We talked earlier about Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), chairman of the House Budget Committee, who insisted yesterday that he, not America’s military leadership, should be trusted when it comes to Pentagon spending levels. Ryan went on to say that he believes Pentagon leaders may be deliberately misleading Congress about spending cuts that they’ve requested, but which Ryan does not want to make.
Today, the highest ranking military officer in the United States Armed Forces responded to the congressman’s unfounded accusations.
[Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff] took sharp exception to the chairman’s comments.
“There’s a difference between having someone say they don’t believe what you said versus … calling us, collectively, liars,” Gen. Dempsey told reporters aboard a U.S. military aircraft after a four day visit to Latin America. “My response is: I stand by my testimony. This was very much a strategy-driven process to which we mapped the budget.”
Gen. Dempsey said the budget “was a collaborative effort” among the top officers of the military branches as well as combat leaders.
It would appear Gen. Dempsey was unimpressed with Ryan’s allegations, which were made without proof.
The question for members of Congress is whether they consider the chairman of the Joint Chiefs more credible about necessary Pentagon spending or the right-wing Budget Committee chairman, who has no experience in the military or in national security policy at any level.
Or put another way, Gen. Dempsey is, in effect, saying, “We don’t need this money to keep America safe.” To which Ryan is, in effect, replying, “You do need this money, and if you disagree, you’re not telling the truth.”
As for suggesting that U.S. military leaders are, in Dempsey’s word, “liars,” it’ll be interesting to see if Ryan reconsiders the nature of his criticisms.