The Obama administration announced some fairly important changes to military spending yesterday, which Rachel explained on the show last night. But an hour later, Fox News’ Sean Hannity interviewed former Vice President Dick Cheney on the subject, and wouldn’t you know it, Cheney isn’t pleased.
The former V.P. and former Defense Secretary said the proposed Pentagon cuts are “absolutely dangerous,” “radical,” and “just devastating.” He added, “I’ve obviously not been a strong supporter of Barack Obama, but this really is over the top. It does enormous long-term damage to our military.”
According to the Nexis transcript, Cheney went on to say:
“I think it’s a reflection of the basic fundamental belief of this president that – he always wanted to cut the military. […]
“I think the whole thing is not driven by any change in world circumstances, it’s driven by budget considerations. He’d much rather spend the money on food stamps than he would on a strong military or support for our troops.”
Cheney’s strained relationship with the truth has been a problem for many years, but even by his standards, the former Vice President’s harangue was detached from reality last night in some important ways.
Over a decade ago, it was Dick Cheney who helped launch two of the longest wars in U.S. history. He and the Bush administration did so with bogus claims, without a credible plan for success, without even trying to pay for the enormous costs of two invasions, and without broad international support. The disastrous consequences have done lasting harm to the nation and our standing around the world – making it that much more hilarious when Cheney said Obama has undermined U.S. credibility on the world stage.
It fell to the Obama administration to clean up the messes Bush/Cheney left behind, ending the wars, getting the nation’s finances in order, and transitioning the Defense Department to a post-war posture.
For Cheney, who keeps talking despite his profound lack of credibility on the subject, this transition is “dangerous” and “devastating.” What he doesn’t realize – or chooses to ignore because the facts are ideologically unsatisfying – is that the cuts the Obama administration spelled out yesterday still means higher defense spending than the levels required by the sequestration policy demanded by congressional Republicans in 2011. (Under the Obama administration’s plan, the U.S. will still spend more on the military than most of the leading world powers combined.)
As Rachel put it on the show last night, “This got headlined today as the Pentagon proposing ‘huge new cuts to the military.’ What actually happened today is the Pentagon fighting Congress so they don’t get cut so much.”
As for Cheney’s crack about food stamps, I’d just note that (a) using federal resources to feed poor families instead of preparing for yet another war isn’t a ridiculous position; and (b) a whole lot of the troops Bush/Cheney sent to war rely on those food stamps to put food on the table.