaining that the debt ceiling deal threatens the military budget, according to the Times: "Mr. Panetta warned that if a Congressional panel could not reach agreement on cuts to the nation’s deficit, “it could trigger a round of dangerous across-the-board defense cuts that would do real damage to our security, our troops and their families, and our ability to protect the nation.” At a follow-up news conference, an unnameable Pentagon official said "“I would expect them to focus on entitlements and taxes,” the official said. He added that although “they have the right to focus on whatever they want,” more than $400 billion in budget cuts to the Pentagon would “go from the hard and manageable to the not-so-manageable.” In other words, the Bush, er, OBAMA, administration is arguing that cuts should be made to social programs instead of defense spending.
And yes, this was just days after Panetta was declaring that Al Qaeda was "almost defeated." More news from the Malabar Front, no doubt! Mission accomplished!
Oh yeah and how is that war in Afghanistan going? Have you noticed how whenever anything bad happens there now it's "NATO" this or "NATO" that? The American media is in shameful collaboration with the U.S. government attempting to divert attention from the fact that America owns the war in Afghanistan just as the Soviet Union once did. Here's the good news: It's only civilian deaths! "Although the number of civilian deaths in Afghanistan has steadily risen in the past year, with a 15 percent increase in the first half of 2011 over the same period last year, NATO deaths had been declining — decreasing nearly 20 percent in the first six months of 2011 compared with 2010." Well, that was until the Taliban shot down a "NATO" (American) helicopter killing thirty "NATO" (American) soldiers. I am authorized to say that the action we are now reporting may well bring the war within measurable distance of its end!
When Panetta was confirmed to replace outgoing Secretary (and Bush appointee) Robert Gates, the first thing he did was rush off to Iraq and begin to rattle tired, worn sabres against Iran. He also has begun to twist the arms of the dysfunctional Iraqi government to get them to "request" that American forces stay behind after the scheduled departure to deal with the Iranian "threat." All of a sudden the administration is recycling the years-old Bush trademark claims that Iraqi IEDs originate in Iran and that Iranian leaders are now cooperating with Al Qaeda. It's just so pathetically transparent. Did the disgusting Panetta find a bunch of undated memos in his new desk and just decide they would make him sound like a tough guy?
Then there's this fascinating article in the NY Times today, "Moral Flip-Flop? Defining a War." It's about a top State Department legal adviser going through hoops to suggest the President has the right to do whatever he wants in fighting a war. The subject of the article is one of those Bush lawyers like John Yoo? Not even close: alleged liberal icon Harold Koh, the architect apparently of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama's policy of not consulting congress before attacking the sovereign nation of Libya.
So much for the victorious anti-war candidate.