Sequestration

Hawks Claim Defense Cuts Could Jeopardize ISIS Campaign. They Won't.

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Wikimedia Commons

As the specter of a decreased rate of increased defense spending looms over the Pentagon, hawks of all feathers are flocking together to battle sequestration, reports The Hill. Because Assad ISIS:

A growing number of congressional Republicans say the spending cuts, set to return next year, will threaten the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

 But budget experts are calling B.S. Literally.

"The technical term for that is bullshit," said Stan Collender, executive vice president at Qorvis MSLGROUP. "They're just using it as an excuse to raise the defense cap," Collender said. "The truth is that long before ISIS, the defense community was lobbying to get rid of sequestration so they're just taking advantage of what was presented to them, to spin the situation."

"You never let a serious crisis go to waste" is clearly a maxim common to both Obama administration officials and defense apparatchiks. But the kicker is that Operation Inherent Resolve isn't even tied to the overall defense budget affected by any sequestration, as Todd Harrison, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, pointed out:

"That's kind of a bogus argument because war-related funding like operations against ISIS comes from emergency supplemental funding not subject to the budget caps," he said of those saying the ISIS fight will be hampered by sequester cuts.

The multibillion dollar slush fund in question is the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account, a pot o' gold liberally used by both the George W. Bush and Obama administrations for the Iraq and Afghanistan imbroglios (and more recently, for the ill-advised military campaign against Ebola).

In a world of perpetual crisis, however, inconvenient truths can be as readily wished away as Iraq war justifications. A GOP aide told The Hill that defense cuts will still adversely affect whatever it is we're doing in Syria and Iraq because the OCO doesn't cover military training and preparedness. Hence, the argument goes, a sequestration can obliquely screw up our campaign against ISIS.

It's hard to take seriously hawks grumbling about cuts that won't even affect the funds being used for their latest imprudent bombing campaign. But then again, it's hard to take seriously any apocalyptic warnings from a defense establishment that already spends more than the next eight countries combined, particularly when the military weathered the last "draconian" cuts just fine.

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  1. If they’re right, heads should roll!

  2. Well, I mean, isn’t the ISIS campaign already sort of jeapordized, since we’re dropping weapons to them that are supposed to be for our allies, and because our leaders have not a fucking clue about what they’re doing?

    1. Exactly. And all that is because of budget cuts.

  3. Yeah, very little will slow down the “defense” spending gravy train. As Hillary said about something else, there’s too much money in it.

  4. Operation Inherent Resolve

    Is it just me, or are military operation names post 9/11 almost indisinguishable from names of Covenant ships in Halo?

    Examples:

    Fleet of Particular Justice
    Fleet of Furious Redemption
    Second Fleet of Homogeneous Clarity
    Third Fleet of Glorious Consequence
    Fleet of Righteous Vigilance

    Solemn Penance
    Resplendent Fervor
    Sublime Transcendence
    Lawgiver
    Ascendant Justice
    Purity of Spirit
    Sacred Promise
    Triumphant Declaration

    1. Its the pentagon *trying* to adapt to the media age. Since the massive coverage of the first Gulf War the Pentagon has been sticking ‘marketable’ and ‘uncontroversial’ names on their ops.

      No more ‘Operation Fuck You Tojo’, and codenames like ‘Market Garden’ are not ‘inspiring’ enough.

      That’s why we get names like “operation Enduring Freedom’, ‘Operation More Freedom’, Operation Restore Freedom’, Operation Restore Hope’, Operation Restore Hope and Freedom’.

      True story – in 2007 I when to Guatemala to do some training. We moved cargo from ship to shore, normally that’s call Logistics-Over-The-Shore and all the ops prior had been JLOTS XX (where XX= the year the training op was being held). That year, ‘JLOTS’ was deemed to be to *militaristic* so our op was renamed ‘HSOTS’ – Humanitarian-Services-Over-The-Shore.

      1. *Its the pentagon *trying* to adapt to the media age. Since the massive coverage of the first Gulf War the Pentagon has been sticking ‘marketable’ and ‘uncontroversial’ names on their ops.*

        Of course, this nonsense started *long* before the “media age” when the WAR Department was renamed to the Orwellian sounding “Department of Defense”.

        I say change it back. Also, bring back the 48 star flag. We haven’t won a war since adding Alaska & Hawaii. Merge the Dakotas and Virginias, no one will care.

        1. I’d rather have an actual Defense Department than a War Department. Ideally the military should be used almost exclusively for defense.

          The problem isn’t in the name, it is how the military is used by politicians.

  5. Soooo, geniuses, how small *should* the Defense, errr, War budget be, exactly?

    1. How about small enought that the Pentagon does not have enough money to both give weapons to ISIS and bomb them.

      They will have to choose one or the other.

      1. I can also suggest we cut enough to close, say, 50% of off-shore bases. I don’t care which 50%, just make sure at the end of the next FY, the money required to support 50% of those bases is gone from the budget.
        It’s a start; then we can look at serious cuts.

        1. We only 50%? I’ve never heard a satasfactory reason for having military bases outside of active war zones.

          1. LynchPin1477|10.27.14 @ 9:09PM|#
            “We only 50%?”

            To avoid panicking those who figure we need them, including the GODDAM EUROS WHO HAVEN’T PAID FOR THEIR OWN DEFENSE SINCE 1945!

          2. 1) Cold War – needed bases in Europe because losing Europe to the SU would have been bad for us.

            Little reason to have most of them now though.

            2) Japan – allows us to forward deploy units near potential trouble spots in Asia. Deploying from the Japanese bases cuts a good 2 weeks (and a huge logistical burden of refueling underway) from the response times compared to deploying from the West Coast.

    2. HOw about only as large as what the NEXT 4 COUNTRIES SPEND on their militaries (rather than the current ‘next 8’).

  6. “Hawks Claim Defense Cuts Could Jeopardize ISIS Campaign.”

    If we cut it a whole lot more, might it jeopardize the Ebola Campaign?

    1. i want my fucking “Ebola Campagin Ribbon”

      1. You’ll get it as soon as they let you out of the quarantine.

        1. But then again, it’s hard to take seriously any apocalyptic warnings from a defense establishment that already spends more than the next eight countries combined…

          Reason should know better than to just trot out that BS stat. It’s no different than the claims that women make $0.77 for every dollar a man makes.

          Yes, make the Eurotards pay for their own defense. Koreans too. Maintain a few strategic basis to give us global reach, have a dominant navy (we do), and cut the hell out of the army and a sizable chunk of the air force. Just stop using that BS comparison.

          1. Bases not basis.

          2. OK, so on a cost adjusted basis we spend what, as much as the next 5 or 6 nations?

            1. You could read the link.

              The lowest-paid U.S. soldiers earn about $18,000 a year. In comparison, in 2009, an equivalent Chinese soldier was paid about a ninth as much. In other words, in 2009, you could hire about nine Chinese soldiers for the cost of one U.S. soldier.

              Now you can argue about the relative value of a Chinese conscript vs. a US volunteer, but today China can afford nearly 10 times the manpower we can. You could significantly cut military expenditures if you were to reinstate the draft and cut military pensions and health benefits. I’m not advocating for that, merely pointing out the severe limitations in making that silly cost claim. And since Reason is perfectly happy to sacrifice fiscal and economic freedoms for social freedoms, then they shouldn’t be whining nearly so much about the cost of an all volunteer force.

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  8. We need to stop doing things half-assed in terms of military operations. Iraq is a mess created at the end of WWI when the allies decided to form a country by consolidating the lands of three groups who have been at war for 1000 years. If ISIS is a threat, and the US decides to go to war, we need to go to war. Wipe them off the face of the earth, take the oil fields, tell the Iraqi government “tough shit” and end it. The US military could eliminate the threat in days. However, since 1950, politicians have dragged the US into little wars that resolved nothing and had no actual connection to our national security. If the US focused on protecting the US and stopped trying to police the world, the military would need far less money. Neo-Cons argue this view is too dangerous which is true if you fight every war with no intention of winning and leaving it for another day. Neo-Cons want these wars for they can profits when they award the military defense industry the contracts to supply equipment. The groups fighting in Iraq now lived in relative peace for over 400 years under Ottoman rule because if they got out of line, the Turks killed all of the people creating the problem. The others in the region got the message loud and clear. Until the US is ready to stop bowing to the UN and act like the Ottoman Empire when dealing with enemies we will remain locked in this point cycle of meaningless wars.

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